How we all feel after a much-needed win. (Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-US PRESSWIRE)
Around the Majors
The big news from yesterday is that after getting no calls over the off season -- or at least, none with a tempting enough offer -- Ivan Rodriguez has decided to hang up the spikes. He will officially retire Monday, but it sounds as though his mind is already made up on the matter. He was one of the best defensive catchers ever, and unless people attach his name to PEDs, I imagine he makes the Hall of Fame easily.
In other news, the Angels extended Erick Aybar four four years at $35 million. If they believe he's going to continue to be a +4 win player like he was last year, this is a good deal for the Angels; there aren't many other comparable contracts for shortstops out there, but still, he's a valuable player even if +4 wins is his peak.
Also, does Aybar's profile sound like anyone else we know? Late-20s, good defender, +4 win peak, plays a premium defensive position. I doubt that B.J. Upton goes for as little as Aybar received, considering he's slightly younger and has been more consistent, but still, maybe this is a sign of hope? (Sorry, I can't help it.)
- Cliff Lee was superb last night, lasting a full 10 innings while only allowing seven baserunners and striking out seven. And yet, the Phillies lost 1-0 in the 11th inning. He's the first pitcher since 2007 to work a full 10 innings in a start, and the first pitcher since 1995 to throw 10 innings in a losing effort.
- In other oddities, Bartolo Colon threw 38 consecutive strikes at one point last night. How's that work with game theory? If it gets to the point where hitters know you're going to be in the strike zone, you'd think that pitcher would start getting hit. But no, Colon only allowed four baserunners over eight innings of work.
- The Red Sox have demoted Mark Melacon to the minors, as he's allowed five home runs in only two innings of work. I'd love to laugh at their bullpen struggles, but their 6.63 bullpen ERA is still better than the Rays' 9.31 ERA. Sigh...
- The Yankees placed Brett Gardner on the disabled list with an elbow injury. There's no word on how long he'll be out, but in the meantime, it looks like there will be plenty of Raul Ibanez playing the outfield. And that's always a good thing for a laugh.
Evan Longoria may have been charged with three errors the other night, but that may get reduced to only two. J.P. Arencibia is appealing the call on the second error, as his batting average has yet to crack .100 and he can use all the help he can get.
B.J. Upton is still expected to be back with the Rays on Friday, so that's encouraging, exciting news. The only notable player that the Rays will then be missing will be Farnsworth, and surprisingly, Fernando Rodney is filling in just fine at the moment.
Joe Maddon's favorite TV shows? Arli$$, Boardwalk Empire, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Entourage, and The Sopranos. I don't know that first one, but otherwise, most awesome. I always knew Maddon had good taste.