I'm going to post some quick final spring-related thoughts today, then tomorrow I'll post predictions for division winners and awards, then it's the weekend and then Opening Day. We're so close!
* Yesterday's game received a lot of hype since R.A. Dickey and Philip Humber, two relievers vying for one of two remaining spots on the pitching staff (or perhaps competing for one spot if you believe that Brian Duensing has a lock on a bullpen spot as a second lefty), were both scheduled to pitch. Dickey got the start and tossed four scoreless frames, allowing three hits and a walk while striking out three. Humber relieved him and struggled in his three-inning appearance, surrendering two runs -- including a homer -- on five hits. He did fan three batters without allowing a walk.
From a numbers standpoint, Dickey has certainly made the better case for a roster spot this spring, posting a 2.04 ERA and 18-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio while allowing 13 hits over 17 2/3 innings. For his part, Humber has posted a 5.14 ERA and 8-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio while allowing 15 hits over 14 innings. Yet regardless of the numbers, the Twins should certainly opt for Humber, who is out of options and would surely be lost on waivers if he was cut. Humber has shown enough glimpses of hope during the second half of last year and during this spring that he's worth keeping around as a long reliever. If he continues to struggle early in the season, Dickey will be available in Rochester.
* With Jose Morales behind the plate yesterday, the Rays went 5-for-5 on stolen base attempts. Now, those steals all came with Humber on the mound, so it's possible that the Rays runners saw something in his delivery that allowed them to get big jumps. But if getting run on like this becomes a habit for Morales, he's going to have a tough time serving as the Twins' part-time catcher early in the season.
* Denard Span posted another 0-fer yesterday, going hitless in four at-bats to drop his spring average to .158. Boy, has he had a tough time in Ft. Myers.
* The Tigers scare me a little more after announcing that Fernando Rodney will be their Opening Day closer and Rick Porcello will open the season in their rotation. Plus, they parted ways with Gary Sheffield.
* The forecast for Minneapolis on Monday is a high of 38 degrees with scattered snow showers. I can honestly say I'd still rather be watching the season opener outdoors than in the Metrodome.
* If you're interested, be sure to check out the baseball page at Rotoworld.com tomorrow for my "The Week Ahead" column. I'll be writing it for every Friday during the baseball season. Speaking of fantasy baseball, I've got a lot invested in Grady Sizemore this year -- he was my first-round pick in three of the four leagues in which I participate. In the Twins Blogger League, I somehow managed to get Sizemore and Miguel Cabrera. Other players I'll be leaning on this year include Joba Chamberlain, who I selected in three leagues, and Jason Kubel, who I own in every league. Surprisingly, I resisted the urge to nab Joe Crede in the late rounds of each draft.
* Finally, I'll note that some relatively big changes for this blog are on the way. They'll be announced on Monday. It's not anything that will really change the content or anything like that, but it's something.