1) With three more home runs Wednesday night that made Adrian Gonzalez the first player in major league history with five in the season’s first three games.
Yes, it’s only three games in a long season but Is AGon on the verge of a historical season?
Archie: Obviously, he cannot maintain that pace. A-Gone has always been a good hitter and I think he is taking advantage of early season woes from pitchers that may, or may not, have been at their best.
IMO I do not think it means anything more than it just being a regular season for the man.
He will cool off and then everything will balance out.
Steve: I like Adrian Gonzales as a player, he is one of the best all around players in the game today. Every year he produces good numbers both offensively and defensively. He is off to a tremendous start to the season, but historically, that kind of production will not last throughout the whole season. So no, I don’t think we are in for anything magical for A-Gone, despite the hot start. He is going to be a solid player all year, but look for him to be around the .300 mark, with 30 plus HR.
2) Now let’s turn the discussion around… 6 shutouts on Opening Day (including Opening Night). 1 shutout on Tuesday’s seven-game slate. And, then 6 shutouts on Wednesday.
Yes, pitching, in the early part of a season, can tend to be ahead of the hitters, but, this type of dominance seems somewhat rare… so any theories?
Archie: The biggest surprise for me with all the shutouts is that 7 of those were thrown by three different teams……….all in the AL. In a league famous for scoring runs and boasting the DH that is not supposed to happen.
The 13 other shutouts can be attributed to hitters being overly aggressive at the onset of a season and/or just good pitching.
Hitting in general has been down now for some time and I contribute the biggest factor of that to the “specialists” of the game. You know, those pitchers that are brought in just for one or two hitters in the lineup for matchup purposes. That and the fact like Joe Simpson stated, “Everyone seems to be throwing mid-90s fastballs nowadays.”
But, there is the flip side to this as well, the top 9 teams are averaging over 5 runs a game and the bottom 1/3 is averaging three runs or less; so for me it is status quo.
Earl: There are no theories here. As the question stated pitchers tend to be ahead of batters and that’s because pitchers get more work in spring training. With split squads, and most players only getting a few innings of work, it’s typically tougher for hitters to catch up to opposing players early in the season. It should balance it self out, in a few weeks and we should hopefully see some more competitive games.
But… for whatever reason… I think the pitching in the majors is just better than the hitting. Homers are down, runs scored are too. it’s a cyclical thing. Give it 5 years and the hitters will be on the upswing and the pitchers on the downswing.
Steve: No not really, even though there were six shutouts on opening day, I really was not surprised. Pitching always seems to dominate in April, and it would appear that the hitting has dropped off a bit over the years, so I would expect nothing less than more masterful pitching.
3) The season is now in full swing by the time this hits your email in box there will be about a week’s worth of games in. What are your early thoughts on the season so far? Any early surprises?
Archie: Biggest surprise for me is Atlanta off to a 5-1 start and in those wins I would have to say the pitching has really been solid. Their bullpen is what amazed me as much as the starting pitching. While I did predict Mike Minor would not be a factor this season, I did not see Alex Wood and Shelby Miller be as effective as they are in the early going; but still the bullpen went something like 18 innings before giving up a run.
Earl: I have to go with Kansas City still being undefeated. I know they made the World Series and they are a talented team but I really didn’t think they would start the season 7-0 and look so good doing it. I know we are only 6 or 7 games in but that has impressed me.
If I could pick a second surprise team it has to be the Atlanta Braves. They traded practically everyone and are 6-1 right now. Great start for a franchise that tore things down in order to build for the future.
Joe: Braves are a bit of a surprise considering they kinda sorta gutted their lineup. But I was listening to a broadcast of one of their games on the MLB network and an announcer said last year they had a lot of swing and miss guys in their lineup resulting in a high strikeout ratio but now they had a lot of contact guys and not as many easy outs. Sorta made sense why they seem to be better than expected. Still, the fact they even have winning record is a bit of a surprise to me.
Steve: I am a little surprised that the Braves have started off so hot, winning 5 of their first six games, including a sweep of Miami. I really thought Atlanta was going to start more like 1-5, than 5-1 with all the guys that they lost. Also with the Royals doing so well after losing some of their veteran leadership in Shields and Butler, off to a 6-0 start. Neither of these teams I expected to be that good this season. But it is still early, so a lot can change.
4) Major League Baseball and the players’ association have agreed to a deal that forbids players from playing in daily fantasy baseball games that involve a prize, but, still allows them to endorse these companies that front the games.
Commissioner Rob Manfred said that playing fantasy for prizes is now part of Rule 21, which prohibits players from gambling despite the fact that he, personally, considers daily fantasy games different from gambling.
Players will be subject to discipline if they are found to have violated the rule.
Opinions? Complete ban, the present rule is sufficient, a lot of hooey, or, something in-between?
(FYI: Fantasy sports were carved out as a game of skill and not chance, and therefore not legally defined as gambling, in the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. Major League Baseball acquired a stake of daily fantasy sports site DraftKings in 2013 when the site became the league’s official daily fantasy game.
Earlier this month, Disney, parent company of ESPN, acquired a reported 20 percent equity stake in DraftKings. Recent investments in both DraftKings and FanDuel have valued the companies at least $1 billion each.)
For those sites that play for real money, say what you want, it is gambling. I don’t care how they were conceived at the onset, I have too many acquaintances that throw good money after bad chasing that guy that turned $50 into $62,000. I realize it only takes one big hit to make a paycheck, but I constantly hear the bitching and complaints about “IF this guy had only caught that pass” or “If that player had gotten one more hit.”
And don’t get me started on how I feel Fantasy Football has ruined the NFL.
Preferably, if money is involved with any fantasy baseball site then players should be barred from playing.
Steve: I could really care less if a player is involved with fantasy baseball or not, who cares if there are prizes at stake. We are not the NCAA here. Seems like there are just too many stupid rules in baseball. This is one of them. I think they should be allowed to participate in fantasy games as it does not violate the gambling rule.
5) Boston won 6-5 versus the Yanks after a six-hour, 49-minute Friday night-Saturday morning marathon game.
Some facts: During the game was so long that two players turned a year older… both Mark Teixeira and Chase Headey had their 35th birthdays; official time of game was 6 hours, 49 minutes, even though it took more than 7 hours to complete… there was a 16 minutes power outage in the 12th, the game ended at about 2:15 in the morning, and, the teams would be playing another game by 1:00 Saturday afternoon…
Should there be a cutoff time for this type of game situation when an afternoon game is scheduled the next day?
Archie: This is just one of those things the league has to deal with and I am glad it happened to some other team other than the one I watch. I have never been a fan of stopping a game to be finished later. IF there is one fan left in the stand to watch then you keep going.
Earl: There should be but there would be too many logistical problems as far as rescheduling the next day’s game, when an extra inning night game goes too long. It would sound easy to move a proposed 2:05 pm start to 7:05 pm but you have a fan base to consider, as well as a City’s infrastructure to consider.
In a City like New York, it might not be a big deal, but I’d imagine a smaller city with not too many options getting too and from the ball park, it might cause a bit of a logistical nightmare.
Joe: As much as I can see the logic of postponing a game that I already on the other side of midnight… say around !:00 am, I also have to say (1) it doesn’t happen all that often and (2) it’s just one of them vagaries of the game… “It ain’t over ’til it’s over” and :There ain’t no clock in baseball.”
Steve: Well Happy Birthday to Mark Teixeira and Chase Headly, sorry you lost..lol. As a professional athlete, you need to be ready for these kinds of situations. I don’t think they should call the game by any means, nor should they change the time of the game for the next day. These guys are making more money than I would know what to do with, even at the league minimum. Look at it this way. I worked in upper management at a restaurant, work 10 to 12 hours, not get home until midnight, and have to turn around and be back at work for another 12 hour shift. I did this on a regular basis, and got paid a fraction of what these guys make. So no there should not be a cutoff time, or changes to the schedule if a game goes later.
MLBRT Extra Innings…
On Wednesday (4/15) MLB celebrated the 68th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s major league debut.
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