CHICAGO– I feel the need to give these posts a dateline these days because I am always on the road. Just when I thought I was going to be home for a while because basketball season was over, I’ve spent this entire weekend in Milwaukee and am now in Chicago for tomorrow’s home opener. I couldn’t post without internet in Milly, but here’s my thoughts on the weekend:
4-game win streak
I think the most important thing about this weekend was what I saw in the dugout in the late innings of tonights 13-2 win over the Tigers. After Alexi Ramirez flied out to deep left (it definitely would have been a home run at Comiskey) the entire team congratulated him when he got back to the dugout and gave him a hard time. Ozzie spent more time the last two innings joking around than actually managing and I’m saying that this is a good thing.
Everyone looked like they were having fun and right in the middle of it all was Nick Swisher who has already shown that he fits perfectly on this team. I’ve already heard a number of comparisons between Swisher and Aaron Rowand and they really are similar. Rowand was obviously a better center fielder, but I have had no problems with Swisher out there and Nick is a switch hitter and even more outgoing in the clubhouse than Aaron is.
Speaking of Aaron…
Hanging out in Miller
While I was in Milwaukee I caught the Brewers-Giants game at Miller Park Saturday. I thought I was FINALLY going to get to see Rowand play in person for the first time since he was traded to the Phillies, but he was a scratch because of sore ribs.
Obviously I was a disappointed that he wasn’t playing, but I was even more mad that the roof was closed. BASEBALL IS MEANT TO BE PLAYED OUTDOORS*.
Now I put an asterisk after that because I am not against the idea of retractable roofs. Rain delays don’t help anyone so if it is raining then go ahead and close the roof. But Saturday we were tailgating outside and it was 60 degrees and sunny. Beautiful weather for an early April game in Wisconsin. Why would I want to go inside to watch a baseball game? Unbelievable.
I think that there should be a rule that if it is above 50 degrees and there is no rain in the forecast then the roof has to be open.
With that said, the Brewers would have swept the Giants whether or not the roof was opened, closed or if they played the game at now non-existent County Stadium. They certainly got it working with an underrated pitching staff and a great, young lineup. I like Manny Parra a lot and he looked great on the mound Saturday.
There will be more on the Brewers a lot this summer because I live in Wisconsin, but back to the team that really matters…
Sizing up the defense
Okay, I didn’t know what to expect from Carlos Quentin, but if he plays like this the whole season then I love him. That play he made Saturday doubling up Edgar Renteria at 1st base with a throw from left field was unbelievable. It was only No. 6 on SportsCenter Top 10, but if you see another left fielder do that again this season on a play where the runner does not make a huge running mistake (i.e. fall down, forget how many outs there were, etc) then call me up. It won’t happen. Renteria could have run harder, but no one expected Quentin to make that throw. It was an unbelievable play.
With that said, he can’t be dropping fly balls like he did today in the 9th. But he just took his eye off the ball so at least he got it out of his system when his team had an 11-run lead with one out in the ninth inning.
Swisher has looked more than comfortable in center field. He won’t be making the spectacular plays that Rowand or even Brian Anderson are capable of, but he has made some tough catches thus far.
I love Uribe at second base. I was trying to explain to my father tonight that Uribe is a great player when he is batting ninth and playing second base with Orlando Cabrera at shortstop. He sucks when he is batting seventh and is playing shortstop with Danny Richar at second. He has always been an above average fielder and he will be rock solid at second this season turning double plays with that cannon he has (which he showed tonight he will also use to throw out runners at third base and home plate on relays). I think he is a very valuable second baseman right now as long as he is in the No. 9 hole.
Saturday’s win was key
I really thought Saturday’s comeback win was huge. I thought the game in general was big because I did not like our chances Sunday night against Justin Verlander. All I wanted was to go 3-3 on this opening road trip and winning Saturday guaranteed at least that.
Winning that game also put the Tigers in an even bigger hole, which I think helped the Sox big time tonight. They are in a mental rut right now and the White Sox took advantage of that tonight.
I really do think that if the Tigers hold on and get that win yesterday then they would have played better tonight and won again. Remember that it was 1-1 tonight and even after the Sox squeezed in a couple of runs to make it 3-1 it was still a close game in their ballpark against a tough lineup. If the focus was better (like Carlos Guillen not dropping the ball at first which opened up the floodgates) then Sunday night’s game could have gone in a different direction.
So with the comeback Saturday the Sox are now 4-2 heading home instead of 2-4, or best case scenario, 3-3.
Ready to get to the ballpark
I love home openers and I can’t wait to be at the ballpark tomorrow. The Sox also have a great chance of winning. I like Javier Vazquez’s chances of getting his first win of the season against Nick Blackburn who lost his first start despite only giving up 1 run in seven innings.
The Sox are on a roll and will be juiced up in front of the home crowd. You worry about the guys being tired having to travel back to play a 3 p.m. game after a night game, but I think the adrenaline from playing at Comiskey will cancel that out.
Guys like Swisher, Cabrera and Quentin will be playing at home for the first time and it will be fun to welcome them. I expect Swisher to get a standing ovation in the first inning, but we’ll see.
I’m taking Memphis
Also, a quick National Championship Game prediction… I’m taking the Chi-town playa Derrick Rose and the Memphis Tigers over the other Chicago native Sherron Collins and the Jayhawks tomorrow. Both teams are playing great but no one can stop Rose and CDR right now.