Although the Cubs don’t play until tomorrow, today is still exciting because it’s Opening Day (and a rare day when ESPN broadcasts three baseball games). As of when I’m writing this, three of today’s six games have been completed: the Yankees beat the Tigers 6-3, the Braves beat the Nationals 2-0, and the Reds rallied in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Brewers 7-6. Some highlights:
In the Yankees game, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera became the first trio of teammates in any major sport (MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL) to play together in 17 consecutive seasons. Posada was the Yankees’ DH today, ending his streak of 11 consecutive years as his team’s starting catcher. Russell Martin was the starting catcher for the Yankees today. The last Opening Day catcher for the Yankees NOT named Jorge Posada was Joe Girardi, who is now the Yankees manager.
In the Braves game, Jason Heyward homered in his first at-bat of the season for the second time. He also did it as a rookie last year.
In the Reds game, Ramon Hernandez hit a walk-off, three-run homer to complete a come-from-behind victory. Hernandez went 4-for-5 and teammate Joey Votto also homered in the game.
The Cubs open their season tomorrow afternoon against the Pirates at Wrigley Field. The Cubs are a dark horse in the NL Central race, mainly because the other three contending teams (nobody counts the Pirates anymore) have suffered significant injuries while the Cubs remained healthy this spring. But in order for the Cubs to win their division, they need the back end of their rotation (Matt Garza, Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner) to pitch well, Aramis Ramirez needs to stay healthy and hit as well as he has historically, second-year players Starlin Castro and Tyler Colvin need to improve on their solid rookie performances, and Alfonso Soriano needs to hit better than .260. OK, so it’s not likely the Cubs will get all that, but it’s Opening Day, when hopes still spring eternal!
Any predictions for the 2011 season?