Three Up, Three Down took in the first week of baseball and found out a few things. The Atlanta Braves are very good at baseball like activities, and that Zack Greinke isn’t as big as Carlos Quentin. We recap our thoughts on the brawl between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres and touch on the other injuries around baseball. The classic “3U3D Fantasy Special” is back and you might like what we have to say, especially if you’re already a cellar dweller in your league. Check it out and thank us when you start your climb to the top!
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It’s been awhile since I posted a “Five Things I Think I Think” so let’s see what’s in this brain of mine.
1) Bryce Harper has gotten all the hype and it’s well-deserved, but I still want Mike Trout for this season. Trout has been better than Harper hitting .316 with 3 HR’s, 3 SB’s and a .931 OPS to Harper’s .233, 2 HR, 1 SB, and .742 OPS. I know it’s a small sample size, but it’s no coincidence. Harper gets the hype, but it’s Trout that is more ready.
2) Closer turnover has been more insane in 2012 than any season I can remember. Here’s the list of teams that have had some sort of closer turmoil this season Yankees (Mariano Rivera and David Robertson injuries), Rays (Kyle Farnsworth injury), Red Sox (Andrew Bailey injury, Mark Melancon terrible), Blue Jays (Sergio Santos injury, Coco Cordero terrible), White Sox (Hector Santiago terrible, Chris Sale uncertainty), Athletics (Grant Balfour terrible), Angels (Jordan Walden terrible), Nationals (Drew Storen and Brad Lidge injuries), Marlins (Heath Bell really terrible), Reds (Ryan Madson injury), Cubs (Carlos Marmol terrible), Dodgers (Javy Guerra terrible), Giants (Brian Wilson injury), and Padres (Huston Street injury). That’s FOURTEEN teams and if you factor in Frank Francisco on the Mets, our 3 DOWN fantasy player this week, that’s half the league that has had troubles in the closer role. Don’t peek, name the top five pitchers in saves in the American League on 5/15. Give up? Jim Johnson, Chris Perez, Fernando Rodney, Jonathan Broxton, and Brandon League. Those are the good closers? Oh my.
3) Carlos Ruiz deserves to make his 1st All-Star team. Chooch as he’s known to Phillies fans has put up his best statistical season so far and with Hunter Pence is seemingly the only thing keeping the Phillies offense afloat. He leads all MLB catchers in AVG, SLG, and OPS. It is going to be interesting which one or maybe even two NL catchers don’t make the trip to Kansas City out of Brian McCann, Yadier Molina, Buster Posey, and Ruiz. Good thing Tony LaRussa has all the time he wants to think about it.
4) By the time that Matt Kemp returns to the Dodgers lineup, their lead in the NL West will be cut by at least half. I can see the Giants going on a run and picking up at least three games on LA against Cardinals and Athletics at home and then the Brewers and Marlins on the road. While the Dodgers have the Padres and Diamondbacks on the road and Cardinals at home. That lineup without Kemp and Juan Rivera seems a lot easier to face.
5) Kevin Youkilis could be the new Wally Pipp. Pipp famously is known as taking a day off and being replaced by Lou Gehrig who went on to play 2,130 consecutive games. I don’t think it will go to that extent, but there is no way that the Red Sox can take Will Middlebrooks out of the lineup. Middlebrooks is hitting .300 with four home runs since getting called up to replace Youkilis when he went on DL. Now with Youkilis coming off the disabled list soon, what do they do? I think Youk is going to get a lot more off days than he was used to before.
What’s on your mind as we hit the 2nd half of May?
Well the first “Five Things I Think I Think” went so well (we got a comment!) that I’ve decided to make this a recurring thing. Going to do it Wednesday and Sunday nights. Here’s what’s gone on in this silly, little brain of mine since we last spoke.
1) There will be more closer turnover this year than ever. Here’s the list of closers that have gotten hurt this season Andrew Bailey, Joakim Soria, Kyle Farnsworth, Drew Storen, and Ryan Madson. The closer situations for those teams look pretty fluid right now, especially in Kansas City where current closer Jonathan Broxton became the 1st pitcher in 46 years to end a game with consecutive hit-by-pitches. Everyone thought it would be Joel Peralta in Tampa Bay, not Fernando Rodney who is now 3 for 3. Who saw Hector Santiago getting the first two saves for the White Sox? Don’t lie and say you did. On the north side of Chicago, Carlos Marmol is being Carlos Marmol and blowing leads in spectacular fashion for the Cubs. There will be plenty of pitchers getting saves this season, I’ve got a feeling.
2) I want to see Dee Gordon race Peter Bourjos. Both of these speedsters are burning up the basepaths. Gordon has an MLB leading five stolen bases (tied with Starlin Castro) and seemingly has a green light any time he’s on base. Bourjos on the other hand had the first inside-the-park home run in the season against the Twins, circling the bases in a ridiculous 14 seconds. The link to that is underneath. Both of these players are in the Los Angeles area. Can’t we set this up for a LA charity. Bonus points to Miami Marlins teammates Emilio Bonifacio vs. Jose Reyes in the undercard.
3) The Tampa Bay Rays won’t go away. If getting one-hit over eight innings by Justin Verlander doesn’t bury them, then nothing will. They came back in the 9th against the reigning AL MVP and then continued the onslaught on “Papa Grande” Jose Valverde. Matt Moore was effective in his first start against a lethal Tigers offense, just another weapon in that rotation. I’ll continue to say that Joe Maddon is the best manager in the game.
4) I wish Erik Bedard could stay healthy. When he is, he’s one of the better starting pitchers in the game. I’m currently watching him pitch effectively the Dodgers on the road. If the Pirates get 25 starts out of him, they will be well on their way to .500 for the first time since 1992. Fantasy owners should have him rostered until he gets hurt. He was the Mapes Fantasy Special today. Shameless plug to follow me on Twitter @Mapes4FanCave or just search #MapesFantasySpecial for a starting pitcher to pick up that’s owned in less than 50% of leagues.
5) Bacon Tuesday is the greatest thing ever. It’s bacon. It’s baseball. Leave it to Oakland fans to come up with something so awesome. They have great fans. Just wish more of them would show up at the ballpark. Jeremy will have more on his Bacon Tuesday experience on the blog soon.