Sports Column: J.R. and Henry on MLB at mid-season | Rock Candy

Sports Column: J.R. and Henry on MLB at mid-season

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J.R. and Henry: Major League Baseball Mid-Season Awards   The dog days of summer are here. Temperatures are in the mid to upper 90s consistently and football season is still more than six weeks away. The World Cup just ended, Wimbledon is over and we’re midway through the Major League Baseball season. Did we mention that we’re still six weeks away from football season?   In a matter of weeks, if not days, Arkansas sports fans will be concerned with only one thing: who is going to be the starting quarterback for the Razorbacks this fall. While we can’t answer that (You can ask quarterback coach Alex Wood yourself on July 24th in Little Rock), we know that the groundswell in Fayetteville will be exciting and humorous. We imagine Houston Nutt will chew off a few fingernails trying to decide whether to start All-world phenom Mitch Mustain or rely on Casey Dick or Robert Johnson and their respective “experience.”    Until then, we thought we get back to America’s pastime and fire off some awards for the first half of the Major League Baseball season.   Here they are:   Mid-Season AL MVP: Derek Jeter, New York Yankees. Jeter’s hitting .345 and he’s hitting a whopping .371 with two outs. New York arrived at the All-Star break only three games behind a much better Boston team. Hideki Matsui and Gary Sheffield are on the DL and New York’s pitching has been less that stellar. Our belief is that Boston’s mere three-game lead is due in large part to Jeter and that gives him the nod over one-dimensional power hitters David Ortiz and Jim Thome.   Mid-Season NL MVP: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals. Pujols leads the league in home runs (29), RBI’s (73), slugging percentage (.703) and on-base percentage (.435). Oh yeah, and he was out three weeks with a strained muscle in his side.   Mid-Season AL Rookie of the Year: Francisco Liriano, Minnesota Twins. It’s hard to argue against his numbers at this point. He leads the AL in WHIP (0.97), strike-outs per nine innings (10.39), and ERA (1.83) and he’s tied for fourth in wins (10).    Mid-Season NL Rookie of the Year: Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers. He cranked out 16 home runs and 45 RBI’s. That’s more than any other rookie. Dan Uggla of the Florida Marlins is right on his heels. Uggla is hitting .307 with 13 homeruns and 45 RBI’s not to mention an on base percentage of .875. Those numbers are sick, especially for rookies. And Uggla’s had to overcome that name.    Mid-Season AL Manager of the Year: Jim Leyland, Detroit Tigers. This is a no-brainer. They have the best record in baseball. Yes, the Detroit Tigers. We can’t believe it either.   Mid-Season NL Manager of the Year: Willie Randolph, New York Mets. They have the best record in the National League and a lot of superstars. Holding that together in New York can be quite difficult. Just ask Larry Brown.   Mid-Season AL Cy Young: Roy Halladay, Toronto Blue Jays. He leads the American League in wins (12) and has an ERA of 2.92. While Jose Contreras, Curt Schilling, Johan Santana and Liriano deserve recognition here, were sticking with the guy most likely to eclipse 20 wins this season.   Mid-Season NL Cy Young: Tom Glavine, New York Mets. He posted a commanding 11-2 record during the first half of the season. He’s got an All-Star lineup behind him and should coast to 20 wins before the season’s over. At 40, that’s worthy of another Cy Young.   Our Mid-Season Picks for the World Series:   AL Central: Chicago White Sox AL East: Boston Red Sox AL West: Anaheim Angels AL Wild Card: New York Yankees   Divisional Playoffs: Red Sox over Anaheim; White Sox over Yankees   AL Pennant: Red Sox over White Sox   NL Central: St. Louis Cardinals NL East: New York Mets NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers NL Wild Card: San Diego Padres   Divisional Playoffs: Mets over Padres; Cardinals over Dodgers   NL Pennant: Mets over Cardinals   World Series: Red Sox over Mets   J.R. and Henry blog their sports column at Little Rocking twice a week.  

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