You’ll hear this from everywhere today: Carlos Gomez is electrifying. He led off the game with a double and scored on a Joe Mauer single. He bunted for a base hit, stole second, and got stranded on third in his second at-bat. He led off the 5th inning with a walk and another steal, and was later driven in by Michael Cuddyer. He struck out in his last at-bat. As exciting as he was to watch, I have to keep reminding myself that he won’t be able to go 2-for-3 with 2 stolen bases every night. He was horrible in the Majors last season and in my opinion, a .280 average would exceed expectations. On the flip side, I think he has a realistic chance of stealing 60 bases. Although he was great at the plate last night, I think eventually he will have to learn to become more patient and draw more walks. Funny thing about it is, Gomez scored 2 runs while Torii Hunter was 0-for-4 and a strikeout (against Joe Nathan).
Livan Hernandez had a great Opening Day, pitching 7 innings and giving up just 2 runs. I wish we could realistically expect that from him every game but I just don’t see it happening. He gave up 7 hits but 6 of those were singles. Overall a pretty solid performance.
Other newcomers: Delmon Young collected 2 hits in his 4 at-bats while stealing a base and eventually scoring. Craig Monroe struck out and was hitless in his 3 at-bats; Jason Kubel hit for him in the 8th (and got a double). Mike Lamb drove in a run and walked, Brendan Harris had 2 hits and 2 strikeouts in his 4 at-bats, and predictably our defensive-minded shortstop Adam Everett went hitless.
Even Nick Punto got some work when he pinch-ran (is that a word?) for Lamb in the 8th inning.
Speaking of hitless, there are two new additions to the right-hand sidebar. You’ll see an Adam Everett hitless games box, in which I’ll post how many games Everett has gone hitless in. Below that is Carlos Gomez Speed Rating, which is a stat I invented just a few minutes ago. For that box I will combine Carlos’ stolen bases and bunt hits and divide them by the number of games he’s played. As long as I keep up with it, it’ll be a quick way for people to see how often he uses his speed to either get on base or advance a base. Lastly, there’s a Nick Punto Substitution box, where I will show how many times (to the best of my knowledge) Punto will be subbed in for Lamb/Harris/Everett. To qualify, though, he will need to play defense for an inning; his jaunt on the basepaths last night doesn’t count.
And I never did update you all on the final roster. Francisco Liriano will start in the minors with Brian Bass and Matt Tolbert beginning their season with the big club.
I’m lucky enough to be going to the game tonight to see Boof Bonser pitch. The new-and-improved Boof, too. I’m excited to see Gomez and hopefully Kubel make his first start of the year. Chances are we’ll have a camera so I’ll see about getting pictures up here. If I do take some, bet on them being on the blog for Thursday’s post.
For what it’s worth, here’s Johan Santana‘s line from last night: 7 innings, 3 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 8 strikeouts, 1 home run (a 2-run shot)