|Highest WPA||Lowest WPA|
|Fausto Carmona||.239||Jhonny Peralta||-.073|
|Grady Sizemore||.233||Casey Blake||-.044|
|Franklin Gutierrez||.075||Travis Hafner||-.028|
Beyond the cringeworthy last two innings, a nice all-around effort. Fausto Carmona, beyond a bit of wildness, was indistinguishable from last season. The White Sox pounded his pitches into the ground all night, which can't have been pleasant consider how cold this night was. Fausto had a few pitches get away from him, but he never let those four walks hurt him. You often wonder if a pitcher like Carmona benefits from letting a four-seamer get away from him once in a while, especially if it appears he's not trying to do it. Fear of the unknown, especially if that unknown is a mid-90s fastball, is a powerful resource to tap.
I don't really get sending Carmona out for the seventh. Even the horses aren't conditioned to go more than 100 pitches to start the season, and it should be a priority for the Indians to limit Fausto's unnecessary innings. The whole bullpen was rested, and some guys had a coating of rust on their arms, so why not let him go with an easy six-inning outing?
The offense was very workmanlike, squeezing Javier Vazquez's outing into five innings. After Asdrubal Cabrera singled in Grady Sizemore for the team's third run, a single and two walks made Ozzie Guillen go to the bullpen early. And going to the bullpen to insert your fifth or sixth best reliever is almost always a good thing for the opposing team. Even if the game's close, it means that three or four relievers have to be just about perfect to keep the game within reach. Or that close game can quickly turn into extended garbage time, which in this case it did.
My first impression of Masa Kobayashi was that of a pitcher who absolutely needs to have control of his pitches, for his stuff doesn't look that impressive. White Sox hitters didn't have too much trouble making contact, and it doesn't appear that his windup is that unorthodox. But a first impression is still only one impression, and the cold weather may have affected him.
Likewise, Jorge Julio labored to finish his inning of work, allowing the only home run of the game and allowing two other baserunners. Stuff has never been an issue for Jorge (the major reason why each new club sees the potential of a quality setup man in him), but as we've seen with guys like Jason Davis and Fernando Cabrera, stuff can't cover for bad location or inconsistency. The Indians aren't risking that much, especially with how they're using him, though.
But overall, there's a lot that's gone right these first couple games, with Carmona's outing topping the list.