By Jason Wojciechowski on April 4, 2006 at 7:42 PM
I refuse to talk further about the Oakland debacle last night. It makes me sick to my stomach.
Instead, let's take a stroll through the rest of the Opening Day (Part 2!) box scores.
- I got to watch the Red Sox beat Texas 7-3. I don't particularly like either team (Boston's a big-money behemoth, Texas is a dumb big-money team), so my rooting was based solely on divisonal standing concerns: Texas = AL West = boo! Curt Schilling was somewhat sharp. He wasn't great, and while his two runs in seven innings are fine, I wouldn't advise throwing so many pitches (117) next time out if he wants to keep going deep into games. The only other item of note for me is that Ian Kinsler made his major league debut at second base for the Rangers. He got a hit in his first time up, at which point he should have retired.
- Baltimore beat the Devil Rays 9-6 as Scott Kazmir got slapped around for six runs in four innings. Eleven baserunners (three of them on walks) isn't going to endear you to anybody, Scott. The Orioles hit four homers and featured a lineup that had Ramon Hernandez, not exactly a punchless wonder, batting ninth. Hernandez, one of those ex-A's I like to root for, went 3-3 (all singles) with a walk.
- In the "who cares" series, Detroit beat Kansas City 3-1. I should be nicer, because there are a few people who apparently picked Detroit to be in the playoff hunt. I don't see it, not with the Twins, White Sox, and Indians ahead of them, but Kenny Rogers sure put up an ace line last night: six innings, one run, 81 pitches. Rogers got more attention last year for the cameraman incident, but let's not forget that he's been a really nice pitcher for a really long time. This is his 18th season in the majors, yet he's had just three years where his ERA+ was under 100. Some teams are happy to have LAIMs (League Average Innings Munchers) in their rotation, but Rogers brings some kind of ALAIM flair to the table.
- The Angels were the only AL West team to start the year 1-0, beating Seattle 5-4 by scoring two tie-breaking runs in the top of the ninth, then withstanding a Roberto Petagine solo homer in the bottom half. Petagine gets the award for "best start to the year" since that clutch homer came in a pinch-hit appearance and gave the top of the M's order a chance to try to scratch out the one more run they needed. Kenji Johjima also had a nice start to his major league career, popping a homer in his second at-bat. That immediately assures the Mariners that Johjima will out-homer Jason Kendall this year.
- The new-look Mets got off to a good start, beating Washington 3-2 behind a solid six-inning performance by Tom Glavine. Xavier Nady is another rooting interest of mine: I'm glad to see he went 4-4 with a pair of doubles. It's going to take a while to get used to seeing "A Soriano LF" in the boxscores. Of course, as soon as we've all adjusted, he'll get traded to Seattle or somewhere, and they'll move him back to the infield.
- I'm officially a Prince Fielder fan. While he did get 59 at-bats last year, they came sporadically. Based purely on total at-bats in a game, it looks like Fielder didn't start more than seven or eight of the 39 games he appeared in last season. Thus, his game last night could be seen as a debut of sorts, a welcome to the Fielder era in Milwaukee. Prince, of course, inaugurated that era by striking out four times. Like I said, I'm a fan. By the way, the Brewers beat the Pirates.
- Chicago crushed the Reds. But at least Cincinnati's offense put up a fight, scoring seven runs. For the record, that's five more than Oakland scored last night, even though Carlos Zambrano might be just as much the pitcher that Randy Johnson is these days, if not better. Scott Hatteberg blasted a three-run homer in his Reds debut, and also (of course) walked twice. Adam Dunn is on pace for 162 errors, 162 homers, and 162 strikeouts on the year. I think only the middle number is not within reason.
- The Cardinals beat the Phillies 13-5, riding an eight-run fourth inning to victory. The Phillies managed 14 hits, including eight for extra bases, but only scored five runs. The Cardinals still have an amazing middle of the order, but the guys filling out around it are singularly unintimidating: Eckstein, Juan Encarnacion, So Taguchi, Yadier Molina, and Aaron Miles were the crew last night. The Philadelphia lineup, by contrast, had Ryan Howard, Aaron Rowand, and Mike Lieberthal hitting 6-7-8.
- Colorado and Arizona went to eleven in Denver, with the Rockies pulling it out, 3-2. Eric Byrnes hit a double and Danny Ardoin threw out a runner trying to steal. Forgive me for not getting more excited.
- Atlanta took a wild one from the Dodgers, 11-10. Los Angeles scored five runs over the last two innings, but (obviously) came up short. Tim Hudson gave up five runs in four innings, but Derek Lowe was worse, allowing eight (seven earned) in five frames. Jeff Francoeur began what is nearly certain to be a huge sophomore slump by going 0-5.
- San Diego took out the Giants, who inexplicably had Barry Bonds batting fourth behind Randy Winn, Omar Vizquel, and Ray Durham. Bonds hit a double, but Jake Peavy was in control. Mike Piazza came out of the grave to pop a solo homer in his first Padres at-bat. He then quickly headed back to the grave when 38-year old Omar Vizquel swiped third base off of him.
- Houston and Florida had themselves a good old fashioned 1-0 pitchers' duel with Roy Oswalt and Brad Lidge beating the Marlins' bullpen. Dontrelle Willis gave up just one hit through five innings, but his three walks are emblematic of control problems that helped him throw 107 pitches, forcing Florida to go to the 'pen. Josh Johnson promptly gave up the only run in the game. Hanley Ramirez had a great debut for the Marlins, making two errors and getting caught stealing. Jeremy Hermida and Josh Willingham, a couple of Florida's other exciting youngsters, each went 1-3, with Hermida adding a walk.
Today's best pitching matchup comes from the Twins-Jays tilt. They didn't play yesterday, so each team has their ace (Santana and Halladay) going. Oakland sends Rich Harden against Mike Mussina in a game the A's really ought to win. Harden should quickly show that he's the best pitcher on the team this year, and tonight's game would be a good place to start.