It’s hard to feel the baseball, since it’s been an uncommonly cold April. New York has had bursts of rain, dustings of snow, and gale-force winds, all between April Fool’s and Tax Day. Nonetheless, the games are scheduled, and many have been played.
Philadelphia came into New York to greet the defending National League champions with a cold slap of reality–the Venezuelan-laden lineup beat the Metsies 2 out of 3. The first three hitters for the Phillies most nights are criollos: shortstop Freddy Galvis (26 years old), second baseman César Hernández (a switch-hitting Valenciano, 26 in May), and centerfielder Odubel Herrera (24 years old, from Zulia)–and on Sunday, Caraqueño reliever Jeanmar Gomez got his second save in a row, tripling his career total. The Phillies are young and rebuilding, and you’ll likely see plenty of this group of Venezuelans this season at CBP (where VZ legend Bob Abreu hit the first Phils’ home run in 2004).
Over in Cincinnati, another relative youngster from VZ is getting a chance at third and making the most of it–Eugenio Suarez, who started with the Tigers a few seasons back, homered in consecutive games on Thursday and Friday. With the departure of Todd Frazier from Cincy, the strapping Suarez (5’11”, 205, 13 HRs in 2015) will get his at-bats. Thus far, the pride of Puerto Ordaz has taken the bull by the horns, batting .435 in front of Joey Votto with four homers in week one. He’ll turn 25 in July.
Because it’s baseball and we shouldn’t take things too seriously, watch All-Star 2B Jose Altuve of Houston try the hidden-ball trick on Sunday: