The Braves took two of three games from Milwaukee to start the season, but the biggest surprise was definitely the pitching performance of Aaron Harang. Harang was one of the last players signed to the roster and one that I thought was a “last resort” move by Atlanta. He has played for six teams since 2010, but luckily he was pitching for the Braves Wednesday night as he out dueled Matt Garza and gave up only two hits through 6.2 innings.
Gavin Floyd and Mike Minor are both scheduled to make minor league starts today. Floyd will pitch with Triple-A Gwinett and Minor will start for Double-A Mississippi. Both pitchers will be much appreciated upon their return to the big league club after they finish getting healthy and cleared.
Miami is 2-1 and off to a decent start despite the fact they are playing the Colorado Rockies. One player that hasn’t made an impact is infielder Rafael Furcal. The aging veteran is on the disabled list to start the season and has been replaced at second base by Jeff Baker and Derek Dietrich. There is no rush for Furcal to get back, although he would be more of a leadership type player rather than an impact player on the field.
There is no surprise but Giancarlo Stanton is off to a great start. He is batting .333 with a home run and six RBI through the first three games. Rookie Christian Yelich and free agent Jarrod Saltalamacchia are hitting .143 and .182 respectively. The surprise production thus far has come from outfielder Marcell Ozuna who either get a hit or strikes out. In 11 AB he has five hits and five strikeouts.
New York Mets
Chris Young has found the DL after only a few games into the 2014 season. The newly signed outfielder lasted a measly single inning in his New York debut and will be out for 15 days. The roster spot is not an issue as Daniel Murphy is returning form paternity leave as his wife was having a baby during the opening series. Young may have a hard time getting back on the field once he returns with the likes of Curtis Granderson, Juan Lagares, Andrew Brown, and Eric Young Jr. in the outfield as well.
Even worse than a backup outfielder’s injury is the fact that the Mets have yet to win a game. They did face two of the game’s best pitchers in Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez, but it is Major League Baseball after all. Bartolo Colon looks ridiculous at the plate; it’s unfortunate he is a starting pitcher on a National League team. If the Mets’ pitching staff can’t limit the hits to opponents (13 and 9) then it could be a very long season at Citi Field.
The Phillies haven’t had any major injuries to start the year, but they began the season with key players, such as Cole Hamels, not even on the roster. One of the other big stories was the state of Jimmy Rollins. There turned out to be good news and bad news.
The good news is that Rollins hit a grand slam on Opening Day and has a team-leading five RBI. The bad news is that he is left the team Wednesday and will be gone on paternity leave until his new baby is born. Jayson Nix is scheduled to play shortstop until Rollins returns.
Philadelphia has early closer problems with Jonathan Papelbon as well. The star closer entered the game against the Rangers Wednesday night with a two-run lead and left with a one-run loss. He walked in the winning run and gave up three earned runs on four hits in 1/3 an inning. That is not good news unless you are playing the Phillies and down by a few runs in the last inning when he comes into the game.
Wilson Ramos will be out at least a month after having hand surgery this week. Ramos has had problems with the injury bug in the past, including missing most of 2012 and half of 2013 because of knee and hamstring injuries. He should be back in four to five weeks to help platoon the catcher’s role with Jose Lobaton. Lobaton was acquired in the off season and will be joined by youngster Sandy Leon to take over behind the plate.
Washington’s home run leaders are currently Anthony Rendon, Ian Desmond, Adam LaRoche, and Gio Gonzalez. Yes Gonzalez hit a home run. It is his third home run in three years with the Nationals, and he already has reached his RBI total from a year ago. He is on his way to a Silver Slugger award at this pace.
What’s a Nationals update without a mention of Bryce Harper?