Sunday’s Opening Night and Monday’s Opening Day have come and gone, but the best part is we get to do it all over again on Tuesday and then again the next day all the way through October. How cool is that? The Sunday Night/Monday Opening Day turned out to be the first time in MLB history that six teams posted a shutout. Five other teams only scored a lone run. If you prefer offense there were a couple game deciding home runs and a few blowouts.
Matt Kemp returned to Dodger Stadium as a Padre. This week when you can’t figure out where a certain player went this offseason the safe guess is that he’s probably on the Padres. They made some moves.
Clayton Kershaw allowed a few runs over six innings, but struck out nine. Matt Kemp had a couple hits and drove in all three of the Padres’ runs. Adrian Gonzalez had 3-hits and a homer for the Dodgers.
Tied at 3 in the bottom of the 8th, the Dodgers turned to J-Roll with Joc Pederson and Andre Ether on base. Rollins came through with a 3-run homer to right. It was Rollins fourth career Opening Day home run as a shortstop. Since 1900 that total is exclusive to him. Rollins also homered on Opening Day last season when with the Phillies.
The Dodgers 6-3 win was their 5th straight on Opening Day. The Padres have lost 13 of their last 17 games at Chavez Ravine dating back to 2013. It’s a figure they will need to improve upon if they plan to pursue the pennant.
Francisco Liriano (7 IP, 2 ER, 7 K) and Johnny Cueto (7 IP, 0 ER, 10K) were locked in a 2-0 contest through seven innings. Reds’ reliever Kevin Gregg gave away the lead when Andrew McCutchen homered to center to tie the game at 2.
The Pirates turned to Tony Watson who was incredible in a setup role during 2014. Watson stuck out pinch hitter Chris Dominquez, but then Billy Hamilton and Joey Votto singled. The Todd Father took it from there. Frazier delivered a 3-run homer that gave the Reds a 5-2 lead which Aroldis Chapman would preserve.
The Athletics’ Sonny Gray became the first pitcher since the Indians’ Bob Lemon in 1953 to throw 8 IP and allow one hit or fewer on Opening Day. Gray walked just one and struck out three. The Rangers lone hit was by left fielder Ryan Rua in the 8th. The only Opening Day No-Hitter remains the Indians’ Bob Feller vs the White Sox in 1940.
The A’s Ben Zobrist and Stephen Vogt hit big flies. The Athletics snapped a 10-game Opening Day losing streak with an 8-0 win.
Here are some notable performances from the rest of opening day.
THE OTHER SHUTOUTS
The season got underway Sunday night at Wrigley Field where in hindsight it reads like the best course of action would have been to go to the restroom before the game and then not drink any fluids during the Cubs’ 0-13 performance with runners in scoring position.
New Cubs’ lefty Jon Lester, who only threw 98 total pitches his spring wasn’t in mid-season form. He stuck out six, but only lasted 4.1 innings. Lester allowed three runs on eights hits and two walks.
The Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright struck out six and walked none over six scoreless innings in the Cardinals 3-0 victory. The J-Hey Kid had a couple doubles and a steal during a 3-hit night in his Cardinal debut.
The Tigers’ J.D. Martinez carried over his 2014 career year to 2015 by hitting the first home run of the young MLB season with a 2nd inning dinger off Phil Hughes. Three batters later Alex Avila took Hughes deep for a 2-run home run. Tigers’ lefty David Price provided 8.2 IP of scoreless baseball with 5 strikeouts and no walks in the 4-0 win.
The Brewers’ Kyle Lohse built a “snowman” by allowing 8 runs over 3.1 IP. The Rockies got three hits from Tulo and Nolan Arenado. Arenado and Corey Dickerson both homered and drove in four runs. 10-0 Rockies as Kyle Kendrick hurled seven scoreless innings with six strikeouts and no walks. Ryan Bruan left the game in the 5th with a sore right side. It was a terrible day for the Brewers and the first time since 1911 that an NL team won an opening day shutout by 10 or more runs.
The Phillies’ Cole Hamels served up batting practice to the Red Sox by allowing four home runs. Dustin Pedroia hit two home runs in a game for the first time since 2011. New Red Sox left fielder Hanley Ramirez also went yard twice (Hamels, Diekman). It was the first time in franchise history the Red Sox have had two players hit two home runs on Opening Day. The last Red Sox player to have a 2-homer game on Opening Day was Carlton Fisk in 1973.
Young center fielder Mookie Betts also homered in the 8-0 Red Sox victory. Clay Buchholz went seven scoreless with nine strikeouts and one walk.
This one was a pitchers’ duel between the Indians’ Corey Kluber who carried a no hitter into the 6th and the Astros’ Dallas Keuchel. Both teams had just three hits. Kluber stuck out seven over 7.1 IP. George Springer and Jake Marisnick drove in runs against him. Keuchel went seven scoreless with four strike outs. Astros win 2-0.
EASY COAST BIAS
The Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka threw the first pitch of Opening Day and struck out three of the first four batters he faced, but then the 3rd inning happened. A single and walk preceded a Jose Reyes sacrifice to 3rd that featured a Chase Headley error to score a run. Russell Martin singled home both Devon Travis and Jose Reyes. Jose Bautista flied out, but then Edwin Encarnacion flied over the wall in left for a 2-run homer and 5-0 Blue Jays lead.
Drew Hutchison impressed for Toronto pitching six innings of 3-hit, 3-strikeout ball allowing only a Brett Gardner home run in the 6th.
Blue Jays’ second baseman Devon Travis sprinted around the bases for his first career hit and homer in the 7th. Toronto won 6-1.
The Rays honored their late coach Don Zimmer by retiring his No. 66. Zimmer passed away last June and spent 65 years in baseball.
The Orioles’ Alejandro De Aza and Steve Pearce went yard against Rays’ starter Chris Archer. Chris Tillman’s only run allowed over 6.2 IP was a solo homer by Even Longoria in the 7th. Orioles win 6-2.
The Mets’ Bartolo Colon came up large, which isn’t hard for him to do as he’s well built. Six innings, eight strikeouts and only one walk. His only flaw was allowing a solo homer to Bryce Harper. Max Scherzer, who had a no-hit bid entering the sixth, struck out eight over 7.2 IP, but allowed three unearned runs because Dan Uggla is a terrible second baseman. Following Uggla’s misplayed pop up, Scherzer allowed Luca Duda to single home a couple runs in the 6th. Mets 3, Nats 1.
New Braves’ right fielder Nick Markakis drove home both runs in a 2-1 win saved by Jason Grilli. That Kimbrel guy is now in San Diego. The Marlins’ Henderson Alvarez (6 IP, 2 ER) and Braves’ Julio Teheran (6 IP, 1 ER) were solid.
HEADING OUT MID-WEST & WEST
Newly acquired Jeff Samardzija allowed five runs, including a home run to Mike Moustakas, over six innings for the Good Guys. New Royals’ right fielder Alex Rios had a 3-hit, 3 RBI day that included a home run against Kyle Drabek. Yodano Ventura allowed only a run (Jose Abreu HR) over 6+ IP before he left the game with a right thumb cramp. Royals 10, White Sox 1
Mike Trout took King Felix deep in his first at bat on Opening Day for the 2nd straight season. King Felix was otherwise dominant as he stuck out 10 over 7 IP with one walk. Trout stuck out in his other three at bats, but robbed Logan Morrison of a home run in the 8th. Mariners win 4-1.
Madison Bumgarner went seven innings with the only damage against him being a Mark Trumbo RBI triple. Joe Panik and Angel Pagan had 3-hit nights for the Giants who held a 5-1 lead entering the 8th when Diamondbacks’ pinch hitter Jake Lamb cleared the bases with a 3-run double against Sergio Romo. Santiago Casilla was perfect in the 9th to preserve the 5-4 victory for the defending champs.
Twitter can also do math. It’s a small sample size, but a start.
Average game time on #OpeningDay: 2:48, 20 minutes less than 2014 avg of 3:08. Of course, six shutouts. 2014 openers averaged 3:08.
— David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield) April 7, 2015