Trading Places

Photo by Alonzo Coston

Trading Places and Other Baseball Notes


By David A. Avila

In a strange twist the two Los Angeles area teams traded places with the Angels winning six of seven while the Dodgers did the reverse.

After two weeks both remain solidly outside of first place in their respective divisions.

The Los Angeles Angels lost super star Mike Trout to a groin injury. Though not seen as serious, losing the best player in baseball will hurt you in ways other than the obvious. But the Angel hitters seemed to wake up last week including Zack Cozart who ended an 0-22 batting skid with three hits against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Other Angels like Justin Bour followed suit and heated up with the bat.

So far Angels pitching has been stalwart especially the bullpen which leads the American League in ERA. The team remains within three games because of the shellacking that the Houston Astros gave the Seattle Mariners over the weekend in sweeping them.


After starting off white hot the Dodgers cooled off dramatically and lost six consecutive games. The Dodger relievers were mostly to blame and despite having leads against St. Louis and Milwaukee the bullpen stunk.

On Sunday the Dodger bats woke up and blasted two homeruns while beating the front-running Brewers 7-1 behind strong starting pitching by Ross Stripling. Joc Pederson and Alex Verdugo slugged homers in the game.

“I was hopeful we would win another one,” quipped Dodger skipper Dave Roberts.

The Dodgers remain two games behind the surprising San Diego Padres who lead the N.L. Western Division.

Chris Davis

Speaking of hitless streak, Chris Davis finally snapped a hitless streak on Saturday after going 54 consecutive at bats without a hit for the Baltimore Orioles. It set the Major League record for futility busting the previous record set by a Los Angeles Dodger Eugenio Velez in 2011 at 46.

Davis snapped the streak against Boston Red Sox pitching and on Monday added a two-run homer that helped Baltimore defeat Boston 8-1.

“I tried to make adjustments during the off season,” said Davis to MLB. “I was encouraged by the fans at Boston. It was such a cool moment.”

Puig and Babe

Yasiel Puig returned to Dodger Stadium with his new team the Cincinnati Reds and faced Clayton Kershaw who was making his first appearance of the year. The Cuban slugger promptly hit a two-run homer off his former teammate.

Puig is batting a lowly .132 batting average for the Reds but always exhibited the knack for rising to the big occasion. He did it last year in the playoffs and during the World Series against Boston. He’s always been a clutch performer.

Recently an article on the Times cited all of the problems the Dodgers had with Puig throughout the years. The article spoke of Puig’s missed cut off throws, over-running the bases and missing signs. Like most baseball reporters throughout the history of the sport, writers tend to stack all players under one umbrella. Latino players just don’t act or play like the others. But with most baseball writers who are usually Anglo, they tend to attack those who do not conform to what they feel is respectable. It happened to Roberto Clemente when he first arrived with the Pittsburgh Pirates and it happened to Sammy Sosa with the Chicago White Sox. Now it’s happening to Puig.

It’s also happened throughout baseball history with non-Latinos. Back in the 1920s there was a guy coming up who liked women and hot dogs and not in that order. He was attacked by the New York press viciously until he became a super star. Yes, that guy was George Herman Ruth, better known as the Babe.

Despite being a team sport baseball still is comprised of individuals.

Powerless East

Before the season started the argument was which team would lead the pack in the American League East: the powerful New York Yankees or last year’s World Series champions the Boston Red Sox. Who would have thought it would be the Tampa Bay Rays?

After winning 90 games last year it should not be a surprise but it has been. Tamp Bay leads the Major Leagues with 12 wins and only 4 losses. They combine good pitching and solid hitting and now have a 5 ½ game lead over the Yanks and a 6 game advantage over Boston. But it’s only April.

New York has been riddled with injuries up and down the lineup and has 13 players on the injury list. The Red Sox don’t have the injury problem but just can’t seem to get their swings together and their relief pitching has been atrocious. Even their starting staff is not up to par. Look for Boston to find a bullpen ace or maybe even sign their old closer of last year Craig Kimbrel.