Top DFS Plays for 07/22/14 (Happy Birthday Mum)

Today is my Mum’s birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

*Top hitters and pitchers highlight exceptional matchups that may include stars, lesser-known players and those on your waiver wires.

When I put together my top hitters and pitchers I factor in several things. First, prior matchup history, whether the hitter is hot and the pitcher’s history against that type of batter. Also, these matchups are normally released in the morning so make sure that you double-check the weather leading up to games in case they were postponed or the player got the day off.

New to Daily Fantasy? Head over to FanDuel.com and use Promo Code SCRIPT and get 100% match on your first deposit!

Top DFS hitters for today:

Chris Johnson vs. Jacob Turner - hitting .250 (3/12) with 2 2B, a HR and 4 RBI

Giancarlo Stanton vs. Mike Minor - hitting .263 (5/19) with 4 HR, 6 RBI and 8 walks
Minor has given up 12 HR to RHH this season. 5 Hits, 4 HR for Stanton against Minor. Stanton will go yard tonight, book it!

Dayan Viciedo vs. Bruce Chen - hitting .344 (11/32) with 3 HR, 7 RBI and a walk

Brian Dozier vs. Danny Salazar - hitting .625 (5/8) with 2 2B, a HR and 2 RBI
RHH are hitting .341 with 6 HRs and 15 RBIs. Dozier has 12 HRs against RHP this season.

Brewers Stack against Homer Bailey - Davis, Weeks, Braun & Gennett all hitting above .320 against Homer

Top DFS pitcher for today:

Scott Kazmir vs. Houston Astros
There are several reasons why I like this matchup:
Kaz is 6-1 with a 1.57 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 8 home starts, 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA and 12 K in 14 innings against the ‘Stros this season and he is 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA and a 17:3 K:BB in July.

Movie of the Day: Life Itself - The documentary is about the life of Roger Ebert. It’s a fantastic look inside the life of one of the biggest movie figures of all-time.

Follow Ricky on Twitter @Rickygangster!

The Sports Script 2014 MLB Predicitions

The 2014 MLB season is upon us folks and we here at the Sports Script couldn’t be happier. So we gathered Matt Bell, Matt Wincherauk and Ricky Valero to give us there predictions on the upcoming season

The Sports Script 2014 MLB Predictions

MLB Ricky Valero Matt Bell M. Wincherauk
AL East Yankees Rays Red Sox
AL Central Tigers Tigers Tigers
AL West Rangers A’s Rangers
Wild Card Rays Red Sox Yankees
Wild Card Angels Rangers Angels
NL East Nationals Nations Nationals
NL Central Cardinals Cardinals Cardinals
NL West Dodgers Dodgers Dodgers
Wild Card Braves Braves Braves
Wild Card Diamondbacks Giants Pirates
AL Pennant Tigers Rays Tigers
NL Pennant Nationals Cardinals Dodgers
WS Champs Nationals Cardinals Dodgers
AL MVP Mike Trout Mike Trout Mike Trout
NL MVP Paul Goldschmidt Bryce Harper Carlos Gonzalez
AL Cy Young Justin Verlander Chris Sale Yu Darvish
NL Cy Young Adam Wainwright Clayton Kershaw Clayton Kershaw
AL ROY Jose Abreu Xander Bogaerts Mashiro Tanaka
NL ROY Billy Hamilton Oscar Taveras Oscar Taveras
AL Manager Joe Giradi Ned Yost Brad Ausmus
NL Manager Davey Johnson Mike Matheny Davey Johnson

Agree? Disagree? Hope on over to twitter @TheSportsScript and tell us your thoughts and who you think will be winning the 2014 World Series.

Don’t forget to tune in every Wednesday as our Ricky Valero teams up with Timothy King and Jeff from the Infirmary Report to bring you the latest in the world of Fantasy Baseball. You can check it out here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/foryourconsideration

The Sports Script MLB Offseason Blog by @mattbell211

The MLB off-season is in full swing right now with teams preparing for spring training! I personally can’t wait till February 25th when players must report to spring training, but now is the time for teams to make moves to prepare for a World Series run. The goal of this blog is to simply break down each move that takes place either via trade or free agent signing with a short one to two sentence explanation of how it impacts the upcoming MLB season.

Note: I will only list a signing or trade after it’s been made official with MLB

Note 12/23: The blog has been updated if I’m missing something and you are reading please contact me at my twitter. I apologize for the delay in between updates this time.

Note 1/11: The blog is up to date, but not a log going on.

TRADES

11/21/13 – Detroit Tigers traded 1B Prince Fielder to Texas Rangers for 2B Ian Kinsler

This trade is basically about dumping some money off the books for the Tigers as they also send $30 million to the Rangers with Fielder. The Tigers lose some power in the line up but the money frees them up to sign guys like Max and Miggy in the future which to me is more important. Kinsler is no slouch either and will offer some power in the line up and can play a solid 2nd base. I’m very excited as a baseball fan to see what Fielder can do in Texas at Arlington Stadium which is a hitters park.

Trade Winner: Tigers

11/23/13 – St. Louis Cardinals traded 3B David Freese and RHP Fernando Salas to Los Angeles Angels for CF Peter Bourjos and RF Randal Grichuk.

David Freese was a hometown hero during the 2011 World Series for the Cardinals, but since then he’s done nothing to prove he’s more than an average 3b. He hit just .262 with 9 home runs last year and the Cardinals needed the outfield depth that Bourjos will provide them. The Cardinals now have a solid center fielder in Bourjos who can cover a ton of ground. The Angels hope that last year was just a down year and that they can get the 2011 world series version of David Freese.

Trade Winner: Cardinals

12/2/13 – Detroit Tigers traded RHP Doug Fister to Washington Nationals for LHP Ian Krol, 2B Steve Lombardozzi and LHP Robbie Ray.

I wish I knew what Detroit was thinking here, but I sure don’t! Doug Fister was a solid starter this year for the Tigers earning 14 wins on the years. He’s going to fill in nicely for a Nationals pitching staff that could use some help towards the 4 and 5 starters spots.

Trade Winner: Nationals

12/3/13 – Baltimore Orioles traded RHP Jim Johnson to Oakland Athletics for Player To Be Named Later and 2B Jemile Weeks.

The Orioles could use the second baseman that they got in Weeks, but the whole point of the trade was about saving money. The Orioles would have had to pay a huge amount of money in arbitration and they avoided that by trading him. The Oakland Athletics get a solid closer who had the most saves  over the last two seasons.

Trade Winner: Athletics

12/3/13 – Texas Rangers traded CF Craig Gentry and RHP Josh Lindblom to Oakland Athletics for RF Michael Choice and 2B Chris Bostick.

There is not a lot to say about this trade, but I do like what the Athletics did here. Gentry can be a solid outfielder in the major leagues I believe.

Trade Winner: Athletics

12/3/13 – Colorado Rockies traded Player To Be Named Later and CF Dexter Fowler to Houston Astros for CF Brandon Barnes and RHP Jordan Lyles.

Houston gets a good ball player in Fowler who I don’t think ever got the credit he deserved in Houston. The Rockies pick up a couple nice young ball players in Barnes and Lyles, but they sure are giving up a good one in Fowler.

Trade Winner: Astros

12/5/13 -Milwaukee Brewers traded RF Norichika Aoki to Kansas City Royals for LHP Will Smith.

This is kind of under the radar trade that most people wont care about, but it could be a nice get for the Royals. Aoki is a very solid outfielder hitting .286 with 20 stolen bases last year.

Trade Winner: Royals

12/10/13 – Arizona Diamondbacks traded LF Adam Eaton to Chicago White Sox for LHP Hector Santiago and Player To Be Named Later.Los Angeles Angels traded RF Mark Trumbo and Player To Be Named Later to Arizona Diamondbacks for LHP Hector Santiago and LHP Tyler Skaggs.

(Trumbo goes to Diamondbacks, Santiago and Skaggs to the Angels, and Eaton to the White Sox)

The Diamondbacks get a power bat they’ve been looking for. I know Trumbo has a terrible on base percentage, but he does hit 30 to 40 home runs a year. The Diamondbacks are going to have Goldy and Trumbo hitting back to back which will produce a lot of home runs in that park. The Angels get a couple of young arms to try build a solid pitching staff around. I like what each team did in this trade, but my clear-cut winner is the Diamondbacks.

Trade Winner: Diamondbacks

12/10/13 – Oakland Athletics traded LHP Brett Anderson and cash to Colorado Rockies for LHP Drew Pomeranz and RHPChris Jensen.

Brett Anderson has been a disappointing player because of injuries over his career, but he’s got a ton of upside. The Rockies are hoping he can be the front end starter they need in the rotation and stay healthy. The Athletics clear a spot in their rotation they need after signing Kazmir and acquire some young talent that hopefully help the club in the future.

Trade Winner: Athletics

12/13/13 – Seattle Mariners traded RHP Carter Capps to Miami Marlins for 1B Logan Morrison.

Logan Morrison is the name to know here as he can hit the ball really well at times but is a very streaky hitter. Morrison has some power, but he’s not going to do much other than hold down a outfield spot for the Mariners. The Marlins grab Capps in an effort to boost their rotation with young pitching.

Trade Winner: Mariners

12/16/13 – Chicago White Sox traded RHP Addison Reed to Arizona Diamondbacks  for 3B Matt Davidson

The average fan of baseball probably hasn’t heard much about either of these guys, but they are both solid baseball players. I really like the potential in both guys, but I think the White Sox get a future star in Davidson.

Trade Winner: White Sox

FREE AGENT SIGNINGS

11/12/13 – Philadelphia Phillies signed free agent RF Marlon Byrd.

Byrd adds some power to a Phillies team that could for sure use some help in the lineup. I like the signing for the Phillies, but he’s got to hit like last year for it to be a successful one.

11/13/13 – Oakland Athletics signed free agent SS Nick Punto.

Punto is very solid defensively and adds a nice glove to the infield to help the Athletics out.

11/21/13 – Kansas City Royals signed free agent LHP Jason Vargas.

Vargas just adds to the Royals rotation a veteran pitcher, that really doesn’t help or hurt them.

11/22/13 – Colorado Rockies signed free agent RHP LaTroy Hawkins.

This has home runs written all over it. Hawkins will struggle in Colorado with the  long balls.

11/24/13 – St. Louis Cardinals sign Jhonny Peralta 

I’ll be called a homer here, but I don’t care! I love the signing of Peralta as it gives the Cardinals a power bat from the shortstop position that they have not had in years.

11/25/13 – Cleveland Indians signed free agent OF David Murphy.

Murphy is coming off a down year where only hit for an average of .220 obviously the Indians are hoping they get much better production.

11/26/13 – Cincinnati Reds signed free agent 2B Skip Schumaker

Skip is simply a utility baseball player that will fill in for the Reds at multiple positions through out the year. He’s a decent hitter as well hitting .285 for his career.

11/29/13 – San Fransico Giants agreed to terms with P Ryan Vogelsong

Vogelsong is coming off a year where he had a 5.73 ERA on the year. There is not much to say about a guy coming off that kind of season, but I believe the Giants think he can turn it around and become a solid starting pitcher.

12/3/13 – New York Yankees signed free agent C Brian McCann.

This is a very nice additions for the Yankees, while I still think they over paid for McCann they get a nice left-handed bat. The left-handed power hitting catcher will play nicely with the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium.

12/3/13 – Minnesota Twins signed free agent RHP Ricky Nolasco.

Nolasco is an average pitcher, but he will help a Twins staff that was not very good last year. It’s a good fit for both the team and Nolasco.

12/5/13 – Minnesota Twins signed free agent RHP Phil Hughes.

The Twins are picking up pitchers to fill out the rotation and Hughes is another solid additions. He’s not an ace, but he should make for a decent starter for the Twins.

12/6/13 – Miami Marlins signed free agent C Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Salty is a pretty good catcher and hitter as well. The Marlins need solid baseball players after a horrible year last year and Salty brings a World Series ring with him that could provide leadership to the young guys in Miami.

12/6/13 – Miami Marlins signed free agent SS Rafael Furcal.

Furcal didn’t play last year with injury, but when healthy he’s a pretty good shortstop. He’s not going to provide much pop to the Marlins line up, but he will hold down the SS position with some solid defense.

12/7/13 – New York Yankees signed free agent CF Jacoby Ellsbury.

To date this is the biggest signing to take place as Ellsbury leaves the world champion Red Sox to go to the hated Yankees. Ellsbury is a great ball player when healthy, but the key is when healthy he’s injury prone and the Yankees gave way to much for him to be hurt.

12/7/13 – Boston Red Sox signed free agent RHP Edward Mujica.

Mujica was great for the Cardinals last year to start the year, then it all feel apart for him. I’m not sure how the Red Sox will use him, but i’m sure he will come out of the bullpen as some sort of set up man.

12/7/13 – Los Angeles Dodgers signed free agent RHP Brian Wilson.

THE BEARD IS BACK! The question now is can the beard stay healthy?

12/9/13 – New York Mets signed free agent CF Curtis Granderson.

The Mets make a splash in free agency this year signing one of the best outfielders our there. Granderson spent some time on the DL last year only playing 61 games for the Yankees and hitting .229 with 7 home runs during that time. The Mets are going to need more out of Granderson than 61 games if they are going to compete. 

12/10/13 – Texas Rangers signed free agent C J.P. Arencibia.

I like this signing for the Rangers as Arencibia will be able to back up Soto and can hit for power as well. He’s got the 4th most home runs among active catchers over the last 3 season and should be a decent addition for the Rangers next year.

12/10/13 – Miami Marlins signed free agent 1B Garrett Jones.

I’m a big fan of Garrett Jones and he’s always helped me at times in fantasy, but I’ve got to admit he never got it going last year. The Marlins aren’t a very good team thought, and I”m anxious to see what Jones can do given playing time daily. I’ll revisit this signing during the season and hope Jones is playing solid baseball.

12/11/13 – Detroit Tigers signed free agent LF Rajai Davis.

Rajai is almost an automatic stolen base when he gets on base that is! Davis will likely share time with Andy Dirks and be in the line up when the Tigers are facing a left-handed pitcher.

12/12/13 – Seattle Mariners signed free agent 2B Robinson Cano

Jay-Z done went and got Cano PAID! Cano gets a big deal as it’s not quite the 300 millions we all thought he wanted he still gets 10 years and around 240 million. Cano will struggle to hit home runs as the Safeco filed is not a hitters park. He’s still going to provide an all-star player in Seattle with plenty left in the bat. The Mariners have nothing to lose with this deal, but I still think by about year 6 of this 10 year deal they will regret it.

12/12/13 – Washington Nationals signed free agent LF Nate McLouth.

This signing provides the Nationals with a solid 4th outfielder. McLouth will give them depth at each spot in the outfield and will probably see more at bats than a typical 4th outfielder. The 32-year-old McLouth batted .258/.329/.399 with 12 homers and a career-best 30 stolen bases for the Orioles last season which for sure helps the Nationals.

12/13/13 – Seattle Mariners signed free agent 1B Corey Hart.

I actually like Hart as a solid underrated pick up for the Mariners. He spent much of last season on the DL with an injury but if he can return with a year like he had in 2012 he could be a very nice addition for the Mariners.

12/13/13 – Colorado Rockies signed free agent 1B Justin Morneau.

We know Morneau has some power, so going to Colorado we can expect a few more home runs. I think he’s a nice replacement at 1B for the Rockies and should provide some pop, but I don’t expect anything special.

12/13/13 – Pittsburgh Pirates signed free agent RHP Edinson Volquez.

Volquez is decent, but he’s also a very risky signing. The Pirates were able to turn some pitchers into studs this year thought, so who knows how to judge this signing.

12/14/13 – New York Mets signed free agent RHP Bartolo Colon.

Colon just got paid with this deal. The Mets fans have a had a rough couple of year, so I hope for their sake this works out, but I really think they overpaid for an old pitcher.

12/16/13 -St. Louis Cardinals signed free agent 2B Mark Ellis.

Ellis will play a utility role for the Cardinals this year and I have to say he’s a very solid utility guy. Ellis hit .270 last year for the Dodgers while playing in 126 games. The Cardinals just need him to give guys off throughout the year.

12/16/13 – Kansas City Royals signed free agent 2B Omar Infante.

The Royals probably overpaid for Infante, but to compete they have to overpay for guys. Infante hit .318 last year and will a key piece in the Royals 2014 season.

12/17/13 – San Francisco Giants signed free agent LF Michael Morse

Morse has to stay health for this signing to work out. Morse, if healthy will provide some power to a Giants line up that sure needed it.

12/27/13 – Texas Rangers signed free agent LF Shin-Soo Choo.

The Rangers are making an early push to become the winners of the offseason obviously. That line up in Texas is looking very dangerous and the decision to add Choo is going to add a nice pop. I think Choo can do big things next year in that line up and in the ball park.

The Sports Script World Series Preview

The World Series stage is set between arguably two of baseball’s most historic franchises. The St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox both won their respective league championship series in 6 games and will meet Wednesday night for game 1. The two teams are both 97 and 65 on the year and are no stranger to facing each other in the World Series. The Red Sox swept through the Cardinals in the 2004 World Series after losing to the Cardinals in 1946 and 1967. The winner of this World Series regardless of who it will be only the third team to win 3 World Series in a 10 year span.

The Red Sox made the turn from one of baseballs worst teams last year, to the best in the American League this year. The change of managers bringing in John Farrell to lead them changed the attitude in the club house for a team that was full of turmoil last year. The attitude change Farrell brought with him as proven to be just what the Red Sox needed as they are now on top again. The Red Sox have several veteran guys like Pedroia, Ortiz, Ellsbury, Napoli and others who lead their team at the plate. They have a solid pitching staff who were 11th in ERA this year. They will need for the back-end of the rotation in Peavy and Bucholtz to pitch up their potential in this series. The Red Sox will be faced with not having the DH when they play in St. Louis which does hurt them slightly having to take Napoli or Ortiz out of the line up. The Red Sox have an incredible bullpen and they need to get the games in their hands with lead to close out games if they want to win the World Series.

The Cardinals were suppose to be rebuilding when Albert Pujols bolted in free agency two years ago. They didn’t rebuild instead they just reloaded and were a game away from being in the World Series last year after blowing a 3-1 lead to the Giants. They wouldn’t make the same mistake this year as they closed out the Dodgers in 6 and are back looking for their 2nd title in only 3 years. The Cardinals have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball coming in with the 2nd best ERA on the year. The most appealing part of that stat is most of that occurred with Michael Wacha down in the minor leagues. Wacha is no minor leaguer at this points in fact you could argue that he’s just as much an ace now as Wainwright is. The Cardinals much like the Red Sox will have to worry about what kind of pitching they will get out of Joe Kelly and Lance Lynn once they pitch Wainwright and Wacha. They get a huge boost in the batting order as it looks like Allen Craig is going to be healthy enough to DH for them in Boston after missing the later part of the year and all of the playoffs up until this point. Craig is arguably one of the best hitters in clutch situations and should be huge in the World Series if he’s able to come back anywhere close to the guy who hit over .300 this year. The Cardinals need their “aces” in Wainwright and Wacha to continue to pitch the way they have in the playoffs and if they do that in the 4 games they pitch the Cardinals have a good chance of winning the World Series.

Prediction

I’m going with the Cardinals in 7 games as I just trust their pitching staff to keep the Red Sox bats at bay.

This is going to be a fun one to watch whether you like the Cardinals, Red Sox, or are just a fan of baseball. It’s not often you see the two best teams in a sport make it to the championship, but baseball have given us that this year.

Why MLB Should Suspend Ryan Dempster for the Year.

No matter how you feel about Alex Rodriguez, what happened last night is inexcusable. Ryan Dempster not only threw at A-Rod but, even worse, on a 3-0 count. He should be suspended for the rest of the season.

Joe Girardi said it best.

“You can’t start throwing at people,” Girardi said. “Lives — people have had concussions. Lives are changed by getting hit by pitches. Whether I agree with everything that’s going on, you do not throw at people and you don’t take the law into your own hands. You don’t do that. We’re going to skip the judicial system? It’s ‘My Cousin Vinny.’ “

He is correct. No matter how you feel about throwing at a player on purpose, it is outright WRONG. Players have suffered injuries and concussions from being hit by pitches. As a pitcher, you are trusted every time you step on the mound with an object that can kill or injure someone if you hit a player in the right place.

I will not justify what A-Rod has done. He lied. He tried to cheat the game by getting an advantage by using steroids. He should face a suspension (not 211 games, but that’s for a different article for a different day) but shouldn’t have to worry about stepping up to the plate and being beamed by an 85+ mph pitch.

With reports coming out now that Dempster had spoken about how he planned to hit A-Rod when he faced him on Sunday, just shows that this was premeditated. Furthermore this shows why he should be suspended for the rest of the year.

With the sensitive issue we are dealing with, the Umpire made the wrong move by just “warning” both benches and then tossing Girardi out of the game for coming to the defense of A-Rod. Dempster should’ve been tossed considering the count was 3-0.

If baseball shows an injustice by issuing a small suspension or none at all, it will just go to show that baseball is OKAY with putting a man’s career in jeopardy at the plate. Who’s to say this won’t happen again? Who’s to say that next time the guy throws at his head? No one knows, but now with Dempster’s actions, we are here to play a game of “what if” with a player’s life.

Of course A-Rod had the ultimate redemption by hitting a solo shot off Dempster cutting the Red Sox’s led from 6-3 to 6-4. As he hit home plate, A-Rod stopped, clapped his hands together and pointed to the sky, taking a page out of David Ortiz’s book of celebrating HRs. The Yankees went on to take the lead and beat the Sox 9-6.

In the end I hope the commissioner makes the right decision and makes sure we don’t see Dempster on the mound for a while.

10 Predictions & Questions Heading Into The All-Star Break

We’ve had a great 1st half of baseball this year! The Sports Script asked Ricky and me 10 questions regarding the 1st half of the season. We’ll be talking about what’s happened so far this year, as well as predict how the season will finish.

1. Who is the biggest surprise team? The Pittsburgh Pirates.

After finishing the last 20 years on the wrong side of .500, the Pittsburgh Pirates have seemed to amass a winning formula. Known for draft picks that didn’t pan out and veteran signings that fell through, this season the pieces appear to be falling into place. With acquisitions such as Francisco Liriano and Jeff Locke, joining A. J. Burnett and Gerrit Cole in the rotation and a talented bullpen, the pitching has been the heart and soul of the Pirates’ success. Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte’s outfield performances have been electrifying. With the fourth lowest payroll in the majors, GM Neal Huntington’s bargain shopping appears to be paying off.

2. Who is the biggest disappointment? The Toronto Blue Jays

The splashiest moves in the off-season don’t always translate into regular season success. The 2013 Toronto Blue Jays are a prime example. After the trade for shortstop Jose Reyes, left-handed pitcher Mark Buehrle, right-handed pitcher Josh Johnson, catcher John Buck, the acquisition of free agent Melky Cabrera and knuckleballer R. A. Dickey from the New York Mets, the Jays were an early favorite to win the division. With a division-worst 45-48 record, they are falling miserably flat. Following a poor start to the season, the Jays recovered slightly but in the midst of a strong A.L. East, there is no room for mediocrity. With a sorely under-producing rotation, in order to contend with the Boston Red Sox, the Baltimore Orioles, the New York Yankees, and surging Tampa Bay Rays, their acquisitions will have to produce.

3. Who is the MVP? AL: Miguel Cabrera. NL: Yadier Molina

Although still early in the debate, Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers is a runaway favorite for MVP consideration. Aside from Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles, there is no other major league player whose numbers even come close to touching Cabrera’s. With an impressive 95 RBI’s, 30 HR’s and batting an average of .365, his production in the Tigers’ line up is extraordinary. In the NL, Catcher Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals isn’t a “typical” MVP candidate. With only 7 HR’s in 2013, he isn’t your power-hitter, however, his real strength comes in his batting average at .341 (with 49 RBI’s) on the year. He has thrown out 45% of attempted base-stealers. With a 4.0 WAR rating, Molina ranks second only to Cabrera and has started behind the plate in nearly every game, proving his durability. Perhaps most importantly, Molina is the backbone of the division-leading Cardinals.

4. Who is the CY Young? American League: Max Scherzer National League: Adam Wainwright

Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers finally lost his first game of the season this past weekend but still leads the majors with only 1 loss. While wins-losses can be overrated, they are not meaningless. With an ERA of 3.19, Scherzer leads the league in strikeouts with 152. Adam Wainright of the St. Louis Cardinals has 12 wins and 5 losses, an ERA of 2.30, and is second in the National League with 126 strikeouts. Wainwright has had 2 shutouts on the year and an impressive 14 walks in 19 games.

5. Who is the Least Valuable Player? B.J. Upton

This past off-season the Atlanta Braves signed B.J. Upton to a 5-year, $75.25 million deal, the biggest contract in franchise history. Hitting a dismal .177/.266/.300 on the year, Upton is looking like a poor investment. He is struggling at the plate with 102 strikeouts half way through the season. His timing is poor, he shows too much movement in his swing, and any adjustments he has tried to make haven’t proven effective. In fact, Upton appears to be regressing as a hitter. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez admitted he considered asking Upton to work out his struggles in a minor league assignment. Currently Upton has been placed on the 15-day DL with a right adductor muscle strain.

6. Which team needs to make a move at the deadline? Philadelphia Phillies

Throughout the season many have speculated whether the Phillies would be sellers before the deadline with the likes of Chase Utley, Michael Young, and Carlos Ruiz. However following a strong July outing, General Manager Ruben Amaro reportedly announced the Phillies could be buyers, not sellers. With the Atlanta Braves, who started the 2013 season red-hot, slightly slowing down their pace and the Washington Nationals falling short of expectations, a strong addition to the roster could give the Phillies a push for the post-season, if any is to be had. If the Phillies go the selling route, there could be great value for Utley, Young, or Ruiz in the trade market.

7. Which team is most likely to bounce back in the 2nd half? Los Angeles Angels

With a record of 44-49 the Angels are heading into the All-Star break below .500 and 12 games out of first place in the NL West. However, they have the ability to recover. If they are going to gain ground in the second half of the season they need a boost from their pitching staff (particularly ace Jered Weaver); the offense needs to live up to its potential and they need to win the games they are supposed to win. This season against the less than stellar Astros, the Angels have gone just 6-7 included being swept by Houston in a 4 game series. Their big off-season acquisition, Josh Hamilton, had a bleak start to the season but heading into the weekend has hit .346 in his last 14 games with 12 runs and 4 HR’s. Hamilton needs to break out in the second half. Injury-riddled Albert Pujols has also had a weak first half of the season but if last season is any indication (slugging jumped from .460 to .581 in the second half), he should start to improve. His bat returning to previous form will provide a much-needed bolster to the Angels’ line-up.

AL 8. Will Miguel Cabrera win the Triple Crown for a 2nd year in a row? No.

While Cabrera is certainly making a case for a repeat Triple Crown the one category that will hinder him is power-hitting. Cabrera has 30 HR’s heading into the All-Star break, second to Chris Davis’ 37. While either hitter could slow down in the 2nd half, it will be difficult to top Davis’ power. With Davis finishing out the 1st half with 93 RBI’s, 37 HR’s, and a batting average of .315, he may also be a Triple Crown contender. At the very least, his numbers will threaten Cabrera’s.

NL 8. Who will finish with the most HRs in the NL? Carlos Gonzalez

The National League does not boast the same power-hitting numbers as the American League. Currently Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies leads the NL with 25 HR’s, Pedro Alvarez of the Pittsburgh Pirates has 24, and Domonic Brown of the Philadelphia Phillies has 23. While the HR leader at the close of the season is a toss-up, Coors Field, the home of the Colorado Rockies is known for being a home-run friendly ballpark due to the high altitude, which could give Gonzalez an advantage.

9. Which 5 teams are making the playoffs?

AL East: Boston Red Sox

AL Central: Detroit Tigers

AL West: Oakland A’s

Wild Card: Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles

NL East: Atlanta Braves

NL Central: St. Louis Cardinals

NL West: Arizona Diamondbacks

Wild Card: Pittsburgh Pirates, Washington Nationals

10. Who is representing the AL & NL in the World Series? Detroit Tigers & St. Louis Cardinals

Twitter: MissMaria_88

10 Predictions & Questions Heading Into The All-Star Break

We’ve had a great 1st half of baseball this year! The Sports Script asked Maria and me 10 questions regarding what took place during the 1st half of the year and predictions for the rest of the season.

1. Who is the biggest surprise team?

The Pittsburgh Pirates – They have had one impressive 1st half of the season. Their pitching has been unbelievable; they have the #1 ERA in all of baseball right now. What’s even more surprising is the fact they are winning so many games in spite of how badly they’re hitting this year.

2. Who is the biggest disappointment?

At the beginning of June this would’ve easily been the Dodgers, but now it has to be the Nationals. They are only 1 game above .500 and just haven’t been playing the best baseball. They just aren’t hitting at all and they’re ranked in the bottom half of every major hitting category.

3. Who is the MVP?

Miguel Cabrera – Chris Davis gets an honorable mention in this but nobody is playing as well as Miggy. He is hitting .365 with 30 HRs & 95 RBIs. He could be on his way to winning his 2nd Triple Crown and MVP in a row.

4. Who is the CY Young?

I would say there are 4 or 5 names that could be tossed into conversation, but I am going with Patrick Corbin. He is 11-1 with a 2.35 ERA, 109 SO, and a 1.00 WHIP. He has only given up more than 3 runs twice in 19 starts, and has held teams to 2 runs or less in 15 of those. While others can still stake their claim, give me Corbin right now.

Max Scherzer – This guy is 13-1 with a 3.19 ERA, 152 SO & a 0.98 WHIP. There really is no other choice here to be made.

5. Who is the Least Valuable Player?

The Upton Brothers –

After starting the season hot, Justin has hit a cold streak, while his brother B.J., has just been terrible all season long. They have struck out a combined 202 times. The Braves have invested a lot of money in the pair and they haven’t produced the way they should’ve.

6. Which team needs to make a move at the deadline?

The Tigers –

They need a closer and they need one right now. If they do not trade for a dominant closer, this team will not go to the World Series this year.

7. Which team is most likely to bounce back in the 2nd half?

The Nationals –

They aren’t playing anywhere near what they are capable of. I think they are poised for a good 2nd half where they will overtake the Braves and win the NL East.

8a. Will Miguel Cabrera win the Triple Crown for a 2nd year in a row?

I believe he will. I think Chris Davis is going to hit a wall in the 2nd half (Like Jose Bautista did in 2010). This will give Cabrera the opportunity to overtake him in the HR race.

8b.Who will finish with the most HRs in the NL?

This is a race to keep an eye on. Gonzalez, Brown, Alvarez, and Goldschmidt are all within 4 HRs of each other. Beltran and Bruce aren’t far off either. If he is healthy, Cargo will end the season with 42 HRs, which will lead the NL.

9. Which 5 teams are making the playoffs?

NL -

East: Nationals

Central: Cardinals,

West: Diamondbacks,

Wild Cards: Dodgers & Braves.

AL -

East: Rays

Central: Tigers

West: A’s

Wild Cards: Yankees & Angels.

10. Who is representing the NL & AL in the World Series?

I originally picked the Braves to not only represent the NL in the World Series but to win it as well. Well, time for me to take my comment back. The Braves have too many questions surrounding them, the D’Backs aren’t there yet, the Dodgers aren’t unless they trade for Lee, and the Nationals aren’t ready for it yet. So, with the experience and talent, the Cardinals will be in the World Series for the 4th time since 2010.

At the beginning of the season I had the Tigers representing the AL. I will stand by that pick now as well. The Rays I think have the right amount of pitching to make it, but not sure they have the hitting together. The A’s always seem to get there but can never make that final push. Yankees aren’t good enough, and the Angels could go, but aren’t deep enough in the rotation to make it. So that leaves me with the Tigers, and I think that is by default as well. They have been really solid with their Starting Pitchers, but their bullpen has been atrocious this year. As I said, they will fix this issue and trade for one at the deadline, to take home the Crown in the AL.