Opening Week Story Lines

Hello baseball fans! First I’d like to wish everyone a happy Easter and I would also like to wish everyone a happy Opening Night! That’s right, winter has passed, Spring Training is over, and the first pitch of the regular season is just minutes away. Now with my last preseason post I give you the top story lines for Opening Week.

Cardinals at Cubs: The big story here is actually the lack of the biggest story of Spring Training, Kris Bryant. The Cubs have decided to keep Bryant down in the minors for a short period of time to ensure that he will remain under team control for an extra year which has irritated some fans but excited some others knowing that Bryant will most likely be staying in a Cubs jersey for the next seven seasons. Not to be over shadowed however is SP Jon Lester’s Cubs debut vs Cardinals SP ace Adam Wainwright. With two dominant pitchers on the bump today it’s sure to be pitchers duel.

Padres at Dodgers: The new look Padres take on Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers on Monday with Matt Kemp playing in his first ever game not wearing a dodger jersey. It won’t be an easy series for either team and will come down to a great pitching staff in the Dodgers vs a new powerhouse offense in the Padres. As I’m typing this out, the Padres GM AJ Preller has completed another trade that has answered the remaining 25-man roster questions. In a blockbuster trade with the Braves, the Padres have acquired CP Craig Kimbrel and OF Melvin Upton Jr (formerly BJ Upton) for Cameron Maybin, Carlos Quentin, Matt Wisler, Jordan Paroubeck, and the 41st overall pick in next year’s draft.

Red Sox at Yankees: A little later on in Opening Week the Boston Red Sox will travel to New York to face the Yankees in arguably the biggest rivalry in sports history. The Yankees will look to silence the explosive Boston offense while also taking advantage of the Sox’ sub par pitching staff. Although neither of these teams appear to be the favorite to win the division, a Yankees-Sox game is sure to excite and you can expect all three games to be over analyzed by everyone.

Diamondbacks: Top Cuban prospect Yasmany Tomas was optioned to AAA in a move that shocked many. The D-Backs signed Tomas this offseason to a 6yr 68.5 million dollar deal and were hoping for Tomas to be major league ready at either 3B or OF but it appears he isn’t quite there yet. There’s no timeline for when he will make the big league club but when he does it’s almost certain that Tomas will make a huge impact.

Thanks for stopping by and make sure you check back to see what else is making its way through the five point five hole.

-Matthew Green

Spring Training Performances

Hello Baseball Fans!

Spring training is in full swing which means we finally get to see how all of the off-season moves start to effect a team and how the players are doing in their new environments. With the plethora of moves that had the potential to drastically change a teams outlook on the upcoming season we can now take a look at how some of these players have performed thus far.

Starting out in the Cactus League with the Padres. Fans have valid reason for excitement as Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Will Middlebrooks and Wil Myers are off to hot starts. Just yesterday¬†Middlebrooks homered in the 2nd inning then Upton and Kemp went back-to-back in the 4th against the division rival Giants giving fans a sneak peak of the power they bring to the team. Those haven’t been the only highlights for the Padre newcomers as Myers currently sits at a .308 avg with 1 HR, Upton and Middlebrooks are both hitting .400 with 2 HRs, and Matt Kemp is crushing the ball hitting .545 with 1 HR.

Out in Mesa, AZ the Cubs were¬†able to see new ace, and recently named opening night starter, Jon Lester for the second time this spring, as he pitched 3 innings, allowed 3 hits, no runs, and recorded 3 k’s. Lester’s first appearance, which came last Friday against the Reds, was just as dominate as he only allowed only 1 hit and recorded 3 k’s in two innings on the bump.

Moving to some of the new additions out in the Grapefruit League. The Red Sox added both Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval on the same day this off-season however the two players have preformed very differently so far this spring with Ramirez hitting .444 in 3 games while Sandoval is hitting just .125 in 3 games. For Ramirez this off-season’s focus won’t be his offense however, it will be his transition from SS to LF which will be closely monitored for the rest of Spring.

Finally over to the Nationals, who signed Max Scherzer to a 7 yr/ 210 million dollar contract this off-season. It’s been said that with the addition of Scherzer the Nationals have the best pitching rotation in all of baseball and if he can put up numbers anywhere near his 2013 and 2014 campaigns it’s going to be tough to argue with that statement. So far this Spring, Scherzer has appeared in two games, throwing a combined 5 innings, giving up 8 hits, 2 earned runs, and striking out 5. Although these numbers aren’t great there’s no reason to worry and he should be getting into regular season form very shortly.

Thanks for stopping by and make sure you check back to see what else is making its way through the five point five hole.

-Matthew Green