Welcome into the first edition of First To Third, your Monday and Friday recap and lookahead of the three biggest items from the Major League Baseball docket. Baseball is back for the 2019 season, so let’s get into it!
First: The Good
New faces in new places often take some time to get comfortable in their new place of employment, but that is certainly not the case for the start of the season for Paul Goldschmidt. Goldschmidt finished the abbreviated first week of the season with a .375 average on 4 home runs and 7 RBI. He’s also slugging an absurd 1.125 on the young season. He’s already been slashed in half in the MVP market from +1000 to +500. It’s a big jump, but a warranted one as Goldschmidt has never looked more comfortable while not being expected to have to be the face of the franchise.
Jose Berrios may have looked the best out of any pitcher in his first start not named Jacob deGrom, although in truth he did pitch longer. Berrios twirled a gem against Cleveland (more on them later), seven innings of two run ball and 10 K’s is a great start for anyone, even against The Indians, as he looks to finally break out on the season.
The two most overlooked free agent signings of the season in my opinion, Michael Brantley (Astros) and A.J Pollock (Dodgers) paid off in week one as Brantley had himself a nice week, hitting .385 with 1HR and 3 RBI’s. Pollock, hit .412 with 1HR and 6RBI’s.
Players starting hot: Christian Yelich (.500 BA 4HR), Maikel Franco (.444 BA 2 HR 7RBI), Trea Turner (4 SB), Trevor Williams (6IP 0ER 6K), Tyler Glasnow (5 IP 1 ER 4K), Trevor Bauer (7IP 1ER 9K), Michael Pineda (4IP 1H 5K), Justin Verlander 7IP 1 ER 9K), Gerrit Cole (6IP 1ER 10K), and Lucas Giolito (6.2IP 2ER 8K)
Teams starting hot: Philadelphia Phillies (3-0), San Diego Padres (3-1), Seattle Mariners (5-1), TB Rays (3-1)
To: The Bad
Those Indians mentioned above, let’s talk about ’em. I think most people thought the lineup would be bad, but not this bad. It’s only been three games, but Cleveland has yet to score more than three runs in a game, and less than 2 in two out of the three. Cleveland was only able to manage one run in three games against Minnesota’s starting pitching until getting to the bullpen. Lindor is still out for a while, and the lineup is incredibly top heavy. Once you can get past Jose Martinez, it’s never a good idea to have Hanley Ramirez as your big bat. They have the best pitching rotation 1-5 in baseball, but they can’t have issues from guys like Carrasco (4.1 IP 6ER) if they’re going to succeed.
When we move over to the American League East, we have to talk about Boston’s starting pitching. Boston was lit up from the first pitch of the season, as Boston’s staff has allowed no less than six runs in each contest this year (12,7,6, and 10) and the bullpen is a disaster. Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Nathan Eovaldi should all be okay in the long run, but I’d be very worried.
Players Struggling out of the gate: Walker Buehler (3IP 5ER), Blake Snell (6IP 5ER), Jack Flaherty (5IP 5ER), Chris Sale (3IP 7ER)
Teams starting slow: Texas Rangers (allowed 12,8, and 6 runs to Cubs in series, and The Diamondbacks (allowed 12,4,18, and 8 runs to LAD), Atlanta Braves (0-3), and The Cardinals (1-3).
Third: The Look Ahead
Cleveland will look to take advantage of the American League Central’s basement dwellers of last year in The White Sox, but they are improved. Cleveland has the advantage over just about every other 4-5 starter in the league as they pushed prospect Shane Bieber to Tuesday while roll out Mike Clevinger today. Houston’s bats will also look to wake up in the friendly confines of Arlington against Drew Smyly and co. with their in-state away series Vs. The Rangers. Julio Urias will be making his debut Monday while filling in for the injured Clayton Kershaw, although he’s apparently close to making his return. We have a marquee pitching matchup on Tuesday with Kyle Freeland Vs. Blake Snell, while the homer happy Twins get Homer Bailey on Wednesday. Lastly, Strasburg takes on Syndergaard for the second time in ten days on Thursday. I’ll be back on Friday to preview the weekend series and the week that was.