TSF Tip-Off for Wednesday May 2, 2012: Matt Kemp and Ryan Braun Renew MVP Race, the Great Derek Jeter, Baseball Returns to the Beltway and Where’s Albert Pujols?

Last season the Milwaukee Brewer’s Ryan Braun closed fast in September to win the National League MVP over the Los Angeles Dodgers Matt Kemp. Braun would test positive for a performance-enhancing drug, only to have the decision  overturned on a technicality. Braun insisted he was innocent and said that his play would restore his good name. In April, Braun hit .292 with 7 home runs and 17 runs batted in. Three of Braun’s home runs came in the Brewers April finale against the San Diego Padres.

Matt Kemp’s month of April can be summed up in one word…torrid. Kemp is playing like a man on a mission his .409 batting average and 12 home runs lead the majors, he is two RBIs shy of the  MLB lead as teammate Andre Ethier has 27.

Buckle up, we may be in store for a great wire to wire MVP race.

At age 37 entering his 18th season in Yankee pinstripes Derek Jeter is off to one of his best starts. The Yankees leadoff man is leading the American League in batting (.400), hits (40), and on base percentage (.440). The Yankees are currently in 3rd place trailing the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays

Yes, those Baltimore Orioles, who have gone back to their old unis and are slowly bringing baseball back to the Beltway area. The Orioles are now 15-9 and trail the first-place Rays by one game, they have won 7 of their last 10 an are one of the better road teams in the majors. The Orioles are led by centerfielder Adam Jones, first baseman Chris Davis and catcher Matt Wieters.

The Washington Nationals are running a baseball revival of their own further down I-95, once the doormat of the NL East, Davey Johnson’s troops have landed upon the top of the division with strong pitching, timely hitting and adequate defense. The return of pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg is nothing short of miraculous while the anticipated arrival of cannon-armed outfielder Bryce Harper has given fair weather Nats fans reason to come out.

The struggles of Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (that’s the last time I ever write that) first baseman Albert Pujols have left many of us scratching our heads. In his first month in the American League, Pujols is batting .208 with 20 hits and no home runs. The unusual lack of production has left the 5-time MVP visibly frustrated at times. There is no question once he settles in that he will be everything that Angels fans have waited for.

Hopefully sooner than later.

The happenings:

An ode to Derek Jeter: The Return of 4Eva: (Cheap. Seats. Please)

VH1 to re-air Notorious B.I.G. “Behind The Music” with new footage this Thursday – Baby. Baby (Vibe)!

Who is your most hated player in the playoffs? I really can’t think of one (The Sports Fan Journal).

Give DeMarcus Cousins a shot at the U.S. Olympic team (Slam Online)!

Where will The Avengers rank among all-time summer movies? (E! Online)

Iceman discovered in 1991 holds world’s oldest blood cells. (Fox News)

Hipster racism? Take a look (LA Times).

Guitarist for ‘Shaft’ soundtrack Charles ‘Skip’ Pitts passes away (The Commercial Appeal).

Philly priest turns pimp/molester (Philly.com).

Class move by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in signing Eric LeGrand (ABC News).

Any Pettitte backpedals in testimony against Roger Clemens (Kansas City Star).

Tyler Perry Studios burns in four-alarm fire (Your Black World).

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