Friday, April 1, 2011
Opening Day 2: Things I'm watching
By David Schoenfield
Only 2,424 games left in the regular season ... (and, yes, I mean that in a good way).
A quick tour of stuff to pay attention to today:
1. You couldn't ask for an easier opponent for Roy Halladay to set the tone for Philly's fab rotation than the Astros, a team that finished 15th in the NL in runs in 2010. Halladay allowed four runs in two starts against Houston last season. I predict fewer than that today.
2. Terry Francona isn't messing around. He's starting Mike Cameron in right field instead of J.D. Drew. Why? Because Rangers starter C.J. Wilson destroyed lefties a year ago (.144/.224/.176).
3. Speaking of Wilson, he has as much on him as any pitcher in the majors. Can he prove his transition from the bullpen in 2010 wasn't a fluke?
4. Ubaldo Jimenez takes on the Diamondbacks. Will he start out again like he's Bob Gibson circa 1968?
5. Mets-Marlins should be fun with Josh Johnson going for Florida. He spent spring training trying to refine his changeup. Hard to believe he can get any better than last season. (Oh, former Mets GM Omar Minaya believes the Mets will be better than people think. Of course, he has no idea how bad I think they'll be.)
6. David Price faces the Orioles, which gives us a chance to check out Tampa's revamped bullpen and Baltimore's new lineup with Vladimir Guerrero and Derrek Lee. Price allowed one run in two starts against the O's last season.
7. Chad Billingsley starts for the Dodgers after signing his big contract extension. Other than Clayton Kershaw's dominant outing, the good news for the Dodgers on Opening Day was Matt Kemp drawing three walks. He'd never done that before. Considering plate discipline has been an issue, let's see if this is a sudden improvement in his approach.
8. Miguel Tejada. After a shaky spring training and a crucial error on Opening Day, Giants fans are already worried about shortstop. The backups are Mike Fontenot and Mark DeRosa, so there isn't really a good in-house option if Tejada falters.
9. Cubs manager Mike Quade. Apparently he rode the train to Wrigley the past couple of days and went unrecognized. Something tells me Lou or Dusty never did that.
10. Justin Morneau. He's in the starting lineup and let's hope he's fully recovered and as good as ever.
Follow David Schoenfield on Twitter at @dschoenfield. Follow the SweetSpot blog at @espn_sweet_spot.