Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Friday, April 20.
As I figured, yesterday was relatively quiet around baseball after the goofiness that took place on Wednesday. Exhausted bull pens needed to exhale after a 16-inning game and a contest of 14 innings. The Mets were one team who couldn’t rest their bully, and it showed as the Braves beat them 12–4 in the first of a 4-game series in Atlanta. It was bad enough that they were behind 6-1 through 6 but the home team put up 6 more before the first skirmish of this series was over. Meantime Boston is trying to run away from the field in the best 1984 Tigers’ tradition. The Red Sox are off to an unthinkable 16–2 start, and if there were no wild card teams the rest of the American League East would already be making their plans not to play October or November baseball. The Old Town Team played in the very first World Series in 1903, but not in all the years since then have they started off winning 16 out of their first 18. As it happens, they lost game 1 back in March and are 16–1 since then. While the Angels lead the West as of now, the Red Sox outscored them 27–3 over the 3-game series that just took place in Anaheim. The Halos had been 13–3 before the Red Sox came to town.
Behind the scenes the Reds unloaded manager Bryan Price owing to the team’s 3–15 start. The Reds hadn’t gotten off to such a bad start since 1931 when they still played at RedLands Field. It would be 3 more dismal years before Powell Crosley bought the team and brought Red Barber to man the microphone in Cincinnati. Within 6 years they had won the 1940 World Series. I can’t imagine the Reds pulling off another such miracle in this day of watered-down talent and an increasingly shallow talent pool. In fact, the Reds are among the teams I would cut out of the field if I were Commissioner. 24 is absolutely the most teams the game can stand without the kind of showings we’re seeing now.
This weekend’s games begin with one of Detroit’s numerous make-up games. The Tigers start play against the Royals just after 1 PM. The two meet again at 7 PM in game 2 of what is now called a “split” double-header. When Boston invented the concept it was called a “day-night” doubleheader and they were the only team playing them. After two games in balmy San Juan, the Indians return to the dismal reality of weather on the East coast. The Indians face the Orioles in Baltimore tonight. Dylan Bundy gets the call for the O’s against the Tribe’s Trevor Bauer. The Phillies conquered the Pirates 7–0 last night in what I thought would be the night’s best matchup. Tonight Ivan Nova will try to raise the Jolly Roger against the Phillies’ Ben Lively who hasn’t ben too lively in his last 2 starts. The opponents have hit .372 against Lively in those two games. After a few 6:35 starts to open the season the Yankees have reverted to their more familiar 7 PM start time as they host the Blue Jays tonight. The Jays’ Marco Estrada suffered back spasms in his last outing and New York weather isn’t ideal for curing a racked-up back. His opponent, Sonny Gray was assaulted by the Red Sox for 6 runs last time he took to the hill. So there I’ve laid it out as a possible slugfest, so watch the teams not be able to score. Aaron Judge launched one last night, and pitcher Estrada won’t wish to worsen his back issues by craning his neck to watch Judge’s shot heading for Parts Unknown. Mercifully, the Twins who just finished playing in Puerto Rico don’t have to return to Minnesota. That would be just plain cruel. Instead they get a week-end series in St. Pete. Lance Lynn answers the call for the Twins. He hasn’t won in his first two outings. The Rays turn to Chris Archer who was their prize free agent last year. When the Mets and Braves meet in Atlanta, Noah Syndergaard carries the mail for the Orange and Blue. Sean Newcombe will be the Braves’ starter. King Felix Hernandez faces the Rangers’ Mike Minor. Felix is looking like the old King after suffering several injuries a year ago. The Astros’ Justin Verlander has the assignment tonight in Chicago. Verlander pitched plenty of nights in horrible weather while he was with the Tigers. As for the 4-11 White Sox, they meant to start Jame Shields tonight, but they were forced to use him in the 14th inning Wednesday, so it’s not certain if it will be Shields or somebody else going for Chicago. Milwaukee will also be facing bone-chilling cold when they host the Marlins tonight. The Reds travel to St. Louis without a full-time manager in place. Brandon Finnegan, who was out for the last 3 months of 2017 starts tonight after a bumpy first outing. In that game he gave up 2 2-run home runs and was taking a shower before the end of the fifth. The Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks has given up two home runs in his last 2 outings. So it’s off to Coors Field in Denver, the only park crazier than Wrigley Field to try and cure the gopher ball blues. His opponent, John Gray has struggled as much as Hendricks has early on. As the Padres face the D-Backs, the Snakes are trying to adjust to life without Taewon Walker who has a date with Dr. James Andrews and the Tommy John surgery for which Dr. Andrews has won fame. Without him the team needs somebody to step up and they’re hoping Matt Koch can do it. He’s only thrown 2 innings from the bull pen. He came to Arizona from the Mets in 2015 in the Addison Reed trade. As if the 16–2 Red Sox needed any help, Drew Pomeranz is making his 2018 debut after winning a career high 17 games a year ago. He faces the Athletics and Kendall Graveman in Oakland. The Angels will hope to get well against the Giants after the pounding they received from the Red Sox. Finally the Dodgers start a series at home against the Nationals. The visitors send out Max Scherzer against Clayton Kershaw.