I gave thought to changing this feature this year. Maybe the format, but certainly the name. I thought about going full-time with “Settling the Scores,” as we typically use on weekends because it makes more sense than an eight-year-old John Mayer-related meme. I also wonder if it’s the best use of my time to talk about EVERY game as opposed to just talk about some of the more interesting points from the night before along with a list of the scores. I reserve the right, at some point to make such changes, if for no other reason than to shake things up a bit.
On this Opening Day morning, however, I feel that the world has changed enough lately. That there is too much uncertainty in life and too much upheaval and that I need to hold on to something familiar, at least for a while. So let’s start another season, my friends. Let us begin Volume 9 of And That Happened.
Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:
Pirates 4, Cardinals 1: Francisco Liriano got the 2016 season started off with a 10-strikeout, 5-walk performance which, despite the game time temperature being a mere 39 degrees, was probably a lot of sweaty work. But effective! And he [altogether now] helped his own cause with an RBI single for the game’s first run. As the Cardinals scored no runs while he was the pitcher of record, it could be said that Liriano did everything he needed to do to win all by his dang self. It would be a total lie because baseball doesn’t work like that, but it could be said. As for the Cardinals, you really have to question Mike Matheny’s failure to heed the scouting reports which clearly state that Adam Wainwright has never done well on 345 days rest.
Blue Jays 5, Rays 3: Don’t try to strike everybody out. Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they’re fascist. Throw some ground balls – it’s more democratic. And effective too. Chris Archer and the Rays got all the attention for striking out 16 Blue Jays batters, but Marcus Stroman pitched into the ninth inning, allowing only three runs on six hits and a walk. The key: he allowed 21 total balls in play and a full 17 of them were of the ground. Keep the ball down, good things will happen. Just ask Crash Davis.
Royals 4, Mets 3: At least at the outset this was like Game 6 of the World Series that never happened, with some defensive miscues by the Mets pounced upon by the Royals. The whole #Relentless thing starting in the early innings, as if they had ordered more in the offseason and were not worried about depleting their reserves of #Relentless. Things did get different later, however, as the Royals much vaunted bullpen looked very human. The Mets scored three runs in the top of the eighth to bring them within one before Luke Hochevar put out the fire. Wade Davis was shaky too, allowing a runners on first and third situation with one down before closing things out. Not quite the same as last fall’s “don’t even THINK of scoring on us” bullpen performance, but a win all the same. The Royals lead the series 5-1 now. I love the Fall/Spring Classic.