Bryce Harper, Alex Rodriguez and Other Big MLB Stories to Follow Today
Baseball is good every day, no matter what.
This Saturday, however, will be a great day for baseball.
There are many things to look forward to including two top-prospects playing their first games of the 2012 season, leader boards being climbed and the pursuit to break what has seem to become an insurmountable record.
It could turn out to be a day in which all end up being disappointments, but you will definitely want to keep an eye open for these next five things throughout your day.
*Stats are from MLB.com, MiLB.com, Baseball-Reference.com and ESPN.com.
Mike Trout's Return to the Majors
When: Angels vs. Indians, 1:05 ET
After parting ways with two-time All-Star Bobby Abreu after Friday night's loss, the Angels decided it was time to call up top prospect Mike Trout for his second stint in the big leagues.
Going into Friday night, Trout was hitting a ho-hum .403 with AAA Salt Lake. He's recorded 31 hits, 13 RBI and showed his discipline with by drawing 11 walks. Out of those 31 hits, 10 have gone for extra base hits: four doubles, five triples (that's right), and one home run. He also has six stolen bases.
Abreu or no Abreu, the Angels didn't have much of a choice regarding Trout. The kid had to be called up. Those are absolutely ridiculous numbers, and even though it was in the minors, his all-around prowess is bound to translate to his Major League game.
The Angels are hoping that his ability will be the spark this team needs to get going after a disappointing 6-14 start to the season and get a spot in the cellar of the AL West.
This will more than likely be the last time Trout is recalled from the minors (other than rehab assignments), so you better get used to hearing this guy's name.
Alex Rodriguez Moving into 10th on All-Time RBI List
When: Tigers vs. Yankees, 4:05 ET
Through his first 19 games of the season, Alex Rodriguez has posted a respectable stat line with a .250 AVG, four HR, and nine RBI.
He got off to a slow start, but his power and timing have seemed to come together lately and if he can stay healthy, A-Rod could be in for a good season.
We've already seen Rodriguez pass Ken Griffey Jr. (630) for fifth all-time in home runs, and as of last night is sitting at 633. Now, sitting at 1902, he is one away from 10th place on the career RBI list. Not only would he be breaking the top 10, but with an RBI or two tomorrow, he will be replacing "The Say Hey Kid" himself—Willie Mays.
Though it's possible that Rodriguez does absolutely nothing tomorrow, it's more than likely he will find a way to produce. He's not one for coming up in the clutch when milestones, or anything for that matter, is on the line, but Saturday could possibly be a day where he does.
Pablo Sandoval's Attempt to Extend His Hitting Streak to 21
When: Padres vs. Giants, 9:05 ET
Speaking of Willie Mays' numbers being passed, cue Pablo Sandoval. A couple games ago, the "Kung-Fu Panda" broke Mays' Giant's team record of consecutive games with a hit to start the season.
Now Sandoval has his eyes on a bigger goal. Though DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak is still way out of reach, it's about that time when the media decides to blow this current streak out of proportion. I, for one, have decided to join in.
Something that most people are overlooking, due to the streak, is just how good the big third baseman is doing overall. The guy is batting .329 with three long balls, and 13 RBI. Though the streak is impressive, it's not likely to last. Those numbers, however, are something that Giants' fans can look forward to all season long.
And with the way the season has started for the team, it might be one of the few things they can actually look forward to.
Has Tim Lincecum Figured Things Out?
When: Padres vs. Giants, 9:05 ET
Speaking of the Giants, what is going on with Big-Time-Timmy-Jim?
(Side note: The Giants could be the all-time best team for player nicknames.)
After an unusual start for the two-time Cy Young Award winner, where we saw him fall to 0-2 through his first three starts with a 10.54 ERA, it seemed that he may have lost his touch.
Then, after all the negative talk, he comes out against the Mets, and confuses us once again. In his five IP, he only gave up four hits and one run on his way to earning his first victory of the season. Though he was dominating the hitters, the same couldn't be said for the strike zone. He issued five walks, one more than he had allowed all season combined. So even though the hitters were missing, he was too.
The question is, what will we see out of Lincecum Saturday when he takes the hill against the Padres?
My guess is that we will see him in normal Tim Lincecum-like form: very few hits allowed, very few walks and a lot of strikeouts while earning a victory. This should be the game where he gets it all together and gets back to dominating.
Bryce Harper's Major League Debut
When: Nationals vs. Dodgers, 9:10 ET
Last but not least, we have the debut of "the Phenom", the "Chosen One" or Bryce Harper.
No matter what you know him as, one thing is for certain: He will be the talk of the sporting world tomorrow.
The 19-year-old, No. 1 prospect was called up on Friday afternoon after National's third basemen, Ryan Zimmerman, was placed on the 15-day DL.
Though Harper is an outfielder, he provides a left-handed bat that the team is in need of. At least, that's what Manager Davey Johnson says. Zimmerman is a righty and played a different position, so logically the move makes no sense, but honestly, who cares? We get a sneak preview of the kid who is supposed to be face of baseball for years to come. If things go right, this preview might just turn into the real thing.
Surprisingly, Harper hasn't exactly been tearing up the Minor Leagues like fellow top prospect Mike Trout. Actually, their numbers aren't even comparable. Since the start of his season, Harper owns a .250 AVG., with only one HR, and three RBI. Though the stat line isn't great, don't let it fool you; he can play.
Besides Harper's debut, there's also a lot of other things that will make this game great. Fans will get to see the other phenom, Stephen Strasburg, pitch in a game that features the top teams in the National League. The winner will claim the best record thus far.
Though there will be other headlines, none will be bigger than the debut of the one and only, Bryce Harper.