Dodgers vs. Pirates Thursday MLB Network
Billingsley vs. Malholm
Interest Level: 5
On paper this should be a mismatch in favor of the Dodgers but considering how the Pirates destroyed the Dodgers on Opening day, that isn't a given. Is this the start that allows Billingsley to bounce back from a weak 2009 season or do his struggles continue?
What to make of Malholm? He was a top-10 pick in 2003 but so far has been a fairly average pitcher. Is 2010 his breakout season? How long do the Pirates stay in first? Will Ryan Church stop driving in runs and allow me to rise above 11th place in a league with only 10 human teams?
Mariners vs. A's Thursday MLB Network
Fister vs. Anderson
Interest Level: 5
Doug Fister starts his first full season in the bigs (pitched in 11 games last year) against AL West Divisional Rival Oakland.
Brett Anderson is the main reason to pay attention to this game. He held his own in his rookie year last year and it's scary how good he could be within a couple of years (he's only 22). As good as he will be in a few years, the A's will be bad this year as they seem to replicate the as little offense as possible model as their neighbors on the other side of the bay, the Giants.
Not sure what Billy Beane was thinking when he DFA'd Jack Cust. He made his legacy/reputation on building a team around guys like Cust....sure other GMs eventually ripped off his strategies/methods making it harder for him to get the players he wanted. Seriously, this team was already power challenged before this DFA and getting rid of a player who's gone yard 84 times in the last 3 years is not going to help any.
Cubs vs. Braves Thursday MLB Network
Wells vs. Hanson
Interest Level: 6
A battle between a couple pitchers who had strong rookie years and are looking to avoid the sophomore slump. Hanson got the upper hand in the Rookie of the Year voting (3rd vs. 6th), came into the 2009 season with much more hype surrounding him......does he make this a clean sweep by ultimately producing more than Wells or will this 6-seed prevail in the end?