The White Sox, Dodgers, Reds, Astros, Diamondbacks, and Cubs were all slated for a day off on Monday, and the weather in St. Louis caused the matchup between the Pirates and Cardinals to be postponed until June. Even so, there was plenty of action around the league following an electric opening weekend.
Steven Kwan Stays Hot
Cleveland’s rookie outfielder Steven Kwan continued the historic start to his season by going one for three at the plate with two walks, a triple, and three RBIs as the Guardians defeated the Royals 10-7. With one full major league series under his belt, he’s reached base 15 times in 19 plate appearances and slugged three extra-base hits, including the aforementioned bases-clearing triple on Monday:
Can't imagine not having the greatest hitter alive on our baseball team.#ForTheLand pic.twitter.com/ALq4kf3sum
— Cleveland Guardians (@CleGuardians) April 11, 2022
To drive home how impressive Kwan’s debut has been, he is slashing .692/.789/1.000. Bobby Witt Jr., the other (deservedly) headline-grabbing rookie debuting in the Cleveland-Kansas City series, is sitting at .125/.176/.250 following Monday night’s game.
While the advocates for Kwan’s Hall of Fame case are premature with their enthusiasm, there’s no question he will be a joy to watch and provide a much-needed offensive boost for the Guardians.
MLB Hands Suspensions to Cubs
MLB announced on Monday that it would suspend Cubs reliever Keegan Thompson for three games for intentionally throwing at the Brewers’ Andrew McCutchen during Saturday’s game. Cubs Manager David Ross will also serve a one-game suspension for the incident:
Major League Baseball has suspended Cubs pitcher Keegan Thompson has been suspended for three games for intentionally hitting Brewers outfielder Andrew McCutchen during Saturday’s win at Wrigley Field. David Ross has also been suspended a game due to that incident. @WGNNews pic.twitter.com/gAbp7Be3fG
— Larry Hawley (@HawleySports) April 11, 2022
The intentional plunking was a direct response to three Cubs being hit earlier in the game by Milwaukee pitchers — Nick Madrigal in the first inning, Willson Contreras in the fourth, and Ian Happ in the seventh—and cleared the benches:
Andrew McCutchen gets plunked and benches clear at Wrigley Field pic.twitter.com/wn2mLVVcRB
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) April 9, 2022
The swift discipline from MLB signals the continuing shift away from the “old rules” of baseball, but clearly, those rules still have life. We’ll see how this early dust-up affects Cubs-Brewers encounters for the rest of the season.
Orioles Announce New Funding
To commemorate opening day on the 30th anniversary of Camden Yards opening, the Orioles published a statement from their Chairman and CEO John Angelos announcing $1.2 billion in public funding from the State of Maryland for “reinvestment in and reimagination of the Camden Yards Sports Complex.”
Given that the rest of the statement amounted to a boast from the owner of the lowest-paid team in the MLB, the reaction from fans was justifiably cynical:
Run your business into the ground, alienate your fans, get the benefits from a $1.2 billion public investment. https://t.co/kBULNDDqWp
— Craig Calcaterra (@craigcalcaterra) April 11, 2022
The statement from John Angelos goes out of its way to draw a direct line from the team purposefully tanking to the state allocating the $1.2 billion of Maryland taxpayers' money for the purpose of making Camden Yards a more fine-tuned wallet-draining mechanism. pic.twitter.com/GRnhbKYU7Q
— Nick Stellini (@StelliniTweets) April 11, 2022
Owners of pro sports franchises should never get b(m)illions in public money, even if the franchise is capable of doing the one thing fans want to see, which is win games, which the Orioles cannot, thanks to their garbage owner! https://t.co/gLkRuSzMGU
— Laura Wagner (@laurawags) April 11, 2022
Although the statement from Angelos was met with cynicism, O’s fans could at least cheer events on the field on opening day. Their team won their home opener by shutting out the Brewers 2-0 behind strong performances from Bruce Zimmermann, Mike Baumann, Dillon Tate, Cionel Pérez, and Jorge López.
The Last Undefeated Team Falls
After sweeping their first series against the Orioles, the Rays were dominated by Oakland on Monday 13-2. Tampa Bay was the only team to make it through opening weekend without a loss.
The trouble began early with starter Luis Patiño exiting after just 13 pitches due to a left oblique strain. Chris Mazza struggled after being thrown into the fray to replace Patiño, giving up eight runs on seven hits before J.P. Feyereisen, Ryan Thompson, and Jason Adam combined to stop the bleeding.
However, with the game already out of hand, Kevin Cash opted to send outfielder Brett Phillips to the mound in the eighth, and Rays fans got a silver lining of sorts. In addition to getting the opportunity to watch their 2020 World Series hero toss 50-mph lobs in a live game, they also got to see him make this play:
Brett Phillips with possibly the best play in the history of pitchers pic.twitter.com/KtXzhT6lV7
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) April 12, 2022
Despite the massive advantage the A’s gained from Patiño’s early exit, Oakland’s Paul Blackburn deserves full credit for the win. He pitched five innings with seven strikeouts, allowing only three hits and one walk. The teams will line back up for game two of the series on Tuesday.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)