Before I get started this week, and as become customary of the other fantastic bloggers at YouGabSports, I want to extend my prayers to those who have suffered through the tragedy in Boston earlier this week. I also want to extend my appreciation that my friends and extended "Gab Family" members are all safe and accounted for.
As some of you folks know through Facebook, my family and I were in Boston on Saturday afternoon for the Red Sox/Rays match-up. It was a great game, one that turned out to be a 2-1 Red Sox win and featured a stellar pitching match-up between David Price and Jon Lester. Our seats were great, Loge Box 155, right off the third base bag, the first time I haven't sat in the bleachers at Fenway.
But that wasn't the memory I took away from the game.
No, my memories are of a hopping Boylston Street, a community that was out and about enjoying a moderately warm spring day. It was a true sign of the glory of spring in New England, where people are itching so badly to get outdoors that they flock together the first chance they get.
And it was that memory that made Monday's events so surreal. Seeing the photos after the fact, where Boylston Street was a virtual ghost town really sank in the impact of the bombing. The serenity of the spring blown away by a single act of unexplained violence.
That said, my thoughts and prayers go not just to those that were lost or hurt in the attack, but also for the hope that the serenity of spring can return quickly to the area, not only for the sake of peace, but also for the comfort of being able to move forward.
Speaking of moving forward, now on to baseball:
- One interesting note from the game I attended on Saturday. In the bottom of the 10th inning, Jacoby Ellsbury rapped a single with one out in the innng. Then, while stealing second, the throw went into center field and Ellsbury proceeded on to third.
This is where it got interesting.
Joe Maddon, who is known for his odd infield alignments opted to bring left fielder Matt Joyce into the infield as a fifth infielder. I have never seen this done before. My only assumption was that Maddon wanted to cut off the runner if he was going on contact. But what struck me more was that the situation called for Maddon to walk Victorino and open up the double play option to end the inning.
In the end, Victorino hit it up the middle, just deep enough to bring Ellsbury in with the winning run, but I was left thinking that the great baseball thinker overthrought the situation.
- What more can be said about the Atlanta Braves, who are sitting pretty with a 12-2 record at this stage in the season. We all knew that they were going to be much better offensively this season, but the pitching has been just as lethal. Coming into Thursday's action, the Braves lead all of baseball with a 1.77 team ERA through 14 games and have surrendered the fewest home runs in the game. That's good for a team that has the Major League's leading home run hitter in Justin Upton.
- Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter suffered a setback in his rehab from a broken ankle when a CT scan revealed a small fracture in the ankle. Jeter is now expected to be out until after the All-Star break, another piece of bad luck with injuries for the Yankees, who are barely recognizable this season. Jeter is under contract through the end of this season, but has a $8 million player option for 2014.
- The Colorado Rockies were thought to be dead in the water this season, but somehow they've managed to post a solid 11-4 record. However, that could be an anomaly as the team currently has a 4.30 ERA from its starting five, and that's with both Jon Garland and Jhoulys Chacin over performing. The Coors Effect just won't let this team succeed despite a mediocre pitching staff for long.
- The Detroit Tigers have to be plenty pleased with their decision to bring aboard Torii Hunter this winter. The 17-year veteran is off to an amazing start, posting a .413 batting average and a 1.027 OPS in 63 at bats. With the Angels reeling and Josh Hamilton struggling in Los Angeles, Hunter is sitting in his locker in Detroit and laughing it up for a contender, suddenly feeling a lot better about the Angels letting him go.
- New York starter Matt Harvey is one of the few bright spots for the lowly Mets this season. The 24-year-old burst onto the scene in 2012, with a solid 2.73 ERA and 70 strike-outs in 59.1 innings last season, but he's been even better in 2013. The right-hander has a 0.82 ERA and 25 strike-outs in 22 innings this season. That performance helped reward Harvey with the National League Player of the Week last week.