Reds rookie dazzles in debut, Sanchez slugs homer: MLB Friday scores, news, highlights
Here is a recap of the day's action, including the Tigers winning a battle of bullpen meltdowns
The first full weekend of the 2017 regular season has arrived. We wonât see another weekend without baseball until November, and that is pretty darn awesome. Here are the highlights and notable stories from Fridayâs action.
Fridayâs final scores
Pirates 5, Braves 4 (box score)
Tigers 6, Red Sox 5 (box score)
Rockies 2, Dodgers 1 (box score)
Nationals 7, Phillies 6 (box score)
Marlins 7, Mets 2 (box score)
Padres 7, Giants 6 (box score)
Reds 2, Cardinals (box score)
Royals 5, Astros 1 (box score)
Twins 3, White Sox 1 (box score)
Rangers 10, Athletics 5 (box score)
Rays 10, Blue Jays 5 (box score)
Orioles 6, Yankees 5 (box score)
Brewers 2, Cubs 1 in 11 innings (box score)
Diamondbacks 7, Indians 3 (box score)
Angels 5, Mariners 1 (box score)
Tigers win battle of bullpen meltdowns
Through seven innings Friday, the Tigers held a seemingly comfortable 4-0 lead over the Red Sox at Comerica Park. Reigning AL Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer tossed six shutout innings in his season debut and James McCann smacked a two-run home run. The game was seemingly in hand.
Then the Detroit bullpen got involved.
Bruce Rondon faced four batters in the eighth inning, retired one, then Alex Wilson came in to allow another hit. Tigers skipper Brad Ausmus went to closer Francisco Rodriguez for a four-out save only to watch K-Rod allow a go-ahead three-run home run to Pablo Sandoval. Hereâs the video:
Kung Fu Pandaâs first home run of the season gave the Red Sox a 5-4 lead. That didnât last very long. In the bottom of the eighth, three Boston relievers (Heath Hembree, Robby Scott, Joe Kelly) combined to allowed two runs, giving the Tigers a 6-5 lead.
That eighth inning went like so:
- Nick Castellanos strikes out.
- Miguel Cabrera strikes out.
- Victor Martinez walks. Andrew Romine pinch-runs.
- Justin Upton walks.
- Mikie Mahtook doubles in the game-tying run.
- James McCann walks.
- JaCoby Jones walks with the bases loaded to drive in the go-ahead run.
- Jose Iglesias grounds out.
Two quick outs, then five straight batters reached base to give the Tigers the lead. Four of those five batters didnât have to take the bat off their shoulders. Here is video of Mahtookâs game-tying double.
K-Rod came back out in the ninth inning to close out the win, though not before putting runners on second and third via an infield single and a double. Itâs never easy with the Tigers bullpen, huh? Here is the win probability graph for the game, via FanGraphs:
In a nutshell, that graph shows each teamâs chances of winning at any point in the game. When the top of the eighth inning started, the Tigers had a 96.6 percent chance to win. When that half-inning ended, the Red Sox had a 69.2 percent chance to win. Then, when the bottom of the eighth inning ended, the Tigers had an 83.5 percent chance to win.
This was the very definition of a seesaw game. Both bullpens wanted to lose. Only one succeeded.
Hometown kid Kyle Freeland makes MLB debut
The Rockies, for the first time in franchise history, have a rotation loaded with high-end young talent. Tyler Chatwood and Tyler Anderson are the oldest pitchers in the teamâs current rotation, and both are only 27.
Left-hander Kyle Freeland, the eighth overall pick in the 2014 draft, made his MLB debut in Fridayâs game, the home opener at Coors Field. Freeland was born and raised in Denver, so he is truly a homegrown player.
Freeland, 23, held the Dodgers to one run on four hits and two walks in six innings Friday. He struck out six. Not a bad debut for the Denver kid. Not a bad debut at all.
By the way, the Rockies won again Friday..
Josh Harrison extends longest active hit streak
The season is still very young, so no player has had a chance to start an extended hit streak in 2017 just yet. Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison has baseballâs longest active hit streak dating back to last year though, and on Friday he extended it with a double:
The second longest active hit streak belong to Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons and Astros outfielder Norichika Aoki. Coming into Friday, theyâve both hit safely in their last nine games dating back to last season.
Gary Sanchez hit his first home run
When you hit 20 home runs in 53 games as a rookie, all eyes are going to be on you during your sophomore season. Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez went into Fridayâs game with only one hit in his first 14 at-bats in 2017, giving him an .071 batting average. Fans in New York were starting to get a little antsy.
No, heâs not going to repeat last yearâs 60-homer pace, but Sanchezâs power is very real, and there are lots more home runs to come.
Manuel Margot hit his first two career home runs
The Padres are in the middle of a massive rebuild, and one of their best young players is center fielder Manuel Margot, who came over from the Red Sox in the Craig Kimbrel trade. He led off Fridayâs game with a home run, the first of his big-league career. Then, a few innings later, he smacked his second career home run. Hereâs the video:
The Padres donât figure to be very good this season, but Margot is a really exciting player. Heâll give the San Diego faithful a reason to tune in each night.
The Giants are having big-time left field problems
The season is not yet a week old, and already the Giants have resorted to playing veteran infielder Aaron Hill in left field. Yikes. Hill went 0 for 3 with a walk on Friday, and for the season, San Franciscoâs left fielders are now 0 for 20 with one walk. Ouch. Jarrett Parker, Chris Marrero, and Gorkys Hernandez have seen time out there in addition to Hill.
Through five games the Giants are 1-4 this season, and theyâve allowed at least six runs in four of those five games. The pitching hasnât really held up its end of the bargain yet. Left field is a glaring hole however -- the plan coming into the season was a Parker/Mac Williamson platoon before Williamson got hurt -- and I have to think San Francisco will look for some outfield help once we get into trade season.
A Reds rookie had an excellent MLB debut
Left-hander Amir Garrett is one of several rookies who will get a chance to show the Reds they can be part of the future this season. He got the start Friday night and held the Cardinals to two hits in six scoreless innings to earn the win in his MLB debut. Hereâs some context about the quality of his outing:
Garrett has an interesting backstory. The Reds drafted him in 2011 and signed him to a $1 million bonus, though they allowed him to play college basketball. He played at St. Johnâs and Cal State Northridge before deciding to focus on baseball full-time in 2014.
Shelby Millerâs first start of 2017 went well
Thereâs no way to sugarcoat it: Shelby Millerâs first season with the Diamondbacks was a disaster. He had a 6.15 ERA (71 ERA+) in 101 innings and had to be sent to the minor leagues for several weeks. Watching Ender Inciarte and Dansby Swanson thrive with the Braves only added salt to the wound.
On Friday, Miller made his first start of the 2017 season, and it went fairly well: 5 1/3 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 7 K. He threw 105 pitches. That isnât great by any means, but it is a heck of a lot better than what Miller gave the D-Backs last season. Thatâs something he and the team can build on going forward. Keep in mind Miller had a 3.02 ERA (127 ERA+) in 205 1/3 innings and was an All-Star in 2015. Heâs only 26 as well. Thereâs a lot of talent here.
Zack Wheelerâs first start since 2014 did not go well
For the first time since September 25, 2014, Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler appeared in a major league game Friday night. He missed both the 2015 and 2016 seasons with Tommy John surgery and subsequent setbacks. Steven Matzâs elbow injury opened a rotation spot, and with Wheeler looking good in spring training, the team decided to give him the job.
While Iâm sure Wheeler was happy to be back on the mound and the Mets were glad to see him out there, his return did not go well Friday. He allowed five runs on six hits and a walk in four innings in the clubâs loss to the Marlins. Christian Yelich broke the game open with a two-run home run in the third inning:
The good news: Statcast measured Wheelerâs fastball at 94.1 mph on average and 97.7 mph at its peak. Thatâs not quite where he was in 2014 -- Wheelerâs heater averaged 96.2 mph and topped out at 99.4 mph in his final season before elbow reconstruction -- but it is plenty good enough. Besides, it was a cold night in New York and itâs only April 7. Wheeler isnât in midseason form yet.
Iâm sure Wheeler still has some rust to knock off and Iâm sure he had some butterflies too. How could he not? Once he gets a few more starts under his belt and settles in, he should again be an effective starter for the Mets. Theyâll need him too..
News, notes, and links
Here are some bits of news and notes worth checking out:
Dodgers left-hander Rich Hill has been . Heâs dealt with blister issues in each of the last two seasons, so this is something to watch going forward.
Kris Bryant set an unfortunate record. , which is the longest hitless streak to begin a season by a reigning MVP.
, their late owner, prior to Fridayâs home opener at Comerica Park.
Jonah Keri thinks 21 current players will eventually make the Hall of Fame. Want to see his list?.
A full slate of baseball is on tap for Saturday, the first Saturday of the regular season. Here is the dayâs schedule.
Boston wants to add two big bats to their lineup, not just one
Even more relievers signed on the final day of the Winter Meetings
Keep tabs on the top 50 free agents right here
The league is not happy Ohtani's medical information leaked
Kansas City and Baltimore were quite busy at the Rule 5 Draft
Piscotty's mother was diagnosed with ALS earlier this year