Thursday, April 13

12 Quick Hits: 4/13/06

First off, it's two weeks in. I'm not finishing the capsules. That kind of annoys me, but it's my procrastination, hence it's my fault. I'll start earlier next year. Anyway, onto this.

1. Round 2 of the Beanball Wars - Mets @ Nats

So after last week's beanball extravaganza, the Nats and Mets have met for another 3-game series, this time in Washington. Granted, MLB did tell them to back off, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they will. Matter of fact, pretty much the only thing that we've learned from this series is that the Nationals pitching has sucked so far. Even Livan couldn't bail them out today. (Just imagine there's a link to the pasting the Nats got delivered today where the "for" two sentences up is, okay?)

2. Injury Train Rides Again - Los Angeles Dodgers

Yikes. Talk about a potential trainwreck. Gagne might be out for the season (again), Nomar's already on the DL, Kenny Lofton's on the DL, and Olmedo Saenz and Kent are day-to-day. This right here is why I'm not a huge fan of the Dodgers - too many injury risks. One thing that the Dodgers were smart in doing that the Giants weren't is that they thought ahead to actually sign an ex-closer (Danys Baez) to close in case Gagne went down again. At least Nomar was largely an experiment, too.

3. Whither Pitching? - Chicago Cubs

So we already knew Prior was injured along with Wood. That's not a surprise. Where the surprise lies is that everyone else has sucked. Well, and Maddux is pitching out of this world so far- all the way back to the mid-90's. What wasn't expected was that the rest of the rotation would suck this badly. When Zambrano's struggling, that's when you know you have problems.

4. Tigers on Top? - Detroit Tigers

Blame Chris Shelton. 7 HR already? I mean, they're still probably the third-best team in the division behind Chicago and Cleveland, but didn't we say the same thing about Chicago last year? Could be interesting, and at the least, Shelton's hot start deserves some mention. What's also playing into the Tigers' favor is do they know they're not supposed to be this good? This is a young team, after all.

5. Wait 'Til Next Year - Tampa Bay Devil Rays

They knew the pitching was going to be bad, but this bad? Kazmir's not horrible, but the rest of this staff is dreadful. Textbook example: Mark Hendrickson ...well, kinda sucks, but he did throw a three-hit shutout against the Orioles. Of course, after that he promptly goes on the 15-day DL. Now Aubrey Huff is injured, too. Great. At least Chad Orvella is back with the team.

6. The Mazzone Experiment - Baltimore Orioles

Two weeks in, Eric Bedard has performed better than he had last season. As for Daniel Cabrera, he doesn't seem to be as quick to catch the information presented to him by Mazzone; while he has a ton of strikeouts, he also issued 8 walks in his last game. Hoo boy. Evidently he was also not working batters like Mazzone prefers. Consider this a recording for posterity.

7. Beginning/Ending - Boston Red Sox

Hey, look, a team I haven't covered yet! Well, Keith Foulke was supposed to be the closer, but he's struggled. Jonathan Papelbon, though, hasn't. Better performances, better numbers, but more youth. Statistically speaking, there's no reason that Papelbon shouldn't be the closer; non-statistically, you can look at youth and loyalty. My guess is that it'll change fairly soon, in a month or two.

8. What Centerfield Savior? - Texas Rangers

Oops. Evidently Brad "Mendoza" Wilkerson wasn't the savior the Rangers are looking for. The only real mitigating factor is that everyone has sucked offensively for them so far. Ironically, Alfonso Soriano has rocked the house - relatively speaking - so far for the Nats. This probably won't last, though.

9. Help Your Cause - Cincinnati Reds

Alternatively, this could be entitled "Arroyo owns Rusch." Arroyo's got 2 HR already, both off of Rusch - both games were Reds wins, too. Ironically, the questionable decisions of giving Rich Aurilia and Tony Womack regular playing time have worked out, god only knows how. Freel's getting regular playing time thanks to our favorite injury-prone player, Ken Griffey, Jr.

10. The Sosa Surprise - Atlanta Braves

So Jorge Sosa had a surprisingly good season last year, so much so that the Braves were counting on him at the tail end of the rotation. That's worked - to the tune of a 11.37 ERA. Ouch. This could get nasty; bet the Braves never thought Horacio Ramirez could be their savior.

11. Michael Barrett >> You - Chicago Cubs

Joining Chris Shelton on the All-First-Two-Weeks Team is Michael Barrett, who's been rocking the cover off the ball since Opening Day. Not that he sucked in the first place, but he's just really good now. This is probably just an April spurt, but we said the same thing about Derrek Lee last year.

12. Next Verse, Same as the First - San Francisco Giants

So the Giants are still old, still have a questionable offense, and still have an injured closer. Armando Benitez should be back somewhat soon, but in the meantime, it's that damn closer by committee thing again. You'd think that they would make a change like the Dodgers did and bring in someone worth a damn who's done this before, but not so much on the forward thinking.