Pitching, not power, could carry the Rangers
ESPN The Magazine
For the past couple of years, Buck Showalter has told me that someday Cruz will hit the longest home run in baseball history. That's how strong he is. Rockies manager Jim Tracy told me that the hardest-hit ball he has ever seen in 35 years was hit by Cruz this spring. The fact is that this kid impresses everybody. If Texas is going to win that division, it needs to score a few more runs than it did last year. With Cruz's power at the plate -- and opponents held in check by the Rangers' starting rotation -- they just might.
Tim Kurkjian is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine and an analyst for "Baseball Tonight."
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|Dustin Pedroia, BOS||4||MIN||Top 5: 2-0, 2 Outs. None on.||Slowey|
|Magglio Ordonez, DET||3||KAN||Bot 1: 1-0, 2 Outs. None on.||Davies|
|Miguel Tejada, BAL||2||TAM||Bot 4: 1-2, 0 Outs. None on.||Price|
|B.J. Upton, TAM||1||BAL||Top 3: 1-1, 2 Outs. 2 on.||Bergesen|
|Aaron Rowand, SF||1||PIT||Bot 5: 1-0, 1 Out. 1 on.||Morton|
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Hanley comes up throwing
WEDNESDAY'S BEST AND WORST
BESTCarlos Quentin, DH, White Sox
Plenty of choices: Jonathan Sanchez (11 K's in Giants' win), Chase Utley (two homers) and Shane Victorino (five RBIs in Phils' win), but Quentin's grand slam and six RBIs in the White Sox's 11-1 win against the Blue Jays was tops on this day.
WORSTBrian Bruney, RHP, Nationals
The Nationals gave up 14 runs and 14 hits in a loss against the Phillies. And although starter Craig Stammen began the night's problems by giving up seven runs in 1 1/3 innings of work, Bruney's three walks and three earned runs without giving up a hit was the ugliest line of the night.
THURSDAY'S TOP MATCHUPS
Astros at Cardinals, 1:40 p.m. ET
The search for that first win continues. The Astros hung close with the Cardinals on Wednesday, but couldn't get it done. It's Bud Norris' turn to try to stop the skid. He lasted only 2 2/3 innings in his first start, an 8-0 pounding at the hands of the Phillies.
Orioles at A's, 10:05 p.m. ET
The Orioles, 1-8 so far this season, get a look at Ben Sheets, who hasn't had his overpowering stuff in his return from injury. He has just three strikeouts in 11 innings and has issued seven walks and permitted 14 hits, including 10 in his most recent outing.
Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. ET
Hiroki Kuroda tossed a masterpiece in his first start. He did not allow an earned run in eight innings of a 7-3 win against the Marlins. Kuroda scattered five hits, struck out seven and walked just one. Dan Haren, meanwhile, has 13 strikeouts against two walks in his two starts.
Colby Rasmus got off to a flying start this season -- literally -- with a homer-saving catch on Opening Day that invoked memories of a similar over-the-wall grab by Jim Edmonds in July 2004 against the Cincinnati Reds.It is one of many highlights that Cardinals fans are hoping for from Rasmus in his sophomore season. Although he had a productive rookie year in 2009, leading all first-year players in games played and tying for second in home runs with 16, there were definitely some holes in his game. Rasmus finished 2009 with a woeful .307 on-base percentage, which ranked 89th out of 103 NL players with at least 400 plate appearances. His batting average of .251 was not stellar, but his lack of walks really hurt him.
Rasmus' chase percentage on pitches out of the strike zone last season