We're back for 2013, and my only hope is that this is the year we finally have a quadruple play. It's been so long. And with that wish in our hearts, here are the top 10 stories/players/matchups heading into the weekend.
10. The Weird Constant Interleague Series (LAD-BAL)
Now that the Astros have betrayed and abandoned the National League and joined the AL Central (that's how it went down, right?), there are 15 teams in each league instead of the previous 16-14 split. That means on any given Friday, there will be seven NL games, seven AL games, and one crazy, weird, fun interleague series. This weekend, it's Dodgers-Orioles in what I'm calling "The Battle Between Yankees Envy Past and Yankees Envy Present." Kind of a long name, but you get the point. Both teams are off to mediocre starts and looking to string a few wins together.
Todd Frazier has reached base in 22 straight games. He's hitting .294/.354/.554, making him a top-25 hitter in his rookie season. In the past 30 days, only Buster Posey, Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, and teammate Ryan Ludwick have put up bigger numbers. In that same 30-day stretch, the Reds have gone 19-11, blazing to the best record in baseball and giving themselves a shot at their first World Series in 22 years.
So what does the best team in baseball do with the guy who's been its best hitter for the past two months? Bat him cleanup? Give him a long-term deal? Throw him a parade?
Not quite. When Joey Votto comes off the disabled list on Saturday, Dusty Baker plans to look Frazier square in the eye, and give him the good news. Congratulations, you've just been benched.
We're approaching your keeper league's trade deadline, and your chances of winning this year are slim to none. You want to cash in your veterans for killer keepers, but the owners of Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, and Clayton Kershaw understandably aren't budging.
It's time to look at next-tier keeper candidates. Rather than trading all your tradable parts for the guy with the Mickey Mantle comps, you might be able to trade your Justin Verlander or David Wright for two or three of the players below.
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports on Tuesday.
Tony Parker scored 34 points and dished out eight assists as the Spurs remained unbeaten in the postseason, beating the Thunder 120-111 and going up 2-0 in the Western Conference Finals. "I'm I'm running out of time," the Doctor told the Spurs star, in a quiet nook of the locker room. "The Bentonite has been too close to me for too long. Without the powder, I won't last much longer." Parker put his head in his hands. "But without you my God, the whole sports landscape will explode! Only you can cure its ills!" The Doctor nodded wearily. He stood, slumped to the right, and walked away, weaker than Parker had ever seen him. "I can't help you anymore," he whispered, and was gone.