The Launching Pad: What will Peavy do for an encore in Chicago?

What to expect in the major leagues today:

Jake Peavy's focus is on being as dominant as he was last September.
Jake Peavy’s focus is on being as dominant as he was last September.

Tough act to follow

Usually accustomed to pitching opening day, White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy took a back seat to Mark Buehrle this season. And it will be nearly impossible to top the performance Buehrle turned in Monday. Not only did he toss seven shutout innings in a 6-0 win over the Indians, Buehrle made what likely will turn out to be the best defensive play by a pitcher all season with his between-the-legs scoop to first baseman Paul Konerko. Although an acrobatic display would be nice, Peavy’s focus will be on beginning 2010 the way he ended 2009 (3-0, 1.35 ERA in three starts for the White Sox).

Ace no longer waiting

More than a few eyebrows were raised when the Dodgers opted to start Vicente Padilla on opening day, rather than left-hander Clayton Kershaw. And Padilla’s performance against the Pirates on Monday (seven earned runs in 4 1/3 innings), did little to silence the naysayers. This evening, however, Kershaw, who led Los Angeles’ rotation with a 2.79 ERA last season, will be on the mound in Pittsburgh. The Pirates are only 81 wins away from their first non-losing season since 1992, thanks in part to two opening day homers from outfielder Garrett Jones. The left-handed hitting Jones batted just .208 against southpaws last season, though six of his 21 hits were homers.

Keep ’em in the yard

St. Louis scored eight of its 11 runs via the long ball Monday, going deep four times against Cincinnati pitchers in the season opener. Seeking to curb the Cardinals’ power, the Reds will turn to right-hander Johnny Cueto this evening. In three starts against St. Louis last season, Cueto posted a 1.76 ERA with no homers allowed. Unfortunately for Cincinnati, its hitters also will face a challenge against 19-game winner Adam Wainwright. 

This story appears in the April 7 edition of Sporting News Today. If you are not receiving Sporting News Today, the only sports digital daily, sign up today.

Chris Bahr is Sporting News’ baseball editor. E-mail him at cbahr@sportingnews.com.

What to expect in the major leagues today:

Jake Peavy's focus is on being as dominant as he was last September.
Jake Peavy’s focus is on being as dominant as he was last September.

Tough act to follow

Usually accustomed to pitching opening day, White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy took a back seat to Mark Buehrle this season. And it will be nearly impossible to top the performance Buehrle turned in Monday. Not only did he toss seven shutout innings in a 6-0 win over the Indians, Buehrle made what likely will turn out to be the best defensive play by a pitcher all season with his between-the-legs scoop to first baseman Paul Konerko. Although an acrobatic display would be nice, Peavy’s focus will be on beginning 2010 the way he ended 2009 (3-0, 1.35 ERA in three starts for the White Sox).

Ace no longer waiting

More than a few eyebrows were raised when the Dodgers opted to start Vicente Padilla on opening day, rather than left-hander Clayton Kershaw. And Padilla’s performance against the Pirates on Monday (seven earned runs in 4 1/3 innings), did little to silence the naysayers. This evening, however, Kershaw, who led Los Angeles’ rotation with a 2.79 ERA last season, will be on the mound in Pittsburgh. The Pirates are only 81 wins away from their first non-losing season since 1992, thanks in part to two opening day homers from outfielder Garrett Jones. The left-handed hitting Jones batted just .208 against southpaws last season, though six of his 21 hits were homers.

Keep ’em in the yard

St. Louis scored eight of its 11 runs via the long ball Monday, going deep four times against Cincinnati pitchers in the season opener. Seeking to curb the Cardinals’ power, the Reds will turn to right-hander Johnny Cueto this evening. In three starts against St. Louis last season, Cueto posted a 1.76 ERA with no homers allowed. Unfortunately for Cincinnati, its hitters also will face a challenge against 19-game winner Adam Wainwright. 

This story appears in the April 7 edition of Sporting News Today. If you are not receiving Sporting News Today, the only sports digital daily, sign up today.

Chris Bahr is Sporting News’ baseball editor. E-mail him at cbahr@sportingnews.com.

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