The 2018 season began with – what else? – a home run.
On the first pitch of the 2018 season, the Chicago Cubs’ Ian Happ took the Miami Marlins’ José Ureña deep to right field.
Over in Toronto, the New York Yankees’ big off-season trade acquisition and 2017 National League Most Valuable Player – ex-Marlin Giancarlo Stanton – homered on his first plate appearance of the season.
He’d go ahead and add a second home run later in the contest.
The Chicago White Sox crushed six home runs in their 14-7 win over the Kansas City Royals, three of which came off the bat of DH Matt Davidson.
You never want to extrapolate too much from such a small sample size.
After all, it’s just a single day of baseball under our belts so far.
But we just had 33 home runs in 13 games yesterday.
That’s good for 1.27 home runs per team/game.
Last year’s historic home run rate was good for 1.26 home runs per team/game.
You expect more home runs as the weather starts to heat up.
You expect fewer in a late March game.
And you certainly would expect fewer on the first day of the season, when most teams (barring injuries) are able to trot out their best arms to start the season.
I recognize it’s much too soon to read too much into this, but that was my big take-away from the first day of the 2018 season.
Baseball has always had a rather interesting way of correcting itself.
Hitting- and pitching-dominant seasons seem to come and go.
With the rising home run rates over the last couple of seasons, one of the things I was most interested in seeing for the 2018 season was how pitchers would adapt.
For Opening Day, anyhow, the answer has been: not at all.
What I Was Watching: First game of the season, of course. Cubs @ Marlins. At least until the 7th inning, at which point a 7-year old daughter was asking for me to go outside and throw her some baseballs so she could practice hitting and who am I to say no to that sort of request? This morning I caught up on Yankees @ Blue Jays which seems like the best opening weekend series to get behind, what with all the big interest surrounding Stanton and Aaron Judge this season. A shame the series is in Toronto and not the Bronx, but you take what you can get…