Kemp back on the DL
In just his second game back from the 15-day disabled list, Matt Kemp re-injured his left hamstring in the first inning of Wednesday’s game against the Brewers. Kemp was advancing from first base on an Andre Either double when he came up limp rounding third base.
While the injury is only a Grade 1 strain (same as when he originally injured the hamstring on May 13), preliminary reports indicate that he will have to sit for at least four weeks. An additional two weeks on the DL will be needed this time because he essentially suffered the same injury to the muscle in such a short period of time.
For the Dodgers and Kemp, the news couldn’t be worse. Kemp was coming off a torrid April where he hit .417 with 12 homeruns and 25 RBIs and was named National League Player of the Month. He was a big reason why the Dodgers jumped out to the best record in the league. While his team did a great job of weathering the storm during his first 15-day DL stint (9-5 record), odds are it’s going to be much more difficult this time around for the Dodgers to continue their winning ways.
Los Angeles is just 2-6 in their last eight games, including getting swept at home in a four-game-series against Milwaukee. With a heavy road schedule awaiting them in June, it will be interesting to see how long they can hold on to their five game lead in the National League West without Kemp. Time will tell.
Adam Jones Continues to Shine
Who is Adam Jones? Unless you follow baseball closely, the name probably doesn’t immediately ring a bell. Admittedly, as much as I follow baseball, he was off my radar too – until this year. In 51 games, Jones is hitting .314 with 16 HRs and 34 RBIs and has led the Baltimore Orioles, a team that hasn’t had a winning season since 1998, to a 29-22 record (tied for first place in the AL East).
Honestly, if it weren’t for Josh Hamilton’s 2012 offense explosion, Jones would be in the discussion for AL MVP. Yes, June is too early to be handing out awards, but Jones, like Hamilton and Kemp, has been that good.
The Orioles are so high on Jones that they signed him to a six-year, $85.5 million contract last weekend that will keep him in an Orioles jersey until 2018. Good for Baltimore to lock him up now. They have a new General Manager and a nice core of young players, as well as several standout prospects in their minor league system that should keep the O’s in the thick of things for the foreseeable future. Something tells me that 14-year-streak of losing will be coming to end very soon.
I know I’ve talked about the resurgence of interest in MLB in previous posts, but this time I have data to support my claim. Through May 21 (617 games), MLB has drawn 18,637,924 fans for an average of 30,207 per game. That is a solid 6.7 percent increase over the same point last year.
There are a lot of varying opinions on the increase in attendance. Some believe teams such as the Marlins, who are drawing nearly 10,000 more people per game than they were last year, are benefiting from the allure of playing in a new ballpark. Others argue that the attendance figures MLB are reporting don’t accurately reflect how many people actually show up to the games (teams only report tickets sold).
You can make a good argument for any of these points, but as far as I’m concerned, I believe interest is truly up. There has been an influx of young talent to the league and teams that have been cellar-dwellers for years (Royals, Orioles, Nationals) are giving fans and those cities finally something to cheer about.
I would argue that with all these new ballparks opening over the last decade, going to a professional baseball game is a fun experience – win or lose. The Yankees, Giants, Red Sox, Phillies, Cubs and others are always going to do well in attendance. Assuming that’s the case, if the spike in attendance has nothing to do with the success of the perennial cellar-dwellers in 2012, what is contributing to the spike in attendance? If you have thoughts, please leave them in the comments section.
Man Ram Time?
Manny Ramirez, who just turned 40, has been playing for the Oakland Athletics AAA affiliate Sacramento Rivercats since May 19 after serving a 50 game suspension for steroid use. The plan was to have Ramirez play 10 games in Sacramento before getting the call up to Oakland. But as it stands now, there doesn’t seem to be any rush from the A’s General Manager Billy Beane to make the call up.
After all, it’s not like Ramirez has been tearing the cover off the ball in the minor leagues. Manny is hitting only .222 in 36 at bats with zero homeruns and only 4 RBI.
The question is what does the veteran have left, if anything? Assuming Ramirez gets the call up at some point, you got to wonder if all he’ll be is an attraction to sell tickets for a team that has had a difficult time drawing fans.
Maybe not though. Best-case scenario is that he’s able to knock a few more balls out of the park while mentoring some of the younger A’s. Either way, it’s been a long road back for him and unfortunately, it may not end the way he hoped it would.
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