The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Opening Day

↵To baseball fans, it's somewhat ridiculous that Opening Day was overshadowed by a Tiger Woods press conference and the NCAA title game. Sure, those are both big events, but Opening Day is a national holiday, or as some have said in Philadelphia, a national Halladay. Zing! ↵

↵

↵So, if your sports day was filled with Tiger and Butler and Duke (oh my), here's a look at some of the good, the bad and the ugly from Monday's official start of the season. ↵

↵

↵The Good ↵
↵Offense. In all 13 games on Monday – 14 if you include Sunday night's game as well – the winning teams scored five or more runs. Assuming every team opens the season with its potential ace – more on that later – it's a good sign for teams like, say, the Pirates, who scored 11 runs to start the season. In fact, the Pirates only scored double-digit runs 12 times in 2009 and ranked last in the NL in runs scored last year, so this is definitely a good start. ↵

↵

↵The Long Ball. If you include Sunday's offensive outburst, 35 different players hit a homerun on Opening Day, including Garrett Jones of Pittsburgh and Albert Pujols of the Cardinals. Jones hit 21 homers last year in 82 games (314 at bats). He's now on pace to hit 324 this season, which would be a slight increase over his production last year. ↵

↵

↵The biggest home run may have come from Braves right fielder Jason Heyward, who went 2-5 with four RBI and a three-run homer in his first career MLB at-bat, helping the Braves put up 16 runs on Carlos Zambrano and the Cubs. ↵

↵

↵Placido Polanco. While all the headlines are about Roy Halladay's fantastic debut for Philadelphia – 7IP, 6H, 1ER, 2BB, 9K, 88 pitches – Polanco went 3-5 with a grand slam and six RBI in his reintroduction to Philadelphia. ↵

↵

↵Mark Buehrle. We had the video yesterday of Buehrle's amazing play, deflecting the batted ball off his shin, then tracking it down in foul ground and scooping it through his own legs to record the out. ↵

↵
↵⇥"When stuff like that happens, it surprised me just like it did 40,000 people here today," Buehrle said. "It's one of those when you are running over to do, you see a play happening, you are saying, 'Do I slide and spin or grab the ball and throw it?' Every thought went through my head but that one." ↵
↵Not to be outdone by his own fielding, Buehrle also pitched seven innings of three-hit baseball, shutting out the Indians to start the season. ↵

↵The Bad ↵
↵Ryan Howard. Chalk me up to being a hypercritical Phillies fan, but I'm putting Howard in this category. Why? Because I picked Howard to be the NL MVP this season, and despite a statistically good day in Washington – two hits, including a two-run upper-deck bomb, and no strikeouts, Howard left eight men on base, including a groundout and (deep) flyout with the bases loaded. Howard also went 0-4 with RISP. ↵

↵

↵Josh Johnson. Everyone is talking about the Phillies and the Braves, but the Marlins did finish in second place in the NL East last season with a good, young roster of talent. Losing to the Mets is not a great way to start the season, as Johnson gave up four runs on five hits in just five innings. ↵

↵

↵Cleveland's Offense. The Indians hit just .133 off Buehrle and company, with the 2-3-4-5-6 hitters of Grady Sizemore, Shin-Soo Choo, Travis Hafner, Jhonny Peralta and Matt LaPorta going a whopping 1-17 with five strikeouts and one walk. ↵

↵

↵The Ugly ↵
↵There is almost too much to choose from in this category. Four stat lines stand out the most, and they're all from pitchers. ↵

↵

↵Vicente Padilla. Who would have thought that Padilla would be the Opening Day starter for Joe Torre and the Dodgers? They might be rethinking that decision now, as Padilla lasted just 4.1 innings, giving up seven earned runs on six hits, including two home runs. He walked three guys and hit another two, just for good measure. ↵

↵

↵Jason Bergmann. Bergmann used to be a starter for the Nationals but lost his spot in the rotation, and that says a lot if you've taken a gander at the Nationals rotation. Bergmann's stat line is .1IP, 1H, 1ER, which isn't terrible if you don't realize the fact that Bergmann gave up the grand slam to Polanco in one of the only two batters he faced. This leads me to my long-standing gripe with crediting earned runs to pitchers. All inherited runners are the responsibility of the pitcher who allowed them to reach base, but if we put such an importance on RISP for hitters, why not for pitchers as well? ↵

↵

↵Why not make the incoming pitcher accountable for any runners not in scoring position. If you're a reliever and you have a man on first base, it should be your responsibility to not let that man score. It may be confusing on in the boxscore, but I believe that if a reliever enters the game with two outs and a man on second, he should share the responsibility of the earned run with the departing pitcher. Go ahead, statheads, crush me for that one. ↵

↵ ↵

↵Jeff Samardzija. The Cubs had a tough time pitching yesterday, but one of the ugliest lines was that of Samardzija. Starting the seventh inning on the mound, the former Notre Dame standout lasted just one-third of an inning, giving up six runs (four earned) on two hits and three walks. His ERA is 108.00. ↵

↵

↵Big Z. Carlos Zambrano had to have the worst start of any pitcher on Opening Day, going 1.1 innings and giving up eight earned runs on six hits and two walks. Big Z also gave up two home runs, hit a guy, had a throwing error that led to a run and faced just 13 batters on the day. ↵

↵

↵There are no day games today, after a full slate of day games yesterday, which means we have to wait until 7:10 p.m. for more baseball. That's pretty ugly as well. ↵

↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.