Outside of April, the month of July might be the best month of the baseball season. You have got the All-Star Game, the trading deadline, and the pennant races really start to heat up.
This July lived up to expectations as the we had a great All-Star Game, the last hour of the trading deadline was crazy, and the division races (the NL West not included) really heated up.
Here are the 10 things we learned about baseball in the month of July…
10. Omar Minaya has a meltdown. Only the New York Mets could hold a press conference to fire a VP for Player Development and have it turn into a clown show.
In the middle of the press conference, in which the Mets announced Tony Bernazard was being relieved of his duties, Mets’ GM Omar Minaya went off on a tangent about how Mets’ beat writer Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News was lobbying for Bernazard’s job. Say what???
To say it was bizarre was the understatement of the century. Minaya has since issued an apology, but his job is definitely on shaky ground.
Staying in the Big Apple…
Jeter had plenty of reasons to smile in July
9. The New York Yankees were surging. The Yankees started the month 2.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East. They even were three games out at the All Star break.
Then the Yankees won 10 out of 11 and opened a 3.5 game lead on the rival Red Sox. The Yankees were paced by captain Derek Jeter and his .357 avg in the month of July as well as Phil Hughes (0.61 ERA and 16 K’s in 14.1 IP) who has become a force in the eighth inning.
While the Yankees were surging…
8. The Boston Red Sox were scuffling. The Red Sox went into the All Star break three games up on the Yankees and in about two weeks they were 3.5 games back.
A lack of offense was the main culprit for the Red Sox. They hit .248 as a team and Jason Bay decided to take the month off. Bay hit just .194 with one HR in the month of July.
If the Red Sox make the World Series, Game One will be at Fenway Park because…
7. The American League wins the All-Star Game. Thanks to an amazing catch by Carl Crawford that robbed the Rockies’ Brad Hawpe of a home run – the American League won the All-Star Game 4-3.
This was the 13th consecutive win for the AL and the winner of the AL Pennant will have home-field advantage in the World Series.
It was a great night in St. Louis. I think we’ll stay in St. Louis…
6. The Cardinals land Matt Holliday. The Cardinals weren’t just happy acquiring Mark DeRosa, so they went out and got the best bat on the trade market in Matt Holliday.
The Cardinals gave up top prospect Brett Wallace in order to get Holliday, but the Cardinals feel Holliday can put them over the top. The Red Birds have put themselves in great position to not only win the NL Wild Card, but the NL Central as well.
Speaking of the Wild Card…
5. The NL Wild Card race is intense. On July 31st, seven teams were separated by a grand total of seven games for the NL Wild Card.
The St Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, Colorado Rockies, Florida Marlins, Atlanta Braves, Houston Astros, and Milwaukee Brewers all have a realistic chance at the Wild Card.
If you want me to predict a winner? I am going to say the Giants are the last team standing. I just like their pitching as a whole and I think they will find enough offense in the end.
If the Giants win the Wild Card, they might have to play the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS because…
4. The Phillies get their ace. The Phillies wanted Roy Halladay, but when the asking price was too high they settled for a pretty darn good pitcher in Cliff Lee.
To get Lee from the Cleveland Indians without giving up top prospects Kyle Drabek or Dominic Brown was one heck of a move by Phillies’ GM Ruben Amaro Jr. With the addition of Lee, the Phillies might be the favorite to once again win the NL Pennant.
Cliff Lee and Matt Holliday weren’t the only players traded in July…
3. The July 31st trading deadline ended with a frenzy. Roy Halladay was the biggest name on the trade market, but he didn’t go anywhere – he is staying in Toronto. However, there were a lot of other players who are calling new cities home.
Freddy Sanchez, Jake Peavy, Victor Martinez, George Sherrill, Jack Wilson, Scott Rolen, and Jarrod Washburn all were moved close to or at the trading deadline.
One player who won’t be traded anytime soon…
Beckham had a monster July
2. Gordon Beckham is really good. The Chicago White Sox have found a stud in Gordon Beckham. After a really slow start, Beckham has really turned it on as of late.
Beckham won the AL Rookie of the Month award for July when he hit .330 with three HR, 18 RBI, 12 runs scored, and a .526 slugging percentage in 27 games.
Staying on the south side of Chicago and the number one thing we learned from baseball in July was…
1. For one day in his life Mark Buehrle was perfect. Buehrle already threw a no-hitter in his career, but on July 23rd, Buehrle decided to one better. Against the Tampa Bay Rays Mark Buehrle tossed the 18th perfect game in major league baseball history.
Buehrle was spectacular that day retiring all 27 batters he faced while throwing just 116 pitches in the winning effort.
Buehrle didn’t stop there however. In his next start against the Minnesota Twins, Buehrle was perfect again for 5.2 innings. He also set a major-league record that game by retiring 45 straight batters.
Just an amazing two start stretch for one of the more underrated pitchers in the game.
That’s a wrap for July. What will August bring us? Stay tuned to find out!!!