Baseball is finally back! Everyone in the division has played at least two games (one on Thursday or Friday, and another on Saturday) except for the St. Louis Cardinals, who helped open the new Marlins Park with a win down in Florida. The Chicago Cubs are the only ones without a victory. Kerry Wood and Carlos Marmol have been struggling at the back end of the bullpen.
Before I get into my thoughts on Opening Day, my OOTP Baseball 13 review and a few more predictions, I wanted to kick off what is going to become a regular piece here at Baseblog. Now introducing…
The Emma Award! That’s right, every week (most likely on Sunday) I’ll award one player in the NL Central with the Emma Award in recognition for their performance that week. So who is taking home the first ever award? Drum roll please …
Congratulations to David Freese!
Freese picked up right where he left off last season, going 3-for-5 in the Cardinals–Marlins opener to help St. Louis win, 4-1. By the end of the week, Freese was batting .500: seven hits in fourteen at-bats. He and Rafael Furcal lead the National League in hits, and his 5 RBIs are best in the Central and just one behind Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp, who lead the NL.
Freese has driven in the same amount of runs in 14 at-bats as the entire Cubs offense has scored in 68. The Cardinals third baseman even has a home run to boot.
Other top performers that didn’t make the cut include Freese’s teammate, Rafael Furcal, who is also 7-for-14 but is slightly worse in the RBIs, total bases, and runs columns. Corey Hart knocked two home runs out of the park to help the Milwaukee Brewers take revenge in their 6-0 victory. Kyle Lohse and Ryan Dempster each had great Opening Day starts that were spoiled: between them is 15 IP, 13 K and only 4 H. Dempster gave up a hit on the first pitch but kept the offense hitless until the 8th, while Lohse took a no-hitter into the seventh.