Baseball is back and the first weekend is complete. It was an exciting and surprising weekend for many teams. If you missed any of the action here are some of the highlights and low lights.
For the first time since 1966 both the Yankees and Red Sox started off the season 0-3. The Yankees were swept by the Rays in Tampa, beating them 3-0 on Sunday. No need to fear Yankees fans. The last time the Yankees started 0-3 was 1998, and they ended up winning 114 games and the World Series title. The Red Sox lost an extra inning game on Sunday 13-12 to complete the sweep by the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers proved to be as powerful as everyone thought going into the season. Point proven when Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera both homered in the 10-0 during Saturday’s gave versus the Red Sox. The Tigers scored a combined 26 runs during their first three games. I expect both teams to bounce back from their sweeps this week.
Another shocking thing came from this first weekend, The Pirates took two out of three from the Phillies. Both of the victories were of the walk-off type. The first happened on Saturday in extra innings when Rod Barajas drove in Alex Presley for the 2-1 victory. The second came on Sunday after the Pirates tied the score at 4-4. Andrew McCutchen drove in the winning run lifting the Pirates over the Phillies by a score of 5-4. The Pirates could be interesting to watch if you base any value on this first weekend.
The “new” every thing Marlins began the season with a surprising 1-3 start. They started their first two games with no offense and loses to the Cardinals and the Reds. The first lose was to the Cardinals in their brand new ballpark in a 4-1 effort. On Saturday in their third game the offensive power showed up in a 8-3 victory over the Reds, the fish had three home runs in that game. Sunday brought their third lose of the season when the Reds rallied in the bottom of the ninth. Scott Rolen came in as the pinch hitter and drove home the winning run to give the Reds the 6-5 victory over the Marlins. It will be interesting to see how the Marlins play in Philadelphia this week against what many consider to be the best rotation in the league.
Opening Day history was made on Thursday when the Blue Jays went to the 16th inning with the Indians. J.P. Arencibia hit the game winning three run homer to put the Blue Jays on top of the Indians 7-4 in that game. The game broke the previous opening day record of 15 innings held by the Tigers and Indians from 1960 and another 15th inning game between Philadelphia and Washington in 1926. There is something really special about seeing records broken that have stood for so long.
Albert Pujols went 0-3 in his debut for the Angels in their 5-0 victory over the Royals on opening day. The Royals ended up taking 2 out 3 games from the Angels this weekend. Pujols has a .143 batting average to show for his first weekend with his new team. The Angels have to be surprised how this first series ended with Pujols slumping. I have no doubt he will continue to be the most feared slugger in the game though.
There is an emerging star in Oakland. The high paid Cuban Yoenis Cespedes, has played incredibly during his first series in the Major Leagues. He is batting .308 with 3 home runs, 7 RBI’s and 3 runs. He goes against everything “Moneyball” GM Billy Beane has been able to do in the past with little money allowed to him for the A’s. This year he was able to get big money for this highly touted free agent. It appears that Cespedes will be worth the money spent if he keeps producing like he the past four games.
The Mets played better than expected by sweeping the Braves in three games. Its is the first time the braves have started the season 0-3 since 2003. The Mets were expected to occupy the cellar in the N.L. East and still very well could, but they are looking pretty good coming out of the first weekend.
Oh yeah, there was good pitching also. Kyle Lohse had a solid 7.1 inning game against the Marlins on Wednesday and picked up the win. The Nationals Stephen Strasburg had a great 7 inning game with 5 k’s in Thursdays victory over the Cubs, although he did not get the win. The Mets Jonathon Niese had a no hitter going into the 7th inning against the Braves on Sunday. The no-no was ended though, it would have been the first no hitter in the Mets 51 season history. The Mariners Brandon League picked up 2 saves this weekend. League could end up being one of the best closers in the A.L. if the M’s can continue to produced solid games for him to finish. Other than Niese’s possible no hitter there were no amazing moments by any pitcher, just a lot of solid pitching throughout both of the leagues. Some experts are calling this season “The Year Of The Pitcher III”, but I think we will have to wait and see about that.
If you take a look at the standings right now there are 5 teams that started the season 3-0. Those teams are Orioles, Rays, Tigers, Mets and D Backs. The season is very long though and as we all know a lot of teams fall off by July. So no one should get too excited or upset at this point. This first weekend has been very exciting and if its any indication of what is to come I think it will be a great year for the fans.