MLB Opening Day: Could This Be the Year of the Pitcher, Part 2?

Abigail MiskowiecContributor IMarch 31, 2011

GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 15:  Pitcher Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch against Texas Rangers during the spring training baseball game at Camelback Ranch on March 15, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

I can hear the plaint now: “This game is boring.” Echoing from stadiums from the nation’s capital to Hollywood. While every game featured at least one homer, the usual fireworks were quiet today, signifying that 2011 might be the year of the pitcher, part two.

But one man’s boring is another man’s nail-biter, and a few players feasted on the tight contests. All of today’s games were decided by less than three runs, with one going into extra innings and another being decided by a walk off.

What this says to me is, the batters can get it done in the clutch, but the starting pitchers stepped up over the course of several innings. Let’s take a look at a few performances from today’s action.

Phil Coke may have gotten the loss for the Tigers against his former team, but Justin Verlander and CC Sabathia put on a pitching clinic in six short innings. Verlander struck out eight and only allowed three hits to the powerful Yankee lineup. Unfortunately, one of those hits was a three-run shot by Mark Teixeira. If Verlander can keep the ball on the ground, he’ll find ways to win in the wild Central Division.

Verlander’s counterpart, Sabathia, struck out seven while scattering six hits and three runs.

Derek Lowe and Livan Hernandez allowed seven hits combined in a tight division battle that was ultimately decided by a mere two runs.

Jered Weaver looked ready for another Cy Young run, pitching 6.1 innings of shutout ball as his Angels beat the Royals 4-2.

Chris Carpenter’s two-hit performance reassured Cardinals fans after numerous offseason injuries. He carried his team for seven innings, battling a solid outing by Padres starter Tim Stauffer (who had an injury of his own last week).

In a highly anticipated rivalry matchup out West, two of the NL’s elite pitchers duked it out. Clayton Kershaw was lights out through seven innings for the Dodgers, striking out nine and walking only one. Tim Lincecum turned in a solid outing as well, allowing one unearned run.

Even the wild Reds-Brewers game featured solid pitching efforts. Yovani Gallardo stepped up for the Brewers in the absence of ace Zack Greinke and left with a 5-2 lead.

The defending division champs came all the way back and won in walk-off fashion, leading some to question whether it’s really the year of the pitcher, part two, after all.

This is the time of year for predictions and optimism. Tell me what you think in the comments below.