This Week in the National League - Week 1

Finally... the 2009 Major League Baseball season is upon us. Neither wind, nor snow, nor rain, nor cold can keep this season from moving forward. And so we're off. Here's the latest and greatest from around the league that doesn't believe in the designated hitter.

East Division

Atlanta Braves (2-0) - Derek Lowe (1-0) was masterful in his first start as a Brave. He went into Philly and shut down the defending World Champions tossing 8.0 strong shutout innings, striking out four and walking none. Jair Jurrgens (1-0) followed up Lowe's performance with his own gem, working 5.2 shutout innings of his own Tuesday.

Florida Marlins (2-0) - Emilio Bonifacio came up with one of those rare, exciting MLB moments when he scampered around the bases for an inside the park home run on Opening Day. The Marlins have put up some runs in their first two games - 20 to be exact, and Hanley Ramirez has already driven in five. Too bad there's hardly anyone at the games to witness these fine superstars showcase their talents.

New York Mets (1-0) - Johan Santana (1-0) pitched the opener giving up just one run in 5.2 innings, which was plenty good enough for the win. Last year that wasn't so much the case as the Mets had a tendency to blow games for him late. Not this year. Big money saves man Francisco Rodriguez came on to close out his first game as a Met and showed everyone he's the real deal. 62 saves last season. Chalk up number one this year.

Philadelphia Phillies (0-2) - One run in their first two games. Not much to report really. Brett Myers (0-1) did last 6.0 innings, but he gave up four runs on eight hits in the effort.

Washington Nationals (0-2) - 0-2 to start the season. It could be another very long season for the Nationals. Adam Dunn did crank his first home run and has four RBI to start the year off, so at least the Nationals will have some pop this year.

Central Division

Chicago Cubs (1-1) - Alfonso Soriano has two home runs in his first two games. Carlos Zambrano (1-0) pitched 6.0 strong innings against Roy Oswalt (0-1), giving up just one earned run en route to getting his first Opening Day win. New closer Kevin Gregg (0-1) came on close the door in the ninth for his first save as a Cubbie but took the loss in a non-save situation on Tuesday evening's extra inning game.

Pittsburgh Pirates (1-1) - Jack Wilson ripped a three-run double in the top of the ninth to spoil the Cardinals opener Monday afternoon at a chilly Busch Stadium. Ian Snell (0-1) felt the Cards vengeance in the rematch on Tuesday when the Redbirds put up six runs on nine hits in just 4.0 innings.

St. Louis Cardinals (1-1) - The Cardinals had bullpen struggles all year in 2008, which some would argue is what kept them from contending for a playoff spot. Jason Motte (0-1) was named the closer to start the season and he failed miserably in his first attempt as previously noted against the Pirates. Albert Pujols reached base five times Tuesday and scored three times, including a two-run homer. Any surprises there?

Houston Astros (1-1) - It might not have been good enough for the win, but Wandy Rodriguez looked solid shutting down the Cubs and holding them to just one run over 6.0 innings Tuesday night. Jose Valverde didn't earn a decision or a save, but he looked absolutely filthy plowing through the heart of the Cubs order, striking out two in his inning of work.

Milwaukee Brewers (0-1) - Rickie Weeks, Ryan Braun, and Prince Fielder all had two hits in the Brewers opener, but it still wasn't good enough to give Milwaukee a win. Jeff Suppan (0-1) was knocked around for six hits and six runs in just four innings against the Giants.

Cincinnati Reds (0-1) - Aaron Harang (0-1) might have earned his first loss of the season, but the Reds anchor looked more like his old self. Hoping to debunk a miserable 2008 season, Harang hung in tough with Santana Monday scattering seven hits over 5.0 innings and giving up just one run.

West Division

San Francisco Giants (1-0) - Tim Lincecum lasted just 3.0 innings for what will hopefully be his shortest outing of the season. He gave up three runs on three walks and four hits. Still he managed to strike out five. Nonetheless, the Giants rallied for 12 hits en route to win number one. Aaron Rowand and Emmanual Burris both recorded three-RBI performances.

Los Angeles Dodgers (1-1) - Hiroki Kuroda(1-0) took it to Jake Peavy (0-1) and the Padres to bring home a victory on Opening Day in San Diego. Kuroda gave up just one run on four hits over 5.2 innings. Matt Kempf has three hits and a home run in his first two games, and that's against some tough San Diego pitching.

San Diego Padres (1-1) - Peavy might not have been able to bring home the Padres first win, but Chris Young (1-0) was willing and able. The big hurler through a solid 6.0 innings giving up two runs. More notably, though, the Trevor Hoffman-less bullpen still pitched three shutout innings to hold tough and save the game. Heath Bell earned his first save of the year.

Arizona Diamondbacks (1-1) - Brandon Webb was shelled for six runs in four innings on Opening Day, yet his D'Backs managed to pull a 9-8 win against Colorado. Webb didn't factor in the decision, but his teammate Dan Haren (0-1) did on Tuesday. Haren was tough, but not tough enough. Haren went 7.0 innings, striking out nine and giving up just one run, but that was all Colorado needed as they earned a 3-0 victory.

Colorado Rockies (1-1) - Ubaldo Jimenez (1-0) showed some bright spots late last year, and he is picking up where he left of. He blanked Arizona Tuesday over 7.0 innings and out-dueled Haren striking out eight of his own. Troy Tulowitzki joined Soriano in homering in each of his first two games.

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