So, the grand festivities of the double-pronged Opening Day are finally over. There were a lot of good games on the two days, especially on Sunday. The Cardinals walked off on Sunday Night Baseball against Mike Montgomery and the defending World Series champion Cubs. Madison Bumgarner hit two home runs (one to left center; then a deep bomb to left) against the Diamondbacks. Then Mark Melancon blew the save and let Jeff Mathis and Daniel Descalso be heroes for the Diamondbacks. Yesterday, the Jays and Orioles were locked in a game that went to extras until the latter won in the 11th inning on a Mark Trumbo bomb. Then, there were some bad ones as well, which deserve a little more analysis than just one sentence.
- San Diego @ Los Angeles: This game ended up being a lopsided 14-3 game for the Dodgers, but was not without a lot of stuff to talk about. Jhoulys Chacin has to be one of the weirdest nominees for an Opening Day starter ever, even for the Padres. Chacin’s line was not be so bad (3.1 IP, 9 R on 8 H, 2 K and 2 BB) if not for who replaced him. The Padres have been more than open about their conversion of Christian Bethancourt to this Babe Ruth-esque player who can play pitcher and catch. (Yes, Ruth never played catcher, but the idea is the same.)
- Realistic scouts and fans read right through that facade. That was the case yesterday. Bethancourt uncorked two wild pitches and then gave up a three-run home run to Corey Seager. Just because Bethancourt threw 97 mph last year in a lopsided game as the position player pitcher is not a guarantee he can do it full time. No one will be surprised if the Padres give up that idea sooner than later.
- Philadelphia @ Cincinnati: Without even talking about the delays to get into Great American Ball Park, this game had to be one of the most boring of Opening Day. Cincinnati is in a rebuilding phase. They have traded all their big bats away that had reasonable contracts (Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce) while keeping their stalwart at first base, Joey Votto. In similar vibes to the Chacin start in LA, Scott Feldman was the Opening Day starter for the Reds. This is the same Scott Feldman who has been jumping franchises for the last four seasons after being with the Rangers for so long. First inning he gives up a two-run home run to Cesar Hernandez. The fans were into him right away, shrouding him in boos. Really, Reds fans? Why are we booing someone in the first inning of game one on Opening Day? The team is rebuilding, what could you possibly expect?
- Kansas City @ Minnesota: Ervin Santana pitched an excellent game for the Minnesota Twins. That was nice to see, especially for a team that had won only 59 games last season. Santana is possibly a trade deadline piece to watch. More performances like Monday’s will make him valuable bait (7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 3 K). On the other side, ouch. Danny Duffy was excellent again (6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 8 K), but behind him was a total nightmare. Rookie Matt Strahm melted down and gave up four runs in 1/3 of the 7th inning. Offseason signing Travis Wood gave up two more runs in his 1/3 of the 7th inning. Instead of a pitcher’s duel to the end, the game ended up lopsided. The Royals are hoping that is not a sign of things to come, because people will question why Wade Davis was traded.
- New York @ Tampa Bay: Masahiro Tanaka did not have a great Opening Day. In fact, he had a miserable one (2 2/3 innings, 7 R on 8 H and 2 HR). Tanaka’s Opening Day was the shortest since Ron Guidry in 1983. The offense also had a bad day, with Gary Sanchez having a 0-5 day. The offense missed a lot of missed RISP opportunities, especially in the 9th inning. These are days when one wishes social media did not exist in baseball. Using social media during the Yankees game, there was a lot of moaning and complaining about a game that was literally the first of the season. Could you imagine if social media existed during the early 1990s? When a team that is at least expected to throw up 82 wins is being complained about on day one, there is a problem. Regardless, it is one game; it is not time to throw up panic signs.
- Colorado @ Milwaukee: To say this was a bad game would be a poor decision. This game was excellent. A fight for both teams with a lot of missed RISP opportunities. Mark Reynolds hit his usual bomb for home run #252. However, Milwaukee, also a team in rebuilding, lost their “ace” for a couple starts in Junior Guerra. Guerra hurt himself in the 3rd inning after laying down a sacrifice bunt. He was diagnosed with a calf strain and will be on the shelf. Hopefully this ends up being nothing, but if it ends up becoming something, Milwaukee may lose a good trading piece.
Opening Day is over. Real baseball is here. It is going to be a while. Just do not overreact to everything of day one.