Photo via Sandlot (1993)
Although it’s not technically the fourth of July yet, or even July for that matter, everyone around the country is celebrating this weekend as if it is the fourth of July weekend – and rightfully so.
The fourth is a time to celebrate, reflect on and enjoy all the great things we are blessed with as Americans. So we load up our coolers, fire up the grills and head for the beach to enjoy the fruits of our labor for a couple days.
In between the boozing, the fun in sun, the endless burgers, and the malicious hangovers, we’re all going to find some down time slumped on a couch in front of the television.
That’s where baseball comes in. America’s favorite pastime and the fourth go together like Busch Light and more Busch Light.
The MLB has also played along nicely with the holiday and scheduled a bevy of afternoon ballgames as well as a couple nationally televised games in the evening.
A quick check of my TV listings shows that on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. ET ESPN will be showing PBA bowling while the MLB Network offers us an undisclosed game. My best guess for this one would be the Red Sox @ the Blue Jays.
This game should be an easy one to sell to a fan because the man on the mound for the Red Sox is the strikeout machine, Chris Sale. Sale’s numbers speak for themselves and every time this guy steps on the mound it’s an absolute treat for viewers around the world as the man is almost a guarantee to K 10+ batters a night and will probably start the All-Star game for the AL this year.
The craziest number about Sale is his WAR (wins above replacement). Through 16 starts, Sale has a 4.7 WAR, almost a full win better than the second place Max Scherzer (3.8).
Amazingly, there are just FOUR pitchers with above a 3.0 WAR. Sale has been so much better than not just opposing batters, but basically every other hurler to step on the hill this year.
Sunday offers another Nationally televised on MLBN starting at 2 p.m ET, which is expected to feature the New York Yankees visiting the AL-leading Houston Astros in a matchup of two probably playoff teams. The game will showcase one of the best young arms in the game in Luis Severino, who has come back after an awful 2016 campaign and has been the ace of the Yankees’ staff while Masahiro Tanaka has struggled.
The Astros’ lineup puts fear into opposing pitchers’ every night no matter who they are. One of the deepest lineups in baseball is throttled by the three-headed monster of Jose Altuve, George Springer, and Carlos Correa. All three are in their early 20s, and all three will be in MVP discussions at the end of the season unless Aaron Judge and Mike Trout don’t come back down to earth.
Lastly, don’t forget the luscious fourth of July inspired uniforms the boys will be sporting over the next few days (I saw the beauties the Nationals were wearing last night and almost bought one on the spot).
Enjoy the beers, boats, burgers and may everyone have a Happy 4th of July!