Tuesday afternoon batting practice (USAT)
It s been a depressing 24 hours for Bernie Brewer, don t you know. He watches go deep three times in Tuesday s road game and thinks, You couldn t do this at Miller Park?
didn t come off the meat of the Philly staff – served up the first two taters, the last one. But let s also give credit where due – Braun s first homer came off a decent 1-2 pitch from Kendrick, and the second one was an opposite-field shot. Only the third home run could be termed a true mistake, a fat Lincoln pitch that was screaming out crush me before Braun did just that.
Generally we don t spend much time in this space examining the major achievements of universally-owned players – there s nothing actionable there. But given , we have to view the Tuesday breakthrough in a different light. If you wanted a good time to consider an outgoing Braun deal, you now have a selling point, a window, an opportunity.
This doesn t mean you holler from the rooftops Braun must go. Be more subtle than that. Tell your opponents you want to move an outfielder, or a power hitter. See if they come to Braun, see how they value him after Tuesday s heroics. See where they draw the line.
I don t own Braun anywhere, so this isn t a decision tied to any of my teams. Obviously it s not my thumb, either. But I suspect Braun will be battling this physical issue all year, and just because the thumb didn t hold him back Tuesday doesn t mean it won t be a problem again soon. If I did own Braun, I d be trying to time the market now, seeing if I could cash in on this loud and visible breakthrough. Thumb injuries linger and at their worst, they sap power. Don t let one big afternoon cloud your full-season plan.
Are you buying, selling, or holding Braun today? Share your game plan in the comments.
• Welcome to the new season, . Maybe all that spring training helium was on the mark after all.
Ventura missed his scheduled turn last week (blame the rain or simply say #boomyosted), but his 2014 debut was worth the wait. The highly-regarded righty was brilliant in six scoreless innings against the Rays, allowing just two baserunners and striking out six. Ventura topped 100 mph on a few throws and hit the zone in 62 of 95 pitches. Have a look , see what you make of it. Future ace, Ventura.
Of course, Ventura didn t get a win. The Royals offense doesn t score for anyone this year, so it seems. KC still doesn t have a homer (every other club has a minimum of three) and it s the lowest-scoring team in the AL. A .250 average is middle of the pack (ditto the .327 OBP), but a slugging percentage of .307 is downright embarrassing. should be renamed Mr. March.
The Royals were 18th in scoring last year, 20th the previous season. It s been a long wait on this offense. Maybe Alex Gordon and Billy Butler have hit their top levels. Maybe it s never going to happen for Moustakas. No one wants to make any major conclusions based on a week of games, but my gut tells me a bunch of strong KC starts are going to be wasted this year. (Maybe this is why I had two unsolicited James Shields offers in my mailbox this morning.) If you have something optimistic to share about this lineup, let s hear it.
Support concerns to the side, Ventura sure looks ownable in all formats, even the thinner ones. He s also an intriguing two-start option for next week, drawing the unthreatening Astros and Twins. Unfortunately, he ll never get to throw against his own team, not in a game that counts. But if you re going to own any AL pitcher, the Central Division is a good place to set up shop.
• Coors Field has already shown its teeth in the early going, so I don t blame anyone who shielded away from Tuesday s thin-air assignment. I know I benched him in at least one format, and thus didn t get the rewards from his snappy seven-inning performance (5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 4 K, easy victory). But most of all, it s refreshing to see Quintana in fine form after a messy spring. His bullpen cost him a victory in the prior start (6 IP, 5 R, 2 ER, 8 K against Minnesota).
We re not going to get too crazy over a 13-inning bank of data, but it s intriguing to see Quintana . The White Sox have liked The Q all along; they signed the 25-year-old to a meaty five-year extension (26.5 million) just before the season. He s one of the more underrated pitchers in the American League, and he s only owned in 38 percent of Yahoo leagues. Give him a look against Cleveland this weekend.
The White Sox clubbed six home runs in support of Quintana, with Avisail Garcia and Jose Abreu each connecting twice. Garcia hadn t done a thing before Tuesday, but given his tool set and pedigree, his ownership tag is surprisingly low (29 percent).
Speed Round: Although X-rays on s thumb came back fine, he ll still have an MRI for Wednesday. It would be a shame if Hamilton needed significant time off, as he s off to a sizzling start . . Back up the return timetable on Mat Latos (elbow); he was scratched from his Tuesday rehab turn . . . Grady Sizemore collected three hits in Tuesday s loss to Texas, but he s getting a matinee rest for Wednesday, something we might see regularly during the year . . . The Rockies center field situation was partially cleared Tuesday, with Corey Dickerson demoted to Triple-A. Charlie Blackmon figures to play most of the time, the heavier side of a platoon (journeyman Drew Stubbs started, and took a collar, against the lefty Quintana) . . . Coco Crisp (wrist) is always a high-maintenance player, and he won t be back until Friday at the earliest . . . Matt Moore (elbow) is visiting Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday, and you know what that means . . . Tyson Ross allowed seven runs at Cleveland, though just two of them were earned. His next two starts are back at the forgiving Petco sandbox (Tigers, Giants) . . . Sergio Santos recorded his third save, and he s already struck out eight men over 3.1 innings. Melky Cabrera is another YYZ baller in fine form – he s up to four homers, presumably healthy again.Sports & RecreationBaseballKyle KendrickYordano Ventura
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