From Opening Day to Memorial Day: A look at the baseball season so far
BY MIKE LOPRESTI USA Today May 28, 2012 6:24PM
Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen is seen on the field in the ninth inning against the Cleveland Indians in an interleague baseball game in Cleveland on Sunday, May 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)
Updated: May 28, 2012 6:26PM
Opening Day to Memorial Day. How things have changed in baseball, and not just the weather, Bobby Valentine’s moods or Ozzie Guillen’s views on Cuba.
Opening Day. Anyone here talking about Lance Lynn, Brandon Beachy, R.A. Dickey or Chris Capuano for their fantasy league pitching staff? Probably not.
Memorial Day. Lynn, with one career victory to his name before this season, beat Atlanta to move his record to 8-1 for the St. Louis Cardinals, and shares the major league lead in wins with the Philadelphia Phillies’ Cole Hamels. Lynn will be paid $482,000 this year, or about $30,000 more than Hamels will make per start.
Atlanta’s Beachy, who played mostly third base and first base while studying pre-law at somewhere-out-there Indiana Wesleyan and never got a draft call, has the best earned run average in baseball at 1.77.
Dickey, 37 and the only fulltime knuckleballer in the game, is 7-1 for the New York Mets. He prepared for the season by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for charity.
Capuano is 7-1 with a 2.14 ERA for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The economics major from Duke came into the season with a 57-64 career record and 4.23 ERA. Plus one appearance in the soap opera The Young and the Restless.
Opening Day. Introducing the Los Angeles Angels of Albert, with new arrival Pujols ready to wreck American League pitching from the first misplaced slider.
Memorial Day. Pujols has been hitting better lately, so maybe the Angels can finally exhale. His average through Sunday was all the way up to .227.
Opening Day. Bankruptcy. Still no ownership. An uncertain team. The Dodgers own some of the biggest headaches in baseball.
Memorial Day. With Magic Johnson smiling in the owner’s box and the gap over San Francisco at 7Ω games going into Monday, the Dodgers own the biggest lead in baseball.
Opening Day. Most dominant closer in the American League East? Mariano Rivera, of course.
Memorial Day. Most dominant closer in the American League East? Jim Johnson, of course. Entering Monday, he’s 16-for-16 in save chances for Baltimore.
Opening Day. Detroit is loaded.
Memorial Day. Detroit is still fighting to get to .500.
Opening Day. San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum, perennial Cy Young candidate.
Memorial Day. Tim Lincecum, 2-5 with a 6.41 ERA.
Opening Day. All the fans of Cincinnati can talk about is how fast Aroldis Chapman throws a baseball.
Memorial Day. All the police of Ohio can talk about is how fast Aroldis Chapman drives a car. He was clocked at 93 mph for his latest speeding ticket. If the radar gun came up with that during a game, it’d almost be a changeup.
And when his lawyers are done with traffic court, there is the lawsuit filed by the man who alleges Chapman falsely accused him of being involved in human trafficking and landed him in the slammer in Cuba.
No trouble once the game starts, though. So far: 96 batters faced, 44 struck out, no earned runs allowed. Sounds like a Little League ace. If that keeps up, the dilemma in July will be whether a closer should start the All-Star Game. Imagine the buzz.
Opening Day. Round up the usual suspects for the top of the pecking order of both East divisions. Your New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies, your Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves.
Memorial Day. The Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles are in first place. They finished a combined 49 games behind last season.
Had the season ended Monday, the Mets -- last noticed skulking around the edges of the Bernie Madoff scandal -- would be tied for a wild card.
Meanwhile, the Phillies are tied for last place and Roy Halladay’s shoulder hurts. The Yankees have lost Rivera. The Braves have dropped eight in a row. The Rays and Red Sox have been squabbling over, among other things, the music for pre-game batting practice.
Opening Day. The Cubs look iffy.
Memorial Day. They won for the first time in 13 games Monday. Some things don’t change.