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Baseball stories in first half of 2015

The Houston Astros are surprising almost everyone as they hold on to first place in the American League West. After finishing in fourth place with a 70-92 record, and 28 games back of the LA Angels, the Astros currently sit four games ahead of second place Texas. They are 10 games over .500 so far this year. The club is first in home runs, third in stolen bases and fifth in RBI. They also have the second lowest number of hits and walks by a pitcher (WHIP) as a team. Some top performing players are pitcher Dallas Keuchel with an 9-3 record and a stunning 2.17 era, as well as third baseman Luis Valbuena with 19 home runs.

Alex Rodriguez has surprised most analysts and fans with his outstanding performance so far. Nearly 40 years old and being suspended for the full season in 2014 as punishment for violating baseball’s drug policy, he launched the 2015 campaign becoming one of the New York Yankees top contributors. So far, Rodriguez has 15 home runs, 44 RBI, a .522 slugging percentage, and a respectable .285 batting average. His play is helping keep the Yankees in playoff contention in the American League East. In addition, A-Rod reached 3,000 career hits this year, becoming only player number 29 to do so. He has also passed Willie Mays, jumping into fourth place in career home runs.

The debate over whether to lift the lifetime ban on Pete Rose for gambling on baseball games is heating up again. With new commissioner Rob Manfred recently taking over, Rose has asked for reinstatement to participate in the sport, as well as hoping to get into the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown. Rose is Major League Baseball’s all time hits leader. He has insisted that he only bet on games while managing, not as a player. However, new documents reveal that Rose was also making bets as a player, at least during his last active season in 1986.

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