The pageantry mixed with the pomp and circumstance make Opening Day a memorable day for your average fan who enjoys baseball but doesn’t deep dive on Baseball Reference at least twice a week. For us obsessives, our real Opening Day is Day 2, it’s when we get our first glimpse of true regular season baseball. There are bullpens that are a mess, intriguing pitching matchups to stream, juggling off days to maximize counting stats in Head-2-Head leagues. This is the day that the season starts for baseball grinders, and so a breath of excitement is in the air as we have our second straight day to watch baseball.
BAL @ BOS (Means @ Eovaldi)
Nate Eovaldi looked superb allowing 4 singles and a walk over 5.1 innings, but the inherited runners monster got him as Matt Andriese allowed a walk and a runner to reach on a Keke Hernandez error that should have been a double play before Ryan Mountcastle drove in two with a double off the Green Monster. John Means out pitched Eovaldi striking out 5 and allowing only one baserunner, a leadoff single by Keke Hernandez to start the game, over 7.0 innings. For those that thought Tanner Scott would be used purely in the 9th inning, get used to seeing him face the best lefties in the lineup as Scott entered in the 8th to face the Devers-Gonzalez-Vazquez portion of the lineup and looked electric yet wild. Cesar Valdez picked up the save and while his is a disgusting add for dynasty league owners.
TB @ MIA (Yarbrough @ P. Lopez)
Pablo Lopez looked absolutely amazing and everything like the Cy Young contender he will be in 2021 despite going only 5.0 innings, but perhaps more surprising was the fact that Ryan Yarbrough outperformed Lopez pitch for pitch as he also allowed only 4 baserunners but over 6.2 IP compared to Lopez 5.0. Neither offense was able to muster any sort of threat until the 6th inning, when each team had their first XBH of the game, with Austin Meadows hit his second homer in as many games off Richard Bleier in the top of the 6th and Starling Marte pulling a 2 out double down the third base line in the bottom half of the inning. Manuel Margot launched a surprise homer in the 7th off John Curtiss. Chaz Roe threw some filthy pitches and struck out 2 in 0.2 innings, but he also allowed a triple and walk and then Ryan Sherriff let them all score after an RBI single and a 2 out 2 run double by Miguel Rojas. This was ultimately a battle of which bullpen could blow the game more, and Anthony Bass “won” the night serving up a 9th inning 3 run dinger to Joey Wendle and Diego Castillo closed out the game for his second save of the season.
LAD @ COL (Bauer @ Senzatela)
Trevor Bauer spun a gem only allowing a walk during his first time through the lineup, and no runs through 6 then absolutely imploded in the 7th. The good thing for the Dodgers is Antonio Senzatela imploded to start the game getting chased in the 4th after allowing 7 runs in 9 hits and 1 walk. The entire Dodgers lineup produced once again, with all position players reaching base twice except for Bellinger and Pollock who “only” managed 1 hit each. The Dodgers hit 4 homers in the 7th scoring 6, Blackmon-McMahon-Nunez-Hilliard), but that still only cut the lead to 4. David Price struggled in relief of Bauer allowing 2 of those dingers before he settled in. I’m not worried about this outing specifically since it’s his first relief appearance since 2017, but it doesn’t bode well for Price getting back to the rotation any time soon. Although he didn’t get in on the home run brigade, Trevor Story went 2 for 4 with a run scored and has no averse signs of production from losing Nolan Arenado. Last, but absolutely not least, we had a wild cat interruption which will always be my favorite animal interruption in sports.
CHW @ LAA (Keuchel @ Heaney)
The White Sox lit up Andrew Heaney chasing him in the 4th after scoring 3 runs, and this came an inning after Jose Abreu hit a grand slam. The Angels came back after Albert Pujols turned back the clock and hit a 3 run bomb to deep center in the bottom of the 4th and the Halos scored 2 more in the 6th when Adam Eaton botched one in the outfield. Michael Kopech came in and struck out 3 across 2.0 IP allowing zero baserunners before he game out in the 3rd and gave up a leadoff walk. Matt Foster outdid Kopech and struck out the side in order in his only relief appearance. Both teams continued to tack on runs including having their respective closers, Liam Hendriks and Raisel Iglesias give up 2 runs. The “deadened ball” sure looked lively in Los Angeles tonight. It’d be remiss if there wasn’t a mention of the biggest surprise of the game, a Billy Hamilton walk (kidding! kidding!), it’s actually 28 year old Yermin Mercedes getting his first career start going 5 for 5 with 4 RBIs and a run scored. It would be nice if this story became something more than a season footnote, but considering Mercedes isn’t much of a defender and Andrew Vaughn definitely won’t be much of a defender in left, his update is extremely limited barring prolonged Vaughn struggles. Lastly, everyone’s favorite 2 way player Shohei Ohtani was the one to take Liam Hendriks deep if you’re in a league where Ohtani is one player (and not split between a hitter and pitcher) and managers should be very tempted to pay whatever the asking price is to acquire him today.
HOU @ OAK (Javier @ Luzardo)
Both Yuli Gurriel and Jose Altuve went 3 for 3 with 2 walks, with Altuve scoring on a sac fly pop up to second base which was caught on the infield, which, uh, should never happen. Sure, it’s just one play in two games, but that has got to be the ugliest thing you could possibly see if you’re a Oakland fan. Jesus Luzardo got smacked around giving up 2 dongs to Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel as the Astros played from in front the rest of the way after the 3 run 3rd. Cristian Javier was inefficient but had Bryan Abreu clean up his innings with ease, and Abreu is someone to keep on your radar if he ever gets a shot to pitch in the rotation. Everyone on the Astros offense got involved except for a surprising 0 for 5 from Carlos Correa and an expected 0 for 5 from Martin Maldonado. Chad Pinder hit a pinch hit homer for Oakland while Elvis Andrus went hitless in 4 at bats. It’s still very early, but Oakland might not wait as long as people would assume for Andrus bat to come around if he struggles early.
SFG @ SEA (Cueto @ Kikuchi)
Both starters went 5+ innings giving up 3 runs while striking out at least 7 on 6 hits. Kikuchi just did it a little better with 10 K’s and only 1 walk compared to Cueto’s 3. Donovan Solano continued his 2 year run as a hitting machine whacking 3 hits while Buster Posey and Evan Longoria went deep for the second time in 2 games. Ty France reached base 3 times and Evan White drove in 2 runs in the 3rd on a single, but otherwise the Mariners bat were shut down. The Giants bullpen redeemed themselves allowing no hits and only one base runner over 3 innings with Wandy Peralta picking up the Win, Tyler Rogers the Hold, and Jake McGee the save.
ARZ @ SDP (Kelly @ Snell)
Blake Snell was as dominant as he was in his last start, you know the one in the World Series where he got pulled too early, and in today’s game he got pulled before he could complete 5 innings despite striking out 8. Craig Stammen played the long role and gave way a short Taylor Williams appearance with the game closer out by a clean Emilio Pagan inning in the 8th and bumpy but effective Mark Melancon 9th. Merrill Kelly gave up a 2 run shot to Eric Hosmer in the 3rd who then also drove in another run on a single in the 7th. Ketel Marte hit a 2 run shot off Stammen to account for the Diamondbacks only runs.
Overall, today felt very much like the second day of the season. We had limited action and each game saw a completely different type of game flow. We had our second Emilio Bonifacio award for the most effective fantasy game by a multi-dimension utility player going to Yermin Mercedes in his first career start. We saw Billy Hamilton walk! Our first animal delay happened! 2021 truly has seen it all happen, in the sense that very little but also so much has taken place. Just like yesterday, I am just thrilled baseball is back. Goodnight.
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