Friday, April 17, 2009

Keeping Things Interesting: April 17, 2009

Yesterday's Most Interesting
So, the Yankees opened up their new ballpark yesterday against the (seemingly) lowly Indians. There was about as much fanfare as you could imagine and, by pretty much all accounts, it went plenty well. Except for the, you know, baseball part. CC pitched fair in his New York City debut, but it wasn't the dominant performance the Yankees shelled out $161 million for. The game was tied in the sixth inning when he was replaced by Edwar Ramirez and Phil Coke. The bullpen fell apart the next inning, though, giving up nine runs to the Indians in the seventh, including a bases loaded walk and a grand slam. The Indians won their third game of the season with a 10-2 rout of the Yankees. At least "old school Yankee" Jorge Posada got the stadium's first home run.

More From Yesterday
The Marlins completed their sweep of the Braves yesterday, with Sanchez beating Kawakami 6-2. When the series began, it was a battle between the two best records in baseball. Today, the Marlins stand alone as the team with the best record in baseball at 8-1, while the Braves are back to 5-4. In Tampa, the Rays lost their first game against the White Sox by a score of 3-2, dropping Tampa to 4-6 and 4th place in the East. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays continued their hot start by thrashing the Twins behind a 7-run seventh. They hold on to first place in their division with a 7-3 record, one of the best in the AL.

The Padres took the rubber match in Citi Field, handing the Mets their first series-loss in the new ballpark. Behind a fair outing by Jake Peavy and a 5-run third inning (powered mostly by basehits), the Pads were able to beat the Mets 6-5. The biggest news in the NL, though, was from Washington, where the Nationals beat Joe Blanton and the rest of the World Champs for their first win of the season. At 1-7, there are no longer any winless teams in baseball. Adam Dunn hit a three-run home run in the first inning to get the Nats started, and they never looked back. Washington fans have to hope that they'll be hearing similar game stories many more times throughout this long season.

Today's Games
The Yankees hope to play a little more respectably in Game 2 of the the new Yankee Stadium era. Joba Chamberlain will take the hill against Cleveland's Anthony Reyes in an attempt to do just that. In other New York news, the Brewers come into town to play the Mets in Citi Field. Ever-consistent Dave Bush will take on the ageless Livan Hernandez in the first game of that series. The Phillies and Padres will feature the best pitching matchup of the night, as Chris Young takes on Cole Hamels. In two starts this season, Young is 2-0 with a sparkling 1.38 ERA. Hamels, on the other hand, is 0-1 with a 17.18 ERA. The Giants will also host a great pitching matchup, as Dan Haren (0-2, but with a 2.08 ERA) takes on the Giants' young Jonathan Sanchez. Playing in AT&T Park, that should be a good game to watch.

In the AL, the Mariners hope to continue their hot start, when they throw Felix Hernandez against the Tigers' Justing Verlander. In Texas, the Rangers will once again try to outslug their opponent. Gil Meche and the Royals will do their best to slow that offense down - if it's even possible.

Today's Most Interesting
The matchup in Washington, between the 8-1 Florida Marlins and the 1-7 Washington Nationals, has to be the most interesting game of the day. It may not be a classic pitcher's duel or anything, but it's always interesting to see two teams in such drastically different positions face off against each other. It's always hard to judge a team's true talent, especially this early in the season. I don't think there are many people who believe the Marlins are as good as their record or that the Nats are as bad as theirs. This weekend's series, then, can go a long way towards either tempering everyone's excitement about the Marlins or enciting everyone's worries about the Nats. It should be fun. That's why tonight's matchup is the most interesting of the day.

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