Here we go. Mr. Saturday night. As if this game couldn’t get any bigger. As if it wasn’t already between the 2 best NL teams. As if Stephen Strasburg wasn’t making his Southern Cali debut. As if Matt Kemp wasn’t a big enough name for you.
Bryce the Hype Harper makes his major league debut and the stage couldn’t get much bigger, at least for a regular season game. Los Angeles. Chavez Ravine. Hollywood.
Under the lights. Yup. Seems about right.
No pressure though kid. And yes Harper, at 19, is a kid.
Well, let’s see what you got, son. The world is watching.
## UPDATE: Lost in all the Nats/Dodgers hoopla, Mike Trout made his major league debut Saturday. Hitless. 0/4. Trout batted lead-off for the Angels who won 2-1 over Cleveland. We like Trout here at the Culture, hoping he and Pujols can get things going for the Angels who are terrible so far this year.
## UPDATE: Harper finished the game 1/3 with his first major league hit, a double over Matt Kemp’s head in center. He also added the go-ahead run in the 9th with a sac-fly RBI. Dude looks like the real deal. And I’m digging the mohawk/mullet thing he’s got going on.
First, let’s get the obvious out of the way. I am super pissed Stephen Strasburg is not pitching in his hometown of San Diego this week. #FAIL Nats. Should’ve lined that rotation up better. Yet, where there is failure, there is opportunity. And so we shall look at the glass half full and see that out of San Diego’s loss comes Los Angeles’ gain.
Strasburg will now start in a prime time, Saturday night matchup with the Dodgers and Matty Kemp. He likes it when I call him Matty. Now, I suppose since I do REALLY want to see Strasburg pitch and LA is not that far from SD, I could drive up the 5 to check that ish out. But then, you consider traffic and yeah, no. Not happening. So, I’ll pull up a stool at a nearby local brewery house, pub, eatery type thing and watch the heavy-weight fight. Kemp v Strasburg. 50/50 v 100mph.
Let’s do some analysis (don’t worry, no WAR reports… grrrr…. grumble grumble):
2012 MLB Stat-Leaders (HITTING)
HR: 9 – Matt Kemp -1st
RBI: 22- Matt Kemp -1st
AVG: .474 Matt Kemp -1st
Hits: 27 Matt Kemp -1st
Runs: 17 Matt Kemp -1st
Note: I could go on, but you get the point. He predicted 50/50 (50 HR/50 SB) this season. He’s on pace for about 90HR currently. He’ll need to start hitting singles doubles and triples if he wants to get to 50 SBs. Currently on pace for 12. Run Matt, Run.
2012 MLB Stat-Leaders (PITCHING)
ERA: 1.08 Strasburg -5th
K: 25 Strasburg -4th
IP: 25 Strasburg -9th
Note: He could easily be first in both IP and K, but the Nats have Strasburg on a serious pitch count. 95 pitches and or the 6th inning seems to be about it.
Oh and by the way, this match up will also feature currently the two best teams in the National League, with the Dodgers leading the NL West at a 12-3 record and Washington leading the NL East at 12-4. It looks like it will be Chad Billingsly opposing Strasburg, but don’t rule out a possible Clayton Kershaw v Strasburg match up.
And poop on my Diamondbacks who are now below .500 and without Daniel Hudson and Chris Young for a few weeks. Not good.
Wow. Well, congrats to everyone involved. So Magic Johnson is now the face of the Dodgers. Interesting. We’ll see what happens. We know one thing for sure, he’s got Matt Kemp on the payroll and that’s a pretty big asset. Oh, yeah, and that Clayton Kershaw guy.
So when Tony Gwynn, Jr. stepped into the batter’s box today against the Giants at Scottsdale Stadium, I was in attendance for the first $2 Billion dollar team. The rest of the game was ho hum. Matt Kemp did not play and I was really hoping to be able to watch him.
One guy who really did impress me was Sergio Romo for the Giants. That dude is nasty. Crazy delivery, tons of movement, sick changeup that every hitter was out in front of. I like it.
Oh yeah and this just in: Todd Coffey is a big boy.
Yoenis Cespedes sure is fun to say. Let’s hope he’s as fun to watch. I have a feeling he’s going to be. Anyone want to bet he goes yard today in his first start with the Oakland A’s? Unfortunately I’m back in San Diego, so I cannot attend the game, but I’ll update his progress as best I can.
Cespedes start brings us to the next question, when will we see the other two top prospects, Jurickson Profar and Mike Trout? I figured for sure Trout would have started every possible game for the Angels, but he has yet to sniff the field. Something smells fishy. Get it? Trout? Fishy?
Same with Profar for Texas. Get on the field. Sometimes I think GM’s baby their prospects a little too much.
Speaking of getting on the field, we’ve had a Matt Kemp sighting. I know, he’s been playing. (Kind of). He went deep yesterday and is gearing up for his 50/50 season. I say the odds of him doing it are less than 50/50. Like way less.
##Cespedes, 2/2 with a walk, a run scored, 2 RBI, a HR and a single. Not bad for your first appearance.
Strange things are going on in Los Angeles. The Lakers are no longer the team. Somehow the Clippers have stolen much of the spotlight. And the Dodgers have been surpassed by the Angels. Not good. Bankrupt with a new owner soon. Hopefully this one doesn’t run the team like his own personal piggy bank.
Still the Dodgers have the talent to get it done in the NL West.
The Los Angeles Dodgers feature a starting rotation of Cy Young Award Winner, Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano and Ted Lilly. It is not going to match the other LA team in terms of pure dominance, but really how many teams can match the Angels pitching staff? I expect Harang and Kershaw to lead the team, with the rest falling in line nicely behind them.
The line-up does have a few holes, but with Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Tony Gwynn Jr., James Loney and Dee Gordon, they will score some runs. They could use an upgrade at catcher and third base. If they are in the hunt come July, look for them to fill one of those needs.
I would love to see Scott Van Slyke make the big league club, perhaps take over the everyday job in left field. I always enjoyed watching his pops, Andy Van Slyke, play even though he always beat my Cubs. That dude gave it all, every single day and his son might be even more talented. At 6’5″ and 220 lbs he is definitely bigger.
My guess is the Dodgers will hang with the D’Backs and Giants until the dog days of August before one of those teams pulls away from the rest of the NL West. Kemp will compete for the MVP, which he should have won last season and Kershaw will be in the hunt for a 2nd straight Cy Young Award.
Who has it worse? The Los Angeles Dodgers with their Frank McCourt disaster/PR nightmare/bankruptcy/divorce, or the New York Mets with their Bernie Madoff ponzi-scheme/fraud/arrest?
Based simply on who will be able to recover the fastest, it’s got to be the Mets. It is going to take years for this all to play out. The Mets are cutting payroll by more than $50M this season – the most ever in the history of MLB. Fans are hiding. Ticket prices are being slashed by as much as 30% and even that won’t be enough to get butts in the seats. They had to let their best player, Jose Reyes, walk away for basically nothing. (I believe they are eligible for compensation draft picks).
Major League baseball is loaning them money along with other suitors, but it won’t make a lick of difference. This is a cluster “f” of epic proportions.
So too, is the LA Dodgers situation, although it appears that once a new owner is in place, the ship will be righted. The Dodgers, unlike the Mets, have a boat load of talent on their club, with Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw and could’ve, would’ve, should’ve been MVP in Matt Kemp. Ryan Braun- cough, cheater, cough.
One can also look at the divisions each team is in. The NL West each year is wide open. Which ever team establishes a little swagger and gets hot usually wins that division. It would not be out of the realm of possibilities for the Dodgers to win the West. On the other hand, the Mets have zero chance of winning the NL East. The Phillies are loaded, the Braves are getting better and better, the Nationals are building an incredible team and the Marlins now have money.
Yes, I’d say the New York Mets are in a world of trouble, locked into a metaphorical jail cell, much like the one that will be housing Bernie Madoff for years to come.