In Cactus League action today, the Brewers beat the Rangers 5-3. The big story however was Yu Darvish facing Ryan Braun.
Darvish dazzled in 4 scoreless innings, striking out 4. He did walk 3 however and his last two starts has had difficulty controlling his pitches. Braun was 0/2 against Yu, and finished the day 0/2 with a walk.
To say Ryan Braun is struggling this Spring would be an understatement. He couldn’t even get himself up for an appearance against the second biggest story in the Cactus League (Braun himself was #1). Braun is now batting .059 in Spring Training. Guess that’s what happens when your testosterone goes back to normal levels. I’m not saying, I’m just saying.
Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein made two huge off-season moves. Both of them paid off on Tuesday. The first was trading Andrew “Cash Money” Cashner and his 103 MPH gas to the Padres for Anthony Rizzo. Jed Hoyer drafted Rizzo and has now traded for him twice. Epstein has traded for him once, traded him away once, and was also responsible for drafting him. The other large move for the dynamic brain trust in Chicago was dumping Carlos Zambrano for Chris Volstad.
Rizzo was 1/1 with a HR and 2 RBI on Tuesday. Volstad threw 3 scoreless innings, allowing just 2 hits. It’s addition by subtraction in Chi-Town and the plan will work.
Manny Ramirez has his first hit of the Spring. Home run. He and Cespedes are the Bash Boys 2. The OG Bash Boys were Jose “Can’t Play in Mexico” Canseco and Mark “Ryan Braun and I are Both Innocent” McGwire.
Break up the Seattle Mariners and Oakland A’s. Both are a best in the Cactus League 9-3. This is not supposed to be how the AL West was won.
Yu Darvish is human after all. He walked 4 and gave up 3 hits. $111M just doesn’t go as far as it Yu-sed too.
Drew Pomeranz is ready for the regular season. Another 2 innings, 2 more K’s, zero runs. The Rockies Rookie is proving he belongs. I had no doubt. Rockies fans got on me when I said he was the best pitcher Colorado had. Perhaps now they’ll listen. Or not. Either way.
“You’ve had this extra pair of gloves the whole time?”
“Yeah, we’re in the Rockies.”
All that hype. All that talk. Pujols. CJ Wilson. Yu Darvish. Angels. Rangers. Even the Athletics. Manny. Cespedes.
And here we sit. The Seattle Mariners have the best record in all of the Cactus League. They are now 6-1, plus 4-0 on the road. Not that it means much in Spring Training. Not that any of those wins mean a damn thing in Spring Training. Still with Jesus Montero, Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley, the M’s have some serious talent to build around. Each of them are playing extremely well this Spring. Throw in “The Condor”, aka Michael Saunders, and Carlos Peguero and Seattle looks a little sunnier. Although at 6’5″ 245 lbs, Peguero would blot out the sun should he make it to SafeCo Field. Something tells me the Mariners would have no qualms about playing in the shade if he continues to tear the cover off the baseball.
Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve had a Ryan Braun sighting. Although with the glare coming off his smile lately, I’m not sure it was him.
No, R-Breezy wasn’t holding another press conference with his hair perfectly quaffed. He actually decided to work today and in the process lost a baseball with a 2-run HR. Good for him. I’m sure he’s clean. And by that I mean, showered after the game today. Maybe he even used a little Axe body spray while he was at it.
Got my first look at Baby Japanese Jesus today, although it was via live streaming video. I wish I was there in person. Would have been fun to see.
Anyway, I watched the first inning versus the San Diego Padres. Yu struck out Cameron Maybin looking on a nasty curveball. He also fanned Carlos Quentin on a slider that CQ missed by a foot.
Darvish 1 – MLB 0.
I am excited about both the NL West and AL West this season. Additions like Albert Pujols, Yoenis Cespedes, Manny Ramirez, Melky Cabrera, Carlos Quentin, Yu Darvish and many others, brings an increased focus to West Coast baseball. Plus there are some incredible prospects in both these divisions. Guys like Yonder Alonso (Padres), Jesus Montero (Mariners), Mike Trout (Angels), Jarrod Parker (A’s), Michael Choice (A’s), Jurickson Profar (Rangers), Trevor Bauer (D’Backs), Tyler Skaggs (D’Backs) and Nolan Arenado (Rockies) are all future big league All-Stars.
There is no doubt the top two teams in the AL West, Rangers and Angels, are going to dominate the headlines, but don’t count out the Oakland A’s. They have made some very interesting moves this off-season and refuse to just give up. While I don’t think they can win the division, I do think they will finish above .500, leaving the Mariners destined for last.
The NL West, like just about every year, is just going to beat up on each other, until one team, the Arizona Diamondbacks, pulls away from the pack. The Giants, Dodgers, Padres and Rockies have each improved, but I still believe AZ has the best team.
The East Coast seems to get 99% of the baseball coverage, with the Phillies, Red Sox, Yankees, Braves and Rays leading the way. That’s fine. I understand how major markets and advertising dollars work (I majored in Marketing). I have however, started to see a shift this year. It appears as though MLB.com, ESPN.com, Yahoo, etc have taken notice that there is some seriously good baseball about to be played on the West Coast. I’m seeing a lot of Angels, A’s, Rockies, Rangers, D’Backs, Dodgers and Giants headlines leading the homepages of the previously mentioned sites.
About time. Last time the West Coast got this much love, NWA ran the streets of Los Angeles. Now, it’s the Angels. Although technically they are in Anaheim.
Both the NL West and AL West continue to be the hotbeds of activity in baseball. The latest signing of Yoenis Cespedes only adds to the excitement of what will be an incredible year of baseball on the West Coast. Let’s take a look at WSC’s favorite free agent signings of the 2011-2012 off-season.
Yoenis Cespedes, Oakland A’s – He is going to be fun to watch. I haven’t seen much video, but what I have seen is a sweet swing with opposite field power. Reminds me of Sammy Sosa.
Albert Pujols, LA Angels – The Machine. Enough said.
CJ Wilson, LA Angels – Slots in very nicely to an absolutely dominating rotation. Weaver, Haren, Wilson, Santana. Nasty.
Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers – Hey, if the Yu fits, wear it. Can’t wait to see him pitch a full game versus big league talent. $60 Million. How many Yen is that?
Aaron Harang, LA Dodgers – The man born in San Diego, went to San Diego State and played last season for the Padres will head north up the I-5 to Hollywood. Kershaw and Harang will make a deadly 1-2 combo.
Melky Cabrera, SF Giants – The Milk Man delivers. I don’t know what that means. Giants will be a solid team this year. Last year they couldn’t score any runs. With a few lineup changes and Buster Posey back, how will they do this season?
We don’t have much longer to wait. Baseball is upon us. Who are you most looking forward to seeing play?
Less than a week to go until pitchers and catchers report. Can you feel the excitement?
The Los Angeles Angels have loaded their guns and are ready to battle the Texas Rangers for the AL West. Still, the real sheriff in town is Texas and they won’t give up without a fight.
The Rangers are locked and loaded at every single position and probably have the best lineup 1-9 as anyone in baseball. Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler, Michael Young, Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Adrian Beltre, Mike Napoli, Craig Gentry, David Murphy. That is all kinds of nasty. 6 of those guys will hit at least 20 HRs. They can steal bases. Hit for average. Flat out ball.
On the mound, the rotation is so deep, last year’s ace, Alexi Ogando, might move to the bullpen to straighten that out. The starters seem to be shaping up as follows: Colby Lewis, Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Neftali Feliz and Matt Harrison. Feliz was their closer last year, but the Rangers like his stuff and want to feature him in the rotation. Speaking of featuring, Yu Darvish is the $60 Million Man, and all of Major League Baseball will be watching the youngster from Japan. Joe Nathan joins the Rangers and hopefully can regain his title as one of baseball’s premier closers.
Prospect wise, Jurickson Profar looks like the real deal. At 18 years old, he won’t be joining the big league team anytime soon. He also plays short stop and with Elvis Andrus recently signing a new 3 year deal, it wouldn’t shock me to see Profar change positions. He reminds me of a young Justin Upton, who at one time was also a short stop.
Despite everything they Angels did to make their team better, I believe Texas still wins this division. The only thing that can stop them is themselves or a more serious Josh Hamilton relapse.