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
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.
You excited yet? It's only seven minutes away from first pitch at Camden Yards against the Rays!!! Here's the lineups:
- Brian Roberts - 2B
- Melvin Mora - 3B
- Nick Markakis - RF
- Kevin Millar - 1B
- Aubrey Huff - DH
- Ramon Hernandez - C
- Luke Scott - LF
- Adam Jones - CF
- Luis Hernandez - SS
- Akinori Iwamura - 2B
- Carl Crawford - LF
- Carlos Pena - 1B
- B.J. Upton - CF
- Cliff Floyd - DH
- Willy Aybar - 3B
- Eric Hinske - RF
- Dioner Navarro - C
- Jason Bartlett - SS
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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
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."
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.
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.
- CF Willy Taveras .320 2 24 .367
- SS Troy Tulowitzki .291 24 99 .359
- 1B Todd Helton .320 17 91 .434
- LF Matt Holliday .340 36 137 .405
- 3B Garrett Atkins .301 25 111 .367
- RF Brad Hawpe .291 29 116 .387
- C Yorvit Torrealba .255 8 47 .323
- 2B Jayson Nix* .292 11 58 .342
- LHP Jeff Francis W-L: 17-9, 4.22 ERA
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
- LF Skip Schumaker .333 2 19 .358
- RF Ryan Ludwick .267 14 52 .339
- 1B Albert Pujols .327 32 103 .429
- 3B Troy Glaus .262 20 62 .366
- CF Rick Ankiel .285 11 39 .328
- C Yadier Molina .275 6 40 .340
- SS Cesar Izturis .258 0 16 .302
- RHP Adam Wainwright W-L: 14-12, 3.70 ERA
- 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 Springs1:20 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.
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!
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.
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.
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!)
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.
- David Eckstein, SS
- Shannon Stewart, LF
- Alex Rios, RF
- Vernon Wells, CF
- Frank Thomas, DH
- Lyle Overbay, 1B
- Aaron Hill, 2B
- Marco Scutaro, 3B
- Gregg Zaun, C
- Johnny Damon, LF
- Derek Jeter, SS
- Bobby Abreu, RF
- Alex Rodriguez, 3B
- Jason Giambi, 1B
- Robinson Cano, 2B
- Jorge Posada, C
- Hideki Matsui, DH
- Melky Cabrera, CF
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!
For those dying to know what the Reds/D-Backs lineup will be today, here it is courtesy of the Arizona Republic:
- Young, CF
- Hudson, 2B
- Byrnes, LF
- Jackson, 1B
- Snyder, C
- Reynolds, 3B
- Drew, SS
- Upton, RF
- Webb, P
- Patterson, CF
- Keppinger, SS
- Griffey, RF
- Phillips, 2B
- Dunn, LF
- Encarnacion, 3B
- Hatteberg, 1B
- Valentin, C
- Harang, P
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.
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).
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
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!!!
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.
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.