MLB Week in Review (Opening Day)

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Opening day for every league is a very exciting time as fans get to see their team in action again, players finally play meaningful games, and management sees what they truly have. MLB’s opening day is no different as the excitement surrounds the day but this year it was slightly different. This year the MLB had a few opening days including a March 28th game between the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics. These two teams made trips to Japan to unofficially open the season with two regular season games. Then there was a special opening game on April 4 when the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins opened the National League season with the opening of the brand new Marlins ballpark. Then there was the more official day on Thursday April 5th when 14 teams were in action to open the season. The official opening day was one of multiple teams looking to kick off their season with a win. The opening day seemed to follow a pattern set last year as the last month of the season in 2011 was a very unstable one with two of the biggest collapses highlighted the fight to the postseason. Opening Day continued this unstable nature with 4 of the 7 games ending with a one run difference and another game going a record 16 innings. It started with Boston and Detroit that faced off with the reigning AL MVP Justin Verlander pitching 8 innings and only allowing 2 hits with no runs. The Tigers won the game with one run in each in the last three innings and the Red Sox coming up just short of a full comeback with 2 runs in the 9th inning. Then the National League saw their pitching ace in Roy Halladay show his stuff also going 8 innings and only allowing 2 hits against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Phillies went on to win the game 1-0 in another close game. Two of their other games ended with one run differentials as the Atlanta Braves lost to the New York Mets 1-0 and the Washington Nationals beat the Chicago Cubs 2-1. With all of these great games there was one game on opening day that made MLB history for just how close it was. The Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians opened their season with a very close game even after the Indians went ahead 4-0 in the 2nd inning. The Jays reduced the lead to 3 runs with a Bautista HR but could not seem to get anything else until the 9th inning. In the 9th the Jays came out to get three runs and tie the game and the Indians could not answer sending the game into extra innings. Both teams went back and forth and had their opportunities to win the game but nobody could get an advantage. It was this way through 16 innings breaking the MLB record for longest opening day game in league history. Then the Jays broke through again as J.P. Arencibia hit a three run HR to put the Jays ahead for good ending a very long game. The opening day of the MLB season was a great one with plenty of close games that has set up what could be an exciting season. If the rest of the 2012 season is like opening day fans should be excited for a great season.

With the season opening this past week two teams had already started their season in spectacular fashion. The Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics kicked off the season in a two game series in Japan. This was a big step for the MLB as they followed the path of many other pro leagues and began expanding their brand to new markets. Japan is a baseball crazy nation with their own league that has produced players like Daisuke Matsuzaka and new addition Yu Darvish. The MLB decided to take the biggest league of all to Japan and display their game to a country that loves them. They also picked one of the best teams to do it as they invited the Seattle Mariners and their Japanese superstar Ichiro Suzuki. The fans filled the Tokyo Superdome to see Suzuki and to see the top league in the world. The MLB’s decision to expand their brand was a great idea like the NFL going to London or the NHL going to Europe. With MLB going to a place that loves baseball they have started to create more of a connection to a big fan base especially with more and more Asian players coming into the league. The MLB may continue this opening day event giving the Japanese fans more of an opportunity to see more teams and create a bigger connection. With pro leagues continuing to expand beyond the borders of the USA and Canada to create more fans and make the game of baseball more than just America’s game.

 

MLB Standings:

 

American League

East:

1. Toronto Blue Jays (1.000)

2. Baltimore Orioles (1.000)

3. Tampa Bay Rays (1.000)

4. New York Yankees (.000)

5. Boston Red Sox (.000)

Central:

1. Detroit Tigers (1.000)

2. Chicago White Sox (.000)

3. Kansas City Royals (.000)

4. Minnesota Twins (.000)

5. Cleveland Indians (.000)

West:

1. Los Angeles Angels (1.000)

2. Texas Rangers (1..000)

3. Seattle Seahawks (.667)

4. Oakland Athletics (.333)

 

National League

East:

1. New York Mets (1.000)

2. Philadelphia Phillies (1.000)

3. Washington Nationals (1.000)

4. Atlanta Braves (.000)

5. Miami Marlins (.000)

Central:

1. Cincinnati Reds (1.000)

2. St. Louis Cardinals (1.000)

3. Houston Astros (.000)

4. Milwaukee Brewers (.000)

5. Chicago Cubs (.000)

6.  Pittsburgh Pirates (.000)

West:

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (1.000)

2. Arizona Diamondbacks (1.000)

3. Colorado Rockies (1.000)

4. San Francisco Giants (.000)

5. San Diego Padres (.000)

 

Key Scores:

St. Louis Cardinals 4 – 1 Miami Marlins

– Marlins ballpark officially opened a day before most other teams stepped on to the field as the new-look Miami Marlins took to the new stadium against the defending champions but could not get past the Cards

 

Toronto Blue Jays 7 – 4 Cleveland Indians (16th)

– The Blue Jays and Indians made history on opening day as the Blue Jays came back to tie the game in the 9th and then won the game off of a Arencibia HR in the 16th inning making this game the longest opening day game in MLB history

 

Philadelphia Phillies 1 – 0 Pittsburgh Pirates

– Roy Halladay made his first appearance this year and went 8 full innings only allowing 2 hits showing that he is back and ready to lead the Phillies who finished off the game with their bullpen winning 1-0

 

Tampa Bay Rays 7 – 6 New York Yankees

– The one of the more recent rivalries in the AL East took place as the Rays showed their drive winning the first meeting of the two powers after Carlos Pena hit a walk off with Mariano Rivera on the mound

 

Next Week:

Boston Red Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays (Monday April 9th; 7:05 pm)

– The Toronto Blue Jays are one of the most talked about teams in the league and they will go home for the first time to test themselves against one of the powers in the East in the Boston Red Sox

 

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Cincinnati Reds (Wednesday April 11th; 12:35 pm)

– The NL Central division could come down to these two teams this year as they will get their opportunity to face off for the first time this year and get an early impression of their division rivals

 

Miami Marlins vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Thursday April 12th; 7:05 pm)

– The revamped Marlins are looking to make an impact after an offseason of signings and they will get their first test against the very good Phillies who will put up Joe Blanton against one of the many signing Mark Buehrle

 

Los Angeles Angels vs. New York Yankees (Friday April 13th; 1:05 pm)

– Potentially two of the best teams in the AL this year the Angels are led by offseason addition Albert Pujols while the Yankees are a list of all-stars as both teams face off in an early sixing up series to see who is better early in the year

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