The Rangers tipped their hand on Monday with a 9-1 win over the Indians. This offense is for real. Just ask last year's AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee, who was torched for seven runs and 10 hits in five innings. The Rangers were led by leadoff hitter Ian Kinsler, who went 3-for-5 with two RBIs, and DH Hank Blalock, who homered and drove in three runs.
Dodgers don't need Manny to win
... But it's always nice to have him. The Dodgers faced a test on opening day against former Cy Young winner Jake Peavy. And without a hit from Manny Ramirez, Los Angeles was able to get a 4-1 win over the Padres. Matt Kemp provided the power with a monstrous home run to dead-center field. Rafael Furcal, Orlando Hudson and James Loney added stolen bases to showcase the speed game. There will be nights that Manny carries the show. But on nights that he's off, the Dodgers will prove to be a very dangerous team if they can pick up the pieces.
The Cards have closer troubles
After an outstanding spring, it looked like Cardinals manager Tony La Russa made the right choice by naming rookie Jason Motte his closer. In doing so, La Russa sent down Chris Perez, who many think will eventually have the job. Motte's first chance to prove his skipper right came Monday against the Bucs when he was brought in to preserve a 4-2 lead. Three doubles, a single and a hit batter later, and Motte's first save chance resulted in a loss. Might we reiterate this was against the Pirates. Now what?
There's always an obscure opening-day hero
Emilio Bonifacio. Who? Exactly. It's opening day. Bonifacio is this year's unlikely opening-day hero despite good competition from the D-backs' Tony Clark, who hit two homers. Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez raised some eyebrows when he named the 23-year-old Bonifacio Florida's leadoff hitter a spot previously occupied by Hanley Ramirez. All Bonifacio did on Monday was steal three bases and hit an inside-the-park homer to lead Florida to a 12-6 win over the Nats. Bonifacio had not homered in his previous 192 major-league at-bats.
This could've been avoided
When will MLB finally learn not to schedule opening-day games in cold-weather cities? On Monday, fans were robbed of Game 1 of an ALCS rematch between the Rays and Red Sox because it was pouring in Boston. Why not play in Florida? Does that make sense? Why schedule a Florida team to play in Boston? And one can say the same about Kansas City traveling to Chicago only to be snowed out. Were that game in K.C., we'd probably have something good from the AL Central to talk about.
The Mets' bullpen is for real
If this were last season, Mets fans would be stewing right now over a blown lead that resulted in a loss. Instead, they're rejoicing while GM Omar Minaya looks like a genius after new acquisitions J.J. Putz and Frankie Rodriguez upheld their end of the bargain and preserved a 2-1 win for Johan Santana. Putz and K-Rod combined for two innings, one walk and two strikeouts.
CC Sabathia is human
This might actually be a good thing for Yankees fans who probably needed their expectations tempered. Keep in mind that much of CC's big 2008 season came against much weaker NL offenses. On Monday, CC simply couldn't locate his fastball and got in trouble. Never known for being a fast starter or a guy who thrives on the big stage, Sabathia did nothing in his 4 1/3 innings of work. Forget about the six runs, eight hits and five walks ... CC recorded zero strikeouts.