The first week of the baseball season feels a bit odd compared to the rest of the year. Individual games are analyzed more because we forgot how baseball works (i.e. one game doesn’t matter). Start times are odd — more day games than usual, unexpected off days — so every team can optimize Opening Day gate and TV times and stuff. As such, it’s easy to lose track of who is playing when.
So, while we don’t usually do this, I feel like it’s worth reminding everyone when the Opening Day games are today and tomorrow. Because, you know, Google is for suckers:
Today’s games, all Eastern Daylight Time:
Cubs vs. Pirates 1:00PM, ESPN
Royals vs. Tigers 1:08PM
Nationals vs. Mets 1:10PM
Phillies vs. Rangers 2:05PM
Braves vs. Brewers 2:10PM
Red Sox vs. Orioles 3:00PM, ESPN2
Cardinals vs. Reds 4:00PM, ESPN
Twins vs. White Sox 4:10PM
Blue Jays vs. Rays 4:10PM
Rockies vs. Marlins 7:00PM ESPN2
Giants vs. Diamondbacks 9:40PM
Mariners vs. Angels 10:00PM ESPN2
Indians vs. Athletics 10:05PM
The only two teams not to open last night or today are the Yankees and Astros. Their first game is at 7:10PM Eastern time tomorrow night.
Oh, and in case you need something to get you motivated for today:
Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $100,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Opening Day’s games (March 31). It’s $25 to join and first prize is $15,000. Starts at 1:05pm ET on Opening Day. Here’s the FanDuel link.
The Yankees signed first-round draft pick Clarke Schmidt and second-round pick Matt Sauer on Saturday, per a team announcement. Schmidt, a right-hander from the University of South Carolina, is set to earn a signing bonus of $2,184,300. According to MLB.com’s Oliver Macklin, that’s much lower than the typical $3+ million allocated for a No. 16 overall pick. The opposite is true for Sauer, whose projected $2.5 million signing bonus tops the suggested $1.2 million reserved for a No. 54 pick.
Schmidt, 21, boasts an impressive four-pitch repertoire and profiles as a front-end or mid-rotation starter, according to reports from Yankees’ VP of Domestic Amateur Scouting Damon Oppenheimer and ESPN’s Keith Law, among others. He carried a 4-2 record through nine starts in 2017 and turned in a 1.34 ERA before undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery last month to repair a torn UCL in his right elbow. While the Yankees won’t see him pitch at any level until late 2018, they seem confident in his makeup and ability to rebound over the next couple of years.
Fellow right-hander and Righetti High School senior Matt Sauer is a different story altogether. The 18-year-old hurler appears destined for the bullpen with a polished fastball-slider combo and a promising curveball and changeup. He dazzled on the mound this year, going 9-1 with an 0.98 ERA and two shutouts over 78 1/3 innings. While the Yankees seem most interested in his pitching skills, Sauer showed some pop at the plate as well, touting a .427 average with 24 RBI through 135 plate appearances.
The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.
Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:
Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:
In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.
The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.