Wow, what a week!
The Royals, looking to return to the World Series, sprinted out to a 6-0 start. Yet, they weren’t even the most impressive team in their own division. Say hey, Tigers!
There were the hapless Atlanta Braves, seemingly sentenced to a hundred-loss season, off to a rousing 5-0 start which left enthusiasm uncurbed.
Cellar dwellers a year ago, the Red Sox grabbed a share of first place, despite having to play two games for one win.
Meanwhile, fans in Miami, Milwaukee, and Minnesota moaned as the three M’s amassed a single win apiece during their hideous opening weeks.
And thanks to our ever-vigilant friends at the Elias Sports Bureau, we caught myriad other oddities during baseball’s first week. How’s this for openers:
Sunday, April 5: A video board at Wrigley Field? And no one in the bleachers? Partially renovated Wrigley witnessed the partially renovated Cubs resemble the same old Cubs. Sigh. No runs, two errors, the new ace lasting only four innings. The Cardinals posted their second straight opening day shutout, a first in club history. Cards starter Adam Wainwright tied Bob Gibson’s record of 23 consecutive scoreless innings pitched against the Cubs. Shortstops Jhonny Peralta and Starlin Castro became the first pair of shortstops to hit cleanup on opening day since 1905. Joe Maddon became the seventh Cubs manager who previously led another team to the World Series. The last three (Lou Piniella, Dusty Baker, and Jim Frey) all reached the postseason in their first season with the Cubs. Oh, yes: 35,055 attended, and waited an average of 45 minutes to use the few remaining restrooms.
Monday, April 6: The Cubs spend their off day installing portable toilets in strategic locations in and around Wrigley. One problem solved…The Red Sox hit five homers in their opener for the first time in 50 years, and two players each hit two, an opening day first…Jimmy Rollins of the Dodgers hits his fourth career opening day homer, and record for shortstops…Bartolo Colon of the Mets strikes out eight, the second highest opening day total for a pitcher over 40. Cy Young (1908) and Nolan Ryan (1991) each had nine. Buddy Carlyle saves Colon’s win, getting his first career save over 15 years after his debut, joining Livan Hernandez, Frank Tanana, and Jamey Wright…A record six teams fashion opening day shutouts, including the Rockies 10-0 rout of the Brewers, the second largest opening day shutout in National League history (Pirates 14, Reds 0, 1911)…the Astros shut out the Indians, 2-0, in the third game since 1900 where both teams opened with three hits or less…David Price of the Tigers becomes the second starter in team history to not allow a run, walk or extra base hit in an opener (Schoolboy Rowe, 1936.)
Tuesday, April 7: The Rockies tie the MLB record with 12 doubles in their first two games. The 1912 Giants had 12 doubles in their first game, which was called on account of darkness after six innings!
Wednesday, April 8: Those Rockin’ Rockies pound out four more doubles, breaking the MLB record of 15 in their first three games set by the 1901 Tigers…A’s Mark Canho and Tyler Ladendorf become the first teammates to score at least two runs apiece in their mlb debuts…The Cubs’ Jake Arrieta, with seven shutout innings, lowers his earned run average at Wrigley Field to 1.92. The only other pitcher with an era under two at Wrigley after 100 innings pitched was Sal Maglie (1.69)…A record 13 of the first 37 games played end in shutouts…Adrian Gonzalez of the Dodgers becomes the first player with five homers in his team’s first three games.
Thursday, April 9: The Astros and Indians mercifully conclude their three-game set with a combined batting average of .096, the lowest in history for an opening series…The Tigers set an American League record, opening with 24 scoreless innings against the Twins. The ’63 Cards hold the record with 32, by Ernie Broglio, Ray Washburn, and Curt Simmons…Billy Hamilton steals six bases in the Reds first three games, the best stolen base start since Vince Coleman did so in 1987.
Friday, April 10: The Reds win each of their first four games in their last at bat, the first club to do so since those 1901 Tigers…The Red Sox beat the Yankees, 6-5, in 19 grueling innings. The 6 hour, 49 minute game is the longest in Red Sox history, third longest for the Yanks, and does not include a 16-minute power outage delay in the 12th inning, courtesy of Con Edison.
Saturday, April 11: Two extremes of threes: The Tigers are 5-0 with each win by at least three runs, an American League record (’62 Cards, 7)…The Braves are 5-0 without allowing more than three runs in any game (2002 Giants began with six.)
Sunday, April 12: The Giants’ Jake Peavy gives up a grand slam in San Diego, where he won the Cy Young Award in 2007. He’s the second former Cy winner to give up a granny as a visitor against his former team, joining Warren Spahn for the Mets at Milwaukee in 1965…The Royals Paulo Orlando becomes the first player in MLB history whose first three big-league hits are all triples…The Cubs turn things around and finish the week with a winning record, as Dexter Fowler hits a game-winning, two-run homer in the ninth to beat the Rockies, 6-5. It breaks a streak of 132 straight Cub losses when trailing in the ninth inning or later dating to July, 2013.