Nine to Know – April 2, 2013

From the Bill Chuck Files…Here’s what you should be talking about today

  1. Bryce Harper became the youngest player to hit a pair of homers on Opening Day. Stephen Strasburg played contact ball (only two whiffs) with the Marlins for the win, Rafael Soriano earned the save, Washington gets the curly W winning 2-0. How often will we write this about Harper/Strasburg/Soriano/Marlins? I say 35+ homers/23 wins/40+ saves/110+ losses.
  2. Jeff Samardzija allowed just two hits and struck out nine over eight shutout innings as the Cubs topped the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-1 in the battle for NL Central respectability. Pittsburgh continued to frustrate their #1, A.J. Burnett. Burnett struck out 10 in 5.2 IP tying  the club’s Opening Day record for strikeouts. But the Bucs didn’t score until the 9th after not scoring at all in Burnett’s last three 2012 starts at PNC Park. Samardzija is now 3-0 against Pittsburgh.
  3. The A’s have nine consecutive Opening Day losses and the Mariners have seven consecutive Opening Day wins as Felix Hernandez improved to 4-0 on Opening Day with an ERA of 1.33 as Seattle blanked Oakland, 2-0.
  4. In the history of MLB, the Mets (34-18, .653) have the best winning percentage on Opening Day having improved after their 11-2 thrashing of the Padres. Jon Niese was the winner, Edinson Volquez, the loser. Collin Cowgill hit the first grand slam of the season and the Mets scored nine of their runs with two outs.
  5. Freddie Freeman, Dan Uggla and Justin Upton, all homered as the Braves beat Cole Hamels and the Philadelphia Phillies, 7-5. The Braves led National League teams with 49 homers in spring training, with Freeman hitting seven. Jimmy Rollins made his 13th consecutive opening day start, the longest active streak in the majors. Hamels gave up five runs on seven hits, including the three homers, with five strikeouts and one walk in five innings. See the Hamels Nine to Know below.
  6. The Boston Red Sox looked mighty yesterday, but was it because they are that good or the Yankees that bad? Boston gave new manager John Farrell an 8-2 win. Let’s look at the glass half-filled as Shane Victorino had three RBI and Jackie Bradley Jr. walked three times, scored twice, made a good fielding play, and exhibited speed in his big league debut. Jacoby Ellsbury had three hits and Jose Iglesias had three infield hits.
  7. The Red Sox bullpen was strong, but I was really impressed with the Angels pen in their 3-1 13-inning victory over the Reds in a potential World Series preview. Angels relievers allowed just one hit in seven innings of relief. Chris Iannetta was the hitting star for the Halos driving in all three runs. Don’t minimize the effort of the Reds pitchers who held Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo to 2-for-19.
  8. Florida Gulf Coast University alum, Chris Sale outpitched new Royals ace James Shields, Tyler Flowers homered and the White Sox beat Kansas City, 1-0. In 7.2 innings, Sale allowed just seven hits and struck out seven while walking one. Poor James Shields went six innings, allowing just one run and eight hits while striking out six while walking none. In Shields’ last start with the Rays last season, he lost 1-0 to Baltimore.
  9. Jonathan Lucroy hit a walkoff sac fly as the Milwaukee Brewers beat Colorado 5-4 in 10 innings ruining new Rockies manager Walt Weiss‘ debut. It was Milwaukee’s first win on Opening Day since they beat the Cubs 4-3 in 10 innings at Wrigley Field on March 31, 2008. Brewers closer John Axford struck out the side in the 9th but allowed a two-out game tying homer to Dexter Fowler to blow the save.

Cole Hamels‘ Nine to Know: Games in which Hamels allowed at least three homers

Rk Date Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR
1 2013-04-01 ATL L 5-7 GS-5 ,L 5.0 7 5 5 1 5 3
2 2012-07-21 SFG L 5-6 GS-8 7.2 10 5 5 3 6 3
3 2010-06-26 TOR L 1-5 GS-4 ,L 4.0 7 5 5 3 3 3
4 2010-04-23 ARI L 4-7 GS-6 ,L 6.0 8 6 6 1 7 4
5 2009-07-11 PIT W 8-7 GS-6 6.0 7 5 5 0 6 3
6 2009-04-17 SDP L 7-8 GS-6 6.0 8 5 5 1 4 3
7 2008-05-31 FLA L 3-7 GS-6 ,L 5.2 8 7 7 1 4 3
8 2007-06-07 NYM W 6-3 GS-7 7.0 10 3 3 1 5 3
9 2006-07-24 ATL L 8-10 GS-6 ,L 5.1 6 7 7 2 12 3
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/2/2013.