Every day we're going to mention 5 or so players (we're not much for hard and fast rules around here) whose performance in the day before warrants mention. They aren't listed in any particular order, and it could be for reasons good or bad; the only caveat is that it has to be on the field work. Players of Note will not, for example, cover dudes who get trashed and get arrested for peeing in the street (here's looking at you, Jake!). You know, unless it's a really fun story. Like we said: hard and fast...not so much.
Justin Verlander: Yeah, Verlander got knocked around yesterday, to the tune of 8 hits, 8 runs (all earned), and 2 free passes in 3.2 innings, but he also recorded 4 K's. So, kiddies who aren't much for math, that's a little over a K an inning. Also, according to the MLB At Bat app (which is pretty awesome), he was consistently working at 96-100 MPH, which is what he was hitting when he was receiving Cy consideration. And he was even doing it from the stretch, which impressed us all the more. We consider this a good sign that he is on the way to rebounding from the mechanical disaster that was last year. Now someone tell him to stop leaving pitches in the zone.
Carlos Zambrano: PNH (post-no hitter), Zambrano was awful in '08. In the last few starts of the year, like in the first few, he lost his arm angle, velo, and control. He got knocked around in the playoffs as well, contributing to the Cubs' early exit last year. On Opening Day, though, he looked solid: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 6 K. His control isn't all the way back yet, but it's early; we're encouraged by the 90-93 mph sinking fastballs he was hurling. Big Z needs to get back to the form he showed in his younger days if the Cubs have any real hope of turning this potent team into a champion.
Adam Lind: Besides Travis Snider, Lind is the closest thing the Jays have to a slugger. He got the job done yesterday, knocking Verlander and the Tigers' 'pen around to the tune of a donger and 3 singles. Why, if he keeps up that pace, you can forget about the Jays having a weak offense; Lind alone would drive in 972 runs. Don't you love statistics?
Tony Clark/Felipe Lopez: We're cheating a little bit by including them both, but the duo jacked two unlikely tater tots apiece, so they ate plenty last night. We say the homers were unlikely because...well, because it's Tony the Tiger and Felipe the...Frolicker?, because Aaron Cook's usually got a better sinker going than to allow the pair of ding dongs that he did, and OHBYTHEWAY they both hit one jack from each side of the plate. Five (5) round trippers on the day for the D'backs.
Felix Hernandez: The King was outstanding last night, holding an admittedly impotent Twins lineup to 1 run on 5 hits and 3 walks in 8 shutdown innings. He also K'd 6, including Michael Cuddyer 3 times. Good start for Felix; hopefully he builds on this and makes a real bid for Cy Young contention. 'Cause lord knows there's not much else for M's fans these days.