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The Student News Site of The Bishop's School

The Tower

The Student News Site of The Bishop's School

The Tower

The Student News Site of The Bishop's School

The Tower

Swinging for Success: 2022-23 MLB Season Halfway Report

After the All-Star break, the halfway point of an MLB season, students ponder their teams’ disappointing performances
Fans+at+the+Philadelphia+Phillies+and+Atlanta+Braves+game+on+October+3rd%2C+2010+represent+the+atmosphere+and+emotions+at+every+MLB+game+as+many+fans+are+cheering+on+their+team+while+others+are+crying+or+disappointed+as+their+team+is+losing.+
Flickr Photographer Kyle James
Fans at the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves game on October 3rd, 2010 represent the atmosphere and emotions at every MLB game as many fans are cheering on their team while others are crying or disappointed as their team is losing.

Cheers, boos, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”, and “Let’s Go Team” chants fill the air at every Major League Baseball (MLB) game. Each game is full of different emotions: glee for the winning fans and heartbreak for the losing fans. Regarding their favorite teams’ performance, many Bishop’s students felt heartbreak this season. 

The halfway point of any MLB season is marked by the All-Star Game — a game between the best players (voted by fans) in the American League (AL) and National League (NL) — and the Home Run Derby — a three-round bracket-style tournament where players try to hit more home runs than their opponent. Many described their team’s performances as disappointing. Padres fan Dylan Navarrete (‘24) said, “I just think that the team isn’t playing to its potential. We saw this team go to the NLCS last year and on paper, we’ve gotten better, but obviously, there haven’t been results. I’m a little disappointed, to be honest” he said. 

For context, the MLB West, Central, and East divisions are categorized into two broader and main divisions of the MLB: AL and NL. For example, the NL West Division is home to the San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Another example is the AL East Division, which is home to the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays, and the Baltimore Orioles. 

 

Poor Padres:

 

Most San Diego students’ favorite team is the San Diego Padres, but, for many fans, this season has been underwhelming as the Padres’ record is under .500 — meaning they have lost more games than won. According to ESPN, the Earned Run Average (ERA) — the average earned runs for a pitcher for every nine innings — of the Padres rotation is 4.47 — the closer to zero the better. To the surprise of many, Seth Lugo, who has never pitched a full season as a starting pitcher, and Nick Martinez, a backup for the starting rotation, have been their best pitchers before the All-Star break. In addition, Blake Snell, Joe Musgrove, and Michael Wacha were disappointing before the All-Star break, according to the same article. Putting this in perspective, Snell had a 4.17 ERA as mentioned by The Athletic and Musgrove had a 3.29 ERA before the All-Star Break as stated on the MLB official website

Regarding hitting, the Padres consistently leave runners on base and have been inconsistent, according to Fan Nation. Twitter user @PadresPlsSell said, “The 2023 San Diego Padres will go down as the biggest disappointment in the history of the MLB.” According to the same ESPN article mentioned earlier that discussed the Padres, Padres shortstop Xander Bogarts was deemed by many as an unnecessary signing since they already had many talented infielders. However, Bogarts has proved to be arguably their best player up to the halfway point.

Many Padres fans opened up about the disappointments of the season at the half-way break. Baseball player, Padres fanatic, and La Jolla High School student Enzo Bregante (‘25) said the Padres have “four major superstars and a good batting lineup just to be absolutely terrible with runners in scoring position.” In light of this, Enzo said,  “Our hitting coaches need to be fired to improve the poor offense.” Dylan also touched on the Padres’ problem of inconsistency. “Consistency. Consistency. Consistency,” he said, “We can’t blow out the Nationals one night [and] then drop the next two games in the series. We can’t go from getting 13 runs to only scoring one.”

Baseball player and Padres fan Henry Armstrong (‘25) also said, “With how the Padres are playing now, I can barely even watch.” He explained, “The teams we should be sweeping [winning all the games in a series] are sweeping us and it’s just bad baseball.” He continued, “The guys who should be playing well aren’t doing what they are supposed to be doing. We aren’t coming clutch in necessary situations.” 

 

Disappointing Dodgers

 

Two hours north of San Diego are the Padres’ rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers. According to ESPN, as of May 5, 2023, Dodgers player Mookie Betts has played at shortstop 35 times this season, a position he hadn’t played since 2012. This is a worrying sign about the skill and number of available players at this position since, besides Betts, their other shortstop options have been struggling

However, the Dodgers hitting fared much better than their fielding as the MLB website said that Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman and Betts have been the best first and second hitters in baseball. Also, as stated by The Athletic, Dodgers Designated Hitter J.D. Martinez hit 22 home runs before the all-star break, 6 more than he hit all of last year with the Boston Red Sox. Martinez had 20 doubles and ranked third in the NL for slugging percentage — a statistic that measures how skilled you are at getting extra-base hits — like doubles, triples, and home runs. 

The Dodgers’ pitching side of the game is constantly up and down. Each team has five starting pitchers who pitch one out of every five games. This rotation stays consistent throughout the whole season; however, injuries to starting pitchers could alter the original rotation. According to the same MLB article, Dodgers starting pitcher Julio Urias was outstanding before his left hamstring strain, but, since coming back on July 1st, was always inconsistent. Another Dodgers starting pitcher, Clayton Kershaw, has been consistently stellar for numerous years. 

The Dodgers’ pitching this year has been poor. For example, according to DodgerNation, relief pitcher Phil Bickford’s ERA jumped to 7.33 before the 2023 all-star break from 4.72 in 2022. Dodgers relief pitcher Yency Almonte’s ERA was at 1.02 last year but has since become 6.58 before the 2023 halfway break. As specified by Sportsskeeda, the Dodgers’ 13-0 defeat against the Cubs was the lowest point this season and they have looked inconsistent and underwhelming at times. However, on the bright side, there are also many rookies in all positions to look out for.

Head of School Mr. Ron Kim, a Los Angeles native and Dodgers fan, said, “I expected the Dodgers to be good but not great, and so far that is how they look. They can score in bunches, but their pitching is much worse than I anticipated.” 

 

Catastrophe Cubs:

 

The Chicago Cubs are a team that competes in the NL Central. According to a Sports Mockery article, after pitcher Drew Smyly came close to a no-hitter — allowing zero hits — against the Dodgers, the Cubs have won 14 games and lost 27 so far. Losing 27 and just winning 14 games, the Cubs had the worst record in the MLB for seven weeks. Pitcher Brandon Hughes was expected to be a reliable player for the team, but both he and fellow Cubs pitcher Michael Fulmer have been underwhelming. According to the same Sports Mockery article, the Cubs’ pitchers have been one of their worst problems so far in their games until the All-Star break. Boys’ Varsity Baseball player and Cubs supporter Hugo Avila Marquez (‘25) said, “Something the Cubs can work on is getting a new, younger catcher because our current catcher Gomes is [bad] and we need more bullpen help.” 

On the contrary, Cubs fan Nick Nourie (‘25) had a more positive outlook. “The Cubs have done really well in comparison to past seasons and due to some major signings, such as center fielder Cody Bellinger and shortstop Dansby Swanson.”

 

Miserable Mets:

 

In the NL East division, one team that stands out for all the wrong reasons is the New York Mets. According to Sports Illustrated, the team has a $359 million payroll and a 61.9 strike percentage — they throw strikes 61.9% of the time — which is second to last in the MLB as of the All-Star break. Their pitchers have an average of 5.01 ERA and most of their starting rotation pitchers are old and require a lot of rest. From March 30th – opening day – till June 23rd, the Mets were being outscored by 39 runs (139-100) in the first three innings and along with an average offense in the league meaning their hitters overall are mediocre which has cost them numerous games. 

Baseball player and Mets fan Ian Browne (‘25) spoke of the Mets’ performance up until the halfway point, saying that “In June, the Mets had a worse record than the [Oakland Athletics (As)] and their payroll is probably almost ten times the amount of the A’s.” Ian also said, “For a team that went to the National League Division Series last year and also signed [veteran starting pitcher Justin] Verlander in the off-season, I would not have expected them to be where they are right now, which is why it’s disappointing.” 

With a week’s worth of rest, time to return to the tactics room, hitting, batting, and fielding practice, and an upcoming trade deadline, the next half of the season will be just as unpredictable as the first and will hopefully p quell some fans’ disappointments from earlier in the year. Get your popcorn, slushies, candy, and TV streaming platforms ready — as the games before the playoffs will be ones for the memory book. 

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About the Contributor
David Lai, Staff Writer
David Lai, the only returning staff writer, is a junior who loves playing soccer. No matter if he sleeps one hour or 10 hours, he always has a full tank of energy.  He loves MUN, speech and debate, and knows how to speak four languages. Whether he is hanging out with friends, talking to his siblings, doing homework, playing video games or soccer, David is always energetic. He loves writing about sports, politics, MUN, Nobel Peace Prize winners, and more. 

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