Week 1 MLB Sluggers and Slugs
There is much to be said about the first week of the season for Major League Baseball teams, especially certain players. The season is long, so getting off on the right foot is critical to keeping a high level of optimism.
Some teams can afford a little bit of a slow start, like the New York Yankees and the St. Louis Cardinals, based on the fact that they have veteran leaders that will pull the team together.
Teams who have an outside shot must start fast and maintain their momentum as long as possible. Otherwise, their season could be over by the all-star break. I am referring to the Florida Marlins, Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays, Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants, just to name a few.
What do my “Penthouse & Cellar” rankings (my version of power rankings — Top 3 Teams and Bottom 3 Teams) look like after opening week?
Which of these teams were able to jump out of the gates? Who are some of the players who helped their clubs put numbers in the win column? What teams and players are wishing they had a do-over in week one?
Penthouse Pimpin’ and Cellar Dwellers
No. 1. The first team on the guest list to the party on the roof has to be the Philadelphia Phillies. The offense has been kick-started by outstanding discipline at the plate by Jimmy Rollins. Newly acquired ace Roy Halladay looks like a machine mowing down hitters.
No. 2. Next for the party of three is the Joe Mauer “Power” Minnesota Twins. The Twins have dusted the cobwebs off the bag of bones, Jim Thome, and got consistent play from Mauer at the plate setting the tone. The real story for the Twinkies was the pitching staff. If Carl Pavano and Francisco Liriano can return to their former selves, they might be regulars on the guest list.
No. 3. “There ain’t no party like the West Coast party.” The Giants pitching staff picked up where it left off last season, and that is carrying an offensively-challenged team. Lead by Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito and Matt Cain, mixed in with a lot of hitting from Pablo Sandoval and a hot start from Edgar Renteria, I love this team. I might leave my heart in San Francisco.
No. 28. The Kansas City Royals have carved themselves a nice little niche out in the bottom of the rankings. This year doesn’t look to be any different. There are already rumors of trying to move Gil Meche if he can return healthy. Things are never good when your talking about trading people in the first week of the season.
No. 29. This team probably wouldn’t be a dweller in my cellar if they had a closer who could finish. In three opportunities, the Orioles closer Mike Gonzalez blew two games. The Os need to focus on securing up the bullpen and may need to look else where to do it.
No. 30. The team that is below the cellar, possibly in the dungeon, is the Houston Astros. You almost have to try to start the season out 0 – 6. The Astros are likely to be hanging out with the rats and roaches all season.
Who’s Hot, Who’s Rot
If I had told you before the season started that the Blue Jays, Detroit Tigers and Athletics would all be leading their respective divisions after week one, you might have thought I was a NASCAR fan.
The Los Angeles Angels are off to a slow start; they have been handing out runs like food at a soup kitchen on Christmas.
Big part of the reason that the Jays are off to a hot start has to do with Vernon Wells hitting .412, with 4 HRs and 7 RBIs. He beat up the ball so well against the Texas Rangers, they should have filed domestic violence charges.
The injury to Twins’ closer Joe Nathan, gave birth to Jon Rauch, who had four saves in the opening week. Yankees ace, C.C. Sabathia, had a no-hit bid and ended with two outs in the 8th inning against the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Boston Red Sox had a couple of rotten bats to start the season in David Ortiz and Victor Martinez. Hopefully they sent out the memo that the season started in Spanish and English.
Tigers ace Justin Verlander struggled in a start against the Kansas City Royals, going five innings and giving up four runs. Verlander, the people of Detroit have had enough things stop working for them, not you, too.
Teams atop the National League division are pretty standard — Phillies, Cardinals and Giants. All of these teams have at least two solid starters.
Some high-payroll teams like the New York Mets, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers are struggling to get wins. It’s too bad they can’t buy them, because I’m sure the Marlins would sell them theirs.
Ryan Howard helped the Phillies get off to a great start by hitting .417 with 3 HRs and 10 RBIs. Howard reportedly worked with Bonds in the off season; hopefully, they don’t have the same medical supplier.
The Giants’ Tim Lincecum and Phillies’ Roy Halladay look to be on their way to great seasons. The Cy Young Award may come down to who’s got better hair, which means Halladay should start growing a gnarly mullet.
Cincinnati Reds‘ outfielder Jay Bruce was 1–for–19. A few more weeks like this, and he’ll be back to traveling by bus and changing in broom closets in minor league ball parks.
Cubs’ ace Carlos Zambrano finished the first week 1–1, which isn’t bad. What is bad is when your ERA is higher than the price of a large pizza.