Turns out there's a full slate of games on both Saturday and Sunday now. You might be a family man or a dutiful mother, and your weekends are all about soccer practice and nature walks. Or you might have woken up three hours ago in Tempe, even though you go to school in Tallahassee. Either way, there's some baseball you might have missed.
Here is an attempt to pick some stories from the weekend. They aren't always going to be the biggest stories, because there's always going to be something I miss. If I attempt to power-rank the stories from the weekend, there will always be a bunch of "Dude, you didn't hear about Cliff Lee pushing that Waffle House waitress off a bridge?"s in the comment section. Instead, here are a few stories from the weekend that are of some interest. No more, no less.
The Braves are annoyed at all the sonnets we wrote about the Nationals over the offseason
On April 4, in the third game of the season, Cliff Lee allowed two singles, and the Braves fell to the Phillies, 2-0.
That was the last game the Braves lost.
Here we go again, with another early-season surge that makes you reevaluate what you thought you knew going into the season. Last year it was the Dodgers, who won nine of their first ten and cruised out to a huge early-season lead. This year it's the Braves, who are 11-1 and have won nine straight. They also went to Washington and swept the Nationals, who probably should have clinched the East by now.
In a way, we should have seen some of this coming. Justin Upton is 25 years old. He used to be a dark-horse MVP candidate every preseason, but he didn't eat gravel exactly how the Diamondbacks liked, so now he's on the Braves. And he's going off, hitting home runs just about every time he makes contact.
In another way, we're still just 12 games into the season.
Braves fan: Braves in '13! All the way!
Baseball writer: Sure. It could happen. They have a good team. But I'm still picking the Nationals.
Braves fan: What if Paul Maholm doesn't allow an earned run all season?
Baseball writer: …
Braves fan: …
Baseball writer: Okay, you got me. I guess that would make the Braves the favorite. You got me.
Surprise! Maholm hasn't allowed an earned run in three starts. The Braves do play the Giants in early May, so there's a chance for umpire-related chicanery to help the scoreless streak along, just like Drysdale and Hershiser.
The Red Sox and Yankees are in first and second place, respectively, in the AL East
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Except for that weird period over the last year where the Red Sox were sleeping on a park bench with a newspaper for a blanket. But if the first two weeks of the season are for real -- and, really, early-April results are never, ever, ever wrong -- the Red Sox and Yankees are going to rekindle their blood feud for the 2013 season.
Any scenario that had the Red Sox contending is a scenario that featured a return to form from Clay Buchholz, and the former All-Star took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Rays, who were kind of hoping to get their annual no-hitter out of the way early. If both Jon Lester and Buchholz are back, well, that was kind of the plan all along.
The Yankees are exactly one game over .500, so don't take this early competence as an indisputable omen of things to come. Andy Pettitte had to leave his last start with back problems, and Phil Hughes had to leave his last start because of awfulness. There are still problems in New York. But Francisco Cervelli, Kevin Youkilis, and Vernon Wells all have an OPS over 1.000. One of those is going to stick. I don't know which one. The Yankees don't, either. But October will roll around, and one of those players will still have an OPS over .900, and it will seem so obvious at the time.
The Yankees also turned a triple play against the Orioles over the weekend. It happened only because the Orioles just got the game, and they didn't know all the buttons yet, but it was still kind of an ominous play. It was very Orioles. At least, how we used to remember them.
The Blue Jays were eliminated from the playoffs
They were also eliminated from the 2014 playoffs after Jose Reyes' injury.
For all the Blue Jays-related panic (read Jon Morosi's column here, for one example, but only if you cleanse the palate with Dustin Parkes' rebuttal), they're still just 5-7. That's the kind of 12-game stretch that can happen to any team. The Nationals had the best record in baseball last year. They were 5-7 between June 15 and June 27 last year.
That's cherry-picking, of course, but it makes as much sense as paying too much attention to the first two weeks in April. The Jays haven't been getting Cy Young-type performances from R.A. Dickey. Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle haven't shown the velocity they used to feature. In May, we should probably start to pay attention. Not now, though.
The thing that really does make a difference, though, is Jose Reyes' injury:
The prognosis is three months or so, during which time the Jays are going to get creative. Jose Bautista at third? Okay. Brett Lawrie at second? Fine. Rajai Davis at short? YOLO. The Jays will probably play Maicer Izturis at short and call up human GIF machine Munenori Kawasaki to fill the utility role.
The difference between Reyes and Izturis is substantial. But it's probably not as substantial as you think. The Jays should be fine. Or they could be awful. They're probably fine.
Oh, come on, Cubs
The triumvirate of awful was supposed to be Marlins, Astros, Twins. That was it. The Cubs had Edwin Jackson and a surprisingly deep rotation. They were supposed to be 90-loss bad, not 100-loss bad.
After this weekend, though …
- blew two separate ninth-inning leads
- lost a game on a balked-in run
- set a major-league record for most wild pitches in an inning
- ended a game like this:
Wait, enhance. How do you feel about the Cubs season, Cubs guy?
But go back to the wild-pitch record. Steve Blass never did it. Oliver Perez never did it. Jonathan Sanchez never did it. Not one knuckleballer did it over the last 130 years.
In the history of the Cubs, they never did it.
On April 14, 2013, the Cubs threw five wild pitches in one inning.There were also three walks. To suggest it would be the cubsiest inning ever would be an insult to the Cubs.
Of all the special things that happened over the weekend, that might be the topper. That might be the topper.