Saturday’s Den: A running diary of Opening Day

4:11- Jacob deGrom takes the mound as Opening Day on July 24 gets underway; this strangest of seasons started with two games last night- there are 14 games tonight.

deGrom has had some back issues is supposedly under a 75-pitch limit for this game. He is the ace of my fantasy team’s staff; need him to be good.

4:15- Speaking of which, Marlins’ C Jorge Alfaro is on the IL, presumably with COVID-related issues. He is the only catcher on my fantasy roster. It is stunning how few everyday catchers are good hitters. Have to monitor this to see if I need another catcher.

4:25- Atlanta 1B Freddie Freeman is starting at 1B for the 10th straight Opening Day; during that time, Atlanta has started nine left fielders, eight 3rd basemen, seven catchers.

Braves’ top two catchers have COVID-related issues, are back home in Atlanta.

4:35- There are over 6,000 cardboard cutouts at CitiField for this game.

4:45- Having mostly NL pitchers on my fantasy team was relaxing when the opposing pitcher came up, but now with the universal DH, not so much. I like everyone having the DH; we’ll see how teams handle it, whether they will use it as an “off day” for regulars, or have a regular DH.

5:20- deGrom goes five scoreless innings, but because he pitches for the bleeping Mets, it is scoreless after five and deGrom can’t get the win.

Since 2015, deGrom has had 15 starts where he threw 5+ innings and didn’t allow a run, but he won only 8 of those 15 games.

6:30- Mets’ DH Cespedes hit a homer in his first game in two years, New York wins 1-0. Up in heaven somewhere, my dad is happy.

6:50- Thursday’s New York-Washington game got the highest TV ratings of any network broadcast over the last nine years.

7:15- I wanted to watch the Reds because I picked up their new OF Shogo Akiyama, but he is sitting against Detroit’s lefty starter. Oy.

7:30- Good news from Korea- KBO games are going to have fans starting on Sunday, so that is a return to normalcy that is good to hear about.

7:45- Only five regular season fantasy league games before the playoffs start- very short season will be weird. First week is 10 days long; have to study up and see where I need to add players. I have two minor league prospects who aren’t going to play this year— unsure how teams are dealing with those guys in their alternate facilities.

8:10- Flipping between games, spring training for my right thumb; already during Milwaukee, Colorado, Cincinnati broadcasts, have seen the same commercial, a Republican ad with Mike Pence doing all the talking. I seriously want to puke, bit that would screw up my keyboard.

8:15- Akiyama gets in the game after Detroit takes Matthew Boyd out; he singles up the middle, knocks in a run and gets his first MLB hit. Not sure he is good enough to be in my starting lineup but he won five batting titles in Japan- he must be able to hit.

8:30- Last year, Bryce Harper hit .357 with runners in scoring position, .204 with the bases empty.

Whit Merrifield just singled, my team’s first hit of the night.

8:35- I’m saying that pitchers are ahead of the hitters so far. Umpires also seem to be calling more strikes. Paul Nauert had the Mets’ game today; he definitely expanded the zone some, for both sides.

Speaking of umpires, with 10-12 umps opting out this year because of COVID, there are new crew chiefs and somehow, Angel Hernandez is one, despite being a terrible umpire. Yikes. 

8:40- My opponent in fantasy ball this week has Kyle Hendricks, and he is throwing a shutout against the Brewers in the 6th inning. No bueno.

Milwaukee has Eric Sogard batting leadoff; why????? Must be his career .318 OB% that is so appealing to them. No, it is his 2-6 mark against Hendricks; even I know he shouldn’t bad leadoff, and I went to a state school.

I’m an A’s fan, I love Sogard, even have one of his t-shirts, but if he plays 3B and bats leadoff for you on Opening Night, you’re not a playoff team.

These over-educated fools who run the Brewers are at it again. I used to have Josh Hader on my team, hoping they would come to their senses and make him a starter again, but no.

10:30- Turned the laptop off for a while and had dinner; Hendricks shut out the Brewers, who have new uniforms that make them look like the Michigan Wolverines.

10:42- Michael Brantley goes yard for Houston, good news for the Armadillos.

Lets catch up on stuff that happened while I was eating:

— Reds 7, Tigers 1— Listening to the Cincinnati broadcast, they have high expectations for this season. Moustakas had three hits, knocked in four runs for the Reds, who haven’t had a winning season since 2013, Dusty Baker’s last year as their manager.

As for Detroit, they’re in a total rebuild.

— Blue Jays 6, Rays 4— Cavan Biggio hit a 3-run homer for Toronto, which found out Friday they’re playing home games this season in Buffalo.

Joe West had the plate in this game; he’s been a major league ump since 1976, when he was 23 years old. Not sure how he became a major league ump that quickly, seeing how he also played college football (East Carolina, Elon) but he did.

— Marlins 5, Phillies 2— Sandy Alcantara allowed three hits in 6.2 IP as Miami gets off to a good start. First four hitters on Philly’s lineup went 1-14.

Miami’s TV crew had team president Michael Hill on during the game and he spews the same old BS he always does; what a farm system we have, we’re building to become perennial contenders, blah, blah, blah. This is another nitwit who went to college in the Ivy League (Harvard), but thought trading Stanton, Yelich, Ozuna, Realmuto was a good idea.

Bryce Harper wore cleats with fluorescent green laces in them, which clashed a little with the Phillies’ uniforms, but they’ve eliminated rules about shoes, so that’s what you get.

— Indians 2, Royals 0— Only nine hits total in this game, as pitchers seemed to be ahead of the hitters, for the most part all over baseball. Shane Bieber struck out 14 Royals, allowing five runners in six IP.

— Cubs 3, Brewers 0— Milwaukee had three hits, all by 9th-place hitter Orlando Arcia; meanwhile, they had Sogard batting leadoff, which is baseball malpractice. Hendricks went the whole way, allowing three baserunners, striking out nine.

Colorado also had three hits in their game, all by the same guy, leadoff hitter Dahl. Hendricks is the first Cub with an Opening Day shutout since 1974; A’s won the World Series that year, so that’s a good omen.

— Red Sox 13, Orioles 2—Baltimore is another total rebuild; unless they have lot of good young pitchers on the way up, not sure how they’re going to get better anytime soon.

JD Martinez scored twice, knocked in three runs for Boston.

Rangers 1, Rockies 0— First game at Globe Life Field is a pitchers’ duel; Lance Lynn allowed two hits in six innings. Texas didn’t even have a hit until the 6th inning; Rougned Odor knocked in their only run. German Marquez was the tough luck loser.

— Twins 10, White Sox 5— Game was 5-5 after two innings, but Chicago never scored again. Max Kepler homered twice for Minnesota; four of their top five hitters scored twice each.

Minnesota’s bullpen allowed only four baserunners in five shutout innings.

— Cardinals 5, Pirates 4— Tough beat if you played the under; game was 3-0 Cardinals after six innings, but neither bullpen flourished, as St Louis barely held on after entering 9th inning with a 5-2 lead.

I like the cardboard cutouts at games; enjoyed watching baseball for several hours. Its a hell of a lot better than watching the news or re-watching 30-year old ballgames. Hopefully everyone will stay healthy and we can have some entertainment this summer. 

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.