MLB Opening Night

MLB Opening Night was weird and wonderful

It finally happened… MLB Opening Night! one of our four major North American sports leagues played meaningful games last night. MLB kicked off its truncated 2020 season on Thursday but not without some last-minute bumps in the road first, because nothing is possible in 2020 without an accompanying mess.
Just hours prior to the Yankees and Nationals opening the season, Washington star Juan Soto tested positive for COVID-19, leaving many to wonder if the game would (or should) be played. Soto was reportedly exposed earlier in the week and had been around teammates in the days leading up to Thursday’s opener, so it seemed like a lot of players could be at risk.
Ultimately, the game went on as planned — though not for a full nine innings. A serious rainstorm rolled into Washington and cut the game short after just five innings, though the game did officially go into the books as a 4-1 Yankees win.

Mike Axisa and Katherine Acquavella in MLB Opening Night

Here are some takeaways from our Mike Axisa and Katherine Acquavella.
  • Gerrit Cole dominated in his Yankees debut: The Yankees prize offseason acquisition did give up a home run to the second batter he faced (a solo shot by Adam Eaton) but he settled in and retired 14 of 16 after that, not giving up another hit for the rest of the game. And since he was still in the game at the time it was called, he gets credit for a complete game W
  • Big games for Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton: The Yankees’ two most fearsome sluggers had strong debuts. Both players had a pair of hits, including a mammoth 459-foot home run from Stanton
  • Max Scherzer had his worst Opening Day start: Scherzer had an up-and-down outing in the season opener, striking out 11 batters in just over five innings of work. But he also gave up four earned runs, which is the same number of runs he’d given up in his previous four Opening Day starts COMBINED
Waiting four extra months for Opening Day Night and having the first game — a great matchup between two heralded aces — rained out after just five innings? Major buzzkill, but again… have you met 2020? We simply cannot have nice things.
Luckily, we did have another game on the slate with the Dodgers and Giants in the late slot. R.J. Anderson has your takeaways for that one:
  • Dustin May pitches well in place of Clayton Kershaw: The Dodgers had to deal with a pregame headache of their own when Kershaw was placed on the IL with back stiffness just before the opener, forcing L.A. to give the ball to someone else for the opener. That someone else was May — a 22-year-old making his 15th career big-league appearance — and he filled in admirably, throwing 4 1/3 innings and giving up seven hits, no walks, and one run.
  • MLB Opening night!
  • Mookie Betts makes statement but Kike Hernandez stars: Before the game, all Dodgers players took a knee ahead of the anthem to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Most of the team stood for the anthem but Betts remained kneeling while a couple of his teammates placed theirs hands on his shoulders. Betts went 1-for-5 in his Dodgers debut while Hernandez and his tremendous mustache stole the show, recording four hits (including a home run) and five RBI
  • Dodgers bullpen holds steady: With May coming out in the fifth inning, the Dodgers had to rely on the bullpen to finish strong. They did so by committee, with four different relievers combining to give up just one hit the rest of the way.
  • MLB Opening Night
  • For your best MLB fantasy picks and bits, click here!
In some other baseball news, the league announced that they will have a 16-team playoff this season, expanding the postseason from the usual 10 teams. That was quite the surprising nugget to have dropped on us just before first pitch!

Final thoughts on MLB Opening Night

I gotta say, it was quite enjoyable to be able to kick back and watch sports with everyone last night. I’m very much looking forward to doing it again tonight… and tomorrow night… and the next night. Let’s not screw this up, please.

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