As winter fades away and flowers begin to bloom the warm weather of spring brings with it the dawn of a new season of baseball. Ever since the final pitch of the World Series baseball fans everywhere have been waiting months for two words, play ball. I will be taking a look at last night’s match-ups along with my predictions for opening day.
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Even on a chilly day in the ‘burgh PNC Park still looks like a dang good place to be to watch some baseball. In the first official game of the season two NL central rivals clashed in what could be a preview of the NL wildcard game. Francisco Liriano was the MVP of the game yesterday going 6 shut-out innings with 3 hits and a 10/5 K/BB. Liriano looks untouchable for most of the game, with his only downfall being the five walks he surrendered. On the flip side Adam Wainwright did not look sharp today surrendering three runs in six innings with only three strikeouts. While he was able to grind out a quality start, Waino did not look like his dominate self. Missing his spots on numerous occasions. Was this just the first game jitters, or a preliminary sign of Wainwright’s decline? Only time will tell. The Pirates were able to grab a victory on the field, along with a win in the front office. The team was able to sign the promising young outfielder Gregory Polanco to a 5 year $35-million-dollar deal. With this deal the Pirates have locked down the best outfield in baseball while not breaking the bank. With a small market team like Pittsburgh this deal was monumental in allowing them to expand their timetable to stay competitive in the difficult NL Central.
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Ray
This matchup had two young aces take the mound in Marcus Stroman and Chris Archer. Stroman looked great today for the Blue Jays being able to go 8 innings only to be pulled after giving up a huge bomb to Corey Dickerson. The Blue Jays provided Marcus with plenty of run support which included a two run shot by Troy Tulowitzki for the season’s first homerun. Archer did not look his best today only being able to go five innings, but in that span he was able to record an unprecedented 12 strikeouts. I was impressed by Toronto yesterday, which have further cemented them as my World Series favorites for this year.
Kansas City Royals vs. New York Mets
A rematch of last year’s World Series rounded out the first day of games. I was interested to see how the Royals played after their championship last year. I was worried the glory had gone to their heads especially considering gold trim victory uniforms. Once the game began all these worries dissipated. The Royals looked like the same team from a year ago. They were able to scrape out runs along with pitching that was consistent yet unflashy. This simple formula has been working for the Royals for the past two seasons and it continued to be effective on Sunday. For the Mets, the Dark Night looked more like Robin on the mound last night. Harvey was only able to go 5.2 innings and gave up 4 runs with an uncharacteristically low two strikeouts. I guess Matt has not been able to shake off his collapse in game 5 of the World Series. Hopefully he will be able to get back to his winning ways in his next start.
Opening Day Predicted Winners
San Francisco Giants vs. Milwaukee Brewers
Minnesota Twins vs. Baltimore Orioles
Seattle Mariners vs. Texas Rangers
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Cincinnati Reds
Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Diego Padres
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Rays
Colorado Rockies vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
Chicago Cubs vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Chicago White Sox vs. Oakland A’s
Featured image: By abrowncoat CC BY-SA 2.0