Another Opening Day is in the books! Let’s take a look at what went down yesterday!
What Went Right?
The White Sox (as a whole): While it is probably not indicative of a projected record (as they were facing a rather poor Royals’ team), the Sox looked outstanding on Thursday, as Jose Abreu got his first home run, Tim Anderson got his first and second home runs, and Matt Davidson was able to hit his first, second and third.
Two Games of Free Baseball: While Opening Day in itself is exciting, we were able to see not just one, but two games that went into extra innings. The Baltimore Orioles and Minnesota Twins managed to play 11, while the Milwaukee Brewers and San Diego Padres went 12.
Aces Wild: As expected, Opening Day provided its fair share of expert pitching performances. Clayton Kershaw, Aaron Nola, Ty Blach, Dylan Bundy, Jake Odorizzi, Chris Sale, Justin Verlander, Chase Anderson, and Clayton Richard all managed to allow one or fewer runs, and while none went too far into the game (in an effort to save bullets for the next six months), all fit the bill of “Opening Day Starter.”
Rhys Hoskins is Back: Last season, Rhys Hoskins took the league by storm breaking record after record after his late season call-up. He picked up right where he left off for the Phillies, as he went 2-3 with a pair of doubles. Hoskins will be the every day left-fielder in Philly and gives the rebuilding team a lot to be excited for.
New Season, New Team, Same Stanton: The reigning National League Most Valuable Player, Giancarlo Stanton, may not be in the NL anymore, however he picked up right where he left off smashing two home runs, slotting him tied for second in the league on day one.With #OpeningDay in the books, take a look at what went wrong and what went right during the annual season-opening day.Click To Tweet
Kevin Plawecki Reaches Four Times: To paraphrase the Brad Pitt in Moneyball, “He gets on base a lot Rocco, do I care if it’s a walk or a hit?” Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki managed to get on base four times in five plate appearances, and while two of them were hits, one being a double, he managed to work a pair of walks.
What Went Wrong?
Gabe Kapler: It was not a very good first game for new Phillies manager Gabe Kapler. He made headlines earlier in the day, as he decided to sit Odubel Herrera, in favor of playing both Nick Williams and Aaron Altherr. Then, he pulled Nola in the sixth, despite the fact that he was cruising. Kapler cited analytics his reasoning for the moves, however any way that you want to look at it, Nick Williams has a very weak approach at the place with very poor pitch selection, and was very fortunate in terms of BABIP last season, while Herrera has been arguably the best position player on the Phillies over the past three campaigns. Furthermore, while saving bullets is always important, Nola was doing a very good job. Pulling him in the middle of the inning right before the Braves sent their best player to the plate cost him immediately as the young Hoby Milner promptly allowed a 2-run shot to his first batter. As we saw in spring training, Kapler likes to be bold, however at times it feels as if he’s attempting to reinvent the wheel. While I always encourage creativity, there’s a difference between trying something new, and doing something dumb, and personally, I believe his decisions fell into the latter category.
15 Ks for the Cardinals: The St. Louis Cardinals didn’t have a great game as a whole, however, the biggest issue was the fact that there were 15 strikeouts for the team over nine innings. Dexter Fowler, Tommy Pham, and Marcell Ozuna made up three of the first four slots in the line-up and went a combined 0-12 with nine strikeouts and five of those strikeouts came just three or four pitches into the at bat. If the Cardinals want to compete in an exceptionally competitive National League Central, they’re going to need the top of their line-up to start seeing more pitches.
The Royals: If you looked at the Kansas City Royals’ line-up card before the game, it certainly didn’t look terrible for a rebuilding team, as it featured Jon Jay, Mike Moustakas, Lucas Duda, and Whit Merrifield. Then they took the field. The first four mentioned above didn’t play too poorly going 5-19 (.263) with five runs scored and five RBI’s. The rest of the team, however, went 2-17 (.118) with two walks (.211 OBP). Furthermore, the pitching staff looked abysmal today as six relievers gave up at least one run, and three giving up at least three (Danny Duffy, Blaine Boyer, and Brian Flynn). Furthermore, the walk to strikeout ratio was one (7:7) and they gave up six home runs, while the offense produced just two walks. While GMDM looks as if he will be able to get something back in return for those first four and Kelvin Herrera at the deadline, it looks like it’s going to be a long season in Kansas City.
In-climate Weather: While we were blessed with the first 70 degree day of the Spring up here in Philly, a pair of games were postponed due to poor weather. The Detroit Tigers will take on the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Washington Nationals will take on the Cincinnati Reds at a later date. It’s unfortunate as it was the first time all 30 teams were scheduled to begin the season on the same day.
Day one is in the books, let’s get ready for the next 161!