Braves Overpower Phillies 4-1
Derek Lowe began his career with the Atlanta Braves by throwing eight scoreless innings of two hit baseball in their 4-1 defeat of the world champion Phillies. He induced thirteen ground balls from Phillies batters while striking out four and walking none. Mike Gonzalez pitched only one inning and give up two hits and a walk and allowed the only Phillies run.
The Braves offense showed something they lacked last season and that was home run power. Last season Braves outfielders hit close to 25 homers all season but in last night’s game right fielder Jeff Francoeur and center fielder Jordan Schafer homered in the first game of the season. Schafer’s home run came in his first major league at bat.
Brian McCann hit a two run homer in the first inning to give the Braves an early 2-0 lead. Yunel Escobar came close to hitting a fourth Braves homer. Brett Myers settled down after the first two innings but he took the loss and has not had a winning season since 2006 when he was 13-7. Since then he has compiled a 15-21 record over the last two seasons and last night.
It was an encouraging win for the Braves who finished 20 games out of first place in the NL East last season. The Braves started the 2008 season with one run losses to the Nationals and Pirates who lost 102 and 95 games respectively.
It is a long season but after last night’s game the Braves are the only unbeaten team in the major leagues.
A-Rod Could Return This Month
Alex Rodriguez may return to action sooner than expected. He is already swinging a bat and says he is at seventy percent. A team official is thinking that he could return to the lineup by late April.
It has been a quiet end to spring training after a tumultuous start for the Yankees. Rodriguez and his admission that he had used steroids for three years as a Texas Ranger was a huge distraction until Rodriguez decided to have hip surgery. The silence from the Yankee camp since then has been deafening.
Snow Prediction Cancels
White Sox-Royals Contest
For the first time in 27 years a White Sox home game has been canceled because of a prediction of snow today and also high winds and cold. Wind gusts of over 30 MPH are predicted for both today and tomorrow so it could be an interesting afternoon if the game is played tomorrow at 2:05 ET.
Starting Season With No Recaps
This season there are no plans to write recaps since writing fifteen recaps on days when all the teams were playing was taking too much time. This season outstanding events in games will still be mentioned but not in detail. There will still be looks at the stats and standings.
If there is a huge demand for the recaps they may be restarted. However readership seems to go down whenever the recaps are published so will try to stay away from them. There are too many professionally written recaps out there although my recaps were more stats based than most.
Baseball On Television Today
ESPN and ESPN 2 will be showing five games today.
Last Minute Player Moves
Homer Bailey had an excellent spring with a 2.61 ERA but has been sent to Louisville by the Cincinnati Reds since Micah Owings had an even better spring and will be the fifth starter in the Reds rotation after posting a 1.52 ERA. Owings, Johnny Cueto, Edinson Volquez and Aaron Harang and Bailey allowed only three homers in 114 combined innings.
The Los Angeles Dodgers roster has 24 players so am wondering if Xavier Paul will be the 25th player on the roster. The Dodgers also placed Jason Schmidt on the 15 day disabled list. Schmidt has only pitched 25 innings since 2006….Chris Duffy has been added to the Milwaukee Brewers roster after having an excellent spring….The St. Louis Cardinals have added David Freese, Joe Thurston and Colby Rasmus to their opening day roster.
The Tampa Bay Rays have placed four players on the disabled list including B.J. Upton and Jason Isringhausen….The New York Mets signed Gary Sheffield to their roster yesterday.