Opening Day Running Diary
What better day than Opening Day to continue the running diary tradition?
Stuck at the computer doing some writing, I’ll offer occasional observations during the course of the game. Others may well drop by and offer their thoughts as well.
Jeff, 2:05 PM PST The highlights package reminds us, if nothing else, that this team has been through some extreme wardrobe changes.
Derek: Oh yeah, back when Griffey hand-picked the night’s uniform from a selection of uniforms he’d personally designed and sewed himself from textiles he’d woven from materials he’d harvested and processed.
Fans, don’t think about last year. Remember ten years ago — no, no, past 98-99… there you are. Ahhh, the 1995 Mariners. Think about thoooose Mariners.
Jeff: Perhaps he should have pre-woven some hamstring supports.
Derek: He was too busy hand-raising orphans.
Jeff, 2:15 PM PST Predicting a baseball season is like predicting where a hurricane will develop after the butterfly in your back yard flaps its wings. That said, I predicted the Twins to win the World Series in the upcoming Baseball Analysts roundtable. Looking at this lineup, I’m feeling all right about that. There are a lot of really promising young hitters here.
On the opposite side of the age equation, Moyer looked good in the first inning — changing speeds, hitting spots all around the strike zone.
Jeff, 2:32 PM PST If Jamie Moyer and Brad Radke switched uniforms, and you watched the game in a mirror, would anyone be able to tell the difference? Especially with the home run given up to Sexson and all.
Dave Not only is Jeff wrong about the Twins winning the world series, his clock is off.
And welcome to Seattle, Richie.
Jeff: Haven’t I told you about your linear time fixation, Dave? Plus, this whole “spring forward” thing is killing me.
Also, a pronunciation note: “Sexton” is the new “nucular.”
Jeff, 2:39 PM PST Two of the most enjoyable things about watching Moyer pitch for me are seeing how he works hitters, particularly young hitters, and seing him field his position.
On the first, he struck out Justin Morneau swinging on a pitch off the plate inside, and Morneau had a look on his face that said “yeah, he fooled me.” One the second, Moyer keeps himself in terrific shape, so he’s able to quickly grab come-backers and topped balls that dribble out from home plate. He’s somebody who maximizes the physical tools he has, and that’s easy to respect.
Jeff, 2:58 PM PST Three days ago, I would not have expected to see: Wilson Valdez starting at short for the Mariners; Luis Rivas getting the Twins’ first hit; or Bret Boone complaining to the umpires as of his first at-bat. Okay, I’m lying about that last one.
On the topic of Boone, did anyone else see him talking about how the lead-up to opening day was stressful since he had to get his hair done? Before anyone derides him, let me remind you that Spartan warriors prepared for battle by braiding their hair. In Ballard.
Okay, again, I’m lying about that last one.
Jeff, 3:03 PM PST Richie Sexson homer count: two. Announcer “Brush Prairie” count: one. I would not have bet on the first number being larger than the second at this point.
Jeff, 3:12 PM PST Another note on Sexson’s home runs. Strikingly, though you could tell they were gone off the bat, it didn’t look like he got all of either. When this guy hits it on the button, I’m gonna enjoy watching.
Also, Joel in the comments informs me that I missed two “Brush Prairie” references. (Lucky me). So the Brush Prairie count is actually, to paraphrase De La Soul, at three and rising.
Jeff, 3:22 PM PST Brad Radke is exactly the type of pitcher I would expect Miguel Olivo to struggle against — right-handed, relies on breaking and off-speed stuff — so let’s not get too down on him. Sexson won’t hit two homers in every game, and Olivo won’t wear the collar in every game, either. I hope.
Dave: Well, last year, we kept saying “Cameron would have had that” when a ball fell in the gap. That groundball up the middle? Pokey would have had it.
Jeff, 3:41 PM PST Say it with me: I-CHI-RO! I-CHI-RO!
Jeff, 3:50 PM PST Sportsline’s game summaries now include alleged radar gun readings for pitches. Moyer just served up the following junk to Torii Hunter:
Foul (69/slider), Ball (56/curveball), Ball (82/fastball), Strike looking (80/fastball), Ball (75/sinker).
Talk about changing speeds, eh?
Jeff, 4:01 PM PST We can close the book on Moyer, and though I’m not sure if Radke’s coming out for the seventh yet, let’s compare their numbers:
Moyer, 5.2 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
Radke 6 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
Eerily similar, except for the obvious — Sexson’s two bombs. To oversimplify, Moyer pitched like 2003 Moyer today, and Radke pitched like 2004 Moyer.
Jeff, 4:16 PM PST Ron Villone enters the game. I can’t be the only person who just took a deep breath.
Jeff, 4:25 PM PST Don’t worry, I exhaled and inhaled again seven minutes ago. Haven’t passed out yet.
Nice of the Twins to put 42-year-old Terry Mulholland in the game. I bet Moyer doesn’t feel so old now.
Jeff, 4:28 PM PST A non-scientific observation: Jeremy Reed seemed a bit anxious today, which is understandable for a young guy making his first Opening Day start. He seemed to be reaching for pitches that he’d otherwise lay off. Hopefully, he gets that out of the way and the M’s come away with a win to start the year.
Jeff, 4:32 p.m. PST What’s up with teams putting their anointed magic game-closers in with relatively little risk of the other team coming back? Percival comes in with a huge lead, B.J. Ryan comes in four runs up, and now Every Fifth Day Eddie. At least Miguel Batista got a cheap save when the Jays put him in ahead by three.
Watch that hammy, Eddie!
Jeff, 4:35 p.m. PST And … turn out the lights and close the roof, the party’s over!
Nice way to start the season. Breathe deep, folks: baseball’s back, the Mariners are in first place, and all is right with the world.