MLB Opening Day 2023 is in the books. All 15 teams opened their seasons on Thursday, giving us an entertaining day of baseball. For those who didn’t experience Opening Day in its full glory, or simply want to reminisce about what was arguably the best day of the baseball season all year: you’re in luck, we’re here to recap all the happenings from the majors using a simple subtitle format.
Let’s get to that.
Judge leads the Yankees to an Opening Day victory
One way or another, Aaron Judge is going to be at Yankee Stadium on Opening Day. He’ll either re-sign with the Yankees as a free agent this past offseason and receive a hero’s welcome, or he’ll sign with his hometown Giants and be in the visitors’ dugout. Judge of course returned to New York, and was named the 16th captain in franchise history.
On Thursday, Judge led the Yankees against the Giants with a first-inning solo home run and a seventh-inning bloop hit. Logan Webb is the death of righties and he allowed one home run in his final 10 starts last season, but Judge took him deep in his first at-bat of the new season. It was the first home run in the entire league in the 2023 seasonTruly.
Webb and Gerrit Cole both set new franchise Opening Day strikeout records Thursday. Webb fanned 12 batters in six innings, breaking the previous record held by Madison Bumgarner (11 in 2017). Kohli struck out 11 in six innings, breaking Tim Leary’s record (nine in 1991). Thursday’s game featured 32 strikeouts — each team had 16. Contact was at a premium.
Mets improve Opening Day record
The most successful opening day team in history added another win to their record this year. The Mets improved their opening day record to 41-21 (.661) with a win over the Marlins on Thursday, thanks to Brandon Nimmo’s two-run seventh-inning double. Here are the best opening day posts:
- met with: 41-21 (.661)
- Marines: 29-18 (.617)
- Orioles: 72-50 (.590)
- Yankees: 68-52 (.567)
- Cubs: 81-65 (.555)
The Mets lost closer Edwin Diaz to a season-ending knee injury during the World Baseball Classic, and manager Buck Showalter said he would pitch in the ninth inning rather than name a set closer. On opening day, the save went to senior reliever David Robertson, who went 1-2-3 innings with two strikeouts.
The Mets are already down two starting pitchers (Jose Quintana and Justin Verlander) and their closer (Diaz), so they face a little adversity here to start the new season. Nimmo and Robertson advanced Thursday, and the Mets improved to baseball’s best record on Opening Day.
Ohtani K’s 10 vs. Athletics
Shohei Ohtani, the Angels’ two-way phenom, made the most of his Opening Day start against the Athletics. In six innings, he held Oakland to two hits and three walks and no earned runs. He struck out 10 batters, including the first three batters in the A lineup, four times in seven at-bats. As a hitter, Ohtani started the night going 1 for 3 with two strikeouts.
Ohtani left with a 1-0 lead that his teammates couldn’t hold on to, falling 2-1 to the Athletics.
The White Sox ended the Astros’ Opening Day streak
For the first time since 2012, the Astros lost on Opening Day. Andrew Van Clutch’s ninth-inning two-run double against Ryan Pressley spoiled the World Series celebration at Minute Maid Park. Dylan Seas was the star of the game, striking out 11 in 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball. The stop was wonderful.
The Astros have won each of their last 10 Opening Day streaks, tying the 1887-96 Boston Beaners for the longest Opening Day winning streak in baseball history. The last time Houston lost on Opening Day, they played in the NL Central, JD Martinez started in left field, Carlos Lee started at first base, and Yordon Alvarez was 15. Yes, it’s been a while.
White Sox rookie manager Pedro Grifol picked up his first career hit in his first career game. It is always clean. Always stay in shape to start the season with a bang. Chicago leads 2-0 on the first day of the new season.
deGrom falters but the Rangers rally and win
After signing a five-year deal over the winter, Jacob deGrom’s first start with the Rangers didn’t go smoothly. Instead, he surrendered a career-worst six extra-base hits and went four innings without a hit.
Nevertheless, deGrom’s new teammates were able to overcome his unusually poor efforts, as the Rangers defeated the defending NL champion Phillies 11-7.
The Rangers did almost all the damage as part of a nine-run fourth inning that turned the Rangers from 5-0 Phillies to 9-5 Rangers. Jonah Heim, Robbie Grossman, Nathaniel Lowe and Adolis Garcia all contributed. Brad Miller then capped the Rangers’ scoring with a two-run shot in the fifth.
You can read more about deGrom’s outing by clicking here.
Fried and Verlander were injured
Two aces were lost to injury on opening day, one before the game and one during the game. First, The Mets announced that Justin Verlander has been placed on the injured list with a low-grade teres major muscle. The teres major is a small back muscle near the shoulder. The Mets have not announced how long Verlander will be sidelined.
Then, a few hours later, Braves lefty Max Fried left his opening day start with a hamstring injury. He suffered an injury that involved first base. He will be placed on the injured list and it is unclear how much time Fried will miss. Here’s the play:
The Mets are down Verlander and Jose Quintana (rib), the Braves are down Fried and Kyle Wright (shoulder), and the Phillies are down Ranger Suarez (forearm) and Andrew Painter (elbow). It’s been a tough few weeks for the NL East rotation. The team that manages these early season injuries well will put themselves in the best position to win the division.
Rutschman opens the season in style
Orioles catcher Adley Rutchman made the most of his first Opening Day, hectoring the Red Sox’s pitching staff and becoming the first catcher in MLB history to record five hits in Game 1.
Rutchman hit a solo home run in the top of the first to put the Orioles up early. He then had four singles and scored three runs as part of a 10-9 victory.
Rutchman, the No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft, had an outstanding rookie season last year. In 113 games, he batted .254/.362/.445 (128 OPS+) with 13 home runs. He finished second in the AL Rookie of the Year Award voting. If he continues to play like he did on Thursday, he will make his first All-Star game this summer.
Blue Jays outfielder George Springer had five hits, It marked the first opening day with two five-hit performances since at least 1901.
Volpe, Yoshida, Walker, Colas Introduction
It wasn’t just Rutchman’s first opening day. Several players made their big league debuts Thursday, including Yankees shortstop Anthony Volpe, Red Sox outfielder Masataka Yoshida, Cardinals outfielder Jordan Walker and White Sox outfielder Oscar Collas.
Volpe didn’t hit, but he did walk and steal a base as part of the Yankees’ victory. Yoshida, by contrast, rapped a pair of singles in the Red Sox loss. The Cardinals also lost, but Walker had a hit and a run batted in. Golas debuted in pinch-hit fashion, collecting his first major league single.
Predictably, the new rules — the pitch timer; large sites; and defensive controls — really impacted the game. Games were shorter and stolen base attempts were higher. You can read more about it by clicking here.
You can relive all of CBS Sports’ live blog goodness throughout Opening Day below.