Sports

MLB Early Season Notes

Mike O’Brien ‘23

Chief Sports Editor

We’re just about two weeks into the MLB season, and there’s already plenty of storylines to unpack as the MLB settles into its regular 162 game season after last year’s was shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Image courtesy of The Ringer

New York Underperforms 

After the Yankees suffered a disappointing loss in Game 5 of the ALDS last season with their loaded roster and the Mets having a very eventful offseason with Jeff Cohen taking over as owner and bringing in Francisco Lindor, Kevin Pillar, and Carlos Carrasco, these cross-town rivals had high expectations coming into the season. However, as of right now, the Yankees sit at 5-6 and the Mets are at 4-3. It’s worth noting that although the Mets are at the top of the NL East with their record, the division is shaping up to be relatively weak as the second place Phillies are 6-5 and the third place Marlins are at 4-6. While it may be too early to panic, the story remains the same for the Mets. In his two starts this season, Jacob DeGrom has pitched 14 innings, thrown 21 strikeouts, and only allowed eight hits…and the Mets lost both of these games. The Cy Young winning pitcher is the cornerstone of the Mets franchise, and if the Mets want to compete, they will need to support him in his starts. The Mets offense has looked sluggish so far this season, and after signing a 10 year, 341$ million contract, Francisco Lindor has a batting average of just .176 and one RBI. The Mets may be above .500 for now, but if they want any postseason success, they will need to improve many aspects of their play. As for the Bronx Bombers, they have had their woes as well. Similarly to deGrom, Gerrit Cole has been dominant for the Yankees, pitching 18 innings and allowing just three runs for an ERA of 1.47. However, unlike deGrom, the Yankees are 3-0 in games that Cole has started thus far; meaning they have a 2-6 record in which Cole doesn’t start. While the Yankees have been utilizing Cole’s status as an ace well, they can’t rely on him too heavily. Yankees stars Giancarlo Stanton (.175 BA), Gleyber Torres (.205 BA) and Aaron Hicks (.200 BA) are all going to need to start pulling their weight to help the Yankees offense take off and not lean so heavily on Cole’s dominance. Long story short for the Subway Series Teams; let deGrom and Cole do their things, but have the offense to back them up. 

NL West Race Will Come Down to the Wire

If you didn’t already know, the state of California is home to good baseball teams. Before we get into the NL West, home to three such teams, it’s also worth mentioning that the Los Angeles Angels are currently leading the AL West with a 7-4 record. Back to the NL; the reigning World Series Champions Los Angeles Dodgers sit at first place in their division with a 9-2 record, followed by the San Diego Padres in second place at 8-4, and then the San Francisco Giants in third place with a record of 7-4. The Golden State (of baseball) indeed. So far, the Dodgers have met their season’s expectations by not only hoping to defend their World Series crown, but have done so in style. They’re currently the best team in baseball, and all their big stars have delivered. Superstar Mookie Betts is currently batting .321, Justin Turner sits at .328, and Corey Seager at .366. Not to mention their league best rotation of Trevor Bauer, Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, and Dustin May currently hold a combined ERA of 1.77. LA looks good. The Padres likewise look to have struck a wonderful balance of star pitching and offense, most recently emphasized by Joe Musgrove throwing the first no-hitter in Padres history. Musgrove, a San Diego native is budding into an ace; although he has a small sample size, the no-hitter was monumental for the franchise and he has only allowed three hits in 15 innings pitched. Newly acquired Yu Darvish and Blake Snell have played formidably, but if they can match Musgrove’s output, this team will be very hard to beat. The Padres’ offense has been humming as well; although franchise player Fernando Tatis Jr. had recently suffered an injury, other hitters have been stepping up to the plate, led by veteran Eric Hosmer (.341 BA) and Will Myers (.341 BA).

Red Sox Rebound

After a concerning 0-3 series sweep coming at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles, many Red Sox fans panicked that their season was headed in the wrong direction. After missing the postseason and dissolving their star-studded outfield of Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Andrew Benintendi last year, this was not the kind of start that the Sox needed. While some may complain that a 162 game season is too long, it’s really a beautiful thing; after starting off 0-3, the Red Sox won seven straight to now sit at the top of the AL East. Every game in a team’s season may not matter compared to an NFL game which only has a 17 game season, but baseball’s lengthy schedule provides for more hot streaks and drama than any other sport. The catalyst behind the Sox hot bats is slugger J.D. Martinez, who has posted a whopping .425 BA through 40 plate appearances. The former AL MVP is shaping up to have another career year in Fenway. Xander Boegarts has been chipping in both in the field and at the plate, making plays as the Sox shortstop and posting a .351 BA. The Yankees are certainly missing former pitcher Nathan Eovaldi who has been dealing for the Sox, posting a 1.35 ERA through 13 innings pitched. If the Sox stay hot, they’ll be back in the postseason with a vengeance after missing out last year. 

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