Major League Baseball got underway for 2017 on Sunday with a trio of games, but Monday is still technically known as “Opening Day,” as the other 24 teams all played their first game of the season. Well, except two that got rained out (Tigers and White Sox). 

With everyone else, let’s give a quick rundown of what we saw. As usual, let’s not go crazy in overreacting here. Madison Bumgarner hit two homers on Sunday while Kris Bryant looked absolutely lost at the plate. Outliers happen in single-game samples. Ervin Santana isn’t going to have a better year than Corey Kluber, for example, even if things looked otherwise on Monday. So keep in mind that we’ve seen each team (other than the two mentioned earlier) play 0.6 percent of the season. 

Let’s start with the day’s final scores:

Orioles get revenge

The Orioles season ended in 2016 on a Blue Jays walk-off home run in the AL Wild Card game. It was extra innings, too. On Opening Day, the Orioles pulled the ol’ switcharoo, with Mark Trumbo hitting a historic walk-off home run in the 11th inning. 

Now, obviously knocking a team out of the playoffs is a whole different animal from finishing on top in the first game of the season, but it’s a new day and that’s gotta be a nice feeling in that locker room to strike such a blow and start the season 1-0. 

Benintendi is supremely talented

The Red Sox beat the Pirates, 5-3, and Rookie of the Year favorite Andrew Benintendi flashed his unreal upside. He had only one hit in the game, but it was the biggest single moment of the game. He crushed a 98-mph fastball from Gerrit Cole over the right-field wall for a game-changing three-run home run. 

To turn around 98 almost up by the letters (chest high) shows what kind of ability he has with the bat. He’s slotted second in the order between Dustin Pedroia and Mookie Betts and is plenty capable of holding down that spot in a very talented lineup, even with David Ortiz now in retirement. 

Uh oh, Pirates

Again, all small sample caveats apply, but Opening Day wasn’t good news for the Pirates and I’m not talking about taking a loss in Fenway Park. 

If there were two main reasons for the big step taken backward in 2016 by the Pirates those two reasons would have been Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen. In order to get back into contention, the Pirates need Cole to pitch like an ace -- and probably a Cy Young contender -- while McCutchen bounces back. 

Cole looked good early, but was roughed up for a five-run inning and exits with a 9.00 ERA. He only struck out two in five innings. He needs to miss more bats with his kind of stuff. 

McCutchen went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts, too. 

Again, more than the loss itself, the look of Cole and McCutchen wasn’t very encouraging for Pittsburgh. 

On the other hand, Keuchel ...

The 2015 Cy Young winner, Astros ace Dallas Keuchel, had a down 2016. If the Astros are to win the AL West -- as many expect  them to -- Keuchel has to have a big bounce-back season. He got the ball against a talented Mariners offense on Monday and completely shut them down. In seven scoreless innings of work, he allowed only two hits and two walks. 

He’s also still awesome at defense: 

The Astros got a 3-0 win and that’s important, but it was more important to see the 2015 version of Keuchel and that’s pretty much what the Astros saw. That’s a wildly successful Opening Day. 

Noah Syndergaard is even better than last year

My colleague Mike Axisa has the details on Syndergaard working a lot more sinker-heavy in 2017. In six scoreless innings against the Braves on Monday, he allowed only five hits without walking anyone and striking out seven. He has a blister, but the Mets aren’t worried about it. They beat the Braves, 6-0, and seem to have a better version of their ace, which is a scary thought for the rest of the league. 

The Padres are awful 

We already figured this was the case before the season started and Opening Day seemed like good enough confirmation. Jhoulys Chacin was the Padres’ Opening Day starter and their next pitcher was a catcher to start last season. In all, the Padres allowed the Dodgers to score 14 runs on 14 hits, with four home runs. They only managed five hits of their own, though they did get three runs on the board. Hey, the Dodgers are a great team and played a good game on Monday. There’s no particular shame in losing to the Dodgers. 

Overall, though, a team most picked to finish dead last looked every bit the part of the worst team in baseball. It can happen right away. We saw it last year when the Twins were horrible right out of the gate. 

This shouldn’t be surprising, given that the Padres have three Rule 5 picks on the roster and Clayton Kershaw’s salary is larger than their entire 25-man roster. 

The slugfest in Texas was fun

The Rangers jumped out to a 5-1 lead thanks to two Rougned Odor home runs and an absolute bomb off the bat of Carlos Gomez. Those five runs came off AL Cy Young hopeful Corey Kluber, too, so the Rangers were riding high. 

Then the Indians flexed some muscle of their own. Jose Ramirez clubbed a two-run homer and later new Indians first baseman Edwin Encarnacion hit a game-tying homer. 

The Indians then scored three runs in the ninth to win 8-5. Perhaps the best sign of all? Michael Brantley picked up an RBI single in the ninth. If he’s back, he’s a game-changer for the defending AL champs. 

Bryce owns Opening Day

It wouldn’t have been Opening Day without a Bryce Harper moonshot. 

He’s only 24 years old and has five Opening Day home runs. 

It was nice to see Greg Holland back out there

Former Royals All-Star closer Holland hadn’t thrown a pitch in a big-league game since Sept. 18 and he wasn’t really himself for much of that season. Since then, he’s undergone Tommy John surgery and needed to find a new job. He sat in free agency for a while before the Rockies took a shot at him. 

In the Rockies’ 7-5 win in Milwaukee, Holland worked a scoreless ninth to grab the save. He induced a Ryan Braun double play to end the game. 


  • Bad day for the Brewers. Not only did they lose, but ace Junior Guerra left the game early and the team has already announced that he’s gonna hit the disabled list with a right calf strain. 
  • Mike Trout homered, doubled and drove in the Angels’ only two runs. He’s still very good at baseballing, you know. 
  • Trout’s Angels would fall, though, 4-2 to the A’s, who saw a familiar sight with two Khris Davis home runs. He had 42 last year. The only other A’s player in history with a two-homer opening day is Jason Giambi, who did it in 2000. 
  • The Twins won for the first time in nine years on Opening Day
  • Scooter Gennett grew up a die-hard Reds fan. He homered in his first game with the Reds, though it was too little, too late, as the Reds would fall, 4-3. 
  • Both Yasiel Puig, Yonder Alonso and Albert Pujols were intentionally walked, giving us a glimpse at the automatic walk with no pitches. And it was just fine and didn’t ruin baseball.