It is almost the end of August. Less than 50 games left in the season and everyone wants to know who is winning the division, who is in line for the wild card, and who will be winning the whole ball of wax?
When you stop by More Hardball on Monday mornings, you do not want to read about the same drivel that every so called "baseball nut" is telling you on all the other websites. Face it, friends, if that is what you found here this week, I may never see you again. We would not want that, would we? Good. Glad you agree. Now that we are on the same page, follow me as I journey through some things happening with the teams in last place in each division in baseball and we will try to spend some time together talking about the stories from the teams the other guys do not think you would find interesting. As always, I've got your back, don't worry about those fools...
The American League East - Baltimore Orioles
His name is Kevin Millwood and, on Sunday, he started the 400th game of his career. You read that correctly, 400 starts in his career. Despite having a tough year this season, posting a 2-14 record to date and win-less since June 24, he has been serviceable overall in his career. A lifetime record of 157-135 with a 4.11 earned run average, the veteran has played 14 seasons in Major League Baseball for five teams. A constant trade rumor, Millwood will find himself a free agent during this offseason.
The American League Central - Cleveland Indians
In the first inning of the Sunday game against the Tigers, Cleveland third baseman Jayson Nix tracked a foul ball near the railing of the camera well off the bat of Don Kelly. As he got to the railing, running full speed, he reached over and made the great catch. Later in the game, in the seventh inning, lightning would strike twice. On a foul ball from Kelly that held up in the air a little longer this time, and required Nix to stretch further into the same location, effecting his balance in the process. This time as Nix made the catch he tumbled into the camera well, displaying a head-over-heels play that invited injury to strike. Nix was not injured on the play, but had made a second amazing play at the exact same spot against the same hitter in the same game. Both plays can be seen on MLB's website here.
The American League West - Seattle Mariners
In the first inning of Saturday night's game with the powerhouse New York Yankees, Ichiro Suzuki hit his first of two home runs on the night, only the fifth time in his career that he would have a multi-homerun game. But it was Russell Branyan that would do something that had never been done in the history of the new Yankee stadium. On a Javier Vazquez 3-1 delivery, Branyan would launch the ball deep into the upper deck, the first time that feat has occurred.
The National League East - Washington Nationals
You have heard of Stephen Strasburg and new draftee Bryce Harper, but have you paid any attention to Tyler Moore? Who, you ask? The Class-A first baseman is setting records in the Carolina League. Over his last 36 games, he has hit 18 home runs, 17 doubles and 55 runs batted in. That brings his season totals to 28 home runs and 102 runs batted in. The 28 home runs are equal to the franchise record and only the sixth player to reach 100 runs batted in during a season. There are 15 games left in the season and Moore is 11 runs batted in off of the franchise record.
The National League Central - Pittsburgh Pirates
Something may need to be said to Andrew McCutchen about his somewhat dubious home run production. You see, while not a record or unprecedented at the major league level, McCutchen has hit 12 home runs this year, all of them without a runner on. For whatever reason, the young outfielder has yet to hit a ball out of the yard this season that would produce more than one run batted in. Whether that is a shortcoming of his, or the team's lack of ability to get on base, remains to be seen.
The National League West - Arizona Diamondbacks
It is not often that a last place team will sign a veteran player with very little time left in a season. That is exactly what the Diamondbacks did this weekend by signing Mike Hampton to a minor league deal as a relief pitcher. The goal is for him to pitch in the bullpen for the Diamondbacks prior to the end of 2010, but neither the team nor Hampton are commenting on the 2011 season, but it seems to be a useless signing if neither side has next year in mind.
Bill Ivie is the editor for i70baseball.com and hosts i70baseball radio every Monday night on BlogTalkRadio.com.