• Exclusives

    Three things I learned this week (April 15)

    EDITOR’S NOTE: Our Darren Schienbein wrote the following on 4/15. Some of the numbers referenced have since changed.

    Sliding be dangerous! Be it head first, feet first or on a slip-and-slide, it’s so easy to get hurt sliding. More on this later in the week, but count the millions of dollars that have skidded onto the list of the disabled so far. Sliding! Michael Bourn will miss a few days after getting stepped on by Matt Thornton as he slid head first into first base. Jose Reyes and his league-leading 42.4% line drive rate are out up to three months after he decided to sit on his ankle while running as fast as he can rather than gracefully slide across the dirt into second base.

    Roy Halladay is done! Or is he? After getting shelled in his first two starts, he went 8 strong innings against the Marlins Sunday. Or did he? Facing a team that trotted out the murderer’s row of Placido Polanco, Greg Dobbs and Justin Ruggiano, he allowed one run and five hits. I suppose when one looks at that  lineup, one expects him to have more than two strikeouts, doesn’t one?  Granted, the Marlins do have the fourth fewest strikeouts in all of baseball, but two? Against the Marlins? I guess it remains to be seen whether Halladay’s performance was of one of the best pitchers of this generation tailoring his approach to his seemingly diminished arsenal, or if it was good ole fashioned luck. His next test is against the Cardinals, who are one of the top offense teams in the National League.

    Bold prediction: Jason Heyward and B.J. Upton are going to break out this week. Batting Average on Balls in Play is just exactly what it sounds like. The major league average is consistently a little under .300. Heyward is sitting at a league worst .074 and Upton is seventh worst at .130. They have been victims of a little bad luck. Of course there will always be two-week stretches like that, theirs just comes at the start of the season.

    Baseball players aren’t hockey or football players. Well, some are, like Tom Glavine and Bo Jackson, but how ridiculous was the collision between Zack Greinke and Carlos Quentin in San Diego last Thursday? They looked like a couple of animals charging at each other. You know the ones. They just ram into each other. What are they called? I don’t know if animals have collarbones they can break, but Greinke sure does. He’ll be on the shelf for a few months. That’s a big blow to a Dodger team that has some combination of Nick Punto, Justin Sellers and Luis Cruz as the left side of the infield most nights. Don’t feel bad if you haven’t heard of Sellers and Cruz and are surprised that Punto is still playing. You aren’t alone. I think my favourite part of the story are the allegations that some sort of parking lot shouting match/trash talk took place after the game. They play tomorrow night in Los Angeles. Maybe more guys will ram into each other!

    The Royals are tied for first in the AL Central. The Royals! Sure they’re 7-5, but they’re in first! Sure they are a three game losing streak from last place in the early-season top-to-bottom tightness found in all divisions except the NL East and West, but they’re in first for now!

    Other quick facts I learned this week:

    • According to Nationals TV color commentator F.P. Santangelo, Kurt Suzuki is the Mercedes-Benz of catchers
    • Matt Harvey, Shelby Miller and Jose Fernandez are really fun to watch. Fernandez and Harvey sit third and fourth in average fastball velocity this year behind only Strasburg and Samardzija
    • Not counting R.A. Dickey, Barry Zito throws the slowest fastball and he’s yet to give up a run this year, so there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Or get major league hitters out.
    • The Padres and Marlins only have two wins a piece! Yikes.
    • The Blue Jays have stolen 11 bases and have yet to be caught. Canadians are thieves who get away with lots of stuff.