After a long and bitter winter, fans were ready for some baseball in the sun (or dome). They were not disappointed, to say at the least. Pitching performances by aces across the league, including quite a few no-hit bids by Corey Kluber, David Price, Max Scherzer, and Sonny Gray dominated the attention of the sports world. Coming off of Adam Wainwright‘s masterful performance against the Chicago Cubs on Sunday night, pitchers across the league followed up with solid performances of their own, both in victory and in defeat. So, in no particular order, here’s a look back at some of the best performances from Monday.
Detroit is entering something of an uncertain year, as after losing Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello, the Tigers are down two of the best pitchers for 2014, with David Price entering a contract year. However, if the rest of the rotation can put up performances half as good as Price on Monday, the Tigers will do just fine. Regardless if you think Joe West robbed Torii Hunter on the last call of the game, Price had an outstanding outing, taking a no-hitter into the fifth, and falling just one out short of a complete game shutout. Also noteworthy: this was the first time since Jeremy Bonderman in 2007 that Justin Verlander did not get the nod on opening day.
This is an important year for the Houston Astros. After a relatively impressive year for the Astros, they must now prove that they are a team on the rebound. If Dallas Keuchel puts in more performances like he did tonight, the Astros are looking good for 2015. In what was billed as a pitcher’s duel, Keuchel and Indians ace, Corey Kluber did not disappoint. However, in Houston, Keuchel was the better man. While Keuchel didn’t carry a no-no late in the game like Kluber, he did combine with Tony Sipp and Luke Gregerson for a 3-hitter.
For some, Mets Manager, Terry Collins‘ decision to start the 41 year old Bartolo Colon on opening day ahead of Jacob DeGrom, Dillon Gee, and Matt Harvey was a bit puzzling. However, Collins’ faith in Colon was well placed as Colon silenced a talented Nationals lineup, led by Bryce Harper. His lone mistake was a Bryce Harper home run, however, other than that Colon was rock solid. Colon bested Washington’s $210 million man, Max Scherzer in Washington. For some, the Mets are a stealthy favorite to make the postseason, and it’s performances like this that give validation to them.
Proponents for the “kill the win” movement should look to this game for motivation. Scherzer was lights out all day, taking a no-hitter into the 6th inning. But after two errors from Nationals shortstop, Ian Desmond, led to a two run 6th inning that spelled doom for Washington’s star pitcher. At one point, Scherzer set down 17 consecutive Mets before issuing a walk to Curtis Granderson. Though all three Mets runs came when Scherzer was on the mound, none counted against Scherzer’s ERA.
8 innings, 1 hit, 3 strikeouts, 0 earned runs allowed, W.
Since the origins of professional baseball, nearly a half century ago, there has only been one no-hitter on Opening Day. After Monday, Bob Feller‘s 1940 effort is still the only no-no of its kind. However, whenever a pitcher puts in an effort like Gray did on Monday, it’s special. While he didn’t get the no-no, Gray still stymied the Rangers all night long, pitching 7 full innings of no-hit ball before Ryan Rua ended it in the 8th. Gray was efficient as well, needed only 83 pitches to make it through 7 innings. Gray’s effort helped the A’s snap a 10 year winless streak on Opening Day.