Hottest and Coldest Starts in Major League Baseball

PJ BernackiCorrespondent IApril 10, 2013

Hottest and Coldest Starts in Major League Baseball

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    Baseball is back, and we have a few series in the books.

    Every year there seems to be some stars that struggle early in the season—like Albert Pujols last year. There are also usually some players who come out of nowhere to perform well in the beginning. And then there are those who are playing just as well as expected.

    Who falls into these categories for the start of the 2013 season?

Hot: Adam Jones and Chris Davis

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    The Orioles center fielder is off to a great start this year, tied with the lead-league for batting average. Jones has gone 15-for-30 and has nine RBI to show for it. He has a hit in every game and has a multi-hit game in all but two. 

    But Jones has not even been the most impressive player on Baltimore thus far.

    The designated hitter, Chris Davis, only had 85 RBI last season. In seven games in 2013, Davis has 17 RBI while batting .417 (10-for-24).

Hot: Clayton Kershaw

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    The Dodger’s No. 1 pitcher might be throwing better than anyone in the league right now.

    In his opening game, Kershaw threw a complete game shutout that consisted of four hits, seven strikeouts and no walks. He followed that up with a seven-inning performance where he allowed zero runs off of two hits and nine strikeouts.

Cold: Brett Wallace

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    It’s been rough for the Astros for many seasons now, and Brett Wallace is not doing much to help.

    The first baseman is hitting .048 to start the year—Wallace is 1-for-21 with 17 strikeouts.

    Yes, you read that correctly. The man is averaging 2.8 strikeouts per game.

Hot: Clay Buchholz

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    The Red Sox may look different this year, but Buchholz remains a dominant force for them.

    In his opening game against the Yankees, he pitched seven innings and gave up six hits. A solo home run was the only earned run he gave up.

    In his following start, Buchholz threw seven more innings and gave up only three hits and no runs, while striking out eight batters.

Cold: B.J. Upton

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    It must be hard for B.J. Upton to struggle this much at the start of a season on a new team when his younger brother is shining. The center fielder did not record a hit in his first four games as a Brave.

    Upton is batting .103 with only three hits and one RBI: a solo home run to tie the game in the ninth inning—his only bright moment this season. He has also struck out an incredible 12 times already.

Hot: Justin Upton

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    The Braves have high expectations after landing the Upton brothers this offseason, but so far, only one has performed.

    The younger brother has exploded with six home runs through eight games which is tied for best in the majors. And one of those home runs happened to win the game for Atlanta in walk-off fashion.

    J. Upton is batting .400 with nine RBI, but does have 12 strikeouts which matches his brother.

Cold: Jason Heyward

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    The last member of the Atlanta outfield, Jason Heyward, has also under-performed so far. Heyward has two RBI but a .083 batting average.

    The right fielder only has two hits in his 2013 campaign but has walked more and struck out less than his fellow struggling teammate, B.J. Upton. 

Hot: Cliff Lee

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    It took Cliff Lee until July 4 last season to record his first win. This year has been a completely different story.

    The Phillies ace already has two victories.

    In this first game, Lee threw over 100 pitches in eight scoreless innings, where he gave up only two hits. He also struck out eight in the game.

    His second game was almost complete as he went 8.2 innings, giving up three earned runs in a Phillies win.

Cold: Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels

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    Luckily, Cliff Lee has not shared the awful starts that Halladay and Hamels have endured. The No. 1 and No. 2 pitchers for Philadelphia have the two worst earned run averages in the entire majors.

    In two starts, Halladay has not made it past the fifth inning, resulting in only 7.1 innings pitched. During his time on the mound, Halladay has given up 12 hits, 12 earned runs and three home runs. All of this amounts to a staggering 14.73 ERA

    Hamels has not fared much better. Opponents are batting .348 against the Opening Day starter. Through two starts, Hamels has an ERA of 10.07 with 16 hits and 13 earned runs allowed.

Hot: John Buck

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    The Mets are getting extremely fortunate with the unproven John Buck coming to the Big Apple this season. A career .236 hitter, Buck is hitting .393 (9-for-24) in 2013.

    By doing so, Buck has batted in 14 runs, which leads the NL, and his four home runs have certainly helped.

Hot: Miguel Cabrera

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    Last season’s AL MVP is starting this year off the same way he ended last fall.

    After going 4-for-5 on Tuesday night, Cabrera raised his average to .393.

    His on-base percentage is a fantastic .469, and he has batted in 10 runs so far. What is different about this year, however, is that he’s not doing it with power. Cabrera has only one double and one home run.