The winners and losers of opening day

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

Opening day is in the books. We saw surprises, and we saw what we expected. We saw heroes and goats. And, of course, we saw winners and we saw losers. Here's a whirl around the league to examine some of each.

WINNER: Chris Iannetta, the Los Angeles Angels catcher. If we told you before Monday's games that one Angel would drive in all the team's runs, you'd guess it would be Josh Hamilton or Mike Trout or Albert Pujols. Heck, even Mark Trumbo. Turns out it was Iannetta who knocked a two-run single to push the Angels past the Cincinnati Reds in 13 innings. He also homered in the third inning.

LOSERS: Trout, Pujols and Hamilton, the much-talked-about trio, who were a combined 1-for-14 in the win. Trout got the lone hit. Hamilton walked twice and scored a run.

WINNERS: The Angels' bullpen. One of the team's question marks coming into the season, the Halo relievers, six of them, pitched seven innings, giving up only one hit and striking out nine.

WINNERS: The Dodgers, who not only got that wowing game from Clayton Kershaw, but also got two hits out of Carl Crawford. He was finally wearing a Dodgers uniform after being traded to Los Angeles while injured last season.

LOSER: Edinson Volquez. He was The Stew's bottom-ranked opening day starter and he lived down to the hype. Volquez lasted only three innings in the San Diego Padres' 11-2 loss to the New York Mets. He gave up six runs on six hits.

WINNERS: The hot-swinging Arizona Diamondbacks, who beat Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals 6-2. The Dbacks had 15 hits, the most of any team on opening day. Leading the way were some names you might not recognize: Gerardo Parra, who was 4-for-5, and A.J. Pollock, who had three hits. Jason Kubel, Martin Prado and Aaron Hill each had two hits. Cliff Pennington was the only position player who didn't have a hit for the Dbacks.

WINNER: Collin Cowgill, the Mets outfielder who hit a grand slam in the team's 11-2 win. We've all talked about how the Mets outfield is kinda sad and full of a bunch of "who?" guys. Cowgill wants you to know his name, darn it.

LOSERS: People who hoped Stephen Strasburg would be off his his leash this year. Strasburg was dominant in the Washington Nationals' 2-0 win over the Miami Marlins. He threw seven shut-out innings, allowing only three hits. But he got pulled after only 80 pitches. He might have been able to throw a shutout like Clayton Kershaw. The goal, we suppose, is to save him for later.

WINNER: Bryce Harper. We already posted this once, but let's just marvel at his two homers again.

WINNER: Jeff Samardzija. The much-buzzed-about Chicago Cubs starter threw eight shutout innings, striking out nine. Then he turned it over to a ...

LOSER: Carlos Marmol, the Cubs closer who might have lost his job on opening day. Marmol, who everybody already kinda didn't trust, was pulled after giving up a run and walking a guy. He entered the game with the Cubs up 3-0. The rest of the bullpen was able to finish things off for a 3-1 win. This doesn't bode well for Marmol's future as the Cubs' closer.

WINNERS ... FOR NOW: The Detroit Tigers' closing committee. They closed out the Tigers' 4-2 win over the Minnesota Twins without trouble and after an uncharacteristic five innings from Justin Verlander. Phil Coke got the save. Joaquin Benoit pitched a stellar eighth. But does anybody really believe Detroit can keep this up?

WINNER: Florida Gulf Coast University, who won again on Monday. Only we're not talking college basketball for these March Madness Cinderellas. Chris Sale, the White Sox opening day starter and the former FGCU star, shut down the Kansas City Royals in a 1-0 victory. He pitched 7 2/3 innings and struck out 7. He sure shut up that stupid blogger who called him a regression candidate.

WINNER: Felix Hernandez, who got $175 million richer in the offseason, came out and showed everyone why in a 2-0 win against the Oakland Athletics. King Felix went 7 2/3 innings, surrendering just three hits and striking out eight.

LOSERS: People who were hoping Papa John's had run out of commercials to run during sports events. Nope. They're here for baseball season too.

Opening Day is here. Don't miss anything.
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