I had a bit of an usual experience this Opening Day as I was off. The college is closed Thursday and Friday for the Easter Holiday, so I set out to follow a few games in addition to the Red Sox game to have a full first day of the season experience.
The Cubs and Marlins started off the season. Armed with my trusty SiriusXM app on my phone, I tuned in to listen to the Cubs radio feed. I don’t much care for all of the pre-game radio talk, so when I tuned in, the Marlins had just taken the field along with the umpires. A few minutes later, on the very first pitch of the entire MLB season, Ian Happ knocked it over the right field fence. More chaos followed in the top of the first. Two players walked. Two more hit by pitches. The Cubs were up 3-0. In the bottom of the first, Anderson singled to right and scored a run for the Marlins. In the top of the second, Rizzo hit a dinger of his own and just like that, the Cubbies were up 4-1 and cruising. Or so I thought. The Marlins tied the game with three runs in the bottom of the third and that is when I had to quit watching to run an errand.
On the way to Wal Marts, I tuned in to listen to the Cardinals play the Mets. As I was focused a bit more on driving than listening, I don’t recall much of what I heard other than the fact that the Mets weren’t having much trouble with the Red Birds. When I reached the store, I noticed a large number of people wearing Astros gear which made me chuckle. I was in my lucky Red Sox shirt and hat and I remember just a few years ago when the Astros were losing 100 games a season and you saw nary a shirt or hat in H-Town. Hell, they gave away tickets and couldn’t get people to go the games. But I digress.
When I got home, I laid down to rest for a while given the myriad of health issues I’m currently battling. At 3pm, I made a cup of coffee and went to sit on the front porch to listen to the game I had been waiting for, the Red Sox and the Rays. Betts hit a hard fly ball to deep center field on the first pitch. Would he match what Happ did for the Cubs? No. The center fielder made a great catch. Benitendi grounded out and Ramirez struck out. Three up. Three down. Still, it’s a long game and a longer season, so I saw no need to get nervous. Sale had the kind of game you’ve come to expect from him. By the end of the 2nd, the Red Sox were up 3-0 after Martinez scored on a Devers ground out and Nunez and Bogaerts scored after Nunez hit an unlikely inside the park home run. When Sale left after 6, with only one hit and nine strikeouts, I thought we were home free.
I’m not quite sure why I thought that, given the Red Sox bullpen’s ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Alas, this is what happened in the bottom of the 8th. Four batters walked. A few hits. And the next thing you know, the Rays, who typically have a somewhat anemic offense, were up 6-4. Oh well, we still had the top of the 9th, right? Nunez managed a double to left field, but Bradley, Jr. grounded out to end the game. I admit to being in a certain state of shock. A four run lead gone in a matter of minutes. Thankfully it is a long season, though I fear if the bullpen can’t get it together, it’s going to seem like a positively eternal season.
After the debacle in Florida, I tuned in to watch the Dodgers play the Giants. The typically outstanding Kershaw pitched relatively well, other than the solo home run he gave up which gave the Giants a 1-0 victory. When he left after six, he’d managed to toss 7 Ks, though he gave up 8 hits. Still, he only let one run score, though that proved to be the difference in the game. Interestingly, Kershaw also went 2-2 at the plate, which the Dodgers were not able to capitalize on.
By this point, I was tired, my back hurt, and my intestines hurt (which I’ll need surgery on before too long). I fell asleep listening to the Indians play the Mariners in Seattle. I traveled to the land of nod shortly after Cruz hit a two run homer in the bottom of the first, which, I noticed after I got up this morning, were the only two runs the Mariners scored. It was enough, as they topped the Indians 2-1.
So what’s on tap for today? I won’t be watching/listening to as many games today, though I’ll be tuning in to the Red Sox game this evening and hoping they can manage a win. With Price on the mound, it’s possible, but they are going to have to have a 10 run lead before I feel comfortable with the bullpen’s ability to get a save.