Yanks are Grand(erson), San Fran is Gigantic, and Walkoffs Abound

1. Fenway Fans Fret

As I left Fenway Park last night following the Yankees 3-1 10-inning win over the Red Sox I ran into a buddy of mine who had David Ortiz on his mind, just like the media friends I ran into before the game had, just like the newspapers had yesterday morning and sports radio had throughout the day and the newspapers this morning … and this was all after games two and three of the season. I can’t say that I don’t understand them discussing Big Papi’s problems despite the fact that he drove home the lone Red Sox run last night with a line single to right. What I don’t understand is how there is not a general concern about the state of the Red Sox lineup.

Last night’s starters really pitched well. Andy Pettitte allowed one run in six innings on six hits and three walks for the Yanks, but John Lackey, in his Red Sox debut, pitched even better throwing six scoreless frames allowing just three hits and two walks. Each pitcher hit a batter with Pettitte accidentally beaning Kevin Youkilis and, in what the umps considered retaliation, Lackey hit Derek Jeter. The two HBP brought an unnecessary warning from the home plate umpire and fortunately did not affect the rest of the game.

While both teams were 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position the difference was while the Sox frequently seemed to be in position to score, you knew that Yankees could score at any time. And they did. In the 10th inning Curtis Granderson homered off Jonathan Papelbon and then cobbled together another run on three walks.

Meanwhile, Chan Ho Park came in and pitched one-hit ball over three innings. Yes, he gave up a couple of warning track shots in the 9th as he clearly was spent but Yankee skipper Joe Girardi did not seem to be on verge of replacing him as he went through the back-end of a Sox lineup that is simply not scary after Youkilis, the clean-up batter. Then there was Mariano Rivera finishing off the top of the order 1-2-3.

Unless GM Theo Epstein makes some moves, I really don’t care how good the starting pitching is over time they will start feeling the pressure of giving up runs and this will be far from the last 3-1 game the Red Sox will lose.

2. Renteria Gigantic for San Fran

The San Francisco Giants are the UConn women as they on their way to 162-0. Yesterday they defeated the Houston Astros 10-4 to complete a season-opening three-game sweep. The Giants moved to a 3-0 record for the first time since 2003 (they finished that year 100-61). Along the way, yesterday Edgar Renteria tied his career high with five hits. John Bowker hit a two-run homer and Travis Ishikawa hit his first career pinch-hit home run. Jeremy Affeldt (1-0) picked up the win in relief of Matt Cain, who allowed six hits and three earned runs in 6.2 innings. Brett Myers gave up a career-high 12 hits and four runs in six-plus innings in his Astros debut. Astros manager Brad Mills still awaits his first win.

3. Phillies Keep Hitting, Keep Winning

Ryan Howard hit a two-run homer and an RBI double as the Phillies beat the Washington Nationals, 8-4. The Philadelphia Phillies are 2-0 for the first time since 2003 (the Phils finished 86-76). Winner Cole Hamels (1-0) was unimpressive in five innings throwing 103 pitches and giving up five hits and three runs, two earned. He did have an RBI single off losing pitcher Jason Marquis (0-1).

4. It’s All Wells for Toronto

Vernon Wells hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the 5th and gave the Blue Jays a little more breathing in the 9th with another dinger and Toronto beat the Texas Rangers 7-4. Wells, in his 12th season with the Jays, has three homers in the two games after only hitting 15 last year, his lowest total since becoming a full-time big leaguer in 2002. Brian Tallet (1-0) earned the win allowing four runs, two earned, and four hits in 6.2 innings striking out six and walking three. In the 4th he gave up back-to-back homers to Vladimir Guerrero and Nelson Cruz on consecutive pitches. Rangers starter Rich Harden had an ugly debut for the Rangers, going only 3.2 innings allowing but one hit  and whiffing eight strikeouts but he walked five including consecutive bases-loaded walks in the 4th.

5. Today’s schedule

AL

Blue Jays (Ricky Romero) at Rangers (C.J. Wilson), 2:05

Tigers (Dontrelle Willis) at Royals (Brian Bannister), 2:10

Mariners (Doug Fister0 at A’s (Brett Anderson), 3:35

Orioles (Brian Matusz) at Rays (Jeff Niemann), 7:10

Indians (Justin Masterson) at White Sox (Gavin Floyd), 8:10

Twins (Kevin Slowey) at Angels (Joel Pineiro), 10:05

NL

Cardinals (Brad Penny) at Reds (Bronson Arroyo), 12:35

Dodgers (Chad Billingsley) at Pirates (Paul Maholm), 12:35

Phillies (Kyle Kendrick) at Nationals (Craig Stammen), 4:35

Cubs (Randy Wells) at Braves (Tommy Hanson), 7:10

Marlins (Nate Robertson) at Mets (Jonathon Niese), 7:10

6. On this date

On April 8, 1974, we watched  with a mixture of joy, excitement, and awe as the great Hank Aaron hit his 715th career home run, breaking Babe Ruth‘s record. Take a listen to three magnificent calls.

7. I Love Walkoffs

It was a really good one in Kansas City last night as Alberto Callaspo hit a leadoff 11th home to tie the score and then pinch runner Willie Bloomquist scored the winning run on an error by rookie second baseman Scott Sizemore to give the Kansas City Royals a 3-2 win over the Detroit Tigers. With two outs in the top of the 9th Miguel Cabrera homered to right field off star closer Joakim Soria after a 10-pitch at-bat to tie the score at 1. Carlos Guillen hit an RBI single in the top of the 11th to put Detroit ahead, 2-1 after KC winning pitcher Kyle Farnsworth (1-0) gave up singles to Magglio Ordonez, Cabrera and Guillen to start the inning. Luke Hochevar threw 7.2 scoreless innings, holding the Tigers to five hits. Making his debut, Detroit righty Max Scherzer held the Royals hitless until Jason Kendall singled to right with two out in the 5th, the only hit he allowed in six innings.

8. I Love Walkoffs

The Oakland Athletics behind a pair of RBI doubles by Kurt Suzuki beat the Seattle Mariners, 6-5. The second double was the difference maker as Kevin Kouzmanoff scored Suzuki’s seventh career game-ending hit with one gone in the 9th. Jerry Blevins (1-0) got the win while Mark Lowe (0-1) took the loss. Justin Duchscherer pitched into the sixth in his first appearance in nearly 20 months and ended up with a no-decision.

9. I Love Walkoffs

I am begging you please; cancel the rest of the season! Please let the Pirates finish their year 2-0. Last night, Ronny Cedeno hit a walkoff single with the bases loaded and one out in the 10th inning, and the Pirates topped the Dodgers, 4-3. Garrett Jones hit his third homer in two games. Relievers Brendan Donnelly (1-0) picked up the win and Ramon Ortiz (0-1) took the loss. Jones now has 24 homers in 84 games since being called up by the Pirates in early July last season.