New York Mets

X’s Three Stars of the Week (7/26/15 – 8/1/15)

Here is a look at this week’s “three stars” – according to X Marks the Sport.

1. Kyle Busch (NASCAR/Auto Racing)

In February, Kyle Busch went down with a compound fracture in his right leg and another fracture in his left foot as a result of a nasty collision with the inside retaining wall at Daytona. Due to the injury, Busch’s season got off to a pretty slow start. He heated up in July however, winning his previous two Sprint Cup races heading into the Brickyard 400. Busch was the one who ended up kissing the bricks on Sunday, picking up his fourth win in his last five Sprint Cup starts. The Brickyard is a major race on the NASCAR schedule, and Busch called Sunday’s win the “biggest of [his] career so far”. He became the first driver since 2007 to win three consecutive Sprint Cup races and the first driver not named Jimmie Johnson to win three in a row in this millennium. Busch closed the week out by winning the World Truck race at Pocono, his seventh win across different racing circuits since June 13.

2. Carlos González (RF – Colorado Rockies)

Amidst murmurs of trade rumors, Carlos González managed to lock in and have his best stretch of the season. In last Sunday and Monday’s games alone, he had a solid week or two worth of production. He had 7 hits in those two games, and launched a pair of home runs in each game. After a 6-RBI outburst on Sunday, González came right back the next night and drove in 4 more. Two days later, he left the yard for the 8th time since July 22. For the week, González compiled a .423 batting average (11-26) with 5 home runs, 12 runs batted in, and 10 runs scored. He also demonstrated excellent plate discipline last week, drawing a base on balls in six of the seven games. The walks helped González reach base 17 times over that span, earning a fantastic .515 on-base percentage for the week. This hot streak is a reminder that when healthy, CarGo can be one of the best offensive players in the sport.

3. Lucas Duda (1B – New York Mets)

On July 24, the New York Mets made a trade with the Atlanta Braves to acquire Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson. There had been speculation that Johnson could have been brought in to take at-bats away from Lucas Duda or even replace him as a starter. After all, prior to the trade Duda was terrible – batting .138 with 2 HRs and 5 RBI over 18 July games. The talked of potentially being benched seemed to reinvigorate Duda, and the result was a power surge at the plate. Duda hit 6 home runs last week (including a 3-home run barrage on Wednesday against the San Diego Padres) and capped off a streak which saw him have 8 consecutive base hits all go for home runs. He was the entire offense for the Mets on Saturday in a big win over the division rival Washington Nationals, hitting 2 homers and driving in 3 runs in the pivotal 3-2 victory. Duda’s stat line for the week was a a .389 average (7-18) with 6 home runs, 8 runs batted in, and 6 runs scored. He is a streaky player and prone to slumps, but when he gets his power stroke going he can help carry an offense.


X’s Three Stars of the Week (6/28/15 – 7/4/15)

Here is a look at this week’s “three stars” – according to X Marks the Sport.

1. Justin Bour (1B – Miami Marlins)

When the Miami Marlins lost Giancarlo Stanton to a broken left wrist, they desperately needed someone in the lineup to step their level of productivity up. After all, Stanton was leading the majors in both home runs and runs batted in at the time of his injury. Last week, Justin Bour did his best Stanton impersonation. He put together a four-game home run streak, including big home runs in key spots. On Wednesday, Bour hit a walk-off three-run home run with his team down two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning. He followed that up the next day by hitting a go-ahead three-run homer in the 5th inning to help secure a win for José Fernández in his season debut. For the week, Bour hit .389 (7 for 18) with 4 HR and 8 RBI. Most importantly, the Marlins won all four games in which he hit one out of the park.

2. Steven Matz (SP – New York Mets)

Things didn’t start off so promising for Steven Matz when he made his Major League debut against the Cincinnati Reds last Sunday. He surrender a lead-off home run to Brandon Phillips, the first batter he’d ever faced in the big leagues. Matz rebounded quickly however, and ended up going seven and two-thirds innings, limiting the Reds to two runs and striking out six on his way to his first career win. The pitching performance was strong, but he made more noise at the plate than on the mound. Matz came up for three at bats in the game and came away with three hits, including a two-run double in his first at bat. He drove in a total of four runs, becoming the first Major League pitcher ever with 4 RBI in their debut. He also became the first player at any position since 1920 to go 3 for 3 with 4 RBI in his first Major League game. The 24-year-old hometown hero gave Mets fans plenty to be excited about in an historic effort which he will never forget.

3. Rakeem Cato (QB – Montreal Alouttes)

As the third string quarterback on the depth chart, Rakeem Cato was not supposed to be starting the second game of the season for Montreal but injuries forced him into duty. He surely was not supposed to beat the Calgary Stampeders, the defending champions of the league. But Cato did just that, performing almost flawlessly in the process. Cato completed 20 of 25 passes (80% completion percentage) for 241 yards, 3 touchdowns, and no interceptions. Cato’s quarterback rating of 148.9 leads the league (minimum 15 pass attempts) for the the young season. College football fans will remember that Cato was highly productive as Marshall’s quarterback over the last couple of years, but was spurned by the NFL due to his lack of NFL size (5’11”, 171 lbs.). Despite that setback, this debut performance as a pro may suggest that Cato has a bright football future after all, even if that future is north of the border.