Major League Baseball's opening week a smash hit
Published: Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 00:04
Less than 2 percent of the 2012 baseball season has gone by, and both the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox started off 0-3. This is the first time since the 1966 season that both the Yankees and Sox have begun the season at 0-3. In 1966 when Mickey Mantle was losing steam, Joe Pepitone was in his prime, and Fritz Peterson, Mel Stottlemyre and Al Downing were the leaders of the pitching staff for New York as they finished the 10th worst team in the American League. When the Red Sox endured the weakest season from Carl Yastremski in his prime, and finished as the 9th worst team in the American League. Oh, 1966, please don’t repeat yourself. It’s impossible to fathom that the Yankees won’t turn it around quickly as the first few games of the season are just like testing the water, brushing off the dust and figuring out what to do. The Sox, on the other hand, could have a hard time turning it around as quickly seeing as how Bobby V has already turned into the scapegoat for all of Bostonians’ grief. But with a lineup that dominant it’s hard to believe the Sox won’t be in the thick of the AL pennant race at the end of the season.
Well, aside from the Yanks and the Sox, opening week in the MLB wasn’t all that bad. Red Sox starter Josh Beckett did surrender five home runs in his first start of the 2012 season, and Joe Girardi did make a costly intentional walk call vs. the Rays that resulted in a grand slam. Along with Yankees closer Mariano Rivera blowing a save on opening day, MLB fans did witness four no-hit bids reach the fifth inning. Later, Jose Valverde blew his first save of the season – after being perfect in save situations last season. Forty-nine-year-old pitcher Jamie Moyer looked to be the oldest pitcher ever to win a game – but didn’t succeed. Fans also witnessed newcomer Yoenis Cespedes went deep in three of his first four major league games, Prince Fielder go yard twice in his second game with the Detroit Tigers, Albert Pujols play in an Angels uniform, the new-look Miami Marlins take the field, as well as extra innings in five different games, the New York Mets and the Baltimore Orioles are 3-0 – the Tigers, Rays, and Diamondbacks are also 3-0. Phew, say that three times fast.
Arguably, the most enjoyable series to watch from this past week was between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Cleveland Indians. The first game of their series, which was played on “Opening Day,” went 16 innings with the final score in favor of the Blue Jays 7-4. Fourteen pitchers were used combined from both teams, eight at-bats were had by some players on each team, to go along with 28 total strikeouts, 18 total walks (BB) and 105 total at-bats (without the BB). Game two of their series went 12 innings, and Indians starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning until it was broken up by third baseman Brett Lawrie. After 12 innings, the final score of game two became the same as the previous game, with the Blue Jays winning 7-4. Game three was a little less exciting, finishing in the allotted time of nine innings as the Indians won 4-3.
OK, so back to the New York Mets. Yes, the New York Mets. Who knew the Mets would be mentioned at this point not being related to debauchery? I sure didn’t, but here we are, and the Mets have opened up the 2012 season at 3-0. Although a three-game sweep over the Atlanta Braves is nothing to write home about, Mets fans finally have something to brag about. The Mets have received quality pitching as newly re-signed starting pitcher Jonathon Niese took a no-hitter into the seventh inning in game three, until it was broken up by Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman. Starting pitcher Johan Santana pitched and managed the game well in his first start back from Tommy John Surgery. It’s hard to say things are looking up for the Mets, but enjoy these first three games, Mets fans. You too, Orioles fans, you too.
Now opening week is over, but there’s still about 98 percent of the Major League Baseball season to go, and it’s going to be fun. So get your tickets, tune in, prop up in your chair, kick your feet up, I don’t care what you do. Baseball season is finally here, and has begun so enjoy it everyone.