There is always something special, magical about Opening Day. Everyone is on an equal footing, and you feel that your team can go all the way. There are some butterflies when the first pitch is tossed, and when that first out is recorded, you can sit back and enjoy the ride.
Buehrle was masterful today. He had seven strong innings and made a sensational play that would be on hightlight reels and web gems for the year.
The White Sox have an impressive pitching staff, but some people question the power in the lineup. Paul Konerko casted away some of that doubt on the first pitch he saw, smacking a two-run homer to right field. The White Sox had their first lead of the season, and Buehrle and the bullpen didn’t tip-toe the Indians.
Beckham was outstanding with a 2-for-4 performance and some smart baserunning with two balls in the dirt. It was just a taste at the more athletic White Sox, and it was great to see the aggressive baserunning.
I thought Rios had some good at-bats, and he ended the game with a amazing catch ala Brian Anderson in game 163 of the 2008 Season. In the bottom of the 8th, Rios launched what seemed to be a 0-2 fastball on the outside of the plate giving the White Sox a 6-0 lead. Rios made an impact with his bat, and in the top of the ninth, he flashed his leather will a full dive to rob Hafner of extra bases. It was good to see Rios start strong. He is a key piece to the success of the White Sox in their goal to the post-season.
Pierre didn’t seem comfortable. I really wanted to see him drop a bunt, but I guess with Westbrook, sinker ball pitcher, on the mound that Pierre didn’t want to push it. Pierre and Beckham is going to be a nice one-two punch once Juan settles in.
Quentin had a double and was hit by two pitches. He seemed to be napping twice at first with balls in the dirt that Beckham took advantages of. It would have been ince to see Carlos aggressive.
I am sure Kotsay would say that he wanted better production today, but he fought off a lot of tough pitches. RBI and a walk – not too shabby for the veteran.
Putz had a strong inning of relief in the 8th. He had two quick strikes before surrendering a single. Thornton brought the heat, and he almost retired the Indians on nine strikes. He struck out Sizemore, Shoo, but Hafner fouled off the nineth pitch and proceeded to launch the ball into the left-center gap in which Rios made a sensation diving catch to end the game.
It’s always important to start the season on a high note, and the Pale Hose did it with pitching, a little power, some smallball, and some stellar defense.