Solid GoldFriday, April 26, 2013
It was the famous poet Robert Frost who, in 1923, penned the poem, "Nothing Gold Can Stay."
He obviously wasn't a Diamondbacks fan.
Paul Goldschmidt certainly looks like he's here to stay, belting his fifth home run of April as the Diamondbacks defeated the Rockies Thursday night. The homer gave Goldschmidt 18 RBI and 16 runs scored on the year, and the 25-year-old first baseman is now hitting .325 through 22 games. What's more, Goldschmidt was hitting .357 against righties heading into Thursday's game after hitting 100 points lower against them in 2012.
Along with giving his fantasy owners a welcome boost, Goldschmidt's early returns are also serving to quiet some of his doubters. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth in March about Goldy's average draft position, with critics saying he was being selected too high given his skillset. But entering Thursday's game, Goldschmidt was the No. 32 player overall according to Yahoo!'s ranks, placing higher than notable first basemen Joey Votto, Albert Pujols and Adrian Gonzalez, among others.
That's not to say he will continue to outpace his fellow first basemen over the long haul -- it's early, and no conclusions good or bad should be drawn from the first few weeks of games. One notable component of Goldschmidt's game that has been missing early on is stolen bases, as he's swiped zero bags this year after stealing 18 last season, so his value will take a minor hit if he continues to run less in 2013. But even without the speed element, Goldschmidt has, at least thus far, been worth his weight in, well...you get the idea.
It's April 26, so naturally your league leader in wins is Clay Buchholz.
As another great poet once said, don't hate the player, hate the game. So while staff aces like Stephen Strasburg and Jeff Samardzija toil near the league lead for losses at 1-4, it's Buchholz with a league-best 5-0 record after Thursday's win over the Astros.
It's not an undeserved honor, either. Buchholz has earned each of his five wins, never lasting fewer than seven innings with any more than two runs allowed. Twice Buchholz has held opponents scoreless during his time on the mound, and Thursday Buchholz struck out 11 Astros over 7 2/3 innings.
Some peripherals suggest Buchholz is due for a regression from his 1.19 ERA and 1.01 WHIP -- mostly just the one that says pitchers don't suddenly turn into Bob Gibson -- but he shouldn't be completely written off as a one-month wonder. There's always been talent there, and we could finally be starting to see it used consistently. Every player has his price but I wouldn't actively be trying to sell high on the 28-year-old at this point.
The carnival is in Chicago, and Dale Sveum has already ridden the Closer Carousel, like, a hundred times you guys.
After Carlos Marmol failed to close the Cubs' first win of the season and allowed runs in his first three appearances, the erratic right-hander was removed from the closer role. After Kyuji Fujikawa, Shawn Camp and Kevin Gregg were all given shots at the title with mixed results, Marmol found himself back in the ninth inning role on Thursday.
Despite allowing a walk and a base hit, Marmol escaped without harm and earned his second save of the season. He's now made eight consecutive scoreless appearances, and both his ERA and WHIP are slowly creeping back toward respectability. Marmol is the "enter at your own risk" portion of the amusement park, but he looks to be the guy Sveum will call on for saves in the near term.
National League Quick Hits: Matt Garza (lat, arm) is feeling better and will throw in a game this week. He was scratched from a rehab start on Wednesday due to "dead arm" ... Zack Greinke (collarbone) is scheduled to resume throwing next week. He is still expected to be sidelined until mid-June ... Todd Helton (forearm) was placed on the 15-day DL. Ryan Wheeler, not Tyler Colvin or Nolan Arenado, was recalled to take his roster spot ... Anthony Rizzo is hitting .173 after going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts Thursday. The first baseman is in danger of being demoted if his struggles persist ... Gio Gonzalez allowed one hit over eight innings, striking out seven. The start lowered his ERA to 4.50.
American League Quick Hits: Josh Johnson (biceps) could be scratched from his scheduled start Friday due to soreness. It would be mainly precautionary, but still not a promising development for the right-hander ... Derek Jeter (ankle) refused to put a timeline on his return. That timeline is still expected to be sometime after the All-Star break ... Justin Verlander left his start with cracked skin on his right thumb. The injury isn't considered serious enough to force him to miss his next start ... Yoenis Cespedes (hand) started a rehab assignment Thursday. He should be back with the A's by early next week at the latest ... Shane Victorino (back) may miss a few games but isn't expected to go on the disabled list ... Albert Pujols played first base Thursday for the first time since April 15. The first baseman has been hampered by plantar fasciitis in his left foot ... Justin Maxwell (hand) is expected to miss a month. The fracture did not require surgery ... David Ortiz hit his first home run of 2013. Big Papi went 3-for-4 and scored three runs in the win ... Ricky Romero will make his first start at High-A Dunedin on Saturday ... Kyle Seager extended his hitting streak to 14 games. Raise your hand if you had Seager down for the first noteworthy hitting streak of 2013.