Opening Day Thoughts

Like the crane kick from Ty Wigginton.

A few thoughts on Opening Day:

  • Roy Halladay dominated as usual. He allowed two hits and struck out five in eight scoreless innings. Much has been made about his 5.73 ERA this spring — he hadn’t had worse than a 4.00 ERA in his previous six springs — but I think a few things went into that. First, this team has enough concerns with its offense (i.e. injuries to Ryan Howard and Chase Utley). An injury or slippage from one of the Big Three could be catastrophic and had fans wearing the worst. Second, there already was last month’s report that Halladay isn’t throwing as hard or looking as sharp. Third, Halladay acknowledged his right arm has a lot of miles on it. That is something everybody knows, but I think it hit some people that, “Hey, this guy isn’t going to pitch forever. Is he winding down earlier than we thought?” Halladay’s fastball averaged 90.16 mph yesterday, according to pitch f/x data. It topped out at 90.9. Last year his fastball averaged 91.3 mph. What do we make of this? He isn’t throwing as hard, but it’s just one start and it’s early in the season (obviously). But hitting is timing and pitching is upsetting timing. Halladay is a master on the mound because he changes speeds and has pinpoint control of his pitches. Losing a little on his fastball shouldn’t make him Adam Eaton. (God forbid). And I believe in a player’s track record. Until Halladay shows he isn’t one of the best pitchers in baseball — if not the best — I will continue to expect him to be one of the best pitchers in baseball. I’m sure the Pirates thought he was yesterday.
  • The offense didn’t alleviate any of its concerns, but it’s one game.
  • Charlie Manuel started John Mayberry Jr. in left field, in part because he wanted the righty-lefty matchup against Pirates left-hander Erik Bedard, but also because he wanted to show a little faith in Mayberry. Mayberry, who had a bad spring, rewarded him, going 2-for-4 with a double and making a couple nice catches in left field. Mayberry is this lineup’s wild card. If he can continue last season’s success it would be a huge boost to the offense while Howard and Utley are out.
  • Freddy Galvis bounced into a couple double plays in his first two at-bats, but he looked good in the field. That’s why the Phillies have him. He can play defense, which is what you want with Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels.
  • Jonathan Papelbon showed us Cinco Ocho for the first time.

*

Jim Salisbury and I co-authored the book The Rotation, which is now available. Check it out here!
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  • April 26: Barnes & Noble in Marlton, NJ, 7 p.m.
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10 Comments

For crying out loud…NO mention of Chooch going 3 for 3 and giving us the ONLY RBI. The guy that led in average in spring training and struck out once or twice in that tune up time. Sheesh. Come on…. generally I LOVE what you write and do.

Jeff
Lancaster, PA

Another season of vapid blogs. Seriously, does Todd ever write anything for knowledgable fans? Halladay’s pending decline in pitch velocity! Galvis hitting into double plays – I think we saw, read or heard that yesterday.

MLB Pro Blog! Please.

Thanks, guys!

I agree… this is not much we didn’t see with our own eyes. One easy update you could give us is what’s happening on the farm. Reading, Clearwater and the Iron Pigs all opened their seasons. In Reading – one of the 3 “baby aces,” Jonathan Petibone had a pretty nice beginning to his season; 6IP, 1ER, 0bbs, but only 1 K. Leandro Castro was the hitting star, winning one of the games of the doubleheader with a walk off dinger. He had 2 ribbies in the other game. At Lehigh Valley, the Iron Pigs 1-hit the SWB Yanks, winning 3-0. Tyler Cloyd, who had a solid 2011 in Reading, was lights out, perfect for 6 innings… with 8k’s… Aumont, Diekman and Schwimmer finished it off with shutout innings. But Domonic Brown, hitting 5th, behind clean-up hitter Hector Luna (I don’t believe I just wrote that), went oh for 4, w/ 2 k’s… but no E’s!!!

Up at the top of the page it says “MLB Pro Blog.” Why would Todd update us on the minor leagues? You were right about one thing, when you wrote “I don’t believe I just wrote that.” Me neither.

Forgot to mention… Contreras didn’t fair well in his rehab assignment in Clearwater… gave up a dinger… and couldn’t complete an inning.

Not sure how Halladay’s FB velocity yesterday can be compared to last season. If Brook’s Baseball has it correct, he threw only 5 2 seamers, and exactly 0 four seamers yesterday.

Todd,

Not that you’re actually going to, but please pay no mind to these trolls. Terry, Jeff et al obviously spend a lot of time on the blog reading your stuff anyway since they have such a base of knowledge to comment. Last I checked, this is an MLB blog and I also checked the calendar and I think that yesterday was opening day, right? So, I for one would rather hear some thoughts on opening day rather than having to read Terry’s attempt to impress us with his piece to audition for the minor league blog position. Todd, keep providing great beat coverage as you’ve been doing for the past several years.

Speaking of rotation! Pledge your support!

SignHamels.com

And how about a little credit to Warren Spahn (hitting is timing, pitching is upsetting timing).

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