HIGHLAND PARK–Through 15 weeks, the Big East Meadow is shaking out thusly:
The frontrunning Craydawgs did not help themselves much in Week 15, posting only 7 HRs with a league-low 32 runs. With Chris Davis gone (by trade to the Dirty Dogs), Braun on the shelf, and Carlos Gomez (.080 in Week 15) and Evan Longoria (.148) slowing down, BEMLBlog wonders if this squad can hold off the always formidable Barracudas, who are lurking just 4.5 points back. Will Braun be back in the second half? Can Max Scherzer (13 wins, 3.19 ERA on the season) continue his dominant run? Will recently acquired Justin Verlander resemble the Verlander of old? These are questions.
As the Dawgs’ offense cooled off heading into the break, the Cudas are heating up, posting league-leading totals in Week 15 in HR (14), Runs (62), ERA (2.94) and Saves (6). The Fish have now paired some lightning (Reyes and Ellsbury) with their thunder (Goldschmidt, .313/21/77/9, and Encarnacion (.264/25/72/4) and appear poised to pick up some ground in the steals category in coming weeks. Please: Beware the Vicious Fish.
Then there are the Villagers, who got off to a hot start early and after cooling off a bit have aggressively turned over their lineup. They are revamped for the second half and now feature the league’s best player in Miggy Cabrera. Is there a category for boldness? If so, the Villagers have it locked up.
Don’t look now. The Freeze seem to kick into gear when the weather gets hot, and after a monster Week 15 performance they just picked up 7.5 points to get into fourth heading into the second half. They had league highs in batting average (.323), HRs (14), RBI (51), Ks (71), Wins (6) and Saves (5). Zack Greinke (2 Wins, 16 IP, 0 ER, 16 Ks in Week 15) and Adrian Beltre (.407/3/8) helped give the Frozen Ones hope for a repeat heading down the stretch.
The George Kents have been hanging back on the cusp of things but should have Tulo back to kick off the second half. Josh Donaldson has been stellar since joining the GKs as a free agent (.292/7/19 in 99 ABs), and the Kents will hope recent acquisition Dan Nava can add a spark as well.
After starting 0-for-17 for the Dirty Dogs after coming over via trade, Chris Davis is on a 6-for-11 tear with four homers and eight BI in his last four games before the break… Matt Moore is also dominant in Dirty Dogs orange, winning his first three starts for the DDs after trade, with 25 Ks in 21 IP. The Filthy Ones have gone youth movement for 2014, with a cheap Davis to go with Moore, Wheeler, Lance Lynn, Aroldis Chapman and Matt Harvey.
‘Cause Mickey Loves Ya was saved by the All-Star break bell, as they were a bit winded in Week 15 and needed a breather after dropping three points into seventh place. Mickey’s boys aren’t quitters, though (as foretold by Rocky I-VI). CMLY has quietly put together a vicious rotation heading into the second half as Madison Bumgarner (10 Wins, 3.02 ERA) will get some able support from Stephen Strasburg and King Felix. Don’t throw in the towel just yet on Mickey’s boys.
Arsenal are headed to their third straight last place finish but have done an admirable job of developing a base of low-cost talent for 2014, featuring Jean Segura (.325/11/36/27), Michael Cuddyer (.337/9/27/4 in 169 AB), Matt Carpenter (.321/9/48/2), closer Bobby Parnell (5 wins, 16 saves, 2.35 ERA) and starter Ivan Nova (1.99 ERA in 23 IP).
BEML: Let’s play some goddamned ball.™