MLB Opening Day simulation shows what the first

Thursday was supposed to be Opening Day 2020, or the beginning of another Major League Baseball season. The spread of the novel coronavirus has forced MLB, among other leagues, to alter its schedule. Opening Day, then, might be months away, depending on the effectiveness of the containment strategies imposed across the country.Even so, we can…

Thursday was supposed to be Opening Day 2020, or the beginning of another Major League Baseball season. The spread of the novel coronavirus has forced MLB, among other leagues, to alter its schedule. Opening Day, then, might be months away, depending on the effectiveness of the containment strategies imposed across the country.

Even so, we can pretend the season started on time thanks to the kind folks behind Out of the Park Baseball 21, who supplied us with a copy of the game. We’ll be deploying that nifty piece of software to simulate the season (we have shortened-season simulations here), including what was going to serve as Thursday’s schedule.

Thursday’s episode of Nothing Personal with David Samson was all about Opening Day. Have a listen below.

Is it the same as having real-life baseball? Of course not, but folks would you rather not have some form of baseball around to serve as a distraction? That’s what we thought. Onward. 

Detroit Tigers 2, Cleveland 1

DET

1

1

2

6

CLE

1

1

4

Shane Bieber and Matthew Boyd engaged in a pitchers’ duel, with the pair combining to allow three runs across more than 14 innings. Boyd, for his part, received Player of the Game honors by striking out seven batters and yielding a run on three hits and two walks. Boyd did not factor into the decision, as the score was tied until a Niko Goodrum homer in the eighth inning. Detroit relievers John Schreiber and Joe Jimenez struck out six of the nine batters they faced. The most GIFable moment of the game saw Miguel Cabrera steal his first base since April 10, 2015. Oddly, that came against Cleveland, too.

New York Yankees 4, Baltimore Orioles 3

NYY

1

1

1

1

4

11

BAL

1

1

1

3

7

Gerrit Cole made his Yankees debut, and received Player of the Game honors for a quality start. He tossed six innings, allowed three runs on six hits, and struck out nine while walking one. Cole did give up a pair of home runs: one to Anthony Santander and another to Austin Hays. You might suspect that the Yankees hit their fair share of dingers, too, given how they turned every game against the Orioles last season into a Home Run Derby. They did not, however. Luke Voit’s solo homer in the eighth off Hunter Harvey tied the game and represented New York’s only long ball of the afternoon. 

Boston Red Sox 7, Toronto Blue Jays 3

BOS

3

2

1

1

7

11

1

TOR

1

1

1

3

6

No Mookie Betts or Chris Sale proved to be no problem for the Red Sox, at least for one afternoon. Player of the Game Rafael Devers provided three hits while J.D. Martinez and Michael Chavis each drove in a pair of runs. Martinez hit the game’s only home run in the fifth, a two-run shot off Hyun-Jin Ryu. The Red Sox did receive a scare early on, as Eduardo Rodriguez exited with a trainer during the third inning. He’s said to have experienced forearm stiffness and will miss his next start. It’s to be seen if he’ll be placed on the injured list.

Oakland Athletics 7, Minnesota Twins 4

MIN

1

1

2

4

8

OAK

1

6

X

7

9

You have to feel bad for Kenta Maeda, who had an otherwise solid start dashed by Trevor May and the Twins’ bullpen. May faced four batters and permitted each to reach (three hits and a walk). Sergio Romo allowed just one hit across a two-inning appearance, but that hit was a three-run homer against Mark Canha, sealing the deal for the A’s. Young lefty Jesus Luzardo was brilliant, by the way, throwing a career-best seven innings. He struck out nine batters on 99 pitches.

Texas Rangers 3, Seattle Mariners 0

TEX

2

1

3

10

SEA

2

The Rangers’ offseason deal for Corey Kluber looked smart at the time, and propelled Texas to an Opening Day win against the Mariners. Kluber threw eight shutout innings, allowing just two hits and striking out eight. He was a little more wild than you would like, as he issued five free passes (three of those to Seattle first baseman Dan Vogelbach). The Rangers didn’t need much offense, but Joey Gallo and Todd Frazier each delivered solo home runs despite a stiff wind blowing in from center field. Ronald Guzman drove in the other run. 

Pittsburgh Pirates 4, Tampa Bay Rays 3

PIT

2

2

4

11

1

TB

1

2

3

8

Chris Archer and Charlie Morton were each facing a former team, but it was Archer who prevailed. He held the Rays to one run over 7 1/3 innings, striking out five and throwing nearly 70 percent strikes. The Pirates received a boost from some unexpected places, as Jacob Stallings and Jarrod Dyson each delivered a pair of doubles. Gregory Polanco provided the only home run in the game. 

Houston Astros 9, Los Angeles Angels 2

LAA

1

1

2

4

HOU

5

1

1

2

x

9

9

1

The Astros gave Lance McCullers Jr. the Opening Day nod, and he outlasted and outpitched Shohei Ohtani, who gave up three homers and seven runs in two innings of work. George Springer started his walk year with a bang, driving in a game-high four runs on a pair of hits, including a three-run homer in the first. For those wondering, there was a hit by pitch in this game — just not an Astro. Rather, new Angel Anthony Rendon was plunked by McCullers, who also uncorked a pair of wild pitches. 

Kansas City Royals at Chicago White Sox PPD

This one was rescheduled for March 28 due to inclement weather.

New York Mets 4, Washington Nationals 3

WAS

2

1

3

9

1

NYM

1

3

X

4

5

1

Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer squared off for a second consecutive Opening Day, and once again the Mets found a way to top the Nats. Both deGrom and Scherzer delivered a quality start. The two combined to strike out 20 batters, walk three batters, and allowed five runs (four earned). The Mets rallied in the seventh, with Daniel Hudson allowing two inherited runs to score as well one of his own doing. Their new endgame relief combination of Dellin Betances and Edwin Diaz struck out six of the seven batters they faced (Kurt Suzuki homered off Betances), and that was that.

Chicago Cubs 2, Milwaukee Brewers 1

CHC

1

1

2

3

MIL

1

1

3

Yu Darvish and Craig Kimbrel made David Ross’ first game as manager an easy one. Darvish threw eight innings, allowing a run on two hits (one being a leadoff home run by Lorenzo Cain) and a walk. He struck out six on 90 pitches. Kimbrel, meanwhile, worked around a Christian Yelich double to begin the ninth by striking out the next three batters he faced. Corbin Burnes had a nightmare debut to his season, as he walked in the go-ahead run as part of a wild outing that saw him issue free passes to four of the five batters he saw. 

St. Louis Cardinals 8, Cincinnati Reds 7

STL

2

2

1

1

2

8

10

1

CIN

3

1

2

1

7

6

2

Arguably the wildest game of the day, the Cardinals and Reds combined to launch eight home runs. The Reds received dingers from Joey Votto, Shogo Akiyama, Mike Moustakas, and Eugenio Suarez, while the Cardinals saw Dexter Fowler, Brad Miller, Paul Goldschmidt, and Tyler O’Neill each leave the yard. Miller’s homer was particularly important, as it was a two-run shot in the ninth against Raisel Iglesias. That dinger gave the Cardinals the lead for good. For those wondering, the game checked in at three hours and 30 minutes, or shorter than some games with far less action.

Philadelphia Phillies 6, Miami Marlins 3

PHI

1

1

1

2

1

6

10

1

MIA

1

2

3

6

Aaron Nola earned Player of the Game honors by holding the Marlins to three runs and five hits over 6 1/3 innings. That may not seem impressive, but there weren’t many other choices. The other candidates were Rhys Hoskins, who delivered a two-run homer in the seventh; Roman Quinn, who rapped three hits (including a double); and Corey Dickerson, who hit a double and a home run and recorded an outfield assist to prevent the Phillies from adding another run.

Los Angeles Dodgers 9, San Francisco Giants 2

SF

1

1

2

10

LAD

1

4

4

X

9

12

The Dodgers feel destined to make another deep playoff run. They looked the part on Opening Day, thanks in large part to Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger. Those two notched five hits and drove in seven runs. They each hit a three-run homer to help the Dodgers pull away. Walker Buehler didn’t have his best day, but it didn’t matter. One piece of trivia: Justin Turner stole three bases for the first time in his career.

San Diego Padres 4, Colorado Rockies 1

COL

1

1

4

1

SD

4

X

4

12

Garret Hampson led off the game with a triple and was soon plated by Charlie Blackmon. That was the highlight of the day for the Rockies. As for the Padres, they pieced together a rally in the second that included doubles by Eric Hosmer and Tommy Pham. Garrett Richards struck out eight over 6 1/3 innings, while Pierce Johnson, Drew Pomeranz, and Kirby Yates combined to allow one baserunner across 2 2/3 innings. That trio struck out four batters.

Arizona Diamondbacks 7, Atlanta Braves 2

ATL

1

1

2

8

1

ARI

1

1

4

1

X

7

9

Robbie Ray had arguably the best start of the day, mowing down the Braves for seven shutout innings. Ray struck out 12 batters and permitted just three hits and two walks. The Braves did rally late, but the Diamondbacks’ lineup-wide effort saw five different players drive in a run. If there was a negative for the Diamondbacks, it’s that Starling Marte suffered a fractured hand on a hit-by-pitch in his second plate appearance. He’ll be sidelined for six weeks as a result.

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