Fists are unclenched, muscles are relaxed and all the adrenaline associated with baseball’s opening weekend has been released.
Teams that dominated this weekend are able to unwind and look forward to a long, 162-game season, while others who struggled are still begging for that first big hit.
Let’s relive all of the excitement that was MLB Opening Week 2012.
Jered Weaver in Cy Young form, C.C. and Lincecum rocked
If he keeps it up, Weaver will be awarded the American League Cy Young this year. I’m saying it now.
The Angel ace struck out 10 batters in a dominant start against the Kansas City Royals Friday night, further proving that if Justin Verlander weren’t around last year, Weaver would’ve taken home the ultimate pitcher’s prize. Combined with the offensive depth the Angels acquired in the Albert Pujols signing, the right-hander can count on his teammates to score runs.
Weaver’s knack for hiding the ball comes from his sneaky windup, where he practically steps in the third base dugout before coming across his body. That has to be distracting for any batter.
Continuing on the West Coast, Tim Lincecum was rocked for five runs in 5.1 innings against Arizona. The two-time National League Cy Young Award winner opened 2012 in un-Lincecum-like form, surrendering three runs in the first before being charged with two in the fifth.
Across the country, Carlos Pena returned to Tampa Bay and wreaked havoc at Tropicana Field in the opener, roughing up both C.C. Sabathia and Mariano Rivera. Pena pounded a grand slam in the first inning, and followed that up with a game-winning RBI single off Rivera in the ninth. The Rays must be eternally grateful they brought him back this season.
But the fact that the Rays celebrated on the field like they had just won the World Series must have been too much for Yankees fans to handle. Come on guys, it’s the first game of the season. Chill out.
It’s all about the AL West
The Boston-New York rivalry has disappointed many baseball fans the past few years. The two teams seem subpar, a little out of it and less passionate. I guess if you were chowing down on chicken wings and beer in the dugout, as some of the Red Sox admitted to last season, you wouldn’t care much about the season’s outcome.
Now, the Angels-Rangers matchup is something to get excited about. The two teams are evenly matched, with Texas having a more solid bullpen.
But the offenses of both teams were silenced early this weekend. The Angels are struggling to hit off the Royals. The Royals! While both teams boast dominant starting pitching, pitchers can’t score runs. Perhaps both teams should have conversations with the Phillies.
But enough of the negativity, only two games have been played after all. The element of surprise about Yu Darvish’s first start for the Rangers should keep fans on the edge of their seats for a bit.
Ozzie Guillen loves Fidel Castro and Strasburg’s first start
The Miami Marlins’ manager told Time magazine he loves the Cuban dictator, just two days after admitting to the press that he likes to get drunk after every game. Guillen subsequently apologized, but he needs to learn to keep a lid on it, as the Marlins will be in the spotlight this season.
Meanwhile, Washington pitching prodigy Stephen Strasburg produced a stellar Opening Day start at Wrigley Field. He gave up just one earned run and struck out five in a 2-1 win, producing a type of performance Nats fans hope to see throughout the season.