The 2017 Major League Baseball season commenced on Sunday as the first three games of the year made for a dramatic opening day.
In the first game of the new season, The Tampa Bay Ray’s Chris Archer pitched seven innings versus the New York Yankees and Masahiro Tanaka. In a 7-3 losing effort, the Yankees recorded their 6th consecutive opening day loss. Tanaka matched the shortest start by a Yankees pitcher in an opener. Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison homered to drive in three runs a piece at Tropicana Field. Longoria now tallies four opening day homeruns for his career. Tanaka had baseball’s lowest ERA during spring training, pitched a career-worst 7 earned runs in 2 2/3 innings. Archer only gave up two runs and seven hits and allowed his bull pen to escape a 7th inning jam for the Ray’s first win.
The San Fransisco Giant’s new $62 million dollar acquisition, Mark Meloncon, gave up the game-winning run on a single by Arizona Diamondback’s Chris Owgins that scored twice in the bottom of the 9th with two outs for the 6-5 comeback thriller. Madison Bumgarner retired the first six batters he faced and became the first pitcher to hit two homeruns off of Zack Greinke and Andrew Chafin on opening day after belting only three in all of last season. Bumgarner also struck out 11 batters and recorded no walks in seven innings. A.J. Pollock singled in the tying run for Arizona followed by Owgin’s finisher. Fernando Rodney, the Diamondback’s new closer, gave up a run but fended off a one-out, bases-loaded threat. New Arizona Manager Torey Lovullo, former Boston bench coach and son of T.V. producer Sam Lovullo, marked his first victory as a Diamondback.
The St. Louis Cardinals’ Randal Grichuk smashed a two-run homer in the eighth inning and a walk-off RBI single in the 9th for the 4-3 victory over defending champions the Chicago Cubs. Jose Martinez ignited the rally against Mike Montgomery with a double, followed by Yadier Molina’s first no-pitch, intentional walk in Major League history – a rule change that was implemented during the offseason for purposes of speeding up the game. Grichuk racked a line-drive to the gap in center field for the game-ender. Cardinals’ pitcher Carlos Martinez retired 12 in a row, struck out 10, and recorded no walks in 7 1/3 innings in his first start on opening day. Molina made his 13th start on opening day marking the third most in franchise history behind Stan Musial and Lou Brock, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
If opening day foreshadows the 2017 MLB Season to come, fans will be in for another rollercoaster season of close games, crucial come-backs, and broken records.