After 151 days of offseason rumors, trade speculation and roster reshuffling, Opening Day has returned in all of its glory and spectacle. The Yankees and Rays kicked off the first of three games scheduled for Sunday afternoon, pitting Masahiro Tanaka against Chris Archer in a battle of aces during the Rays’ home opener.
Tanaka, who looked unflappable with an 0.38 ERA in spring training, stumbled out of the gate. He allowed four hits and three runs in the first frame of the game and surrendered a two-run jack to Rays’ third baseman Evan Longoria in the second inning:
The Rays tacked on another two runs in the third, effectively forcing Tanaka out of the game after just 2 2/3 innings. According to ESPN Stats and Info, Mel Stottlemyre was the club’s last Opening Day starter to allow 7+ runs in less than three innings, a feat he accomplished when he was tabbed for eight runs during the 1973 Yankees’ 15-5 beatdown by the Red Sox.
Tanaka wasn’t the only one to make history on Sunday, however:
There’s little that should be read into any one game in April, no matter how disastrous or successful. Still, it’s a reassuring start for the Rays as they come off of an injury-riddled 2016 campaign. The Yankees, meanwhile, will likely be grateful for an off day on Monday as CC Sabathia prepares to take the mound for Game 2 on Tuesday.
Three players were suspended on Monday after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. They are: Indians pitcher Steve Delabar, Mariners pitcher Jonathan Aro, and free agent pitcher Jeffry Hernandez. Aro got a 50-game suspension while the other two were handed 80-game suspensions.
Delabar, 33, hasn’t pitched yet this season after signing a minor league deal with the Indians back in January. He spent last year with the Reds as well as the Hiroshima Carp in the Japan Central League. The right-hander has struggled over the last few seasons.
Aro, 26, also hasn’t appeared yet this season in the minors. He’s worked mostly in relief. The right-hander appeared briefly in the majors with the Mariners last season and logged 10 1/3 innings in the show with the Red Sox in 2015. Aro went to the Mariners along with Wade Miley in the trade that brought the Red Sox Carson Smith and Roenis Elias.
Hernandez, 22, is a free agent and his suspension will be effective if and when he signs with a new team.
The Phillies announced on Monday that starter Aaron Nola has been placed on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to April 21, with a lower back strain.
Nola, 23, compiled a 4.50 ERA with a 15/6 K/BB ratio over his first three starts spanning 16 innings. He felt some back soreness during his last start on Thursday against the Mets, and it lingered when he had a side session on Sunday.
CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury hears that the Phillies are likely to call up Nick Pivetta from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take Nola’s place in the rotation. Nola was scheduled to start on Wednesday.
Pivetta, 24, was acquired from the Nationals in the Jonathan Papelbon trade in July 2015. At Triple-A so far, Pivetta has given up only two earned runs on 12 hits and two walks with 24 strikeouts in 19 innings.