Major League Baseball Preview: It's Opening Day 2019
Opening day, and I cannot wait Madsen Yanks get everything started at one on five. I realize Harrison I was just looking over the schedule before the Mets and the and the Yanks are the only to apply at one zero five tomorrow one a Yankee actually one Mets for one zero five and then the other games will follow throughout to go around major league baseball right now, we welcome. And Scott Miller who's a national baseball columnist for Bleacher report scout amongst other things Scott happy opening day. I mean, this is this is a great grey day for baseball fans everywhere. A big slate of exciting action all across major league baseball. It is happy opening day to you as well. And yeah, it's it seems like it can't get here. Quick enough. I always say, you know, baseball more than any other sport has brings with it something that is unique that nothing else can say that simply as opening day equates. To the promise of summer, the promise of the last day of school is very close. It's getting closer. And who doesn't like the thought of summer vacation and whatever else and thought of war nights at the ballpark. Yeah. I mean, there's a lot of things that go into the other thing I would add to that. Scott would be the fact that you know, you have it there for you pretty much every night for the next six months, it's different than opening night and football way opening week, whatever it is. And then it goes away for a few days. And then it's once a week baseball. Once it starts, it is six months of basically there for you every single night. And that's what I love about it. Yeah. No question. I mean, I I know, you know, even you know going back as a kid growing up in Michigan. I grew up about thirty miles south of Detroit so back then I followed the Tigers. And, you know, just, you know, your kid, and you can't you know, you don't have your driver's license yet or anything. Thing every night the summertime you had a friend. You had you had your Tigers. In my case on TV. College. I had a great summer job at a state park in Michigan. Yeah. During my summers off in college and state park, quite often. I would be a permit but without front as cars came in. I take their money, you know, the three bucks or whatever cost command and a state park was over near lake eerie and not only were you outside in the summer. But I had a radio in that booth and I worked at three thirty to eleven thirty shift and listen to music up until about seven or seven thirty. And then I click over to hurry. You know him and Paul Carey telling me all about whatever was going on with the Tigers at night. And you're right. It every night every day there there there's something that just build slowly. And slowly, you know, like a great book read a chapter, maybe grabs you, then the next one. And then you go on and what the Mets in particular. And you're right. I mean, that's that's the beauty of what the Mets in particular. You get excited early on because the Mets own opening day. Matter of fact, they've won thirty seven of the west forty nine last year. They started started twelve and to Scott and everybody at least around here. At least myself I was excited about this ball club in and then they went into the tank naturally. So that book got pretty bad in a hurry. You look at this meds ballclub in the National League east in particular. Where do you rank the Mets right now in the NFL is heading in opening day? You know, I it not deduct a question. But is that's what's gonna be fascinating about the summers. I think anywhere from first to fourth. I mean, you know, depending on health depending on the way things go, I mean, you know, the National League east more than any division of the game. You had teams trying to better themselves trying to to to you know, deliver that knockout punch in the wintertime with trades and free agent signings. Dom, you know, I mean the nationals I think everybody talks about them losing Bryce Harper. And the funny thing there is I think a lot of people are kind of dismissing the nationals because hey, they lost Bryce Harper. That kid want. Soto is great Victor rollerblades is coming out. They're going to be good Phillies made their moves Atlanta won the division last year. You know, I like what the Mets did. I think they they they they made some smart moves. You know, obviously you start with the pitching. Graham, and how about the ground versus shirts or the mile. I mean talk about a great opening day matchup but him center, Dr Wheeler. I like getting Edward D as I mean, people Robertson knows the bigger name. I, of course, still and people say, oh, can I was going back to New York? But Edwin d as the this kid was as good a closer was in a game last year for Seattle. That's a great addition. You know? Behind the plate. You know? Wilson ramos. I think there's some promise, and it's gonna take health and has gonna take some, you know, smart play and Conforto needs to continue to improve. But you know, like, I said without doc in the question. I mean, I thanks go. Well, I think they're gonna content put it that way. I think you'll see a fourteen horse race down into the last into August and September and how about the National League overall. We don't need to go into the specifics of each division here. But you mentioned Al the National League east can be in the brave yet through the defending champs and natural good even without harbor Phillies. Clearly better their lineup on paper looks loaded Mets made some improvements. So those four teams should be battling there. I mean, you look at the rest of the National League. How do you feel the central is gonna plan everybody? I know loves the cubs this year people high in the cardinals brewers are pretty darn good. You're talking now we just went over to divisions in there are seven teams potentially to be the playoffs even with the reds improving. I still don't think that they're realistic realistic. To be playoff team. And then in the west I mean, yeah. At least have two or three teams fighting for the postseason. So Scott when you look at it, how do you see the wildcard plan out? I mean, you could give me the divisions. I but in the National League the Walker is going to be intriguing. Yeah. It is. Because you're you're right. I mean, you know, the cubs ninety five or more games. I think for four years in a row at you know, they they have a really good team. You know, the one team I'm keeping an eye on. I I'm not so sure about no walkie. I mean on paper, they look really good. But they're one team that kind of disrespect starting pitchers. I mean, they're they're success last year aside from the smart moves to get Renzo Kane and Christian yelich their success. Was that bullpen was phenomenal. Josh Hader is back and going to be really good. But you know, Jeremy Jeffress has a sore shoulder. Corey knievel sore elbow to start the year. Those were two guys that played a big role in that broke in the bullpen. So my question with the brewers. I think for them to repeat last year. They've got to have the bullpen pitch. Every bit as good as it did last year. And I'm not sure both sides are so volatile. I'm not sure if they're going to be able to match what they did last year. So, you know, that's why I'm watch wants Milwaukee. Cincinnati. Please is gonna hit like a zillion home runs in that ballpark. He's probably gonna drive the rats crazy with some of his antics. They'll be fine. Say Lewis is gonna be good doubt. Dodgers everybody talks about Clayton Kershaw unavailable for opening day because he's opening on the injured list, but they're pretty deep. And I think they still are the favorites in the National League West Colorado's right there. Again, you talk about all the teams that are contenders. I'm not sure. But I tell you what for the first time in ten or fifteen years, the Padres have become relevant. Manny machado. It's gonna be fascinating to see what he does especially after playing the villain, and I told her and I was shocked. You know, the Padres went the opposite way of what most teams do keep the kids in the minors to buy an extra year of service time delay free agency. They call up their kid Fernando taste junior is going to be the opening day lineup playing shortstop tomorrow as well. Next Chato and he's juniors right there next to Blad. Gratitude here is one of the best prospects of the game. So you know, everywhere you look a lot to be excited for we're talking about Scott Miller national baseball columnist for Bleacher report. Yeah. And that's Scott. Normally I feel like you could read the predictions from everybody in America that writes these predictions. Are you looking at it yourself? It's hard to pick against the teams who are consistently. They're hard to knock off the cobs hard to knock off the nationals. The dodgers, then maybe you take one or two different teams making the playoffs this year in the National League in particular when you look at it going into the year. Maybe I'm wrong. Greg me, if I am I see more parody than ever before you can make a scenario as we just mentioned a bunch of different teams. I wouldn't be shocked if any of those different scenarios happens where you can have three to four teams in each division competing for playoff spots. Yeah. I think that's true. I think that's that's healthy for baseball. Because I, you know, look we're coming off a season where attendance dropped about four percent last year and seventeen of thirty teams saw tennis declines. And there are various reasons for that. You know baseball will tell you a big part of the reason is the April and may weather last year in the east and midwest was really bad, cold, rainy and fans just didn't want to come out. I'm sure that's a contributing factor last year. Was the first year in baseball history. Whenever more strikeouts than hits. I think the way the games being played right now is a contributing factor to attendants declining. But the third contributing factor in my opinion, is you know, we've reached that stage. You know, we were tanking is kind of gotten away from that a little bit this year. But if you want to say tanking or rebuilding clubs have realized the middle's the worst place to be if we can't win we need to strip things down and rebuild. And I think too many teams in the last couple of years have have done that. And so what you've gotten is is, you know, fans in number of cities losing interest in the game because their local team is trying so hard it's basically stripping down rebuilding. So the fans are like, well, what's there to be excited about what you just said in the National League to that last point? I think finally in the National League at least you're right as you look. Around. You don't see, you know, a third of the league or more rebuilding. You see teams that they think they can win in that are giving their fans reason to hope and that is not the case. Of course in the American League's we transition narrow let's start with the American League east. Let me ask you this way. More concerned with the Yankees injuries slash starting rotation or the Red Sox bullpen heading into the year. Yeah. It's Baltar concerns. I you know, I I pick the Red Sox to win the division last year. And I'm leaning that way this year because I respect that Red Sox rotation. Chris sale, David price report, Selo and company. And also, I think the Red Sox where I like him last year, and I still sort of do that lineup. I think there are back at more strikeouts than hits in the game. There are fewer strikeouts. In the Red Sox lineup there. It's a nice mix of power in contact hitters on base guys guys that can put the ball in play. Whereas, you know, as we know the Yankees lineup is really exciting. But at Tanah homers, and and you guys are going to strike out a bunch. So that's sad. I would give the edge the Red Sox, but they didn't bring Craig kimbrel back Joe Kelley was under rated and that bullpen last year. He was a free agent went to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers. So. So the Red Sox bullpen is a work in progress. I tell you what. There's a chance that bullpen could make Alex Cora. Look not so smart after they made him look really smart in his debut season. As manager last year, you give the raise any chance to make ninety games for goodness sake or ago. Yeah. I think so I mean, you know, look Blake's now, you know, part of the fun. This year is is is is is it is every year is finding out. You know, what our guys gonna certain guy's gonna do for an encore Blake Snell is one of those. I mean Cy Young winner last year phenomenal. But the baseball history is stacked with all kinds of you know, one hit wonders guys that were great one year. And then they they did repeat the m-. The thing about baseball. It makes it so difficult is, you know, the the Mark of a great player is consistency over a number of seasons. You know, when you turn a guys baseball card over, you know, the statistic line. Doesn't jump out at you from one year. But rather over five six seven years is pretty consistent. And that's what Blake's now is going to have to build this year. He's got to build on what he started last year. And that's gonna be interesting. I liked the addition of Charlie Morton, former Houston Astro into the rotation in Tampa Bay that's going to help. They got some good things going on Tampa Bay.