On-Base Perception

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MLB Opening Day 2013 awards

Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals follows his

Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals follows his fourth-inning solo home run against the Miami Marlins on Opening Day at Nationals Park. (April 1, 2013) (Credit: Getty)

The Lon Warneke Award for best starting pitching: Clayton Kershaw

This award is named for the Cubs Opening Day pitcher on April 17, 1934. Warneke pitched a complete game, allowing one-hit and walking two while striking out 13. Warneke had a solid career – 192-121, 3.18 ERA – but we’re confident the lefty we picked will be even better.

Dodgers’ southpaw Clayton Kershaw allowed four hits, no walks, no runs and struck out seven in a complete game. But he sealed his award win by hitting a go-ahead solo home run in the eighth inning. The man is going to get a BIG pay day.

The LA Times has all the bases covered (sorry for the pun) here.

The Paul Bunyan award for best home run(s): Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper is only 20 years old, is already a Rookie of the Year and is hitting third for the Washington Nationals, a team many are picking to go to or win the World Series. Then Harper went and hit two powerful home runs to back Stephen Strasburg in a 2-0 win over the Marlins. Many were already talking NL MVP for Harper before the season, during his torrid spring training. His Opening Day jacks did little to quiet the buzz.

Thomas Boswell, in a Washington Post blog, writes about Harper and Strasburg finally getting a full season to show what they can do.

The Nancy Sinatra “These Boots Are Made For Walkoffs” Award: Jonathan Lucroy, Brewers

John Axford blew the save for the Brewers against the should-be horrid Rockies, setting up extra innings. But catcher Jonathan Lucroy picked up his battery mate, hitting a sacrifice fly to win the game in the 10th inning. Had the Angels been playing the Reds in California, their epic 13-inning affair would have taken top honors. But they’re disqualified for winning the game in the TOP of the 13th. Tisk, tisk.

Madison.com covers how, after seemingly trying every which way to lose the game, the Brewers finally found an exciting way to win it.

The Tim “The Toolman” Taylor “More Power” Award: Mets

The…Mets??? Yep. Marlon Byrd drove in two runs and Collin Cowgill hit a grand slam to instantly legitimize a much-criticized outfield (including right here on this blog). The Mets shellacked the Padres, 11-2, scoring the most runs of any team on Opening Day.

Our own Marc Carig takes you inside the power surge.

The Sleepy Beauty Award for offensive slumber: Giants

Four teams were shut out on Monday: The Giants, Marlins, A’s and Royals. While some think the Royals are improved, they’re still the Royals, so it’s not completely surprising. The Marlins should be a train wreck all season and the A’s have long had an insufficient offense – plus they had the misfortune of facing Felix Hernandez. So we give the award to the defending world champion Giants, who managed just four hits – none for extra bases – against a dominant Clayton Kershaw. Not a great start against a big-time rival.

USA Today examines the Dodgers-Giants current rivalry.

The Dewey Beats Truman Award for most surprising win: Astros

Who else could it be? The Astros, during their first American League game, with a roster gutted of quality major leaguers against the powerhouse Rangers – and the Astros upend their fellow Texans, 8-2. Justin Maxwell hit a pair of triples and made some great plays in the field, Rick Ankiel slugged a pinch-hit home run and Bud Norris was strong on the mound.

We gave you the inside scoop on the Astros starting lineup prior to Sunday night's game.

Tags: Mets , Clayton Kershaw , Houston Astros , San Francisco Giants , Jonathan Lucroy , Bryce Harper

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