April 2nd 2017 saw the start of this year’s Major League Baseball season which promises to be just as exciting and full of unexpected results as last year’s.
Undoubtedly, the Chicago Cubs were the outstanding team of 2016. Not only did they have the highest winning percentage of any team at 0.640 they also showed real resilience in the way they battled themselves back into a winning position in the World Series having been 3 -1 down against the Cleveland Indians. Their eventual victory was especially fitting as it was their first since 1908.
The team continued with their winning ways in the first match of the season when they met the St Louis Cardinals and won 6-4. It’s early days and not much should be read into this result however they have managed to stay at the top of the ESPN Power Rankings thanks to a strong all-round team performance.
The opening day of the season also saw two other matches when the Tampa Bay Rays played the New York Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks took on the San Francisco Giants.
In the Yankees’ match, in which they demolished the Rays 8-1, the star of the show was undoubtedly the pitcher Michael Pineda who struck out 11 and threw 67 of a total of 93 pitches for strikes.
In the third of the opening day matches the Giants came out as winners over the Diamondbacks by a comfortable 6-2 margin. It was a special night for the Giants’ pitcher Matt Cain who hadn’t been part of a winning team in any April matches since the 2012 season. It also marked the 15th time in his career that he’d been part of a team that had beaten the Diamondbacks.
Another of the Giants’ pitchers also chose the occasion to make some history of his own. Madison Bumgamer achieved this when he became the first pitcher in MLB history to hit not one but two home runs on the opening day of the season. If his first was huge, his second was even more spectacular, soaring into the crowd.
The opening matches also saw two more major milestones, promising a season that could well be full of incident and interest. In the first the New York Yankees’ Matt Holiday made his 2000th career hit in the match against the Baltimore Orioles on April 8th, becoming the 281st player to make it to this mark. Meanwhile, Houston Astros’ George Springer hit his Major League-record fourth homer in the first nine games of the season against the Seattle Mariners on April 11th.
For anyone thinking of betting on the outcome of the season it may be a little early to tell who the real champions are going to be – but past performance could give a few clues as to who may end up with the World Series trophy.
Historically, the two outstanding teams have been the New York Yankees with 27 wins and the San Francisco Giants with eight – three of which have come under the managership of Bruce Brochy in the last seven years.
So it could be an east or west coast team – or maybe one from somewhere in the middle. Because the one thing that you can predict about Major League Baseball is that it’s always full of surprises.