I’d like to welcome baseball expert Steve Katz to the show, and to the WordPress blog site. what makes Steve an expert you ask? well for one, just check out his notes about the happenings in the American League East today. Steve was all set to join the show tonight, but a technical glitch cost Z-Best Sports Steve’s debut. No worries, Steve will join the show first on Monday and bring us up to date on all the happenings around baseball.
The Sox have only two team homers. Jacoby Ellsbury opened the season in a 3-for-23 slump but was 2-for-3 in today’s home opener against Tampa Bay, before leaving the game in the fourth inning with a right shoulder injury after a collision at second base on the front end of a double play. Carl Crawford opened the season where he still is, on the DL. An MRI today revealed a left elbow strain, and reportedly he’ll miss at least another week, according to the Boston Herald. The Sox didn’t need either one today, because they scored 8 runs in the 8th, and won, 12-2. Josh Beckett went 8 innings for the win. Curt Schilling, who has an opinion on everything Boston, has said Bobby Valentine isn’t a good fit for that team. Translation: Situation normal. The Sox are off to a 2-5 start, meaning four losses from now, they’ll be on a pace to lead the AL East but get knocked out of the playoffs on the last night of the season again.
Carlos Pena is 10-for-25, hitting .400 with three homers and eight RBI in the Rays’ first seven games including today.
Jeremy Hellickson threw 8 2/3 of shutout ball in a win over the Yankees this past Sunday, then was hit in the head in batting practice before Wednesday’s game against Detroit. Expected to make his start on Saturday.
James Shields is 1-0 but only has a 5.54 ERA in his first two starts.
David Price beat the Yankees in his first start, getting the win in a fairly unimpressive outing, giving up five hits in 6 1/3, walking four and striking out five. He labored again today against the Red Sox, throwing 83 pitches through three innings. The Sox took a 3-1 lead, and Price left after the third inning.
We dutifully report the latest controversy. Luke Scott today called Fenway Park a “dump” for players to come to work in. This proved what Baltimore just spent four years finding out: When you get Luke Scott, you also get Luke Scott’s mouth.
Nick Swisher doubled in three runs in the bottom of the first, as the Yanks won this afternoon’s home opener against the Angels, 5-0. Later on, A-Rod hit his 630th career homer, tying Ken Griffey Jr. for fifth on the all-time list. It was homer No. 1 this year for Rodriguez, who had started in a 4-for-23 slump. Hiroki Kuroda shut out the Angels, scattering five hits and leaving in the 9th.
Whatever the Yankees did to lose their first three against Tampa Bay, they didn’t do things that much better to take their next three from the Orioles. They just did whatever it took to win, and the Orioles did whatever it took to lose.
Normally, when would you intentionally walk a man to load the bases and put the winning on third, with the cleanup hitter coming up? Apparently, when that cleanup hitter is Adam Jones. On Wednesday, the Orioles could have salvaged a win, but Jones struck out, needing only to drive in one run for the win. The Yankees intentionally walked Nick Markakis to load the bases for Jones. He swung and missed at three straight pitches, including one in his eyes, rather than work the count, or bunt, with the Yankee infield playing back. Baltimore had also left the bases loaded in the 8th.
Swisher’s 2-run homer in the 10th gave the Yankees the go-ahead runs in that 6-4 win. The Yankees are fourth in the league in runs, and 4th in OBP. Derek Jeter is hitting .355 with an .942 OPS, on base plus slugging, in only a seven-game sample size. Swisher’s OPS is .954. And some guy name Mariano already has two saves, of course, both against Baltimore.
Kelly Johnson’s .452 OBP and .868 OPS are leading the way so far for the 4-2 Jays, entering tonight’s game against Baltimore. Brandon Morrow gave up a pair of unearned runs on one hit — a two-run homer to Jason Kipnis — and did not factor in the decision against the Indians on Saturday.
Ricky Romero, 1-0, struck out five and walked two while giving up one run on three hits over 8.1 innings Wednesday in a win over Boston.
The Orioles are playing the first game of a weekend series at Rogers Centre in Toronto as we speak. Baltimore is 49-79 against Toronto since 2004 and has not won a season series against the Jays since then. Would someone please have the decency to tell me that’s a typo? They’re looking to rebound from this week’s three-game losing streak, but facing Brandon Morrow won’t do them any favors.
For good measure, here is an update on the World Champs!
The 5-2 Cardinals waited out a rain delay to open at home against the Cubs this afternoon, but thus far the weather can’t stop them from their appointed rounds. They lead the NL in on-base and slugging percentage, and are second in runs and team batting average, hitting .301. For the first time in 10 years, Cardinal fans are opening up their morning web site to find someone not named Albert Pujols leading the National League in most offensive categories. That person is now third baseman David Freese, who has at least a hit or an RBI in six games, and two hits in five of those games.
Freese hit .545 in last year’s NLCS, setting a Major League postseason record with 21 hits, and was the MVP of both the league championship and World Series. 11-year veteran Kyle Lohse is already 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA. But it sure was different looking over in that Cardinal dugout on Opening Day, and not seeing Tony LaRussa. The man this year is Mike Matheny, and a few familiar faces like Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman are still there. Berkman had an MRI today, revealing a partially torn calf muscle. Projected return is Tuesday.
When the opener finally got going, the Cubs scored nine runs through four innings, but the Cardinals scored five of their own in the fifth, and 9-5 is how it ended.
Steve will be back on Monday to catch us up to date on all the happenings around baseball. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.