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Can we get a Mulligan?

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I'd make the excuse that Ozzie's order to "flip the switch" got lost in translation, but Jose Contreras is a native Spanish speaker. From the very first pitch high and outside to Grady Sizemore, Contreras didn't have his control. And it only got worse from there; Sizemore sent the second pitch sailing over the right field wall as Contreras retired only 3 of the 12 batters he faced on his way to allowing 8 runs.

What's surprising, or perhaps it's scary, is that I thought Contreras was the sharpest of our starting pitchers this spring. His forkball, which he couldn't throw at all for strikes on Monday, was dancing even in the dry Tucson air. I wasn't the slightest bit worried about him as the season opened. That's obviously changed now.

The first question asked to Ozzie in his post-game press conference was about Contreras' health. -- He's supposedly fine. And that's how it appeared to my eyes as well. Count couldn't find his release point, and may have been stuck in between his up-and-down delivery. When Contreras did find the strike zone, it was right down the middle and usually hit hard. His velocity was reading in the low 90's on the CSN, and 93-95 on MLB's new enhanced Gameday. I'll wait until his next outing before I make any doom-and-gloom claims about his long-term effectiveness.

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Notes:

  • Darin Erstad hit a HR. Off a left-handed pitcher. He hit a grand total of 18 in the previous 4 seasons. Don't expect that to be a common occurance.
  • The blowout gave Ozzie the opportunity to play a bunch of people.
    • Gustavo Molina got his first major league RBI on a deep drive sacrifice fly to left-center.
    • Brian Anderson ripped a double down the left field line off of Joe Borowski.
    • Cintron and Mackowiak didn't have to wait to get their first AB of the season.
    • Nick Masset underwhelmed in his first appearance as long reliever. It was a tough task to throw fewer strikes than Contreras, but Masset found a way. At least he was recording some outs.
    • Andrew Sisco didn't make me yearn for Boone Logan. Yet.
    • David Aardsma threw ever fewer strikes than Masset or Contreras, yet he escaped without allowing a run.
    • Bobby Jenks looked good.
  • Maybe the best thing I can say about the game is that Joe Borowski looked about as good as you'd expect Joe Borowski to look.
Tomorrow is another day. It's a day without baseball, but at least it's not today.