The major news after Sunday was that after the first series of the season, both the Yankees and Red Sox were winless. This immediately led to fans edging towards the ledges and screaming about how the season was over. Except of course, for both teams winning last night. The Yankees beat the Orioles (as Brian Matusz continued pitching right where he left off last year), and the Red Sox used a ninth inning comeback to topple the Blue Jays and Sergio Santos (who blew his second save of the young season). Now that the two titans of the game are on the board, where are your winless teams? Well, there are two left. One of them is the Minnesota Twins, who looked listless on Opening Weekend in getting swept by the Orioles and couldn’t muster any offense yesterday against the Angels. And the other is….the Atlanta Braves? Yep, the Braves are 0-4 after getting swept by the Mets over the weekend and blowing a 3-0 lead to the Astros and allowing eight straight runs. The season isn’t over yet for either team (obviously), but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the last time the Twins started 0-4 was 1981, and they finished 27 games under .500 in a strke-shortened season. As for the Braves, they last started 0-4 in 1988, and lost 106 games that year. Three years after that season, they’d win the NL pennant and lose the World Series in seven games….to the Minnesota Twins.
Game of the Night: Mets 4, Nationals 3. The New York Mets are 4-0 and at the top of the NL East after a ninth inning comeback against Washington. Washington took a quick 3-0 lead after a pair of Adam LaRoche RBI singles against Mike Pelfrey, but the Mets then began to chip away. They got one back in the bottom of the third on a David Wright single, and tied it in the fourth on the strength of a two run homer, and the first of his career, by Kirk Nieuwenhuis. All three of those runs came off of Nationals starter Edwin Jackson. The teams would remain scoreless until the ninth, when the Mets made quick work of Henry Rodriguez. Pinch hitter Mike Baxter walked, and advanced to third on a Ruben Tejada bunt attempt that led to a two base error on Rodriguez. Daniel Murphy then walked off with a single to drive in Baxter, and that was that.
Pitching Line of the Night: Last night, Tim wrote about one of the more surreal outings in baseball history. Barry Zito threw a four hit shutout in Colorado against the Rockies, not walking a soul and striking out four. Before Zito’s game, there have been three shutouts by a visiting left-hander in Denver; Tom Glavine twice, and Terry Mulholland (in the second month of baseball in Denver, back at Mile High Stadium). That’s it. And now, you can add Barry Zito to that list. Unreal. Speaking of unreal….Tom Milone of the A’s shattered everything you know about dominant pitching. In Oakland’s 1-0 win over the Royals, Milone threw eight shutout innings, allowing three hits, three walks…and not striking out a batter. He got three swinging strikes over his 93 pitches. The last pitcher to go eight or more shutout innings with three or fewer hits and walks and no strikeouts was Chien-Ming Wang in 2006 against…the A’s! Before that occurence, you have to go all the way back to 1990, when Bill Swift of the Mariners performed the feat against the Indians.
Hitting Line of the Night: Matt Wieters of the Orioles staked his claim to the “best catcher in baseball” title, going 4/4 and falling just a triple short of the cycle in a losing effort for Baltimore. Across the diamond from Wieters, Derek Jeter also went 4/4, but only with one double. Also, Omar Infante hit a pair of solo homers in Philadelphia to help the Marlins beat Cole Hamels and the Phillies 6-2 in their home opener.
Series Spotlight: Well, there wasn’t a series spotlight game last night…because the series I’m spotlighting starts today. That should narrow the field considerably, but the writeup on that series should be up here on the site in a couple of hours.
Other Games: CJ Wilson allowed one run in seven innings in his Angels debut and got the win, despite four walks. The Braves blew a 3-0 lead against the Astros, and despite Braves starter Brandon Beachy allowing four runs, only one of those was earned thanks to three errors in the third inning by the Braves. Ivan Nova allowed ten hits, but didn’t walk anyone over seven innings in Baltimore, and the Yankees won 6-2. On the other hand, Cole Hamels struck out nine without a walk and lost in Philly thanks to a lack of offensive support from his team. Chris Sale’s debut as a starter went swimmingly, and a pair of first inning homers by the White Sox propelled them to a 4-2 win in Cleveland. The Blue Jays wasted a solid start from Henderson Alvarez, as Boston came back to win 4-2. A Mat Gamel triple (seriously) began a Brewers rally that would eventually lead to a 7-5 victory and made a winner out of Shaun Marcum. The Cardinals continued to hit and beat the Reds 7-1 behind four multi-hit performances. Yu Darvish struggled in the first inning, but settled down and got picked up by the Rangers offense in an 11-5 Texas victory.
Today’s Games: Matt Moore vs Rick Porcello in Detroit is far anda way the sexiest matchup on the slate, and it starts early at 1:05 eastern. A pair of young guns will duel in Toronto, with Daniel Bard making his debut in the rotation for the Red Sox against Kyle Drabek. Neftali Feliz will also make his major league debut as a starter in Texas, taking on Blake Beavan of the Mariners. Trevor Cahill makes his Arizona debut in San Diego against Edinson Volquez, in his first year with the Padres.
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone!