For the better last week was all about the West Coast, while the Big Apple loses a big piece
Last week, baseball was filled with heart-warming moments. The game can be great and it can be downright mean. This past week, we got to view both sides of what baseball can do to teams and their fans. Jered Weaver put his name in the history books while his National League neighbors, the Los Angeles Dodgers, turned their keys over to new ownership. And since we are in an L.A. state of mind, Albert Pujols finally launched his first home run in a new uniform and new league. Meanwhile, fans in the Big Apple may or may not be having a closing problem.
We’ll start by handing the ball to the Los Angeles Angels’ ace Jered Weaver. The hard throwing right hander made the Minnesota Twins look silly no hitting them last week. The only runners to advance were by the way of a walk and a swinging strike three that catcher Chris Iannetta couldn’t handle. Going into that game last Wednesday, Weaver has only given up three runs in his last three starts. After the no hitter, he has hurled 17 scoreless innings and is now 4-0 with a 1.61 ERA.
“I wasn’t throwing 97 or 98 up there,” said Weaver. “It was pretty much the same poo-poo I’ve been throwing there all year. A lot of things have to go your way, and it happened tonight.”
About 45 minutes across town, the Los Angeles Dodgers had plenty to be happy about last week. New ownership will hopefully bring new hope to Dodger Stadium. Even though they do not need much hope now, the Dodgers own the best record in the NL West and are tied for the best record in the NL going 18-10. The red hot Dodgers have changed hands with Mark Walter, Stan Kasten and Magic Johnson running the show and working diligently to bring back “Dodger pride.” This is the third time ownership has changed for the club since 1998.
“Frank’s not here anymore. We should be clapping for just that,” Magic Johnson said.
Well he did it. Finally. Albert Pujols silenced the doubters when he smoked a two run homer off Toronto Blue Jays’ rookie Drew Hutchison. The pitch was a 2-2 slider that came back over the plate and the $240 million slugger put it in the left field bullpen. Pujols has gone homer-less in 33 games and 139 at bats dating back to last year’s regular season. That would mark the longest drought in his 11 year career that he has not smacked a big fly. With that horrid streak over we can now only hope that we see home runs in bunches off the bat of the hard hitting first baseman.
“The last three weeks here, the fans have wanted to see it, and I’m blessed that I got the opportunity to do it here in front of them,” Pujols said with a trace of a grin. “They’ve been waiting and they’ve been impatient, and the last couple of days I heard some boos out there, but that’s part of it. I touched on that the other day. If I could boo myself, I’d do it myself, too.
On the East Coast, things may not be looking as bright if you are a Yankees fan, with their ninth inning hurler done for the year with a torn ACL. The injury happened when Mariano Rivera was shagging fly balls during batting practice before their game against the Kansas City Royals. Joe Girardi, manager of the team, will have to rely on David Robertson and Rafael Soriano for the remainder of the season.
Robertson, who is 27 years old, showed his value last year making his first All-Star appearance in a breakout year. He pitched in 70 games with a 1.08 ERA. This year he showed he was dependable yet again, setting up Rivera and tossing 11 scoreless innings to start off the year. More than likely he will get the first opportunity filling the void of their lost closer.
”Very confident in Robby,” first baseman Mark Teixeira said. ”He’s been so good for us in the eighth-inning role. He’s got great stuff. He’s got confidence. He’s got the support from us and we hope to hand him a lot of leads.”
The first month of the season brought history and record-breaking moments. We celebrated a legend, we celebrated perfection, and we saw the moments we would like to forget. May is when the weather starts heating up along with the rivalries. We can only hope this month will help us remember or forget what happened in April.