Week 1 Recap

Ahhhh, it’s good to have “real” baseball back!

It’s still early in the season, the excitement is still high, and I have baseball on pretty much non-stop once the kids are in bed (Baseball can’t trump Elmo during wind down time). So if you haven’t had much time, or you tend to focus on a single team, don’t worry I’ve got you covered. Here’s a quick recap of what has happened the past 10 days.

  • Opening Day starts with a bang
    First pitch, first hit, first home run. Ian Happ wasted no time and went yard on the first pitch of the MLB season and forced a sports writer to eat his words and go swimming. The Marlins are not going to be good this season after Jeter shipped everyone out (including Marlins Man… he’s still a Free Agent though). Happ has struggled mightily since then after what looked like a no-brainer pick in Group E of the HR Derby contest.
  • Home Runs are still King
    There were 33 homers hit on opening day. That’s the most since 2006 when the league started doing mandated drug testing. Don’t worry, they have finally admitted to the ball being slightly different. Lower seam height… maybe causing less movement on pitches?! Whatever the cause, I’m happy to see homers still flying out at a high rate to help with our home run contest.
  • Orioles like to Walk-Off on Opening Day
    The Orioles are the first team to win 3… 3! consecutive Opening Days with walk-off hits. This year it was done by Adam Jones in the 11th inning.
  • Free Baseball and No Baseball
    Speaking of extra innings, as of April 8th, there have been 18 games that have provided free baseball to fans, including a 17-inning snooze fest between the Cubs and the Marlins. A lot of them being spectacular and exciting finishes. On the other side of the spectrum, MLB decided to start baseball 5 days earlier than usual to give teams 5 more off days throughout the season. However, some of those have already been consumed because Winter just won’t quite (I think I’m on day 567 of Winter). There have been 10 postponed games thus far which is going to make for a packed Summer of baseball.
  • Harper Hits Homers
    Harper is on a tear. He just doesn’t stop hitting. He’s now hit 6 homers in 27 AB and has 13 Walks which is good enough for the top of the HR leader board. It only helps his stats when he faces pitchers that he just OWNS. Harper has Atlanta Braves Julio Teheran’s number. He has now homered off of him 8 times (once this year already) in 39 ABs with a slugging pct of 1.154. But that’s ok, the Braves organist got a good laugh out of Harper coming to town by playing Go Cubs Go and New York, New York as Harper approached the batter’s box (Harper is a free agent this season and will go where the money is).
  • Stranger Things are afoot in MLB
    So there have been more and more odd things going on in the MLB these days. The defensive shift is super popular. There is a pitch clock and a man starting at 2B in extra innings in the Minors. But some managers are getting even crazier. The Tampa Bay Rays have implemented a 4 man starting pitcher rotation. That’s not all that odd, but 1 of the days is a ‘Bullpen’ day. Yes, the Rays have 3 SP on their roster and the rest are Relievers. Even more strange is that the ‘Bullpen’ day is the 3rd spot in the rotation. Sooooo, they plan to burn up the bullpen on the day before their worst starting pitcher?! Just as odd are the Astros’ new defensive shift of 4 outfielders. Do they think they are playing beer league softball or what?! Just bunt it to 3B!!! If this 4 man outfield “works”, I suspect the MLB coming up with a rule about odd shifts which probably will include 5 infielder shifts as well.
  • Sho-time
    Continuing the non-normal theme, Shohei Ohtani bluffed everyone in Spring Training. His stats in Spring were 4-for-32 at the plate and a 16.2 ERA on the mound. But with a simple change to his batting stance (no more leg kick), Ohtani is 7-for-18 with 3 homers and a 2.08 ERA with taking a perfect game into the 7th inning. Right now, he has MORE home runs than Aaron Judge AND MORE strikeouts than Max Scherzer. Ya, I would say that is living up to the hype.
  • The Giants offense is scuffling but winning games
    The Giants are the first team to get their first 3 runs of a season by 3 solo home runs by the same player. Yes, Joe Panik (not a HR hitter by trade) hit 3 solo home runs and the Giants won 2 of those games by a score of 1-0. Not only is that odd, but the newly acquired McCutchen was awful with a 2-for-24 start but then goes 6-for-7 in an extra inning game with a walk-off homer.
  • Back to Back to Start, Back to Back to End
    The Brewers and Cardinals made history this week by starting a game where the first two batters hit Back-to-Back homers and then the game ended with the last 2 hitters going Back-to-Back to walk-off a win for the Home Team… thankfully, the Brewers were on the winning side of that game.
  • Eagles Continue to Make Headlines in Minnesota
    James Paxton of the Mariners (nicknamed “Big Maple” because he’s Canadian) became a true American this week when a Bald Eagle landed on him during the National Anthem in Minneapolis. The last time Eagles made the headlines in Minnesota… Beating the Vikings in the Superbowl in February. *Bu Dum Tss*
  • Fighting Phils put up a 20 on the scoreboard
    The Phillies are on the back-end of finishing a rebuild. Will they be good this season? Will it be 1 more season? The signed Arrieta hoping to help build a young starting rotation, but the Phillies bats did all the talking during one game. They scored 20 (they only scored 19 in the first 9 days) against the horrible Marlins by hitting 2 grand slams in the first 3 innings of the game. The first time since Fernando Tatis did it by himself for the Cardinals in 1999… and in the same inning.
  • Big Fat Bartolo Colon is still relevant
    Somehow, at the age of 44, soon to be 45, “Big Sexy” is still relevant in the pitching world of professional baseball. He signed with the Rangers and in his first game of the season he threw 6-innings of 1 run ball for a QS (no run support ended in a non-win). He literally throws like 1 pitch, an 85mph 2-seam fastball. How can most pitchers not pitch below a 4.00era and here Bartolo is at 45, throwing 1 pitch, and still keeping his team competitive?!
  • Red Sox Can Still Make History
    And finally, the Red Sox have started 8-1 this season. This is the first time in the club’s history… which dates back to 1901. I didn’t think they would win the AL East (those Yankees’ bats are crazy powerful) but with their best start in history, maybe I should reconsider the AL East final standings.

What did I miss from the Opening Week??? Feel free to comment below.

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