Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Saturday, April 14.
Third base has been a gaping hole for the Mets for a long time. After a decade of excellent play, their third baseman and captain David Wright fell prey to one injury after another while the brain trust of the Mets never bothered to get an adequate replacement for him. Now they might have just lucked into one, as local man Todd Frazier has made good early on. His two home runs led the Mets to a 6-5 win over the Brewers, their 9th win in a row. They now have 11 wins against just one loss, easily their best start since their humble beginnings under Casey Stengel. No New York team has started 11-1 or better going back to the year of James Dean, 1955 when the Brooklyn Dodgers managed it.
While Frazier is in his first year with the Mets, early on he has assumed the mantle of a clubhouse leader, and hitting 2 blasts in a game goes a long way to cementing that status. The Brewers, like most of the league, gave the Mets a painful beating last year. It was especially painful when Milwaukee did the damage, considering they had been a joke for years. But last year’s Brewers team were a much better outfit than they had been fielding in decades past and this year’s team is as good or better. The Mets picked up their latest win before nearly 35,000 fans at Citi Field.
Meantime another New Yorker was hitting 2 home runs and leading his team to victory. Having lost 2 out of 3 in Boston the Yankees needed to do well out of the gate against Detroit and Aaron Hicks-yes, I said Hicks instead of Judge-hit a pair of 4-baggers. The first was that rarity the Tigers’ Ty Cobb would have appreciated-an inside-the-park home run. His other shot was of the more conventional variety. When all was said and done the Yankees had claimed an 8-6 win over the home team. Last year’s rookie find, Jordan Montgomery went 6 innings to get his first win of the young season. No Yankee had hit an inside-the-park home run in nearly 7 years, and Hank Bauer was the last Yankee to hit one inside and outside the park in the same game. That took place in 1956.
Today’s action gets underway early, as the Orioles host the Red Sox. The Orioles get their first look at Alex Cobb, the free agent they signed in late March. He was one of several pitchers unaccountably unemployed until March of this year. In the past he pitched for the Rays and enjoyed Fenway Park over all other places to pitch. Though his Rays were usually dreadful, cobb somehow compiled a 5-1 record at Fenway in 7 starts. The Rockies and Nationals also get going at 1 PM today. The Rockies’ John Gray didn’t get out of the third inning last time, and facing Max Scherzer of the Nationals isn’t what the doctor ordered for Gray or any other pitcher coming off a bad outing. The Yankees send out Luis Cessa to make a spot start against the Tigers’ wily veteran Francisco Liriano. Though Liriano lost his last start 2–0 to the Indians, he hadn’t given them a hit through 5 innings. The Cardinals and Reds are the other 1:10 start. An hour later the White Sox and Twins hope to get a game in, considering last night’s game was a washout. The Braves and Cubs are also scheduled to lock horns in the 2:00 hour Eastern Time. The Braves go with last year’s rookie sensation Sean Newcombe against the Cubs’ Jose Quintana. The Cubs’ major free agent acquisition last year was Quintana, and he won all 5 Wrigley Field starts he made since moving downtown from the White Sox. Today will be his first outing at home in 2018. The next 2 games on the schedule start at 4:10. At that time, the Rangers face the Astros in Houston and the Blue Jays face the Indians. Corey Kluber goes for the homestanding Indians. He struck out 13 Tigers last Monday night, against one walk in 8 innings. All the other games will be played in the evening. The Brewers send their best, Chase Anderson against Matt Harvey of the Mets who has had by his own description one good outing and one that wasn’t so good. His ongoing struggle will be to shed his “Dark Knight” image and be an average pitcher. His days of dating supermodels are over and he would do well to get used to that fact. I can hear those of you who know me personally saying “Easier said than done” and I’m hardly the right guy to tell anybody to adjust to a new reality, but when he’s being well paid to do so Harvey throws himself open.
Now this gets complicated. The Marlins go with Trevor Richards against the Pirates’ Jamison Taillon. The Angels send out Garrett Richards against the Royals. Add to that Clayton Richard of the Padres who starts tonight against the Giants. At least the Dodgers’ starter named Hill goes by Rich instead of Richard. And no, the two men called Richards aren’t related. Trevor of the Marlins will be 25 next month, and last week he made his MLB debut before throwing a pitch at AAA. His song should be Phil Collins’ “Against All Odds” since Richards was never drafted. He made his mark in Indeppendent league baseball in the Frontier League and was spotted and signed by the Marlins. The Angels’ Garrett Richards is a Califoornia native who will be 30 at the end of May.0