Draft 2011 schedule has Opening Day on a Thursday

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Gordon Edes at ESPN Boston has looked at a draft of the 2011 schedule that is floating around and notices something different:

One significant departure in the MLB schedule is that the season will
begin at the end of the week (most teams will play on Friday, with
presumably one game being played on Thursday night). MLB has
traditionally opened its season on a Monday, with ESPN televising one
game the Sunday night before.

Right-thinking people rarely consider that first Sunday night game as true “Opening Day” because there aren’t a dozen or more baseball games going on in the brilliant Spring sunlight while they drink beers and laugh at all the suckers who weren’t smart enough to skip work for the day.*  Monday has always felt like the real Opening Day.

If the real Opening Day is now Friday, it’s actually an improvement, because people can do the same thing they used to do — blow off work and drink beers — but won’t have to wake up early the next day. Win-win.

*Ironically, becoming a Professional Baseball Writer made this past Opening Day the least enjoyable in living memory because I didn’t cut work in the name of baseball and I didn’t drink those beers. As far as NBC knows, anyway.

Justin Verlander earns 200th career win

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Astros starter Justin Verlander wasn’t his usual dominant self on Sunday against the Athletics, but he was good enough to get the win. In doing so, he earned the 200th win of his career, becoming the 117th member of the 200-win club.

Verlander went 5 1/3 innings, yielding four runs (all earned) on seven hits and a walk with six strikeouts. On the season, Verlander is now 12-8 with a 2.65 ERA and a 223/29 K/BB ratio in 169 2/3 innings. Sunday’s win helped the Astros stave off the surging A’s. The Astros now have a one-game lead in the AL West.

Only two active pitchers have more wins than Verlander: Bartolo Colon (247) and CC Sabathia (244). Zack Greinke will likely be the next member of the 200-win club as he currently has 184 to his name.