That was a really fun game to watch.
- First, the man of the hour. Cole Hamels was fantastic in the series-opener in Detroit. He tossed 7 scoreless innings while allowing only a hit and 2 walks. And if we're being honest, the hit was a weak blooper from Ian Kinsler to lead off the game. One of the walks shouldn't have been as a middle-middle strike was called ball four to Miguel Cabrera. All in all, Cole Hamels looked fantastic, amassing a game score of 82, and it could have been even higher.
- Speaking of the strike zone. It was... weird. There was the walk to Cabrera on a pitch that should have been called a strike, and the half-inning before that, Mitch Moreland watched what was presumably ball four off the inside edge of the plate. However, as Moreland went to lay down his bat and remove his ankle guard, the late strike three call came, and that was that. On a day in which the Boston Red Sox got the bad end of a strike call, it was a rough day for umpires across baseball as far as balls and strikes are concerned.
- Rougned Odor had himself a day. Along with a home run, he also had a single and a double, driving in 3 runs. Sometimes, I miss Ian Kinsler, but seeing Odor go out and play every day softens that blow a bit.
- Ian Desmond and Elvis Andrus has solid days as well, Desmond with two doubles and Andrus with a double and a single. If I told you three weeks ago that both players would have a higher OPS than Prince Fielder, you'd probably have had me institutionalized. But it's true, with Desmond at .701 and Andrus at .757. Fielder, unfortunately, is at .556.
- Speaking of Fielder, it seems like every day, the broadcast team talks about how perhaps THIS is the day he breaks out of his "slump". Unfortunately, it appears that the book of Fielder has changed. There was a three-pitch stretch during an at-bat in this game -- I can't recall what inning -- in which Fielder was offered fastballs up above the zone near eye level. In his heyday, these are pitches Fielder once laid off of, but he swung at all three, of course failing to do anything with them. There is little to no plate discipline left in Prince's game, and when he is making contact, there isn't much pop behind it. This isn't the sign of a slumping hitter. It's the sign of a hitter that doesn't have his bat speed anymore.
- For all the talk about Jeff Banister not assigning "designated roles" to the bullpen, that seemingly went out the window once the season started. In the top of the 9th inning, Texas plated two insurance runs to give them a 5-0 lead. Shawn Tolleson, who had been warming to pitch the bottom of the 9th, was sat down, and instead, Sam Dyson was warmed and brought into the game. So, there aren't set roles, but Tolleson won't pitch in non-save situations, instead opting to use arguably the team's best reliever in a 5-run game. Got it.
- Although Sam Dyson was charged with an earned run in the 9th inning, that run likely wouldn't have scored if Elvis Andrus hadn't misplayed a ball up the middle. It appeared to be one of those plays we've come to expect from Elvis from time to time where he simply lost focus and tried to mindlessly finish the play without securing the ball. It didn't end up being a huge deal, but nonetheless, Sam Dyson pitched well to preserve a 5-1 Texas win and snap a 3-game losing streak.
- Day game up next on Saturday, with A.J. Griffin taking the mound against Mike Pelfrey and the Tigers at 12:10 PM.