Today in unsurprising news: Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale appeared on MLB Network Radio and announced that new starter Zack Greinke will take the hill on Opening Day, per Jim Bowden.
It was just a formality, as who else could start Opening Day for them other than the man they signed to a six-year, $206.5 million contract last month? The D-Backs also acquired Shelby Miller this offseason in a trade with the Braves, but he’s yet to put up stats in Greinke’s echelon.
During the 2015 regular season, Greinke went 19-3 with a major league leading 1.66 ERA along with a 200/40 K/BB ratio over 222 2/3 innings. In the postseason, he yielded five runs in two starts spanning 13 2/3 innings versus the Mets in the NLDS, a series the Dodgers lost in five games.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.