Dan's Dugout: Lessons Learned at Memorial Day Marker • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: Lessons Learned at Memorial Day Marker

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Considering the vagaries of weather, slow-starting veterans, and untested rookies, teams cannot use April performance as an indicator of how their seasons will go.

But Memorial Day is another story.

The advent of the holiday weekend means the 2017 schedule has reached the quarter mark – enough time for teams to establish themselves as contenders or pretenders.

The list of surprises is long.

For example:

• The Colorado Rockies, once the game’s most extreme example of home field advantage, were not only the first team to reach 30 wins but did it by winning on the road too
• Because they’re better on the road than they are at home, the Minnesota Twins might not be able to sustain their front-running pace in the American League Central
• Bartolo Colon, the oldest man in the majors at 44, is pitching so poorly (6.96 ERA through Thursday) that his stay with the Atlanta Braves is on life support

Bartolo Colon is struggling with his new club

Bartolo Colon is struggling with his new club

• The American League East race will tighten now that Troy Tulowitzki and Josh Donaldson have returned to the lineup of the Toronto Blue Jays
• Aaron Judge is on pace for an All-Star berth, a Rookie of the Year trophy, and a possible postseason appearance with the New York Yankees
• Even with a half-dozen prospective free agents, the Kansas City Royals insist they have not yet entertained bids for Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas, Alex Gordon, or Kelvin Herrera
• The Washington Nationals, with only the bullpen as an Achilles heel, are trying to reacquire closer Mark Melancon, who fled to San Francisco as a free agent last fall
• The retirement of David (Big Papi) Ortiz has led to a home run drought in Boston, which plays home games in a hitter-friendly bandbox
• How could somebody named Jumbo Diaz have arm fatigue?
• Incoming Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell is the only first baseman in baseball history to steal 30 bases and hit 30 homers in the same season – and he did it twice
• Star southpaw Chris Sale has been a godsend for Boston, which misses erstwhile lefty ace David Price, while tying several strikeout marks held by Red Sox Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez
• Without the late Jose Fernandez, the Miami Marlins have been sabotaged by a lack of solid starting pitching

The late Jose Fernandez was one of the game's strikeout artists

The late Jose Fernandez was one of the game’s strikeout artists

• The World Champion Chicago Cubs aren’t likely to repeat their 2016 heroics
• Bob Costas of MLB Network is still the best play-by-play man in the game
• The New York Mets, besieged by pitching injuries again, will change the way they handle training and medical issues
• Even Las Vegas oddsmakers missed the boat on the Milwaukee Brewers, who are threatening a worst-to-first performance in the NL Central
• Between the end of the amateur draft early next month and the trading deadline at the end of July, teams can be expected to invest heavily in the trade market – especially now that 10 of the 30 clubs can qualify for the postseason.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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