Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Something of Interest: Apr 7, 2009

Yesterday was Opening Day, and, oh, what a day it was.

In Baltimore, we saw an inauspicious start in pinstripes for CC and a 3-for-3 (with a triple) day for the young and exciting Adam Jones. In Cincinnati, Johan "the best pitcher in baseball" Santana made quick work of the Reds despite a game-time temperature of 37 degrees, with a sure-to-be-icy drizzle. In Arlington, the Rangers reminded us that their bats aren't to be taken lightly by roughing up the defending AL Cy Young winner while the Cardinals embarrassed themselves in front of Stan Musial and Red Schoendienst by blowing a ninth-inning lead to the Pirates. Chase Field in Phoenix provided a good example of why Cactus League numbers always look so impressive, as the D-backs and Rockies combined for 8 home runs in a 9-8 Diamondbacks victory. The good people of Miami, meanwhile, showed exactly why they are so deserving of a new publicly-financed stadium by packing 34,000 fans into the sardine-boxcomfy Dolphins Stadium to watch what turned out to be a very exciting game that featured a grand slam and an inside-the-park home run.

In the late games, pitching seemed to dominate. The Cubs' Zambrano finally pitched well in an Opening Day start, as the Cubs beat the Astros 4-2. Doc Halladay dominated the (mostly) punchless Tigers until they got to him for 4 runs in the 7th (after getting down 9-1). The Jays won, 12-5. Kid Griffey went yard for the 612th time in his career in Minneapolis last night. It was his 8th home run ever on Opening Day, and the first home run as a Mariner since September 22, 1999. The Mariners beat the Twins 6-1. In Los Angeles of Anaheim (not sure that's a city), the Angels' #4 starter blanked the "new look" A's 3-0, while in San Diego the Dodgers were the first of many, many teams to beat the Padres this year.

That was all yesterday, though. Now that the regular season is completely underway (assuming the Brewers/Giants and Red Sox/Rays can actually play games today), I wanted to start something new here. The beauty of the baseball season is, among many other things, the fact that it is an everyday sport - if you watched or attended the game last night, you have a pretty good chance of being able to do the same thing tonight. It's almost relentless at times. Thirty teams, 162-games each... that's a lot of baseball to be played. I thought it was important, then, to discuss the season everyday. I won't go into the type of detail that you might find over at ShysterBall or at Big League Stew (two blogs that try to recap the day's games, at least in brief) because that would just be redundant.

Instead, I thought it might be fun to focus on one game and talk about why that game is interesting. I'll try to go beyond just the normal analysis that you can find on a hundred other sites to find something a little different. Now, I reserve the right to cancel or change this at any time, if I find it too demanding or ambitious (or boring). Like I said, though, I just want a good reason to follow and highlight the season on an everyday basis. I'll definitely still do the other pieces that I like to do, like the Through the Years or Prospect Previews posts, but those aren't something that I can do daily.

I'm a little late in starting this today, so the game I am mentioning is already underway. That doesn't mean it's no longer interesting, though.

As The Common Man said in the comments yesterday, one of the coolest little things about Opening Day (besides the whole Opening Day-thing, of course) is looking at the box scores the next morning to see all the nice, round numbers. Along that same line, another neat little thing about the Opening Day scoreboard is looking at the standings the next day and seeing all those 1-0 and 0-1 teams. It's not often that you get to see the Pirates all alone in first, for example.

Rarer still is looking at the standings and seeing an 0-0 team in first place. But that's what we have today in the AL Central. Because of the "snow-out" in Chicago yesterday, neither the Royals nor White Sox played while the other 3 teams in the Cental all lost. This puts the Sox and Royals tied atop the division with zero wins and zero losses. When they finally play this afternoon (and they're currently playing... my fault for getting this up late), that distinction will disappear. In the meantime, though, it's the battle of the winless *and* undefeated titans of the AL Central. Enjoy!


Ron Rollins said...

Don't worry. Trey Hillman has made his mark on the season and firmly place the Royals in last place with another one of his managerial decisions.

Josh said...

And to think, people actually picked the Royals to come in first!

lar said...

Boy, were you guys right about that. man. I've been reading stuff all day about that decision by Hillman. I hope he learns something soon...