Sports department for the student run radio station 90.3 WRST at UW-Oshkosh
A lot to get to this week so let’s get right to it.
You may hear the term Cinderella or underdog being thrown out a lot this time of year when it come to college basketball. When it comes to this time of year in baseball, however, spring training is almost a month old with only 11 days left until the Astros and Rangers open the new season in Houston. At this point in spring training, it’s far enough along that we now know a little but of what to expect from each team in the coming season. Starting with the Cactus League, here are some current notes and some teams that might burst your bubble come October.
Kansas City leads the Cactus League with a record of 17-6, with the Seattle Mariners a half game back for the top spot. The AL Central overall has been strong this spring with three of the top four spots in the Cactus League going to that division as well as the Tigers third in the standings in the Grapefruit League. Also worth noting in Arizona, the defending champion Giants are below .500 with a 9-11 record. The Brewers are also starting slow with a record of 9-12. More on them in just a little bit. My teams to watch out for in the regular season from the Cactus League are the AL Central teams. In my opinion, you just never know who’s going to come out of that division at the end of the year. That’s how close these teams are every year. Also, keep an eye on the Padres. They have the second-best record in the entire National League and the best of a NL team from the Cactus League. As long as Pujols stays, watch out for the Angels. They are currently last in the Cactus League, but once the regular season hits, I foresee that changing. The only lasting injury they have is Ryan Madson out until April from Tommy John surgery, so I think the Angels could make a run in 2013.
In Florida, the Orioles are looking a lot like their football counterparts. They are off to a hot start with a 14-6 record. Reminiscent of last year when they got off to a hot start as well. However, they faded in the second half and I feel this year’s team could meet the same fate. All the usual suspects are at the top of the standings: Braves, Rays, Red Sox, Cardinals. That’s not as surprising as this. The Yankees are dead last in the Grapefruit League with a 9-15 record. Here are my two teams to watch from the Grapefruit League. They are also both from the NL East. The Marlins and the Nationals. I look for them to continue their success from a year ago and contend for the East title as well as in the postseason. Also, keep an eye on the Twins. They may be the one team in their division that is off to a slow start, but they’re always in the thick of things when it comes playoff time.
On the Brewers front, they are currently 9-12 in Cactus League play. They routed the aforementioned Angels yesterday by a final of 6 to 1. Aramis Ramirez finished the game with a home run and 3 RBI. Rickie Weeks and Sean Halton also homered in the victory. The only RBI for the Angels came courtesy of Mike Trout’s groundout in the fifth. Willy Peralta worked 6 innings for the win and the loss was credited to Jason Vargas, who pitched 5 1/3. Today, the Brewers have a split squad against the Giants in Scottsdale, Arizona
The Dominican Republic just refused to lose as the World Baseball Classic wrapped up yesterday. The Dominicans completed a perfect record during the competition by beating Puerto Rico 3-0 in the final yesterday. That capped off a six-game sweep through the tournament. Edwin Encarnacion came through in the clutch during the championship, driving in two of the three runs. Samuel Deduno from the Twins made it through five and picked up the win. Giancarlo Alvarado of the Dodgers only lasted one inning in the loss.
World of Sports
As much as I would love to go off about how excited I am March Madness is finally here, I thought I’d elaborate a bit on something Brandon Kinnard said in Monday’s edition of the WRST Sports blog. The Miami Heat’s winning streak is up to 23 after a two point victory over Boston Monday. The question’s been asked before: when will they lose? The last time the Heat lost a game was February 1st at Indiana. Given that their upcoming schedule isn’t that rough, I can see them pushing their win streak to 27 before the go to Chicago to play the Bulls on March 27th. The last time those two teams tangled, it was also at the United Center where the Heat won by 19. At that point, their streak was only nine. If the Heat beat the Bulls on the 27th, their next chance would be four nights later in San Antonio against Tim Duncan and the Spurs. Even though the obvious answer would be they won’t lose until the Bulls game, March is an unpredictable month for basketball and I wouldn’t be surprised if an underdog puts an end to the Heat’s streak before the Bulls or Spurs get a chance.
Trevor Uitenbroek, Assistant Sports Director