April 8, 2012: New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter looks on as the Yankees play the Tampa Bay Rays. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
Because the national baseball dialog tends to skew toward the Northeast, the Boston Red Sox's late bullpen woes have obscured the terrifying back-end of the Chicago Cubs' bullpen. You'd think the Sawx were the only ones with issues. That's fine, I suppose.
- Speaking of the Red Sox's bullpen trouble and the national baseball dialog skewing toward the Northeast, those Sox and the New York Yankees are both now 0-3 on the young season after sweeps at the hands of the Tigers and Rays, respectively. The last time those two teams were 0-3 to start the year was 1966, when the Yankees finished in last place and the Red Sox finished second-to-last. Then again, the last time the Yankees started 0-3 (1998), the team won 114 games and a World Series. The last time the Red Sox started out 0-3 was last year, which obviously didn't end well, but the team was still mighty good. Given those facts, and the teams to which the Red Sox and Yankees lost, I'm not sure you can read much of anything into the shaky starts (as much as you might want to). That doesn't mean we can't enjoy it, though...
- The Red Sox and Yankees aren't the only teams to start the year with a winless stretch, just as the Tigers and Rays aren't the only teams to start the year on a winning streak. The New York Mets (yes, those New York Mets) swept the Atlanta Braves in three games, and the Baltimore Orioles (yes, those Baltimore Orioles) swept the Minnesota Twins in three. The Arizona Diamondbacks also swept the San Francisco Giants in three. It's nice not to have to list the Cubs as one of the winless teams here.
- Detroit Tigers' pitcher Doug Fister headed to the DL with a a left costochondral strain (a strained muscle on the left side of his torso, if you're one of those bozos who doesn't know what "costochondral strain" means), and the Tigers aren't yet sure who's going to take his place in the rotation. It sounds like they're looking only for a fill-in, rather than a long-term solution, so perhaps Fister's injury isn't expected to keep him out for very long.
- Avert your eyes if you're morally opposed to Miami Marlins bullets (hopefully you're good at averting - with that clubhouse, they're going to be in the news a lot this year): Ozzie Guillen is in some hot water in Miami for first saying he "loves" Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, and then trying to explain that comment away by saying, "I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that [expletive] is still there." Oh, Ozzie. A local anti-Castro group is planning to boycot and demonstrate against the Marlins until Guillen steps down as manager.
- Yankees starter Michael Pineida, who is dealing with shoulder soreness, will not pitch for the team in April.
- Matthew Pouliot makes an argument I've been offering for months: even if you ignore Mark Trumbo's defensive struggles at third base for the Angels, are they really even getting much of an offensive upgrade there from Alberto Callaspo? Sure, Trumbo slugged 100 points higher than Callaspo last year, but he also had an OBP that was 75 points lower.
- Henry Schulman says the Giants shouldn't be worried about their starting pitching yet (though I'd note that, with respect to Tim Lincecum, it wasn't just the crummy results, it was the dramatically reduced velocity that caused concern), but there are plenty of other things to be worried about, including shoddy defense, poor situational hitting, and struggles against lefty relievers. There's also the thing where Buster Posey is too afraid to keep his foot on home plate...