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Bryce Harper injury update
Bryce Harper injured himself on a check swing on Wednesday night, and was removed from the game in the bottom of the 6th inning. Mark Zuckerman from CSN Washington has more, via Twitter:
Harper has bad bruise on L side, originally from crashing into wall last night. Davey hoping not serious.— Mark Zuckerman (@ZuckermanCSN) May 2, 2013
So, Harper originally hurt himself crashing into the wall on Tuesday night, then aggravated it last night on a check swing. He is considered day to day right now, but we should learn more about the severity of the injury later today.
Zuckerman later tweeted that Harper does not think the injury is serious and wants to play today.
ike Davis seems to be one to start the season slowly at the plate. Davis is struggling in a big way so far, hitting .169-.272-.315 with 4 HRs and 8 RBI, with a 29-12 strikeout to walk rate in 85 at bats. He started the 2012 season off in similar fashion, hitting just .185 with 3 HRs and 8 RBI with a 24-6 strikeout to walk rate in 81 at bats in April.
Rob Castellanos from Amazin Avenue wrote this piece last night and wonders if the Mets will actually send him down to AAA this season. There was lots of talk about demoting him after his poor first two months last season, but then he got hot and they never did. What Castellanos mentions in his piece over at AA is that while Davis wasn't hitting well last season, he WAS driving in runs. He compares his RBI/AB for 2013 vs 2012 which shows that his 2013 RBI/AB is down this season. Castellanos ends the piece asking whether the Mets will send Davis down this year or not.
I think they will give him a long leash to work things out.
Can Clay Buchholz keep this up?
Clay Buchholz looks like he could be a #1 starter the way he has been pitching this season. Maybe even an ace. Buccholz walked into the Rogers Centre and shut out the solid Blue Jays lineup for 7 innings giving up just two hits, walking 3 and striking out 8. He is now 6-0 with a 1.01 ERA, 2.28 FIP, 0.96 WHIP and a 47-16 strikeout to walk rate in 44.2 innings of work. He has given up 2 runs or less in all six starts this season, and has shut out his opponent in three of those six starts.
Is he for real, or will he revert back to the Buchholz of old?
Despite hitting in a lineup that does not strike fear in too many opposing pitchers, Mets third baseman David Wright is having a terrific start to the 2013 season. After his 3-5 performance on Wednesday, he is hitting .308-.423-.527 with 3 HRs, 17 runs 20 RBI and 6 stolen bases this season. His power may not be what it was several years ago, but Wright is still one of the top fantasy third baseman, and I might have been too low on him in my preseason rankings.
Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez has been a different pitcher this season. He held the Twins to 3 runs on 6 hits, a walk and 9 strikeout yesterday afternoon, but he didn't get any run support and took the loss. He is now 3-2 with a 1.82 ERA and 1.06 WHIP with a 50-11 strikeout to walk rate in 39.2 innings. He is striking out more than 30% of the batters he faces, the highest of his career. Looking at his pitch type data over at FanGraphs, he is throwing more fastballs and change ups this season and not relying on his cutter as much.
Indians pitching prospect Trevor Bauer had some things go well for him on Wednesday night, but he also had some thing go bad. The good: he shutout the Phillies for 5 innings and gave up just ONE hit. The bad: he walked 6 batters, after walking 7 in his previous start this season. So he still needs to work on his command, but he is still young enough to figure things out.
Red Sox catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli is having one heck of a start to the 2013 season. It appears he is a man on a mission to prove he was worth a 3 year, $39 million contract that was eventually reduced to a one year, $5 million contract due to his hip issues. I remember during spring training one scout was quoted as saying that he was playing so bad, the Red Sox could waive him. I think that scout might have been drinking because Napoli has been the Red Sox best player this season. Last night, he torched Toronto pitching, going 3-4 with 2 long home runs, a double, 3 runs and 4 RBI. He is now hitting .287-.342-.602 with 6 HRs and 31 RBI.
Sometimes players come back too early from injury, proclaiming they are ready, when they are really not. Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez was right when he said he was ready. Two nights ago, he hit a home run, and last night, he went 3-4 with a double and a run scored. Manager Don Mattingly batted him second in the Dodgers lineup last night, and I wonder if he will stay there with Mark Ellis about to be put on the DL on Friday.
Former Brewers closer John Axford was called in to pitch the 8th inning yesterday to preserve a two run lead, and did not come close. He gave up 4 runs, 3 earned, on 4 hits, a strikeout and a home run in 0.2 innings to blow the save/hold. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke recently was quoted saying that Axford could get the closer job back. I wonder if that has changed after yesterday's meltdown. Axford has given up 18 hits and 13 runs this season, 6 of the hits he has given up have made their way over the outfield wall.
Cardinals closer Edward Mujica earned his sixth save in as many chances yesterday, but not before giving up a home run to Brandon Phillips. It was the first run he has given up since taking over the closer job a few weeks ago. Set up man Trevor Rosenthal pitched a clean 8th innings for the hold.
The Diamondbacks bullpen has certainly not been a strong point this season. Two nights ago, closer J.J. Putz blew a save by giving up a two run home run to Pablo Sandoval, and last night David Hernandez came into the 8th inning to protect a two run lead, and gave up a 2 out, 3 run home run to Brandon Belt. The home run by Belt was his second off of Hernandez this season.
Some Nerdy Stats
I didn't realize how good of a season Indians catcher Carlos Santana is having. His SLG ranks third amongst all qualified batters so far, and his walk rate ranks second amongst all qualified hitters. He already has 5 HRs and 9 doubles so far, and is on pace for 25+ home runs.
Six starting pitchers ended April with a strand rate (LOB% per FanGraphs) of 90% or more. No starting pitcher can strand 90% of the base runners they give up, so expect some regression from the following starters beginning in May:
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