This isn't a fantasy baseball issue, but I had to address it.
Word has come down that Melky Cabrera, the Giants disgraced outfielder who is serving a 50-game suspension for failing a PED test, will not be eligible for the NL Batting Crown. Currently one plate appearance short of the 502 required, baseball has a rule in place that says that any batter that has less than the required number of plate appearances can be given those extra plate appearances to get them up to 502 with each added plate appearance resulting in an out. This means that Cabrera would receive an additional 0-for-1 on his batting ledger to get him to the 502 plate appearances thereby qualifying him for the batting title. Currently hitting .3464 the extra zero in that one at-bat would drop his mark to .3456 or still .346 when rounded off. Entering play today that was the best mark in baseball, seven points ahead of Andrew McCutchen and 11 points ahead of Buster Posey. It was starting to look more and more likely Cabrera was going to win the batting title during a season in which he was caught for cheating. Baseball has certainly suffered it's share of black eyes from the whole PED debacle, and this was setting up to be just another punch to the chin.
To the rescue comes a white horse ridden by the one an only Cabrera, who through his representatives, encouraged Major League Baseball to implement a rule that states that a player who is suspended cannot be the batting champ. Viola. MLB has decided that rule 10.22 (a) will not apply to suspended players. "I am grateful that the Players Association and MLB were able to honor my request," Cabrera said in a statement. "I know that changing the rules mid-season can present problems, and I thank the Players Association and MLB for finding a way to grant my request."
1 - I'd like to believe this is Melky being honest in that he realizes he cheated and that the league shouldn't give him the award over a "deserving" player. At the same time this smells like a filet of sole left out in the sun for 12 days. If he really cared about being honest he would never have cheated in the first place. If he really cared about the integrity of the game he would have never cheated in the first place. To me this is merely a PR move in an attempt to re-establish him as a good guy. I'm not buying, and neither should you.
2 - What right does Cabrera have to petition major league baseball to change their rule book mid-season? I'll answer that for you - he has no right. MLB, as it has often done in recent years, put it's head in the sand and simply removed the potential bashing it was going to take from the media by re-working the rules mid-stream. What do you always get upset with in the fantasy game? I know, it's when your league commish tries to change your rules after they have been agreed upon, right? To be fair MLB does get bashed all the time for the PED issue, when in fact they do test their players and do suspend them when they fail. In fact, you fail a PED test in baseball and you end up being suspended for 31 percent of the season (50 of 162). In football that ratio is only 25 percent (four of 16 games). Still, this seems like slipping out the back window when your high school girlfriend's parents get home from their night out early (and no perverts, I'm talking about when you were in high school not insinuating that any of you would be dating high school girls at your age. Shame on you.).
So there it is. One more problem averted in major league baseball with some apparent backroom dealings.
BY THE NUMBERS
0: The number of pitches that Clayton Kershaw has thrown since September 11th. He did make 20 throws in a bullpen session Friday before doing some other exercises in the outfield. Still, it's not at all certain that his hip is in good enough shape that he will be able to throw another meaningful pitch this season. Even with his missed time the following should be noted about Kershaw. (1) He leads the NL in Ks with one more than R.A. Dickey. (2) He leads the NL with a 1.02 WHIP. Only one pitcher in baseball is better and that is Jered Weaver at 1.00. (3) He has a 2.70 ERA the second best mark in the NL and the third best mark in baseball (David Price at 2.59 and R.A. Dickey at 2.67). I know he's just 12-9 on the year, but folks, the guy has dominated batters yet again this season, and if what I've already noted isn't enough how about one finally diddy. Kershaw has a .212 BAA, the second best mark in baseball to Gio Gonzalez's .207 mark.
0: The number of pitchers who have won the Triple Crown - wins, ERA and strikeouts - who have failed to win the Cy Young award. Dickey currently is one win behind Gio Gonzalez for the NL lead with 18 victories. As I just noted, he is just one K behind Clayton Kershaw with 205. Dickey also leads the NL ERA race with a 2.67 mark, three hundredths better than Mr. Kershaw. Dickey also leads the NL with 212 innings pitched, five complete games and three shutouts. His numbers are down in the second half as he has gone 6-5 with a 3.03 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. What a slacker eh?
0.77: The number of RBIs per game for the Orioles Mark Reynolds over his last 43 games played (33 RBIs). If he were to keep up that pace for 150 games played we would be looking at a season of 115 RBI. Reynolds has also gone deep 13 times in his last 37 games, a 150 game pace of 54 dingers.
.257: The batting average of Mike Trout in the month of September. He's also knocked in only three runs in September. Going back a bit further, 46 games to be specific, Trout is batting .274. As a result of his slump he's hitting .324 on the year, nine points behind Miguel Cabrera for the AL lead.
1: The number of homers that Eric Hosmer needs to go 15/15 this season. There have only been 10 seasons of 15 homers and 15 steals by a first baseman in the 21st century led by Derrek Lee's total of three. Oh yeah, Paul Goldschmidt has already joined the club with 18 homers and 16 steals.
3: The number of players who have gone 20/30 this year. One is obvious - Mike Trout. The other should be fairly easy to guess as well in B.J. Upton who has hit 17 homers with 15 steals since the All-Star break. The third? Bet it would be hard for many of you to guess. I'll give you a hint.
He plays in the NL.
He's an infielder.
He's been playing for over a decade.
He had a total of two homers on June 1st.
It's Jimmy Rollins who has hit 22 homers with 30 steals on the year. Yeah, that's also right. From June 1st to present Rollins has hit 20 homers while stealing 20 bases. He's gone 20/20 in less than four months. So much for being washed up.
4: The number of homers that Trevor Plouffe has hit over his last 42 games dating back to the All-Star break. Plouffe had gone deep 19 times in 66 games before the Mid-Summer's Classic. Plouffe is also hitting .214 with a .618 OPS over those 42 games.
29: The number of homers that Josh Reddick has hit this season for the Athletics in 143 games. In the first 143 games of his big league career he went deep 10 times.
69: The current RBI total of Paul Konerko. His worst ever mark in a season of 137 games played is 65, back in 2003, so he had better get going considering he has appeared in 132 games this season. It seems nearly impossible to think he will reach 81 RBIs this season, the number he has reached in each of the 11 seasons in his career in which he has accrued 500 at-bats. He has 489 this season.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87, Monday through Thursday at 7 PM EDT and Friday's at 9 PM EDT. Ray's analysis can be found at BaseballGuys.com and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys' Twitter account.