The Mariners raised the anchors and sailed to victory over the Rangers on Wednesday.
The Wednesday Takeaway
The Mariners scored eight runs in the second inning of last night’s game against the Rangers. They fooled all of us, including the worldwide leader’s lead play-by-play man, once. Shame on you, Mariners.
But then they scored eight more in the third, fooling everyone again. Shame on us for thinking that we could predict baseball.
Dusty Baker feels that Aroldis Chapman's best use right now is as Cincinnati's closer, and a conversation with Jesus Montero.
When Sparky Lyle strode from the bullpen the mound at Yankee Stadium during his days as a premier relief pitches in the mid- to late 1970s, organist Eddie Layton would play "Pomp and Circumstance." That probably wouldn't work as a ballpark song these days, but to hear Dusty Baker tell it, perhaps the traditional graduation accompaniment should be played on the sound system at Great American Ball Park when Reds reliever Aroldis Chapman takes the hill.
Justin Smoak isn't producing for the Mariners, and he isn't a particularly interesting character, either, so when you research his woes, you end up in a time warp.
You look for things to write about the Mariners. You watch some games, flip through stats pages, maybe think about clever puns for Justin Smoak. Because probably that hasn't been done to death.
You ponder how Smoak has done since coming over from Texas for Cliff Lee in July 2010. Smoak was supposed to provide power, but he has five homers and isn't hitting or getting on base. Still, that is more homers than Albert Pujols, and he is hitting more and getting on base more often. Also, Smoak is seven years younger and a tad less expensive.
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After getting swept by the Mariners, the Rockies have hit rock bottom.
The Weekend Takeaway
With the National League West seemingly lacking an elite team, Jim Tracy’s imperfect squad was expected to contend for a chance to bring Rocktober back to Denver for the first time since 2009. Instead, the fans at Coors Field have been treated to a sequence of rock bottoms, the most recent of which came over the weekend in a three-game sweep at the hands of the Mariners.
After dropping three in a row to Seattle and four straight overall, Colorado is in the division cellar at 15-25 and has allowed more runs (218) than any other NL team. The Mariners—featuring Kyle Seager in the cleanup spot of their lineup and using starters not named Felix Hernandez—outscored the Rockies 20-13, exposing weaknesses in the home team’s roster each day.
Albert Pujols may be struggling, but there are major-league regulars doing even worse.
Albert Pujols you know about. The $240 million man has yet to get untracked for the Angels and ended the month of April hitting a paltry .217/.265/.304 without a homer. He's hardly the only hitter who has begun 2012 in a funk, though. In fact, 41 other hitters came into Tuesday with True Averages lower than or equal to that of Pujols' .225 in at least 65 plate appearances, i.e., enough to qualify for the batting title. Sure, those are small samples sizes, but we're 14 percent of the way through the season, with one page of the calendar wadded up into a ball, so it's not like we can't at least gawk at the outliers. What follows is a look at a half-dozen AL hitters—none of them as good as Pujols to begin with, admittedly—who are struggling to an even greater degree than the Angels slugger, and where they and their teams might go from here.
Umpires shouldn't settle for "close enough" when it comes to perfection.
The Weekend Takeaway
Did he go? That was the question percolating through every baseball fan’s mind after the White Sox’ Philip Humber threw the 21st perfect game in major-league history against the Mariners on Saturday afternoon.
Brendan Ryan, who pinch-hit for Munenori Kawasaki, worked the count full, fouled off Humber’s first payoff pitch, and then either swung or did not swing at a slider that broke well off the plate outside. But did he go?
Which player do scouts feel is the best unknown major leaguer?
The question was posed to a dozen front-office types and scouts during the final days of spring training: Who is the best player in baseball that nobody knows about? The winner of the highly informal poll was a bit of a surprise, especially since he entered this season having played in just 43 major-league games. Yet there is a strong feeling that Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie won't be a secret much longer.
Yu Darvish makes his first big-league start, while Ian Kinsler signs an extension.
The Monday Takeaway
When Yu Darvish walked back to the Rangers’ dugout after the top of the first inning of his major-league debut, things were looking bleak for both the pitcher and his team. Darvish had allowed seven Mariners to reach base and four of them to cross the plate while throwing 42 pitches and putting Texas in an early hole.
The righty settled down after that, coughing up just one more run in the second inning, and needing only 68 pitches to complete the final 4 2/3 innings of his 5 2/3-inning debut. The four walks, hit batter, and wild pitch on Darvish’s line are a bit worrisome, but some of his early wildness can be chalked up to rookie jitters. And once the Rangers’ offense kicked into gear against Mariners starter Hector Noesi, Darvish grew more comfortable, riding 11 runs of support to his first stateside victory.
Boston's start to the season looks strangely familiar, and Yumania takes the spotlight tonight.
The Weekend Takeaway
Red Sox fans watched the 2011 season come to a close while singing a certain Green Day song, as their team suffered a historic collapse. Well, the calendar says April now, but after a weekend sweep at the hands of the Tigers, it’s as though September never ended.
Detroit walked off with a 3-2 win on Friday, routed Boston 10-0 on Saturday, and finally inflicted the deathblow on Sunday. A 10-7 Red Sox lead in the ninth inning went “poof!” with Miguel Cabrera’s three-run homer off interim closer Alfredo Aceves. A 12-10 Red Sox edge in the 11th inning turned into a 13-12 Tigers victory when Alex Avila deposited a pitch from Mark Melancon over the right-field wall.