MLB has probably trademarked the phrases Opening Day, Opening Night, and Opening Weekend. Let’s have a quick look at the first couple of days of baseball season.
Félix Hernández started his ninth opening day for the Mariners, a number which indicates a Hall of Fame-level career, or, a very bad team (in this case, a bit of both). King Felix ran into trouble at the bottom of the Texas order in the fifth inning on Monday—three Venezuelans in a row—and though he entered the inning with a no-hitter, he exited trailing, having surrendered three runs on a hit, two errors, and three walks. Arlington’s DP combo of Elvis Andrus and Roughned Odor both scored in the3-2 victoria de Tejas.
Ramon Flores of Hugo Chavez’ hometown of Barinas, in the heartland of Los Llanos, has a fresh start with Milwaukee after a handful of at-bats in the Bronx last season. There was no place for the 24-year-old in the overpaid, aging Yankee lineup, so it’s off to Brew-town. He didn’t get a hit in two at-bats on Opening Day, but in the opposing dugout Caraqueño Gregor Blanco had a hit and a run scored as the Giants march toward another even-year pennant.
Gregorio Petit has had a bit of a journeyman career, and he starts afresh in Anaheim after 42 at-bats in the Bronx last season (sound familiar?). The man from Ocumare de Tuy is on his fourth team in five seasons, and has probably learned to pack light at this point.
In Kansas City, the champions picked up their World Series rings and Gold Gloves and promptly beat the Mets in much the same manner as they did in October, with speed and defense. Three Venezuelans combined for four hits: Salvador Pérez, Alcides Escobar, and Omar Infante (Pérez picked up his third Gold Glove before the game and Escobar his first). Veteran Asdrubal Cabrera made his Mets debut at shortstop and went 1-for-4.
In Pittsburgh Francisco Cervelli had two hits in what should be his second full season as the Pirates’ backstop. He seems to have left behind the Biogenesis 50-game suspension and the bad juju of those A-Rod tainted days in the Bronx. Similarly, catcher Miguel Montero begins his second campaign on Chicago’s North Side with a Cubs team that seems primed to win. On a Padres team that doesn’t seemed primed to win, Yangervis Solarte’s got the nod at third base and got one of the Pods’ two hits in a 2016 debut loss vs. Kershaw and the Boys in Blue.