Glad there will be baseball again today, even if it will be a bit cold at Wrigley. But it’s rough going two days without a Cubs game once the season started.
I just want to point out the Iowa Cubs are the only remaining unbeaten team in Triple-A.
- The Rays are the final unbeaten team in the majors and they are winning in a manner that hasn’t been seen since 1884.
- Gabe Lacques writes that with the Rays dominating starting rotation, their unbeaten start very much looks like it is for real.
- Five reasons why the Astros could repeat as World Series champions and five teams that could stop them. And somehow the Rays aren’t one of the five.
- I guess the new rules are still the big story these days. Jayson Stark speaks with Theo Epstein about the new rules and how they’re working out so far. (The Athletic sub. req,) There’s also a podcast of this interview.
- Mike Axisa writes that the new rules are working as intended.
- Although as Mike Petriello notes, it’s weird. Right-handed batters are benefitting far more from shift restrictions so far than left-handed batters, for example. Petriello has that among his five key statistical trends so far this year.
- The Rockies home opener produced a rare event. The Rockies beat the Nationals 1-0 at Coors in two hours and 18 minutes. It was the 47th-fastest game ever at Coors (out of 2,209 regular season games) and only the 11th 1-0 game in Coors history.
- Brittany Ghiroli argues that the rules changes are commissioner Rob Manfred’s shining moment. (The Athletic sub. req,) She’d also like you to insert the meme about “The Worst Person You Know Just Made a Great Point” here. OK, she doesn’t actually say that, but I’m reading between the lines.
- Hannah Keyser asks people in baseball if the new rules are helping to close the gap between pitchers and hitters.
- Jayson Stark has the top ten pitch clock violations from the first week. (The Athletic sub. req,)
- Here’s one that came in too late to make Stark’s column, although it’s not technically a pitch clock violation. White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson was ejected after he struck out after the umpire refuse to grant him time and Giants pitcher Logan Webb threw strike three while he was halfway to the dugout.
- And that doesn’t even include Shohei Ohtani, who became the first player to get a pitch clock violation as a hitter and a pitcher in the same game.
- Jorge Castillo gets some estimates of how much Ohtani will make as a free agent next year. The estimate he got was over $600 million.
- Will that offer come from the Mets? Ken Rosenthal writes that the Mets are definitely interested in Ohtani, but there are some complications beyond his salary. (The Athletic sub. req,) Unfortunately, those complications would apply to the Cubs as well. Rosenthal also has several other stories in that piece including the Brewers’ dilemmas about their upcoming free agents and how the Tigers are improving.
- Bob Nightengale has some observations after a survey of MLB salaries.
- Sarah Langs had ten “mind-blowing” stats of the 2023 season so far.
- Jay Jaffe argues that so far, the new Dodgers outfield is a hit. Because they’re hitting, get it?
- Jake Mailhot tries to make sense of the Braves shortstop options.
- Cardinals manager Oli Marmol benched outfielder Tyler O’Neill after Marmol said he didn’t hustle on the basepaths.
- O’Neill disputes Marmol’s characterization of his effort, but his manager repeated the criticism. This probably doesn’t end well.
- Congratulations to Hillsboro Hops manager Ronnie Gajownik, who became the first woman to manage a High-A game last night for the Diamondbacks affiliate. Unfortunately for her, the Hops lost to the Dust Devils, 9-2.
- Jeff Passan has a blow-by-blow inside look at the successful negotiations by the minor leaguers and how they came to an agreement on the first collective bargaining deal.
- White Sox closer Liam Hendricks completed his last round of chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He posted a video of him ringing a bell to celebrate.
- Mets catcher Omar Naváez is going to the injured list with a left calf strain and the Amazin’s called up top prospect Francisco Alvarez to take his spot. Naváez is expected to miss eight weeks.
- The Braves put right-hander Collin McHugh on the IL with inflammation in his pitching shoulder. Left-handed prospect Jared Shuster will take McHugh’s roster and rotation spot.
- Don’t insult your fans is the lesson of this story. The Athletics were outdrawn by 11 Triple-A teams on Tuesday. And St. Paul was rained out or it definitely would have been at least 12.
- Brewers outfielder Garrett Mitchell credited his walk-off home run to beat the Mets on Wednesday to his wife not being at the game. She disagrees.
- Kevin Murphy has the story of how the Yankees’ Ron Blomberg “accidentally” became the first designated hitter in MLB history.
- Fielding porn. Like father, like son.
Druw Jones with a SENSATIONAL running grab for the @VisaliaRawhide.— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) April 7, 2023
MLB's No. 13 prospect makes a mark in his first pro game since the @Dbacks selected him 2nd overall last summer: pic.twitter.com/jJKX9AQnJc
- Diamondbacks rookie Corbin Carroll still gets dropped off at the ballpark by his parents.
- Sam Blum has a story about the special bond between Angels fans and the band Train (The Athletic sub. req,) because of their song “Calling All Angels.” He talks to the band and Angels fans about it.
- And finally, Shawn Garrett kinda, sorta solves the mystery of whatever happened to Roger Szmodis, the man who was credited with winning the contest to name the Seattle Mariners. Szmodis never collected his prize and was never heard from again.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.