By Andrew Kahn
It may not feel like spring across the country, but baseball is back. Below are five records, memorable performances, and news items from the first week of the season.
Week of the Pitcher
The best pitchers take the mound on Opening Day, and the cold doesn’t help hitters, but even with that mind this has been a historically bad start for offense. A record six teams were shutout in their first game. There were six more shutouts on Wednesday, putting the season total at 13 through the first 37 games, the most in major league history through 37 games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Oakland’s Sonny Gray took a no-hitter into the eighth on Opening Day against Texas, and his teammate Scott Kazmir struck out 10 and allowed just one hit on Wednesday. David Price, Kyle Kendrick, Clay Buchholz, C.J. Wilson, and Johnny Cueto also had dominant debuts.
There is one player who has been immune to the stellar pitching: Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. He’s hit five home runs in the first three games, a record, and has 10 hits in 13 at-bats. Gonzalez took San Diego starter Andrew Cashner deep three times on Wednesday, on fastballs that were in virtually the same spot. The Dodgers travel to Arizona for a three-game series starting tonight.
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Happy Harvey Day
Matt Harvey took the mound for the Mets yesterday for the first time since August 24, 2013, and was spectacular. Returning from Tommy John surgery, Harvey struck out nine and allowed just four hits and a walk in six scoreless innings of a 6-3 win over Washington. He regularly hit 96 and 97 on the gun with his fastball and had a nice curve working as well. The Nationals hitters said he looked as good as he did in 2012 and 2013. He struck out Bryce Harper three times.
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Familiar faces in new places
Many marquee players found new homes last offseason. The Red Sox spent $183 million to bring Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval to Boston. Ramirez played left field for the first time in his career and hit two homers on Opening Day, including a grand slam. He had two more hits yesterday. Sandoval, batting fifth, right behind Ramirez, was 0 for 5 with three strikeouts in the opener and has started the season 2 for 12. Catcher Russell Martin signed a big contract with Toronto and is 1 for 11 at the plate so far. None of the three pitchers who signed the biggest deals this offseason won in their debuts with their new teams. New Cubs ace Jon Lester couldn’t get out of the fifth inning, while James Shields (Padres) and Max Scherzer (Nationals) were both solid but unlucky.
All or nothing
Through the season’s opening series’ there are five undefeated teams: the Tigers, Royals, Braves, Reds, and Rockies. The five winless teams are the Twins, White Sox, Marlins, Pirates, and Brewers. Minnesota was outscored 22-1 in its three games against Detroit. The Twins play the White Sox tonight, while the Pirates take on the Brewers, meaning two of them will get their first win.
Andrew Kahn is a regular contributor to CBS Local who also writes for Newsday and The Wall Street Journal. He writes about baseball and other sports at http://andrewjkahn.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @AndrewKahn