Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Boomer's Diamond Notes: The Last Week in April

Happy 100th Birthday, Fenway Park, I'll see you someday, hopefully...

The final full week of the first month (April) is here already, and we take a look back at the first three weeks so far. Ozzie Guillen served a 5-game suspension already after comments he made about Fidel Castro. The Marlins have a new stadium Marlin Park to call home with a pricy roster have begun the season  at 7-8. Prince Fielder has only two HR's for his new team the Detroit Tigers, were as Albert Pujols is still in search for his first one of the year. We celebrate the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park up in Boston, while new skipper Bobby Valentine is finding it hard to find friends so far in Beantown. We've seen the 1st perfect game of the season, pitched by Chicago White Sox starter Philip Humber vs. the Seattle Mariners. Seriously, has there been an uglier way to finish a perfect game then this latest one? 3-2 count, 2 outs, Bottom of the 9th. Just the whole pass ball, checking your swing on clearly ball four that would of ruin the perfect game, but it is what it is. As we itch towards the month of May, we will see if hot starts by the Texas Rangers (13-4), Washington Nationals (12-4), and LA Dodgers (13-4) continue, while the Red Sox (5-10), Angels (6-10) and Phillies (7-10) try and turn slow starts around.

AL East
Both the NY Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays are riding 4-game winning streaks as they both sit a top the AL East at (10-6). The Yankees are getting excellent play out of their ageless SS and face of the franchise Derek Jeter (.411 BA, 4 HR's, 13 RBI's, .436 OBP). The Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays are right behind at (9-7). While the Red Sox celebrated 100 years at Fenway Park over the weekend, they round out the AL East in the basement right now (5-10) and find themselves 4.5 games back at time point. After the first three weeks, the reviews on new skipper Bobby Valentine are not positive from the Red Sox clubhouse.

AL Central
The Chicago White Sox (10-6), Detroit Tigers (10-6), and Cleveland Indians (8-6) look to make this a three-team race all summer long. The White Sox are riding the wave of Philip Humber's perfect game this past weekend, as the southsiders are riding a 4-game winning streak. The Tigers the clear favorite coming into the season, are off to a so-so start as they are 5-5 in their last 10. The Indians coming off of a successful 9-game road trip out west, in which they went (7-2) against the Royals, Mariners, and A's. The Tribe will be back home this week, in Cleveland, and will try to continue the success from the road, in front of the home fans. The Twins (5-12) like last season have put themselves into a early hole, while the Royals are....well the Royals (3-13) losers of their last 11 games and are winless in their first ten home games (0-10). The bright side for the Royals, their hosting the 2012 MLB All-Star Game.

AL West
Clearly, the hottest team so far in all of baseball is from this division. The Texas Rangers (13-4) are smashing the baseball and getting some quality pitching from their pitching staff from the starters to the bullpen guys. The Rangers lead the league in runs (98) and scoring differences (+49). The Rangers so far have shown no hangover from losing the World Series last fall. They have already stretched their lead to 5.5 games vs. the Oakland A's (8-10), 6 games vs. the Seattle Mariners (7-10) and 6.5 games vs. the LA Angels. The biggest surprise here are the Angels, as they were suppose to be the running mate with the Rangers in this division are off to a slow start and look to turn things around quickly, before they get buried.

The National League...

NL East
One of the biggest surprises so far in this early MLB season, is the hot-start by the Washington Nationals (12-4). The Nationals pitching rotations is one of the best so far, with a team ERA of 2.34. The Nationals are (8-2) at home this year and are currently winners of 8 out of 10 games. The Atlanta Braves continue the motto of "Win one, for Chipper" as they sit in 2nd in this division at (10-7) 2.5 games back of the Nationals. The NY Mets (8-8) and Miami Marlins (7-8) hover around the .500 mark, while the Philadelphia Phillies (pre-season favorite) are in last place at (7-10). 

NL Central
The defending World Series Champs continue to sit on top of the Central at (11-6) are 4th in runs in the ML and 2nd in scoring differences (+35). The Cardinals have the best starting rotation in this division and continue to live life after AP (Albert Pujols). The Brewers (8-9) and Reds (7-9) will crawl and fight to stay close with the Cardinals in this division, as they sit 3 and 3.5 games behind the Cardinals. The Pirates (6-9) continue to struggle to score runs (30) last in the majors, the Astros (6-11) back to reality after a quick-start and the beloved Chicago Cubs (5-12) round out the NL Central.

NL West
The Dodgers sit on top of this division at (13-4) and are riding the hot-start of CF Matt Kemp (.460 BA, 9 HR's, 22 RBI's and .514 OBP) and some quality starting pitching. The SF Giants (9-7), Colorado Rockies (8-7), and Arizona D-Backs' (9-8) all have hopes of competing with the Dodgers, as the NL West is one of those division year-in and year-out, you never know who's going to win it. While the San Diego Padres (5-12) look to be one of the worse teams in the majors, but hey the sun's still shining out in So Cal. 

Boomer's Clubhouse Chat

Cleveland Indians 8-6
Games this week: 3 vs. the Royals, 3 vs. the LA Angels 

After a 7-2 road trip, the Indians come home for 6 straight, looking to continue the success from the road at home. The Indians are only 1-4 at home this season, and need to win ballgames in front of the home fans. The bats came alive out west on the road trip, along with some timely hitting and speed on the bases.  The pitching is the biggest concern as the Indians have yet to win a game in which Ace Justin Masterson has started. With aging SP Derek Lowe and iffy SP Ubaldo Jimenez, the Indians need to find ways to get the most out of their starters and get some quality defense behind them. The bats will only get better as the Tribe has been without All-Star SS Asdrubal Cabrera (death in the family) for the past week or so. Heres to hoping the success from the previous road trip continues at home in front of the loyal Indians fans. Lets Go Tribe.

Cincinnati Reds 7-9
Games this week: 3 vs. the Giants, 3 vs. the Astros

After a sub par 4-6 road trip to D.C., St. Louis, and Chicago to play the Cubs, the Reds are one-game below .500 at this point and 3.5 games behind 1st place in the NL Central division (St. Louis Cardinals). The Reds continue to get quality starts out of ace Johnny Cueto (2-0, 1,78 ERA, 19 K's and 1.11 WHIP) and vet Bronson Arroyo (1-0, 2.91 ERA, 11 K's and .088 WHIP). The concern is the rest of the starting rotation in which the Reds have gotten only one win out of so far. If the Reds want to be contenders the rest of the season, they need to have the starting rotation pitch better to help spare a quality bullpen. Will we ever see flamethrower Aroldis Chapman start a game (2-0, 0.00 ERA, 18 K's, 0.48 WHIP)? The lineup needs to hit the ball better then they have so far and score a lot of runs to help out the pitching staff. Concerns with such a pricy lineup, you hate seeing them only being able to get 4 or 5 hits vs. quality teams. Lets get things turned around in the Queen City, before its too late.

Big Knock, Pedro....Big Knock
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