Midwest Diamond Report Blog – 4/6

So, the first week of the regular season is over. There are many weeks to go, but let’s take a look at how the MDR teams opened up.

The White Sox got off to a fast start by taking two of three from the Twins in a MDR Rivalry series. Alejandro De Aza hit three homers in the series. Jose Abreu had several big hits. Tyler Flowers started a run of seven straight hits that earned him a franchise record and the MDR Player of the Week honor.

After that series, the Sox cooled off with losses to the Royals on Friday and Saturday. Chicago finished the week 2-3.

Chris Colabello drove in six runs to lead the Twins to a win in the final game of the series with the Sox.

The Indians beat the Twins in the opening game of their series on Friday, but Jason Kubel had three hits and Brian Dozier homered to lead the Twins to a 7-3 win on Saturday. Kyle Gibson got the win. The Twins finished the week 2-3.

The Brewers had a 3-2 record in the first week. They got some good starting pitching in their opening series against the Braves, but dropped two of three. Yovani Gallardo and the bullpen completed a shutout on Opening Day.

Kyle Lohse pitched well, but the Brewers dropped a 5-2 decision to the Braves in the second game of the series. Matt Garza and Aaron Harang worked dueling no-hitters into the 7th inning at Miller Park on Wednesday, but Harang and the Braves pulled out a 1-0 win in the series finale.

Milwaukee ruined the BoSox’s home opener with a 6-2 win Friday and pulled out a 7-6 win on Saturday.

The Cubs went 1-4 for the week On Monday, Neil Walker hit a walk-off home run in the 10th inning off Carlos Villanueva, and on Wednesday, Tony Sanchez delivered an RBI single with one out in the 16th to give the Pirates a 4-3 win over the Cubs on Wednesday.

Chicago bounced back for a 3-2 win on Thursday to complete the series in Pittsburgh.

The Cubs failed to start the 100th season at Wrigley Field with a win when they dropped a 7-2 decision to the Phillies on Friday. Cliff Lee shut them out, 1-0, on Saturday. Jeff Samardzija took the loss.

Player of the Week

White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers was hitting .571 going into the weekend. He had seven hits in a row, becoming the first Sox catcher in history to do so. For that performance, he earned the MDR Player of the Week honor.

Other MDR teams Players of the Week included: Brewers’ Khris Davis, who had a career-high four hits Saturday, including what turned out to be a key double in the 11th inning; Cubs’ Emilio Bonifacio, who had nine hits in his first two games; Twins’ Chris Colabello, who had six RBIs in a game against the Sox.

Updated Notes

Brewers

** 1B Lyle Overbay had a key hit in Friday’s win over the Red Sox, who released him less than a week before last year’s Opening Day.

** RF Ryan Braun is again dealing with a thumb injury that hampered his swing in 2013, according to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy. Braun and the team’s doctors thought the extended rest between his suspension and the offseason would heal his thumb. That was the case early in Spring Training, as he was pain-free, but as spring wore on, Braun began to again experience numbness in his right thumb.

** The son of Brewers manager Ron Roenicke is following dad into the coaching ranks.

Lance Roenicke, 25, was informed at the end of Spring Training that the Brewers didn’t have a spot for him in their Minor League system, which is relatively rich with outfielders. But farm director Reid Nichols offered him an opportunity to be a player/coach at Class A Wisconsin.

Cubs

** RHP Jeff Samardzija had a 1.29 ERA after two starts, but was 0-1.

** The Cubs scored their first run of the season after manager Rick Renteria challenged a play at second on Wednesday in Chicago’s 4-3 loss to the Pirates.

** The Cubsare exploring the idea of selling minority ownership shares as a way to help finance the stadium renovation, multiple sources tell Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com. The team is looking at selling a non-controlling interest, though no official decision has been reached.

Twins

** Manager Ron Gardenhire picked up his 1,000th career win on Saturday.

** The Twins will have the fifth-most money to spend during the international signing period beginning July 2, with a bonus pool of $3,686,600, by virtue of finishing with the fifth-worst record in the Majors last season. The Twins also have the 10th-most money to spend on the First-Year Player Draft, with $7,525,600 to use on 10 picks.

** Major League Baseball announced that former Twins manager Tom Kelly and Hall of Fame pitcher Bert Blyleven will square off against each other in the Futures Game. Kelly will manage the U.S. Team, and Blyleven, born in the Netherlands, will manage the World Team on July 13 at Target Field.

White Sox

** Gordon Beckham was expected to be back in the starting lineup for Double-A Birmingham after he was a late scratch prior to Friday’s contest. Beckham was scheduled to play second and hit second Friday during an injury rehab assignment to test his strained left oblique.

** Nate Jones was placed on the 15-day disabled list prior to Friday’s series opener with the Royals due to a muscle strain in his left hip. The right-handed reliever was replaced by Jake Petricka, a fellow right-handed reliever who was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte.

** General manager Rick Hahn told MLB.com that the Alejandro De Aza/ Dayan Viciedo left field situation could break down as a lefty/righty platoon.

Party of the Century

The Cubs issued the following statement about celebrating the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field:

“As we celebrate 100 years of Wrigley Field history, Cubs fans are invited to join the ‘Party of the Century, a season dedicated to the storied past of this great ballpark. The 2014 season will honor 10 decades of Wrigley Field history with 10 unique decade-themed, throwback homestands complete with special guests, events, food, promotions and more. Go to cubs.com for more info.”

Melvin at SABR

Brewers GM Doug Melvin will be the featured speaker at the next Keltner SABR Chapter Meeting on Saturday, May 3. The meeting will be at JBs Blue Ribbon Bar and Grill (The former Long Wongs), 5230 W. Bluemound Road in Milwaukee at 11 AM. There will be other interesting presentations and excellent baseball talk. More details will be posted closer to event. Go to http://www.keltnersabr.com for more info.

What’s Ahead

The Twins finally open at home when they host the A’s Monday at Target Field. The club was on the road for the entire first week of the season.

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