Five things we learned about opening weekend in MLB

The Baltimore Orioles’ Brian Roberts (1), Mark Reynolds (12) and Derrek Lee (25) celebrate with teammates and third base coach John Russell (77) following their 4-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays during their MLB American League baseball game in St. Petersburg, Florida, April 1, 2011. REUTERS/Brian Blanco (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

There’s a good chance that this post will be irrelevant in the next couple of weeks but I’m going to write it anyway. You can’t tell me what to do.

Here are five things we learned about opening weekend in MLB.

1. The Orioles are for real.
I’m kidding – relax. The Orioles are for real after just three games? That’s an over exaggeration on my part, although who can blame the Baltimore faithful for being excited about the start of the season? Their team just swept the Rays on the road and did so in rather convincing fashion, limiting Tampa to just three runs in three games. Considering how brash Buck Showalter was this offseason in his comments about Theo Epstein and Derek Jeter, it has to be refreshing for fans that the O’s came out of the gates hot. It’s also nice to see Brian Roberts (4-for-13, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 3 runs) get off to a good start after injuries limited his production last year, and guys like Nick Markakis make plays both offensive and defensively (what a catch he had over the weekend when he crashed into the wall). Given the young talent that this club has, it’s not a stretch to think that they could surprise this year in the AL. But if nothing else, at least there’s a little excitement in Baltimore again.

2. The Red Sox’ pitching is still a concern.
Again, again, again: It’s early. Just because the Rangers swept the Red Sox over the weekend doesn’t mean that the BoSox won’t make the playoffs or that they’re overrated. That said, this was about as bad of a start for the Red Sox as Yankee fans could ask for. They dropped three consecutive games to open a season for the first time since 1996, they were outscored 26-11 and their pitchers surrendered a whopping 11 home runs in just three games. Jon Lester gave up a career-high three home runs, while John Lackey served up two and Clay Buchholz gave up four solo shots. Granted, pitchers know that when they travel to Texas their chances of serving up a long ball are great. But 11 home runs in three days? Yikes. This was an ass kicking to say the least and one that brings Boston’s pitching concerns back into focus.

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Red Sox targeting Roy Halladay

According to a report by the New York Daily News, the Red Sox are targeting Blue Jays’ ace Roy Halladay.

If the Red Sox are serious about dealing for Halladay in the next two weeks, the Yankees will likely have their chance to get involved in the sweepstakes for the Blue Jays ace, although it will take a package of top prospects – as well as a sizeable contract extension for Halladay, who has a full no-trade clause – to get a deal done.

To land Halladay, Boston would likely have to give up Clay Buchholz, the organization’s top young pitcher, as well as Casey Kelly, the pitcher/shortstop who signed with the Red Sox in 2008 after being recruited by Tennessee to play quarterback. Red Sox GM Theo Epstein is said to be smitten with Kelly, which could be a sticking point in talks with Toronto if Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos insists on the 20-year-old being included in a deal.

The Yankees would love to acquire Halladay, although Cashman has been reluctant to deal away top prospects such as Austin Jackson and Jesus Montero for a player he would then have to sign for more than $100 million, such as Halladay. Toronto would also likely require either Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain in a deal.

Halladay, Josh Beckett and Jon Lester would form one of the best top 3’s in all of baseball. But is it worth it for Epstein to give up Buchholz and Kelly in a deal with no guarantees that Halladay will re-sign once he becomes a free agent at the end of the 2010 season? One would think that “The Doc” would want to re-sign with a contender like Boston, but again, there are no guarantees and Boston might lose a couple valuable prospects for just one year of Halladay.

We’ll see if this report has any teeth to it over the next couple of weeks. Storylines like these are created all the time around the winter meetings and some are just fabricated rumors.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

Blogging the Bloggers: Tuesday

Danica Patrick– Danica Patrick was caught speeding…away from the race track. (SPORTSbyBROOKS.com)

– Here’s a story of a Raider fan who was unfairly thrown out of Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, just for cheering on his team! Well, maybe that’s not the whole story… (Deadspin)

– Apparently the Red Sox offered Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz to the Marlins for Hanley Ramirez, but one of the clubs bulked. (Sox Addict.org)

– There’s nothing that says 0-16 better than a photo gallery. (The World of Isaac)

– The Dallas Cowboys reportedly were laughing and “acting like it was the last day of school” on the trip back from Philadelphia on Sunday. And the Dallas papers claim the Cowboys have no heart… (Dallas Sports Fans)

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