Magic Number 163On Opening Day, it's easy for fans to rush to extremes. No team clinched their division. No team demonstrated they'll be cellar dwellers throughout the summer. Based upon one game, or in some cases two, no trends have been established. Sure, statistics are skewed due to small sample sizes. Just ask Ryan Dempster.
Let's look at the Chicago Cubs home opener.
Over 40,000 fans packed Wrigley Field and they were spared the heavy rain that soaked the western suburbs this afternoon. While at lunch in Wheaton, I saw rain mixed with snow. Perhaps the Cubs would have fared better with a lengthy rain delay. Before the starting pitchers warmed up, of course.
The Cubs grabbed an early lead when Starlin Castro scored on a throwing error in the bottom of the first inning. Castro crossed the plate again in the bottom of the third to increase the Cubs' lead to 2-0. That's when the bottom fell out.
In the top of the fifth inning, Ryan Dempster loaded the bases. With only one out, Neil Walker slugged a grand slam to give the Pirates a 4-2 lead, a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Andrew McCutchen added a 2-run homer in the top of the seventh to increase the lead to 6-2.
During the bottom of the seventh inning, Kosuke Fukudome singled to drive in Darwin Barney to make the score 6-3. That was all the Cubs could muster today.
As I stated in the beginning of this blog, numbers don't mean anything yet. Of course, coolstandings.com updated their playoff odds for every MLB team. Following today's victory, the Pirates have only a 3.1% percent to make the playoffs. With the loss, the Cubs have an 11.8% chance. Nothing to indicate a trend, but interesting anyway.
Here's a look at the rest of today's games:
Philadelphia Phillies 6, Houston Astros 5
They needed a late rally, and the Phillies scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to snag an Opening Day win.
Chicago White Sox 15, Cleveland Indians 10
After running up a fourth inning, 14-0 lead, the White Sox bullpen allowed the Indians to make the game seem close. The Indians scored all 10 of their runs during the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth innings.
Texas Rangers 9, Boston Red Sox 5
The defending American League champions needed a 4-run eighth inning to knock of the AL East favorites, the Boston Red Sox, on Opening Day in Texas.
Arizona Diamondbacks 7, Colorado Rockies 6 (11)
The Diamondbacks needed 11 innings to defeat the Rockies. The teams combined for 28 hits and three errors.
Toronto Blue Jays 13, Minnesota Twins 3
The Blue Jays demolished the Twins in Canada this afternoon. Toronto posted four runs in the first, two in the fourth, four in the fifth, and three more in the eighth.
Baltimore Orioles 4, Tampa Bay Rays 1
Jeremy Guthrie pitched eight scoreless innings while striking out six Rays this afternoon. The Rays managed only one run in the bottom of the ninth.
Florida Marlins 6, New York Mets 2
The Florida Marlins scored four runs in the fourth inning en route to an Opening Day win against the Mets.
Kansas City Royals 2, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 1
The Royals evened their record to 1-1 thanks to seven innings of 1-run pitching by Jeff Francis.
Oakland Athletics 2, Seattle Mariners 1 (top of the fourth)
Josh Willingham hit a 2-run homer in the bottom of the first inning.
Los Angeles Dodgers 1, San Francisco Giants 0 (top of the fourth inning)
Matt Kemp hit a ground-rule double that scored Chad Billingsley.