Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Keeping Things Interesting: Apr 8, 2009

It's Wednesday and, for the first time this (very young) season, all 30 teams are scheduled to play today. It's the first 100%-full day of the year, and that's something to celebrate.

Yesterday's action saw twelve different games play out, including a couple of home openers that weren't originally on the schedule. In Chicago, Royals' manager Trey Hillman decided to not go with his closer in the game's highest leverage situation and ended up paying for it, as Jim Thome hit a late 3-run homer to steal the victory for the White Sox. The Red Sox, on the other hand, rode a third-inning rally (and a couple of solo shots from Pedroia and Varitek) to a season-opening 5-3 victory over the AL pennant-winning Rays. The NL Cy Young winner had some control problems in San Francisco's choppy weather, throwing 78 pitches in only 3 innings of work, but the rest of the Giants lineup was certainly awake in their 10-6 Opening Day win over Milwaukee.

In other games, the Braves, Marlins, and Blue Jays are the only teams still undefeated after two games and will be looking for the sweep today. The Marlins will have the first chance to bring out the brooms, with a 12:10 Eastern start time. Top-prospect Chris Volstad will face off against O's castoff Daniel Cabrera. The Braves may be going for the most surprising sweep, though. Very few people gave them much of a chance against the World Champs, and they've proven more than capable so far.

The most interesting game of the day, though, is the Milwaukee Brewers - San Francisco Giants matchup late tonight (and I'm not just saying that because I'm a Brewers fan, I promise). Milwaukee will be trotting out their 23-year-old ace-in-waiting Yovani Gallardo while the Giants haul out the Big Unit himself, the 45-year-old Hall of Famer. Gallardo lost nearly his entire season last year after tearing his ACL in a collision with Chicago's Reed Johnson in only his third start of the year. He came back to pitch very effectively in late September, and even started Game 1 of the NLDS for the Brewers. Johnson, on the other hand, surprised everybody by pitching a full season of quality ball for the Diamondbacks. In 184 innings, he struck out 173 batters with a 3.91 ERA - not bad for a 44-year-old coming off a 10-game season the year before.

The face-off between the ace-to-be and the ace-of-old should help keep today's games interesting. I can't wait.


Paul said...

Prescient comment about RJ vs. Gallardo - though it was their matchup as pitcher vs batter that proved most exciting.

lar said...

I said the same thing, Paul! I even wrote it in my post from today (which I wrote last night...)

Funny, eh?