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Kyle Lohse dominates the Marlins, spoils their big night in their new home

Apr 4, 2012, 10:15 PM EDT

St Louis Cardinals v Miami Marlins Getty Images

With all apologies to the Athletics and Mariners, baseball is now really back, thanks to a game being played in this hemisphere, at an hour we could all see it and on actual television. The Cardinals beat the Marlins 4-1.

Our hemisphere, yes, but it often felt like a different universe.  One in which lime green is an acceptable color for an outfield wall. Where players came in accompanied by Brazilian dancers. One in which Kyle Lohse of all people not only gets an Opening Night start, but handcuffs the new-look Marlins, not allowing a hit until the seventh inning.  He ended the night tossing seven and a third innings of two-hit ball, with the Marlins only scoring when Fernando Salas allowed an inherited runner to score on a John Buck double.

As for the Cardinals, they struck early, two scoring on a David Freese single in the first, a third on a Rafael Furcal single in the second and an insurance run on a fielder’s choice in the eighth.

But the results of the game are less important and created less of an impression than this ballpark did.  It’s loud in color, but thanks to the near no-no, it wasn’t too loud in voice.  That outfield seems really, really big to me. Poor John Jay and Emilio Bonafacio seemed like they were running for miles at times.

Maybe the most important thing is that the home run sculpture/monstrosity didn’t go off, and thank goodness for that.  The 7pm start meant that a lot of children could have been watching. Hopefully their parents covered their eyes when Muhammad Ali came out to “throw out” the first pitch.  That was painful to watch given his condition and, with all respect to The Champ, I wonder who thought that was the best idea for Opening Night.

Anyway, baseball’s back folks. And today was the last day until the All-Star break when only one game is being played. Hallelujah.

  1. Gobias Industries - Apr 4, 2012 at 10:28 PM

    “That was painful to watch given his condition and, with all respect to The Champ, I wonder who thought that was the best idea for Opening Night.” Well at least the Newport Beach police didn’t have their guns drawn on him. Now THAT would have been awkward.

  2. paperlions - Apr 4, 2012 at 10:28 PM

    Nice to see Angel Hernandez is already in mid-season form.

    Mike Matheny pushing all the right buttons, “leading” the Cardinals to victory.

  3. pkswally024 - Apr 4, 2012 at 10:30 PM

    God I love opening day. Best time of the year. Go Phills! Go baseball!

  4. hojo20 - Apr 4, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    When will the Marlins go back to drawing 10,000/game….May or June?

    • sfchamps2010 - Apr 5, 2012 at 12:28 AM

      if they’re winning, early June. if they’re losing, end of April start of May…

  5. Old Gator - Apr 4, 2012 at 10:38 PM

    You have to think that the pathetic Ali stunt was the brain-lithopedion of Scrooge McLoria, who seems to have squandered an entire life of art collecting (he bought his first Pirandello etching at sixteen, which indicates that his childhood was not mired in poverty) without having acquired a joule of good taste in the process. McLoria wrapped himself around and cuddled Ali like he was some sort of collectible limited edition teddy bear while the Champ seemed definitely uncomfortable about being made into such a spectacle. I can’t recall ever seeing anything quite like it on a baseball field before. As far as the Brazillian carnival dancers, I imagine they’ll now repair to Tweeter’s hot tub to smoke cigars, sip champagne, and maybe try and forget the game itself – played by the Feesh with all the vitality and focus of freshman heading home from their first frat party.

    Not to take anything away from Kyle Lohse, but the Feesh were swing at stuff in the dirt and off the plate all night long, while Josh Johnson was up in the zone all night and was probably lucky that the ten hits he allowed – which represents the highest hit total in his career so far – didn’t travel a lot harder and further than they did.

    But what summed up the Rainbow Warriors’ play for me was a seeing eye singe I caught out of the corner of my own eye while assembling a media noche during the second or third inning that the Hanster, in his garish new orange hairdo (really), seemed barely to stroll towards while Jose Reyes, who apparently thought his predecessor at short was going to snag with ease, pulled up short and then dashed futilely for the dribbler as it rolled into the outfield. There was no excuse, other than a complete lack of focus, for that ball getting through the infield. Quick camera pan to Slobbering Ozzie pulling off his cap, shaking his head and sending up a thought balloon that read something like “WTF!?”

    Well, the Feesh head for the Seven Hills and a date with the Reds tomorrow, and Macondo is left to try to sweep into the storm drains the mental and aesthetic detritus of one of the most embarrassing debuts of a new ballpark in the history of the game. But let’s face it, folks – we could all see this coming, couldn;t we?

    • Baseball Beer Burritos In That Order - Apr 5, 2012 at 1:00 AM

      That was one of the laziest, most inexcusable plays in sports history.

      The grounder that HanRam let by him was pretty bad, too.

    • phillyphreak - Apr 5, 2012 at 5:37 AM

      For a second I thought that the Marlins signed Yuneski to play 3B.

      • sportsdrenched.com - Apr 5, 2012 at 9:27 AM

        I really wish they would have

  6. onegamedoesnotaseasonmake - Apr 4, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    anyone else think that the lime green wall was brutal?

    • paperlions - Apr 4, 2012 at 10:57 PM

      Normally, I would hate it….but given that they are embracing the Latin American influence in Miami…I think it works. I was more bothered by the advertising on all the OF walls (except straight away center), than the bright green.

  7. phillyphever - Apr 4, 2012 at 11:09 PM

    You know it’s baseball season when OldGator’s in midseason form.

    • Old Gator - Apr 5, 2012 at 10:45 AM

      In all fairness, you weren’t paying attention. I had a terrific spring.

  8. 78mu - Apr 4, 2012 at 11:10 PM

    I hope all those doubters of Matheny being as good as TLR are apologizing tonight. Running the numbers for the game and extrapolating them out to a full season, Matheny will win all 162 games in his first season, something TLR nor Whitely ever did.

    Of course this also means Holliday will go hitless on the season and make Adam Dunn’s 2011 season look like what Ruth did in 1927.

    • The Baseball Idiot - Apr 5, 2012 at 5:20 AM

      Even if they do go 162-0, none of the experts would still consider them the team to beat.

    • ajcardsfan - Apr 5, 2012 at 11:35 AM

      Matheny’s smart, he was a good player and will be a good manager. I think he’ll more than earn his stripes this season. If anybody’s ragging on him by June? It’s just because we either a) just beat them or b)they’re hopes of a September/October Run were dashed in May.

  9. leerosenthall - Apr 4, 2012 at 11:15 PM

    The outfield wall looks like a giant green screen that they couldn’t get any sponsors to buy advertising for. Maybe it looks good if you’re actually at the ballpark, but it seriously doesn’t work on television. (Maybe that’s the idea? Folks will have to come to a game to avoid that view?

    And that outfield dimensions are huge. Maybe they decided on them AFTER they saw that kitschy sculpture out in left field. Doesn’t look like that flamingo dance isn’t going to happen very often after all. Maybe they’ll move it to Disney World.

    • leerosenthall - Apr 4, 2012 at 11:19 PM

      Wow, I must have had too many mojitos before I wrote that. I sound like Ozzie Guillen. Sorry!

      • paperlions - Apr 5, 2012 at 7:48 AM

        Nah, you were about 40 f-bombs short of Guillenesque.

  10. joecool16280 - Apr 4, 2012 at 11:35 PM

    New rules. MLB shouldn’t:

    A) officially start “America’s pastime” in a foreign country with games that count.
    B) after those games are played have the SAME two teams come back and play Spring Training games that DON’T count.
    C) on the same day when the first regular season game on American soil is played still have other teams play exhibition games in MLB parks.

    Only Bud Selig can screw this up.

  11. btwicey - Apr 4, 2012 at 11:43 PM

    Those Stanton track shots are HR in 50% of parks,right?

  12. drewsylvania - Apr 5, 2012 at 12:44 AM

    Everything about the Marlins style is a horror. Ugly logo, circus-pinball-machine monstrosity in left center, butts hanging out of outfits instead of (Marlins) butts in the seats, awkward Ali moments (seriously, the PA annoucer had to lead the damn chant himself??)…

    Just an amazing train wreck. Who’d have thought I could hate a team just on looks?

    And then you add in getting cozy with Miami in order to rob taxpayers….I don’t see how anybody could root for this team.

    • paperlions - Apr 5, 2012 at 7:50 AM

      If we are being honest, I would have thought you could hate a team based just on looks.

      • drewsylvania - Apr 5, 2012 at 11:07 AM

        heh, touche

  13. stebutt - Apr 5, 2012 at 3:00 AM

    I think the writer needs to do some work on his Hemispheres. The Mariners / Athletics games weren’t played in New Zealand! Extra homework this week I’m afraid, Craig.

    • mlblogsscheatum - Apr 5, 2012 at 5:27 AM

      Hemisphere only means half sphere, there is a Nortern and Southern hemisphere split along the equator, and an Eastern and Western hemisphere that are divided by the prime meridian and antimeridian. For the record, the US is in the Western Hemisphere and Japan is in the Eastern Hemisphere.

      Though you’re right, the games were not played in New Zealand, well observed.

      • mlblogsscheatum - Apr 5, 2012 at 5:32 AM

        Northern**

  14. hushbrother - Apr 5, 2012 at 3:09 AM

    I imagine most people felt good seeing Ali throw out the first pitch. Should the man stay holed up in his house 24 hours a day because he’s disabled? Let him be part of the fun.

    • mercyflush - Apr 5, 2012 at 7:35 AM

      he could have been involved with the festivities without having to throw out the pitch. It’s depressing to see the former champ in that state.

      they could have, e.g., had him sing the national anthem…

      • mercyflush - Apr 5, 2012 at 7:36 AM

        (not trying to show bad taste there. I just really thought that it wasnt a smart move to have him throw out the first pitch)

  15. Jonny 5 - Apr 5, 2012 at 8:30 AM

    I’d like to take this moment to thank Jeffery Loria reminding us of our own mortality last night by dragging Ali out onto the field. There are few men who had the vitality and wit that man had in his prime. He is a national treasure and while it’s a shame that he’s so weak in many ways, it should stand as a stark reminder of how lucky we are to have a place here, together on this rock. Make the most of it while you can is all.

  16. spudchukar - Apr 5, 2012 at 8:58 AM

    Even when you sparkle on Opening Day, and are the focus of national media attention for a couple of hours, and HardballTalk recognizes your achievement with a posting, readers here, like Baseball pundits continue to ignore your accomplishments. What’s a guy gotta do? Maybe, just maybe, you can advance the First Strike theory, but much like Lohse, it fails to garner the attention it deserves.

  17. spudchukar - Apr 5, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    Maybe, just maybe, a few strikeout proponents will consider the alternative, a First Strike, pitch to contact, never walk, adherent who continues to be one of the best, but least appreciated hurlers, of the past few years.

    • Jonny 5 - Apr 5, 2012 at 11:02 AM

      Are you off your meds again potato chicken? Lohse has had an ERA in excess of 4.18 in 8 0f his 10 seasons. One of the best hurlers all because last season he posted a 3.39 era? Look, I think Lohse is good enough, But c’mon, one of the best? BTW First pitch strikes are great, I don’t think there’s an argument there.

  18. spudchukar - Apr 5, 2012 at 9:46 AM

    Maybe, just maybe, those pundits who champion the strikeout as an integral measurement of MLB pitcher’s capabilities, might just take notice of Lohse’s effort last night. He and other Cardinal, and some Rays pitchers follow the First Strike, pitch to contact, never walk anyone, philosophy that while very unpopular with Sabermetric extremists, continues to be effective.

    • Old Gator - Apr 5, 2012 at 10:44 AM

      Lohse was terrific last night. He spotted his pitches as if he had a laser rangefinder mounted in the bill of his cap. And once he figured out that the Feesh would chase just about anything he threw to them, he worked just off the plate like a latterday Picasso. The Feesh weren’t nearly as selective as they needed to be to force him to come back over the plate. But then they played the entire night like they hadn’t had any sleep chasing those Brazilian babes around the locker room or something. See my game comments above.

      Re the inimitably incompetent Angel Hernandez’ opening night blown call (first of many no doubt): Berkman never even came close to taking his foot off the bag. There were several replays, some so close you could see the squashed palmetto bug between his second and third row of spikes, There was never any daylight between him and the bag.

      Do you think they’d let us into the games if we were wearing “Euthanize Angel Hernandez” T-shirts?

    • paperlions - Apr 5, 2012 at 11:11 AM

      The people to who you refer champion multiple things that are in the pitcher’s control:

      1) Strikeouts
      2) Walks
      3) High groundball ratios

      Those pundits agree that if you can do 2 of those 3 things well, you should succeed as a pitcher. Lohse didn’t walk anyone, had a decent GB/FB ratio, and was helped by a park that held two balls that would have been HRs in 80% of the parks in the league.

    • drewsylvania - Apr 5, 2012 at 11:17 AM

      Pitch to contact works for the odd hurler, but most of the time it doesn’t result in great pitchers. Mark Buehrle might be the one exception. Lohse is not an exception–by any stat you can name, advanced or not, he has never been “one of the best”.

      Just look at the Twins. That org is always drafting pitch-to-contact guys…and, as a result, they have a collection of 4th-5th starters with no one even close to an ace.

  19. umrguy42 - Apr 5, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    “two scoring on a David Freese single in the first”

    Freese picking up this season right where he left off last postseason…

    • ajcardsfan - Apr 5, 2012 at 11:45 AM

      Assuming he stays healthy, I expect he’ll have a great season. He knows he’s St. Louis’ Golden Boy right now, so there’s less pressure and he can just play ball.

      Also, UMR guy, I went there as well (I don’t care if it is technically MST now), graduated a year ago, forgot to bring that up first time I saw your name lol

      • umrguy42 - Apr 5, 2012 at 11:51 AM

        ajcardsfan, nice, I think you’re the first person to get it without being told :D

  20. stebutt - Apr 5, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    Pfft, who talks about the Western and Eastern Hemispheres? Show me the equivalent of the equator when going east/west!

    • drewsylvania - Apr 5, 2012 at 11:54 AM

      Someone’s never heard of the Prime Meridian.

  21. spudchukar - Apr 5, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    When Kyle Lohse came to the Cards in 2008, he was schooled in the Cardinal/Duncan approach to pitching. He listened, bought into the system, and had a marvelous year. 2009 started out well, but an unusual injury to the muscle sheath in his forearm sidelined him. He tried to pitch trough it for a while, but was ineffective, having lost command. 2010, was a year of recovery, with hardly any outings. Healed, he return to form in 2011, and if last night is any indication, 2012 will be equally Great.

    I do not know why these numbers are not Great. 2008, 15-6, 3.78 ERA, and 2011 14-8, 3.39. Not many K’s of course but then that is the point. Even the Phillies would champion numbers like these in a #3 starter. Cole Hamels lifetime ERA, 3.39.

  22. stebutt - Apr 6, 2012 at 5:05 AM

    And someone doesn’t realise that the prime meridian is just a line dreamt up by mankind that could be anywhere on the planet, whereas the equator has actual significance.

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