MLB Opening Day 2010: News and Notes

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MLB Opening Day 2010: News and Notes
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Well, it's official. The 2010 Major League Baseball season has begun (except for the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays, who will play for the first time on Tuesday).

So, with one down and 161 more to go, let's take a moment to look back on the happenings of day number one.

Of course, the season couldn't start in a more dramatic fashion. Sunday night baseball, Yankees and Red Sox at Fenway Park. Josh Beckett going up against C.C. Sabathia. Lots of new faces for both clubs, but still the same old Yanks/Sox baseball. It was indeed a Clash of the Titans.

The Yankees got off to a roaring start, including back-to-back home runs in the second inning by the familiar face Jorge Posada and newcomer Curtis Granderson. Those two runs appeared to be all the big left-hander would need, as he cruised through five innings allowing just two runs.

Meanwhile, Beckett was having some troubles in his season debut. His command was off and his control was shaky. He did not look much like an ace on Sunday night. In just 4.2 innings, he allowed five earned runs on eight hits. He walked three and struck out just one—not a happy beginning for the righty.

But, as if the story were written before it was played out, the Red Sox came back to stun the Bronx Bombers.

In the home half of the seventh, Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run homer to tie the score at seven, and a subsequent passed ball by Posada allowed Kevin Youkilis to score the go-ahead, and eventual game-winning, run. And this, ladies and gentlemen, was just the beginning!

Monday began a new day of home openers and season debuts.

We saw brilliant performances.

Johan Santana was vintage against the Marlins. He pitched six strong innings, struck out five, and gave up just one earned run as the Mets coasted to a 7-1 victory. Roy Halladay, as expected, had a terrific Phillies debut. He pitched seven innings, struck out nine, and gave up one earned run as the Phils blasted the Nationals 11-1.

In his first game back since having Tommy John surgery prior to the 2009 season, Blue Jays' ace Shaun Marcum took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers, but despite the strong start, the Jays' bullpen was unable to outlast a late surge by the Rangers, who went on to win 5-4. Mark Buehrle was sharp against the Indians. He tossed seven innings of three-hit, shutout baseball as the White Sox won 6-0.

The Giants defeated the Astros 5-2 behind a brilliant start from reigning Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum. "The Freak" threw seven shutout innings while striking out seven 'Stros. And Dan Haren helped the Diamondbacks defeat the Padres by throwing seven innings, allowing just one earned run and striking out four.

There was also plenty of bad pitching.

Carlos Zambrano managed to pitch just 1.1 innings, giving up eight runs (all earned) on six hits in his start against the Braves. The Braves wound up romping the Cubs 16-5.

Oh, that game also featured some kid named Jason Heyward. All he did was hit his first career home run in his very first career at-bat. The 21-year-old right fielder certainly has a bright future ahead of him, already being compared to Ken Griffey Jr. in his rookie days.

Speaking of Heyward, offense was also on display Monday. There were 34 home runs hit around Major League Baseball.

The Phillies' Placido Polanco and the Cardinals' Yadier Molina made theirs count, as they each hit grand slam home runs. Garrett Jones of the Pirates is tied with some guy named Albert for the Major League lead in home runs after one game, as each of them hit two bombs on Monday.

And Arizona's Stephen Drew decided he wanted to work for his homer, legging out an inside-the-park home run at Chase Field. You might recall last season Emilio Bonifacio too hit an inside-the-park home run on opening day.

The last player to hit one on opening day before that was Carl Yastrzemski in 1968. So after 41 years between feats, we witness this occurrence in back-to-back seasons. Something special.

So, with one down and 161 to go, the 2010 season looks to be very promising. There will be blown calls, bench-clearing brawls, and boneheaded defensive plays, but baseball is back and all is right in the world.

 

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