They all stink. After a long, dark winter of expectation, no less than 30 Major League Baseball teams emerged from Spring Training with World Series aspirations.
Now, after six games, we can safely say that those dreams are dead for, at minimum, 24 teams.
Sure, some fortunate band of upstarts will sneak into one of the Wild Card spots but for all intents and purposes, the season is over for the Yankees, Blue Jays, Angels, Tigers, and Giants. None of these teams can even boast a winning record, let alone claim they have designs on post-season play.
Sad but true, the damage of slipping to fourth or even, gasp, fifth place is too much to bare with just 156 games remaining.
Each of these teams features gapping holes in their rosters. And if there is one thing I know about baseball, it is the team you start the season with is always identical to the team you field during the final games of the year. It’s just science.
Aces No More
Furthermore, the entire power structure in the baseball world has completely shifted. No longer is high-end pitching the sole pursuit of savvy general managers. After the weekend performances of Stephen Strasburg, R.A. Dickey, Justin Verlander, Matt Cain, David Price. All these pitchers got rocked on the weekend. The age of the ace is dead. Long live the innings eater.
Youth is Served
Overpriced aces? No thanks. Give me the kid with the 97 mph heat making his first professional appearance above high-A, thankyouverymuch. Jose Fernandez made “headlines” (he plays for the Marlins, let’s be real) when he unexpected broke camp with Miami’s big club at the tender age of 20. Fernandez made his big league debut against the Mets in New York yesterday, looking every bit the part of a Major League pitcher.
Fernandez struck out eight batters over five innings of work, allowing just a single walk and one run. Fernandez showed off all the goodies that made scouts drool, blowing Mets hitters away with his 97 mph fastball up in the zone and showing the finesse with his curveball that makes pitching in the bigs at this point a reality.
Fernandez will struggle but at least it gives Marlins fans something to cheer about this season. The only other reason to watch Marlins baseball is off to an ugly start to the year, with just two doubles and 10 strikeouts in 24 plate appearances all Giancarlo Stanton has to show for himself thus far.
The Silver Lining
While the above-section on aces was obviously in jest, Stephen Strasburg did have a bit of a rough outing against a Reds team currently swinging hot bats from top to bottom. Strasburg allowed six runs 5.1 innings, walking four and throwing the second most pitches in a game of his young careers.
Not really one for the highlight reel, though it did feature one pitch for the highlight reel. Stephen Strasburg struck out Joey Votto with two runners on in the second inning with the game still tied. He did so on a ridiciulous change up, a pitch that featured almost ten full inches of arm-side run, all while moving 90 miles per hour.
Crazy. Not often you can make Joey Votto look completely ridiculous, especially so for right-handed pitchers.
All Upton Everything
Did you guys know the Arizona Diamondbacks traded Justin Upton to the Atlanta Braves? They did, and all Justin Upton’s done since joining the BARVES is hit five home runs, including this walkoff shot which came two batters after his older brother hit a bomb to center to tie the game.
RELATED: this photo is spectacular.
RELATED: the win probability graph from this Cubs/Barves game is pretty spectacular in its own right.
The Prodigal Son returns amid jeers, props
Josh Hamilton returned to Texas this weekend for this first time as a member of the Angels and for the first time since he made some rather pointed remarks about the “quality” of the Rangers fanbase. Hamilton claimed Dallas and the surrounding area is “not a baseball town” as football is the number one attraction.
However accurate Hamilton’s statements might be, it was not taken lightly but the Rangers faithful who welcomed him to their flock with open arms. Rangers fans made sure Josh Hamilton knew, in no uncertain terms, they weren’t happy with his choice of words.
Fans brought props to the ballpark, pretending they were reading the newspaper during Hamilton’s at bat. YOU SLY DOGS! Why I never! The really touched all the bases on that way. Speaking of touching all the bases, Josh Hamilton is yet to touch’em all as an Angel. In fact, Josh Hamilton has just one extra base hit to his name in 29 plate appearances, with 10 strikeouts and three walks to go with his four singles.
Rangers fans weren’t the only petulant children dressed as adult baseball fans this weekend. The Toronto Blue Jays welcomed back their former manager John Farrell after he orchestrated an deft exit from his contract to become the manager of the Boston Red Sox.
Jays fans gave Farrell what for on Friday night, booing the guy who managed their club and anyone who looked like him. The booed him when he came out to check on injured players, they booed the pitching coach at the off chance he might be Farrell. The Jays lost two of three to the Red Sox but the fans — more than 120000 of them who packed the Rogers Centre over the weekend — made up for it with boos.
At least it supplied the below image, which is rather terrific. Stay in school!
Round and Round
Mariano Rivera is back! Will Middlebrooks is red hot! Chris Davis has a million RBI. Michael Morse gives the Mariners…exactly what they wanted? The Astros haven’t won a game in a week. Clayton Kershaw is pretty awesome.