Opening Day Happenings

March 31, 2008 at 9:47 pm 6 comments

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AP Photo/M. Spencer Green

Just in case you missed Opening Day (maybe you got stuck at work or your favorite team got rained out or you were simply too busy) don’t worry, here is a breakdown of what happened on Opening Day in 2008 starting with the newest Japanese star Kosuke Fukudome.

Kosuke Fukudome became an instant favorite with his near perfect day. He went 3-3 with a 3-run homer in the bottom of the 9th to tie the game. He also doubled and drew a walk but was caught stealing.

-The Cubs/Brewers game was a nail bighter. The two aces (Sheets and Zambrano) combined for 13 innings and allowed no runs, 5 hits, 3 walks, and 12 strikeouts with Sheets fairing slightly better. The game was tied at zero in the 9th when Cubs closer Kerry Wood allowed 3 runs and Brewers closer Eric Gagne also allowed 3 runs. The Brew Crew won 4-3 in 10 innings.

-Johan Santana made his Mets debut and looked like the Cy Young winner he is. He went 7 innings giving up only 2 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 8 including the first hitter he faced as a Met. Carlos Beltran and David Wright each doubled twice. Josh Willingham was the only one to figure Santana out, taking him deep for a 2-run homer. Ricky Nolasco came back strong after missing all but about 4 innings of the 2007 season. He pitched 3 scoreless innigs in relief for Florida.

-The Rays had an easy openig day, winning 6-2 against the Orioles. James Shields allowed 2 runs (both were on a Millar double that should’ve been caught by Crawford) in 7 innings and the pen closed it out. Catcher Dioner Navarro went 3-4 in the game. By the way, Akinori Iwamura looked like a Gold Glover at second and Erik Hinske looks like a new player, not the bench scrub he’s been the last couple years.

-The Atlanta/Pittsburgh game was a very exciting one. Tom Glavine started for the Braves and went innings allowing 2 runs (only 1 earned). The Pirates then destroyed the Braves relievers to take a 9-4 lead into the bottom of the 9th inning. The Braves then proceeded to score 5 runs in the 9th to tie the game. Damaso Marte allowed 2 runs (both were guys he walked) in 1/3 innings and closer Matt Capps allowed the 5 runs to score (2 were inherited by Marte) in 2/3 of an inning while walking 2 and giving up 2 hits. The Pirates top breakout candidate Nate McLouth had a phenomenal day going 3-5 with a homer, 4 RBI, 2 runs, a sacrifice, and a walk. He was picked off and he and Jason Bay (who went 0-6) had miscommunication problems that allowed a ball to drop to score the tying runs in the 9th so it wasn’t picture perfect but it was a stellar performance. Xavier Nady was the hero though going 4-7 with the game winning 3-run homer in the 12th inning. Nady scored 4 and knocked in 4 with 2 homers overall. Mark Teixeira was the offensive goat going 0-6 and getting a chance in the 12th to hit. Yunel Escobar was 3-4 with 3 RBI, 2 runs, and a triple. The Pirates won the crazy game 12-11 while somehow leaving 30 men on base. The Braves scored 2 in the bottom of the 12th to make it really interesting but just fell short. This was a great game.

Jim Thome mashed 2 homers and drove in 4 runs but the Indians got the win. Breakout candidate Franklin Guttierez went 3-3 with a homers, 3 RBI, and a walk. Cuban defector Alexi Ramirez made his MLB debut in center and went 0-4 with 3 Ks and a surprising walk. Mark Buehrle got hit for 7 runs in 1.2 innings.

-The Washington Nationals are off to a great start. They are now 2-0 after pounding reliever Tom Gordon for 5 runs in his 1/3 of an inning pitched. Lastings Milledge went 2-4 with 2 RBI and 3 runs, including a homer. Nick Johnson hit two more doubled giving him 3 now and he went 2-3 with two walks. MVP Jimmy Rollins and the real MVP Chase Utley also homered.

-Arizona hit 3 homers (Young, Byrnes, Salazar) and the pen pitched 3 perfect innings while striking out 4.

Miguel Cabrera started his Tiger debut shamefully. He made an error in the 1st inning. Then he left a runner in scoring position in the first. He left another runner in scoring position in his next at-bat. Then in his third at-bat he hit a laser out to left-center for his first homer. That’s what I love about baseball, you get to wipe your slate clean with each play. The Royals won in 11 innings and Alex Gordon homered. Carlos Guillen went 3-5 with a homer and a double and Gary Sheffield drew 4 walks.

Joe Torre won his Dodger debut and is now 5-0 in his 5 managerial debuts. Torre started Andre Ethier in LF over Juan Pierre (the right move in my opinion) but Ethier went 0-4 and left 6 men on base. 3B Blake Dewitt went 1-2 with 2 walks and got his hit in his first major league at-bat. Rafael Furcal looked great going 3-4 with a double and a walk. Giants fans need to get used to games like this one. Barry Zito’s fastball sat at 83-84 and he got hit hard. The offense looked awful by the way, purely awful!

-The Seattle Mariners looked very good today. They drew 7 walks and only struck out 5 times and their pitching allowed only 2 runs on 7 hits. Erik Bedard struck out 5 in 5 innings while walking 4 but only giving up 1 run. Michael Young was the only offensive bright spot on the Rangers going 3-5 with a homer and Gerald Laird (getting the starting gig over Salty) threw out both attempted base stealers. Kazuo Fukumori got lit up in his debut going 1/3 of an inning and allowing 3 runs on 2 hits and 2 walks.

-The Twins showed off their new style of baseball by stealing 4 bases in 4 attempts and playing very good defense. New centerfielder Carlos Gomez (the centerpiece in the Santana trade) went 2-3 with 2 runs, a walk, and 2 of those stolen bases. Delmon Young went 2-4 with a steal in his debut and Brendan Harris went 2-4 in his Twins debut. Torri Hunter went 0-4 in his first game as a non-Twin. I can’t say enough about the Twins defense. It is so good it made Livan Hernandez look like a real opening day starter. He went 7 innings while walking none and striking out only one but it doesn’t matter when you have Adam Everett playing short behind you. Everett made at least 2 plays (he made them look routine) that all but about 4-5 other shortstops couldn’t even get to by diving.

Roy Oswalt vs. Jake Peavy was the headline for the Astros/Padres game and it turned out to be the Jake Peavy show. Oswalt gave up 3 runs on 11 hits and 1 walk in 5.1 innings while striking out 6. He gave up two of the runs off the bat of Peavy. Peavy went 7 innings and allowed no runs on 3 hits, 3 walks, and he struck out 4. He was 1-1 at the plate with 2 RBI, a walk, and a sac-fly. The lone bright spot for the Astros was their new centerfielder Michael Bourn. He had 2 stolen bases and he made some really tough plays look routine in center. Tadahito Iguchi had 3 hits in his Padres debut including 2 doubles.

-Jonathan C. Mitchell

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. James D Ardis  |  April 2, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    Gagne is still a mystery to me. How in the world did he do so well with the Rangers and then go to the Red Sox and now the Brewers and do so horribly? It baffles me. Speaking of baffling: I was in awe at the decision to put Laird as the Rangers opening day catcher but now that I’ve really gotten a chance to think about it and see how sloppy the Rangers are defensively I realize that Laird’s above-average defense does more for this team than Salty’s extra 20-30 batting points would do. (Though the offense isn’t exactly stellar either).

    Reply
  • 2. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  April 3, 2008 at 7:12 am

    I’m with you on both. Gagne is an enigma to me. I think you are correct on my they went with Laird but it still doesn’t make sense to me. The Rangers aren’t winning the division this year so go with the future and give him experience.

    Reply
  • 3. Erik  |  April 3, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    Gagne will lose the closers Job by June

    Reply
  • 4. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  April 3, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    I kinda hope so, I have Turnbow in 2/3 of my leagues!

    Reply
  • 5. musicman  |  April 10, 2008 at 11:35 pm

    I missed the opening day.
    It is very useful for me.

    Reply
  • 6. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  April 11, 2008 at 7:15 am

    I hate missing opening day. I would take the day off of work just for it!

    Reply

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