Tag:Braves
Posted on: April 4, 2008 4:09 pm
Edited on: April 4, 2008 10:33 pm
 

Slo-Tex, Used Sox, Fat Elvis.

Tex starts slow, finishes strong ... usually
Mark Teixeira, who I've mentioned before as a possible bust this season with the Braves, has started off slow with just a .105 batting average, one homer and two RBI. I'm not telling you this because I'm declaring myself correct -- I'm telling you to say -- this is quite common. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes his recent starts:
  • 2003: 0-for-15 in his first five games.
  • 2004: 8-for-40 (.200) with 2 HR, 11 Ks in his first 11 games.
  • 2005: 11-for-53 (.208) with 2 HR, 6 RBI in his first 13 games.
  • 2006: 12-for-33 (.364) with 0 HR, 3 RBI in his first nine games.
  • 2007: 16-for-75 (.213) with 0 HR, 3 RBI in his first 21 games. 
Same Ol' Red Sox
With 22 of 25 players returning from last year's October squad (missing Eric Hinske, Eric Gagne and Doug Mirabelli), the Red Sox became only the second championship team (2003 Angels) since 1985 to return that many players, according to Elias Sports Bureau. In 2004, the Red Sox replaced eight players. Continuity is important in MLB as well as Fantasy. The fact that the newer players (Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia) know what to expect -- and more importantly, that veterans know what to expect from the newer players -- they should continue to dominate.

Sports Rule No. 492, Section IX, Article b states: You can NOT give yourself a nickname.
Evidently, no one told Lance Berkman that. He nicknamed himself The Big Puma because they are agile, athletic and sleek -- just like him (wink, wink). He does have two stolen bases and he's been legging out doubles and scoring on sac flies -- but I still like Fat Elvis better.
Posted on: March 31, 2008 3:19 pm
Edited on: April 1, 2008 12:49 am
 

The REAL Opening Day! (Part II)

Here's the link to the first part of this blog written earlier today.

12:49 a.m.
Officially winding down, wrapping up, getting ready to heave-ho. Peavy has allowed just three hits in seven innings, and now big Heath Bell comes in to nail down the eighth inning before possibly Hell's Bell's plays before the ninth.

I went to Petco Park last August for an Astros game, coincidentally. I have to say I fell in love with the city, the people I met and the park, without question, the park. From the pristine seats and walking area, to the great food (Rubio's fish tacos were soooo good. Randy Jones BBQ was good, but the sauce on the fish tacos was fantastic. I even wore some of it.)

The park is based adjacent to the Gaslamp District, which is where all the nice bars and clubs are.

The park has a grass berm just outside of left field where a big screen plays the game for fans to sit and watch picnic-style, while their kids can play whiffle-ball on the tiny diamond. Then, over a little, Tony Gwynn's statue stands erect just outside of center field.

The fans have some great traditions, including hanging up extra K's in right field, just beyond the Petco Porch, for every one of Jake Peavy's K's. They do something for when Greg Maddux pitches too, but I can't remember what it was. Anyone know? Plus, you have to love the "Koooooooz" chants raining down on the then-rookie third baseman. This experience blew away my Dodgers game experience, although that was really nice too.

I'm going to try and hit Nationals Park and Camden Yards this summer I think.

10:11 p.m.
Roy Oswalt is getting his sixth-straight Opening Day start, which happens to be a team record for the Astros. He also owns the longest active streak in the NL, and he's tied with Roy Halladay of the Blue Jays in the majors. He is 2-0 lifetime against Jake Peavy, his opponent tonight, with a 0.60 ERA in those games. (Peavy has an ERA higher than 5.00 in both games.)

9:15 p.m.
Jered Weaver threw 99 pitches in his final spring training start -- and he leaves Monday's game at the Twins after 106 pitches in 6 1/3 innings. He's on the hook for the loss, despite throwing a quality start (3 ER). Livan Hernandez, who has thrown just 85 pitches through seven, is simply having a better game.

8:47 p.m.
Michael Cuddyer rumbled down to second base with a stolen base in the fifth -- the Twins' fourth of the ballgame -- and Napoli's throw was high again. You can tell that Jered Weaver is really starting to get frustrated by his catcher, who has now allowed four runners to get into scoring position.

Carlos Gomez now has a single, a double, a walk, two runs scored and two stolen bases.

8:20 p.m.
NEWSFLASH -- Braves CF Mark Kotsay gunned down SS Jack Wilson at the plate in Monday's game against the Pirates -- and he did not immediately go on the DL with a broken arm. Scotty Blanco later informed me that he heard on the broadcast that Kotsay leads all outfielders in assists since 1998 ... We still would rather see Jordan Schafer in center.

8:18 p.m.
Mike Napoli is having a tough game defensively behind the plate for the Angels. Two runners have stolen second successfully, and both of his throws were high and well off the mark.

8:08 p.m.
Bid Daddy Vladi singles through the left side against Livan Hernandez (one of few hits against the former Marlins/Giants/Nats/D-Backs pitcher) -- and Vlad has now hit safely in his past nine Opening Day games! In that span, he is 18-for-35 (.500) with five homers and 19 RBI!

7:40 p.m.
Carlos Gomez is showing no signs of the strained hamstring that limited him late in spring. He tried to bunt in the first, but it ran foul, then he bunted in the bottom of the third against the Angels, and this time it was a push-bunt up the first base line. He flew up the basepath and dove at first base to reach base successfully. Then he stole second base, as Mike Napoli hummed a throw into center field. Gomez, the prized prospect from the Mets in the Johan Santana deal, is playing well defensively so far also. It's a tough night for him, considering he's facing a team with the center fielder (Torii Hunter) he is replacing. The fans are greeting Hunter with ovations and class, by the way, as they should.

The Brewers, by the way, blew more three-run leads last season than any other team in the majors ... I thought that's why Eric Gagne was brought in as their closer? No?

6:48 p.m.
Hurcomb just tried to talk with Scott White about which games each would cover, and Scott White got Gonossy on him. That's not cool. He snapped like when you mess with a cat that's trying to lick itself. RrrrrAAAAAARRRRRR!!!

Get it together rook, it's Opening Day.

6:22 p.m.
Eric Gagne comes in to close out the game against the Cubs with a three-run lead. He lets two men on, throwing just three strikes on 12 pitches, then the big free-agent pickup, Kosuke Fukudome goes yard to tie it up!!! There was no doubt once he hit it. The fans at Wrigley call for a curtain call, and their new right fielder obliges! Gagne's owners, meanwhile, aren't very happy.

5:51 p.m.
OK, I have to get to some updates now that the boxscores are rolling in, but I'll leave you with this: The Marlins picked up Johan Santan off the Astros roster as a Rule 5 draft pick, then they traded him AND CASH to the Twins for Jared Camp.Johan could be starting FOR the Marlins today instead of AGAINST them.

Here's Emack's Mets predictions: "The Mets traded for and signed Johan Santana to not only erase the memories of 2007's finish but to also dominate through October. The Mets will win 95 games and the NL East and with any luck win 100. Then they get through October as World Champs. Lock it up, championship.

And these are Guerrera's Mets predictions: "The Mets are looking to rebound this year after the historic collapse of last year. They'll make the playoffs (either as a division winner or wildcard) as long as they can stay somewhat healthy. "They're getting old. But as long as Wright, Reyes, Beltran, and Johan stay healthy, they'll be in contention this year. Think the Mets are good for 90 wins and a playoff berth. I’m predicting a rematch of the ’86 World Series. Sox-Mets. Of course, you know who I think is winning."

Tony Fernandez, not to be outdone by the Mets fans, offers this about his Marlins: "They’ll finish 71-91, a few games worse than the Nationals for last place in the NL East. Good offense, even without Cabrera, but the worst pitching in the league, which is compounded by having perhaps the worst defense since they started using gloves. "

5:35 p.m.
Carlos Pena made a great diving stop on a shot down the line, but Dan Wheeler can't make the catch on the flip to first, and the Orioles stay alive on the error by the pitcher.

5:21 p.m.
Melvin Mora gets called out for interference because, while batting, he stepped in front of C Dioner Navarro, who was going to try and throw out Brian Roberts at second base again.

5:10 p.m.
James Shields went seven innings in 20 of his 31 starts for the Rays last season. He's almost the anti-Scott Kazmir in how efficient he has been. He finishes Monday's start with just two runs on five hits and three walks in seven innings. He threw 86 pitches in the outing and he should be plenty fresh for his next start Sunday at the Yankees. Last year, Shields allowed an average of 10.3 runners on base per nine innings, which happened to be third-best in the AL. LHP Trever Miller comes in to pitch the eighth for Tampa Bay. The Rays' bullpen was brutal a year ago, so we'll see if there has been improvement. The lefty then leaves the game to bring in last season's right-handed closer, Al Reyes. Troy Percival's presence at closer allowed the Rays to push Reyes back.

Brett Tresky, another former co-worker and frequent blog reader, gives us his take on the '08 Boston Red Sox and their chances of repeating: "I predict we will win the East and march all the way back to the World Series and eventually go on and beat the Cubs in Game 7 of the World Series. I hear rumors again to watch out for Toronto ... Yeah, right, whatever. It is still a two-horse race with the Skankees. My heart tells me we are still better then them. The Sox should be able to win over 90 games this year. They pretty much have the same team as last year's World Championship team. One obvious question mark is the pitching. After Josh Beckett and Dice-K, it's up in the air. I believe with Jon Lester putting on 20 lbs. this year he will be a pleasant addition to the rotation, able to take us deep into October. And if we can get something decent between Clay Buchholz, Bartolo Colon and Curt Schilling we will be in good shape for another. Back to Back baby!

5:02 p.m.
I'm about to go into a diabetic sugar shock from that piece of cake ... I'm going to have to offset it by eating some more potato chips.

GOOD NEWS FOR V-MART OWNERS -- He's considered day-to-day with a hamstring injury. Considering he hobbled his way to second base and looked like he hyper-extended his knee, that's great news for Martinez's owners. Riethmiller can take his head out of the vendateria microwave now.

Just got done watching my video from this morning -- why does it look like I ate two Dave Richards?

4:44 p.m.
I'm starting to warm up to this Jason Bartlett kid. On Akinori Iwamura's fielder's choice to third base, Bartlett slid high into second bade -- not Shelley Duncan-like, mind you -- but more with his hips high, and Brian Roberts was unable to get the throw off for the double-play. The Rays have men on the corners with two outs and Carl Crawford up.

Leave it to the Rays to screw that one up. They tried the double-steal and Luis Hernandez made them pay with a nice throw home to get Navarro for the third out.

4:40 p.m.
The Cincinnati Enquirer talked with manager Dusty Baker about his Opening Day experiences. He was actually on deck with the Braves when Hank Aaron tied Babe Ruth's home run record in 1974 on Opening Day. "Hank told me he was going to look for that slider on the outside and he was going to hit it over the left field fence," Baker said. "He said he wanted to get it with over. It was packed. Jack Billingham threw him a slider, and he hit over the left field fence like he said."

Jeremy Guthrie gets the hook after another basehit (nine on the day) scores the Rays' sixth run -- he's still responsible for the two runners on base, however. Good, let's get to those Orioles middle relievers.

4:32 p.m.
You know how you always have one guy on your team that you just don't want to see do well? Like, you want him to help your team win, but when he fails, you like to gripe about him? That's Cliff Floyd for me this season. He roped a double into the right-field corner. I don't like it -- unless he ends up scoring, then it's cool.

4:29 p.m.
Emack and I have a running bet on whether Brian Roberts will steal 45 bases or not this season (I have the under), so I was happier than normal to see SS Jason Bartlett make a nice pick of a low throw from Dioner Navarro to keep Roberts from stealing his second base of the day.

4:26 p.m.
You have to love Opening Day when guys like Riethmiller are already walking around with their heads hung low. Between his O's ace, Jeremy Guthrie, giving up a homer to Hinske, and saying Victor Martinez is "going on the DL" before he even saw the injury -- Riethmiller has a loooong season ahead of him.

4:12 p.m.

To check out our video from this morning -- go here and click on the video box on the right side. The crappy pixelated one that makes me look like a bad guy from Super Mario Bros. Emack had been bragging all morning how awesome his SlingBox was, so I asked him during the just before the video started if he used the SlingBox to make the stink from his toilet come out of his mouth. He said no.

Scott White is wearing a T-shirt of himself today. I don't know where to begin. Although, he brought me cake, so he's good there.

4:04 p.m.
Eric Hinske hits a solo shot off Guthrie -- and that signifies me going to eat a piece of Scotty Blanco's cake -- and no, that's not a euphemism.

4:01 p.m.
You thought J.D. Drew sitting out last Tuesday screwed you up? How about Victor Martinez pulling up lame running to second base on a passed ball against the White Sox? He left the game after two innings and Kelly Shoppach is behind the plate in his place. I'll keep you in tune with any news that comes across.

3:50 p.m.
The Cubs unveiled a new statue of Ernie Banks (Mr. Cub) and that made me think back to my trip to Wrigley Field back in 1998, the year after Harry Caray died. They put up a statue of the great announcer, just outside of right field, which is just a block away from a billion bars. But fans kept putting beercans in Harry's open left hand, so they finally had to build a little gate around it. I wonder what they have now. Readers? Anyone?

3:49 p.m.
Guthrie tried to jam B.J. Upton (with the bases loaded, hoping for a double-play) on three straight pitches, then finally got the grounder he wanted -- but it slipped through the hole and two runs were able to score. Here comes Cliff Floyd. Ugh.Something tells me he's going to be a huge pain in the butt all season. He has "Human Inning Ender" written all over the gauze on his injuries. He flies out to center and moves a runner over at least.

3:45 p.m.
Markakis just made a really nice play in right field, taking a ball off the hop and throwing to second base for a rare 9-6 putout to get Jason Bartlett. But the Rays score on the next play when Melvin Mora can't pick up the slow-roller from Crawford's bat. It would have been a very close play at first had he picked it up, but Mora still gets the error.

3:37 p.m.
I'm starting to feel some pressure down below ... Must ... wait ... through ... bottom ... of ... second ... inning.

3:34 p.m.
Interesting point made by Dana Wikiji of the Detroit News -- Verlander has had 1-2-3 innings in both innings after the Tigers have scored. That's a good thing, for sure.

3:31 p.m.
Cliff Floyd takes the first pitch he sees from Jeremy Guthrie -- and immediately goes on the DL with a strained eye, knee, shoulder and uterus.

3:30 p.m.
Did you know? The Mariners were 49-33 at Safeco Field in 2007 despite being outscored 406-386, according to the Tacoma-News Tribune.

3:22 p.m.

Orlando Cabrera stole a base and Jim Thome hit a homer for the White Sox already at the Indians today. Here's my co-worker, and White Sox fan, Dave Richard's take on the White Sox this season: "Short of a miracle, the White Sox will be lucky to finish .500. I’m a die-hard fan of the ChiSox but their pitching staff is brutal. I love the lineup – the Sox might finish in the Top 10 in baseball in runs scored – but they’ll lose a lot of games 11-10. It’s 1997 all over again."

And now counterpoint, here's my other co-worker, and Indians fan, Chris Soblotne's view on the Indians in '08: Tribe 94-68, 1st-place AL Central -- While the Tigers made significant offseason improvements to strengthen their lineup, at the end of the day (corporate cliché No. 1), the Tribe's superior pitching depth will carry them through the regular season and lead them to a playoff run. The Tribe defeats BOSOX in ALCS and advances to defeat the Phillies in 6 games to win their first World Series since 1948. Following Phillies defeat, Victor Guss finally gives into Rubio’s advances." (That's what we call -- an inside joke that will never end.)<o:p></o:p>

Crawford dove for the bloop single by Nick Markakis, but he couldn't get to it. Then both Markakis and Brian Roberts pull off a double-steal to perfection. Then Crawford had a chance at Kevin Millar's bomb to left field, but it bounced out of his glove when he leaped up to grab it at the wall. Two runs score for the Orioles and James Shields' owners hold their head in their hands.

3:18 p.m.
Carl Crawford smacked a single up the middle and eventually stole his first base of the season, when O's catcher Ramon Hernandez decided not to even throw the ball. Carlos Pena blasted a shot to the deepest part of the park in center field, but Adam Jones was there to catch it a foot away from the wall. That loooong out gets you nothing in Fantasy, but it's good to see from a guy people are wondering might have been a fluke in '07.
Posted on: March 31, 2008 7:58 am
Edited on: April 1, 2008 5:43 pm
 

The REAL Opening Day! (Part I)

Crap. I accidentally bolded in the source code and there ain't no way I'm going back and unbolding each little thing. So, I'm unbolding everything. I'm starting a whole new blog.

3:06 p.m.
Here's our PR guy Alex Riethmiller's take on the upcoming season for the hated POOR-ioles (they're playing my Rays!): "After trading away Miguel Tejada and Erik Bedard, it's unlikely Orioles fans had any doubts the club was serious about rebuilding. If there were any skeptics left, they were likely converted yesterday when the team cut Jay Gibbons eating $11.9 million in salary in the process. And surely the tinkering is not over as one would have to think Brian Roberts will be next to go assuming Orioles brass can get what they feel is a fair return for the second baseman. It's certainly going to be a long year for the boys in orange and black -- maybe a long couple years -- and the basement of the AL East is all but inevitable at this point. However, the upside is that a restocked farm system and young superstars like Nick Markakis give the team a solid base to build on." 2008 record: 62-100

3:01 p.m.
Emack is fond of saying (in a whiny voice), "Catchers hit like pitchers." And that appears to be the case in Milwaukee, as for the first time in Brewers history, Jason Kendall will hit behind Ben Sheets in the ninth spot. Manager Ned Yost wants more batters to get a chance to get on base in front of Braun and Fielder.

2:58 p.m.
You excited yet? It's only seven minutes away from first pitch at Camden Yards against the Rays!!! Here's the lineups:

Baltimore
  1. Brian Roberts - 2B
  2. Melvin Mora - 3B
  3. Nick Markakis - RF
  4. Kevin Millar - 1B
  5. Aubrey Huff - DH
  6. Ramon Hernandez - C
  7. Luke Scott - LF
  8. Adam Jones - CF
  9. Luis Hernandez - SS

Tampa Bay
  1. Akinori Iwamura - 2B
  2. Carl Crawford - LF
  3. Carlos Pena - 1B
  4. B.J. Upton - CF
  5. Cliff Floyd - DH
  6. Willy Aybar - 3B
  7. Eric Hinske - RF
  8. Dioner Navarro - C
  9. Jason Bartlett - SS
2:52 p.m.
Alex Gordon got rung up in the first inning with the bat on his shoulder -- not this time. The former top prospect homered on a 3-1 90 mph fastball at the belt into the right field stands -- and the fans throw the ball back on the field. (By the way, let's not get crazy about giving Cubs fans credit for that -- that's a White Sox deal from way back.) Looking back to last season, when Gordon struggled mightily through the first few months, he didn't hit his first homer until the seventh game -- which was also just his second basehit of the season. He hit just .173 with two homers and five RBI in April last year, so this is nice to see -- especially against a pitcher the caliber of Verlander.

2:39 p.m.
Miguel Cabrera -- Welcome to the pitching in the AL Central. Super-slim Miggy pounced on 2-1 hanging curve and deposited it into the left-center field stands for his first homer in Detroit. He was my pick for AL MVP heading into the season and he's off to a great start. The Royals, White Sox and Twins should offer up plenty of homer-able pitches. All three of those teams ranked among the bottom-14 in homers allowed last season.

2:27 p.m.
Our great big Opening Day extravaganza is in danger of becoming a soggy, wet turd in a punchbowl if these rain delays start becoming rainouts. I'll not have it!

2:37 p.m.
The Yankees have postponed their Opening Day officially. That stinks. They'll play this game against the Blue Jays Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m.

In keeping with the Yankees as a theme, my former co-worker, Brian Flood, tells us what he thinks his Yankees will do this season: "The Yankees will respond very well to Joe Girardi's aggressive style and he gets a lot out of the younger players. Robinson Cano is in the batting-title hunt until the final week of the season, Phil Hughes wins 16-plus games and the Yankees finish first in the AL East with 96 wins. New York defeats Philly in six games to win its 27th World Series ... I would also like to go on record that Cincinnati makes the playoffs.
Flood now works with the NFL as the Assistant to the Director of Officiating, although he likes to introduce himself like Dwight Schrute, losing the "to the" part of the title.

2:25 p.m.
The Brewers and Cubs are also in a rain delay, but they are expecting to get going around 3:00 p.m. EST according to ESPN.

DeJesus sprained his ankle, that's why Gathright came in to play center field for the Royals, by the way.

2:03 p.m.
Carlos Guillen hit a single into right field, but Jose Guillen came up gunning and the new Royals right fielder gets Magglio Ordonez who unwisely tried to score from second base. Still 1-0 Detroit, thanks to the perfect throw from Jose Guillen.

By the way, that's the answer to the Aaron Harang trivia question earlier -- Jose Guillen came to Oakland in exchange for Harang in 2003. He has played on nine different teams in the past 10 seasons!

1:59 p.m.
Joey Gathright took over in center field for David DeJesus in the third inning. I'll keep you posted as to what the injury -- if there was one -- might be. On Guillen's drive over his head, DeJesus did seem to run back slow to the ball.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the Brewers will bat Prince Fielder third and Ryan Braun fourth in the lineup -- the reverse of what they did for much of last season. "Braunie has done a nice job of making it work," Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. "If Braunie can take the same steps that Prince took in his second year, in terms of plate discipline, that's a big key to our offense. He's one of those special hitters, he's very smart and has great hitting instincts. I don't think he'll have any trouble with the adjustment. They're going to pitch around Prince at times and when they do, I want Braunie to make them come right after him. If they don't throw him strikes, he's going to have to take his walks and let Billy Hall and Corey Hart back him up."

Here are Fielder's numbers hitting third and fourth in the Brewers' lineup:
  • Hitting 3rd in 104 games -- .242 BA, 22 HR, 23 doubles, 64 RBI, 57 runs scored
  • Hitting 4th in 116 games -- .302 BA, 40 HR, 25 doubles, 85 RBI, 85 runs scored
Then again, Fielder did most of that work in cleanup with Braun in front of him. There shouldn't be much of a drop with Braun behind him.
1:43 p.m.
Renteria picks up his first RBI in a Tigers' uniform, as he pokes a shot up the middle to score Guillen. Looking at the time difference between my last post and this one reminds me of a pet peeve. I love sports movies -- and I hate sports movies. For instance, The Fan, with Robert De Niro playing a psycho fan of Giants' hitter Wesley Bonds (I mean Snipes). And De Niro is supposed to go pick up his kid or something important, yadayada, but he wants to wait through Snipes' at-bat. So of course, he keeps looking at his watch after every pitch, and apparently Snipes is the Nomar of the Silver Screen because several minutes would go by between every pitch. And of course, it's like a 10-pitch at-bat that takes 20 minutes according to Hollywood. Crap like that drives me nuts.

Although I did love "White Chicks."

1:34 p.m.
Carlos Guillen laced a drive well over DeJesus' head in right-center field, and he held up at second base following one of baseball's golden rules -- never make the first or third out at third base. He even broke his bat on that shot, so it's a wonder it had that much power to reach that deep.

1:31 p.m.
Miguel Cabrera hit a pop fly to center field that sounded good off the bat, but landed about 35 feet from the warning track. The announcers, crowd and myself were initially fooled. Emack would have made fun of me for going, "Uh oh!" -- then I would have asked him if he recently ate a dirty diaper.

Here's the Denver Post's breakdown of today's lineup between the Rockies and Cardinals, along with last season's statistics.

COLORADO ROCKIES
  1. CF Willy Taveras .320 2 24 .367
  2. SS Troy Tulowitzki .291 24 99 .359
  3. 1B Todd Helton .320 17 91 .434
  4. LF Matt Holliday .340 36 137 .405
  5. 3B Garrett Atkins .301 25 111 .367
  6. RF Brad Hawpe .291 29 116 .387
  7. C Yorvit Torrealba .255 8 47 .323
  8. 2B Jayson Nix* .292 11 58 .342
  9. LHP Jeff Francis W-L: 17-9, 4.22 ERA

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

  1. LF Skip Schumaker .333 2 19 .358
  2. RF Ryan Ludwick .267 14 52 .339
  3. 1B Albert Pujols .327 32 103 .429
  4. 3B Troy Glaus .262 20 62 .366
  5. CF Rick Ankiel .285 11 39 .328
  6. C Yadier Molina .275 6 40 .340
  7. SS Cesar Izturis .258 0 16 .302
  8. RHP Adam Wainwright W-L: 14-12, 3.70 ERA
  9. 2B Aaron Miles .290 2 32 .328 -- You gotta love being the guy that hits BEHIND the pitcher.

*Nix's statistics are from Triple-A Colorado Springs

1:20 p.m.
Guerrera notes that Gil Meche is now on pace for 1,400 Ks after taking out Edgar Renteria. Come on, let's not get crazy -- it's Gil Meche! ... He'll get 950 Ks max.

1:15 p.m.

It's raining in Cincinnati, but it's supposed to clear up, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. So their game has been pushed back to 2:10 in Cincinnati, which means 3:10 for us East Coasters.

David DeJesus grounds out to start the Royals/Tigers game. This is a guy that really hasn't developed the all-around game many had hoped. Considering the guy he replaced in center field at Kauffman Stadium, Carlos Beltran, said DeJesus reminded him a lot of himself -- he's not quite there.

You can check out this game in our live GameCenter here.

Mark Grudzielanek hit a slow chopper to Miguel Cabrera, and Carlos Guillen played the throw from third horribly. With his right foot on the bag and his left foot on the first base line, Grudzielanek had to jump over Guillen -- who dropped the ball anyway. That could have been a BIG collision at first, as Guillen played first base like a shortstop. Somehow, Cabrera gets tagged with the throwing error, but I'd blame Guillen for that play more than anything. (Grudz then went on to steal second base, NICE! The five percent of CBSSports.com leagues are happy about that one! Although only two percent are starting him.)

Verlander gets Alex Gordon looking on an outside circle-change. The ball really was outside, but Ivan Rodriguez framed it well and Verlander has his first strikeout of the season! ... And so does Gordon!

1:02 p.m.
Time to turn the channel to Fox Sports-Detroit to catch the Royals game at Comerica Park. Is today the first game in Justin Verlander's march toward his first Cy Young award? Emack and I both predicted he'd take that hardware home. Against the Royals in eight starts in his career, Verlander is 6-0 with a 2.26 ERA and 42 strikeouts in over 52 innings. Sounds like a good starting place to begin a Cy Young hunt.

12:54 p.m.
According to Newsday, it's still raining at Yankee Stadium, so teams were unable to take batting practice and the start of the game has been delayed -- not cancelled.

I am reporting that Ross Devonport, my British co-worker, has reported that CBSNews reports that this game will start at 2 p.m.

12:47 p.m.
OK, I've had my first hot dog of Opening Day officially. At Publix, our local grocery store, I saw Jake, Bisbee, Madden and one of the guys from customer service. It appears EVERYONE at CBSSports.com is gearing up for a big day! Btw, I finally went with a loaf of five-grain Italian Bread, some deli Chicken Salad, Cape Cod Potato chips (regular) and a rail of small Snickers bars.

It's absolutely gorgeous outside also (sorry snowbirds that already went back up north!)

12:09 p.m.
Sounds like the Blue Jays/Yankees game is in jeopardy because of weather also, according to Baseball Tonight. And here's the Opening Fay lineup for these two squads, according to the N.Y. Daily News.

Blue Jays

  1. David Eckstein, SS
  2. Shannon Stewart, LF
  3. Alex Rios, RF
  4. Vernon Wells, CF
  5. Frank Thomas, DH
  6. Lyle Overbay, 1B
  7. Aaron Hill, 2B
  8. Marco Scutaro, 3B
  9. Gregg Zaun, C

Yankees

  1. Johnny Damon, LF
  2. Derek Jeter, SS
  3. Bobby Abreu, RF
  4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
  5. Jason Giambi, 1B
  6. Robinson Cano, 2B
  7. Jorge Posada, C
  8. Hideki Matsui, DH
  9. Melky Cabrera, CF
11:56 a.m.
Just got out of video finally. Emack's breath was in rare form. I think he gargled with vomit this morning. I got into the studio before he did, which meant I was smart enough to grab the good chair (which is tricky because the good chair looks like it would be the bad char, but it's not), so Emack had to sit forward the whole time. And we both wore dark blue shirts, so Weisberg mentioned we looked like brothers. Big, ugly brothers.

Mets/Marlins weather update -- it's sunny out now! Apparently, as soon as I wrote that it was rainy, it stopped.

Once Eisenberg is done shooting his video, we're headed to Publix for lunch. I'm thinking of just getting a big loaf of awesome bread and a thing of chicken salad. I'm going to be here late tonight. Oooooh, maybe some Jalapeno Pringles!

11:08 a.m.
For those dying to know what the Reds/D-Backs lineup will be today, here it is courtesy of the Arizona Republic:
Diamondbacks
  1. Young, CF
  2. Hudson, 2B
  3. Byrnes, LF
  4. Jackson, 1B
  5. Snyder, C
  6. Reynolds, 3B
  7. Drew, SS
  8. Upton, RF
  9. Webb, P
Reds
  1. Patterson, CF
  2. Keppinger, SS
  3. Griffey, RF
  4. Phillips, 2B
  5. Dunn, LF
  6. Encarnacion, 3B
  7. Hatteberg, 1B
  8. Valentin, C
  9. Harang, P

10:49 a.m.
Still waiting to go into video. Apparently a light is out -- or they haven't put the ugly filters on the cameras yet. They never work anyway.

Mets/Marlins update -- It's raaaaaaining pretty steady in Fort Lauderdale right now. I'd have to say this afternoon's game is in question because it's been raining off and on all morning.

10:17 a.m.
Reds trivia time courtesy of the Cincinnati Enquirer: Aaron Harang is making his third consecutive Opening Day start for the Reds. That's the longest streak for the Reds since whom?

I talked about Foghorn Harang (I'm going to make that nickname stick!) on Saturday. Here's a few more remarks for one of the most unknown Cy Young candidates in the game: Since the All-Star break of 2005, he ranks third in the NL in wins, second in strikeouts, innings and starts, first in complete games and seventh in ERA. And he has lowered his ERA in each of his five seasons with the Reds. In last year's Opening Day, he allowed one unearned run on six hits and two walks in seven innings against the Cubs. He also struck out five batters.

Trivia question Part II: Which current major leaguer was also part of the trade that brought Harang to Cincinnati?

OK, we're doing video at 10:30, so I have to go take a PVP (pre-video poop).

9:57 a.m.
Roch Kubatko, of the Baltimore Sun, blogged that the conditions are cold and drizzly this morning, which is a bad omen for the Rays/O's game this afternoon. Hamstring gremlins looooooooove cold and rainy conditions.

Here's an interesting story in today's Chicago Sun-Times loosely comparing Kosuke Fukudome's underwhelming spring with Ichiro's first spring training in 2001. Apparently, Ichiro had almost nothing but infield hits that March, causing many scouts to laugh at Seattle's signing of the Japanese import.

9:45 a.m.
Emack just informed me that he's heading over to the Mets/Marlins game around lunchtime. Looks like it's just me and the football guys (Richard and Eisenberg) for Opening Day festivities. They'll probably yell stuff like, "Hey, a triple is almost like a field goal!"

Food options are quickly dwindling. I think I'm just going to the grocery store and buying hot dogs from the stand outside. Maybe I'll roll them around in gravel so they'll be like the ones at Dolphin Stadium.

9:29 a.m.
Here's the MLB Opening Day schedule:
Kansas City Royals @ Detroit Tigers 1:05 PM
Toronto Blue Jays @ New York Yankees 1:05 PM
Arizona D-Backs @ Cincinnati Reds 2:10 PM
Milwaukee Brewers @ Chicago Cubs 2:20 PM
Chicago White Sox @ Cleveland Indians 3:05 PM
Tampa Bay Rays @ Baltimore Orioles 3:05 PM
Washington Nationals @ Philadelphia Phillies 3:05 PM
New York Mets @ Florida Marlins 4:10 PM
San Francisco Giants @ Los Angeles Dodgers 4:10 PM
Colorado Rockies @ St. Louis Cardinals 4:15 PM
Texas Rangers @ Seattle Mariners 6:40 PM
LA Angels @ Minnesota Twins 7:05 PM
Pittsburgh Pirates @ Atlanta Braves 7:10 PM
Houston Astros @ San Diego Padres 10:05 PM

My viewing schedule for today (expect to read snippets on these games):

Kansas City Royals @ Detroit Tigers 1:05 PM -- The Yankees are old news, let's see a slimmed down Miggy in Motown.
Arizona D-Backs @ Cincinnati Reds 2:10 PM -- Opening Day used to ALWAYS start in Cincinnati, so I have to pay respects.
Milwaukee Brewers @ Chicago Cubs 2:20 PM -- The Cubbies get 40 minutes of my attention on a busy day.
Tampa Bay Rays @ Baltimore Orioles 3:05 PM -- I've been sooooo pumped to check out Willy Aybar at third base finally.
Texas Rangers @ Seattle Mariners 6:40 PM -- Get 20 minutes in of this game.
LA Angels @ Minnesota Twins 7:05 PM -- I'm glogging this game tonight. Rex Hudler is one of my all-time fave broadcasters.
Houston Astros @ San Diego Padres 10:05 PM -- Finishing up the night with a 120-minute Oswalt/Peavy at Petco glog!

9:20 a.m.
Was it just me or was the new Nationals Park -- kinda boring? Why not have something unique, especially in D.C., like a mock Washington Monument in dead center? Or a smaller Lincoln Memorial sitting behind the left-field seats? ... Or how about some Mayor Marion Berry snow-cone machines? Maybe a guy dressed up as Nixon that slides down a big slide every time a steroids cheater comes up to bat? It's a work in progress.

9:03 a.m.
Dave Richard, our Fantasy Football writer, just mentioned that he just watched "The Departed" this weekend. Yeah, he's a little behind (actually, that's the ONLY time "little behind" and Dave Richard are used in the same sentence.) He still hasn't seen "Goodfellas" either. I'm not joking. And -- get this -- he was a film major in college. Irony, thy name is Dave Richard.

Corey Guerrera just mentioned he's going to the Mets/Marlins game this afternoon. He'll get to see Johan Santana in his Mets' debut. As a Mets fan, that's gotta have you pretty pumped. Remember Corey from our All-Time Mets Fantasy Team?

8:55 a.m.
We have Justin Upton projected for just 14 homers and 14 stolen bases this summer. Looking back now, I think we're shorting him a handful at least on both ends. He has been working on his base-stealing all winter, and as this young offense matures, he'll get more chances to steal a base successfully. Baseball Prospectus, one of the industry's best at forecasting numbers, has Upton hitting 37 doubles and 20 homers. They also have Conor Jackson slugging .493 (we have him at .447), with Mark Reynolds pounding out 28 homers (21 for us), and finally, Chris B. Young, according to BP, will rip 27 homers (30 for us). So you can take this from our projection comparisons -- the Baby D-Backs are going to be a much better offense this season.

Emack and I are doing video this morning for the first time in a couple years. We were so bad the first time, they run to find Amber Wilson, who's nearly as pretty as womanly as Emack. Don't worry, Amber's not gone! Get off the ledge! We're trying a point/counterpoint thing with Emack and I. Like, I'll say he looks silly with BBQ sauce on his face and he'll disagree. It should be entertaining. We've gotten a little better in our podcasts I think, so hopefully that will translate over to our on-camera presence.

At one point last night, Tim Hudson retired 19 straight batters. What their sexual preference has to do with anything, I don't know.

Like I said, Emack and I have done three other Opening Days together, and each time, we've tried to make it a little more special than on the other days. For the first couple days of March Madness, CBSSports.com provides subs and pizza for everyone, with cookies and ... I think there was even a pinata!!! For the first Sunday of the NFL season, the staff in the building is treated to barbecue and even more treats -- even pony rides! But for Opening Day in baseball, the only way CBSSports.com celebrates is that our bosses don't fart when they walk by our cubes.

So in the past, Emack and I have taken things into our own hands. We've grilled hot dogs, Italian sausages and brats out in the parking lot and offered them to our workmates in our own little Opening Day celebration. Most of the people though, would just ask, "You spit in this?" And they'd eventually say something like, "Opening Day for what?" I'm not sure what we're doing for lunch today though. I'm thinking microwaved hot dogs!!!

8:28 a.m.
Observations on some of last night's game --
  • Who's this Jones character with Atlanta? When was the last time we saw a Braves jersey with just "Jones" on the back? For those curious, Larry Jones' career season with the Braves was in 1999 when he hit .319 with 45 homers, 110 RBI, 116 runs scored, 41 doubles and even 25 stolen bases!
  • This time last year, Elijah Dukes was getting ready to hit two solo homers in his first two games for the (then-Devil) Rays, sending Fantasy owners into a tizzy trying to pick him up off waivers. Multiple threats to his baby mama and a trade to D.C. for an old Sega Genesis game (with NHL '95 and Bill Walsh College Football) later, and Dukes is on the DL with a tight hammy. So between Dukes and Wily Mo Pena (strained oblique), the Nationals have the hardest hitting LF triage in the majors.
  • Jon Rauch should now be in line for some saves with Chad Cordero coming up lame with a sore shoulder and a horribly unbent baseball cap. Former co-worker Brian Flood told me he spent several hours one day in 2002 waiting on Rauch, then a big-time starting pitching prospect with the White Sox, to show up on MLB's transaction call-ups, so he could pick him up before his opponents. Finally, in one of his first two outings, Rauch gave up eight runs on two homers in four innings against the Tigers. And so began Flood's drinking problem.
7:59 a.m.
Gooooooood morning to you, on Opening Day!
It makes me feel happy, it makes me feel gay!
Of course, I mean in a heterosexual way,
"Not that there's anything wrong with that," Seinfeld would say.


That's right, today's the day many will call in sick, coming up with a rare form of Opening-Day-itis (other forms include March-Madness Disorder and Got-Too-Drunk-After-First-MNF-Game). Emack and I will be sharing our fourth Opening Day together, which is pretty amazing considering I vowed to kill him years ago.

All day, I plan on blogging about games, life, baseball and our Fantasy staff. I already have my big coffee and blueberry bagel with cream cheese and I'm ready to rock. So keep coming back because I have a lot of people to make fun of.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com