Cliff Lee's record is 2-0 with an ERA of 0.61 after his first two starts, and is leading the Cleveland Indians' starters in both categories. Fausto Carmona has a 2.20 ERA, but he has walked 17 batters in 16 innings. C.C. Sabathia is really struggling with a 0-2 record and a 11.57 ERA. Paul Byrd has a 0-2 record and a 11.05 ERA. The Indians are only 3 games ahead of the 2-10 Tigers. The Tigers are the only major league team to not record a win this season at home with their 0-6 home record. Kenny Rogers (0-3) hasn't lost more than 10 games in a season since 2000, but after his loss yesterday he could lose more than 10 after losing to the Chicago White Sox by an 11-0 score yesterday.
The Detroit Tigers have four regular players hitting under .200 with Placido Polanco, a lifetime .304 hitter, hitting .154 this season. Miguel Cabrera, Gary Sheffield, and Ivan Rodriguez are the others hitting under .200 with all four players combining for one home run and 7 RBI's, while Brandon Inge has 2 home runs and 9 RBI's by himself. The Tigers are starting to show why they go ahead and play the games on grass regardless of how strong a team looks on paper.
Paul Konerko and Joe Crede both hit grand slams in an 11-0 White Sox win over the Tigers. The White Sox are leading the American League in runs scored with 70 runs in 11 games, and they also lead the majors in the least amount of home runs allowed (4 have been given up in 97 innings). The Cincinnati Reds have given up the most with 20.
Jeff Niemann won his first major league start yesterday, as he gave up only one run in 6 innings in the 6-2 win by the Tampa Bay Rays over the Baltimore Orioles. He may not be the tallest pitcher in baseball at 6'9", but he could certainly be the heaviest at 280 pounds. Evan Longoria is hitting .333 after his first two games with the Rays. Carlos Pena hit three home runs and drove in seven runs in the games Friday and Saturday. but is hitting only .209 after going hitless yesterday.
Brian Bannister (3-0, 0.86 ERA) pitched the Kansas City Royals to a 5-1 complete game win over the Minnesota Twins. The Royals have a Major League leading 2.58 ERA, and they are the only team in the MLB to allow less than 3 runs a game. Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-0, 2.70) didn't pitch that well yesterday, but still took the win over the New York Yankees 8-5, as the Boston Red Sox defeated the New York Yankees for the second day in a row. The Yankees are hoping that Phillip Hughes and Ian Kennedy can start pitching better, as they have combined for an 0-3 record. In a total of 16 innings combined this season, they have given up 22 hits, 19 earned runs and 14 walks. If Hughes and Kennedy don't start pitching better, one of them could lose their starting job to Joba Chamberlain.
Gabe Kapler, who looked like he was only a fill in until Mike Cameron returned, may be winning a spot as an extra outfielder, hitting .423 so far this season. He is second in home runs on the Milwaukee Brewers (4, below Bill Hall's 5), leads the team in RBI's (11), and also leads in slugging percentage (.962). I look for Gabe Gross to be sent down when Cameron returns since he is hitting .111 with 2 hits in 18 at bats. Kapler last played in the majors in 2006 when he played for the Red Sox. He hit 2 home runs for the Red Sox that season in 130 at bats but has 4 this season in only 26 at bats.
Tom Glavine only made 16 pitches before leaving with a sore hamstring, but it was all the pitches he needed to take the loss against the reeling Washington Nationals, who are 1-9 in their last ten games. The Chicago Cubs took an extra inning win by a 6-5 score over the Philadelphia Phillies, and moved to within a game and a half behind the first place St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central, who lost yesterday. Felix Pie may not be playing in Wrigley Field much longer as he is hitting only .182 while hitting only .212 last season. Matt Murton is hitting .400 at Triple A Iowa and deserves to be called up. Kosuke Fukudome was hitting .419 before going into a 1 for 13 slump, lowering his batting average to .318. Alfonso Soriano is hitting .175 this season. Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano are the only Cubs starters to win a game this season with one win each while the bullpen has won 5 games.
Johnny Cueto (1-1, 3.72 ERA) showed that he is human after all, as he took the loss in the 9-1 Pittsburgh Pirates romp over the Cincinnati Reds. Cueto has given up more runs in each outing this season going from allowing 1 run to 2 runs and then 5 runs yesterday. Tom Gorzelanny (1-1) returned to form after giving up 7 runs in 2 innings in his last start against the Cubs. Nate McLouth contines to have a breakout season leading the NL in hits with 22, doubles with 8, 4th in RBI's with 11, 2nd in total bases with 35, 3rd in hitting with .400 average.
The Houston Astros are off to a slow start with their ace Roy Oswalt (0-3, 9.00 ERA). In 16 innings, he has given up an astounding 30 hits. He has also given up 16 runs. With the Astros 13 games into the new season, only Brandon Backe and Wandy Rodriguez among the starters have won games, with each pitcher posting one win each, while the bullpen has notched 5 wins this season. Hunter Pence is off to horrific start this season with a .180 batting average and one RBI after 50 at bats with only two walks and 13 strikeouts. Jose Cruz Jr. who was red hot in spring training has only 2 hits in 13 at bats for a .154 average.
The Astros are 28th in batting with a .238 average, and their OBP (.300) is 29th in the majors. The San Francisco Giants are 24th in ERA, but lead the majors in strikeouts (102). Giants have hit only 7 home runs in 13 games, but the New York Mets are even worse with 5 home runs in 11 games which ties them with Royals for worst home run hitting team in the majors.
Benjie Molina and John Bowker have hit 5 of the Giants' 7 home runs so far this season (3 and 2 respectively). Pitcher Matt Cain and second basemanRay Durham are the only other Giants with a home run (one each). The Arizona Diamondbacks and the Florida Marlins lead in home runs with 21 each. Mike Jacobs is off to a great start with 5 home runs already in 47 at bats. Last season, it took Jacobs 426 at bats to hit 17 home runs. In his first 100 at bats with the Mets in 2005, he hit 11 home runs which projected to 55 home runs in a 500 at bat season.
Troy Tulowitzki, who was mired in a 2 for 18 slump, was replaced by Clint Barmes, who drove in 4 runs for the Colorado Rockies in their 13-5 win over the Diamondbacks. Greg Maddux posted his 349th major league win in the San Diego Padres' 1-0 defeat over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Maddux needs 5 wins to tie Roger Clemens with 354 wins and 12 to tie Kid Nichols, who retired in 1906. Next on the list is Warren Spahn (363). If he were to pass Clemens, Nichols and Spahn, he would be tied with Pud Galvin, who retired in 1892 with 364 wins. Imagine this: if he was able to win 16 more games this season, he would be 5th on the all-time wins list leaving only Cy Young (511), Walter Johnson (417), Pete Alexander, and Christy Mathewson (373) each ahead of him. If Maddux doesn't have Hall of Fame numbers, nobody does. He has lost more than 12 games only four times in his 23 year career. By the end of this season, only Cy Young, Nolan Ryan, and Don Sutton would have started more games than Maddux. He is 355th in complete games (109), but that is only because of the advent of relief specialists, who most managers will call into a game if the starter exceeds the pitch count for that particular game. He has 310 more wins than his brother Mike Maddux who won 39 games in his 15 year career.
Triple A Minor League Prospects Progress Report
Shelley Duncan (New York Yankees) 3 HR, 5 RBI .571
Andy Gonzalez (Cleveland Indians) 2 HR, 9 RBI .387
Jay Bruce (Cincinnati Reds) 2 HR, 6 RBI .317
Josh Fields (Chicago White Sox) 1 HR, 7 RBI .333
Brandon Wood (Los Angeles Angels) 6 HR, 8 RBI .267
Ian Stewart (Colorado Rockies) 3 HR 11 RBI .333
Colby Rasmus (St. Louis Cardinals) 1 HR, 3 RBI .220
Steve Pearce (Pittsburgh Pirates) 0 HR, 7 RBI .214
Local Tennessee Smokies (Cubs)
Jeff Samardzija (Cubs) 2-0 0.75 Jesse Estrada (Cubs) 2-0 0.00
Southern League Prospects
Jeff Samardzija (Chicago Cubs) 2-0 0.75
Matthew Torra (Arizona Diamondbacks) 2-0 0.75
Chris Volstad (Florida Marlins) 2-0 2.25
Jacob McGee (Tampa Bay Rays) 0-1 2.25
Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles Dodgers) 0-2 3.38
Grandson's Last Start
My grandson didn't win this game, but watching him on the video made my day anyway. He caught the rest of the game after his two innings of pitching. He didn't walk any batters, which is a good sign, but he may be throwing too many middle of the plate strikes, which is probably why the other team won. If they know a pitcher has good control, they are more likely to stand in and pulverize the ball.