Five Things I Think I Think
We’re two weeks into the MLB season. Raise your hand if you had the Dodgers at 9-1 and the Angels at 3-6 in Los Angeles. If you put your hand up, put it down. I can’t believe you would lie to me like that. Here’s what I think on this beautiful Patriots Day.
1) I’ll believe in the Dodgers record when they play better teams. The San Diego Padres and Pittsburgh Pirates aren’t exactly the strongest teams in Major League Baseball. Matt Kemp is making his case for the best player in the league. Kemp currently leads the National League in slugging (1.026), OPS (1.548), home runs (6), total bases (40), runs batted in (16), runs (13) and hits (19). Hitting .487 apparently isn’t good enough for the league-lead, thanks a lot David Wright. The Dodgers have the Brewers and Astros on the road, then come home for the Braves and Nationals. We’ll know a lot more about them after those two weeks, than these first two.
2) Santiago Casilla should get a shot at the Giants closer role once again. We talked about it on the podcast and I have to re-emphasize it. Casilla was able to convert 6 of 7 save chances last leason and has been dazzling with a sub 2.00 ERA in each of the past two years. Casilla would be more suited for the clean slate 9th inning role trying to pick up saves. He would be better suited to be able to work himself out of trouble as he’s more prone to walking batters than Sergio Romo. Romo should be saved for the high-pressure situations. Romo’s 13.1 K/9 in 2011 is better served in jams when the Giants need a strikeout to prevent runs from scoring.
3) Don’t get off the Matt Moore bandwagon just yet. My controversial pick for AL Cy Young is off to a shaky start with a 5.54 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP. Facing the Tigers and the Red Sox on the road can do that to you. The Red Sox used their usual game plan of taking a lot of pitches and Moore obliged with four walks in 6.1 innings. Look for Moore to get on track at home this week against the Twins.
4) No Pujols, no LaRussa, no Duncan, no problem for the St. Louis Cardinals. David Freese looks like the real deal so far after those expecting a drop off after his postseason heroics. Carlos Beltran’s under-the-radar signing has paid early dividends. Lance Lynn has stepped right into the rotation spot left empty by Chris Carpenter’s injury with a 2-0 record and a 1.50 ERA over 12 innings. The only setback has Adam Wainwright who still doesn’t seem right coming back from Tommy John surgery.
5) All the teams in the NL East will finish over .500. The Phillies and Braves were the obvious teams on this list at the start of the season and are off to so-so starts. The surprises have been the Nationals and Mets who are 7-3 and 6-3 respectively. The Nationals pitching that I said was the most underrated staff coming into the 2012 season has been spectaular with an ERA under 2.00 through the first 10 games. The Marlins once they get through their off-the-field problems and can focus on baseball will be there in the end. How spectacular was the home run structure going off in Marlins Park? We all owe Omar Infante a debt of gratitude for setting it off. Here’s the link to it.
What do you think so far about the season? Let us know in the comments!