Matthew Leach has worked for MLB.com since 2001 and was the site's Cardinals beat reporter from 2002-11.
|Forty games do not provide a very big sample. All kinds of weird things can happen in six or seven weeks of baseball, so here is a look at a few eye-popping, early-season performances, good and bad, and their likelihood of continuing.
More»MLB.com crew breaks down first quarter of 2013 season|
|The reigning American League East champions have been absolutely assaulted by injuries this year, starting over the winter and continuing into the regular season, and while much credit should go to the gentlemen who have filled in, much anticipation should surround the returns of the guys who are still on the way.
More»Teixeira hopes to be back with Yankees by end of May|
|The closer you look, the more the 2013 Yankees look like a mirage. Until you look at their bullpen. The Yanks have MLB's second-best record despite the seventh-best run differential thanks to the fact they just don't lose leads.
More» Mo secures his 16th save by retiring Morse|
|More often than not, it seems that All-Star voting decisions are a matter of priorities, as much as performance. When fans click that button or punch that hole, they're making a statement as to what they value and what they want to see in the Midsummer Classic.
The decision at designated hitter on the American League ballot this year exemplifies this balance perfectly.
More»Take a look back at Big Papi's 27-game hit streak|
|Clint Hurdle, not known as an analytically oriented manager, split from traditional, save-based bullpen management in his team's 3-2 loss to the Mets on Thursday. He brought in setup man Mark Melancon to face the heart of the Mets' order in a tied game in the eighth inning. Then he went to closer Jason Grilli for the ninth with the score still tied.
More» Pirates fall on Baxter's walk-off single|
|Mets right-hander Matt Harvey continues to baffle hitters and amaze teammates and fans with his ability to dominate at such a young age.
More» Harvey discusses outing vs. White Sox|
|Derek Jeter is a 13-time All-Star who probably has one or two more trips to the Midsummer Classic left before he's done. But the Yankees captain is not an All-Star this year. There are presently better candidates.
More» Joe Girardi on Derek Jeter's injury|
|It's a bit startling to hear Rick Ankiel admit that he's begun to think about what's next. He has never been known as one for introspection; it's another indication of the new, mellower Ankiel
More» Ankiel's throw keeps the game tied|
|The weather may not agree, but we're speeding toward summer, and the Major League season is now officially a month old. That's nowhere near enough time to make any really big determinations, but it's at least enough to start forming some impressions.
More» Papi clears the bases, gives Sox the lead|
|It's the rotation where things are going awry for the much-discussed Astros these days. Their offense hasn't been bad. Their bullpen, Tuesday notwithstanding, hasn't been great, but neither has it been disastrous. They could certainly catch the ball a little better, but the problem has been in the starting five.
More» Cosart hurls two perfect frames|
|The Nationals broke out of their offensive funk on Thursday night, and that's nice. They also got their No. 2 starter back on track, and that's critical.
More» Gio one-hits Reds over eight strong innings|
|It's just one of 162 and, if the Blue Jays don't win Thursday, it won't mean much. But for Wednesday, they needed a win real bad, and they got it.
More» Blue Jays go ahead on bases-loaded walk|
|If All-Star balloting has arrived, it means that arguments about All-Star balloting will be starting, oh, any second now. That's half the fun of the All-Star Game, after all.
More» Cervelli ties the game with a solo home run|
|Mojo, magic, manager. ... Call it whatever you want, it's back for another year in Baltimore.
More» Machado smacks a two-run single in second|
|The Blue Jays aren't in last place in the American League East because of their glove work. But it's safe to say that their fielding hasn't helped matters.
More» Kawasaki's error keeps inning alive|
|Lots of strange things happen in a baseball season, and many of them can't be foreseen. Derek Jeter having a significant setback, though? The Yankees should have seen that coming, and it seems they just didn't.
More»Looking at the details of Jeter's ankle injury|
|Changing speeds and locations, working all over the strike zone, CC Sabathia bounced back from a rocky first inning to stifle a good D-backs offense in a 4-3 Yankees win on Wednesday night. Sabathia throwing 90 mph may be less intimidating than Sabathia at 93, but he's no less confounding.
More» CC strong over eight to earn his third win|
|Yes, Robinson Cano is 30 and will be 31 at the start of his next contract. Yes, he plays second base, a position that seems to see more than its share of drastic declines. Anything else? Because if those are the counterarguments, they shouldn't be enough to keep the Yankees from retaining the star slugger.
More» Robinson homers in game honoring Jackie|
|As acronyms have invaded baseball in recent years, one of the best ones never really took off. "TINSTAAPP," coined some years back by the smart folks at Baseball Prospectus, stands for "there is no such thing as a pitching prospect."
More» Wheeler has elite stuff, control issues|
|Conventional thinking says your best hitter should be in the three-hole. But Robinson Cano of the Yankees and Joe Mauer of the Twins have been batting second and, says Matthew Leach, it's pretty smart move by their managers.
More» Mauer blasts a towering three-run homer|
|I already laid out my division/wild card/pennant winner picks for MLB.com, as did several of my colleagues. You can check those out here. But I try to go into a little more depth here at the blog, so once again I’m giving more extensive picks in this space. Here are last year’s preseason predictions, […] More»|
|Today was the last full day of my Spring Training 2013 odyssey, with a Braves-Cardinals game at Roger Dean Stadium. Tomorrow morning I fly back to NYC, where I’m told it’s still chilly. It’s been a tremendously entertaining, if draining, three weeks, and it’s been great to be back at the ballpark. Whatever my job […] More»|
|So, somewhat appropriately I think, I’m back in Jupiter for the final stop of my 2013 Spring Training odyssey. This place really feels like home, which I guess makes sense given that I’ve lived more than a year of my life around here. I hit the Crazy Cuban for lunch and headed over to the […] More»|
|Exhibit 14,729 as to how Spring Training is different: After five innings today, I took a look at my scorecard and said, “Oh, hey, the Cardinals don’t have a hit yet.” And then they got one, and that was that. Seeing them next to each other, thinking about them on the same day, I was […] More»|
|Sometimes, I’m a 10 year old. I could come to Space Coast Stadium five times a year for the next 10 years, and I will never, ever, ever not chuckle and think of Space Ghost when I see the name. Then again, if you ever watched the old Space Ghost Coast to Coast show, you […] More»|
|It wasn’t quite full daylight yet when I hopped in the trusty rental car for the trip from Greater Disneyburg to Lakeland, thanks to the time change. Not that I’m complaining, as I’m one who greatly appreciates extra daylight in the evening, but it was a bit odd. Everybody around the ballpark seemed to be […] More»|
|Today brought me to Port St. Lucie, home of the Mets and of the best concession item in the Grapefruit League: Taco in a Helmet. If you get to Port St. Lucie, just go get one. Thank me later. Crushed chips, cheese, spicy ground beef, lettuce, salsa, jalapenos and sour cream in a nice-sized helmet […] More»|
|I was on Yankees duty today, but it was a very quiet day for the bunch of Bombers who took the field in Jupiter. Pretty much all of the big news was in Tampa, where Andy Pettitte threw and Derek Jeter took at-bats in a simulated game. Somewhat similarly, the biggest news for the Cardinals […] More»|
|I knew that taking the Yankees beat for a couple of days would mean I was busy. I didn’t quite realize how busy. So, yeah. Mark Teixeira spoke to reporters today for the first time since his injury. The Yankees announced that Derek Jeter has been cleared for full baseball activities, meaning he could be […] More»|
|This one was like riding a bike. Hopped in my car this morning, drove down Military Trail to the ballpark, parked outside the Cardinals complex, reported to the media room… Even had my old seat in the main press box. A few of the names have changed, of course, but this was nice. One of […] More»|