The 2021 Major League Baseball season begins on Thursday afternoon, Thursday afternoon. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a good thing as the Orioles Red Sox game was rainy and the Mets Nationals’ prime time proposition was canceled due to COVID-19 issues among Washington players.
The latter issue left us without a game that started between 4:10 PM and 10:05 PM ET. Bad planning, right? Here’s a look at the results for the day.
MLB opening day schedule, results
(All times US / East)
- FINAL / 10: Toronto Blue Jays 3, New York Yankees 2 (Box Score)
- FINAL: Detroit Tigers 3, Cleveland 2 (Box Score)
- FINAL / 10: Milwaukee Brewers 6, Minnesota Twins 5 (Box Score)
- Baltimore Orioles at the Boston Red Sox – postponed (rain)
- FINAL: Pittsburgh Pirates 5, Chicago Cubs 3 (Box Score)
- FINAL / 10: Philadelphia Phillies 3, Atlanta Braves 2 (Box Score)
- FINAL: San Diego Padres 8th, Arizona Diamondbacks 7 (Box Score)
- FINAL: Kansas City Royals 14, Texas Rangers 10 (Box Score)
- FINAL: Colorado Rockies 8, Los Angeles Dodgers 5 (Box Score)
- Finale: St. Louis Cardinals 11 Cincinnati Reds 6 (Box Score)
- FINAL: Tampa Bay Rays 1, Miami Marlins 0 (Box Score)
- New York Mets at the Washington Nationals – postponed (COVID-19)
- LIFE: Chicago White Sox at the Los Angeles Angels ((Game tracker)
- LIFE: Houston Astros at the Oakland Athletics ((Game tracker)
- LIFE: San Francisco Giants at the Seattle Mariners ((Game tracker)
The biggest upside is that this was only 1/162 of the season for the teams that played. That is 0.62 percent. Don’t freak out and overreact! (At least not too much.) Let’s run down the day of baseball action that actually took place.
Rough start and silver lining for reigning champions
This is proof of just how talented the Dodgers are. Clayton Kershaw didn’t have good things, they made two mistakes, they threw three wild pitches, committed a bottom run gaffe That turned a split home run into an RBI single and an out, they went 3 for 16 with runners in goal position and left 14 men on the base. And yet they had a tie on top of ninth place and could have won the game against the Rocky Mountains very well.
We thank the Rockies for the win, but beware of the rest of baseball because the Dodgers have just played one of their worst games and still had a good shot to win.
Bieber plays the main role but receives no support
Shane Bieber, the 2020 winner of AL Cy Young, joined the Elite Company by defeating 12 Batters. However, he received no running assistance as the Tigers were 3-0 in ninth place. A shot by Roberto Perez in two runs made things interesting, but Tiger’s reliever (closer?) Gregory Soto prompted Cesar Hernandez to get out on deck with a runner and Jose Ramirez to end the game.
D-backs make history; Padres still win
The 2021 Arizona Diamondbacks are now the answer to an important question. They became the first team in baseball history to score a four-homer inning. Even so, the padres would not be denied. They came from behind with one run in the sixth and one in the seventh to finally take the lead and win 8-7. They got 10 hits, even though Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado together went 1-10. They won despite Yu Darvish giving up four runs with eight hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Good signs for Jays
As a trendy playoff pick, the Blue Jays went to the Bronx, defeating the Yankees with Gerrit Cole on the hill. Teoscar Hernandez – a 2020 breakout offensive star – went 3-4 on a home run and Vladimir Guerrero looked damn good with a line drive single and two walks. The Jays didn’t have a George Springer either.
Hyun-Jin Ryu went 5 1/3 innings and only allowed two runs (both on a Gary Sanchez homer), but the real story on the pitching side was that the Blue Jays bullpen made 4 2/3 goalless innings and only allowed two hits.
The Yankees had some late threats, but Aaron Judge struck twice, leaving five men to stop these rallies.
Brewers storm back
The Twins scored two runs in the top of the third inning and held the lead until the end of the ninth inning. A bit of sloppiness left the Brewers hanging around as a hit and a throw miss put two runners on the base before Christian Yelich took a run home and Travis Shaw got away with a game-winning two-run double. The ninth run for the Brewers added extras to the game, and the Brewers let it go.
Hello Phillies Bullpen?
The Phillies had one of the worst bullpens in recent history last season. It was a shame on the league what kind of numbers they put up (7.06 ERA, 1.79 WHIP).
On Thursday, the Phillies put in four reliefs – Archie Bradley, Jose Alvarado, Hector Neris and Connor Brogdon – which allowed for just one hit in 3 1/3 goalless innings while scoring four. Nor is it as if they were faced with a constellation full of weaklings, since that was the offense of the high-octane Braves.
Aaron Nola’s good outing and Jean Segura’s walk-off single will be most of the highlights, but don’t sleep on that good bullpen performance.
A Florida duel
The Rays and Marlins only scored eight hits together, with a solo homer from Austin Meadows being the only offense in Miami. The starters Tyler Glasnow (6 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K) and Sandy Alcantara (6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K) were brilliant. Marlin’s first baseman Jesus Aguilar – who had two of his three goals in the game – startled the Rays when he hit the warning lane with a game-winning home run in some parks, but The Marlins were empty on opening day.
Card offense is discharged early; Oh, Eugenio
The Cardinals scored eleven runs with nine hits through just four innings in Cincinnati on Thursday. Sure, they only had one goal in five scoreless innings after that, but who cares? The 11 runs were more than enough to win. The new look Paul Goldschmidt-Nolan Arenado Combo combined in the 2-3 spots to go 6 for 10 with four runs and two RBI. How about rookie Dylan Carlson hitting a homer with three runs in the first?
At the end of the red, I suppose there’s a silver lining to scratching out seven runs, even after allowing six on top of the first. Even so, their potentially dubious decision to try Eugenio Suarez, the third All-Star baseman, at Shortstop resulted in two mistakes, including one that could have cost them the game. In the first inning, after only one Cardinals run hit to that point, Yadier Molina missed a routine grounder that could have been a double game at the inning end, and Suarez started him. Sure it was in the hole, but Molina is one of the easiest to double up in baseball because he’s not fast enough.
Shaky start for Cubs
The Cubs are at a crossroads this season with several key players free to choose. It’s possible they could make one final playoff run with what was left of their core from 2016 or fall apart and sell before close of trading. Thursday was a brutal start. Kyle Hendricks only lasted three innings, issuing three walks for the first time in exactly two years, while the offensive only scored two hits in the entire game. Cubs pitchers gave 11 walks and that could have been a lot worse, but the pirates left a ridiculous 15 men on the base.
Royals’ New Look offense would wildly not be denied
The Royals allowed five runs in the first inning. It must be pretty drained if the opponent scores five runs before you even fly into the opener, right? No matter. The Royals achieved that five-point spot with five of their own in the bottom half. They would then follow 6-5 through two innings and 8-5 after the top of the third. But the royals never stopped beating. They scored multiple runs – the old “crooked number” – in four different innings. Kyle Isbel, Michael Taylor and Whit Merrifield all had three hits. Taylor, Merrifield and Jorge Soler were all homered. They were basically adamant with the bats from start to finish.
The 14 runs were a royals record for the opening day. It was the longest nine-inning game in the history of the Royals opening day.
Oh, and get that (via Jeremy Frank on Twitter): This was the first ever opening game in which neither of the two starters scored five outs (1 2/3 innings). Royals starter Brad Keller went 1 1/3 innings while Rangers starter Kyle Gibson went 1/3 innings. He faced eight thugs and allowed four hits and three walks while pulling one out (a strikeout).
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