Opening Day Highlights Part 2

Following on from part one of his opening day highlights, Charlie now takes a look at the rest of the games from opening day.

Angels 5-6 Athletics F/11 (W: Hatcher 1-0, 0.00ERA, L:N. Ramirez 0-1 6.75 ERA)

It was not a good day for starting pitchers at the O.co Coliseum. Despite its reputation as a pitcher-friendly ballpark, neither starter made it past the fifth inning. Garrett Richards pitched five innings, giving up four earned runs, seven hits and three walks.

As Matt Smith mentioned in his Oakland pre-season preview, the A’s had suffered some unfortunate pitching injuries in the final week before opening day. This led to Kendall Gravemen being named the opening day starter. Graveman would also go five innings, finishing with a line of five earned runs on seven hits.

LA raced into a 4-0 lead by the top of the fifth inning, courtesy of an Andrelton Simmons single, Martin Maldonado ground rule double and home runs from Kole Calhoun and Zack Cozart (making his Angels debut).

Oakland would reply by way of a three-run home run by the power hitting Khris Davis, followed by a solo shot by hot prospect first baseman Matt Olson to tie the score at 4-4 in the bottom of the fifth.

In the top of the seventh, Albert Pujols would slug a solo home run to return the halos to a 5-4 lead. Khris Davis would drive in the final run of the regulation nine innings, in the bottom of the seventh inning to bring the A’s level at 5-5.

Neither side could find the winning run, until Marcus Semien became Oakland’s opening day hero with a game-winning single in the eleventh inning, to send Oakland fans home happy with a 6-5 win.

Of note, Mike Trout had a hitless day at the plate going 0-6, Shohei Otani got his first hit in American Baseball, with a single in his first at-bat going 1-5.

Key Performers
Angels – Kole Calhoun – had a three for five day including a home run, two runs scored and an RBI. With the regression of Albert Pujols expected to worsen, it will be crucial for an extra hitter or two, to provide support to Mike Trout and Justin Upton.

Athletics – Against a potent lineup, Ryan Buchter, Yusmeiro Petit, Blake Treinen and Joe Hatcher combined to pitch six scoreless innings for the win. With the potential struggles, the A’s could have with their starting rotation, it will be important for their bullpen to produce shutdown outings like this one, throughout the season.

Brewers 2-1 Padres (W: Jeffress 1-0 0.00 ERA, L: Climber 0-1 9.00 ERA SV: Barnes, J (1)

It was a tough day in San Diego for offense to say the least. Clayton Richards pitched seven strong innings allowing only one run on six hits, while striking out four and only one walk. The lone run for the Brewers came on a Christian Yelich single that scored starting pitcher Chase Anderson in the top of the third inning.

Anderson had a solid day himself, hurling six scoreless innings with one hit, three walks and six strikeouts. Freddy Galvis drove in the game-tying run in the bottom of the ninth inning, with a single off the usually reliable Cory Knebel that resulted in Matt Szczur passing home plate.

The game would then remain drawn until Orlando Arcia drove in Ji-Man Choi to seal the win in climatic circumstances for the Brew Crew.

Key Performers
Brewers – Chase Anderson – The Brewers will be aiming for at least a wildcard spot this season, for them to make it, they will need Anderson to continue how he’s started.

Padres: – Freddy Galvis had two hits in four at-bats, with an RBI and a walk. Galvis is a placeholder until the highly rated Fernando Tatis Jr. arrives at the major league level. If Galvis can find some consistency with the bat he may be of use as a utility man for the Padres in the long term.

Phillies 5 – 8 Braves (W: Vizcaino 1-0 0.00 ERA, L: Neris 0-1 40.50 ERA)

Rhys Hoskins christened the top of the first inning with run-scoringng double, with Carlos Santana being the first player to cross the plate in this game to give the Phillies an early 1-0 lead.

Each team then blanked one another until an extremely eventful sixth inning. By then both starting pitchers had exited the game, with Aaron Nola allowing one run in five and two-thirds innings with three hits, three strikeouts and one walk. Julio Teheran compiled a record of four hits, four runs allowed, with three walks and three strikeouts over five and a third innings.

Philadelphia tacked on four runs to extend their lead to 5-0. Andrew Knapp had the key hit with a run scoring double that sent J.P. Crawford and Aaron Altherr home. The other runs coming by way of a Maikel Franco bases loaded walk and a Cesar Hernandez home run.

In the bottom of the same inning, Freddie Freeman replied by hammering his first home run of the season driving in two runs in the process to reduce the arrears.

Ozzie Albies clubbed a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth to further reduce the deficit to 5-3. A passed ball, then brought Freeman home to make it 5-4, before a Preston Tucker single made the game all square at 5-5.

Nick Markakis was the ultimate hero, sending the Braves’ home faithful with a walk off three run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning off Phillies closer Hector Neris to make the final score 8-5.

Key Performers
Phillies – Aaron Nola, the Phillies expect to be a wild card contender this season. In order for this to happen both Nola and number two starter Jake Arrieta are going to have to put up consistently excellent outings.

Braves – Freddie Freeman – The Braves are probably still a year away from returning to wild card contention but in Freeman they have an elite, player who is arguably one of the most under rated in the game. On opening day he had one hit, with three walks, scoring three runs with two RBIs.

White Sox 14-7 Royals (W: Shields 1-0 6.00 ERA, L: Duffy 0-1 11.25ERA)

If you are somebody who is a fan of offense and home runs, this was the game for you. The Royals opened the first inning scoring four runs, with a Mike Moustakas single, and a three run home run shot by Lucas Duda, to give the Royals a 4-0 lead.

After this inning, the story of the game was all about the White Sox offense. Jose Abreu (1), Tim Anderson (2) and Matt Davidson (3) would all hit home runs. Davidson became only the fourth player in MLB history to have three home runs on opening day. The White Sox tied the MLB opening day record with the 1986 New York Mets with six home runs.

Abreu, Anderson and Davidson would account for ten of the fourteen White Sox runs. Yolmer Sanchez would also get in on the action, driving in three RBIs with the other run being produced by Jose Abreu.

To the Royals credit they did attempt to come back, scoring two runs in the eighth and one run in the ninth, but the White Sox lead was just too much to overcome. James Shields got the win allowing four runs in six innings, whilst Danny Duffy took the loss for allowing five runs in four innings.

Key Performers
White Sox – Matt Davidson – By the time the game finished, Davidson was three for four (all hits being home runs) with a walk, five RBIs and four runs scored. Davidson has a reputation for striking out a lot, if he can decrease his strikeout numbers, he could be a big threat in the White Sox lineup.

Royals – Lucas Duda was signed to a very team friendly one year/$6.5million deal, and immediately started earning it, with an early three run home run.

20170718_Dodgers-WhiteSox_Matt_Davidson_swinging
Matt Davidson went long three times on opening day. Photo credit – TonyTheTiger.

Giants 1-0 Dodgers (W: Blach 1-0, 0.00, L: Kershaw 0-1, 1.50 ERA SV: Strickland (1)

Going into this game, Clayton Kershaw had been the epitome of ‘lights out’ in opening day games. His record was 7-0 with a 1.99ERA over that period.

Ty Blach was named the opening day started after the injury to Madison Bumgarner in the final week of spring training. Blach’s ERA of 4.68 was the fourth highest ERA of anybody who qualified for the ERA title in 2017 although he did have good career numbers vs the Dodgers coming into this game.

In contrast to the White Sox vs Royals game, if you are a pitching and defense aficionado, this was the game for you.

Kershaw never quite hit his top gear in this game, and despite missing his spots a few times managed to hold the game scoreless going into the fifth inning, before Joe Panik hammered a home run to give the Giants a 1-0 advantage.

Blach mixed his pitches well and induced ground plays when he needed them. He would leave the game after pitching five scoreless innings with three hits, three walks and three strikeouts. A combination of Josh Osich, Cory Gearrin, Tony Watson and Hunter Strickland would keep the lead intact to claim a 1-0 victory for the Giants.

Kershaw allowed eight hits and two walks, with seven strikeouts in six strong innings of work. He also contributed to his cause with two of the Dodgers six total hits.

Key performers
Giants – Ty Blach – If the Giants are to stay alive in both the division and wildcard race, before Jeff Samardzija and Madison Bumgarner return, they will need consistent starts like this one from Ty Blach.

Dodgers – Clayton Kershaw – Kershaw has been on his a level of his own for the past couple of years. He is highly regarded as one of the best regular season pitches of all-time, however, he still has unfinished business in the postseason.

Indians 1-2 Mariners (W: Hernandez 1-0, 0.00 ERA, L: Kluber (0-1 2.25 ERA, SV: Diaz (1)

Corey Kluber over the past few years has proven himself as arguably the best pitcher in the American League. He added to his burgeoning reputation, by winning the 2017 AL Cy Young award.

In this game, he lived up to his reputation. He made one mistake pitch early on that, Nelson Cruz deposited over the centre field wall for a two run home run that also scored Robinson Cano and would ultimately decide the game.

The Indians ace would end up allowing six hits, two earned runs, one walk, while striking out six. He also managed to twirl a rarely seen (these days) complete game.

While Kluber is in his prime, the talk about “King” Felix Hernandez has been of regression, over the past few years as he has struggled to adjust to his declining fastball velocity. In this game, he rolled back the clock, going five and a third innings, allowing two hits, two walks while tallying four strikeouts.

The Indians lone run would come on a Yan Gomes singles in the top of the seventh that scored Lonnie Chisenhall, given up by M’s reliever Nick Vincent. The Mariners bullpen, would ultimately hold on to the 2-1 lead with Edwin Diaz notching his first win of the season.

Key Performers
Indians – Corey Kluber – The Indians rotation is one of the best in the game, led by co-aces Kluber and Carlos Carrasco. Kluber will be looking to continue this great form throughout the regular season and into the postseason.

Mariners – Nelson Cruz – He has the reputation of one of the deadliest sluggers in the game and forms a formidable, 3-4-5 combination with Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager. Unfortunately for the Mariners, Cruz injured his ankle on March 31st after slipping in the Mariners dugout. He is due to have an MRI shortly.

Rockies 2-8 Diamondbacks (W: Corbin 1-0, 3.18ERA, L: Gray 0-1, 6.75 ERA)
The addition of the Chase Field humidor did not seem to have much effect in this battle between two offensive power houses. DJ LeMahieu joined Ian Happ and George Springer by hitting a leadoff home run in the top of the first inning, to give the Rockies an early 1-0 advantage.

The Diamondbacks replied in the bottom of the inning with a two run scoring double by Jake Lamb and an RBI groundout by Alex Avila to propel the snakes into a 3-1 lead.

The score would then remain 3-1 until the sixth inning. A Nolan Arenado solo home run brought Colorado to within a run, decreasing the deficit to 3-2.

In the bottom of the sixth, David Peralta would bring home Nick Ahmed with a run scoring single, while Jake Lamb would score Jarrod Dyson and Peralta with a single of his own to increase the home team’s lead to 6-2.

Arizona would ultimately put the game beyond Colorado with a Jarrod Dyson triple bringing home Nick Ahmed, with the final run scoring hit of the night being a single by Deven Marrero that scored Dyson for a final score of 8-2 to the snakes.

Neither starting pitcher made it past the sixth inning, with Jonathan Gray exiting after giving up three earned runs on six hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Patrick Corbin who was announced as the opening day starter after Zack Greinke was unavailable due to a minor injury went five and two-thirds innings, with two earned runs, seven hits, one walk and eight strikeouts to earn the win.

Key Performers
Diamondbacks – Jake Lamb – With Steven Souza Jr.likely to miss most of April, the responsibility of providing protection for Paul Goldschmidt in the DBacks lineup will primarily fall on Lamb. He had a solid opening day here with two hits in five at bats, including a double while driving in four RBIs.

Rockies – Nolan Arenado has become arguably the best two-way third baseman in the game today. The Rockies talisman had a good opening day with two hits, including a home run, an RBI and a run scored.

I hope you have enjoyed reading and re-living opening day. After an exciting start, let’s hope the momentum continues for another 161 games and into the playoffs.

 


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