The young season has produced some interesting story lines, and others just seem to be apart of an alarming L.A. sports teams mantra of blowing for at least the first month of the season.
The last week has been a gamut of emotions for the American public. Culminating with the events of last night, all anyone in Boston, or the whole United States wanted was the men behind the Boston Marathon bombing to be brought to justice. One was, last night in a fire-fight with police in a suburb of Boston. The other is on the run. It is all a tragic situation, the bombing and the ensuing standoff/chase with police that occurred last night. During these times, we turn to things like sports, movies, T.V., music, etc., in order to escape the harsh realities that we have to now face in our society. Baseball has been one of those outlets the last week and it has been a wild week nonetheless.
1. A Brave New Beginning:
Last year, the Atlanta Braves were a wild card team, that some may say, were screwed out of any opportunity to advance by a half-assed call and an even more half-assed explanation. This year, with the power of Justin Upton, it would appear they won’t have to worry about any funny business. The Braves sit at 13-2, including an unblemished record of 7-0, on the road. Upton is hitting .328/.394/.862 with nine homers and 13 RBIs, essentially equating to beast mode for ATL and a coup de grace to the rest of the league. Justin’s brother, B.J., on the other hand has an average of .167 with two homers and three RBIs and is slowly killing my fantasy team along with rain delays. Then there’s also the case of Evan Gattis, who with five home runs, 12 RBIs and a .333 OBP is making things rough for Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, when Brian McCann comes back from injury. McCann is a solid catcher, don’t get me wrong, but do you mess with the serenity of having an ‘out-of-nowhere’ talent like Gattis? No.
2. Boston Strong:
Early on Monday afternoon, hours after the final pitch had been tossed for the Boston Red Sox, two bombs went off at the Boston Marathon, killing three – including an eight-year-old – and wounding hundreds. The next day, with heavy hearts, the Red Sox played to a, 7-2, victory over the Cleveland Indians as a Boston Strong “617” jersey hung in their dugout. The magic of Jackie Bradley Jr. had passed, what the Sox had going for them that day, wasn’t magic, but something was definitely in the air at Progressive Field.
Magic or not, the Red Sox though, have been on a tear lately and much thanks to Mike Napoli, who after eight games was batting .176/.200/.412 with two homers and four RBIs. ‘Naps’ is now up to .262/.273/.492 still only with two homers, but 17 RBIs off of one triple and seven doubles. He’s beginning to not only just hit, but hit into the gaps and with some power. Aside from the stellar offense, pitching has really brought the Sox to their 11-4 record. Clay Buchholz is un-hittable, in 22 innings, he’s given up 11 hits, striking out 23 and only allowing one earned run for a record of 3-0.
It felt like a false sense of security, the way this Sox season started, but now with tragedy behind them and a city that they have to win for, what seemed like a false sense is somewhat becoming reality.
3. Is This Really What We Paid For?:
Again, it’s early. But at 4-10 for the Angels and at 7-8 for the Dodgers it’s getting pretty sad in the City of Angels when it comes to baseball. The Angels payroll is at a relatively decent $127 million, good for seventh in the league trailing my beloved Red Sox and the current World Series Champion San Francisco Giants. I firmly believe the Angels can turn their season around. They obviously can’t afford another start to the season like last year, but as I said last week, there is just too much talent on this team to not succeed. Hamilton is finally hitting, Trout is slowly coming out of his sophomore slump, Puljos is old but he’s still at a level higher than most.
The Problem with the Angels lies with their starting roto and bullpen. With guys like Joe Blanton and whoever the hell else they have going for them on a day to day basis, they just aren’t going to win games. It’s almost as if the Red Sox traded a curse to the greater Los Angeles area and it carried over to Anaheim.
Speaking of Los Angeles, and their beloved-ed Dodgers, there’s about $220 million worth of complaints for Dodgers fans. It’s really almost comical how bad they are, almost as bad as the Red Sox were for most of last year. I wonder why that could be…… Oh yeah! That’s because the Sox traded all their defunct and declining “big time” players to the Dodgers, and dumped the curse of the last two seasons on those suckers. The Sox couldn’t hit, couldn’t pitch and generally, were just a terrible team. The Dodgers started off hot, pitching was solid, they were playing small ball – not too many homers, 12th in the NL in homers – and the City of Angelenos were ecstatic at their new-look Dodgers, then the hitting stopped, Kershaw was lit up for three homers and five runs a day ago, and Matt Kemp could swing at a large marsupial and miss.
Kemp has been downright pathetic this season and is a shining example of this craptastic team. Going 10 for 55 with five RBIs (somehow), five runs scored and a whopping 18 strikeouts. Kemp will swing at anything hanging outside the zone whether it’s running in on his hands, or sliding away from the plate, he’s gonna swing at it. I’m not saying, per say, trade Kemp now, I am however saying, float it out there Dodgers, see what you can get back. Maybe you can trade with the Yankees and accrue all their bad luck too.
4. The Yankees Suck And Derek Jeter Is Still Hurt, Ha!:
That’s it. Travis Hafner is for sure juicing, they’re only good pitcher is C.C. Sabathia, of course, Tex-Mex is still out, Nick Swisher isn’t walking through that door, Alex Rodriguez isn’t walking through that door, Mickey Mantle isn’t walking through that door, and Derek Jeter isn’t gonna walk through that door till July. So even if you are at 8-6 and are second in the AL East, suck it Yankees, good luck with your senior citizen lineup and your crap-ass pitching. No stats, no reasoning, just good old fashioned fan-hate.
Cameron Heffernan is co-creator of this fine site and an avid fan of baseball. He is one of the only people on earth to still own a pet rock. He didn’t purchase it, merely picked it up outside and said, “hey, a pet rock.” It was only a rock, but he doesn’t need to know that.