MLB begins year with Opening Day festivities

Illustration by Greta Burton

It is April, and that means one thing: Baseball is back, baby. All thirty Major League Baseball (MLB) teams played their opening games in a two-day baseball palooza, defying the earlier delay to the season caused by the MLB lockout.

Fourteen teams played their opening game on April 7, while the other sixteen played a day later on April 8. With four walk-off wins across the two days, this year’s opening day had a number of thrilling finishes.

Kris Wuelfing ’23, who pitches for the Lewis & Clark Varsity Baseball team, is excited that the MLB season is now underway. As a lifelong Los Angeles Dodgers fan, he is hoping they can make it to the World Series after coming up just short in last year’s playoffs.

“It is amazing to watch how skilled these guys are at the sport and to see the pure talent they have,” Wuelfing said. “I really hope they play a full season and the Dodgers come out on top.”

The first game of the season was between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees secured a win after Josh Donaldson hit a walk-off single in the 11th inning. The game was sent into extra innings after Anthony Rizzo, Giancarlo Stanton and DJ LeMahieu landed some clutch home runs.

The Toronto Blue Jays came back from a 7-0 deficit to beat the Texas Rangers, which was sparked by an RBI single from Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the fourth. The score was tied heading into the sixth, but the Jays were able to sneak out the victory, finishing 10-8.

The Arizona Diamondbacks were nearly the subject of a no-hitter facing off against San Diego Padres ace Sean Manaea, but D-Backs outfielder David Peralta broke it up with a single in the eighth inning. Manaea was acquired the weekend before the opener in a four player trade with the Oakland Athletics, and was spoiled of a win in the opener after the D-Backs walked it off in the ninth inning.

Not all fans believe in the power of an opening day win to change a team’s fate. Kevin Skiver reported via The Sporting News on the overall trends he is observing for teams that have struggled in the MLB.

“Don’t be fooled by the Diamondbacks stealing an Opening Day win from the Padres: Arizona’s lineup is horrendous,” Skiver wrote. “It was no-hit for the first six innings of Game 1 and the first seven innings of Game 2. On the other coast, the Orioles were swept by the Rays and scored four runs total in the three games. It’s going to be a long season for both teams, with the NL West and AL East being two of baseball’s top three divisions along with the NL East.”

The New York Mets faced the Washington Nationals and made headlines when a pitch from Steve Cishek hit the helmet of Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor in the fifth inning. Cishek was ejected by the umpires as Lindor left the game. This was the fourth incident during the series in which a Mets player was hit by a pitch.

American League Cy Young Award recipient Robbie Ray debuted with the Mariners after signing a five-year contract worth $115 million in the offseason. Ray threw for seven innings, and became the fourth Seattle pitcher in franchise history to allow one run or fewer on opening day.

The MLB season will include its usual slate of 162 games, which will conclude on Oct. 2. The postseason will begin on Oct. 4, where a number of teams will try to punch their ticket to the World Series.

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