April Headlines Across Major League Baseball

It's still early but with so many panic buttons being pressed, I figured that I would highlight some of the biggest stories in April.   


"RED SOX IN TURMOIL" - Bobby V on the hot seat.

"OLD, YET FAMILIAR NAMES GETTING IT DONE" - Derek Jeter and David Ortiz looking like the Jeter and Ortiz of old.

"IS THERE SOMETHING WRONG WITH MOORE?" - Rays Rookie of the Year candidate, Matt Moore, struggling mightily early on.


 "RANGERS, J-HAM OFF TO TORRID START" - the Rangers shrug off the notion that they might be up against a World Series hangover year, boasting the best record in baseball.  Josh Hamilton has emerged as an early MVP candidate.

"PUJOLS POWER OUTAGE" - Albert Pujols is still without a home run while the Angels sit in last place.

"CESPEDES HANGING IN THERE" - Yoenis Cespedes, the Cuban defector, has been pretty solid in the early going posting a triple-slash of .255/.364/.509, hitting four home runs and swiping four bags.


"WHITE SOX CHOCK FULL OF COMEBACK CANDIDATES" - Alex Rios and Adam Dunn are playing better and the White Sox are staying within reach.  Meanwhile, Philip Humber pitched the 21st perfect game in MLB history (yes, that Philip Humber... the 30 year-old presumed-to-be-bust).

"MORNEAU HEALTHY AND PRODUCTIVE" - Justin Morneau has been slugging the ball pretty well and is showing no ill effects from the concussions that sidelined him for the past couple seasons.  A healthy Morneau is a great sign for Twins fans and baseball.

"ROYALS WINLESS AT HOME" - Kansas City hasn't sniffed a win at home in 9 games, so far.


"PHILLIES BATTLING INJURIES AND OFFENSIVE WOES" - injuries to Ryan Howard and Chase Utley have left the Phillies searching for run production and trailing the upstart Nationals early on.  Their pitching has been as good as advertised but the lack of run production has the team in dire need of a spark.

 "NATIONALS LEADING THE PACK" - the only team in the NL that has been better than the Phillies with regards to pitching is the Nationals.  Their staff ERA sits at 2.34 and is a huge reason why they are tied with the Dodgers for the best record in the NL at 12-4.

"OZZIE BEING OZZIE" - the Fidel Castro comments have seemingly deflated the new-look Marlins.  Ozzie is on eggshells and the team is not playing the way Miami fans hoped they would (Giancarlo Stanton has yet to light up that hideously awesome thing in center field... in fact, he hasn't lit up any scoreboards; no home runs for the all-world slugger).


"CARDINALS OFFENSE FINE WITHOUT ALBERT" - the Cardinals lead the NL in team batting average, team on-base percentage and team slugging percentage.  They've hit more HR than any other team in the NL and their 82 runs scored are second best in NL (Braves - 82).  That may or may not be a complete surprise (the World Champion Cardinals were one of the best offensive teams in baseball in 2011) but the fact that they've accomplished those feats without Allen Craig (who hasn't played a game yet this season), with Matt Holliday hitting below the Mendoza line (.197 on the season) and with Lance Berkman spending time on the DL is shocking, to say the least.

"THE CUBS ARE ABSOLUTELY WOEFUL" - what do you get when you combine one of the least potent offenses in baseball with one of the worst pitching staffs assembled and a very bad defense?  How about the 2012 Chicago Cubs.  There might be worse offensive teams (the Pirates have been dreadful) and there might even be teams with worse pitching/defense but the Cubs as a whole are probably about as bad as it gets right now.  It's early but there's not much to be excited about on the north side of Chicago.


"BLUE MAGIC: RE-ENERGIZED DODGERS IN FIRST" - Matt Kemp has been the best player in baseball by far, so far.  He has hit 9 home runs, himself while posting a triple-slash of .450/.500/.967.  Yes, that's good for an OPS of 1.467.  The combination of Kemp and Andre Ethier have hit more home runs (13) than thirteen teams (the league average is 14).  Looking at the rest of the team, it's amazing that those guys are still getting pitches to swing at - aside from Ethier and Kemp, no other Dodger has more than 7 RBI or 1 HR.  Juan Uribe, their starting third baseman, has 1 RBI and hasn't even scored a run.

"D'BACKS BATTLING INJURIES AND EXPECTATIONS" - the Arizona Diamondbacks were the "cool" pick, this offseason (chosen by several media outlets to make a run).  They made it to the postseason last year with a solid mix of good starting pitching and rising talent.  This year, in the early going, it has been a little bit of a struggle.  Their starting pitching has been, sort of, "Ehh" while their lineup hasn't quite lived up to expectations.  Chris Young started off the season on a tear (.410/.500/.897), before hurting his shoulder running into a wall.  Justin Upton hit his first home run and collected his first RBI of the season just last night; to be fair, he has missed some time in the early going (thumb).

"LINCECUM NOT SO FREAKISH" - we have grown accustomed to Tim Lincecum dominating NL lineups but that has not been the case this season.  Lincecum, winless in his first three starts, was sporting a 10.54 ERA prior to yesterday's win.  Many were beginning to wonder whether there was more to his early struggles than just cobwebs; his velocity is down and his command has been shaky, at best.  Yesterday's performance calms some of those concerns but the perennial Cy Young contender still has a way to go to get back to looking like his old self.


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