MLB Daily: April 4
By Beth Davies-Stofka
April 4, 2011 - 11:06
The first full series of games of the 2011 regular season are in the books, the stats compiled and posted. We move into Monday with six games on the schedule, and they all look good. Monday’s big question: will Twins pitcher Scott Baker make a statement in the Bronx? After the offensive pounding they took in Toronto, the Twins need to hurry up and prove that they can compete in the AL East.
|Scott Baker takes the ball against the Yankees in the Bronx tonight. Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images.
Other great questions:
How will the Orioles capitalize on their spectacular opening weekend?
How does Eric Bedard look? Can he quiet the Rangers’ bats?
Will the Brewers win a game?
Meanwhile, we look back to opening weekend, which brought a lot of surprises. Perhaps the biggest surprise of all was the astonishing number of defensive errors. Every team committed at least one. Top honors go to the A’s, who managed seven errors in three games.
There are a lot of obvious excuses – er, explanations – for this. Perhaps our guys are still working out the kinks. But isn’t that what spring training is for?
Okay, so maybe it’s because in some places, it’s pretty cold.
Well, that might be a good explanation in some circumstances, but it doesn’t say much for the Giants, who committed five errors in four games in sunny Dodgers Stadium.
|The Giants made a lot of errors in their opening series against the Dodgers. Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images North America.
Frankly, the errors were so widespread that it’s hard to find excuses. How do you excuse the mistakes of the Jays and the Tigers, who each committed four errors in three games?
It’s easy to feel the frustration of Giants manager Bruce Bochy and Royals manager Ned Yost, whose teams each committed five errors in four games.
It’s really even worse to think about the five teams that each committed three errors, and the eight
teams that each committed two errors.
The poor fans! They deserve a lot better. Some problems will fix themselves, since the jitters will pass.
But not all problems will go away with time. This is a record of errors that demands a proactive response. Most of the fault belongs to the players. Everyone needs to get their head in the game. Managers may have to rethink some of their fielding assignments.
And we all have to wonder what everyone was doing during spring training, since those long weeks in the sun obviously weren’t geared to securing a strong defense.
As for the A’s, man, they need to do some drills.
On a side note, some wonderful things happened during the opening weekend. Perennial losers showed some beautiful stuff. The Royals won three and lost one at home against the Angels, which must have been wonderful for the home crowd.
|Zach Britton came up from the minor and pitched a beauty. Photo by Gene J. Puskar, AP.
The Orioles made baseball proud, producing a disciplined and confident team with a terrific rotation. Even though starting pitcher Brian Matusz went down with a rib injury, ace Jeremy Guthrie and youngsters Chris Tillman and Zach Britton took the Orioles to a 3-0 start on the season.
Of course the Orioles will lose games this season. They might even lose a lot of them. But they’re a good story, which is a great start.
Last year’s division champions -- Rangers, Phillies, and Reds -- all emerged from opening weekend unbeaten. The joy we saw on the Rangers faces as they embarrassed the Red Sox was, I’m sure, fully matched in the stands and on the faces of Rangers fans at home. Giants, not so much.
And so we settle into our 30-week season with the opening weekend behind us. If you look at the standings, you’ll see that a lot is due to change, and soon. Only the AL West and NL East standings look the way they could in June. Baseball is no sprint, and the long hot summer is coming!
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