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Opening Impressions

First week of the season is in the books. Here’s some early thoughts:

Barry Zito’s slow start is no surprise. Zito’s career numbers in April have never been real good. The good news is that he’s always had a way of rebounding. Could be much more difficult to do that with this Giants team, however.

— The Giants will scuffle for runs. Barry Bonds may be healthy right now, and Ray Durham looks great, but there are just too many holes in this lineup to expect runs regularly. Imagine this will take a toll on a starting staff that has a chance to be as good as any in the division.

— Durham is scuttling my projections that he’d be a flop. He looks quicker, and laterally, he’s moving great and playing terrific defense. Hitting behind Bonds will ensure good pitches, and plenty of RBI chances.

— The A’s, at least early, will go as far as their bullpen allows. The relievers’ effort on Sunday showed the impact they can have on a game. The question now is whether they can keep it up over six months, especially if their starting pitchers struggle to get past six innings consistently.

— To judge by the outcry on Robert Buan’s Extra Innings postgame show, fans are already growing impatient with Eric Chavez’s production. One word: Chill.

— Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Russell Martin is fast turning into one of the National League’s best catchers. Saw him live on Friday, and to see him gun out two base-stealers and block the plate and make a tag to prevent a run in a 2-1 win was the type of thing you expect from seasoned vets. Dodgers have themselves a keeper.

— Angels outfielder Garret Anderson must’ve sipped from the same fountain of youth as Ray Durham. Anderson resembles the guy who was a wrecking unit up until two years ago. Bad news for the rest of the AL West

The Yankees pitching stinks.

— Baseball’s insistence on opening the season in the East Coast is ridiculous. One suggestion, other than mandating West Coast stops in early April. Start the campaign around April 15th, and shorten the season to 154 games. It’ll never happen, of course, because of the gate that would be lost,

rhurd