Drew Fairservice

Recent Posts

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Kansas City Royals

Despite all the rainouts and postponements, the baseball season is a week old. Most teams have six games under their belt, some seven, and the poor old Tigers have played just five.

It is obviously way too soon to draw any grand or sweeping conclusions about the year. There are hot starts and cold April slumps well under way, but nothing one good day at the dish can’t fix. Any time a couple base hits can raise your batting average by 50 or 100 points, you know it’s early.

It is not a time for making bold pronouncements about the season but there is no reason we cannot shine a light on some of the early season quirks and oddities.

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MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays

Roy Halladay returned to Toronto, just for one night, to deliver the first pitch before the Jays’ home opener on Friday. The smitten crowd showered the former Jays ace with a rousing, heartfelt ovation as he rushed out to the mound, acknowledged the roars, tipped his cap to the visiting Yankees, and threw a cutter to Mark Buehrle, the ceremonial catcher and Halladay’s opposite number for many a beat writer’s dream – the two hour pitchers duel.

It was sort of surreal to watch from a distance, in the auxiliary press box furiously trying to find highlights of this monster home run Giancarlo Stanton pounded at nearly the same moment as the speakers boomed Halladay’s name in Toronto. The Blue Jays best player for a decade then did what he always did – he wasted no time. To blink was to miss it, a hacky analog for his brilliant career.

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MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays

Mashiro Tanaka made his highly-anticipated debut tonight for the New York Yankees, starting against the Blue Jays in Toronto’s home opener. With a throng of Japanese media on hand on top of the typically large New York contingent and a sold-out crowd, it was the perfect storm.

#TANAK did not disappoint under the watchful eyes of the Yankees “universe.” His final line looks great (7IP, 6 hits, 3 runs, 8 strikeouts, 0 walks) but failed to capture how truly in control Tanaka appeared for most of the game.

The Jays poked and slapped their share of singles through the Yankees’ infield in the early going but Tanaka really settled in after the second inning and mowed down the Blue Jays for the next five frames, only failing to retire Edwin Encarnacion (one of the AL’s premier sluggers, it should be noted.)

What did we learn about Masahiro Tanaka tonight? Splitters. There will be lots and lots of splitters. As far as the eye can see, splitters on splitters on splitters.

There will be splitters because the splitter is an insane pitch for Tanaka, especially against hitters seeing him for the first time.According to Brooks Baseball, Tanaka threw 24 total splitters, 10 of which the Blue Jays swung through and four others that went for hits.

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MLB: Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox

MLB.tv is in its 12th season of existence, a wonderful service and piece of technology that allows fans to watch their favorite team no matter their geographic location.

That is what and how MLB.tv should primarily be used – to follow your favorite team. So do that, watch them with hope in your heart.

But it also enables hardcore baseball fans to watch all the other, out-of-market games. They can track their fantasy players or watch their second favorite team, provided their parents did a poor enough job raising them to allow for such trite weakness.

While MLB.tv allows for a mosaic mode to watch multiple games at once, this is for degenerates or crazy people only.

Most people want to pick one game and watch it. Enjoy it. Get into it. But which game?

That’s a matter of personal preference. If you need some guidance, allow this list to determine the ten teams you most want to AVOID on your MLB.tv surfing, starting with the least desirable option in baseball right now.

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MLB: San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks

Paul Goldschmidt owns Tim Lincecum. Paul Goldschmidt hits Tim Lincecum hard every time they face off. Every. Time. This is not a new phenomenon, as last season in this space we examined the impact of Goldschmidt’s Timmy tuning on his career line.

The beat went on yesterday afternoon, as Goldschimdt homered in his first plate appearance of the year against Lincecum. He later singled but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. It was the sixth career home run for Goldschimidt off the two-time Cy Young winner in just 21 career plate appearances to that point. Goldy can claim 12 hits and two walks in his 26 career PAs versus Timmy. That’s a lot.

It is unusual for one hitter to dominate a pitcher as great* as Tim Lincecum, one would think. In fact someone asked me just that on Twitter: do other great pitchers have hitters who own them as Goldschimdt owns the Giants former ace?

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MLB: Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates

The video replay system isn’t perfect. It’s better than what came before (nothing) and will be improved upon as the years go by. For now, it works. It isn’t pretty but for now, it’s a success?

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Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays

One day, somebody is going to sign one of these (relatively) cheap deals for a young player and everyone will hate it. It will look bad from the start and only get worse as the years go on. The Manny Corpas Corollary, let’s call it.

This isn’t that deal. Chris Archer is pitcher with a bright future. Another triumph of the Rays “low and slow” development program, Archer made nearly 40 starts at AAA before the Rays called him up for good in 2013, when he started 23 times for Tampa Bay and pitched well, putting up a 3.07 ERA over 128 innings.

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