The National League The Kevin Towers AZ Snake Pit: "The problem with expectations is that they have a tendency of not working out. 2012 was supposed to be the glory year for the Arizona Diamondbacks, and although anything could still happen, there are definitely fans in full meltdown mode. It's easy to see their perspective, what with so many D-backs players struggling to reach the lofty expectations placed upon them." The Frank Wren David O-Brien of Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Mike Minor enters his start tonight in Cincinnati with a 7.09 ERA that's soared in the past couple of weeks, and a lot of folks are asking how long the Braves can wait before they ship him to the minor leagues." The Jed Hoyer Steve Rosenbloom of Chicago Tribune: "[Tom] Ricketts seems to have problems dealing with the public in an honest manner. Specifically, he has trouble treating Cubs fans as adults. Maybe a Cubs fans shouldn't be the owner of the Cubs, after all. Or at least, maybe a Cubs fan shouldn't be the talking hood ornament for the riches of the Ricketts empire." The Walt Jocketty Mike Bauman of MLB.com: "Sunday, the inevitable occurred. [Aroldis] Chapman's talent and the needs of the Cincinnati Reds intersected and the 24-year-old left-hander got the ball and the save opportunity in the ninth inning against the New York Yankees." The Dan O-Dowd Patrick Saunders of Denver Post: "With the Rockies trailing the Mariners 6-4 on Sunday at Coors Field, Helton was at the plate with two on, two outs and facing a full count. Brandon League threw a fastball right down the middle and Helton swung and missed. Game over." The Michael Hill Juan C. Rodriguez of South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "Three times this season [Heath] Bell had a hand in costing [Carlos] Zambrano wins. His first two blown saves came in Zambrano starts. In another Zambrano outing, Steve Cishek was charged with the blown save, but it was Bell who created the mess. Throughout it all, Zambrano has been nothing if not even-tempered and supportive." The Jeff Luhnow Chip Bailey of Houston Chronicle: "One of my biggest struggles this year in my own mind is how to judge the quiet enigma who is managing the Astros in his third season, Brad Mills. Some might say this runs deep into my earliest religious roots "Judge not, lest ye be judged," But c'mon this is baseball blogology." The Ned Colletti Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A.: "Clayton Kershaw took the mound twice last week, starting Monday against the Arizona Diamondbacks and Saturday against the St. Louis Cardinals. He pitched 16 innings and didn't allow a single run, including his fourth career shutout against St. Louis." The Doug Melvin Todd Rosiak of Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: "On the heels of his second four-strikeout game in three days, second baseman Rickie Weeks was out of the lineup Sunday in the Milwaukee Brewers' 16-4 walkover of the Minnesota Twins at Miller Park." The Sandy Alderson Mets Blog: "Jason Bay and Josh Thole are heading to Port St. Lucie to begin baseball activities, according to the team's beat reporters on Twitter. Bay will begin taking batting practice on Wednesday and will initially appear as a designated hitter during minor league rehabilitation games." The Ruben Amaro Jr. Jonathan Nisula of Phillies Nation: "The Phillies will host the Nationals tonight in the first of a three-game set, and the series is sure to be one of the more intense ones this year. This is because the Phillies and the Nationals have developed a new found rivalry this that has never been present before, because the Mets were the Phils biggest rival." The Neal Huntington Charlie Wilmoth of SB Nation: "Think about what your expectations for the 2012 Pirates were before the season started. Personally, I expected a big season from Andrew McCutchen, and a team that would, overall, be vaguely watchable, if not exactly competitive." The John Mozeliak Viva El Birdos: "I decided to take a look at the Cardinals' getaway days this season, the amount of distance traveled on the flight to the next game, and the amount of time between games in order to get an idea of the most grueling two-game combinations on the schedule. The results are after the jump." The Josh Byrnes Gaslamp Ball: "[Josh] Byrnes made the decision to release Orlando Hudson a week or two ago. With the acquisition of Alexi Amarista and the transition of Jedd Gyorko to AAA it felt like it was time to do it." The Brian Sabean Scott Ostler of San Francisco Chronicle: "Sunday might have been the low point of the season for the Giants, even though they left town with a 2-1 series win over the A's. The house was packed with fired-up fans, the Giants had been playing well with their new semi-stable kiddie lineup, and they gave Lincecum a 2-0 lead. He whiffed five A's in the first three innings. Hope was in the air. Then Lincecum blew up in the fourth inning, gave up four runs on four hits and two walks, and failed to back up third base on a throw from right field." The Mike Rizzo James Wagner of Washington Post: "The last time the Nationals and Phillies met, the series produced, in no particular order: two hit batters, one intentionally, warned dugouts, a fuming and fined general manager, a suspended pitcher, a broken wrist and plenty of boos." The American League The Dan Duquette Dan Connolly of Baltimore Sun: "In an early season of surprises, no one has been a more pleasant revelation or a bigger key to the Orioles' success than Jason Hammel. The big right-hander allowed two runs or fewer in his first seven starts. He didn't lose a game until April 30. Not bad for a guy that entered the season with a career 34-45 record and a 4.99 ERA." The Ben Cherington Alex Speier of WEEI.com: "Jarrod Saltalamacchia embraces the demands of his position. He is that special species of baseball player known as catcher, a position that has evolved over the generations to reflect a different set of priorities than any other on the field. Success is defined more as a reflection of the performance of others than through one's own statistics, a point that the switch-hitting catcher makes clear when discussing his offense." The Kenny Williams David Haugh of Chicago Tribune: "A wind blowing out at 12 mph made it anything but shutout weather. Yet after Peavy overcame unforgiving elements to give up three measly singles in 61/3 innings in a 6-0 win over the Cubs, the Sox appear capable of making waves in the American League Central." The Chris Antonetti Mike Brandyberry of Cleveland Plain-Dealer: "[Chris] Perez spoke out about being booed by the home fans and low attendance at the ballpark. After reading the transcript of his comments on Sunday, I came to a realization; Chris Perez is just like a lot of Clevelanders." The Dave Dombrowski Tom Gage of Detroit News: "Alex Avila, how about a little roller past the mound, beyond the glove of a diving shortstop and into center field for a two-run single? What's that? Whatever works? Well, such a seventh-inning single turned out to be the winning hit for the Tigers in their 4-3 victory Sunday over the Pirates." The Dayton Moore Royals Review: "For the purposes of discussion, let's consider the 2006 season to be fully Allard Baird's team. The Royals hired [Dayton] Moore on May 31st and he didn't take over until a few weeks later. From 2002-06, Baird's last five seasons, the Royals averaged 64.2 wins. In my mind, the Royals have just been an unrelenting train of bad the last decade, but those years were rough. That's averaging 64-98, even with a random 83 win season mixed in." The Jerry DiPoto Bill Shaikin of Los Angeles Times: "With the Angels scrapping for the run that might have won Sunday's game, Manager Mike Scioscia essentially took the bat out of the hands of his hottest hitter, Mike Trout. Trout had singled twice and homered as he waited on deck in the 11th inning. The Angels had one out, Bobby Wilson on first and Ryan Langerhans at bat. Scioscia called for a sacrifice." The Terry Ryan Star Tribune: "A list of position players that have pitched for the Twins." The Brian Cashman Roderick Boone of Newsday: "The crowd rose in unison, thinking this was finally it. Alex Rodriguez had gotten a hold of one, based on the unmistakable sound that emanates from a bat when a player puts good wood on the ball. He followed its flight before moving toward first base, only to see leftfielder Chris Heisey line it up a couple of steps on to the warning track after the ball had been knocked down some by the wind." The Billy Beane Eric Branch of San Francisco Chronicle: "A day after Manny Ramirez didn't hit very well, he didn't play at all. Ramirez followed Saturday's 0-for-4, three-strikeout debut for Triple-A Sacramento by sitting out Sunday's game with a sore left wrist." The Jack Zduriencik Geoff Baker of Seattle Times: "Last week at Fenway Park, I was asked if I'd participate in a podcast for the FanGraphs website and after agreeing to, was asked on-air by writer David Laurila about why the Mariners don't draw many walks. I had no idea what questions were going to be asked, so my quick response was to mention that the team as a whole had to stop chasing pitches out of the strike zone and also learn to better punish pitchers once they came inside the zone." The Andrew Friedman Martin Fennelly of Tampa Tribune: "The way it is going right now, the ball is hitting Carlos Pena more than he is hitting the ball. That was Sunday afternoon all over. Pena went 0-for-3, but in the space of about one minute in the eighth inning, he was hit by a pitch and then struck by Luke Scott's rocket grounder, ending the inning and killing off a possible bases-loaded game-tying hit." The Jon Daniels Evan Grant of Dallas Morning News: "Per a press release: "Pitcher Michael Kirkman was diagnosed in January with a form of skin cancer during an examination that took place in Gainesville, FL, which is near his off-season home in Lake City, FL. He is currently undergoing regular treatment in Round Rock and is being continually monitored by his doctors in both Florida and Texas. He is allowed to participate in full baseball activity while undergoing the treatment, and the prognosis is for a full recovery.'" The Alex Anthopoulos Grant Brisbee of SB Nation: "Blue Jays pitcher Jesse Litsch was supposed to miss a week after an injection this spring, but now he's worried about his career."
30-Team MLB Scoop, May 21st Edition