The story of the game for me was how Bobby Valentine handled the bullpen in the 9th inning. After not giving the now open closer job to the most experienced man in his bullpen, Mark Melancon, Valentine brought him in to start the 9th. Melancon recorded the first out and then gave up two opposite field singles, neither of which was hit hard at all. Valentine then pulled Melancon with the 9 hole hitter up for his “closer”, Alfredo Aceves. Aceves hit the next batter and gave up the walk off single to Austin Jackson. But regardless of the outcome, it was Melancon’s mess and he should have been left to clean it up. Melancon is the guy the Sox traded for and put him in line to be their closer before acquiring Andrew Bailey, and after not naming him your closer following the Bailey injury, I highly doubt that he thinks that Valentine has much confidence in him.
Notes from around the league-
It was a day of pitching around the majors on Thursday. The Pirates came up with two hits in their first two at bats but that was all they could do against Roy Halladay as they fell to the Phillies 1-0.
The Cubs lost to the Nationals 2-1 in a game that Stephen Strasburg and Ryan Dempster combined to pitch 14.2 innings and give up just 7 hits. The loss marked the fourth year in a row that the Cubs lost in their home opener.
Johnny Cueto worked over the Marlins and handed them their second loss in about 20 hours going 7 innings and giving up just 3 hits. He allowed just one batter to reach second base when Gaby Sanchez doubled in the 7th.
Johan Santana pitched five scoreless innings in his first start since September 2nd, 2010 as the Mets beat the Braves 1-0.
The best game of the day so far (Dodgers and Padres play tonight in San Diego) took place in Cleveland where the Blue Jays beat the Indians 7-4 in a game that took 16 innings to finish. The difference was a JP Arencibia 3 run homer in the top of the 16th. Chris Perez blew the save for the Indians and Jose Bautista hit his first HR of 2012 after hitting 43 in 2011. The Benches cleared in the bottom of the 15th after Luis Perez threw high and tight to Shin-Soo Choo.