Hope you didn't have anything planned for the next seven months... because real baseball has finally arrived.
Marlins 0 Nationals 2 – Two solo shots from Bryce Harper were all Stephen Strasburg needed to earn a victory over Miami on Monday. Harper is on pace for 324 home runs and 324 RBI, which sounds about right.
Padres 2 Mets 11 - If had told a Mets fan in October that Collin Cowgill and Marlon Byrd would be in the Opening Day lineup, he/she probably would have sobbed. The pair played hero Monday afternoon, plating six of the club’s 11 runs.
Cubs 3 Pirates 1 – Jeff Samardzija blanked the Bucs for eight innings, striking out nine. Carlos Marmol came in for the save but was pulled after four batters, leaving Kyuji Fujikawa to close the door.
Rockies 4 Brewers 5 (F. 10)– Milwaukee’s bLOLpen picked up right where it left off in 2012, blowing a one-run lead in the ninth. Jonathan Lucroy saved the day in the 10th for the Brew Crew with a walk-off sac fly.
Angels 3 Reds 1 (F. 13) – Chris Iannetta did all the damage for the Halos, knocking a solo home run in the third and the game-winning single in the 13th. The Reds’ only run in the marathon came via a wild pitch.
Mariners 2 Athletics 0 - It wasn't quite Clayton Kershaw's performance, but Felix Hernandez was still stellar for the M's over 7⅔. Seattle has now won seven consecutive Opening Day games, while Oakland has lost nine straight.
Phillies 5 Braves 7 - Cole Hamels' powers must have been tied to his mustache. The southpaw gave up three long balls on the day, including one to an Upton brother, putting the Phillies in a hole they couldn't quite climb out of.
Cardinals 2 D'Backs 6 - If we're keeping score, just two of the three pitchers to sign a massive extension this winter pitched well on Monday. Wainwright is the third. Gerardo Parra mashed three doubles on the day for the D'Backs.
The Big Three
1. There always seems to be one Opening Day injury of note, and this year the unlucky soul was Reds left fielder Ryan Ludwick. The veteran dislocated his right shoulder while sliding headfirst into third base following a wild pitch from Angels starter Jered Weaver. Ludwick will undergo an MRI today to learn the extent of the injury. Chris Heisey is a solid replacement no matter how long Ludwick is out, but I wonder if the injury will push forward the timeline the club had in mind for speedster Billy Hamilton. I'm crossing my fingers in the hopes that it will eventually force Cincinnati's hand on Hamilton. If Ludwick's injury doesn't, then Shin-Soo Choo's suspect defense in center sure should.
2. Alfonso Soriano didn't raise his trade value much on Opening Day, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, but that doesn't change the inevitability that the Cubs are going to deal him at some point this year. Theo Epstein told reporters on Monday that the club is keeping "all options open" on the veteran left fielder, which is essentially a nice way of saying they're going to wait a few months before sending him on his merry way. Given the quick hook on Carlos Marmol yesterday, one has to imagine that he'll be on his way out pretty quickly as well if they can find a taker.
3. I think the Pirates are probably somewhat relieved that second baseman Neil Walker has decided to table extension discussions now that the season has begun. It's not that Walker isn't a good player, or that the Bucs shouldn't lock him up for a few more years, but the way money has been thrown around the last couple weeks, I know I'd breathe a huge sign of relief if I got to hold to my money a bit longer. Maybe the market will settle down some next fall and they can get a more team-friendly deal. Walker is in his first year of arbitration, so there's still some time yet.
In Other News...
1. The White Sox did some last-minute shopping on Monday, acquiring first baseman Lars Anderson from the Toronto Blue Jays for cash considerations. The former top prospect has floated around quite a bit the last few months, but he may actually find some playing time with the ChiSox.
2. The Tigers may be looking to acquire outfielder Casper Wells, who was recently DFA-ed by the Seattle Mariners. Detroit has been on the lookout for a righty-hitting outfielder for a while, and once they realize Matt Tuiasasopo's spring numbers were a mirage, they're going to wish they had Wells. Better go ahead and get him then.
3. The Nationals aren't close a long-term deal with shortstop Ian Desmond, and one reporter believes the talks have "never been serious." If they are serious, the Elvis Andrus proceedings may serve to make things even more difficult, given Mike Rizzo's hesitancy to offer big deals.