*DISCLAIMER: Opening Week for this article pertains to Opening Day, April 6, through April 13*
Opening Week 2015 has come and gone and it is still too early to guess what the season has in store for the MLB, but this first week proved to be quite interesting.
While there is only so much that can be covered in the first week of baseball, here are five storylines that stuck out the most.
1. The reigning World Series champions from San Francisco have shown that Giants are indeed humans, too. After coming off an intense World Series matchup with the Kansas City Royals last season, the Giants have started their season at the bottom of the National League West with a 3-4 record. Now, it is almost no surprise that a team who either does well in postseason play or wins the World Series will struggle in the opening series. That’s just how life goes. But to be dead last in the NL West is saying something when you are accompanied by teams like the Padres, Rockies, Dodgers and Diamondbacks. Yes, these teams are strong in their own right, but are they anything like the San Francisco that most are familiar with? Perhaps. Will the Giants return to their giant playmaking ways? Most likely. What about those Royals who came so close to having the Cinderella season? Well, they look to be starting a new fairy tale with a “royal” start at the top of the American League Central at 6-0. Remember, it is still early. That zero will disappear soon enough.
2. Speaking of the Royals and being undefeated, the Detroit Tigers are also near the top of the AL Central with a zero in the loss column. The Tigers have had an impressive Opening Week. In just the first six games of the season, the Tigers have racked up 78 hits with 47 runs. Another team to look out for with stats extremely similar to these is the Oakland Athletics. The A’s, tied at the top of the AL West at 3-4, have brought in 43 runs on 79 hits. While this is a bit of a loaded prediction, it would not be surprising to see these two teams continuing to collect these high numbers in October. Granted, that is still about five and a half months away, but keep an eye on these teams throughout the season.
3. After an offseason filled with trades and signings galore for all teams, one team that made waves was the Atlanta Braves, especially within the past week. After trading away players like Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, Craig Kimbrel and Melvin Upton Jr., just to name a few, there were quite a few Braves fans out there who were fearful of what the future held for the team. If the beginning of the season is any consolation of what is to come, Braves fans will be fairly pleased. This team has started the season 5-1. One of their wins came in dominating fashion in Miami when they beat the Marlins 12-2. In terms of pitching, they have allowed 39 hits and three home runs. This team has potential, despite the fear of their fans.
4. Simply, there is life without Derek Jeter in the majors. Going into this season, baseball fans were dreading the idea of seeing a Yankees game being played where the captain wasn’t out there on the field. It has been a difficult pill to swallow, for Yankees fans especially. The Yankees have started the season 2-4. While that is a bit of a slow, mediocre start, it is a start nonetheless. If there is one bright spot in this start, it is found in the Yankees win over the Red Sox to finish off their first home series in the Bronx. They scored seven runs in the first inning alone to go on to win 14-4. Could this win be the turn-around the Yankees are looking for? Quite possibly.
5. There is no need to beat around the bush on this point – The Chicago Cubs are tied for second place in the NL Central. That’s right – tied for second with the St. Louis Cardinals. Sure, this does not seem like much of a memorable point since it is the Cubs, but there is a lot to be looking forward to with this team. Growing up a Cubs fan and a Pirates fan, baseball struggles were what I had come to know and tolerate. After seeing the Pirates finally make it to the playoffs after 20 years, I kept saying to myself, “Okay, if the Pirates can get this, then it is time for the Cubs.” Then, the trade happened. When Jon Lester was traded to Chicago, many people were ecstatic. I loved watching this guy play in Boston and I couldn’t help but think that he was the guy Chicago was waiting for. With spring training these past few months, the Cubs seemed to be the team most people were talking about and it was all because of one guy in particular – Kris Bryant. Even after having a stellar performance in Spring Training, the Cubs placed him back into the farm league but not for long. As a Tennessee Smokies, the Cubs Double-A affiliate, fan who has watched multiple Smokies players move up to play for the Cubs and other teams, I, like many Cubs fans, am ready to see Bryant suit up for the Cubs as soon as possible. Anthony Rizzo, Chicago’s first baseman, says the Cubs will take the title in the NL Central this year. I have made the prediction for six years now that the Cubs would win the World Series in 2015. One of those predictions is bound to happen, right?
Remember, there are 162 games in a season. Most teams have completed six or seven games at this point. This is just the beginning. That being said, here’s to the new season and best of luck to you and your team in the next 157 games or so.
Edited by Cody McClure