Finally, baseball is back. Opening Day rivals Christmas morning in the Thompson household, and around St. Louis. Like many, I had the TV locked to MLB action, and jotted down a few observations from the various game.
1. Pitching still reigns supreme. Six teams were shutout in their openers, the most in MLB history.
2. Congratulations to the Miami Marlins for proving it’s somehow possible to have a rain delay in a stadium with a retractable roof. They might want to put someone else on weather watch down there. Also, the Marlins lost 2-1 to the Atlanta Braves.
3. I think I know what desperation sounds like. It sounds like a rousing ovation in the Bronx for Alex Rodriguez. He was the lone bright spot for the Yankees, going 1-2 with a walk.
It may be a long season for the Yankees.
4. The Phillies stink.
5. Speaking of the Phillies, Cole Hamels pitched like he wants to stay there. If this were an audition for a potential trade to the Red Sox, it didn’t go well, with five IP and four homers. Ouch.
6. It should be mandatory for the home plate umpire to appeal to the base umpire on a check swing. “Cowboy” Joe West called out Torii Hunter to end the game against the Tigers on a borderline check swing. Hunter was fuming, and I don’t blame him.
7. So far so good for Jimmy Rollins in LA. Rollins hit a three-run homer in the 8th to put the Dodgers ahead for good. Before the season, J-Roll said Philly wasn’t conducive to stars. Welcome to Hollywood, Mr. Rollins.
8. The Nationals are most pundits’ favorites to win the NL, and with that starting staff they roll out there, rightfully so. That said, defense still wins championships. Max Scherzer threw the ball well, taking a no-no into the 6th, but a horrible play by SS Ian Desmond changed the game. Second baseman Dan Uggla was camped under a pop fly with two outs in the sixth when Desmond called him off and then couldn’t get there in time. The next batter, Lucas Duda, made them pay, delivering a two-run RBI single to right that ended up being the difference in the game. Remember kids, “I got it! I got it!”.
9. Who’d have thought out of all of the big name starting pitchers that changed teams this offseason (Scherzer, Shields, Latos, Gallardo, Samardzija), that the only one that would get an opening day win would be the new member of the Colorado Rockies’ pitching staff, Kyle Kendricks?
10. It’s always Sonny in Oakland. The A’s have a special one in RHP Sonny Gray. Gray took a no hitter into the 8th inning, and the A’s cruised to a 8-0 win over the Rangers. Gray locates all of his pitches well and already has one of the best curveballs in the game. In true A’s fashion, I wonder how long he’ll be there before they flip him.
11. Rough start for the Brewers, getting trounced by the Rockies 10-0 at Miller Park. To make it even worse, Ryan Braun had to leave the game early with what the team called a “strain of the lower right side.” The injury occurred when Braun slammed into the wall making a diving play to rob Justin Morneau. Braun didn’t seem too concerned after the game, but that’s troubling news for the Brewers faithful.
12. I can’t stand him, but Johnny Cueto is really good. He tossed seven scoreless, punching out ten Pirates in the process. Not a bad way to start the year.
13. Reds third baseman Todd Frazier is picking up where he left off, launching a three-run homer in the 8th to break up a 2-2 tie and propel the Reds to an opening day win.
14. The Reds’ pitching staff, as a whole, doesn’t strike fear into the hearts of opponents. Their lineup, however, is going to be a pain for opposing pitchers.
15. Thank God baseball is back!