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Baseball Is Back, Pitcher Safety Debates Boil, & More In “The Week That Was”

Written by , Posted in General

The MLB season is finally underway, as the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers led off the season in Australia for the season opener. Though most teams won’t start their regular season for just about two weeks, it’s good to see games that finally count for something,.

For most teams, however, there are still position battles being decided, and injuries being fought through for the players that are in those battles. In the last week of Spring Training, the tensions could not be higher, but the story lines seem to write themselves.

The Regular Season Is Underway

As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, the MLB regular season is finally underway, as the Diamondbacks took on the Dodgers in Australia to kick off the season.

With Patrick Corbin out, the D’Backs turned to Wade Miley to handle the front end of the rotation. He struck out eight hitters, but he ended up allowing three runs in 5 1/3 of an inning, so the performance left a bit to be desired. As an expected number two starter, though, Miley did enough to appease Diamondbacks fans and make them believe that they’ll be able to move on with Corbin.

As for the Dodgers, they had a former Cy Young winner on the bump. Clayton Kershaw had one of the more impressive seasons since the Bob Gibson era last year, and he kept that going despite a horrific spring. He threw 6 2/3 innings with one run and seven strikeouts, so it seems as if he was able to figure out the flaw that he had in his previous starts.

It is clear that the Dodgers have a strong half of their rotation from the work that Kershaw, Zack Grienke, and Hyun-jin Ryu showed throughout the season last year, and it’s going to be tough for anyone to try to outscore them.

Pitcher’s Safety Debate Ignites

Two incidents from this past week have brought up the age old debate of pitcher’s safety, as Aroldis Champman of the Reds and Matt Moore of the Rays both got hit with line drives in their head.

It was especially frightening in the case of Chapman, as he uncorked a 99-mile per hour fastball that came back and hit him in the face, and it ended up requiring doctors to put in a metal plate. Luckily, neither player lost consciousness at any point, and in Moore’s case he was able to walk off of the field by himself.

While it doesn’t happen all that often, the fact remains that with pitchers throwing harder than ever, this could become tragic at some point. In Chapman’s case, the ball was estimated to be coming at him at around 112 miles per hour, so he had absolutely no chance to defend himself, which is the problem that many players are facing.

While there have been discussions of implementing a padded hat, these two instances proved that that wouldn’t have helped at all, because they got hit in the fact, which would be uncovered regardless. Thus far, I haven’t really heard a viable solution to this problem, and given the rarity of these occurrences, I don’t think we’ll see any major changes in the foreseeable future.

Spring Training Battles Starting To Wrap Up

With Spring Training coming to a close, many managers around the league have started to declare the winners and losers of their team’s position battles. Everyone from the Baltimore Orioles to the Los Angeles Dodgers have made their decisions, and some of those have sparked some controversy.

Starting out in Tampa Bay, the Rays tabbed youngster Jake Odorizzi for their number five spot in the starting rotation, beating out former Cy Young candidate Erik Bedard in the process. After losing out in this competition, it is expected that Bedard will ask for his release and look for employment elsewhere.

The Minnesota Twins chose a talented young arm for their number five spot, too, as they decided on former top prospect Kyle Gibson over the under performing Vance Worley and lefty Samuel Deduno. With the rest of the youth that’s on this team, the choice of Gibson is probably the correct one.

The one that made the biggest waves and will more than likely have the biggest impact is from Texas, where Ron Washington decided to hand the closing duties to Joakim Soria over Neftali Feliz, who’s coming off of Tommy John surgery. Soria has quite a bit of experience at the end of games, as he has tallied 160 Saves in his 6 years in the league.

  • Doc Raker

    In Cubs action verse Oakland on Sunday Junior Lake went yard 3 times and Luis Valbuena went yard twice. Soon the Cubs will head off to Wrigley Field were towering fly balls will get held up by the wind and become outs. Sometime around Memorial Day the winds will change to blowing out and balls will start to leave the yard. Is there still snow on the ground in Chicago?

    • PLCB3

      I’ll find out for you next week. In other news, I wanted to say Happy Birthday to our founder and leader, Joe Aiello.

      Happy birthday, Joe!

      • Joe Aiello

        Thanks Caps. I appreciate that. I know Sean is really looking forward to seeing you on Opening Day

      • PLCB3

        Same. Good thing both of us are going to be in the bleachers.

    • Recent reports have the field clear of snow, and the troughs down to 4″ of frozen urine.

      • PLCB3

        They got rid of the troughs in the bleachers. It’s actual urinals there now.

    • I know it’s hard for Caps to imagine that others might have an answer to a question but some of us live here so we don’t, in fact, have to wait til next week for a weather update. There’s still snow in some plowed piles but it’s generally gone. We are still getting a few inches here and there. Nothing that would stop baseball., but I don’t really want to be out playing it yet either.

      • Eddie Von White

        Or out watching it…

      • Are you going, EVW?

      • Eddie Von White

        No – not until I can leave my jacket and long underwear at home which I suspect will be sometime in May – just in time for my daughter’s birthday.

      • I used to go every year on or as close to my birthday as possible. We wore hats, gloves and parkas every time but once, and that time we were in hats, gloves and raincoats. 😉 But, my birthday is May 1. As we all know there’s a huge difference between the beginning and end of May!

      • Doc Raker

        I always tell people not to visit Wrigley until after Memorial Day to get the true Wrigley experience of sunshine, green vines and possibly a Cub victory.

      • PLCB3

        I’ve been to Wrigley plenty after Memorial Day. I’ve been to plenty of games in April and May. I’ve never been to opening day though.

      • Eddie Von White

        Last year we went on May 7. It was a night game against the Cardinals and the Cubs won. We wore light jackets that night. We parked on Eddie Street and sprinted to the ball park just in time for the first pitch. Fun stuff.

      • PLCB3

        I’ll be in the bleachers, section 304

  • Doc Raker

    In Cubs action verse Oakland on Sunday Junior Lake went yard 3 times and Luis Valbuena went yard twice. Soon the Cubs will head off to Wrigley Field were towering fly balls will get held up by the wind and become outs. Sometime around Memorial Day the winds will change to blowing out and balls will start to leave the yard. Is there still snow on the ground in Chicago?

    • AC0000000

      I’ll find out for you next week. In other news, I wanted to say Happy Birthday to our founder and leader, Joe Aiello.

      Happy birthday, Joe!

      • Joe Aiello

        Thanks Caps. I appreciate that. I know Sean is really looking forward to seeing you on Opening Day

      • AC0000000

        Same. Good thing both of us are going to be in the bleachers.

    • Recent reports have the field clear of snow, and the troughs down to 4″ of frozen urine.

      • AC0000000

        They got rid of the troughs in the bleachers. It’s actual urinals there now.

    • I know it’s hard for Caps to imagine that others might have an answer to a question but some of us live here so we don’t, in fact, have to wait til next week for a weather update. There’s still snow in some plowed piles but it’s generally gone. We are still getting a few inches here and there. Nothing that would stop baseball., but I don’t really want to be out playing it yet either.

      • Eddie Von White

        Or out watching it…

      • Are you going, EVW?

      • Eddie Von White

        No – not until I can leave my jacket and long underwear at home which I suspect will be sometime in May – just in time for my daughter’s birthday.

      • I used to go every year on or as close to my birthday as possible. We wore hats, gloves and parkas every time but once, and that time we were in hats, gloves and raincoats. 😉 But, my birthday is May 1. As we all know there’s a huge difference between the beginning and end of May!

      • Doc Raker

        I always tell people not to visit Wrigley until after Memorial Day to get the true Wrigley experience of sunshine, green vines and possibly a Cub victory.

      • AC0000000

        I’ve been to Wrigley plenty after Memorial Day. I’ve been to plenty of games in April and May. I’ve never been to opening day though.

      • Eddie Von White

        Last year we went on May 7. It was a night game against the Cardinals and the Cubs won. We wore light jackets that night. We parked on Eddie Street and sprinted to the ball park just in time for the first pitch. Fun stuff.

      • AC0000000

        I’ll be in the bleachers, section 304

      • Bill Fell

        I have a 60% chance at being at Opening Day, which means that I will be wearing a snowmobiling suit to the game more than likely.

  • Doc Raker

    Happy Birthday to our big toe Joe.

    • Brian Rzeppa

      I second that. Happy birthday, Joe!

  • Doc Raker

    Happy Birthday to our big toe Joe.

    • Brian Rzeppa

      I second that. Happy birthday, Joe!