I feel awkward saying that I’m glad yesterday’s game was postponed. It was a gorgeous day on the South Side (or so I hear, seeing as I wasn’t there) for today’s ballgame.
The game didn’t look so hot in the first couple innings. In the second inning Mark Buehrle served up a home run to Royals’ third baseman Alex Gordon, putting them up 1-0 quickly. The Sox came back, though, in the bottom of the inning as Josh Fields drove in Jim Thome to tie it up at 1.
The Royals pulled ahead 2-1 and stayed there until the Sox opened up a can of “Dramatic Comeback” Energy Drink in the eighth inning. Fields led off with a single, followed by a pop fly to center field off the bat of Dewayne Wise (ending his strikeout streak at 3 consecutive). Chris Getz then singled, moving Fields to third. Up comes Carlos Quentin with the chance to put the Sox up by 2 runs with a blast to anywhere he wanted, but he struck out on a 1-2 pitch. That left everything up to veteran first baseman/designated hitter Jim Thome! And, wouldn’t you know, Mr. Incredible came through with a 3-run blast to dead center field to put the Sox up for good.
My number one concern going into the game was our bullpen. It hasn’t changed much since last year and the 2008 season was one of the worst I can recall for our relief corps. But Clayton Richard was a beast, mowing down all 6 hitters he faced in the 6th and 7th innings — collecting 1 strike out to go with it. I was really happy to hear Richard dominate the Royals (even though they are the Royals), followed by Dotel’s striking out the side in the 8th inning.
On the offensive side of the ball, I was really disappointed with Dewayne Wise’s performance. I know it’s only the first game but, watching the “highlights,” one of the balls he struck out on was obviously outside the zone and he needs to learn to stay away from those. I’ll also give him the benefit of the doubt seeing as it was his first Opening Day start and the butterfiels must’ve been fluttering like crazy.
Chris Getz, on the other hand, really impressed me. 2-4 with a double and a run scored is pretty darn good! Josh Fields went 2-3 with a pair of singles and a run batted in. Thome was, in my mind, the player of the game; going 3-4 with 3 batted in and the go-ahead home run is Opening Day-clutch to the max.
Fields’ play in the field also impressed me. Let me just say, real quick, that I think Fields is going to be an intricate piece of our success this year and is going to turn out to be something real special. His experience as a quarterback may turn out to be an advantage not many infielders can wield! He has an acceptional arm and a pretty long range for a young guy.
I could sit here and analyze all day, but I won’t. That’s boring and doesn’t make for a good read. Though it’s the job I’m pursuing, I’m not getting payed for it at this point so I’ll end my rant here.
Until tomorrow (following the 7:05 game), go Sox!