SweetSpot

Don't sleep on Henderson Alvarez
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The two best things about the Miami Marlins the past two seasons have been Giancarlo Stanton's prodigious power and the rapid emergence of Jose Fernandez as a true ace.

Managers continue to make bad lineups
The other day, SweetSpot TV co-host Eric Karabell said to me, "It seems like a third of managers are hitting their worst hitter first or second."True or not?

A day of pitching, pitching and pitching
There were 15 games played Wednesday. One-third of those games featured a shutout. Teams hit a collective .220 and averaged 2.8 runs per game. The Cubs played a doubleheader and didn't score a run, the first time that has happened since 1962 (the Cubs lost 103 games that year).

Paul Goldschmidt owns Tim Lincecum
I don't know which stat is more amazing: After homering off Tim Lincecum last night, Paul Goldschmidt is now 13-for-24 with seven home runs off Lincecum; or, Goldschmidt's opposite-field home run was just the eighth by a right-handed batter at AT&T Park over the past eight seasons.

The list: 10 things that caught my eye
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1. Back in spring training, Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish admitted he was working on a few minor tweaks on his mechanics in an attempt to avoid a recurrence of the nerve problem in his lower back and buttocks area that arose last September.

Tales of Saturday's aces
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They say one badge of a true ace is finding a way to succeed when you don’t bring your premium stuff or pinpoint location to the mound.In the case of Jose Fernandez, the stuff is always premium, with a fastball that touches the upper 90s when he pumps it up, a slider that makes right-handed batters weep in torment and a sharp curveball that he’s not afraid to throw on any count.

Marlins' Eovaldi could be breakout pitcher
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Some quick thoughts on Tuesday's games and news ... Here's something you probably didn't know: Marlins right-hander Nathan Eovaldi had the highest fastball velocity last season of any pitcher who threw 100 innings.

Ten observations on Opening Day games
The first rule of Opening Day: Don't overreact to Opening Day. So these are merely observations from flipping around watching a bunch of different games.

Opening Day primer: What not to miss
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There's nothing quite like Opening Day. As Pete Rose once said, "It's like Christmas except warmer." It's a reminder that for perhaps inexplicable reasons we still love this crazy game, that we're ready to devote way too many hours over the next seven months to watching games that will enthrall us and disgust us but bring us together.

Fourteen big questions for 2014
1. The Fast and the Furious III: Who wins the AL MVP Award?It's the third installment of the epic Mike Trout-Miguel Cabrera trilogy, made even more intriguing by the mammoth contracts the two players just signed.

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