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Opening Day Takeaways

Zack Cozart being introduced for the Reds' home opener against the St. Louis Cardinals
Zack Cozart being introduced for the Reds' home opener against the St. Louis Cardinals
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

As of the time of this article, nearly every MLB team has played its first game of the 2014 season. March 31 was a great day for millions across the nation, spanning from fans to players themselves, as America's game (yes, it still is) opened its doors for the next six months. It's an enjoyable time for all, no matter what your team's expectations are this year, as the nostalgic feeling of the greatest game on Earth being played once again comes over you and those like you. There may not have been any major story-lines to come from yesterday's action, there hardly ever are, but it is still fun to examine some notable things to take away from yesterday's slate of games.

Stellar Pitching Performances
Stellar Pitching Performances Lynne Sladky/AP

Stellar Pitching Performances

Opening Day is one of those few times each year where nearly every game's pitching matchup involves the teams' ace pitchers. Look at all the box scores from Monday and you can see it. Some of them were less than spectacular (Cliff Lee, Madison Bumgarner, R.A. Dickey), while others were pretty stellar. Take a look (courtesy of Yahoo! Sports):

Jose Fernandez: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 9 K, 0 BB

Adam Wainwright: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 9 K, 4 BB

Johnny Cueto: 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 8 K, 1 BB

Felix Hernandez: 6 IP, 4 H, 3 R (2 ER), 11 K, 1 BB

David Price: 7.1 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 6 K, 1 BB

Jeff Samardzija: 7 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 3 K, 2 BB

Francisco Liriano: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 10 K, 3 BB

There were other guys who had fairly nice days, as well (Justin Masterson, Justin Verlander, James Shields, Sonny Gray, Jon Lester), but the 7 guys listed above them really stood out on Monday.

Mike Trout, Again
Mike Trout, Again Robert Hanashiro/USA Today Sports

Mike Trout, Again

Saturday: Mike Trout signs 6 yr/$144.5M extension

The story gets old: guy signs big contract, then does not come close to living up to it.

Well, time will tell if Trout will do what is expected of him, but he started off 2014 the right way. Trout took a 1-1 pitch from Felix Hernandez and parked it to left center giving the Angels an early 2-0 lead, staking his claim, again, as the best baseball player on this planet. Things are looking up again for the 22-year-old outfielder. Not a bad start.

Salvy Perez shines in Detroit
Salvy Perez shines in Detroit Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports

Salvy Perez shines in Detroit

That early MVP prediction looks pretty good, right?

Every time you looked up to check the scores and progress of how games were going on Monday, Salvador Perez really stood out. Double in his first at-bat against Justin Verlander, double off him again in his next at-bat as well, single in the next one against him, and topping it off with a single off of Al Alburquerque in the 8th.

He was simply crushing the ball on Monday and is looking poised for that breakout season.

Jose Abreu, is he for real?
Jose Abreu, is he for real? Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Jose Abreu, is he for real?

If you witnessed any of Cuba's games in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, you saw what Jose Abreu is capable of at the plate. After signing with the White Sox this past offseason, the only question was whether he was advanced enough to hit major-league pitching.

Well, it may have been Ricky Nolasco, but Abreu smoked the ball off the Twins' right-hander in his first at-bat and it was quite a sight. Driving a pitch on the outside corner of the plate over Oswaldo Arcia's head in right field was nothing short of impressive.

Can he continue to look this good? Only time will tell, but Abreu sure looks like the real deal for now.

Expanded instant replay goes smooth
Expanded instant replay goes smooth Ben Margot/AP

Expanded instant replay goes smooth

A number of challenges were seen throughout Monday's slate of games, with only two calls actually being overturned. The most controversial of them coming from the Indians-A's game late last night. If you haven't seen the play in question, you can find it here.

It's only been one day, but here's to hoping that things continue to run this well for the foreseeable future.

 

Did anything else stand out to you from Opening Day 2014?