As far as Opening Day’s go, this was a very roller coaster-y one. So roller coaster-y that I made up a word for it. That should make it clear… how much of a roller coaster… this Opening Day was.
I’m completely serious when I say this but to me this feels more like Christmas Eve than Christmas Eve does. I got my Sports Illustrated preview issue in the mail today and I knew we were close. When the Sporting News preview issue is released to stores I know that Spring Training is on it’s way, but when SI comes in the mail… it’s soon.
Yesterday’s game, with the exception of a few Opening Day jitters, was the best conceivable way to kick-off a season. There were dramatics, a complete annihilation of the Royals from our bullpen and then, to top it all off, a win! Couldn’t have been any better.
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!
The stupid snow was the cause of yesterdays cancellation but it looks like this game is going to get played today! I’ve been waiting since the final out of game 4 against the Rays for this day to arrive!
There are a few questions that are still on my mind. One has been answered as I’m positive Alexei Ramirez will make a smooth transition from second to short, but how will Chris Getz do in his first year? And how will Josh Fields handle being the everyday starting third baseman? We still need a real center fielder (not that Dewayne Wise isn’t, he’s just not the one I would like to have) and a real backup catcher.
Out starting staff looks healthy and strong! From what I’ve heard Jose Contreras and Bartolo Colon have lost some weight, which is good. The last spring training game I heard was a Colon start and he domintated in that game so that’s a good sign of things to come. And with Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd and John Danks at the top of the rotation, how can you lose?
I’m also happy to see that Mike MacDougal is in the bullpen once again! He’s always been one of my favorite relief pitchers and I’m glad to see him back on the roster.
With that out of the way, here are some of my goals for the 2009 season.
- Listen to every game on the radio!
- Watch every game on TV that I can get without cable.
- Keep score of every game. This is a tough one, even though I’m addicted to scorekeeping.
- Pressure my parents into letting me go to atleast one game.
If I can accomplish the first three I think the season will have been a success, no matter the outcome.
I’ll write another post with my thoughts on the game at some point after we beat the Royals.