Opening Day a good indicator of what's to come
AP Photo/Charles Krupa
OPENING DAY: WHAT TO WATCH FOR
By Rick Sutcliffe, ESPNOpening Day always has an extra special atmosphere to it. It seems so much more important than most regular-season games, it's really almost like a playoff game.
BEST OF THE BLOGSEach day, ESPN.com's contributors offer a wide array of thoughts and analysis in their blogs. Opening Day comes with endless optimism. Buster Olney, though, provides a reality check: The optimism that manifests itself in every spring training began to seep away Sunday at 8 p.m., just like clockwork, when Brett Myers throws the first pitch. For 30 teams, the hopeful notion of What Might Be is quickly replaced by the hard reality of What Is. On Opening Night two years ago, the St. Louis Cardinals were the defending champions, and Chris Carpenter, their ace, pitched six innings -- through a nagging ache in his arm. He would not pitch again the entire season, and the Cardinals were left to try to grind through the next six months without their lead horse. Some of the places where there will be an immediate reality check: 1. Chicago. On paper, the Cubs' rotation is deep and formidable. But as the season begins, they have to be concerned about what Rich Harden will contribute. Pitching against the Yankees on Saturday, Harden's fastball was consistently clocked in the range of 85 to 89 mph -- touching 90 mph only a few times -- but you really didn't need the radar gun to tell you that he is not close to being the same pitcher who dominated in the first five months of last season. For the rest of this entry from Buster Olney's blog, click here.
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Analyst: Peter Gammons, John Kruk, Chris Singleton
|12 a.m. ET
|Host: Steve Berthiaume
Analyst: John Kruk, Chris Singleton
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SUNDAY'S BEST AND WORST
|• Not a bad debut with Atlanta for Derek Lowe. The right-hander allowed two hits over eight shutout innings, did not issue a walk and struck out four as the Braves dropped the Phillies on opening night in Philadelphia.||WORST|
|• A reminder that Opening Day doesn't always come with warm weather. The season opener between the White Sox and Royals was postponed Sunday because the forecast in Chicago called for snow Monday. Mark Buehrle will have to wait another day before taking the mound for the White Sox.|
ESPN researcher Mark Simon digs deep, looking for the night's best baseball numbers.Tonight, he takes a historical look at Opening Day.
|Opening day bests (entering 2009 season)|
|Best team W-L||Mets||30-17 (.638)|
|Best team W-L since 1990||Yankees||13-6 (.684)|
|Current win streak||Brewers||5|
|Current losing streak||Rangers||5|
|BA (active players)||Xavier Nady||.522|
|ERA (active players)||Jake Peavy||0.45|
|HR (active players)||Ken Griffey Jr.||7|
AMERICAN LEAGUE'S TOP STORIES
NATIONAL LEAGUE'S TOP STORIES
NUMBERS TO KNOW
Francisco Liriano spent much of last season dominating in the minors. Liriano felt he was ready to return to the Twins, but he wasn't brough back until August. Once recalled, Liriano made sure to show the Twins what they had been missing, as he went 6-1 with a 2.74 ERA. Liriano used his dominant slider and an ability to get batters to swing at bad pitches.
|Francisco Liriano (2008)|
|MLB avg.||MLB rank|
|BA against slider||.125||.220||8|
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