How They Rank

Previous ranking in parentheses:

1. N.Y. Yankees (2): Entering Saturday’s game, Derek Jeter still 74 hits away from 3,000 and turning ESPN into an all-Jeter, all-the-time network.

2. Philadelphia (4):  Chase Utley has bad knee, Brad Lidge has sore shoulder, four aces grace the cover of Sports Illustrated. Can it get any worse?

3. Boston (3): There’s clearly one thing Dustin Pedroia did not do during his rehab — shave.

4. Atlanta (5): Old manager Bobby Cox calls new manager Fredi Gonzalez at 7:45 a.m. on opening day to wish him luck. We know what you’re thinking: Why did Cox retire to get up so early?

5. Texas (6): Rangers  move Alexi Ogando into rotation, even though Ogando hasn’t hit 200 innings yet — in his career. One-time outfielder has thrown 153.1 major and minor league innings since conversion.

6. San Francisco (1): Aptly named rookie Brandon Belt belts first homer; don’t count on him returning to minors when Cody Ross returns.

7. Chicago White Sox (14): Sox might really go 162-0 if they never have to leave Cleveland, though we’re doubting Ken Harrelson’s voice would make it much beyond 81-0.

8. Tampa Bay (7): Most unpopular man to take the mound on opening day in St. Petersburg was not Orioles’ Jeremy Guthrie, who threw an eight-inning three-hitter, but someone who threw just one pitch: Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who was greeted with boos.

9. Cincinnati (9): Jim Edmonds criticizes Brandon Phillips, who in return calls him on Twitter a “Hater in da House.” Retired Edmonds, 40, might have a better chance to hit Clayton Kershaw than figure out this “tweet” thing.

10. Toronto (15): Rookie J.P. Arencibia has second two-homer game of his career in 2011 opener. He’s now 7-for-9 in games in which he homers twice; 1-for-30 in games he doesn’t.

11. Milwaukee (10): Disappointing opener for pitcher Yovani Gallardo. After hitting four homers in 2010, goes 0-3  while three other Brewers homer. Oh, yes. Brewers give up four in ninth and lose.

12. Minnesota (8): Twins botch a first-inning rundown on opening day, then things get ugly in four-run first and 13-3 loss. 

13. St. Louis (11): Albert Pujols grounds into three double plays on opening day. With Ryan Theriot batting leadoff, he won’t get that opportunity again.

14. Colorado (13): Why we like the Rockies: They go with four outfielders rather than keep Willy Taveras on the roster.

15. L.A. Dodgers (21): Ivan DeJesus Jr. debuted Friday night. Yes, he is the son of Ivan DeJesus, once traded from Chicago to Philadelphia for Larry Bowa in an exchange of shortstops in which the Phillies just happened to add Ryne Sandberg.

16. Detroit (12): Good thing Tigers opened on the road, avoiding cold, dreary Michigan spring for a cold, dreary New York spring.

17. Oakland (16): Hideki Matsui entered play Saturday looking for his 2,500th professional hit — first 1,390 were in Japan. He was at 1,109 in the States.

18. L.A. Angels (19): Mike Scioscia gives Maicer Izturis Friday off, to “keep him fresh.” He was worn out by spring training?

19. San Diego (18): Padres tie opener in ninth, win in 11. Sorry, we’re still not believing.

20. Florida (20): Marlins sell out on opening night. Or did the Mets sell out for them?

21. Chicago Cubs (17): Nothing boosts the hopes of a cynical fan base like losing to the Pirates on opening day.

22. Baltimore (26): Justin Duchscherer (hip) opens the season on DL. Bet nobody saw that coming.

23. Arizona (27): With Stephen Drew hurt, Willie Bloomquist bats leadoff and plays shortstop on opening day. D’backs win anyway.

24. N.Y. Mets (23): Mets cited speech by manager Terry Collins which emphasized getting “out of the gate well,” said pitcher R.A. Dickey. Inspired Mets go hitless for first six innings and listless for all nine in 6-2 opening day loss to Marlins.

25. Washington (24): Nats bat Ian Desmond leadoff despite .308 on-base percentage in 2010. Perhaps they should have saved some money for a leadoff batter while they were throwing so much at Jayson Werth?

26. Kansas City (25): Kila Ka’aihue becoming harder to pitch to than pronounce. Hit game-winning homer Friday after hitting seven in the spring.

27. Pittsburgh (29): On first two batters of 2011, third baseman Pedro Alvarez knocks one grounder down, then throws second over first baseman’s head. Later plays pop up into force out. Pirate pitchers might want to pitch away to righties and in to lefties.

28. Houston (22): Closer Brandon Lyon faces seven batters on opening day, gets one out, gives up six hits — all singles — including Wilson Valdez and John Mayberry. Astros blow 4-0 lead and lose 5-4. Manager Brad Mills never warmed anyone up in bullpen, no doubt figuring law of averages was with Lyon.

29. Cleveland (28): Indians opening-day infield is half-Cabrera — Orlando at second and Asdrubal at third. It could have been worse — they could have added Everth Cabrera.

30. Seattle (30): Mariners score six runs for Felix Hernandez in opener. That’s just about his allotment for April.

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One Response to How They Rank

  1. Mike says:

    Lots of good lines in this one. #18 and #21 are vying closely for the tops of the week.

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