Grading the Opening Day (and night) games

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer

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Opening Day is in the books, so let's hand out some authoritative grades. First up, we'll tackle the recently completed slate of night games ...

Player/TeamGradeAnalysis
AMike Trout. In his first game since inking a $144.5-million contract extension, Trout launched an early-inning bomb off Mariners ace Felix Hernandez (watch it here). So not only was it an Opening Day homer, but it also came at the expense of one of the best pitchers in baseball. The Angels got cuffed around, but that had nothing to do with Trout's 2-for-4 efforts.
AMarcell Ozuna. The Marlins' well-regarded 23-year-old outfielder enjoyed a banner evening at the plate against the Rockies. He hit the game's only homer, scored three times and wound up a triple shy of the cycle.
C+Madison Bumgarner. The Giants won, so there's that. As well, the defense behind Bumgarner had a pretty awful night. With that said, the 24-year-old slider specialist wasn't quite himself on Monday night, as he allowed four runs (all unearned) on six hits in four innings of work. He struck out three and walked two. The ERA is 0.00, but a pitcher's job doesn't stop once an error is committed behind him.
FJim Johnson. The Athletics' new closer had a most unfortunate Oakland debut. Handed the ball in the ninth inning of a scoreless game, Johnson yielded these results: walk, single, HBP, sac fly, RBI single, lifted from game. The result was the A's record 10th-straight Opening Day loss. As for Johnson, he exited to boos.
FRockies pitchers. The game didn't take place at Coors Field, so there goes that excuse, and they were facing the presumably lowly Marlins. The outcome? Of the three pitchers used by manager Walt Weiss, Wilton Lopez had the best ERA for the game with a mark of ... 6.75. No, the Rox didn't hit, either, in their 10-1 loss, but that's generally how it goes against the likes of Jose Fernandez.

And now for the day games ...

Player/TeamGradeAnalysis
A+Alejandro De Aza. We'll put this way: Right now, De Aza is on pace for 324 homers this season. Yes, De Aza on Monday became the first Pale Hoser to hit a pair of home-opener bombs at home since Minny Minoso way back yonder in 1960. His three RBI were obviously vital to the Sox's 5-3 win over Minnesota.
AFrancisco Liriano. The Pirates' de facto ace pitched like one on Monday against the Cubs. Across six shutout innings, he gave up four hits (all singles), struck out 11 and walked three. Of his 104 pitches, 60 went for strikes. Although his velo was down a bit from established levels, that's not any kind of a concern this early in the season.
CStephen Strasburg. On the one hand, the Nats' ace struck out 10 batters against just two walks in six innings of work, and the Nats went on to top the Mets by a score of 9-7. On the other hand, Strasburg over that span gave up four earned on five hits, including a home run to Andrew Brown. Sounds like a "C" kind of day to us.
D-Red Sox offense. Against Baltimore, they managed just one run (a Grady Sizemore homer, of all things) despite the fact that Orioles starter Chris Tillman lasted just five innings. The Oriole bullpen blanked the Sox for the final four innings, and, most critically, Boston hitters on the day went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and hit into a pair of double plays. Add up each Boston hitter's total and you get 24 runners stranded.
FRanger pitchers. In the course of Texas's 14-10 home loss to the Phillies, the hosts used five pitchers, and four surrendered at least one run. Starter Tanner Scheppers coughed up seven over four innings of work, and reliever Pedro Figueroa hemorrhaged four runs in 1 1/3 frames. In all, those 14 runs were all earned, and they came on 17 hits, six of which went for extra bases. Also bear in mind that the Phillies are probably going to be a pretty bad offensive team this season.
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