We're one day into the interminable slog that is the Major League Baseball season, in which teams play 10 times more than NFL clubs.
In many ways, the result of the game means very little. It's a drop in a bucket. What separates an Opening Day contest from any other matchup in mid-July, for instance?
But in another very real (read: completely artificial) way, it means everything. Fifteen teams are on pace to go 162-0, while the other half are on pace to go winless. Will it shake out that way? Probably (definitely) not. But could it? Maybe! (Absolutely not!).
Let's let the outlandish voice win today. For one day a year, small samples reign supreme. Here's one overreaction for each team:
Arizona Diamondbacks: Zac Gallen went on a historic scoreless streak down the stretch of 2022, going six straight outings of at least six innings without allowing a run. But he started the 2023 campaign giving up five runs, which is more than he allowed in all of August. Can someone on the Diamondbacks sneak into Gallen's home and flip the calendars to the second half? Gaslight this guy into thinking it's after the All-Star break.
Atlanta Braves: Two catchers are good, but is there any way to ensure both are DHing? The Braves went with key offseason acquisition Sean Murphy behind the dish to open the campaign. The former Gold Glove winner went 0-for-5. On the other side, fellow catcher Travis d'Arnaud, acting as the designated hitter, played hero by going 4-for-5 with a pair of RBIs and scoring twice.
Baltimore Orioles: Clear space in Cooperstown for Adley Rutschman. The sophomore slugger isn't just the first catcher with five hits on Opening Day since at least 1900; he's also only the second player to reach base in every plate appearance while making at least six trips to the dish in a team's first game of the year. Rutschman joins Bobby Byrne, who accomplished the feat in 1911.
Boston Red Sox: Rename the team the Boston Red Walks. If there's a pitching staff that seemed completely overmatched with the new rules creating a faster pace of play and enticing more action on the bases, it was the Red Sox. Corey Kluber issued by far the fewest walks of any qualified starter last year, with 21 over 164 frames and an MLB-best 1.15 BB/9. So it's puzzling the veteran righty issued four in a start in which the rest of the staff coughed up another five. Even further, the O's freely ran once they reached base, recording five steals. Boston scored nine runs, so the offense might be legit. But the club needs its pitching staff to hold up their side of the bargain - particularly adapting to new rules.
Chicago Cubs: Marcus Stroman became the first pitcher ever to violate the pitch clock, letting it run out and getting penalized in a plate appearance against Christian Yelich. The count moved from 1-2 to 2-2 as a result. Stroman wound up walking Yelich, but the Cubs hurler still made it out of the inning unscathed. The main takeaway here is that Stroman became the first pitcher with an incorrect pitch count. Managing pitcher workloads has become so important over the last couple of decades. Can the pitch clock finally end our incessant focus on an arbitrary 100-pitch threshold for starters?