Harper and Yelich show off abilities in opening week
The Santa Clara
April 4, 2019
After a long winter of speculation and big name trades, the first week of baseball has led off with a bang. While it’s too early to tell anything lasting from the first few games, many of Major League Baseball’s biggest stars and favorite teams are off to hot starts on Opening Day.
Opening Day for all thirty teams was March 28, the earliest in MLB history.
Bryce Harper, recently signed by the Phillies for one of the largest contracts ever, brought the crowds to their feet in the city of brotherly love. He had two massive home runs against the Atlanta Braves during opening weekend—one of them traveled 465 feet, the second-longest home run of his career.
“It was really cool,” Harper told MLB.com. “Definitely one of the cooler homers I’ve ever hit. Just the fan base, just the stadium, the electricity we had in this place, it all came together.”
Harper’s success this early in the season might come as a surprise to some, considering he started the season in a new uniform on a different team and had an abbreviated Spring Training.
However, Harper has swung a hot bat in April ever since his rookie debut in 2012, posting a record high on-base percentage of 1.065 in the month of April. This number also ranks him fourth in MLB history for the month behind the great Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Barry Bonds. Nice company.
Bryce Harper will return to face his old ball club, the Washington Nationals and one of MLB’s top pitchers, Max Scherzer, this upcoming week. If this series and the month of April continue on this trend for the Phillies, it will be a pennant contender.
Aside from Harper, another National League star entered this season with heavy expectations on his shoulders. But Milwaukee outfielder Christian Yelich—awarded the NL’s Most Valuable Player last year after batting a career-high .326 and blasting 36 homers—has so far proven last year’s performance was not a fluke. Yelich is picking up right where he left off and then some—recording a homerun in every game of opening weekend.
He also delivered a two-run walk-off double to give the Brewers a 5-4 come-from-behind win against the Cardinals in their opening series.
“He’s making hard stuff look pretty easy,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
The Brew Crew is looking to defend their National League Central Division championship from last season, and it will take Yelich to make this possible once again.
Meanwhile, for those who were wondering how Mike Trout—who recently became the highest-paid player in the MLB—would start his season, the answer is not as hot as some expected from a player making almost half-a-billion dollars.
Still, even an inferior Mike Trout is a superior player.
He hit a two-run double against the Oakland Athletics in the opening series, and now has five hits and 3 runs batted in (RBI’s) in the first few games of the season.
Trout’s contract will be in discussion for months to come, but the Angels’ center-fielder is feeling relieved to have signed and excited to just play ball.
“I’m just glad that I can focus on baseball, because that’s all I ever wanted out of this,” Trout told NBC Sports. “[The contract] is out of the way and we know we’re going to be here for a long time, so now it’s just about playing, winning and trying to win a championship.”
The Seattle Mariners have had a surprisingly strong start to the season. They debuted at home against the reigning World Series champions the Boston Red Sox—and dominated. The Mariners nearly swept the Red Sox with a series victory of 3-1, and have scored 21 of 42 runs this season in homers. Red Sox starters Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi and Rodriguez gave up 20 hits and 18 earned runs in the series.
Chris Sale had a shockingly shaky start to the season, pitching only three innings on Opening Day. Sale recently extended his contract an additional four years with the Red Sox for $145 million dollars and has become the ace for Boston. He has been an All-Star for seven straight seasons and started the last two All-Star Games. But after a miserable start to the 2019 season, it remains to be seen if Sale lives up to his contract extension.
The San Francisco Giants’ start to the 2019 season was anything but hot.
They fell quietly to the Padres by scoring only five runs in four games, with the team batting average being a measly .177. The Giants will look to redeem themselves from the soft start in the next few series, and also give their retiring manager Bruce Bochy something to remember.
These season openers may all seem silly come the October postseason—or even in a week. However, they have shocked the world of baseball and given fans a reason to be excited for the 2019 season.
Contact Lacey Yahnke at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.