After a long off-season, players finally took to the field for baseball’s opening week. Good storylines were all over the place.
Yu Darvish of the Rangers had a perfect game with two outs in the ninth inning. The next batter lined a single through Darvish’s legs and past shortstop Elvis Andrus for a clean base hit. There have been a total of 23 perfect games in the long history of Major League Baseball. While they are never predictable, the matchup of a good young pitcher facing a young and very bad Astros team definitely created a good environment for one.

The Rangers starters in the three game series against Houston all set or tied their career high for strikeouts in a game. The Astros could make a strong run at 120 losses this year, and are a lock for 100 losses.

Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus himself made history earlier by signing an eight year contract extension worth $120 million. That’s a ton of money for a 24 year old, especially one whose game is predicated on defense and speed. However, teams now seem to be valuing up the middle defense, and Andrus is a good fielder. Also, as his body matures, he may add a bit more power. How long he will stay at shortstop, however, is an open question. He is currently blocking Jurickson Profar, the top prospect in baseball. At some point, second baseman Ian Kinsler is going to be forced to a different position and Profar and Andrus are going to be at second and short.

(What is this, A Rangers blog?)

On Wednesday night, Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay struck out 9 batters in 3 ½ innings. However, Halladay also gave up six hits, three walks, five runs, and threw 95 pitches. The Braves continued to whiff against the Philadelphia bullpen, striking out a total of sixteen times … in a game they WON 9-2. Halladay’s fastball velocity was down significantly during spring training, and it doesn’t seem that he has regained that velocity yet. Is this a bump in the road – or time for the Doc to hang up his stethoscope?

The Yankees have stumbled out of the block. This isn’t surprisingly, with Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, and Curtis Granderson all on the DL. Oh, and did I mention that Sabathia, like Halladay, has lost a few mph from his fastball? As the veterans line up for their AARP cards, the window for the Yankees is closing … and if they allow second baseball Robinson Cano to leave as a free agent, the window will slam shut on Joe Girardi’s finger.

The low budget Marlins made new by adding 20 year old Cuban exile (and pitcher) Jose Fernandez to their roster. Fernandez is a bona fide top prospects, and he has maturity beyond his years, but many observers question the wisdom of bring him up, consider his lack of high level minor league experience.