I mentioned in this space yesterday that I feared the Yankees home opener wouldn’t be the only one adversely effected by bad weather. This was proven correct. Their game was called off even before yesterday’s column went to press, and the game in Cleveland was also a no-go. The Orioles and Twins tried twice to get underway, faced two rain delays and their efforts proved not to be in vain. The Orioles managed a 3-2 walkoff win on an rbi-single by Matt Wieters. The Yankees will try again today, on a freezing windy day in the Bronx. The game will be a rematch of last year’s wild card game, the Yankees and the Astros. The same two pitchers will take the hill, Masahiro Tanaka for the Yankees and Dallas Keuchel for Houston. Hopefully, unlike last year the Yankees can figure out Keuchel who beat them all 3 times he faced them in 2015, including a 3-0 shutout in the wild card game.
Three of yesterday’s games were embarrassingly one-sided for season opening contests. The Dodgers destroyed the Padres 15-0, the most one-sided shutout on Opening Day ever. Clayton Kershaw got his 4th win out of 6 consecutive opening day starts with 2 no-decisions. The Dodgers haven’t lost their first game of the year since Vicente Padilla was their opening day starter. The Giants buried the Brewers 12-3 including 3 back-to-back home runs. Denard Span, Joe Panik and Buster Posey hit the 3 consecutive blasts. The last such display of fireworks took place in 1997. Behind Jake Arietta, the Cubs whitewashed the Angels 9-0 in Anaheim. He struck out 6 in 7 innings allowing just two hits. Aided by a Bryce Harper home run, the Nationals beat the Braves 4-3 in 10 innings in the one extra-inning contest yesterday had to offer.
Today the teams settle into the routine of the regular season schedule. The last teams to play their first games are the Tigers and Marlins, who meet tonight in Miami. The season’s second game will be played in Pittsburgh, Kansas City and St. Petersburg, where the 2016 season began a day early. As we go to press, nobody has felt the need to postpone a game in spite of gloomy weather forecasts in the East and Midwest.
Jung-Ho Kang, who has gotten considerable mention in this space as he continues to recover from a terribly damaged leg celebrates his 29th birthday today. He was on his way to a memorable season and a berth in the postseason when his year came to a screeching halt. He suffered a broken leg and torn knee ligaments. Even now his return time is unknown.
Former shortstop Ron Hansen is 78 today. The Nebraska native played as early as 1958 with the Orioles but won Rookie of the Year in 1960, along with being selected as an All-Star for both of the two All-Star games played that season. After Baltimore, he played two stretches with the White Sox, also Washington, the Yankees and finally the Royals in 1972. His most memorable moment was an unassisted tripple play he turned with the Senators in 1968-only the 8th in history and the first in that league in 41 years.1