If the first games of the 2007 have reminded us of anything, it’s that baseball will always surprise you. Nowhere is that more true than with starting pitching. For instance, we—that is, bloggers, media types, and smart alecs—spend the offseason mocking the Royals for giving Gil Meche $55 million for 5 years, because that’s one million dollars for each career win, since he came up in 1999. Also, his name is Gilbert. And what does he do? He goes out and shuts down Boston’s expensive, All-Star, computer-generated lineup. Seven and a third innings, one run, six strikeouts.
And Curt Schilling, staff ace, in the last year of his contract with the Sox, trying to convince someone to hire him for next year, having pitched well all Spring Training, yadda yadda yadda, suddenly forgets how to get outs. In 4 innings he walks in a run, gives up 8 hits, and logs five earned runs. Uff da.
Some other starter surprises so far:
- Brandon Webb, last year’s NL Cy Young, was nearly as bad, giving up five runs and eight hits in five innings.
- Derek Lowe did one better (read: worse), giving up six runs and eight hits.
- No one was worse than Jose Contreras, who outdid even last season’s depressing end. On Monday, he threw 49 pitches and couldn’t get a single out in the second inning.
- $126 million-dollar man Barry Zito pitched okay, not great, going only 5 innings and allowing two earned runs on 5 hits.
- $14.5 million-dollar man Jake Peavy out-dueled him, going six innings and giving up only two hits and shutting out the Giants, while striking out six.
- The Mariners’ starter, Felix Hernandez, is only 20 years old, making him the youngest starter since 1985. (Bonus point for the UmpBumper who knows who the youngun from ’85 was.) The guy can’t even buy beer! And he struck out twelve in eight innings, allowing just three hits!
- On the other hand, Johan Santana threw a lousy allowed 7 hits and 4 earned runs in six innings. However, he managed to win anyway.
- This was because his foe, Erik Bedard, only lasted 4 and two-thirds innings, while giving up ten hits, six earned runs, and a couple of homers.
Scott Kazmir pitched well enough to win, but then the bullpen blew his lead.[Oops, wait, not surprising.]
- Carlos Zambrano achieved a sort of reverse hat-trick, losing his third Opening Day game in a row, allowing 5 runs on 6 hits, 5 (yikes) walks, and 2 homers to Adam Dunn in just five innings.
- Carl Pavano didn’t suck, or injure himself.
Well sportsfans, I guess we’ll just have to play out the rest of the season. I mean, if this is how it’s going to be. Siiiigh. I don’t know about you, but I was so looking forward to a summer spent watching Grey’s Anatomy reruns.