The baseball season finally arrived this week, and with it came a few answers to the uncertainty that accumulates every winter.

It’s only one start and most of them are the best pitcher on their team, but several Opening Day starters got this season off on the wrong foot.

Ten different No. 1 pitchers ? including Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens, Brad Radke, Chan Ho Park, Kevin Brown, Wade Miller and Mike Hampton ? gave up at least as many runs as they pitched innings.

Martinez and Clemens, who have nine Cy Young awards between them, allowed 16 runs in a combined 7 1/3 innings. Clemens walked five batters and Martinez hit three as the Yankees and Red Sox let the other three AL East teams share first place for a day.

Chris Carpenter and Jeff Suppan each allowed four home runs, Hampton allowed 12 base runners and only struck out one batter and Jarrod Washburn allowed four runs in the first inning.

Those 10 pitchers will probably bounce back, but it’s safe to say that their fans will be a little more tense the next time they take the mound.

Of course, it wasn’t all bad for Opening Day starters.

Arizona’s Randy Johnson and Cleveland’s Bartolo Coln both threw complete game shutouts. The Diamondbacks and Indians will each need plenty more outings like those if they’re going to make the playoffs.

Al Leiter and Scott Erickson each threw six scoreless innings to lead their teams to victory. Erickson’s win is remarkable because it was his first since July 20, 2000 because he had “Tommy John” surgery in August of 2000.

Tom Glavine took over for an injured Greg Maddux and struck out seven in 6 1/3 innings to pick up the win, Mark Mulder baffled the Rangers for eight innings before allowing two runs in the ninth and Matt Morris dominated the Rockies for seven innings with seven strikeouts and one run.

Kevin Jarvis and Ryan Dempster were both robbed of Opening Day wins. Jarvis gave up two hits and didn’t walk anybody in seven innings, but he was matched up against the Big Unit. Dempster allowed two runs and struck out seven in seven innings before his bullpen blew a four-run lead.

Pitchers are always a question mark over the winter, but one of the biggest questions was Barry Bonds ? What would he do for an encore?

Well, how about going 3-for-4 with two homers and five RBIs on Opening Day? He probably won’t break his own record, but he has a good shot at winning his fifth MVP award. Consider that he probably should already have six MVP awards and he may finish his career as the second best baseball player ever.

The reigning AL MVP also started off right where he left off. Ichiro Suzuki went 3-for-5 with a run scored in a loss to the White Sox.

In that game, Paul Konerko and Carlos Lee went 6-for-9 with three runs and four RBIs. Magglio Ordoez and Frank Thomas get all of the press, but those Konerko and Lee are just as important to Chicago’s offense, which could lead the league in scoring.

Albert Pujols took the first step towards avoiding a sophomore slump by hitting 2 doubles, scoring in 3 runs and picking up 3 RBIs.

Tony Clark, who had a career .382 average in 28 games in Fenway Park before this season, went 3-for-5 with a home run and five RBIs. If he stays healthy, he could have a monster year and help the Red Sox into the playoffs.

David Justice and Jeremy Giambi both went 3-for-4 in Oakland’s opener. If Justice stays healthy, Giambi has the breakout year many are predicting and Jermaine Dye returns to the lineup soon, Oakland’s offense might be just as good as last year.

The Twins will probably not win the AL Central this year, but a healthy David Ortiz could give them enough offense to mae a run. Ortiz went 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI.

Edgardo Alfonzo, who the Mets need to bounce back from a subpar season, also went 3-for-4 on Opening Day.

Obviously, not all of the hitters had success on Opening Day.

Pat Burrell went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. He struck out 162 times last year and has a shot at breaking Bobby Bonds’ single season record of 189.

While Leiter was shutting down the Pirates, the Mets’ offseason acquisitions were shut off on offense. Roberto Alomar, Mo Vaughn, Jeromy Burnitz and Roger Cedeno combined to go 2-for-17 with nine strikeouts.

Meanwhile, the other New York team’s big addition also had a bad day. Jason Giambi could have become an instant Yankee legend by hitting a game-tying grand slam in the fifth inning, but instead he grounded out to second.

It’s just one game, but first impressions last the longest ? and they can set the tone for the entire season.

Jacobs can be reached at

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