1st Week of MLB Action: The first week of Major League Baseball is in the books and it did not disappoint. Here are the top stories and takeaways from week one of the MLB.
Best Two-Way Player Shohei Ohtani
Shohei Ohtani is the best two-way player in baseball and it showed on Sunday. He started on the mound for the Angels and he also batted second in the lineup. This was the first time Ohtani would be pitching and hitting in the same game.
On the mound, he topped out at 101 MPH and hit a 451-foot bomb in the first inning with an exit velocity of 115. That was his only hit of the game but he pitched five innings with two hits, seven strikeouts, and five walks on 92 pitches.
“I’m glad I got one game like this under my belt, and it’s going to lead to a lot of confidence for me,” said Ohtani after becoming just the third pitcher to hit for himself in 45 seasons.
Ohtani was the designated hitter for LA in their first three games. If he can hit and continue with his regular pitching rotations he could earn both the AL MVP and Cy Young awards.
It’s very unlikely that he will earn both but to make it through a whole season as a good two-way player is a huge accomplishment on its own.
White Sox Rookie Yermin Mercedes
Yermin Mercedes entered the 2021 season with only one major league at-bat and he is now the first player since 1900 to start the season with eight consecutive hits.
Friday Yermin made his first big league start going 5 for 5 and then getting 3 consecutive hits the following Saturday including a home run. On Sunday he recorded a hit of the great Ohtani and was 9 for 14 on the season giving him a batting average of .643.
No one learned from the 2020 Tampa Bay Rays
Last season the Tampa Bay Rays manager decided to pull Blake Snell in the sixth inning of Game 6 of the World Series with the Rays leading 1-0 and the top of the lineup was due up.
Snell had already stuck out Betts, Seager, and Turner twice and only gave up 2 hits in 73 pitches but Cash was set on his plan and was not going to deviate from it due to analytics.
This was the worst decision Cash would probably ever make as the Dodgers scored off of Rays reliever Nick Anders very quickly and Tampa would eventually lose the game and the series to the Dodgers.
The Brewers and Twins had a similar situation Saturday with much less consequence. Brewers pitcher Corbin Burnes and Twins pitcher Jose Berrios were both throwing no-hitters in their pitching duel.
Berrios was pulled from the game after striking out 12 batters only because his pitch count reached 84. Burnes was able to start the seventh inning but was taking out of the game after Byron Buxton started the inning with a Homerun.
Burns had 11 K’s and no walks with 87 pitches. Minnesota would go on to win the game with Berrios and the bullpen throwing a one-hitter. It’s sad to see stats and analytics take away from what was a historical game.
Both pitchers had at least 10 strikeouts and allowed one hit or fewer and more history was going to be made in this duel had those pitchers been left in the game.
The Houston Astros are back
The Astros are 5-1 to start the season. The Astros seem to back in form like they were in 2017 and the MLB is keeping a big eye on their dugout so we have to assume they are playing well without cheating.
In their first series against the A’s the Astros outscored them 35-9 in four games. The Astros became the fourth team in baseball history to score at least 8 runs in each of the first four games
Houston seems to be embracing the role of the villain and was unfazed by the not so welcoming greeting they received in Oakland.
Manager Dusty Baker said: “You can’t do much better than the start we had. You take a quick, fast start anytime. You have to enjoy it while it’s here, try to build off it, and keep going from there. We’re leaving out of here mainly feeling good about our bullpen strong”