Four months after it was supposed to begin, Major League Baseball’s coronavirus-delayed, shortened season finally kicked off, with the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers getting wins on Opening Day. In the first game, the Yankees beat the reigning World Series champion Washington Nationals 4-1, the victory coming after the game was called following a nearly two-hour rain delay in Washington that began in the top of the sixth inning. New York’s Giancarlo Stanton hit a two-run homer in the first inning, but there were no fans to cheer it on in the empty stadium. Former Pirate Gerrit Cole made his Yankees debut after signing a free agent $324 million, nine-year contract in the offseason. He allowed one hit over five innings. The only hit was a first-inning home run by the Nationals Adam Eaton.
In Los Angeles, the Dodgers beat the San Francisco Giants 8-1. Rookie pitcher Dustin May got the start after for the Dodgers after Clayton Kershaw went on the injured list with a back issue, and he allowed one run and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. Kershaw was seeking a Dodger record ninth consecutive opening day start, but went on the IL hours before the game.
The Pittsburgh Pirates begin their regular season tonight in St. Louis. Joe Musgrove will be the starting pitcher for the Bucs to begin the 60-game season. Game time is 8:15pm. Hear the game on WISR 680am beginning at 7:50pm.
The Pirates and Cardinals play Saturday and Sunday afternoon before the Bucs return to Pittsburgh for their home opener Monday night at PNC Park against the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Saturday and Sunday games both have 2:15pm start times. Pre-game on WISR is 1:50pm Saturday. Sunday’s broadcast will begin at 1:15pm with the first visit of the regular season with Pirates general manager Ben Cherington.
Hours before the opening day games MLB and the players’ union agreed yesterday to expand the playoffs from 10 teams to 16 for the pandemic-shortened season. Sixteen of the 30 teams will advance to a best-of-three first round: the first- and second-place teams in every division and the next two teams by winning percentage in each league. Those winners move on to the best-of-five Division Series, where the usual format resumes.