With game number one of 162 in the books, I turned off the TV with a bad taste in my mouth. I realize that is a bit absurd. After all, as baseball rhetoric goes: "It's a marathon, not a sprint."
Nevertheless, this game left me feeling a bit down in the dumps.
I am a big Ryan Theriot fan, but I have to wonder if batting him leadoff is the best option for the club.
As a lead-off hitter, Theriot has a career .289 average, but he has only taken ten walks batting in the first spot. This equates to a .329 OBP, which isn't great for a leadoff hitter.
Theriot has a much better record as a number two hitter, with an OBP of .353.
As a big believer in intangibles, I do think that Theriot will thrive on this team. He brings more than just his game to the table, and I think Theriot will help this team out greatly.
Watching Pie hack at pitches at the plate brought back a terrible feeling of deja vu. I'm talking about Corey Patterson in case anybody didn't get the same feeling I did.
His first two at-bats made him look totally lost at the plate. Nevermind the high batting average in spring training (which means nothing). Forget the completely dominant numbers in AAA.
If the Cubs are going to succeed, Pie needs to be a big contributor. He did contribute a hit late in the game, but did not get a chance to flash his speed.
Kosuke Fukudome made a great debut that is sure to be a Rookie of the Year-caliber season.
He won't almost hit for the cycle every game, but boy, was it nice to see a player in a Cubs uniform be so patient at the plate. And talk about heroics! Nothing was better than watching Fukudome tee off on Gagne. Something tells me that the Misadventures of Eric Gagne will continue throughout the season.
The big bats in the lineup simply did not perform. Soriano, Lee and Ramirez combined to go 1-13. Lee had one hit and Ramirez did score a run after walking. Soto had a decent day with two walks.
Pitching overall during this game was sub par if anything. How many times will Carlos Zambrano have to get cramps in his arm before he realizes he needs to drink some water?
Marmol continued his regular season dominance, striking out three of the four batters he faced. Too bad the rest of the bullpen couldn't follow suit. Kerry Wood (whom I own in my fantasy league) gave up three earned runs in one inning. However, it is worth noting that it was not a save opportunity.
Howry seems to be carrying over his spring training struggles to the regular season. The Cubs bullpen—which is projected to be a strength of the team—will settle down; however, having only one lefty (a largely unproven one at that) makes me slightly nervous.
Overall, it was a roller-coaster of a game. Largely a pitchers duel until the ninth inning. The familiar feeling of heartbreak returned to me in the tenth. Yes, it's only game one of 162, but wouldn't it be nice to start out a World Series run with a win?