The Padres' Dave Eiland became the first pitcher to hit a homer in his first major league at bat since the Astros' Jose Sosa did it in 1975. Eiland, batting for the first time since 1987, when he played for the University of South Florida, hit a two-run homer off the Dodgers' Bob Ojeda last Thursday. A hit of any kind is a feat for San Diego's pitchers, who batted .086 last year, worst in the National League. "We have a hitting competition among the pitchers," says Eiland. "Some think those two RBIs will hold up all year."
Dawn of a New Day
There was no carryover from 1991 to 1992 for a number of players. Boston's Roger Clemens, who finished last season with a streak of 77 innings in which he did not walk the leadoff hitter, gave up a base on balls to the first batter he faced this year, the Yankees' Randy Velarde. Mets reliever Jeff Innis, who last season became the only pitcher in history to be credited with neither a win nor a save while pitching in at least 60 games, got a win over the Cardinals on Opening Day. The Rangers' Kevin Brown, who tied an American League record in '91 for most starts without a complete game (33), threw a complete-game shutout in his first start of the season, a 4-0 win over the Mariners.
It Could De a Very Long Season
The Indians and the Red Sox played the American League's only scheduled doubleheader of 1992 on Sunday, the day after a marathon 19-inning, 7-5 Boston victory. In the opener, Red Sox lefthander Matt Young allowed no hits in eight innings but lost 2-1. It wasn't a no-hitter, because Major League Baseball's committee on statistical accuracy ruled last year that a pitcher must go nine innings or more in a game that ends hitless to get credit for a no-hitter. Young didn't think he deserved a no-hitter anyway after walking seven batters. "In a no-hitter you're supposed to strike out the last guy, the catcher comes out, and you jump around," said Young. "This was anticlimactic."
His Bark Is Worse Than His Bat
On Opening Day, Baltimore pitcher Rick Sutcliffe left tickets at Oriole Park at Camden Yards for his friend Charles Barkley of the Philadelphia 76ers. After the game the two players stood in the Oriole clubhouse and compared sports. Sutcliffe claimed he could score at least four points in an NBA game and questioned whether Barkley could hit a baseball. Barkley recalled that he had taken batting practice with the Cubs last year and that outfielder Doug Dascenzo was on the mound. "Hitting can be scary," said Barkley, "and the guy I got to face that day wasn't even a pitcher."
Stay out of the Sun Awhile, Junior
Cleveland's comic backup catcher, Junior Ortiz, was not in the starting lineup on Opening Day. "I went 3 for 4 one game in spring training, 3 for 3 the next game, then I go 0 for 2, and the manager [ Mike Hargrove] names Sandy [Alomar Jr.] his Opening Day catcher. Doesn't he know I'm better than Johnny Bench?"
By the Numbers
?The Mets' Eddie Murray made his 16th straight Opening Day start, most among active players. Detroit's Lou Whitaker and Philadelphia's Dale Murphy have started 15 in a row.
?When Boston's Roger Clemens lost on Opening Day, it was the first time he had been under .500 since June 21, 1987.