In honor of Ian Kinsler’s six-for-six night yesterday, I offer six thoughts about the first week of the baseball season:
1. I love how unpredictable the beginning of each season is—as of this morning, division leaders included the Orioles, Royals, Mariners, Marlins and Padres. Also, it is interesting to see which random players will breakout the first week or so. Some have staying power, like Pujols, who was hitting .413 on April 16, 2001, and others, like Tuffy Rhodes, who hit three homeruns on opening day for the Cubs in 1994 and only five more the rest of his career, whose time in the spotlight lasts about as long as Levi Johnston’s. Only six of the current top 12 offensive players in my fantasy league were actually selected in the draft (overall pick in brackets):
1. Kinsler (16)
2. Longoria (27)
3. Cabrera (5)
6. Pujols (3)
7. Nelson Cruz (144)
8. Adam Jones
9. Adam Lind
10. Soriano (23)
11. Aaron Hill
12. Orlando Hudson
I have to admit I had not even heard of some of these players before this week. Bonifacio sounds like an Italian bread.
2. After the first few weeks of every season, I always feel like that recent dude on the Batchelor who regretted his selection (although I won’t be trying to swap my players on national TV). Two players that I really wanted and did not get, Harden and Carpenter, have started fairly well, but at this point I’m not too upset that they did not land on my roster (that said, Harden has 18 Ks in only nine innings pitched and Carpenter has been lights out (no runs in 10 innings) but has already end up on the 15-day DL). The same can’t be said about Padres pitcher Chris Young. He’s been a mainstay on the Killers’ staff for the past few years but I shied away this year because of the supposed loss of velocity he exhibited this spring. Well, he is currently the ninth best starting pitcher and I could definitely use his wins and ratios.
3. How impressive was Ian Kinsler’s night? Only one other player has ever hit for the cycle and has gone six-for-six in the same game—Larry Twitchell, and he did it 120 years ago! There have only been 19 six-for-six games in the AL since 1940 (oddly it occurred three times in 2004 (and two others went six-for-seven that season)). His five runs scored was only one off of the AL record for runs scored in a game (a record shared by the random triumvirate of Johnny Pesky, Spike Owen and Joe Randa). Plus he stole a base. What a game!
4. Clayton Kershaw looked every bit like a future Cy Young award winner last night. Thirteen Ks and only one hit allowed in seven innings. Let’s hope for the Killers’ sake he can keep locating the curve and that last year’s 1.50 WHIP was just an aberration.
5. What is the deal with Gary Sheffield? He has had more bad break-ups than Liz Taylor. His off the field issues often overshadow his amazing stats. Of all players with at least eight All-Star Game appearances, only Sheff has represented five different teams (San Diego, Florida, Los Angles, Atlanta and New York). Roberto Alomar, Clemens, Gossage and George Kell have represented four.
6. Number of the Day: 60—the over/under line on the number games Mauer will miss this season. Call me an optimist—I’m going with the under. The Twins really need him in the lineup. I wish they would have signed a bat this offseason (Abreu would have been a great fit and Atkins would have been a better choice than Crede at 3B. Heck, Andruw Jones for up to $1.5mm would have been worth a shot). At this point, the Twins might as well pull Brunansky or Gaetti out of retirement. Some better starting pitching would help as well.