Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Ultimate MLB Show for April 7, 2015


After dramatic opener, Ross, Greinke meet in LA

With Opening Day out of the way for both teams, a 6-3 win for Los Angeles thanks to a late three-run homer by Jimmy Rollins, the Padres and Dodgers settle in for Game No. 2 of 162, with another dandy pitching matchup set for Tuesday between Zack Greinke of the Dodgers and Tyson Ross of the Padres.
This will be the first time Greinke has faced Major League hitters since March 27, as he pitched against Minor League players at the end of Spring Training.
Ross allowed two earned runs over his last 15 innings of Spring Training and has looked ready to start the regular season for, really, the last two weeks.
Things to know about this game:
• Look for Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal, obtained from the Padres in the Matt Kemp deal in December, to make his first start on Tuesday. A.J. Ellis, as per usual, caught Clayton Kershaw on Opening Day. But expect Grandal to get the bulk of the starts there.
• Think Greinke likes pitching against the Padres? He's 4-0 with a 1.84 ERA in his career against San Diego, going 3-0 with a 1.66 ERA the last two seasons.
• Four of Ross' losses last season came against the Dodgers. So they had his number, right? Not so fast. He actually had a 2.67 ERA in those four starts (27 innings) but didn't get much in the way of run support. He's hoping that will change with the revamped offense.
•San Diego shortstop Alexi Amarista will start Tuesday, as Clint Barmes got the start against the lefty Kershaw on Monday. Amarista impressed the team with how he handled the position during a six-week stint there late last season.

Angels, Mariners to shuffle lineups for lefty-lefty tilt

The second of 18 meetings between the Angels and Mariners features a matchup of lefties, with C.J. Wilson facing off against James Paxton at Safeco Field at 7:10 p.m. PT on Tuesday night.
Wilson and Paxton were both slotted ahead of pitchers coming off better seasons, largely because both teams wanted to split up right-handed starters.
Wilson, who posted a 4.51 ERA and led the American League in walks last year, is ahead of Matt Shoemaker, who finished second in AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2014. Paxton, who missed nearly four months with a shoulder issue last year, is ahead of Hisashi Iwakuma, two years removed from finishing third in AL Cy Young Award voting.
• The first lefty-lefty matchup of the season means we'll get a glimpse of how both clubs will utilize platoon advantages. The Mariners will replace Dustin Ackley with Rickie Weeks in left field and Seth Smith for Justin Ruggiano in right field. The Angels will move David Freese to the cleanup spot, and they could sit Matt Joyce for right-handed-hitting outfielder Collin Cowgill.
• Four of Paxton's 17 career starts have come against the Angels. The 26-year-old lefty was 2-1 with a 2.59 ERA against them last year, including two wins in the first seven days of the season.
• Wilson missed a start in Spring Training, and two of his turns came in an intrasquad scrimmage and a Minor League game. But the 34-year-old lefty entered camp with a lot more bullpen sessions under his belt, and he feels the difference in "the repeatability of different pitches."

Rangers-A's continues with Lewis taking on Hahn

Right-hander Colby Lewis makes his 143rd career start for the Rangers, the eighth most in club history, against Athletics right-hander Jesse Hahn in Game 2 of the four-game series on Tuesday night.
Lewis made 29 starts for the Rangers last season after missing 18 months because of elbow and hip surgery. Hahn is making his first start for the Athletics after being acquired from the Padres in the offseason. He won a spot in the rotation in Spring Training after posting a 3.06 ERA in five starts.
Things to know about the game:
• Athletics hitters have a combined 80 career at-bats against Lewis, but Coco Crisp and Josh Reddick have 44 of them, and both are on the disabled list. Next on the list is Billy Butler, who is 3-for-9 off Lewis in his career.
• Hahn needs to show some endurance. Last season opponents hit .200 off him, with a .269 slugging percentage, through 75 pitches. After 75 pitches those numbers jumped to .274 and .510. He threw at least 100 pitches in just one of his 12 starts.
• The Athletics seek to regain home-field advantage against the Rangers this season after going 2-7 them at the Coliseum in 2014. That was the most losses by the Athletics against the Rangers on their home turf, and it cost them home-field advantage for the American League Wild Card Game.

Giants hoping to continue hot streak in desert

The Giants and D-backs continue their season-opening three-game series at Chase Field on Tuesday, with San Francisco hoping to preserve its recent success against Arizona. The reigning World Series champions have won their last eight series at Chase Field. Out to stop the Giants is D-backs starter Rubby De La Rosa, who has made two career appearances (one start) against the Giants, both as a member of the Dodgers. De La Rosa has a 6.35 ERA in those games.
Things to know about this game
• The D-backs are in a stretch where they will play their first 13 games against National League West opponents, including seven matchups with the Giants.
• The Giants, though, have a more extreme schedule. All 23 of their games in April are against division foes, including the first 14 in a row without a day off.
• With right-hander Ryan Vogelsong starting for the Giants in place of Jake Peavy, look for Jake Lamb to start at third base and David Peralta to get the nod in left field. Against the left-handed Madison Bumgarner on Opening Night, Aaron Hill started at third and Ender Inciarte in left.
Vogelsong has struggled in the season's first month. Lifetime in March/April, he's 3-7 with a 6.12 ERA in 34 games (18 starts).

Garza, Lyles aim to implement offseason adjustments

What's intriguing about this great sport is the adjustments players make. Generally, what a guy's stat sheet says is who he is. He isn't going to change much. But history has shown that with the right growth and development, or the right changes, a player can reach a new level. The starting pitchers for the Brewers and Rockies, who will play the season's second game at Miller Park on Tuesday night, share dreams of becoming new men through their offseason changes.
Things to know about this game
• Brewers starter Matt Garza is entering the second year of four-year, $50 million deal. Although he posted a 3.64 ERA in 2014 with a franchise-record (among starters) .233 opponents' batting average, he spent most of August on the disabled list with a rib cage injury. For durability, Garza worked with his younger brother, Michael, a pitching coach in Southern California, on mechanical fixes.
• Rockies righty Jordan Lyles threw his curveball 8.5 percent of the time and his changeup 7.7 percent last year. But after working in the offseason and through the spring, Lyles' change has become his best pitch and he's improved the fundamentals of the curve. Lyles didn't face the Brewers this spring, so he believes he's a different guy.
• In the last five seasons, the only Rockies player to homer off Garza is Carlos Gonzalez (twice). Reserve outfielder Drew Stubbs (.313, one homer) could find himself in the lineup. Brewers outfielder Gerardo Parra is hitting .538 in 13 at-bats against Lyles.

Arrieta faces Lynn as Cards-Cubs series continues

Now past the pomp and circumstance that enveloped Opening Night on Sunday, the Cubs and Cardinals will enjoy an off-day on Monday before resuming a three-game series at Wrigley Field on Tuesday. The Cubs will send Jake Arrieta, 2-0 with a 0.92 ERA in five career starts against St. Louis, to the mound to face Lance Lynn. Lynn, who was mildly slowed by a left hip flexor strain this spring, slots into the No. 2 spot in the rotation after signing a three-year extension with the Cardinals in the offseason.
Things to know about the game:
• At 0-for-11, Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter has more hitless at-bats against Arrieta than against any other pitcher in baseball. The drought is especially surprising given Carpenter's career .301 average against right-handed pitchers. In fact, Arrieta is the only right-hander Carpenter has faced at least seven times without recording a hit.
• Last season, Arrieta did not make his first Major League start until May 3, spending Spring Training rehabbing a tight right shoulder. This spring was different and he feels like he's further along than he was last year. His goal is to pitch 200 innings this season, something he has yet to accomplish in his career.
• Cubs manager Joe Maddon experimented with having the pitcher bat eighth this spring and slotted Jon Lester there on Sunday night. He will continue to do so as long as he can insert a leadoff-type hitter in the No. 9 hole. His options include Tommy La Stella, who hit ninth on Sunday, Chris Coghlan and Arismendy Alcantara. Asked if he might do the same, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said he doesn't see a reason to do so given the makeup of his lineup.

Davis returns for Orioles as Rays turn to Karns

The Orioles' offense will be bolstered Tuesday by the return of first baseman Chris Davis, whose 25-game suspension from 2015 ended with Opening Day. Davis is expected to be in the lineup against the Rays at Tropicana Field, with Tampa Bay sending right-hander Nathan Karns to the mound. Karns will make his sixth Major League start and third since joining the Rays' organization prior to the start of the 2014 season. Baltimore is countering with lefty Wei-Yin Chen.
Three things to know about this game
1. Davis' arrival, which will likely mean that catcher Steve Clevenger will be optioned to Triple-A Norfolk to clear a roster spot, has been long anticipated for the O's. After a monster 2013, Davis is hoping to put a '14 filled with injury and suspension behind him.
2. At 27, Karns is the oldest member of the Rays' season-opening rotation. When Karns is at his best, he is capable of being overpowering, as he showed on Sept. 12 at Toronto when he held the Blue Jays to no runs on two hits and two walks while striking out eight to earn the win.
3. New Orioles shortstop Everth Cabrera is expected to get the start on Tuesday, after Ryan Flaherty filled in for injured J.J. Hardy in the opener. Cabrera gives the O's speed and had a solid second half of the spring.

Latos makes Marlins debut vs. tough lefty Wood

Mat Latos will get a taste of his new environment when the Marlins send him to the mound to start Tuesday night's game against the Braves at Marlins Park.
Miami bolstered its rotation this winter with the acquisition of Latos, who notched consecutive 14-win seasons in Cincinnati before missing the first half of last season with a knee injury.
Atlanta will counter with Alex Wood, who has developed into one of baseball's top young starting pitchers since making his Major League debut less than a year after he was selected in the second round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.
Three things to know about this game:
1. Though the Marlins are set to start three right-handed pitchers in this series, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez will likely put right-handed-hitting third baseman Chris Johnson and left fielder Jonny Gomes in the starting lineup for at least one game. Latos actually proved slightly more effective against left-handed batters last year, limiting them to a .270 on-base percentage. Right-handers produced a .310 OBP against him.
2. Wood has produced a 2.84 ERA through the first 35 starts of his career. Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale are the only other left-handers who have produced a better ERA while totaling at least 35 starts since the start of the 2013 season.
3. Giancarlo Stanton is currently tied with Dan Uggla for the most home runs in Marlins franchise history. Stanton has recorded two hits, including a homer, in 16 career at-bats against Wood.

Top 10 moments from Opening Day 2015

How great was Opening Day?
Ask Sonny Gray. Or Hanley Ramirez. Or Dustin Pedroia. Maybe Todd FrazierJoe Nathan or Clay BuchholzJimmy Rollins or Mike Trout might be able to give you an answer. And, now that he has some time on his hands, Bud Selig could probably give you a good answer too.
From Masahiro Tanaka's first pitch at Yankee Stadium to the last pitch at Chase Field, Major League Baseball's 140th Opening Day was a treasure trove of familiar faces in new places and the drama that makes this one of the best days of the year.
Any year. Every year.
This year, here were my 10 favorite moments:
Very little Gray area in A's victory
Bob Feller is the only big leaguer to ever throw a no-hitter in a season opener, doing it with the Cleveland Indians against the White Sox in 1940. But more than 11 hours into the day's games, Gray took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Rangers at the O.co Coliseum.
Ryan Rua, one of the 23 rookies who played for Texas a year ago, led off with a sharp single into right field, taking away Gray's run at history.
You should keep your eyes open for all future meetings between Gray and the Rangers. After all, he threw a six-hit shutout against them on the last day of the 2014 season, clinching a Wild Card spot for the A's. The Texas lineup entered this game with a .173 average in 104 career at-bats against Gray, and it was downhill from there.
Little League hero strikes again
Frazier, the guy who was the winning pitcher and hit the game-winning home run for Toms River, N.J., in the championship game of the 1998 Little League World Series, delivered the a three-run homer to give the Reds a 5-2 victory over the Pirates at Great American Ball Park.
Frazier's homer was stashed away inside a crazy sequence of events staged by some of baseball's most athletic players.
After Andrew McCutchen drove a two-run home run to tie the score at 2 in the eighth inning, Billy Hamilton took over for the Reds in the bottom of the inning. He singled into center field with one out, moved to second on a single by Joey Votto and then caught Tony Watson napping. He broke as Watson was starting toward the plate and stole third without a throw. Watson, seemingly rattled, then served up a massive three-run home run to Frazier.
But the party in the stands was just starting. It really got rocking as Aroldis Chapman slammed the door in the ninth, striking out Sean Rodriguez andFrancisco Cervelli on 100-mph fastballs.
Enter Han-Man for the Red Sox
Ramirez, playing in his first game for Boston, joined Pedroia, playing in his 1,152nd, in homering twice in the Red Sox's 8-0 victory over the Phillies. The Red Sox hadn't had a two-homer game from a player on Opening Day since Carlton Fisk in 1973.
Making it even better, Ramirez's second homer was a grand slam off Jake Diekman. The Red Sox hit five overall, including one by Mookie Betts. And, now, the best part -- four of them came off Cole Hamels, who has seemed headed to Boston all winter in on-again, off-again trade talks as conventional wisdom says the Red Sox lack a No. 1 starter.
The Price of late-inning relief
Fans at Comerica Park hooted manager Brad Ausmus when he went out to remove David Price in the ninth inning of a potential shutout over the Twins. Ausmus had let Price start the ninth but summoned in Nathan after two runners reached base, creating a save situation. This was a nightmare scenario for the Tigers' fans, who have learned the hard way to fear the ninth inning.
But it was terrific to see Nathan come through, getting the benefit of the doubt from umpire Joe West on a two-strike attempt to check a swing by Torii Hunter. The 4-0 victory was a great start for both Price and Nathan, better for the Tigers than if Price had done it all by himself.
Scherzer shows his stuff
Max Scherzer took a no-hitter into the sixth inning in his first start after signing that $210 million deal with the Nationals. This was magic in motion but unraveled quickly, thanks in part to a high pop that fell in between second baseman Dan Uggla -- whose comeback was one of the Grapefruit League's surprises -- and shortstop Ian Desmond, who was charged with the error. Lucas Duda broke up Scherzer's no-hitter with a two-run single smashed to right-center, starting the Mets toward their 3-1 victory.
A disappointing finish at Nationals Park, but still … Scherzer gave 'em five innings to talk about.
Thanks for everything, Mr. Commissioner
Former commissioner Bud Selig was greeted warmly when he threw out the first pitch at Miller Park. Unfortunately for the Brewers, this was the highlight of a day in which the Rockies knockedKyle Lohse out of the game in the fourth inning and rolled to a 10-0 victory.
Trout gets the first laugh against King Felix, again
Want to watch a great piece of baseball? Then check out the eight-pitch at-bat that started the Angels-Mariners game at Safeco Field.
Felix Hernandez jumped ahead of Trout, 0-2. But Trout fouled off three two-strike pitches and took two more for balls, working his way to a 2-2 count. Hernandez threw a 92-mph sinker and Trout sent it flying into the seats. It marked the second year in a row he hit a first-inning home run off Hernandez. The Mariners would come to view this as only an interesting footnote, however, as Hernandez gave up only one more hit in his seven-inning stint and they rolled to a 4-1 victory.
Welcome to town, Mr. Rollins
Rollins' three-run homer in his LA debut gave the Dodgers a 6-3 victory over the Padres. It came in the eighth inning, after a double by another newcomer, Howie Kendrick, had tied the score and taken away a potential save opportunity from new Padre Craig Kimbrel. New Dodgers reliever Joel Peralta took the victory, saved by another of his former teammates from Tampa Bay, Chris Hatcher, as the Dodgers raised their record to 5-0 in Opening Day starts by Clayton Kershaw, who had been in line for a loss before the late dramatics.
Speaking loudly with their silence
Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis homered off Yankees reliever Chasen Shreve in his big league debut. When he returned to the dugout, he got the silent treatment from Jose Bautista and his other Toronto teammates. But it lasted only until he had gone from one end of the dugout to the other. The Jays were too happy for their teammate -- one of six rookies on the Opening Day roster -- to make him suffer long.
Gone, never forgotten
The Rays retired number No. 66 in honor of late coach and organization icon Don Zimmer, who passed away last June. His widow, Soot, dabbed away tears during the ceremony. Evan Longoria, who regularly played cards with Zimmer before games, presented Soot a framed jersey in honor of her husband, who spent 65 years in baseball. They married at home plate before a game in Elmira, N.Y., in 1951.

Selig, Big Unit part of D-backs' opening festivities

 The D-backs paid tribute to a pair of baseball legends prior to their Opening Night game with the Giants on Monday, honoring former Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and soon-to-be Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson.
A video tribute to Selig, who is now Commissioner Emeritus, played on the scoreboard, highlighting the many accomplishments during his tenure as Commissioner. Selig led Major League Baseball from Sept. 9, 1992, when, as chairman of MLB's executive council, he became interim Commissioner, until he relinquished his post on Jan. 24, 2015. He had been unanimously elected baseball's ninth Commissioner on July 9, 1998.
Selig was given a display case filled with magazine covers that represented big moments in Arizona Diamondbacks history in which he played a role, from the granting of the franchise in 1995 to the awarding of the 2011 All-Star Game to Phoenix.
Johnson, who was elected this January to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, received a huge ovation from the crowd as he took the mound to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Johnson will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in July, and on Aug. 8, the D-backs will retire his No. 51.

Giants hoping to continue hot streak in desert

The Giants and D-backs continue their season-opening three-game series at Chase Field on Tuesday, with San Francisco hoping to preserve its recent success against Arizona. The reigning World Series champions have won their last eight series at Chase Field. Out to stop the Giants is D-backs starter Rubby De La Rosa, who has made two career appearances (one start) against the Giants, both as a member of the Dodgers. De La Rosa has a 6.35 ERA in those games.
Things to know about this game
• The D-backs are in a stretch where they will play their first 13 games against National League West opponents, including seven matchups with the Giants.
• The Giants, though, have a more extreme schedule. All 23 of their games in April are against division foes, including the first 14 in a row without a day off.
• With right-hander Ryan Vogelsong starting for the Giants in place of Jake Peavy, look for Jake Lamb to start at third base and David Peralta to get the nod in left field. Against the left-handed Madison Bumgarner on Opening Night, Aaron Hill started at third and Ender Inciarte in left.
Vogelsong has struggled in the season's first month. Lifetime in March/April, he's 3-7 with a 6.12 ERA in 34 games (18 starts).

Giants survive vs. D-backs to reward Bumgarner

Madison Bumgarner picked up right where he left off last October as he allowed just one run over seven innings and the Giants held off a late rally to beat the D-backs, 5-4, on Monday night in the season opener for both clubs.
Bumgarner, the hero of last year's postseason run by the Giants, scattered six hits and struck out three.
"Our goal is to win games and that's it, find a way to do it," Bumgarner said. "I felt pretty good, throwing strikes, getting ahead of guys, making pitches. The defense was great behind me, picking me up multiple times. They were great."
With the game tied at 1, the Giants broke things open with a four-run fifth inning against D-backs starter Josh CollmenterAngel Pagan, who had two RBIs on the night, drove in one of the runs while Brandon Crawford capped the inning with a two-run double off reliever Andrew Chafin.
The D-backs rallied for three runs off the Giants bullpen in the eighth to make things interesting, but Jeremy Affeldt was able to strike out pinch-hitter David Peralta with two runners on to end the inning.
"We showed a lot of fight," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "It was great to come back."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Top-heavy order: Through the first five innings, San Francisco's first three hitters -- Nori AokiJoe Panik and Pagan -- went a combined 8-for-9, scored four runs and drove in two. All three hit safely in the third inning, when the Giants opened their scoring, and the fifth, when they amassed four runs.
Close, but not enough: After Bumgarner departed, the D-backs managed a furious rally against four Giants relievers in the eighth. The big blow of the inning came when pinch-hitter Jake Lamb blasted a Sergio Romo pitch off the wall in center for a three-run double to pull the D-backs to within a run.
Playing with fire: Collmenter pitched his way into and out of trouble through the first four innings as seven Giants reached base with only one scoring. It would catch up to him in the fifth as the Giants managed a pair of runs and put runners on first and third with two out when Chafin was summoned to relieve Collmenter.
Room for improvement: Bumgarner struck out only three batters, but he didn't need punchouts to subdue the D-backs. Instead, he coaxed double-play grounders in the fifth and sixth innings that helped the Giants retain their lead after their big fifth inning.
REPLAY REVIEW
The D-backs issued a manager's challenge in the eighth inning when home-plate umpire Gary Cederstrom ruled that Affeldt's 1-2 pitch was foul-tipped by Peralta and did not hit his hand. After a review of one minute, 54 seconds, the call was confirmed, the count remained 1-2 and Peralta went on to strike out.
WHAT'S NEXT
Giants: One of the National League's top clubs on the road last year, the Giants will try to continue that trend Tuesday at 6:40 p.m. PT as they resume their season-opening series at Arizona. They finished 43-38 away from home last year, third-best in the league behind the Dodgers (49-32) and Washington (45-36).
D-backs: Rubby De La Rosa will make his D-backs debut Tuesday night against the Giants at 6:40 p.m. MST. De La Rosa was acquired from the Red Sox this past offseason in the trade that sent veteran Wade Miley to Boston.

Rangers-A's continues with Lewis taking on Hahn

Right-hander Colby Lewis makes his 143rd career start for the Rangers, the eighth most in club history, against Athletics right-hander Jesse Hahn in Game 2 of the four-game series on Tuesday night.
Lewis made 29 starts for the Rangers last season after missing 18 months because of elbow and hip surgery. Hahn is making his first start for the Athletics after being acquired from the Padres in the offseason. He won a spot in the rotation in Spring Training after posting a 3.06 ERA in five starts.
Things to know about the game:
• Athletics hitters have a combined 80 career at-bats against Lewis, but Coco Crisp and Josh Reddick have 44 of them, and both are on the disabled list. Next on the list is Billy Butler, who is 3-for-9 off Lewis in his career.
• Hahn needs to show some endurance. Last season opponents hit .200 off him, with a .269 slugging percentage, through 75 pitches. After 75 pitches those numbers jumped to .274 and .510. He threw at least 100 pitches in just one of his 12 starts.
• The Athletics seek to regain home-field advantage against the Rangers this season after going 2-7 them at the Coliseum in 2014. That was the most losses by the Athletics against the Rangers on their home turf, and it cost them home-field advantage for the American League Wild Card Game.

Big bats return, but expectations not met

This is not what the Rangers were expecting on Monday night with their lineup reinforced by the return of Prince FielderShin-Soo Chooand Mitch Moreland.
But Athletics starter Sonny Gray was tough against them all last season, and he has begun this season the same way. Gray took a no-hitter into the eighth inning before allowing a leadoff single by Ryan Rua. That ruined Gray's chances of joining Bob Feller as the second pitcher to throw a no-hitter on Opening Day.
In all other respects, Gray completely shut down the Rangers, and they were shut out, 8-0, on Opening Day for the first time since 1972. Gray had a 2.06 ERA in six starts against the Rangers last season.
"Nobody wants to have a no-hitter thrown against them," third basemanAdrian Beltre said. "But when you hit some balls hard at people, it can happen. We didn't want it to happen. It was a relief to get one, but it wasn't enough."
Rua, who went 3-for-6 against Gray last season, struck out in his first at-bat, in the second, and flied out to deep left-center in the fifth. In the eighth, Gray threw two fastballs by Rua to get ahead, 0-2, and he tried to throw one more, but Rua grounded it through the right side for a single.
"I was just trying to shorten up and get the bat on the ball, not do too much," Rua said.
Gray was trying to throw the fourth no-hitter against the Rangers in club history. The last one was by Mark Buehrle of the White Sox on April 18, 2007, in Chicago.
"We felt like we had an approach and we had a plan," manager Jeff Banister said. "You can put all those things together, but when the guy on the mound is pretty good, he has a say in the outcome. At some point you have to give credit to the guy with the ball in his hand. We couldn't get anything going at all."
The Rangers only had one runner reach scoring position. Leonys Martin took second with two outs in the sixth when left fielder Ben Zobrist dropped his fly ball for an error.
"He was spotting his heater to get ahead, and he threw his breaking ball for strikes," Moreland said. "He mixed it well and did a great job. We felt like we made a few good swings, but it didn't go our way."

Gallardo struggles with command on Opening Night

 Yovani Gallardo had been waiting a long time to pitch for the Rangers, and a no-hitter would have been the ultimate dream come true for a guy who grew up in Fort Worth.
But Gallardo was almost on the wrong side of that dream on Monday night, when he was outpitched by Sonny Gray in the Rangers' 8-0 loss to the Athletics.
"I was battling throughout the whole game," Gallardo said. "The command just wasn't there."
Gray took a no-hit bid into the eighth inning, whereas Gallardo was gone in the fifth. Gallardo, making his sixth straight Opening Day start, allowed four runs on six hits -- four that went for extra bases -- and one costly walk. He is now 1-3 with a 5.12 ERA on Opening Day, including the five with the Brewers.
"There is always extra excitement and energy going through you because you know it's the first game," he said. "You've got to find a way to control it. Obviously, things didn't go the way I wanted, but you have to forget about it and get ready for the next one."
Gallardo started his night by striking out Craig Gentry. But then Sam Fuld hit a 2-1 fastball to deep center field, where outfielder Leonys Martin just missed making a great catch against the wall.
The ball eluded Martin, and Fuld raced to third for a triple. Ben Zobristfollowed with a two-run home run to give the Athletics a two-run lead.
"I was just falling behind hitters, and you can't do that," Gallardo said. "You've got to be aggressive and throw strikes. When I did get ahead, I was able to get them to swing at my pitch and get ground balls."
Gallardo was also able to put up two scoreless innings after that before starting the fourth by walking Ike Davis. That cost him, as the Athletics scored two more runs. After Brett Lawrie flied out, Stephen Vogt smacked a double to left to put runners on second and third. Marcus Semien's single to center scored one run and Gallardo sent home a second run on a wild pitch.
"He only made a couple of mistakes in the first," manager Jeff Banister said. "He got chipped a little bit, but these hitters make you work and stay patient. You have to get ahead of them, get the hitters in a swing mode and get early outs. We were not as efficient as we would like."
Gallardo's night ended at 89 pitches when he gave up a single to Zobrist to start the fifth. His next start will be his first in Arlington, on Saturday, when he goes against the Astros.