La Semana Una
Wet Fart of the Week: The Detroit Tigers - OH (no!) and 6. Where is this vaunted, record-setting offense? We knew the bullpen would be bad, but the offense was supposed to be able to compensate. The importance of the first week is often overstated, but in this case, go ahead and hit the panic button.
Best Beard: Kerry Wood, Cubs - Some guys look like dumbasses with a beard (see: me, Matt Clement). Kerry Wood's beard is badass. It's got a warrant out for the statutory rape of the Houston Astros. Kerry Wood's beard had 2 saves this week. Kerry Wood had 1.
Fantasy Sleeper Makes Good: Nate McLouth, Pirates - I've been touting this guy's prowess to anyone who would listen, which was basically no one. He rewards me, and other astute owners with a .429 average, 2 steals, 7 RBI's, 6 runs and 5 doubles. He's Hunter Pence without the hype.
Fantasy Sleeper Gone to Pot: Matt Kemp, Dodgers - This was an intriguing and popular pick in fantasy circles this year, but it appears he's drawn the short straw in the 'Juan Pierre Stolen At Bats' sweepstakes, a distinction which was supposed to go to Andre Either. A 2-16 start will do that to you. Pierre hasn't fared much better, going 1-11 and getting caught stealing in his only attempt, thus negating his only useful trait.
Dave Dravecky Knocked the Kool-Aid Out of My Hand with His Good Arm: Rich Harden and Ben Sheets - Both guys make Kerry Wood look like Cal Ripken in comparison, but both also have ceilings higher than the Sistine Chapel.* This week they proved what they can do when healthy. Through two starts, Harden is 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA and 15 K's in 11IP. Sheets was even better. 1-0, 15 IP, 15 K's, only 2 walks and no runs allowed, including a complete game shut out. Harden sure would look good in Cubby blue come the All-Star break.
An Aberration (and Abomination), Like a Lake in the Middle of the Desert: The Orioles and Cardinals: They started the year 4-1 and 5-1, respectively. Don't place that call to Vegas just yet. Both teams would be hard pressed to compete in a youth t-ball league, much less The Show. Look for both teams to spiral out of control, and Tony LaRussa to once again look to the bottle for answers.
Dusty Baker Will Wreck Your Life: Johnny Cueto - He was as good as advertised in his first start, going 7 strong, only giving up one run and fanning 10. But clearly it's only a matter of time before Dusty gets cocky and starts using a 3 man rotation to maximize his starts. He'll also use him as a closer on his days off. He may even have him run the scoreboard between innings. Dusty Baker will wreck his life.
You Can't Take the Devil Out of the Rays: (Devil) Rays - Whatever you want to call them, these kids can play. Too bad they play in the American League East, which is essentially like the NBA Western Conference of the Majors. Put these guys in the West or even the Central and they'd be a good starter or two away from seriously contending.
Rising Sun, And I Ain't Talkin' About the Wesley Snipes/Sean Connery Masterpiece: Kosuke Fukodome and Hiroki Kuroda, Cubs/Dodgers: KFuk, F-Bomb...whatever you want to call him, he's taken the Windy City by storm. Fukodome is the new 1998 model Sosa. He's doing it with his bat, his glove, his arm and his raw, unfiltered sexuality. Meanwhile, over on the left coast, Kuroda is bringing back memories of the short-lived and ill-fated Nomo-mania after pitching 7 innings of 3 hit ball in his debut. Remember when there were only like 2 Japanese players (Ichiro and what, Hideki Irabu?) and they were something of a novelty? It's the Asian Invasion and it's just getting started. This is like when the NBA brought in Tony Kukoc as a European experiment and then all of the sudden like half of the teams rosters were filled with white guys with hard to pronounce names.
Give These Guys a Greasy Taco:
Derrek Lee, Cubs: 3 HR, 10H, 6 runs
Xavier Nady, Pirates: 3HR, 9RBI, .385 AVG
Brian Bannister, Royals: 1-0, 7IP, 0R, 4K, 0BB
David Murphy, Rangers: .409 AVG, 5R, 2SB
Jake Peavy, Padres: 2-0, 0.56 ERA, 12K
Howie Kendrick, Angels: 12H, 6R, 2SB
Doug Davis: Pitched while he had cancer
Give These Guys a Tortilla Filled with Cilantro:
Pedro Martinez, Mets: 3.1 IP, 4R, HIV
Adam LaRoche, Pirates: .091 AVG, 0RBI, 10K
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: .143 AVG, 1RBI, 5 total bases
CC Sabathia, Indians: 2 starts, 0-1, 7.59 ERA, 9K
Johnny Damon, Yankees: .136 AVG, O RBI, 6 total bases
David Ortiz, Red Sox: 3-26, 1 HR, 3RBI
Andruw Jones, Dodgers: .136 AVG, O HR, 1 RBI, fat
*Is the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel really high? I just assumed for the sake of the analogy that it is.