Tag Archive | "Major League Baseball"

St. Louis Cardinals pitching staff roulette about to mercifully end

The St. Louis Cardinals made two more roster moves Thursday when they sent rookie right-handers Michael Wacha and Michael Blazek to Triple-A Memphis after each pitch the night prior, which continued a trend of incredible pitcher movement between Memphis and St. Louis this season.

Michael-Wacha

The Cardinals have used 23 different pitchers this season as injuries plagued the staff early in the season and ineffectiveness has crept in the past month or so, but the game of musical chairs is about to end, thank goodness.

Major League Baseball allows teams to expand their rosters from 25 players to 40 on Sept. 1, so manager Mike Matheny and general manager John Mozeliak will be able to keep all of the young pitchers they have brought up at different points during the season.

Wacha and Blazek might be in the minors now, but their stay will most likely last just a couple of days, which should be a familiar role for them now. Of the 11 rookie pitchers the Cardinals have used, only Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal and Kevin Siegrist have stayed with the team full time since they were first called up, or in Miller’s and Ronsethal’s case, when they made the team out of spring training.

The Cardinals use of the minor leagues has been dizzying in 2013. Matheny and Mozeliak have taken full advantage of the rules that allow roster movement.

When the team needed an emergency starter, Wacha, John Gast, Tyler Lyons and Carlos Martinez stepped in to fill the spot. When they needed a reliever, pitchers such as Blazek, Keith Butler, Seth Maness and Sam Freeman had stints of various lengths in the bullpen.

Often, those pitchers would pitch for Memphis and St. Louis multiple times in the same week.

Still, Matheny and Mozeliak deserve credit for their wild use of the minor league roster to supplement the big-league club. It might have been extremely confusing to try to track the incredible amount of moves the team has made, but it has been perhaps the largest factor outside of catcher Yadier Molina that has kept the team in contention for a playoff spot as September approaches.

And now the Cardinals will have all of those options available throughout the remainder of the season.

Yet at the same time, they still have several important decisions to make.

Each team has to restrict its roster back to 25 players for the playoffs, but those decisions have to be made Sept. 1, as well.

Given how the Cardinals have used their bullpen throughout the season, Siegrist, Rosenthal and Maness are locks to be with the team in postseason. The pitchers on the bubble figure to be Wacha, Blazek and Martinez.

The team sent Butler and Fernando Salas to the minors in July and neither has been much of an option anytime the big club has recently made one of its myriad of moves. They will likely fill the final spots in the bullpen for the next month, but October will probably be a different story.

But at least postseason rosters cannot change unless a player needs to be replaced because of injury. Teams can change their rosters between rounds but not during them.

In any case, the Cardinals pitching staff could probably travel the world with all of the frequent flyer miles it has racked up on the team accounts this season.

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Bird’s Eye View: The Showdowns Begin

For the first time in almost a month, the St. Louis Cardinals will enter a series as the division leader in the National League Central.  They are currently tied with the Pittsburgh Pirates and sit 2.5 games ahead of the Cincinnati Reds.

Birds Eye View Headeri70

As if the schedule makers of Major League Baseball knew ahead of time what would be happening, the next few weeks will test the three teams at the top of the National League Central division like no other.  The Cardinals open a three-game series with the Reds tonight in St. Louis before heading on a road trip to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.  They will then return home to face the Pirates once again, completing a 13-game, 14-day stretch that could very well decide the division.

Over the last ten games, the Cardinals are the hottest of the three teams, winning seven of their contests while the Pirates and Reds have both won five.  It has given the Cards a little cushion over the Reds and allowed them to catch the Pirates after chasing them for 23 days.

The series: Cincinnati Reds (74-57) at St. Louis Cardinals (76-54)
Standings: The Reds trail the Cardinals by 2.5 games in the NL Central.  The Reds hold a seven game lead in the Wild Card.
National Coverage: ESPN will carry the Monday night game while MLB Network is scheduled to carry the game on Tuesday night.

Game 1 – Mike Leake (11-5, 3.12 era) vs Tyler Lyons (2-4, 5.09 era)

The Cardinals head into this week in somewhat familiar territory this season, missing a pitcher.  Jake Westbrook found his way to the disabled list and his turn in the rotation marks the start of the series with the Reds.  Tyler Lyons will take the ball for the spot-start against Reds’ hurler Mike Leake.  Lyons has been under-whelming on the mound as a starter this season, posting an earned run average over five and only earning a victory twice.  The first game is the biggest challenge from a pitching standpoint for the Cardinals and they will need Lyons to return to his early-season production on the mound.  The first two starts of the season for Lyons were victories that seen the southpaw go seven innings and yield only one run in each contest.  On June 8th, Lyons took the mound against the Reds and lasted just over five innings and gave up four runs, earning his second loss of the season.

Mike Leake has not done well against St. Louis this season, though he does enjoy some moderate success over a few of their hitters.  In two starts this season against his division rival, Leake taken a loss in both games, lasting just five innings in each.  He gave up three runs on June 7th and seven runs on August 4th while allowing a total of 14 hits over both contests.  Leake looked impressive in his most recent outing, at least he did until the fifth inning when he surrendered four runs.  He managed a win and six innings pitched before the day was through and now looks to change his luck against the Redbirds when his team needs him most.

Game 2 – Mat Latos (13-4, 2.93 era) vs Joe Kelly (5-3, 3.09 era)

The biggest concern with Joe Kelly is how deep he will go into the game.  The Cardinals win when Kelly pitches, having won seven of the eight contests that Kelly has started, but the starter seldom sees action past six innings.  He keeps the team in position to win, though he tends to play with fire a bit and has to work his way out of jams often.  We have seen before in St. Louis that you cannot keep putting runners on base and expect to always find your way out of trouble.  If Kelly can keep the base runners to a minimum, you may see seven or eight innings out of him in the process.  For now, the team keeps winning when he takes the mound and the Cardinals will hope to continue that streak on Tuesday night.

The Reds counter with their most successful pitcher this year, sending Mat Latos to the mound to try and get the team rolling in the series.  Latos is riding a hot streak of going late into ballgames and defying the odds to do so.  His most recent start in Arizona saw him go eight innings while battling the flu and reportedly throwing up three different times over the course of the game.  Latos has taken the mound three times this season against the Cardinals and the Reds hold wins in all three of those games, Latos himself earning the victory in two of them.

Game 3 – Homer Bailey (8-10, 3.71 era) vs Adam Wainwright (15-7, 2.58 era)

It is hard for a team to arrange the starting rotation well when you play two divisional opponents for two straight weeks.  That puts staff ace Adam Wainwright on the mound in the final game against Cincinnati and missing the entire series against the Pirates this coming weekend.  Wainwright takes the mound on the heels of his major-league-leading fifth complete game of the season.  During his last outing, fans were witness to his rise in the rankings of all-time Cardinal pitchers.  Meanwhile, he won his 15th game of the season and improved his K/BB rate to a league leading 7.28.  He has currently walked fewer hitters than games he has pitched in and continues to develop into a more dangerous pitcher.  During Wednesday night’s game, he will pass the 200 inning mark for the season.

Homer Bailey will line up to take on the Cardinals for the third time this season where he will also be looking for his first win against the team.  His April 10th start against the Cardinals resulted in Bailey allowing seven runs, one of two times this season that he has allowed that many runs in a game.  Bailey has won four of his last five contests and continues to put together impressive numbers from time-to-time.  Consistency is what the Reds are hoping to start gaining from Bailey and he will look to build on his recent success in the Wednesday game with the Cardinals.

Final Notes

The Pirates will enter a three game series with the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday.  The Brewers, who took two games in a three game set with the Reds this past weekend, are in a unique position to play spoiler in this division race.

Don’t be surprised if Carlos Beltran sits in the Monday game due to the matchup with the starting pitching.  He hist Latos and Bailey much better than he does Leake.

Kolten Wong continues to earn playing time despite leadership insisting that he is not here to shake things up.  His speed and defense have been impressive to this point, here’s to hoping we see his bat come around into the discussion soon.

Jon Jay is silencing his critics lately and helping lead the Cardinals back into the hunt.

My name is Bill Ivie and you can find my work at Yahoo! as well as on i70baseball, which is a member blog of the United Cardinal Bloggers.
Give me a follow on Twitter and talk some baseball with me from time to time.

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Ichiro Reaches Musial Numbers

The New York Yankees’ outfielder, Ichiro Suzuki, reaches an amazing plateau last night.

StanIchiro

With a single to left field, Ichiro had his 4,000th hit of his professional career.  That’s a number that has only been accomplished in Major League Baseball by two individuals, Pete Rose and Ty Cobb.  The problem is, Ichiro did not reach that level in the big leagues.

The 4,000 hits of Ichiro’s professional career span his time in Japan as well as his time in Major League Baseball.  When you combine his 2,722 hits in his MLB career with his 1,278 hits in Japan, Ichiro has reached that mystical 4,000 hit mark.  When you look at it that way, and The Hall Of Very Good did just that here, Ichiro is not the third man to reach that number.  He’s the seventh.

There are some names of importance and some names that beg the question “Who?”, but most importantly to Cardinal fans, there’s a name of historical proportions.

Stan “The Man” Musial had 4,001 hits in his professional career.

That’s a career that started with three minor league seasons as a pitcher before moving to the outfield.  It’s a career that saw an entire season lost while he served his country proudly in World War II.

One of the game’s greatest hitters, and the Cardinals’ greatest ever, achieved 4,001 hits in his career while spending four seasons not hitting.

It is hard to say what Musial would have achieved with those four seasons back.  Even harder to predict what he would have done in today’s environment.  None of this is to say that Ichiro is anything less than a Hall Of Fame outfielder.  Maybe it’s to say just how good he has been.

With his next hit, Ichiro will tie Stan Musial for number of hits in a professional career.

That is the epitome of elite company.

Bill Ivie is the founder of i70baseball.
You can find his work on Yahoo!, InsideSTL, and here on i70.
Talk baseball with him on Twitter @poisonwilliam

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8 Bit Baseball

Every now and then, when browsing the internet, you find something you just have to share.

Baseball is always one of those things and here at i70baseball, I continually try to bring attention to sites that I find unique, funny, interesting or otherwise noteworthy.

Today, I bring you a great site called Bit Ball Club, where the artist brings to life major league baseball players from the past and present in full 8-bit format.

The artist have given us permission to share some of his work, including Yadier Molina, which you can find in the slideshow below.

Use the navigation buttons below the pictures to flip through all of the pictures.

Anthony Rendon

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Difficult Start To Second Half Could Help St. Louis Cardinals In October

The St. Louis Cardinals have unquestionably played their worst baseball of the season the past three weeks, going 4-11 against the four best teams in the National League, but that rough stretch could be a large dose of the medicine the team needs to be ready for the playoffs.

MikeMathenyArguing

Despite the awful finish to July and start to August, the Cardinals still entered play Saturday in the first wild-card spot and 6.5 games from falling out of a playoff position. Therefore, they have little reason to stress over making the playoffs, but a little frustration could add an edge any team needs to succeed in the postseason.

Sure, the Cardinals had their fair share of injuries during the first half of the season. Starting pitcher Chris Carpenter never recovered from his arm injury, closer Jason Motte underwent Tommy John surgery during spring training, Jaime Garcia had season-ending shoulder surgery in May and Jake Westbrook missed significant time while on the disabled list, but none of those problems were big enough to keep St. Louis from jumping out to the best record in Major League Baseball.

The Cardinals cruised to a 57-36 record in the first half while primarily playing teams that are not going to come anywhere close to making the playoffs. Their combined 28-11 record against the Milwaukee Brewers, Houston Astros, Miami Marlins, San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants largely accounts for why the team was more than 20 games above .500 by the All-Star Break.

They began the second half of the season 5-1 in six games against the lowly Padres and Philadelphia Phillies, who were each 11 games under .500 heading into play Saturday, but then they went out to play the good teams in the National League.

And they got smoked.

The Atlanta Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers would fill out the postseason bracket along with the Cardinals if the season ended anytime soon, and those teams won 11 of 15 games against St. Louis.

Of course, catcher Yadier Molina went on the disabled list with a sprained right knee less than a week into that stretch and that has certainly affected the offense considering he was second in the league with a .330 batting average when he got hurt.

Yet, the Cardinals’ problems have been bigger than just Molina’s absence. The team has hit .260 since the All-Star break, which is 16 points lower than it hit before the break.

The pitching staff’s earned-run average has ballooned from 3.40 to 3.98 in the second half as the team struggles to mix and match starters to fill in gaps left by an intense schedule and more injury problems such as Shelby Miller’s sore elbow that could cause him to miss a start after he took a line drive directly off it on the second pitch of his outing Wednesday against the Dodgers.

But more than anything, the team needs to relearn how to win, particular against good teams it will likely face in the playoffs.

Remember, the 2013 Cardinals are a young team. They have a second baseman (Matt Carpenter) and shortstop (Pete Kozma), who are in their first seasons at those positions at the major-league level, and they have used 11 rookie pitchers. All but four of those 13 players were on the postseason roster in 2012 and many had never spent a day in the big leagues until earlier this season.

Also, every team, good or bad, goes through a rough patch in their season. The 2006 World Series championship Cardinals team lost eight games in a row in late June, and the 2011 world championship team lost seven in a row in early June, along with a 3-8 stretch in mid-August before it caught fire through the rest of the season.

The 2013 team had not had a losing streak of more than three games in a row at any point before the seven-game losing streak a couple of weeks ago. The team had battled around injuries, but it had yet to develop the resilience that only a stretch of losing baseball can provide.

Plus, the team now knows the level of play required to compete with the best teams in the league.

It certainly isn’t fun for Cardinals fans to watch their team struggle, but the recent run of losses seemingly night after night could help the team develop the mental and emotional toughness it will need to make a run at the 2013 World Series championship.

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The Royals are in the A.L. playoff hunt

Things are going well for the Kansas City Royals. In the last 10 games, they’re 8-2 and have a 58-53 record. Mike Moustakas is finally hitting. Closer Greg Holland won Major League Baseball’s Delivery Man of the Month for July. The Royals team ERA is 3.57, tied for first in the American League. The team is playing well lately and for the first time in a long time, the Royals are in the playoff hunt after being left for dead before the All-Star Break.

Royals Walk Off Win

But the Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers are playing well and winning too. When the Royals win, they win. If the Royals lose, the Indians lose (and lately the Tigers keep winning) and the Royals don’t gain on the Tigers and Indians.

As of Wednesday night, the Royals are fifth in the Wild Card race, five games back. Of the four teams ahead of them (Tampa Bay, Texas, Baltimore and Cleveland), the Royals only face the Indians for six games and Texas for three games. And the four teams ahead of them in the Wild Card are within 1.5 games of each other.

And if that’s not enough, in the next 11 days the Royals will play four games against the A.L. East leading Boston Red Sox and five games against the Tigers. In between those series, the Royals play the Miami Marlins, so there’s a chance to win more games if they don’t take the Marlins for granted.

The Royals haven’t played an above .500 team since July 25. Since then, the Royals are 10-2, which is good, but winning against below .500 teams should be expected. To be fair, the two teams above .500 the Royals played since the All-Star Break were the Tigers and Baltimore Orioles, and the Royals went 5-2 against them. Since the All-Star Break, the Royals are the only team in the Major League that have won all their series.

The next 11 days will determine if the Royals are for real. If they hold their own with the Red Sox and Tigers (and gain on the Tigers in the standings), the Royals won’t play an above .500 team until they play the Tigers again on September 6. In fact, the Royals play the Tigers and Indians 17 more times, 11 of which are against the Tigers. It’s simple: if the Royals keep winning series, they have a chance to make the playoffs.

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The Race For Last Place

Prospects and draft picks are becoming things of focus around Major League Baseball over the last few years.  That mentality can turn the world, or at least the standings, upside down.

HoustonAstrosError

Our friends over at MLBTradeRumors.com have introduced their next, great innovative tool for your use – Reverse Standings.

The reverse standings, which are updated automatically each morning, serve as a projection of the 2014 amateur draft order.  – from MLBTR founder Tim Dierkes

With this season’s hopes squarely out of reach, many teams take the time to evaluate their talent, bring young players to the big club to see how they fare, and to make subtle changes that will go into effect the following season.  The front office turns their attention to scouting and the following year’s draft, learning where they will pick and who they believe will be available.

The formula is simple, the worst team in baseball from the previous season picks first.  The draft proceeds up the ladder until the best team from the previous season picks last.  Draft picks are not eligible to be traded, so it holds a very simple result – finish dead last and you get first pick.

Should the season end today, the Houston Astros have that pick.  Not very surprising given the current state of the franchise.  Noteworthy, however, is that they also had the first pick in the last two drafts.  They are one of only two teams to secure the first pick in consecutive drafts, the Washington Nationals did it as well in 2009 and 2010.  The Nationals used those picks to secure Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg, showing that a few good drafts can change the direction of a franchise quickly.  Should they hold on and “win” the first pick for next year, the Astros will become the first team in history to do so for three consecutive seasons.  The last two seasons, they have used the first overall pick to choose Carlos Correa and Mark Appel.

The Astros will also join “elite” company, becoming only the third team in the history of the draft to pick first in five drafts, joining the San Diego Padres and New York Mets with that distinction.  Of the 22 franchises that have picked first since the draft was instituted in 1965, none have more than five picks.  Currently, the Astros have chosen first four times, tied with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Seattle Mariners at that level.

Congrats, Houston, you are well on your way to being the best at being the worst.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at i70baseball.
You can talk baseball with him on Twitter or read more of his St. Louis Cardinals analysis on Yahoo!.

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Biogenesis: Is ACES To Blame?

By now baseball fans are very familiar with the word “Biogenesis” and the subsequent suspensions being handed down to players as a result of their involvement with the company.  A shocking similarity is starting to form when looking at the players being suspended and the agency that has represented them.

NelsonCruz

As of this morning, MLBTradeRumors is sharing reports from various sources claiming twelve players have accepted suspensions handed down by Major League Baseball for their involvement with Biogenesis.

The list currently: Nelson Cruz – Texas Rangers, Jhonny Peralta – Detroit Tigers, Everth Cabrera – San Diego Padres, Antonio Bastardo – Philadelphia Phillies, Jordany Valdespin – New York Mets, Sergio Escalona – Houston Astros, Francisco Cervelli – New York Yankees, Jesus Montero – Seattle Mariners, Cesar Puello – New York Mets (Minor Leaguer), Fautino De Los Santos – San Diego Padres (Minor Leaguer), Fernando Martinez – Houston Astros, Jordan Norberto – Oakland Athletics

Nelson Cruz announced this morning that he had changed agencies from ACES to Wasserman Media Group, a move that is not uncommon and normally does not raise any flags.

However, that agency – ACES – has been popping up a lot lately.

They were the agency that represented, and were accused of assisting in a cover-up for, Melky Cabrera.  They are also connected to Gio Gonzalez, who has been linked to Biogenesis but not named in the suspension list as of yet.  Add to those two names Jhonny Peralta, Jesus Montero, Fautino De Los Santos, Jordany Valdespin, Antonio Bastardo, Sergio Escalona and Cesar Puello and you’ve got a staggering number of clients being accused of using performance enhancing drugs.

What does all of this mean?  It may not mean anything at all.  ACES is a large agency with a fairly large amount of clients (107 baseball players are listed in MLBTR’s Agency Database as represented by ACES).  Maybe it suggests that the clients were brought together by a common event.  Maybe it suggests that someone at ACES has planted the seed that Biogenesis could help their clients.

Either way, I would guess that Major League Baseball may further investigate the agency before all the smoke clears.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at i70baseball.
You can talk baseball with him on Twitter or read more of his St. Louis Cardinals analysis on Yahoo!.

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St. Louis Cardinals have terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week

The St. Louis Cardinals landed Friday in Atlanta ready to begin an 11-game, 10-day road trip against three of the best teams in the National League with the best record in Major League Baseball. They had a lead in the NL Central and the best hitter in the league.

YadierMolinaSafe

A week later, the Cardinals have yet to win another game, the Pittsburgh Pirates have passed them for the division lead, and catcher Yadier Molina is on the disabled list with a knee injury.

The Cardinals haven’t had many bad weeks in 2013, but this past week has been about as bad of a week as anyone could imagine.

The Atlanta Braves swept the Cardinals in a three-game series through the weekend, and the Pirates won four games in three days to take a 2.5-game lead in the division heading into play Wednesday. Now the Cardinals get the joy of facing the Cincinnati Reds for three games in Cincinnati.

Much of the problem has been the shutdown of the most productive offense in the game.

The Cardinals still lead the National League with a .271 team batting average and continue to lead baseball by an incredibly large .040 margin with a team batting average of .334 with runners in scoring position.

However, they have not scored more than two runs in six of their last seven games to go with a .158 batting average in the last week. Plus, they will be without Molina and his .330 batting average for at least the next 15 days.

Granted, those are terrible, horrible, no good, very bad numbers, but the Cardinals do have a legitimate excuse based on the pitchers they have faced in those seven games.

Braves starters Mike Minor, Julio Teheran and Kris Medlen have a combined earned-run average of 3.23, while the first four starters the Pirates threw against the Cardinals have a combined 2.49 ERA.

Those pitchers are going to shut down just about any team more often than not, and they put Cardinals hitters in their first slump of the season.

This won’t continue, of course. The Cardinals’ overall season numbers are some of the best in baseball for a reason. Just as the hot streak has mellowed (OK, plummeted), into a slump, the hitters will return to form before long.

If nothing else, Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati is a good hitters park, even though the Cardinals are scheduled to face Bronson Arroyo, Tony Cingrani and Mike Leake, who have a combined 23-13 record with a 2.92 ERA.

The schedule also doesn’t get easier after the road trip is complete, as the Los Angeles Dodgers come to St. Louis for a four-game series next week.

This is quite a test, especially with Molina on the disabled list, but the rough stretch could pay dividends later in the season and the playoffs.

The crowds in Atlanta and Pittsburgh were the most electric of any fan bases the Cardinals have played in front of this season outside of St. Louis, and it is important for the team’s large group of young players to play in that type of environment.

A 95-mph fastball and sharp breaking pitch are great pitches at any time, but men who throw those pitches are rarely as consistent, especially when they feel the pressure of an important game.

Right now it is easy to look at the Cardinals situation as if the proverbial glass is half empty, but the team was unlikely to succeed in the playoffs if it cruised through the entire regular season without a hiccup at some point.

Sure, the Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics took five of six games from the Cardinals in late June, but the Braves, Pirates and Reds are the teams the Cardinals will likely face in the playoffs.

In any case, it is better to lose those games in July instead of October.

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The Hall Of Very Good Adds Two Members

On Monday, July 29, The Hall of Very Good™ opened its proverbial doors to two new members…two-time National League MVP, Atlanta Braves legend Dale Murphy and former Pittburgh Pirates World Series hero Steve Blass.
DaleMurphy
“Thank you for the honor of being selected to The Hall of Very Good!” Murphy said.  “It’s great going into this the second class of inductees and also fun to go in with a great person like Steve Blass.”
“I am flattered to be mentioned in the same breath as Dale Murphy.  I think he epitomizes everything a Major Leaguer should be,” Blass added.  “I’m very flattered to be involved with something that has Dale Murphy’s name on it.”
Murphy is considered one of the nicest, most even tempered men ever to play Major League baseball.
Armed with both size and speed, the right-handed slugger was a five-tool outfielder who has the distinction of being one of the most productive and decorated players of the 1980s, having led the Majors in both home runs and RBI during the decade.
“The way I remember it, Dale Murphy’s opposite-field power was a big part of his MVP seasons of 1982 and 1983, when he hit 36 home runs both years. This was back before nearly every hitter crowded the plate and had muscled up and could easily hit one out the other way,” ESPN.com’s SweetSpot blogger Dave Schoenfield said.  “Baseball in the ‘80s will be remembered in part for the drug scandals, but Murphy represents the best of the decade: A class act and a great player.”
At the time of his retirement, Murphy’s 398 home runs ranked 19th all-time.  His back-to-back MVP awards in 1982 and 1983 made him one of only four outfielders to win in consecutive years and, at the time, the youngest.
Blass is one of the great mysteries in the history of Major League Baseball.
After his first eight seasons in the bigs, the right-hander put up an impressive 100-67 record with a 3.24 ERA and an amazing 56 complete games.  During the 1971 World Series, he made history with a spectacular Game Seven performance.  Now the Pittsburgh Pirates undisputed ace, he finished second to Steve Carlton for the 1972 Cy Young Award.  By the time 1973 rolled around, Blass had, plain and simple, lost the ability to throw strikes.  He was out of the league a year later.
“It may be said that (Steve Blass) was like the girl with the curl: when he was good, he was very, very good, and when he was bad he was horrid,” John Thorn, Official Baseball Historian for Major League Baseball said.  “But Blass was a national hero for a moment, and how many ballplayers can say that?”
Today, he is an inspiration to many, has garnered the respect of many of his former peers on the diamond and one of the game’s best color commentators.
Murphy and Blass join the inaugural member of The Hall of Very Good™, 2012 inductee, former pitcher Tommy John.
“Murphy should be in Cooperstown,” John said.  “Blass was a very good pitcher.”
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You can read more about the induction of Dale Murphy and Steve Blass into The Hall of Very Good™ by visiting http://hallofverygood.com or by following The Hall on Facebook (http://facebook.com/hallofverygood) or Twitter (http://twitter.com/hovg).
ABOUT DALE MURPHY
PLAYING CAREER:  Atlanta Braves (1976–1990), Philadelphia Phillies (1990–1992) and Colorado Rockies (1993).
ACHIEVEMENTS:  Career batting average of .265 with 2111 hits, 398 home runs and 1266 RBI.  Back-to-back National League MVP in 1982 and 1983.  Hit 20-plus home runs 12 times, 30-plus six times and 40 or more…once.  Knocked in 100 runs five times and scored 100 runs four times.  From 1982 to 1985…hit .293, averaging 36 home runs and 110 RBI.  Shares Major League record for most seasons leading the league in games played by an outfielder with six.  Five-time Gold Glove Award winner (1982-1986) and seven-time All-Star (1980 and 1982-1987).  Had his number retired by the Atlanta Braves in 1994. 
ABOUT STEVE BLASS
PLAYING CAREER:  Pittsburgh Pirates (1964, 1966-1974).
ACHIEVEMENTS:  Career win-loss record of 103-76 with 57 complete games, an ERA of 3.63 and 896 strikeouts.  Went 18-6 in 1968 with a 2.12 ERA with seven shutouts.  In 1969, won 16 with a career-high 147 strikeouts.  From 1969 to 1972, he won 60 games.  Notched a career-high 19 victories in 1972 and finished second in Cy Young Award voting.  1971 World Series Champion.  Member of 1972 National League All-Star team.

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