Something I didn’t notice but reader nbjays did and mentioned it in the ATH comments: there were an awful lot of sweeps this past weekend. Over half of the series played ended in sweeps, in fact. To wit:
- The Blue Jays swept the Red Sox;
- The A’s swept the Yankees;
- The Tigers swept the White Sox;
- The Dodgers swept the Mets;
- The Reds swept the Brewers;
- The Pirates swept the Marlins;
- The Cardinals swept the Cubs; and
- The Diamondbacks swept the Astros
Quick gut-based analysis: the Red Sox remain schizo, and will probably now win four of five. The A’s will get a lot of “they’re for real” talk that I suspect will only last a week or so. The Tigers-White Sox series will be thought of as a turning point. The Mets and Brewers will mark this past weekend as when things unofficially ended for them. The Cubs and Astros, well, they stunk already, so it’s not really narrative-conducive for either the winners or the losers.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.