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From Opening Night to Opening Day

The only thing that really helped mitigate the White Sox' win last night for me was that it was a Cleveland loss, and Cleveland is quite possibly the better team in the first place.

But, now that we're past the first game, we get a nearly full slate of thirteen games today.  Either MLB hates Canada or it hates the Twins, because the Blue Jays and the Twins will be the last teams to open the season, as they don't get to play today.  The season won't feel like it's really started until the Twins play, but until then, games that count will do quite nicely.

Some notes on the first day's scheduled action:

  • I'm intrigued by the Brandon Webb vs. Jason Jennings matchup at Colorado.  Webb is one of the most extreme groundball pitchers in baseball, the sort of guy you might think would be great in Colorado.  Guys with good breaking balls seem to complain that they don't break as well in Colorado.  I wonder if the same thing is true for pitches that sink.  Because if it is, and pitchers just can't get movement on their pitches in Colorado, it seems like a lost cause for Colorado to ever assemble a reasonably good pitching staff.
  • Just how bad is the Royals' pitching staff?  Scott Elarton is their opening day starter, and PECOTA forecasts him to be roughly 2 runs below replacement level this year.  The implication being, of course, that the Royals were so inept at assembling a pitching staff, that they couldn't get a single pitcher who can be at least replacement level.  In actuality, it has more to do with the Royals thinking that Elarton is better than he actually is.  I feel for Royals fans in a late-90s Twins fan sort of way.
  • In a similar vein, although Aaron Harang had a pretty nice season last year, and figures to be a decent pitcher, I think it's a bad sign for your pitching staff when he's headed out to the mound for opening day.
  • I like the Yankees-A's matchup as the best matchup of the day.  Each team has a legit chance to win their division, heck, a legit chance to win the ALCS, and a Zito vs. Johnson pitching matchup is mighty tasty.  This could be a preview of Game 1 of the ALCS.