Dontrelle Willis (1-0) (FLA) vs. Sean Marshall (1-0) (CHC)
Dontrelle probably won't win 22 games again this year. But he'll probably pitch just as well despite the poor defense and run support working behind him. And this could be where win #2 comes in as he takes on the rookie Sean Marshall against a struggling Chicago Cubs. (Well... they struggle when anyone other than Mad Dog gets the start.)
update: final score - FLA 1, CHC 3 -- W - Sean Marshall, L - Dontrelle Willis, SV - Ryan Dempster
This one was a pitching duel. And at Wriggley field that means both starters were exceptional. Marshall picked up the win on just his third major league start of his career as the "reconstituted" version of the Marlins of '06 couldn't put up the run support to make Willis's efforts stand up.
Dontrelle Willis: 7.0IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, 3BB, 6SO, 0HR - L
Sean Marshall: 7.0IP, 2H, 0R, 0ER, 2BB, 7SO, 0HR - W
Tim Wakefield (1-3) (BOS) vs. Cliff Lee (1-1) (CLE)
The old knuckleballer for the Red Sox takes on last year's 18-game winner. I think Lee has the potential to be Cy Young material this year if he continues his current rate of 7.4 strikeouts per 9-innings pitched. I'd also like to see Victor Martinez hit one of those knuckleball pitches. He was 2-for-3 against Wakefield last year with a homerun, a double and a strikeout.
update: final score - BOS 1, CLE 7 -- W - Cliff Lee, L - Tim Wakefield
Well, Victor Martinez did go 2-for-3 and drew a walk. But hit hitting the knuckleball wasn't as productive as scoring from third on a passed ball and later advancing to third on another passed ball. With all that unpredictable movement in the knuckler there will be a lot of pitches that get past the catcher and there were four of those in this one. But it was the fastball that Wakefield tried to get past Jhonny Peralta that did all the damage needed with a 3-run home run in the bottom of the first to put Cleveland on top for the duration. Lee was outstanding on the mound. He's emerging as one to keep an eye on this year.
Tim Wakefield: 5.2IP, 5H, 5R, 3ER, 4BB, 3SO, 1HR - L
Cliff Lee: 6.0IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, 4BB, 7SO, 1HR - WApril 27
Johan Santana (0-3) (MIN) vs. Mark Redman (KC)
With only 6 games scheduled today it's a good time to head over to Kansas City to see just how terrible this year's Royals team really is. I remember seeing Mark Redman pitch with Oakland back in 2004 and he seemed to have pretty good stuff. But his 5-15 record with the Pirates last year sounds like KC material to me. Santana is still looking for his first win and it should be coming at the Royal's expense in this one. After all, the Twinkies can't keep on losing to every team within their own division all season long.
update: final score - MIN 7, KC 3 -- W - Johan Santana, L - Mark Redman
How bad is Kansas City? Well, when the former Cy Young pitcher from Minnesota blows into town with a full range of pitches and an ability to change speeds these teams just aren't competing at the same level. A 5-run frame at the top of the second inning sent Redman packing after just 1 and two-thirds and provided all the support needed to determine the outcome of the game. Santana had 10 strikeouts while 5 Royals pitcher combined for just 3 K's. That's terrible. Royals pitching also issued 7 free passes compared to just one by the Twins. And KC's defense allowed an extra inning's worth of outs with 3 errors. KC is 5-15 and they'll be lucky if they win more than 42 games this year.
Johan Santana: 8.0IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, 1BB, 10SO, 1HR - W
Mark Redman: 1.2IP, 6H, 5R, 5ER, 3BB, 0SO, 0HR - L(Win Probability graphs by Fangraphs)