Opening Day lived up to all its expectations, as it does every year. We had multiple extra-inning games, a few dramatic late-inning home runs, some impressive pitching performances by some of the games top young arms, and of course Mike Trout did something incredible. Buster Posey hit a mammoth game-winning bomb in the ninth inning on the road, and the Angels look like they are in trouble on the mound again.
MLB Opening Day - News & Notes
Francisco Liriano took a giant step towards silencing the critics who say he's a good-every-other-year type of pitcher. His evolving changeup ensures that he has two top-notch off-speed offerings with which to attack hitters in critical moments of games, and both were on full display on Monday.
He wiggled out of a two-on nobody out jam in the sixth, highlighted by getting Mike Olt to pop up for the second out. Liriano fell behind Olt 2-0 and threw a great backdoor slider for a called strike, following that up with a yo-yo change that got Olt to flail for the second strike. He eventually got him to pop up after evening the count, but it was that 2-1 change up that he was always leery of throwing in the past that got him that sixth and final zero on the scoreboard. Liriano was ranked much too low heading into the season, so if you bought low on a guy with tremendous upside, it looks like you hit this one out of the park.
Here are some more observations from last night's MLB games:
- Junior Lake looks like a player for Chicago. He may be roster-worthy by the end of the month-- keep tabs on this guy.
- Salvador Perez made a tremendous opening argument in his case for superstardom in 2014: 4-for-4, and 3-for-3 off of Justin Verlander is good, right?
- The Phillies are not dead, but they still have issues on the mound from top to bottom. They will not be as bad as people thought, but this is not a playoff-bound team.
- Grady Sizemore...wait I can't yet. Check back in a week, maybe I will.
- Jose Abreu announced his presence with authority, getting hard hits in his first two at bats in the majors. Abreu is going to have a good year, and I hope you listened to me when I said he was a great target after Round 7.
- New hitting coach Frank Menechino has the young Marlins hitters thinking more up the middle, and at least for a day it paid off. If he can harness Ozuna's talent, and get a .280 year out of Adeiny Hechavarria, than the Marlins might have enough pitching to hang around in the Wild Card race for a while. If Menechino can get Giancarlo Stanton to commit to being a hitter first and a slugger second, we may have a new NL MVP.
- R.A. Dickey continues to be a mess when pitching indoors. I still think the Blue Jays have a good lineup, but with that pitching staff, they might be looking at another uneventful summer up north.
- Jered Weaver was throwing a lot of 84 mph fastballs on Monday night. He is not going to live up to his draft price, but he still has enough guts and smarts to avoid getting roughed up too much. Still, his time of being an ace is over. I tried to warn you all before the season, and this only further proves my point.
- The Giants bullpen is going to be an issue sooner rather than later. Romo doesn't look right, but he has gained so much trust in this organization that it may be months before a shakeup ensues. I love watching him pitch, but his slider might be hitting the K-Rod wall, and that changeup does not look like a quality offering just yet.