Opening Day, Take Two, after Monday's snowy postponement. Gil Meche is on the hill for the Kansas City Royals, and he has his "A" game with him today. He looks like he's in midseason form, going seven strong innings, scattering seven hits (six of which were singles), striking out six, and walking none. You honestly cannot ask for much better of a season-opening performance from a starting pitcher than what Meche gave the Royals on Tuesday against the White Sox. Meche departed after the seventh inning with a 2-1 lead, ready to hand it off to what many consider one of the best bullpens in the American League Central.
In comes Kyle Farnsworth, who signed as a free agent for $9 million during the offseason. Nasty fastball. Biting slider, but he has the tendency to leave it hanging sometimes. A tough pitcher to bunt against, but Chicago's Josh Fields manages to surprise everyone by squaring up and dropping a perfect bunt down the third baseline to open the White Sox's eighth frame. Dewayne Wise attempts to move Fields up with a bunt, but can't get it done before flying out to center. But Chris Getz comes up with a bloop single to right to move Fields to third.
Farnsworth looks solid in striking out Carlos Quentin, but manager Trey Hillman makes the mistake of leaving him in the game to face Jim Thome, who blasts a three-run home run to center field, and the Sox hold the Royals scoreless in the ninth to win the game, 4-2.
I'm pissed that Meche didn't get a win for such an outstanding 2009 debut on the mound, and I'm mystified why Trey Hillman didn't bring in Ron Mahay to set up a lefty-lefty matchup against Thome. But there were lots of positives in the game, too. Like Alex Gordon's 418-foot blast to straightaway center to put the Royals on the board early. And the fact that the team seemed to be better at working the counts. But the Royals are 0-1, when they should be 1-0, and Trey Hillman and Kyle Farnsworth have already used their one mulligan, in my book.