MLB Opening Weekend 2021: Biggest storylines and performances
After a long wait of more than 5 months, MLBThe 2021 opening weekend has finally arrived.
MLB 2021 Opening Weekend
The enthusiasm was not short, with many excellent games and individual performances over the four days which featured 50 games.
Let’s take a look at some of the biggest stories from opening weekend.
Shohei Ohtani: Japanese Babe Ruth
In the final game of the weekend, which premiered in prime time on Sunday Night Baseball, Two-Way Star Shohei Ohtani made history.
It was his very first start as a pitcher where he also punched, and it was the first time a pitcher has hit second in the roster since 1903, when Jack dunleavy did it for the cardinals of Saint-Louis.
And the boy did he put on a show (no pun intended).
In the first pitch of his first at bat, he sent a 97 mph fastball at 450 feet into the seats for his second homerun of the year.
Ohtani was doing business until the 5th inning. Joe maddon left it too long and 3 points arrived on two wild terrains. Even though the ending didn’t turn out the way most people wanted it to be, it was an amazing game to watch and a historic performance for Ohtani.
Also in this White Sox-Angels series, an unsung hero had a burning tear. With the absence of Eloy Jimenez Due to a ruptured pectoral muscle he suffered in a spring training game, the White Sox brought in a career miner. Yermin Mercedes to fill the hole that Jimenez left, and the boy did he fill that hole.
Mercedes started the year with 8 straight hits, going 5 for 5 in Game 2 of the series, then 3 for 3 with a home run the next day. This is the first time a player has started a season with 8 consecutive hits since 1900, so it’s an impressive achievement.
Duel without hitter
Minnesota Jose berrios and Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes both took no hitters in the 7th inning. Burnes lost his no-no first when he gave up a solo circuit for Byron buxton, and was removed from the game immediately after.
If you’re not watching Corbin Burnes vs. Jose Berrios right now, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice.
– Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 4, 2021
Berrios was taken out of the game after the 6th inning, and in the 8th inning Milwaukee finally entered the hitting column after a Omar Narvaez alone out of Tyler duffey, At 5 outs to complete the no-hitter. It would end up being the Brewers’ only success in the game, as the Twins won 2-0.
It was announced Friday that Major League Baseball will be withdrawing the All-Star Game from host city of Atlanta due to changing election laws in Georgia.
Although Commissioner Rob Manfred faced a lot of criticism during his eight years as Commissioner, he received a lot of praise for the decision, as these new election laws were designed to reduce the number of minority votes in Georgia.
Major League Baseball has been a strong advocate for equality. Last year, every team represented Black Lives Matter to some degree, such as wearing pre-game BLM shirts or writing it on the mound. They have yet to announce a new host city for the game, and many are speculating on potential locations in Milwaukee (so they can still celebrate Hank Aaron in a more reasonable way), Texas, or Colorado.
No more balls in a hurry?
One of baseball’s biggest stories in recent seasons has been the treatment of baseball.
The Homeruns were flying out of the yard at an historic rate, and many believed this was due to a change in the production of baseballs.
So far this season, it seems like it takes a little more power to hit him, which could potentially be a bad thing if they cushion the ball too much. However, this is only the first week, so only time will tell if that makes a significant difference.
Five teams left the weekend undefeated. The Astros, Phillies and Orioles swept their first series of the year, while the Mets and Nationals have yet to play their first game due to COVID complications within the Nationals club.
Houston absolutely dominated the Oakland A’s and was the only team to finish the weekend with 4 wins, and was also the first team to score more than 8 points in their first 4 games since. New York Yankees did so in 2003.
Meanwhile in Philadelphia, the Phillies limited the Braves to just 3 points in the series, led by a dominating performance from Zack Wheeler. There was also a shocking effectiveness of the bullpen, as they did not allow a run in 7.1 innings pitched.
Finally, the Orioles offense couldn’t stop hitting against the Red Sox pitchers, bringing in 21 points in the three-game set. Launch staff have also closed Boston, with excellent departures by John means and Matt Harvey.
What to look for in week 2
While it’s hard to live up to the excitement of what has already happened, there will be plenty of incredible showdowns to watch.
The Mets finally begin their season today, with deGrom set to face the undefeated Phillies. The Nationals are expected to start their season against Atlanta the next day if their COVID concerns are resolved.
On the West Coast, the so far dominant Astros will travel to Anaheim in a clash with the Angels, with both teams battling for an AL West title.
To wrap up the week, the Sunday night baseball game on ESPN will be between the Braves and the Phillies, with Drew smyly and Matt moore ready to go for each team. Hopefully another week of electric baseball!