Batter’s Box: XXXander
(Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire)
There were lots of big-time performances on Saturday from budding superstars. And Brian Goodwin. Let’s have a look, shall we?
Xander Bogaerts (SS, Boston Red Sox): 3-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 2B, 2 RBI
Can we just take a minute to appreciate how insane Xander Bogaerts’ name is? It’s even crazier than Xander Cage, which is what they named the main character of XXX, a movie about a spy who saves the world while playing extreme sports. Like, seriously, the main character of a movie about a skateboarding spy has a more normal name than Xander Bogaerts. I guess a special person needs a special name though, and Bogaerts has been just that this year. He’s now 8-for-12 with five doubles in his first three games of the season. Which is great and all, but can he shoot an AK-47 while skydiving?
Adam Eaton (OF, Washington Nationals): 5-5, 4 R, 1 HR, 2 2B, 3 RBI
Adam Eaton? More like Adam Heatin’ up, am I right? Eaton missed most of last season thanks to a torn ACL, but he made up for lost time yesterday, hitting two doubles, a homer, and scoring four times. Some were questioning Manager Dave Martinez’s decision to have Eaton bat leadoff instead of Trea Turner. Not me, though. I recognize genius when I see it.
Matt Duffy (SS, Tampa Bay Rays): 3-4, 1 SB
I’m a Matt Duffy fan, and I’m not just pulling for him because his fat Instagram-famous cat died, though I’m certainly sad to hear about the death of Skeeter, as we all are. No, I just think Duffy’s solid contact ability and modest power/speed combo could play in most leagues, and that a lot of people have forgotten about him after a lost year in 2017. The stolen base yesterday is particularly encouraging because, after over a year of recurring ankle and heel injuries, it wasn’t entirely clear if he would be able to get his speed back. He’s definitely a guy to keep an eye on if you need help at shortstop.
Brian Goodwin (OF, Washington Nationals): 2-5, 2 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI
A very solid performance from Brian Goodwin, who I imagine campaigned to get in the lineup on Saturday by blasting John Fogerty’s “Centerfield” on repeat in the clubhouse until Dave Martinez literally got on his knees and begged him to stop with tears streaming down his face. And then Goodwin was like, “I’ll stop if you let me play today.” And Martinez was like, “But Michael Taylor is better than you.” And then Goodwin just hovered his finger over the boombox’s “play” button again, and Martinez was like, “Fine, fine, Jesus Christ, what is the matter with you?” It all worked out in the end, but Martinez had Goodwin’s boombox destroyed after the game, so don’t count on him pressuring his way into the lineup again anytime soon.
Yonder Alonso (1B, Cleveland Indians): 1-2, 2 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB
Something of a poster boy for last year’s launch angle revolution (which is a great band name by the way), Alonso lost some of his luster in the second half last season, and was widely panned in drafts this year. It’s nice to see Alonso putting some of the doubts about his power to bed early this year, and hitting in a better ballpark and lineup should help him stave off some of the expected regression from last year’s breakout.
Scott Schebler (OF, Cincinnati Reds): 2-5, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Dear Scott. Hello. It’s me, your biggest fan. I’ve been singing your praises all offseason, and these past three games you’ve made me look very smart. Everyone knows you’re probably one of the strongest men alive, but you can run too. You’re a good stealer. I know this because you stole bases in the minors. And also because you stole my heart. Keeping proving the haters wrong, Scott. I’ll be watching.
Kevin Pillar (OF, Toronto Blue Jays): 1-3, 2 R, 1 BB, 3 SB
Kevin Pillar turned into a kleptomaniac on Saturday, stealing second, third, and home in the same half-inning and single-handedly creating a much-needed insurance run for the Blue Jays in their win over the Yankees. After the game, he went outside and stole about 20 hubcaps off of random cars in the stadium parking lot too, so this might be developing into a legitimate problem for him.
Ender Inciarte (OF, Atlanta Braves): 3-6, 1 R, 4 RBI
Now I am become Ender, destroyer of ERAs. A great night for Inciarte, who should be able to rack up the counting stats hitting at the top of the loaded Braves lineup. Loaded Braves lineup? What year is it?
Tyler Austin (1B, New York Yankees): 2-3, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI
Hey, New York sportswriters, are you reading this? I’ve got today’s newspaper headline for you: “Groovy Baby: Austin Powers Yanks in Toronto.” You’re welcome. Austin’s first homer left the bat at over 110 mph, and he looked locked in on Saturday. With Miguel Andujar coming up, it’s hard to say how playing time will shake out for him going forward, but considering all the injuries the Yankees are dealing with, Austin may have some opportunities to show what he can do in the coming weeks.
Charlie Blackmon (OF, Colorado Rockies): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI
Ho-hum, another two homers for Charlie Blackmon to give him three on the year. Blackmon’s power has been trending upward for three years now, and at this rate it’s not unreasonable to imagine him topping 40 homers for the first time in his career. This is likely his last season playing in Coors, so he might as well take advantage of it while he can.
Asdrubal Cabrera (SS/2B, New York Mets): 3-5, 1 R, 2 2B, 1 RBI
A really solid day at the plate for Asdrubal Cabrera, who moved into the leadoff spot on Saturday after batting cleanup on Opening Day. Cabrera has been smoking the ball since he arrived in New York (36.7% hard contact), and it seems like he’ll be getting his fair share of at-bats in premium lineup spots this year.
Ryan Flaherty (3B, Atlanta Braves): 4-5, 4 R, 2 2B
Baseball is an amazing sport because, on any given day, any player can have an incredible performance that etches their name forever in the history books. Take Ryan Flaherty, for example, whose big night on Saturday will be remembered forever. Just kidding, of course. I’ve already forgotten that Ryan Flaherty exists.
Jose Altuve (2B, Houston Astros): 4-5, 2 R, 1 RBI
There are very few players who can rack up four hits in a game and make you feel almost bored when you look at the stat line, but Jose Altuve is one of those players. This is just what he does. Jose Altuve did what he does. The end.
Christian Yelich (OF, Milwaukee Brewers): 5-5, 3 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI
A night like the one Yelich had on Saturday should be called a “Lionel Richie” because the hits just keep on coming. We haven’t seen much power yet in the early going, but Yelich is now batting .500 on the year, and can’t we just appreciate what we’ve got for once without ruining everything with our high expectations? What’s the matter with us?
Joey Gallo (1B, Texas Rangers): 0-4, 3 K
Not only does Joey Gallo hit a ton of home runs, but the wind power he produces from all his whiffs is now being harnessed to provide renewable energy to most of the eastern seaboard. Thanks for powering my laptop, Joey. In all seriousness though, if you’re a Gallo owner, be prepared for many more nights like tonight, because those 40-50 homers come at a price.
Carlos Correa (SS, Houston Astros): 4-5, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 2B, 2 RBI
Carlos Correa had himself a night on Saturday, and at just 23 years old, he’s younger than most of the cheeses currently in my refrigerator. We likely haven’t even scratched the surface of what he’ll do at his peak, and if he manages to stay healthy this year, this might be the season he begins his ascent.