The Heat Index: Verlander, Ackley, Uggla

Welcome to The Heat Index, we’re glad you’re here! This column will take a look at all things related to baseball that are either “Hot” or “Cold.” Feel free to utilize this in your fantasy leagues or in arguments with your friends about whose team/player is better. Let’s dive in.

Jose Reyes is leading the recent hit parade for the New York Mets. (Leon Halip/Getty Images)


1. In the last seven days, the New York Mets bats have been scorching hot! Led by Jose Reyes, the Mets have scored 53 runs while posting a .377/.424/.529 line as a team. Even Jason Bay has jumped on board and started hitting for more power. That is the kind of production a team as expensive as the Mets should be producing. Look for even better numbers as David Wright and a few others start coming off the DL.

2. There is only one pitcher who throws faster as he gets deeper into a game. You guessed it: That man is Justin Verlander. In his last five games, Verlander is 5-0 with two complete games and one shutout, while posting a 0.86 ERA with 48 Ks. Although none of the teams he beat were offensive powerhouses (Arizona, Colorado, Cleveland, Seattle, Chicago), Verlander’s numbers show he is almost unhittable. Look for him to continue this winning streak.

3. Another streak of impressive starts has the Phillies Cliff Lee on this list at number three. Some might argue that Lee deserves to be higher on the list. And I might listen to them. Lee is 5-0 in his last five starts with two complete games, three consecutive shutouts, and a 0.21 ERA. His 29 Ks are what makes him drop to number three.

4. The city of Seattle has basically crowned Dustin Ackley as its savior, and for good reason. He is arguably the Mariners best hitter in the 12 games he has played thus far. In the last seven days, Ackley is hitting .333/.440/.619, making him the best hitting second baseman in the American League over that time frame. With his good plate discipline and power potential he is a must start in all fantasy leagues.

5. Brennan Boesch has had hot streaks like this before. But now he and his team are in the hot seat in first place in their division. They need Boesch to continue raking like he has in June. The 26-year-old is hitting .390/.445/.650 in 25 games this month. Add to that his six homers and 20 runs scored, and it’s no wonder the Tigers are in first place.

Bonus: TV watching has never been more enjoyable than when the new Captain Morgan commercial is shown. The actor that plays the Captain is absolutely perfect and the commercial makes you feel as if you accidentally switched the channel into the middle of some epic pirate movie. Way to go Captain Morgan advertising department. If you haven’t seen it, watch it here.

Seems like everyone but Dan Uggla is having fun these days. (Denis Poroy/Getty Images)


1. Since taking first place in the NL West, the Arizona Diamondbacks bullpen has been horrendous. First it was reliable reliever David Hernandez (who completely fell apart on multiple occasions), and now it’s their closer J.J. Putz (back to back blown saves). Kevin Towers attempted to build a reliable and strong bullpen in the offseason, and up until a couple weeks ago, it looked like he had accomplished just that. Now they play Russian Roulette every time Kirk Gibson hands the ball to the bullpen.

2. Players who man third base generally have power and hit near the middle of the batting order. Apparently not anymore. Up until this week no third baseman had more than 10 home runs. A general lack of production has taken over the position and many third basemen have found themselves on the DL this year. The Blue Jays must have heard about this since they just moved Jose Bautista to third from RF.

3. Where is the Dan Uggla we used to know and love!?!? The offense and power he provided was supposed to take the Braves straight to the top of their division. In 82 games this year he has a measly .178 batting average with only 28 RBIs. With that production it’s amazing he is still in the big leagues.

4. Recent speculation has Josh Johnson out possibly the whole year. This is a devastating blow to Marlins, who need all the starting pitching they can get. Johnson’s inflamed shoulder had him on the DL early this year after a stellar start to the season. If he comes back, the Marlins have a shot. If not, Anibal Sanchez is the ace of the staff.

5. Looks like the Royals should have given their prospects a little more time in the minors after all. Mike Moustakas still only has one RBI (from his first game), Eric Hosmer might not have the power that was projected yet (5 HR, 27 RBI), and Danny Duffy does not appear to have the control needed to stay in the majors right now (1-2, 4.61 ERA) At least the prospects have been exposed to the majors now. Trial by fire.

Bonus breaking news: Charlie Sheen used steroids while filming Major League. More Breaking News: Who cares? Sheen said his fastball went from 72 MPH up to 84 MPH while he was on the juice. This guy will do anything to get into the spotlight for one minute. This shouldn’t even be a story. No ones cares about your steroid use Charlie. You weren’t going to be in the baseball HOF anyway.


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