Opening Day 3
I had the opportunity to catch most of the first game of the 2009 Major League Baseball season when the Atlanta Braves defeated the reigning champion Philadelphia Phillies by the score of 4-1. Phillies starter Brett Myers did not look comfortable on the mound and he allowed four runs on eight hits and a walk over six innings. The biggest issue with Myers appeared to be a lack of confidence in his fastball. The right-hander began to rely on his secondary pitches too much during the game. The fastballs came mostly early on in the at-bats. Myers favored his change-up as his out-pitch in the beginning, but switched to the curveball after giving up a home run to Atlanta catcher Brian McCann on the off-speed pitch.
It was only one game, but Jeff Francoeur looked much more comfortable at the plate. It also appeared like a huge weight was lifted off his shoulders after he hit that home run; He can now hopefully put the demons to rest after a horrendous 2008 season. His home run, though, came on the first pitch he saw in 2009 so maybe he hasn't learned from his mistakes... or has he? Franceour then saw seven pitches in his second at-bat. That is actually more impressive than the home run.
Chipper Jones looked great and is one of the smartest hitters in the game right now. Can he actually stay healthy for a full season, though?
Jordan Schafer had a very nice MLB debut, which included a home run in his first at-bat. Hopefully he does not get it in his head that he's a power hitter. How many people in your fantasy baseball league went out and picked up Schafer after that first game. Yeah, they'll be at the bottom of the standings when the season ends.
If Derek Lowe can continue to throw like that for the entire life of his new contract (four years, $60 million), then he'll be the steal of the 2008-09 off-season.
Is it just me, or does Ryan Howard look to be in better shape?
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I also have a couple quick thoughts from the Texas-Cleveland game, which ended in favor of the Rangers by the score of 9-1.
Obviously Cliff Lee was not sharp after allowing seven runs on 10 hits in five innings, but he's still going to have a pretty good year. That said, he's not going to win 20 again and he may have been one of the most overrated players coming into the season. Nothing in his past would suggest that he had the potential to win a Cy Young award.
Ian Kinsler missed most of the last two months of the 2008 season. It looks like that was also the last time he had a haircut.
20-year-old rookie Elvis Andrus - in the Majors for his defense - went just 1-for-4 but showed a little more pop in his bat than I had expected.