Fernando Tatis, Jr. Sparked the Padres On Opening Day
If someone wished to summarize the 2020 baseball season in just one day, all he would need to do is look no further than the openers on July 24. Those fifteen games pretty much foreshadowed what was to happen through the regular season and the World Series, a matchup that pitted the two teams with the best records in their leagues.
Here are the five contests from Opening Day that best serve as a harbinger of how the season would unfold, even though it consisted of only sixty games because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Cleveland's Shane Bieber pitches a four hit shutout against the Royals, striking out 14. He would go on to win the triple crown in pitching. This trifecta of earned run average, victories and strikeouts, made Bieber a shoe in to win the American League Cy Young Award.
2. In the sixth inning of a scoreless game in San Diego, Fernando Tatis wakes up the Padres by crushing a double. One out later he crosses the plate, and by the end of the inning San Diego led the Diamondbacks 3-0.
3. Lowly Miami has to open against former Marlins All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto and the Philadelphia Phillies, who are expected to be contenders for the World Series. The Marlins hold Realmuto hitless in four trips in the 4-1 win, and it is they, not the Phillies, who advance to the postseason sixty games later.
4. Matt Olson hits a walkoff grand slam to lead Oakland over the Angels, which would not be that unusual except it was the only hit of the inning. Box scores for the rest of the season would be affected like this one because of Baseball's new rule starting all extra innings with a runner at second. For Oakland this runner was Marcus Semien, who scored along with a hit by pitch and a walk on Olson's slam.
5. The Los Angeles team in the National League routed their San Francisco rival 8-1 on Opening Day, their first game with 2019 Most Valuable Player Mookie Betts. To prove that lopsided victory was no fluke, the Dodgers went out the very next day and walloped the Giants 9-1, making it clear to everyone in baseball that they were determined to end their 32 year World Series drought.