Biggest Winners and Losers of MLB Week 7

Joe Giglio@@JoeGiglioSportsContributor IMay 20, 2013

In an era of parity, each week of MLB action delivers new highs, lows and an abundance of narratives to dissect over the water cooler on Monday mornings.

The sport lacks truly dominant teams, so it's hard to totally bury any team, with the exceptions of Miami and Houston.

Hot weeks look meaningful, while cold streaks are met with a worried brow.

Here are the winners and losers of MLB Week 7. Great ready to freak out, folks!



Miguel Cabrera's MVP supporters

Full disclosure: I believed, and still believe, that Mike Trout should have been the 2012 American League MVP. Triple Crown or not for Miguel Cabrera, the best player in the American League last season, and the most valuable player, was Trout.

Thus far in 2013, those who disagreed with me, including the majority of baseball scribes with a vote, are looking quite smart.

Cabrera, the actual owner of the 2012 MVP, is on his path to bigger and better things in 2013.

After three home runs on Sunday night, Cabrera will wake up Monday morning with a .387/.457/.659 slash line. If that's not enough to get you to do a double-take while perusing baseball articles today, consider the following: Due to a .509 average w/RISP, Cabrera already has 47 RBI this season.

It's May 20.

If Cabrera can keep up the pace he's on, the Tigers can pencil .387-42-181 into their lineup. His 194 OPS+, if sustained over a full season, would go down as one of the greatest offensive seasons in the history of the sport.


Terry Francona's managerial prowess

If you're floored at the early-season success of the Cleveland Indians, it's likely because you forgot how good a manager Terry Francona is. The early days in Philadelphia and late days in Boston were much less of an indicator of his ability to lead a team than the two world championships during the crux of his Boston days.

As Cleveland, 25-17, enters the week in sole possession of first place in the AL Central, don't totally dismiss the team's staying power as the season progresses.

While the Kansas City Royals were supposed to be the team that gave Detroit a push in the division, it's the Indians with the superior run differential (+35 to +14), better home-field advantage (14-8 to 10-8) and superior offense (208 to 171 runs scored).


Brian Cashman

While the New York Yankees' general manager has received praise for the under-the-radar moves he's made to keep his battered team in contention early on this season, another tip of the cap is in order for what should have been a big-ticket, highly publicized move prior to the 2012 season.

On the same weekend that the prospect-for-prospect swap of Michael Pineda for Jesus Montero stole the headlines in New York and around baseball, Cashman handed a one-year deal to a 37-year-old right-handed pitcher with a 3.45 career earned run average.

Few made a big deal of Hiroki Kuroda's arrival in New York. Instead, questions about his age and ability to transition from the NL West to the AL East persisted through his first spring training with the team.

Since Opening Day 2012, Kuroda hasn't just adjusted to the AL East. He has thrived.

From the moment he donned pinstripes, Kuroda's 3.04 ERA, including a 1.99 mark early on in 2013, is the ninth best in the sport.

Some names behind Kuroda on the ERA leaderboard for 2012-13: Stephen Strasburg, Cliff Lee, David Price and R.A. Dickey.




Buck Showalter's starting rotation

When last week opened, Baltimore was sitting at 23-15, ready to welcome in San Diego and Tampa for a home stand and within a game of New York atop the AL East.

They haven't won a game since.

While every team goes through the ebbs and flows of a season, Baltimore's issues are particularly troubling right now.

Forget regression or run differential, the two dark clouds that loomed over this 93-win team from 2012, Baltimore is now dealing with an injury-plagued and porous starting rotation.

Freddy Garcia and Jair Jurrjens have only been in the makeshift group for one turn, but their rotation ERA for the season sits at 4.90. Only the Angels, Brewers, Twins, Blue Jays and Astros are worse.

The one thing those five have in common? October baseball is a long, long shot for them in 2013.

It shouldn't be for Baltimore, not with a big-time lineup and powerful bullpen.

But unless Jason Hammel can find his 2012 magic, Wei-Yin Chen can get healthy and Dan Duquette can unleash Kevin Gausman sooner rather than later, the Orioles will struggle to keep opponents from lighting up the scoreboard.


Terry Collins

No, not in the literal sense. Terry Collins isn't a loser. In fact, he's doing a decent job with a group that few managers in the history of the sport could turn into winners.

Aside from David Wright, Matt Harvey and Bobby Parnell, the 2013 New York Mets roster is an eyesore. From promising young players regressing to washed up veterans soaking up roster spots to an outfield that is as bad as you can imagine, there isn't much to mold in Flushing.

But Collins found a way to draw the ire of a fanbase that has mostly supported him by taking them on when pressed about his mercurial utility man, Jordany Valdespin.

Despite apologizing, it's clear that the Mets manager is on edge, frustrated with his roster and looking for anything to spark a winning streak.

With an ownership group that will likely need a fall man when attendance nose-dives this summer, Collins can't make himself a target.

Last week, he did just that.


Kevin Towers' decision-making

At 25-19, atop the NL West and sporting the fifth-best run differential in the National League, it's hard to fault Arizona Diamondbacks management for its offseason plan.

But the Justin Upton blockbuster, which sent their franchise player to Atlanta, still doesn't make sense.

That theory was confirmed last week when Upton, part of the first-place Atlanta Braves, reminded his old team of his prodigious power during his first week back in the dessert.

While first baseman Paul Goldschmidt has been a legitimate All-Star in the middle of Arizona's lineup, it's hard not to imagine what his emergence would have looked like next to Upton's rise to superstar status.


Who was your biggest winner or loser from last week in MLB action?

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