Spent the day traveling from Maine to Florida yesterday and thankfully, everything went smoothly and the Fan and his lovely wife are safely ensconced in what will be our home for the next three weeks. That meant that last evening, the Fan got to watch some Florida baseball which was conveniently provided by the interleague schedule that pitted the Marlins versus the Bay Rays on the Bay Rays' television telecast (the better of the two). It was a day that rookie, Sean Rodriguez, got a big hit with all his family in the stands. But that fact was ruined by the Marlins' uber-phenom, Mike Stanton, hitting his first major league homer...a bomb of a grand slam that tilted the game to the Marlins.
The grand slam was fairly amazing too. It was a 94 MPH fastball from Matt Garza on the outward part of the plate and about arm pit high. Stanton's swing was lightning quick and he turned on that pitch and deposited it in the left field seats. The Fan remembers thinking at the time that all the hype about this guy was accurate. Stanton also made a really great play in right field on a ball slicing away from him toward foul territory. His long lope made up a lot of ground getting to that ball.
But Florida baseball wasn't the only place where young phenoms strutted their stuff. In Pittsburgh, Cleveland's Carlos Santana went two for two plus two walks and he drove in a run. One of the hits was his fourth double (already). Unfortunately, on the other side of the field, Pedro Alvarez still doesn't have a hit since being called up by the Pirates (just their luck). Hopefully the team will stick with him and give him a chance.
Up in Chicago, the Cubs' Tyler Colvin had a big game going two for four with a walk. He scored two runs and drove in three. And he hit his eighth homer. He's now batting .312. His teammate, Starlin Castro, went one for three with a walk. His one hit was a double. Despite the phenom tandem, the Cubs lost mostly due to poor defense from Baker and Lee.
Up in New York, Ike Davis went one for four with an RBI in the Mets' win. Francisco Cervelli, not really in the phenom category, but a good young catcher, went two for four in a losing cause.
In Detroit, Brennan Boesch went 0 - 3 but did walk and scored a run in the Tigers' victory. He still has a 1.007 OPS. Pretty impressive debut!
Toronto's Brandon Morrow out dueled Barry Zito and kept the Blue Jays in the game long enough to scratch out three runs and win the game. Boston's 22 year old Felix Doubront overcame some early defensive lapses and earned his first major league win in his first big league start.
Texas had a good day for their young talent as Justin Smoak had a big day going two for five with the two hits being a homer and a double. He drove in four runs and scored two. He's started slowly, but he's going to be really good. Meanwhile, in the bullpen, young Darren O'Day pitched a perfect eigth inning and lowered his ERA as a reliever to 1.92 including a WHIP of 0.92.
In a battle of pitching phenoms, Baltimore's Brian Matusz pitched brilliantly for six innings but was matched pitch for pitch by San Diego's Wade LeBlanc. It became a battle of the bullpens and San Diego will win those every time while the Orioles will lose that every time. It went as predicted.
And last but not least, Stephen Strasburg put on another show. This time against the White Sox and not the lowly Pirates, Strasburg gave up a run on two hits in the first inning, but was brilliant the rest of the way. He pitched seven full innings while striking out ten batters and issued no walks. His WHIP after his first three big league starts? How about 0.78. Unfortunately, he got a no-decision as his team couldn't muster more than a run. His buddy and fellow first round pick, Drew Storen, pitched admirably for two innings but got the hard luck loss.
Everywhere you looked around baseball, young players were doing exciting things. It sure is a fun time to be a Fan, no?