Good morning, Athletics Nation!
The 2020 MLB season officially got underway on Thursday, after waiting four extra months through the coronavirus pandemic. Although, as bad omens go, the day ranked pretty high.
There were two games on the Opening Day slate, beginning with the Yankees and Nationals. Superstar pitchers Gerrit Cole and Max Scherzer faced each other and the game was going well, including homers by New York’s Giancarlo Stanton and Washington’s Adam Eaton. But then, in the middle of the sixth inning, heavy rain caused the game to stop and eventually be called off, and since it had gone at least five full innings it counted as official — Yankees win, 4-1.
In other words, in a season that carries the threat of being cut short by a further outbreak of the pandemic, the very first game was cut short by rain. Please don’t let that be foreshadowing.
This GIF of Rob Manfred being interviewed in front of the lightning storm is chillingly on the nose, both in terms of the public’s negative perception of the commissioner and also just the general cloud hanging over this season and this whole year in the world. (This is NOT doctored, this is an actual clip.)
In the second game, the Giants took on the Dodgers in Los Angeles. This game was played in its entirety — an 8-1 victory for L.A. — but not by the full expected cast. Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw was a late scratch due to back stiffness, robbing the opener of one of its biggest stars. It had nothing to do with the virus, but it was a reminder that we could see players disappearing from rosters suddenly throughout the season if they do test positive.
Despite those imperfections, though, Thursday still brought the return of MLB, with plenty of chances for things to go better on Friday. The A’s host the Angels at 7:10 p.m., and you can click here for all the info on how to watch or listen.
- Slusser: A’s Opening Night roster to include OF Seth Brown; starter Daniel Gossett let go ($)
- Slusser: How A’s and Giants’ analytics, strategies might change in 60-game season ($)
- Slusser: A’s need to get bats going, including Khris Davis’, as quick season opens ($)
- Slusser: A’s exec Amelia Schimmel knocks down a gender wall in Coliseum PA booth ($)
- Gallegos: Luzardo in relief; taxi squad set
- Hickey: No Surprises as Athletics Set Opening Day Roster; Gossett Designated for Assignment
- Hickey: While Athletics Opening Night Roster is Set, the Competition for Jobs Still Goes On
- Hickey: Converted Catcher Dave Stewart Raves About Converted Catcher Jordan Weems
- Coffey: A’s load up on relief arms, carry 15 pitchers on their Opening Day roster ($$$)
- Seamheads podcast: Breaking down the Oakland A’s Opening Day roster and rotation
- Hall: A’s announce 2020 Opening Day roster
- Hall: A’s activate Daniel Mengden from injured list, DFA Daniel Gossett
- Hall: MLB 2020 season: Opening Day rosters for A’s AL West rivals
- Hall: How to watch A’s on Opening Day 2020: Time, TV schedule, online streaming
MLB News, & Interest:
- Castrovince: 66 days left, 66 things to get psyched for
- Castrovince: Everything to know about expanded playoffs
- Drellich: Another first in a strange year: MLB playoffs expand to 16 teams for 2020 ($$$)
- MLB Injury updates: Kershaw, Lambert, Rendon
- Rosenthal: MLB and players adjusting approach to positive tests in some cases ($$$)
- MLB: An Open Letter from Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred
- Adler, Kelly, Langs, and Simon: Breaking down every Opening Day matchup
- Passan: Phillies’ Andrew McCutchen unites with Yankees, Nationals for pregame ceremony acknowledging injustice
- Adler: MLB players plan to stand for ‘moment of unity’ before Opening Day games ($$$)
- Today in Baseball History
Best of A’s Twitter:
Remember, this taxi squad can change as the year goes on without needing to make any transactions
Jonah Heim, Lucas Luetge and Nate Orf will be on the A’s taxi squad to start the season.— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) July 23, 2020
Angels rotation for the series at the Coliseum: Heaney, Bundy, Ohtani, Canning.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) July 23, 2020
Melvin says he would probably like to get Luzardo a clean inning out of the bullpen his first time out but would use him in a high leverage situation if warranted after that. Still building him up as a starter.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) July 23, 2020
Jesús Luzardo is about to throw a bullpen at the Coliseum. Bob Melvin said he'll "for sure" be ready to pitch in the second game against the Angels and won't be afraid to use Luzardo in high leverage situations out of the bullpen.— Martín Gallegos (@MartinJGallegos) July 23, 2020
Lots of true statements on these signs
Among the banners in the outfield at the Coliseum: signs supporting most of the position players, and I think my favorite simply says, "Sean Murphy is good." There's also a Black Lives Matter banner in RF.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) July 23, 2020
Dave Kaval FTW
There's also a "Visiting Fan Section" high up in left field in Mt. Davis with seven cutouts. They're too far up there for me to see who they are/what teams they're rooting for, but. ones I think I can identify are pretty random - O's, Tigers and....Mets?— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) July 23, 2020
If you didn’t already love J.B., then this should do it
Definitely not our typical Opening Day tomorrow night but thankful that my part of family, Stache and Zeppelin will be in the stands.....all season long! pic.twitter.com/jcidSA6gKh— JB Wendelken (@JbWendelken) July 23, 2020
Matt Chapman on ESPN: “We now own the Raiders’ stuff. They’re gone.”— Ben Ross (@BenRossTweets) July 24, 2020
Let’s do this!
Best of MLB Twitter:
Including the signature Heyman typo
MLB Players received a $50M guarantee by agreeing to expanded playoffs. Could be more depending on whether there are fans and the gate receipts meet a certain figure but $50M is baseline. Good job by both sides to get this fone.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 23, 2020
This should pump up the A’s postseason odds even further
Interesting wrinkle in the 16-team playoff format: All second-place teams in the six divisions qualify. Then the 7th and 8th teams will be chosen by best record among other teams.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 23, 2020
Notable detail, especially if A.J. Puk ends up on the 45-day IL at any point this season
Injured List note: Any players that open the season on the Injured List can be back-dated to July 20.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) July 23, 2020
Pregame demonstration tonight
One pre-game demonstration that is expected before tonight's game (& every team's opening game): an Andrew McCutchen-led effort in which a 200-yard black cloth will be held from foul pole to foul pole by both teams to represent a moment of unity among players of all backgrounds.— James Wagner (@ByJamesWagner) July 23, 2020
MLB supporting its players’ individuality and free expression
MLB has also provided players with Black Lives Matter t-shirts to wear during BP, lifted the cleat restrictions so social justice messages can be written on them, and given players a choice of patches to wear on their jersey.— James Wagner (@ByJamesWagner) July 23, 2020
Soto is currently asymptomatic
Washington Nationals star Juan Soto has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss tonight's season opener against the New York Yankees, sources tell ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 23, 2020
Do you think he threw a ... curve?