Behind the ScoreboardApril 07, 2009
Opening Day
By Sky Andrecheck

Well, Opening Day is in the books. What can you take away after one game? Not a whole lot, but I'll do my best here to look at who's smiling and who's worrying after Day 1.

Worrying - NY Yankees: The Yanks went and spent big money on CC Sabathia and he did not reward them on Opening Day, getting pounded for six runs, eight hits, five walks, and zero strikeouts. We now get to see whether the heavy workload the Brewers put on him will take its toll in 2009. A few more starts like this and fans will be giving him the Bronx cheer all year long. In other news, Mark Teixeira went 0-4 with 5 left on base. Perhaps it's good that the Yanks started on the road this year.

Worrying - Cleveland Indians: Cliff Lee had a Cinderella story in 2008. He entered the season with a lifetime ERA of 4.64, but dominated the league going 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA. After Monday's performance (5 IP, 7 ER, 10 H), should the Tribe be worried he'll turn back into a pumpkin in 2009? He clearly turned a corner last year, but he hasn't exactly been the model of consistency throughout his career. Opening Day didn't exactly instill confidence that he can keep it going in 2009.

Worrying - Kosuke Fukudome: He set the world on fire in his first two months in 2008, but then the league caught up to him and his second half consisted of looking lost at the plate. Monday's performance was more of the same - ground out to second, strikeout looking, ground out to second for a double play, fly out to left. Fukudome is an outstanding right fielder, but that advantage is negated when they put him in center as they did last night. Only Piniella knows how long they'll stick with him - as a Cubs fan, I hope it's not long.

Worrying - St. Louis Cardinals: Any time you go with a closer who has 12 innings of major league experience, you are playing with fire. On Monday, Tony LaRussa got burned with Jason Motte (1 IP, 4 ER, 4H). Motte dominated the minor leagues the past few seasons, but the Cards will have to determine quickly if he can close at the major league level. If not, they'll need to find an answer at the back end of their pen soon if they are to contend.

Smiling - Atlanta Braves: Derek Lowe, Atlanta's big free agent acquisition, pitched a gem (8 IP, 2 H, 0 BB). He's been a consistent performer over the past several years, but he will be 36 this year - if the Braves are to contend they'll need him in top form. Additionally, hot prospect Jordan Schafer homered in his first at-bat - can't beat that. Defeating the World Champs and division rival Philadelphia was a nice bonus too.

Smiling - NY Mets: J.J. Putz and K-Rod did what they were paid the big bucks to do (1 inning apiece, 0 runs, 0 hits). If they pitch like they are supposed to, the combo of Santana, Putz, and K-Rod will be awfully tough to beat in the post-season this year. Now that the Mets have fixed their leaky bullpen, it's a lot more likely they'll actually get there this season.

Smiling - LA Angels: Yes, it's only Game #1, but their game against the Oakland A's had probably the biggest pennant race implications of the day. For teams that most picked to go 1-2 in the AL West, every game between them will be big. The Angels now have a 1 game head start.

Now that opening day is over, there are 161 more games to find the other storylines in what should be another exciting season of baseball.