Opening Day 2008 Postmortem

Yes, it’s only April and there will be losses, but the Tigers let one get away today. The offense created opportunities, and the pitching was decent enough. But the pieces just didn’t come together. I’m not making conclusions based on what I saw today, but I did observe some stuff while sitting behind the left field foul pole.

  • The clouds covered up the flyover. You could hear it, but not see it. But, since that was the only weather related calamity of the day I can let it slide. It was otherwise quite comfortable.
  • Verlander looked quite sharp after the first innings. It took him 20 pitches to get through that first frame, and less than that to get through the next 3. I’ll be honest, I can’t judge stuff when I’m sitting in the outfield (and really even when I’m sitting other places), but the Royals looked uncomfortable.
  • The bullpen as a whole was OK. There’s no way you could reasonably expect Jason Grilli, or most other pitchers, to hold a one run lead with nobody out and runners at the corners. One of the runs was bound to score. Of course limiting to one run should have been within the realm of possibility.
  • I know he takes the loss, but I’m impressed with Denny Bautista. After a cheap ground ball hit it appeared he was going to unravel when he through 3 straight balls to Alex Gordon. But then he fired back to back strikes that tickled 101mph on the scoreboard gun leading to back to back strikeouts. I was actually hoping that Leyland would take him out after that inning where he should have been brimming with confidence.
  • Lead-off walks led to costly runs in two different innings. Once for Bautista and once for Verlander.
  • Todd Jones with a 1-2-3 inning in a non-save situation. That was nice.
  • The new guys – Jones/Cabrera/Renteria – combined for 7 strikeouts on the day. Miguel Cabrera had a homer, which is cool. At least that monkey is off his back right away.
  • Clete Thomas should be happy tonight. He makes his big league debut and doubles in his first at-bat.
  • The crowd seemed kind of dead today, and the stadium never really filled in all the way. Part of that may have been people in lines, and part of it may have been people staying at the bars rather than getting misted on (which it didn’t). The place only really came alive when Brandon Inge threw the bullet from the outfield.
  • Speaking of Inge, very nice game today. The throw was obvious, but he hit a couple balls well and took a walk. And on the diving play, he wasn’t close, but I also don’t know if he’s able to cut that off regardless – at least from my vantage point it didn’t seem a given.
  • And the other play in question, the ground ball in the hole between Renteria and Cabrera, I don’t know that he’s able to make that throw regardless. The Royals had some well placed hits (including the game winner). What are ya gonna do.

And that’s that. I hate the day after opening day.