Monday, April 1, 2013

4/1: Opening Day! etc.

Greetings! As the MLB journey begins for 28 of the 30 teams, it's time to remind everyone that "Hope Springs Eternal" in baseball, and that's why it's fantastic. At any rate, let's take a look at what happened on Sunday before we get into Monday's preview.
  • The Final Four is Set! Michigan dominated Florida from the opening bell and cruised to a 73-53 win to earn a trip to Atlanta. With my bias aside (and for the record, I'm writing this while jumping up and down), it was a wildly impressive performance by the Wolverines, as they shut down a quality Florida offense (41% FG, 20% 3's) while getting big-time outputs from Nik Stauskas (22 points, 6-6 3-PT) and Mitch McGary (11 points, 9 board, 5 steals in 25 minutes). It was another example of what this team looks like when they are "on", and they're a real threat to the actual "favorite". Speaking of favorites, #1 overall seed Louisville pulled away from Duke late and cruised to a 22-point victory. Though the day was "highlighted" by a gruesome injury to Louisville's Kevin Ware (which I won't link to, but will instead pray for), the Cardinals played big-time basketball in the second half. Louisville shot a blistering 53% from the field, won the rebounding battle 35-26, and generated 10 live-ball turnovers to pulse their fast break. What a performance. 
  • There was live baseball last night! The Houston Astros "shocked" Texas with an 8-2 victory in the season opener. Matt Harrison allowed 6 runs (5 earned) over 5.2 innings for the Rangers, and Derek Lowe surrendered a 3-run homer to former teammate Rick Ankiel in the 6th inning to bust it open. Erik Bedard snatched the rare 10-out save for Houston, as he finished what Bud Norris started with 3.1 innings of 1-hit ball for the win. It's always great when baseball gets it going, and I can't wait for Monday's slate. 
  • Speaking of baseball, there is another contract to discuss. Elvis Andrus and the Texas Rangers are reportedly close to an 8-year, $120 million contract. I honestly don't understand this one at all (if it's true) as the Rangers have the #1 prospect in baseball in Jurickson Profar... and he's a shortstop. Even if we set that aside, Andrus' production (esp. with the bat) doesn't match a contract this size in my opinion, but there is an argument for him, as he's #3 in baseball among shortstops in WAR for the past two seasons and there's value there at a premium position. 
What to watch for on Monday...
  • 1:00 - MLB - Red Sox @ Yankees (ESPN) - Jon Lester vs. CC Sabathia - The battle for 3rd place in the AL East!!! (lol) The most talked-about rivalry in baseball starts the season just as it should. 
  • 4:00 - MLB - Giants @ Dodgers (ESPN) - Matt Cain vs. Clayton Kershaw - Another big-time rivalry, and this one features one of the best 5 pitchers in baseball in Kershaw against another elite guy in Cain. Awesome. 
  • 7:00 - MLB - Philles @ Braves (ESPN) - Cole Hamels vs. Tim Hudson - I can't explain how excited I am for Braves baseball, and it's fitting that Huddy is taking the hill. He's been overlooked through the entire off-season, but he's still uber-solid and I love him. 
  • 7:30 - NBA - Cavs @ Hawks (SportSouth) - Traffic will be immense in downtown Atlanta, as the Hawks tip off 30 minutes after the Braves sell-out. Enjoy. 
  • 8:00 - NBA - Spurs @ Grizzlies (NBATV) - San Antonio comes off of that inexplicable loss to Miami, and they get the joy of facing Memphis on the road. 
  • 10:00 - MLB - Cardinals @ D-Backs (ESPN2) - Adam Wainwright vs. Ian Kennedy - Looking forward to seeing how Wainwright looks, and the new, grinding D-Backs line-up will be a test. 

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