Every day there are three things, none worth devoting an individual post to, but each worth at least mentioning.
(Photo: Getty Images)
1) The first-place Reds. Look at these guys, winning two of three in St. Louis, and wrapping up the first week of the season with a 4-2 record, three(!) shutouts, and a share of the top spot in the NL Central. The highlight of the weekend at Busch Stadium was the effort of Amir Garrett, who was fantastic in his big league debut on Friday night. The lowlight was the way Bronson Arroyo (understandably) pitched in his return to a big league mound on Saturday.
The most glaring thing about this start has been the bullpen, especially the back end. Raisel Iglesias came in on Friday night and closed out the Cardinals with a filthiness not seen since Aroldis Chapman's best efforts as a Red. The two are decidedly different types of pitchers, but there's an un-hitable-ness about Iglesias when he's at his best that reminds me of The Cuban Missile.
And these relievers as a whole have the makings of a group that'll be able to protect leads. Iglesias. Lorenzen. Storen. No matter how Bryan Price uses them - and I love how he is using them - that's a pretty tough 1-2-3 to get past when you're trailing in the later innings.
2) Bronson Arroyo. The fact that he donned a big league uniform and participated in a game that counted on Saturday was triumph enough. It was fun to see the big league kick, the odd jersey number, and a familiar face back out there on the bump...
He pitched like a 40 year-old guy who hadn't thrown in a Major League game in almost three years, which was probably to be expected.
Now though, there has to be something about his performances that justify his continued inclusion in the rotation. I'm all on board with giving Bronson a chance to go out on his terms, and I seen value in him being around, helping to eat innings, making himself available to the younger pitchers, and hopefully, offering up one or two performances that remind us of when Bronson was at his best.
But those things do have a short shelf life. They only matter if there's some degree of effectiveness to his performances.
3) Welcome Wichita. (Or, I have nothing profound to say about Sergio Garcia, except that I want someone to love me one day the way Paul Daughtery loves The Masters, that I was hoping for like 87 holes of sudden-death golf bleeding over to today.
Anyway, Wichita State is joining the American Athletic Conference for basketball. Great! The Shockers will provide an opportunity for a marquee game for the Bearcats, they'll bolster the top end of the league, and they may help satisfy my long-held lust for a visit to Wichita.
But their inclusion doesn't solve a bigger issue - the dead weight at the bottom of the league, where this past season, the likes of South Florida, Tulane, and East Carolina took up residence. Every conference, obviously, has weaker teams, but those three schools were such a drain on the conference that they dragged down the teams at the upper end of the league. Yes, it would help of schools like UConn, Memphis, and Temple were as good as they're supposed to be, but the bigger issue for the conference is how awful the lower end of it is, how many chances there are for potentially devastating losses, and how much the teams at the bottom hurt the American's overall profile.
Radio Show: Some Reds, a little Bengals, one or two guests that we're working on, and a lot of fun. That's a very vague way of me telling you why you should listen today at 3:05 on ESPN1530.