Three Up, Three Down: MLB Week One

Nino Colla@TheTribeDailySenior Writer IApril 5, 2008

The first week of baseball action isn't even over and there is a lot to get excited about. But there is also much to pout about.

With that, I now present to the entire Bleacher Report community: Three Up and Three Down.

You get three players, coaches or teams that are having a good week, and three of the same that are having a bad one.

At the end you also get a wacky hitting tidbit called Safe on Error and more of the same for the pitchers called Intentional Walk.

So without any further discussion, here is the first Three Up, Three Down for the entire MLB.

First Up: Xavier Nady, Ryan Doumit, and Nate McLouth

These three Buccos have been swinging hot bats in the first week of the young season.

First there is Xavier Nady, who has two homers- including a walk-off on opening day, a league leading seven runs batted in, and a .381 average over 5 games.

Next up is the lead off hitter and center fielder Nate McLouth. McLouth has a little bit of everything with a .391 average, one home run, and 5 runs batted in.

Then there is the catcher Ryan Doumit, who led the entire majors in batting average prior to the start of the Saturday games. He has been over taken by fellow catcher A.J. Pierzynski who is swinging an equally hot stick.

All three of these players are reasons the Pirates have gotten off to a favorable start to the season. It might not continue for the entire year, but they should enjoy it while they can.

Second Up: Kansas City Royals Pitching

Get on the Royals bandwagon ladies and gentleman.

The Kansas City Royals are 3-2 and getting the job done.

They have lost their last two to the Twins, but the Royals swept the Detroit Tigers in the first series of the year, and their pitching was the reason.

Detroit scored a whopping five runs in three games against the Royals pitching staff.

Brian Bannister and Zach Greinke gave up a combined one run in 14 innings, while the Kansas City Bullpen also gave up a total of one run in the entire series.

Gil Meche has struggled early, but the two studs behind him in Bannister and Greinke make you believe there is a lot of promise in that staff.

Throw in a much underrated bullpen; don’t think this is an opening week occurrence. The Royals should be giving teams fits all year.

Third Up: Kosuke Fukodome and Johnny Cueto

Fukodome, the newest Japanese sensation has burst onto the field in a big way for the Chicago Cubs.

In his first game, Fukodome took Eric Gagne deep with a three run shot to tie the game in the 9th inning.

Proving he is no fluke, Fukodome is hitting .500 with five runs batted in and a swiped base in five games.

In Saturday's game, Fukodome did it again as he hit the go-ahead two run double that would put the Cubs ahead for good.

In his first game for division rival Cincinnati, Johnny Cueto dazzled the Diamondbacks.

Cueto retired the first 15 batters he faced, went seven innings, gave up only one run off a single hit, and struck out 10 hitters.

Those are two rookies off to great starts to their careers early in the 2008 season.

First Down: Placido Polanco and the Detroit Tigers

As mentioned earlier the Tigers only scored five runs in their first series against the Royals.

Their offense sputtered and it's continued into their series against the White Sox.

The biggest eye opener is their usually steady hitting second baseman, Placido Polanco.

Polanco has always had a high batting average, and you could usually rely on him to get the big hit.

Polanco is 2-23 to start the year with no runs batted in and 17 runners left on base.

You can probably see why the offense is struggling and the Tigers are winless in five tries.

Without Curtis Granderson setting the table, it's up to Polanco to get the big hits for the Tigers in the second spot.

So far, he isn't getting the job done.

Second Down: C.C. Sabathia

 Reigning AL Cy Young award winner C.C. Sabathia is off to a rough start to his 2008 campaign.

Sabathia has only gone 5.1 innings in his two starts. He has surrendered nine runs to balloon his ERA up to 7.59.

The most telling stat is the number of walks C.C. has given up. In 34 games last year he walked only 37 batters, which gave him the second best walk per nine innings ratio in the AL.

In only two games this year he has walked seven, which is the most in the AL.

He’s also given up three home runs, two to Jim Thome who was a life time 0 for 11 against Sabathia going into the opener.

While his NL counter part at the same award has gotten off to a great start, including a 2 hit complete game against the Dodgers on Saturday, C.C. Sabathia has had an opening week to forget.

Third Down: Rocky Start

The Coloardo Rockies, defending NL champions have gotten off to a bit of a rough start themselves.

It’s not Rocktober anymore as the young Rockies are 1-4 and the top of the lineup is simply not hitting.

Speedy lead-off hitter Willy Taveras isn’t setting the table; he’s batting just .118 in five games.

Last year’s sensational rookie Troy Tulowitzki is hitting .143 and while it does get better, 2008 NL MVP candidate Matt Holiday is hitting just .164.

In fact the entire Rockies’ starting lineup is not getting the job done. Todd Helton is the only regular starter who has an average above .300.

Their combined team average of .185 is the worst in the NL.

Safe on Error

Mark Ellis has three hits on the year, two of them coming in Saturday’s game against the Indians. Up until the third hit, both hits were home runs. Now that’s making the little you contribute count.

Intentional Walk

Dontrelle Willis pitched a no-hitter through six innings against the White Sox on Saturday. He was immediately yanked from the game after the first hit surrendered, a RBI double by Jim Thome. He did himself in with his seven walks prior to the first hit.


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