Thursday, March 29, 2012

Random Rabble: March 29

The Montreal Canadiens did the expected Thursday morning, firing general manager Pierre Gauthier. This has been a disastrous season for the Canadiens, who are last in the Eastern Conference and have already made waves by firing an assistant coach a couple hours before a game, firing the head coach on a game day, and hiring a non-French speaking coach to finish the season. Gauthier's reign being as bad as it was means most fans will probably look at this news as a positive.

But even that's relative. No one who roots for this team is truly happy, because the fact Gauthier had to go only means the franchise is in worse shape than when he took over, and that's just not acceptable.

No idea what direction Montreal will go for a new coach (no way Randy Cunneyworth stays) and GM. My guess is both will have French-speaking abilities.

Baseball is upon us, and the Brewers will again give the ball to Yovani Gallardo for Opening Day. It's not surprising, as this will be Gallardo's third straight season-opening start for the Crew. What might make it a mild surprise is the fact that Gallardo's career numbers against the Brewers' opponent next Friday -- defending World Series champion St. Louis -- are poor (11 starts, 1-7, 5.66).

The Cardinals' offense shouldn't be as menacing without Albert Pujols, but I really liked the Carlos Beltran signing. He can't hit 35 home runs or anything like that, but he has a good bat and can play center field as good as anyone around.

I'm pretty pumped for Opening Day, as usual. The Brewers won the division last year, and while the offseason wasn't exactly outstanding -- the team lost Prince Fielder, had the Braun drug controversy, and overpaid for Aramis Ramirez -- it looks like the Brewers should stay at or near the top of the Central this year.

Twins fans have reason for optimism, too, as Justin Morneau is mashing at spring training. After a 3-for-33 start to the spring, Morneau has been hot for a week or so. He's 8-for-17 with nine RBI over the last five games. Oh, and Joe is hitting .340. The Twins soooooo desperately need those bats back to snuff. The Twins don't figure to have great pitching this year, though good seasons from Francisco Liriano and Carl Pavano might change that a bit.

It's hard to trust this rotation. We've danced this dance with Liriano numerous times. Pavano will never be more than he is now. Scott Baker and Nick Blackburn are solid pitchers, but can they stay healthy and consistent enough?

When next Friday rolls around, and the baseball games count again, it'll be interesting to see how long the Twins and Brewers can stay relevant.

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