Thursday, April 3, 2008

Cueto-Mania Is Here (Well, In Cincinnati)

Young left-hander John Danks had a no-hitter through five innings as the Chicago White Sox got their first win of the season, beating the Indians 2-1. Jake Westbrook pitched well for Cleveland, but not well enough.

It's Cueto-Mania in Cincinnati as the rookie Reds hurler also had a no-hitter through five (both where actually broken up by the first batter, though Cueto was taken deep by Justin Upton). Using his 96 mph heater, a hard slider, and a quality change-up, Johnny struck out 10 (including 8 of the first 13 batters) in a dominating performance. With Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo ahead of him and Edison Volquez and possibly Homer Bailey behind him, the Reds may have one of the best pitching staffs in the league - even with their ballpark. The Reds ended up winning 3-2 over Arizona.

The Washington Nationals looked like they would go 4-0 to start the season as the jumped all over Phillies starter Jamie Moyer with a 5 run first, but they were only able to add 2 more on and the Phillies pounded out a whole bunch of singles to score 6 in the sixth inning. The Nats came back to tie it at 7-7 and send the game into extra innings. In the bottom of the tenth, Jimmy Rollins singled and advanced to third on a sacrifice by Shane Victorino. Washington then had Jesus Colome intentionally walk Chase Utley and Ryan Howard to set up a potential double play for Jayson Werth. Colome couldn't break his walking streak and gave Werth a base on balls to force in the winning run. It's a shame that Washington's winning streak ended that way. Philadelphia's didn't help themselves with 4 errors, but they get their first win of the year, 8-7.

The Detroit Tigers still have a long ways to go to score 1,000 runs as they managed to only add one to their total with a 4-1 loss to the Royals. KC showed some pop with homers by Alex Gordon and Mark Teahan, and a solo shot by Brandon Inge was all Detroit could get off of Zach Greinke. Jeremy Bonderman only struck out one, which should be troubling to a Tigers team with some pitching issues. At least he didn't give up any first inning runs.

Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez couldn't control his quality stuff as he walked 5 Cardinals and allowed 7 hits and 3 runs in 5 innings in his first start of 2008. The Rockies really need him to step up if they hope to contend in the NL West. St. Louis got a great performance from former reliever Brad Thompson as he went 6 2/3 innings, gave up no runs an 6 hits and 2 walks, and K'ed 6 and the pen kept the Rockies off the board. 3-0 Cardinals.

Ryan Dempster's conversion back to starting after spending a few years as the Cubs closer got off to a good start as he went . Dave Bush however, didn't do quite as well as he lacked his usual control in walking 5 and giving up 4 runs. The Cubs avoid a sweep with their 6-3 win over the Brewers and Kerry Wood picks up his first save in his new role.

Twins starter Kevin Slowey left his game against LA with a bicep injury. That's not good news for Minnesota, even with their depth of young pitchers. Ervin Santana actually had a good game on the road for the Angels (6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2BB, 3 K) and Torii Hunter and Mike Napoli hit solo home runs to lead the team to a 5-4 win. Jason Kubel, who deserves more at bats for the Twins, hit a solo homer of his own.

Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a two-run homer in the first and Tad Iguchi added an RBI single later to lead the Padres over the Astros. Randy Wolf had a good first start for San Diego (6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 K) and the all-time saves leader extended his record as Trevor Hoffman pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.

A great match-up of young pitchers in New York as the Yanks have Phil Hughes going against the Blue Jays' Dustin McGowan. As of the end of the sixth it's 2-2. They have near identical line (6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 4 K - McGowan walked 3, Hughes 1). I wish I could watch that game - these are two guys that we'll be hearing about for a long time.

The Pirates lead the Braves 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth in the rubber game of their three-game set. Zach Duke is doing his thing allowing lots of hits (9) with good control (0 BB) but few K's (1). Larry is 3-3 for Atlanta. [I'll go over Chipper's Hall of Fame chances some time in the future. Also, I realize that I never did a projection for the O's pitchers, but I decided that there is going to be so much up in the air over who is actually getting the starts that it doesn't make sense yet. Maybe I'll just do Guthrie in a little while.]

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