It’s the first 2018 regular-season edition of Real or Not, and Mr. Stanton immediately lived up to the hype. In his first game that mattered with the New York Yankees, Stanton hit two home runs, including an opposite-field blast in his first at-bat to lead the Yankees to a 6-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. You know it felt good, especially since it meant he wouldn’t have to deal with the New York media asking, “Are you feeling the pressure?” after the game like he would have if he’d gone 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
“You gotta get that first one out of the way and you [url=http://www.officialkingsteamstore.com/Drew_Doughty_Jersey]Drew Doughty Authentic Jersey[/url] can stop worrying about it,” Stanton said. “It was a great day. We got 10-plus hits; we put it on ’em. I think they only got two hits. So it was a good day overall.” Here’s my takeaway from this game. Aaron Boone spent much of spring tinkering with his lineup, speculating about potential batting orders, suggesting he might hit
Aaron Judge leadoff, and then having a wrench thrown into whatever plans he may have had when Greg Bird landed on the disabled list after foot surgery. He ended up hitting Judge, Stanton and Gary Sanchez in the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 slots against Blue Jays lefty J.A. Happ. I’d keep it just like that. Righty, lefty, doesn’t matter. Don’t overthink it, don’t worry about separating the right-handed batters with a lefty, don’t worry about potential bullpen matchups that may arise later in the game.
Just put the big boys right where they were in the opener: 2-3-4. Make pitchers sweat the night before about facing those three in a row. Make it difficult to work out of potential jams. It’s a lethal trio to get through. If Brett Gardner is the primary [url=http://www.steelersofficialsstore.com/Jack_Ham_Jersey_Cheap]http://www.steelersofficialsstore.com/Jack_Ham_Jersey_Cheap[/url] leadoff hitter, he’s a solid on-base guy. Judge is going to hit home runs and draw a lot of walks even when he isn’t hitting home runs. That’s going to create a lot of RBI opportunities for Stanton. With Sanchez backing him up, you can’t really pitch around Stanton when there’s a base open.
What the entire lineup is going to do is make pitchers work. Gardner is always among the league leaders in pitches per plate appearance. Judge is patient and works the count. Stanton is a little [url=http://www.rangersteamonline.com/Jesper_Fast_Jersey]http://www.rangersteamonline.com/Jesper_Fast_Jersey[/url] more aggressive, but he takes his walks as well. Happ actually pitched pretty well, but in 4⅔ innings he threw 96 pitches, even though he issued just one walk and four hits. (Gardner, Judge and Stanton saw a combined 75 pitches in their 14 plate appearances.) The Yankees are going to knock out a lot of starters early just by running up those pitch counts. Managers may not mind going to their bullpens, but that could lead to some taxed relievers by the end of a series.
It’s one game. Stanton reminded everyone about that. He said the two home runs rank high on his personal list: “They’re up there. As long as we get a little start here, keep it rolling in the series. Got 161 to go.” Here’s the rest of what happened on an exciting Opening Day: The game: Cubs at Marlins What happened: The Cubs hit three home runs -- including Ian Happ’s homer on the first pitch of the major league season -- and the bullpen threw 4⅔ scoreless innings in an 8-4 victory.
Real or not: Yes, Virginia, the Cubs are better than the Marlins. In fact, somebody on our baseball staff asked this question: How many players on the Marlins’ Opening Day roster would make the Cubs’ roster? J.T. Realmuto would make it -- although only as the backup to Willson Contreras -- but he’s on the DL. Kyle Barraclough and Drew Steckenrider are pretty good relievers; maybe they beat out Justin Wilson or Pedro Strop or Brian Duensing. Starlin Castro maybe edges out Ben Zobrist or Tommy La Stella as a backup infielder, although La Stella was excellent off the bench last year. Justin Bour would be a nice pinch hitter, but the Cubs already have a better first baseman and manager Joe Maddon demands defensive versatility. So, what, maybe three guys? Four if you include Realmuto?
Real or not: Martinez battled the strike zone all day, walking six batters, but the concern here is the Cardinals’ bullpen, which struggled in the clutch last season (18th in win probability added) and started the season with projected closer Luke Gregerson on the DL. Before the game, reports broke that the team had agreed to a deal with free-agent closer Greg Holland on a one-year contract. Holland saved 41 games with the
Rockies in his return from Tommy John surgery, but he also was handled with kid gloves and threw just 57 innings, so he’s not a guy you count on for four- or five-out saves. There are some quality arms here, including rookie Jordan Hicks and his 100-mph heater, but manager Mike Matheny’s ability to get the best out of them remains a question. Maybe new pitching coach Mike Maddux will help.hat happened: George Springer led off with a home run and Justin Verlander cruised through six scoreless innings in a 4-1 win to push his regular-season record with the Astros to 6-0 in six starts with a 0.90 ERA.
Real or not: The way Verlander pitched after a midseason mechanical change suggests he should [url=http://www.officialoriolestore.com/Jim_Palmer_Jersey]Jim Palmer Youth jersey[/url] be right in the thick of the Cy Young race, but how about Springer as a sleeper MVP candidate? He may rank behind two of his own teammates in that area, but he’s coming off a 5.0 WAR season and is still improving. His big improvement last year was cutting his strikeout rate from 23.9 percent to 17.7 percent.
The reason I like him as [url=http://www.officialnikejetshop.com/jamal-adams-jersey-for-sale-c-68.html]Jamal Adams Womens Jersey[/url] a potential MVP is that he hit .310/.380/.613 with 27 home runs in the first half before sliding to .241/.347/.377 in the second half. That coincided with a quad injury that landed him on the DL in late July. If he can stay healthy and focused for six months, you could be looking at some insane numbers from the leadoff spot. Side note: The Astros employed a four-man outfield against Joey Gallo. That could be the hot new trend this season. Stay tuned. [url=http://www.topjerseysinchina.com]cheap jerseys china[/url] [url=http://www.nhljerseyssupply.com]cheap jerseys free shipping[/url] [url=http://www.cheapjerseysvip.us.com]cheap jerseys[/url] [url=http://www.jerseysoutlet-us.com]wholesale jerseys[/url] [url=http://www.goodcheapnfljerseys.com]cheap nfl jerseys[/url]
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