There is a lot to talk about after opening day so let’s get right to it. First off the cynical side of me thought for sure they were going to blow it when Oakland tied it up. But this is a new team, they have a new dynamic, it was the other side of me that thought hey if they can just get one of the bottom three on then the top of the order is going to roll around and they will have a chance. Sure enough they get a walk from Robo Rob and that rolled the order over which turned out to be the difference.
Let’s discuss a few of the new parts. Kotchman was outstanding. Lookout landing tweeted a blanket statement about him and it really rings true. They said simply “Kotchman saves runs”. That is so true he looks great at first digging low throws, adjusting to wide ones, and snagging grounders. This is a small sample of what this guy can do however I for one was really impressed with what I saw. Of course Kotchman will be talked most about today for his bat. Rightfully so he did everything you could ask of him hitting in the three hole and let’s be honest he was jobbed out of a third hit on a ball which was clearly trapped. He was great all around last night and I am excited to see what he can bring to the team over the year.
I would like to also talk about Figgans. He didn’t get a hit last night but he was on base 3 different times and when on base he completely took the pitcher out of their game, Sheets especially looked so uncomfortable with Figgans on base. He stole two bags and on each steal he made Suzuki make two bad throws which allowed Figgans to get to third and score. Let’s also not forget he legged out that grounder in the 9th which also forced an errant throw. He was fantastic; the combination of Ichiro and Figgans at the top of this order is simply going to fun to watch all year long.
Felix was dominant at times, he did walk a bunch of guys but I honestly feel you could erase a bunch of those due to the umpire simply not giving him a low strike. You can look at this as the umpire costing him or you could say after 3 innings of not getting the call perhaps Felix and Rob should have adjusted their game plan to match that of the umpire. Either thought is fine I think I preferred them to stick with throwing it low and trying to get the call since almost every bit of contact was a grounder of some kind. Keep the ball on the ground with this defense and you’re going to win.
Lots of people didn’t like brining Sean White in was Wak’s first mistake of the year. I agree with Baker on this though that if you think Sean White is good enough to be in the pen then he is good enough to be put in that situation. That being said I think Felix had enough to get one more hitter.
Couple last things, Lopez looked pretty decent at third. He made a great double play where the ball was hit shapely to him and he ran to the bag and threw cross body to Kotchman at first to complete the play. If he can just be good enough at third this is all going to work out.
I know I kind of bullet pointed around in this post but all things said this was a solid opening day, and a sign of good things to come. The moved runners along and got some clutch hits, pitched really well and played absolutely lights out defense. I am excited for game two tonight!