Ron Washington isn't ready to say his team is the best in the bigs, and a chat with Jose Altuve.
Ian Kinsler is not a sabermetrician, but he is a heckuva baseball player and a logical enough guy. So, it only seemed natural to ask the All-Star second baseman if he thinks his Rangers are the best team in baseball.
Fans were treated to weird baseball in Boston when the O's and Sox resorted to using position players as pitchers.
The Weekend Takeaway
Everyone loves a good dose of weird baseball, and that’s precisely what fans at Fenway Park were treated to on Sunday afternoon. The Orioles capped off their first sweep of the Red Sox in Boston since 1994, but that does not even begin to describe what transpired on Yawkey Way.
In one of the most bizarre goat-to-hero stories you will ever see, designated hitter Chris Davis hit like a pitcher… and then pitched like one, too. Davis began the afternoon by collecting a platinum sombrero, added a double-play ball in his sixth at-bat, and wound up 0-for-8 by the time the 17-inning marathon was over. But with the media preparing to make Davis the butt of many a Monday joke, Davis put the joke on the hometown nine, hurling two shutout innings to earn the win.
Mariano Rivera's injury isn't just a blow for the Yankees.
The Thursday Takeaway Joe Blanton pitched a shutout for the Phillies. Bryce Harper drove home the game-winning run for the Nationals. The Royals won at home for the first time this season.
And none of it matters, because Mariano Riverawrecked his knee. He did not slip off the mound. He was not scrambling to field a bunt. He did not trip while covering first base. Rivera was doing something else that virtually every pitcher does and that he has thoroughly enjoyed doing throughout his career: shagging balls during batting practice.
Stick around long enough in the business of covering baseball and you're bound to hear accusations of bias, particularly when you bring a little extra vitriol to an analysis of somebody else's favorite team. Let's face it: Even the homeliest of franchises is somebody's favorite team, and the homelier they are, the higher the chance that its fan base gets a wee bit sensitive when folks come a-piling on. After getting under a few more skins than usual, I started this project a few weeks ago as a way of making light of the grudges, great and small, that I bear against every team—including the ones for whom I cheer when I'm kicking back on the couch or at the ballpark. Welcome back to the Hate List, where I've got something against your team.
Things might not look cheery in Houston, but J.D. Martinez is trying to turn the tides.
The Thursday Takeaway
On February 29, the BP team pitched 14 breakout candidates for the 2012 season. If the first two weeks are any indication, though, we may have missed a big one.
There aren’t many bright spots on the Astros, who are 5-8 to start the year and may struggle to maintain even that .385 winning percentage through the summer. But outfielder J.D. Martinez—who .274/.319/.423 as a rookie in 2011—has officially announced his arrival by emerging as one of the hottest hitters in the league through 13 games.
What are some of the big questions surrounding the AL and NL Central?
Continuing what I started with the two East divisions on Friday, I've identified one nagging question I have about each team coming out of spring training, one loose thread that I can't resist tugging upon as the season nears. Today, it's the two Central divisions.
Soreness and tendinitis plague several ballplayers just before the regular season begins.
Michael Pineda, New York Yankees (Right Shoulder Tendinitis)
Pineda complained about shoulder soreness only a few days ago, and a subsequent MRI revealed right shoulder tendinitis. Pineda’s has thrown with slightly less velocity this spring, but he did not complain of any soreness until after his start last Friday. He averaged roughly 94 mph last year and sat consistently in the low 90s this spring, but had been playing it off as nothing. The good news is that there is no major structural damage, so Pineda should be able to resume throwing in about two weeks.
Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers (Left Groin Tightness)
Hamilton’s latest injury is tightness in his left groin. He underwent sports hernia surgery in November on his left side, so any soreness or tightness this far away from the surgical date is expected, but it’s also a little concerning. It’s common to have soreness when returning to full activities following surgery, and normal soreness keeps players out for a few days. Right now, this is a day-to-day issue.