MLB Daily Six Pack 4/9

1. The defending champs needed that one…
Staring 0-3 in the face, the Phillies rallied from a 10-3 deficit in the seventh inning to beat the Braves 12-11 on Wednesday. Raul Ibanez homered and drove in three runs as Philly went on to score eight runs in the seventh inning. While 1-2 isn’t the start the defending champs would have liked, maybe now their offense has awaken from their slump and they can use this game as a confidence builder.

2. And I was like, Emilio!
I know, I know – it’s only one sweep of the Nationals (and at home no less). But the Marlins’ 3-0 start (they beat Washington 6-4 on Wednesday) should raise some eyebrows because this team is loaded with bright, young talent. Granted, Emilio Bonifacio isn’t going to hit .571 the rest of the way, but he gives the Fish a strong table setter at the top of the lineup and catcher John Baker has been a nice surprise so far in the two-hole. If the young starting pitching can hold up and five-tool 22-year old outfielder Cameron Maybin can grow up in a hurry, the Mets, Phillies and Braves will definitely have competition this year in NL East.

3. The Tigers might not have a good year, but Miggie will.
For all intents and purposes, it looks like the Tigers are due for another down year, although outside of Justin Verlander, the starting pitching has looked good the past two nights. But one thing that won’t hold Detroit back this year is Miguel Cabrera, who hit two dingers and drove in four runs in the Tigs’ 5-1 victory over the Blue Jays on Wednesday. It’s early, but Cabrera looks like he’ll be a favorite for the AL MVP all season.

4. Yankees start 0-2 – the horror!
Yankee-haters love seeing the Bronx Bombers struggle no matter what time of year it is, but remember that this is a veteran club and their 0-2 start (NY lost to Baltimore 7-5 on Wednesday) means very little. Would they like to be 2-0 right now? Sure, but don’t buy into a Yankee-free fall just yet. Yes, the starting pitching has looked bad out of the gate, but the lineup will get Alex Rodriguez back in a couple weeks and CC Sabathia won’t look as out of control all season as he did in the Opener. Let’s give the O’s some credit here, too – they have a nice young lineup. Nick Markakis (3 for 3, 3 RBI, 2 R, 1 HR) is an absolutely stud and Brian Roberts is one of the better leadoff hitters in baseball. Throw in an emerging talent like Adam Jones and quality veteran bats like Aubrey Huff and Melvin Mora, and Baltimore will give some opponents trouble this year.

5. Is it time to hop of the Volquez bandwagon yet?
Edinson Volquez had himself quite a season last year, compiling a 17-6 record and 3.21 ERA for the Reds after three lackluster years in Texas. But pundits were a little leery of the 25-year old’s breakout year and the word “fluke” was tossed around plenty this offseason. Well, Volquez did little to silence critics in his ’09 debut as the Mets smacked him around for six hits and four earned runs as he lasted just 4.1 innings in the Reds’ 9-7 loss. To be fair, it was only one loss, but would anyone be surprised if Volquez struggled this year?

6. Kazmir good, Lester…not so much.
Rays’ ace Scott Kazmir looked solid in Tampa’s 7-2 win over the Red Sox on Wednesday, allowing just one run on five hits and striking out four in six innings of work. Boston’s Jon Lester struggled, however, giving up five runs on eight hits and served up the long ball to Carlos Pena in the fifth. Here’s hoping Kaz can stay healthy for an entire year and maybe knock on the door of 15-plus wins, because he certainly has the talent for it.

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