Baseball is back, and all is right in the world. We'll be taking a look at the most interesting takeaways every week this MLB season. And while there's only so much you can take away from the first four days of games, we just can't resist a little bit of analysis after a long few months without meaningful baseball games. So, let's review the first weekend of 2019 MLB action.
Here's what we learned from MLB's opening weekend:
Padres' starters look good
The biggest question mark heading into the 2019 season was the Padres' starting rotation. San Diego has the most inexperienced rotation in MLB -- the average of the five starters is 24 years, 216 days. It's safe to say this season will be considered a work in progress. However, judging from the first week of games, the youngsters might be showing us that they might be ready much earlier than we anticipated. How San Diego's young arms emerge in 2019 will be a season-long storyline, but the way they started the 2019 season was pretty impressive. Let's take a closer look at we've seen from the first four starters:
Padres left-hander Eric Lauer got the Opening Day nod. He pitched six scoreless innings in the team's 2-0 win over the Giants. Lauer was the first-round compensation pick San Diego acquired as compensation for the Tigers' signing Justin Upton. At 23 years old, Lauer became the youngest pitcher to toss six shutout innings on Opening Day since Clayton Kershaw in 2011. Joey Lucchesi, 25, pitched 5 1/3 shutout innings, striking out seven while allowing only three hits in the 4-1 victory over the Giants on Friday. The pair of southpaw youngsters made franchise history:
Eric Lauer and Joey Lucchesi are the first tandem of Padres starters to pitch scoreless ball in the first two games of the season.— AJ Cassavell (@AJCassavell) March 30, 2019
Rookies Nick Margevicius and Chris Paddack made their big-league debuts on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Margevicius, 22, earned a loss, but allowed just one run on three hits and zero walks while striking out five in five innings against the Giants. Margevicius made a big jump to the majors, having only reached High-A ball in the Padres organization, where he posted a 4.76 ERA and struck out 59 batters in 58 2/3 innings last season. Paddack was excellent in his MLB debut, allowing just one run on two hits while striking out seven over five innings against the Giants. The 23-year-old right-hander retired the first 10 hitters he faced, including six via strikeout, and of his 79 pitches, 57 were strikes. Paddack is the sixth Padres pitcher to go at least five innings and allow two or fewer hits in a big-league debut.
Yelich in full MVP form already
Milwaukee Brewers star outfielder Christian Yelich is picking up where he left off last season. The reigning National League MVP has to open his 2019 campaign. He became the sixth player in MLB history to start a season with homers in four straight games. The other five players? Willie Mays (1971), Mark McGwire (1998), Nelson Cruz (2011), Chris Davis (2013) and Trevor Story (2016). That makes him the first player in Brewers history to homer in the first four games of a season, and the first reigning MVP to do so.
The 27-year-old's fourth consecutive homer wasn't even the best part of Sunday's game against the Cardinals. His two-run walk-off double in the ninth to lead Milwaukee to a 5-4 victory was the cherry on top of his four-day heater.
On Monday, Yelich will try to become the first player in MLB history to homer in each of his team's first five games. Yelich and the defending NL Central champion Brewers will travel to Great American Ball Park on to take on the Cincinnati Reds at 6:40 p.m. ET (available streaming on fuboTV).
New-look Mets offense off to hot start
The New York Mets made major moves in the winter to try to keep up with the rest of the National League East. Agent-turned-GM Brodie Van Wagenen and the rest of the New York front office knew that the club's offense (23rd in runs last year) had to improve if they hoped to climb up the division ladder in 2019.
The Mets kicked off the season against a tough division rival in the Washington Nationals, and their retooled roster showed us that their offense could be the real deal this year. The Mets scored 18 runs in a series where they faced Nats starters Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin. In their Saturday game, the Mets scored 11 times on 14 hits, none of which came from a home run. Six of their seven run-scoring hits went to center field or the opposite field.
Mets hitting coach Chili Davis stressed the importance of situational hitting during spring training as a possible reason for the team's early offensive success. "We talked a lot about situational hitting this spring, just using the whole field situationally," Davis told MLB.com's Anthony DiComo after Saturday's win. "And they're doing it."
Rookie Pete Alonso was a big part of the team's offensive outburst as he finished his first MLB series 6 for 12 with two RBI. Alonso's six total hits tied him with Keith Miller and Preston Wilson for the most by a Mets player in his first three career games.