Carnage in the AL West, the Cardinal Way, and the Expos Revisited

It’s been a tremendous day for baseball news and the day isn’t over. The Texas Rangers are in crisis mode on the eve of the season as three starting pitchers are hurt at the moment and catcher Geovany Soto and possible star Jurickson Profar could be out for up to three months with recent injuries. They expect all three pitchers back by May, but Matt Harrison is coming off three back surgeries, Colby Lewis is rehabbing from hip resurfacing surgery, and Derek Holland is trying to deal with a left knee he got fixed a few months ago.

Relievers Tanner Scheppers, a right-hander, and lefty Robbie Ross are expected to step into the rotation temporarily until reinforcements arrive. Meanwhile, Alexi Ogando is back in the bullpen, and one-time phenom Neftali Feliz is struggling to regain velocity after elbow surgery in 2012. He may start the season in the minors.

It’s a drastic remodeling of the plan they put in place the last few years, and if I were a Rangers fan I’d be worried. Meanwhile, the A’s are doing without starter A.J. Griffin for a few more weeks, and the guy with the best stuff on the staff, Jarrod Parker, is out for the year after having Tommy John surgery today.

Down in Orange County the Angels are counting on Jered Weaver, whose velocity has been down the last two years, C.J. Wilson, Tyler Skaggs– still just a prospect–along with Garrett Richards and Joe Blanton to man their rotation. There’s a chance it could come together for them. They used to say where there’s a Pujols there’s a way. They have Pujols, and now where there’s a Trout there’s a way.

There’s a piece on the Cardinals on Fangraphs by Tony Blengino, who used to work in the Seattle Mariners front office. It may be the best baseball article I’ve ever seen. One tidbit: there are an inordinate number of Cardinals fans who don’t like Matt Holliday. Blengino shows how Holliday maximizes hard contact and manages at bats with the best. It’s all there in cold type. It’s a deep dive but well worth your time.

Finally, Up, Up, and Away! is out today, the new book on the Montreal Expos by Grantland writer Jonah Keri. Keri is a brilliant and fun guy who always responds to me on Twitter, and this book promises to be the definitive history of the club that now calls itself the Washington Nationals. He told me the book has lots on Dane Iorg, Expos Killer, (didn’t know there were any), and Bill “Spaceman” Lee, a notorious–and pretty good–left-handed pitcher in the 1970’s and ’80’s. If you’re a Cardinals fan and remember the old NL East it’s a must-read.

Thanks for reading. On with the video!

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