What a second week of the MLB schedule it was. There have been injuries, brawls, comebacks, and plenty of tight games. But there is much more fun ahead in the season. Here are some things to keep an eye on as week 3 of the season gets set to kick off.
Dodgers-Padres Rematch – Last week’s Dodgers-Padres series in Los Angeles produced what may be the biggest story of the 2013 season so far, when Zack Greinke broke his collarbone after Carlos Quentin irresponsibly charged the mound for being hit by a pitch. That being the final game of their series, the two teams haven’t met since. That will change as the Dodgers host the Padres for a three-game set beginning on Monday. Quentin won’t play since he was suspended 8 games for starting that brawl, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be fireworks. Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly is likely still furious about the whole incident and L.A. fans will be ruthless. This could be an intense series.
Replacing Stars – Because of Greinke’s injury, the Dodgers will have to move forward without him for a couple of months. The first time his rotation spot is coming up without him is Tuesday. Chris Capuano will get that start after making two appearances from the bullpen. If he struggles, Ted Lilly will be waiting in the wings and he says he is ready to return to the Majors after rehabbing at AAA Albuquerque.
In the American League, Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes went down on Friday with a severely sprained ankle and could be out until the All-Star break. The Blue Jays will be fighting uphill as they begin life without him as he has been arguably their most important player this season. Maicer Izturis will likely get most of the playing time there, but keep an eye on players from elsewhere. GM Alex Anthopoulos has said he will also talk to teams about other potential options.
Returning Stars – On the bright side, Blue Jays’ third baseman Brett Lawrie will likely be back this week, which will at least be a start in dealing with the loss of Reyes’s production. He will help provide some stability to the lineup and keep manager John Gibbons from having to shuffle around several players on defense.
Also in the American League East, Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz is tentatively set to come back on Friday. He’s been out all year dealing with heel problems and has been rehabbing in the minors. The Red Sox’ offense has actually fared quite well without him, putting up at least 5 runs in about half their games. When he returns, rookie Jackie Bradley, Jr. will likely be sent back to the minors.
Streakers – The Atlanta Braves are off to an incredible start, becoming the first team to win 10 games. They’ve done it with their pitching, as their team ERA sits right around 2. They’ll try to continue their winning ways this week and they won’t have to deal with the league’s best to do it. They’ll have two against Kansas City, then a trip to Pittsburgh to face off against one of the league’s worst offenses.
On the other side of the spectrum is the Los Angeles Angels. After much hype from the offseason, the Halos have stumbled out of the gate to the American League’s worst record. Pitching was supposed to be their biggest hurdle this year, which has proven to be the case. The Angels are ahead of only Toronto in the A.L. in team ERA and they’re also without ace Jered Weaver for several weeks. If the team isn’t able to make any headway this week against the lightweight Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins, they could be in real trouble.
Surprise Record-Setters – The most RBI one player has ever had through the first 10 games of the season is 19 and only Lou Gehrig and Manny Ramirez had ever done it. Until now. Both Chris Davis and John Buck matched it this season. The Orioles’ first baseman and Mets’ catcher each lead their respective league in RBI and are tied for their league’s lead in home runs with 6 a piece. And, for Buck, his total represents one more than Mets catchers had all of last season. This portion of the MLB schedule will help determine if they just had hot streak to begin the year or if they could be threats all season.