Here is a fact from Captain Obvious: The MLB season is long!
Let’s follow that sentence with a bold statement: The dog days of any sport is everything after the first month, through and leading up to, the last month of the season. It’s a bold statement because if you put your head toward whichever device you are reading this on and listen closely, you will hear the “true diehards” thumping their chests and screaming, “Blasphemy you fool! Everyday is Christmas day in my beloved sport!” Of course, that’s the safe for work version of their comments.
Whether you are of the old school belief that you only cheer for one team or of the fantasy baseball era that watches specific players on specific teams, watching baseball (any sport really) every night for five months is overwhelming. “Sometimes you cannot see the forest through the trees” is a saying that can easily apply to MLB fans because unlike the NBA and NHL, everyday of the week features at least half the league playing. Getting lost in the bombardment of games without having a chance to sit back and review is easy.
Usually Monday’s are the closest thing to a reset day for MLB fans who may have a favourite team, but try to watch as much baseball as possible. So let’s all take a deep breath in and have a quick peek ahead to three of the new series’ starting tonight and remind ourselves why we love this game so much!
The Unexpected Battle of First Place Teams
You are a fool if you expect the standings on May 8th to be how they will look on October 1st. You are also a liar if you try to say you thought the New York Yankees and Cincinnati Reds would both be in first place when this series started! In preseason predictions, the Yankees were widely predicted to be in the 80+ win range, while the Reds were pegged to struggle to get 70.
The Reds will be sending Rookie Davis to the mound in the series opener. Davis was drafted by the Yankees and traded to the Reds in December 2015 as a part of the Aroldis Chapman deal.
The Yankee draft pick making the most noise right now is Aaron Judge. The former 2013 first round draft choice of the Yankees, Judge has already clubbed 13 homers this season putting him in a tie for the most in the league.
The Return of the Ed-Wing
Edwin Encarnacion spent parts of eight seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays. His tenure started with the dubious nickname of “E5” for his struggles fielding the hot corner and ended with his home run trot earning infamy as the “Ed-Wing” trot.
The story line going into the game will be how Blue Jays fans will welcome back their former hero. A nice distraction from the fact they really need to take two out of three games from the Indians. The Jays just took two of three from the Tampa Bay Rays which moved them within four games of the Rays for fourth place. This is not the divisional battle Blue Jays fans thought they would be talking about but slow and steady wins the race they say.
The Indians lineup did get dealt a blow on Sunday, losing Michael Brantley to the dreaded high ankle sprain. A MVP candidate in 2014 and 2015, Brantley only played 11 games in 2016 due to injury.
Reeling Champs Vs NL West Leaders
Whenever the World Series Champs are swept in a series, casual fans of the sport of baseball take notice.
The Chicago Cubs and the New York Yankees are two of baseballs most storied franchises so there were already more casual fans than usual watching when the Yankees would break a 152-0 Cubs streak for winning when entering the bottom of the ninth up by at least two. Many of the diehards fans were already asleep when the Yankees scored the series sweep clinching run in the top of the 18th late Sunday night (or early Monday morning depending on which part of the world you were watching the game from).
The Cubs look to bounce back in Colorado tonight sending ace Jake Arrieta to the mound. Arrieta pinch hit in the 14th inning of last night’s marathon game.
The Rockies will counter with NL Rookie of the Month Antonio Senzatela. On Tuesday, the Rockies will send rookie pitcher Kyle Freeland to the mound and trot out rookie German Marquez on Wednesday. Sounds like a recipe for disaster doesn’t it?
However, the Rockies are sitting atop the NL West because manager Bud Black is making it work with such a young starting rotation despite missing Jon Gray and Chad Bettis. Black is also getting the most out of what has been a traditionally abysmal bullpen.
Greg Holland is a perfect 13 for 13 in save opportunities. 17 strikeouts in 14 appearances.
— Jake Shapiro (@Shapalicious) May 7, 2020