Opening Day is here. Or, technically, it was yesterday, but today is the one that counts. The National Championship game certainly isn’t holding my attention here in the first half, so I’ll take a second or two to look at all the opening day action to pick out some interesting tidbits:
The Nationals are still the Nationals. In this time of worldwide change and confusion, that’s one thing we can seem to count on. It’s uncertain how good the Marlins are going to be ths year, but they looked like world beaters against Washington today, cruising to a 12-6 win. They even managed to get the first inside-the-park homer on opening day since 1968.
It’s obviously way too early to panic, but Cliff Lee looked so bad that at some point Indians’ fans might be forced to panic. Granted, the Rangers have some nice bats, but it looked like Lee was throwing batting practice to Texas. Ten hits and seven earned runs in five innings. Ouch. I’ll definitely be looking to see how Lee bounces back from ths one in his next outing.
Speaking of good pitchers failing to live up to high expectations, CC Sabathia got absolutely crushed today. By the lowly Orioles no less. Six earned runs in 4 and a third innings with five walks and no strikeouts. I am obviously not privy to the inner workings of the Yanks’ front office, but my guess is that that’s not what they paid him the big, big, big bucks for.
The Mets paid dearly last year for having a lousy bullpen. They paid a fortune for an exceptionally good bullpen (on paper at least). Today that bullpen got them a win in a close game. Interesting how that works.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are tied for the best record in the league. Savor it now Pirates fans, because that won’t last. Come to think of it, do Pirates fans even exist anymore?
The Astros have some bats to contend. For a while at least. Their only problem is that they only have one pitcher – Roy Oswalt. Relying that heavily on one guy is a problem at the best of times, but especially scary when that pitcher falters. Oswalt leveled out and pitched okay, but not before he had given up two home runs while only recording three outs. This, along with all the others today, is a good example of how great pitchers aren’t necessarily great all the time, or especially from the start.
The best pitcher in the American League, and probably all of baseball, started his seventh opening day game for the same team today. Stumped? Roy Halladay. He doesn’t get nearly the credit he would get in a bigger market because Toronto has been so average for so long, and so locked in the shadows of the Yanks and the Sox. Halladay was yet another big starter who wasn’t great today, but he was good enough to get an easy win in a pretty ugly game against the Tigers.
Very good start tonight for King Felix against the Twins today. Hernandez is a ridiculously good talent who is going to come into his own at some point. I really hope that it is this year.He and Erik Bedard could be truly special together.
Brandon Webb started today. He was lousy. Yet more fuel for the trend.
I don’t know what it takes to justify a ridiculously huge salary, but Manny started his justification attempt by scoring a run after getting on on a walk. No hits, though.
When I looked at the Angels stats tonight my first reaction was that Vlad Guerrero is too young to be a DH. Then I looked at his stats and realized that he’s not – he’s a 13 year pro who just turned 34. That makes me feel really old.
Cliff Lee is back to the old Cliff Lee – he couldn’t get anyone out in spring training and now it’s continuing into the regular season. I would be concerned if I was his bank account and if I was the Cleveland Indians.
Roy Halladay would look great in a Cubs or Dodgers uniform – he needs to get traded. Meanwhile, King Felix also turned his ankle so keep an eye on that one.
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