The Los Angeles Angels are pushing back Shohei Ohtani's next outing on the mound and Mike Trout may be running out of time for a return to the field this MLB season. 

Ohtani had been scheduled to pitch against the New York Yankees on Tuesday, but Angels manager Joe Maddon said his two-way star's hand is still sore after being hit by a pitch on Saturday. 

X-rays came back negative and Ohtani was in Monday's line-up as the designated hitter, however, the Angels will keep him off the pitching mound for the time being and give Jaime Barria the start against the Yankees. 

"Pitching is problematic, so we'll just have him hit until he's ready to pitch," Maddon told reporters. 

Maddon compared the issue to when Ohtani was hit in the thumb by a foul ball while sitting in the dugout last month, which led to the team moving his next pitching start back a few days. 

The Angels have no plans to shut Ohtani down from either pitching or hitting, Maddon said as the likely MVP is "in the running for some pretty big personal awards right now and I don't ever want to get in the way of anybody’s greatness."

Ohtani entered Monday's game with an MLB-leading 41 home runs and an American League (AL)-best .623 slugging percentage at the plate – not to mention 20 stolen bases – and is 8-1 with a 3.00 ERA in 19 starts on the mound, striking out 127 in 105 innings. 

Trout – a three-time AL MVP himself – appeared to be nearing a return from a calf injury that has sidelined him since May 17 after running the bases at full speed before Saturday's outing. 

While he felt fine at the time, Trout has experienced soreness since then and Maddon said the time is approaching that the Angels (64-67) might need to talk to him about shutting it down for the season. 

The Angels are fourth in the AL West and 10 games adrift in the Wild Card race.

"It's a possibility, and probably getting closer to having to say something like that," Maddon said. "But he still wants to continue the fight and we're going to honour his wishes. However Mike sees this, we're going to go that way."

The 30-year-old is hitting .333 with a 1.090 OPS and eight home runs in 36 games this season. 

Youngster Jo Adell crushed a go-ahead grand slam to guide the Los Angeles Angels to a stunning 8-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers in MLB on Tuesday.

With the scores locked at 2-2 and bases loaded at the top of the ninth inning, the 22-year-old stepped up to deliver his first home run of the season at the perfect time for the Angels.

Adell hit a Gregory Soto fastball high over left-field, which came after he was seen receiving advice from Mike Trout in the batting cage pre-game following a poor recent run.

"He pulled me aside and told me I've been having really good at-bats and spitting on the pitches I can't handle but to stay on the fastball," Adell said. "Something was in the zone hard, and I was ready to attack.

"It was electric. When I hit it, I just turned and Trout was at the stairwell at the dugout so I just looked over and just went crazy. The whole experience was great."

Cruz's two-homer game, Webb stars

Nelson Cruz plated five runs with a two-homer game in the Tampa Bay Rays' 10-0 triumph over the Baltimore Orioles. He hit a three-run shot in the fifth inning, before adding another two with a sixth-inning homer. Mike Zunino also homered for the fifth straight game.

Emerging right-hander Logan Webb starred on the hill allowing only two runs over a career-high seven and one-third innings as the San Francisco Giants defeated the New York Mets 3-2. Pete Alonso spoiled his shut-out bid after seven scoreless innings.

Giancarlo Stanton smashed his 19th home run of the season as the New York Yankees won 2-0 over the Boston Red Sox in the second game of their double, after winning the opener 5-3.

Jose Abreu slugged a three-run homer just beyond Josh Harrison's reach and over the left-field wall in the Chicago White Sox's 9-0 victory over the Oakland Athletics.

 

Sickening head injury for Bassitt

There was a major concern from the White Sox win after A's starting pitcher Chris Bassitt was hit in the face by a line drive. Blood appeared to spill from the right side of Bassitt's head, before he was taken from the field on a cart. The A's have since released a statement confirming he is conscious and on his way to hospital.

 

Pham's 486-foot home run

Tommy Pham hit the longest home run of the season, his 13th of the campaign, making it 4-3 in the San Diego Padres' 7-3 loss to the Colorado Rockies. Pham's solo shot measured a monstrous 486 feet. Fernando Tatis Jr crushed his 34th home run of the season in the same inning.

 

Tuesday's results 

New York Yankees 5-3 Boston Red Sox
Washington Nationals 12-6 Toronto Blue Jays
New York Yankees 2-0 Boston Red Sox
Chicago Cubs 2-1 Cincinnati Reds
Atlanta Braves 2-0 Miami Marlins
Tampa Bay Rays 10-0 Baltimore Orioles
Los Angeles Angels 8-2 Detroit Tigers
Milwaukee Brewers 2-0 St Louis Cardinals
Seattle Mariners 3-1 Texas Rangers
Chicago White Sox 9-0 Oakland Athletics
Kansas City Royals 3-1 Houston Astros
Cleveland Indians 3-1 Minnesota Twins
Colorado Rockies 7-3 San Diego Padres
Arizona Diamondbacks 3-2 Philadelphia Phillies
San Francisco Giants 3-2 New York Mets
Los Angeles Dodgers 4-3 Pittsburgh Pirates

 

Mets at Giants

The San Francisco Giants (78-42) have a good lead atop the National League West although they will be tested by the New York Mets (59-60) in the third and final game of their series.

Toronto Blue Jays sensation Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani and Fernando Tatis Jr. of the San Diego Padres headline the starters for the 2021 MLB All-Star Game.

The starters for the upcoming All-Star Game, scheduled for July 13 at Coors Field – home of the Colorado Rockies, were revealed after two rounds of fan voting on Thursday.

Guerrero (aged 22 years and 119 days) will be the youngest Blue Jays player to start an All-Star Game, while he is also the youngest player to start at first base since George Scott in 1966.

Son of an MLB Hall of Famer, Guerrero is only second to Ohtani (28) for home runs this season with 26, while he leads the majors in RBI (66), on-base percentage (.442), OPS (1.117) and three-plus hit games (11 – level with Trea Turner).

Ohtani, 26, is set to become the first Japanese-born player to start an All-Star Game since Ichiro Suzuki in 2010.

The Angels' Ohtani has the most homers this season, while he owns a 3.60 ERA and 83 strikeouts across 60 innings on the mound.

As for Tatis, the 22-year-old shortstop will be the youngest player to start for the Padres in an All-Star Game.

Tatis entered Thursday's action leading MLB with an incredible .705 slugging percentage, while leading the National League (NL) in homers.

Elsewhere, Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers will become the first shortstop/third base combo in Boston Red Sox history to start the All-Star Game.

Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr. will join Eddie Matthews as the player in franchise history to start multiple All-Star Games before turning 24, while Nick Castellanos and Jesse Winker will give the Cincinnati Reds multiple outfield starters for the first time since 1956.

 

All-Star Game starters:

American League

C: Salvador Perez (Kansas City Royals)
2B: Marcus Semien (Toronto Blue Jays)
3B: Rafael Devers (Boston Red Sox)
SS: Xander Bogaerts (Boston Red Sox)
OF: Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels) 
OF: Aaron Judge (New York Yankees)
OF: Teoscar Hernandez (Toronto Blue Jays) 

National League

C: Buster Posey (San Francisco Giants)
1B: Freddie Freeman (Atlanta Braves)
2B: Adam Frazier (Pittsburgh Pirates)
3B: Nolan Arenado (St Louis Cardinals)
OF: Ronald Acuna Jr. (Atlanta Braves)
OF: Nick Castellanos (Cincinnati Reds)
OF: Jesse Winker (Cincinnati Reds)

Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout could miss up to eight weeks after landing on the injured list with a right calf strain.

Trout was injured during the Angels' 7-4 win over the Cleveland Indians in MLB action on Monday.

The three-time American League (AL) MVP was running the bases in the opening inning but needed to stop after reaching third before eventually returning to the dugout.

It is a blow for the Angels (18-22), who have lost 10 of their past 15 games to languish fourth in the five-team AL West.

Trout – an eight-time All-Star and eight-time Silver Slugger – has hit eight homers this season, with 23 runs, 39 hits and 18 RBI.

The 29-year-old has been hitting .333, with an MLB-best on-base percentage (OBP) of .466, while he boasts an AL-best .624 slugging percentage (SLG).

The Angels' stars were on display Tuesday in Anaheim, as Mike Trout and Albert Pujols hit towering home runs to back two-way star Shohei Ohtani and the pitching staff in a 6-2 win over the Texas Rangers. 

Making his second start of the season, Ohtani baffled Rangers hitters for better or for worse in his four shutout innings. He allowed just one hit, but walked six and struck out seven as he worked his way into and out of jams throughout his stint on the mound. 

Though Ohtani's 11 walks through two starts are a concern, MLB hitters have yet to demonstrate they can do much damage against him with the bat. 

The same cannot be said for the heart of the Angels' lineup. After Trout hammered a 446-foot home run in the sixth inning, Pujols hit one exactly the same distance in the seventh. It was Pujols' second homer of the season and the 664th of his career.

 

Urias takes pitchers' duel

There was little margin for error between the Dodgers' Julio Urias (seven innings, one hit, career-high 11 strikeouts) and the Mariners' Marco Gonzales (seven innings, two hits, six strikeouts) on Tuesday.

The two teams combined for just three hits -- a single and a double by Los Angeles and a single by Seattle -- as the World Series champions prevailed 1-0.

According to Stats Perform, the four combined total bases were the fewest ever in an interleague game. 

 

Cardinals' bullpen blows up

Adam Wainwright turned in a vintage start for St. Louis against the Nationals, but a meltdown by the Cardinals' bullpen led to a 3-2 loss in Washington. Wainwright left after seven innings, holding a 2-1 lead after striking out 10. 

But his replacement, Giovanny Gallegos, could not close the door. He walked the first batter he faced and hit the second before eventually walking Josh Harrison with the bases loaded and two outs to force in what proved to be the winning run. 

 

Spectacular catch backs spectacular pitching

Corbin Burnes had another remarkable outing for the Brewers, striking out 10 without walking a batter to give him 40 strikeouts and zero walks this season. According to Stats Perform, Burnes is the first pitcher to fan at least 40 without walking a man over any four-game span in the modern era.

Impressive as those numbers are, Burnes would not have kept the Padres off the scoreboard in a 6-0 win without an incredible diving catch by Billy McKinney in left field to end the fourth inning with two San Diego runners stranded on base. 

 

Tuesday's results

New York Yankees 3-1 Atlanta Braves
Oakland Athletics 7-0 Minnesota Twins
Oakland Athletics 1-0 Minnesota Twins
Los Angeles Dodgers 1-0 Seattle Mariners
Chicago White Sox 8-5 Cleveland Indians
Baltimore Orioles 7-5 Miami Marlins
Washington Nationals 3-2 St. Louis Cardinals
San Francisco Giants 10-7 Philadelphia Phillies
Boston Red Sox 4-2 Toronto Blue Jays
Chicago Cubs 3-1 New York Mets
Tampa Bay Rays 14-7 Kansas City Royals
Colorado Rockies 6-2 Houston Astros
Los Angeles Angels 6-2 Texas Rangers
Milwaukee Brewers 6-0 San Diego Padres
Arizona Diamondbacks 5-4 Cincinnati Reds (suspended)
Pittsburgh Pirates-Detroit Tigers (postponed)

 

Giants at Phillies

San Francisco (10-6) will turn to pitcher Anthony DeSclafani to try to complete a three-game sweep of the Phillies (8-8). The right-hander has allowed just two runs over 17 innings in three starts this season, for a 1.06 ERA. 

Mike Trout hit his fourth home run of the MLB season as the Los Angeles Angels won 10-3 over the Kansas City Royals on Monday.

Trout put the icing on the cake for the Angels after Shohei Ohtani's earlier heroics, scoring a two-run homer in the ninth.

Right-hander Alex Cobb struck out 10 batters as the Angels moved to a 7-3 record and top spot in the American League West.

Ronald Acuna Jr continues to dazzle early in this season although it was not enough to lift the Atlanta Braves to victory, losing 5-3 to the Miami Marlins.

Acuna tripled in the third, before a sac fly to second which showcased his blistering pace and energy.

 

Glasgow shuts down Rangers, Greinke eephus

Tyler Glasnow continued his fine start to the MLB season for the Tampa Bay Rays with 14 strikeouts in their 1-0 win over the Texas Rangers.

The right-hander shut down the Rangers, allowing just three baserunners, two hits and a walk across seven and a half innings.

Renato Nunez did not quite know what to do when Houston Astros' right-hander Zack Greinke tried something different, with a 51.5-miles-per-hour pitch called a strike. It was Greinke's slowest pitch in the tracking era.

It came on a tough night for Greinke as the Houston Astros lost 6-2 to the Detroit Tigers, with former top overall pick Casey Mize delivering seven scoreless innings.

Kyle Higashioka homered twice to spare Gerrit Cole's early blushes, before the latter finished by retiring his final 15 batters in the New York Yankees' 3-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Chicago White Sox edged the Cleveland Indians 4-3 with Nick Madrigal winning it after an errant throw in the ninth.

 

Baez's wild throw

Chicago Cubs shortstop Javier Baez had a moment to forget when he unleashed a wild throw which sailed a good 30 feet above first baseman Anthony Rizzo, allowing Billy McKinney to easily complete the single.

 

Ohtani's incredible exit velocity

Shohei Ohtani may not have hit a home-run in the seventh inning but his two-run double re-established the Angels' three-run lead and also had an incredible exit velocity of 119 mph.

 

Monday's results

San Diego Padres 6-2 Pittsburgh Pirates 
New York Yankees 3-1 Toronto Blue Jays
Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 Texas Rangers
Miami Marlins 5-3 Atlanta Braves
Milwaukee Brewers 6-3 Chicago Cubs 
Washington Nationals 5-2 St Louis Cardinals
Chicago White Sox 4-3 Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers 6-2 Houston Astros
Los Angeles Angels 10-3 Kansas City Royals
Oakland Athletics 9-5 Arizona Diamondbacks
Cincinnati Reds 3-0 San Francisco Giants

Yankees in Florida

American League East foes the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Yankees will meet again at the former's temporary home in Florida.

Mike Trout continued his prolific start to the new Major League Baseball season with a homer in a third straight game as the Los Angeles Angels won 7-5 against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday.

With the game tied at 3-3 at the top of the fifth, Trout creamed Blue Jays right-hander Ross Stripling a projected 444 feet for a solo home run.

"That one definitely had some flight attendants working on it," Angels manager Joe Maddon joked.

In the first of their four-game series in Dunedin, Florida, Trout starred with 3-for-5 but fell a triple short of the cycle in the victory.

On Trout's form, Maddon added: "There's no surprise element to any of this. He's not doing anything new, it's actually a lot of old stuff."

Yermin Mercedes endeared himself to the Chicago White Sox fans in their home opener with a monster 485-foot home run.

The home run in their 6-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals was Mercedes' second of the season and goes down as the third-longest hit by a White Sox player in Guaranteed Rate Field history.

 

Mets walk-off controversy, Jose lift off for Astros

The New York Mets' 3-2 walk-off victory over the Miami Marlins ended in controversy and the winners admitted they got lucky.

After Jeff McNeil tied the game at 2-2 in the ninth with a home run, the Mets had bases loaded as Michael Conforto stepped up.

After two strikes, a pitch grazed Conforto's elbow pad and home-plate umpire Ron Kulpa initially appeared set to call a third strike before changing mid-motion to say the pitch hit the batter, earning the Mets the run they needed.

"Not the way I wanted to win the ballgame," Conforto said post-game. "I wanted to go up there and drive the ball somewhere.

"From my point of view, it was a slider. I felt it was coming back toward me and I turned. There may have been a little lift of my elbow just out of habit, out of reaction, and it barely skimmed the edge of my elbow guard."

Marlins manager Don Mattingly was left frustrated that they could not review the call.

"You'd think with all the replay we do that you could say, 'That ball's a strike'," he said.

The Houston Astros improved to a 6-1 record with a 6-2 triumph over the struggling Oakland Athletics, with Jose Altuve delivering a home run in their home opener after a long wait.

The Minnesota Twins won 10-2 against the Seattle Mariners, while the Boston Red Sox won 7-3 on the road to the Baltimore Orioles.

Fails for the A's

The A's slumped to a 1-7 record with their loss to the Astros, where it took them until the ninth inning to get on the board.

Grichuk grasps Trout hit

Trout's day may have been a little bit better for the Angels if not for Randal Grichuk's sensational diving catch in center in the ninth.

Thursday's results

New York Mets 3-2 Miami Marlins
Chicago Cubs 4-2 Pittsburgh Pirates
Boston Red Sox 7-3 Baltimore Orioles
Colorado Rockies 7-3 Arizona Diamondbacks
Chicago White Sox 6-0 Kansas City Royals
Minnesota Twins 10-2 Seattle Mariners
St Louis Cardinals 3-1 Milwaukee Brewers
Los Angeles Angels 7-5 Toronto Blue Jays
Houston Astros 6-2 Oakland Athletics

Rays against Yankees

Last year's American League champions the Tampa Bay Rays have had a slow start at 2-4 and they take on the New York Yankees (3-3).

Mike Trout delivered his first home run of the 2021 season as the Los Angeles Angels defeated the Houston Astros 7-6 in MLB on Monday.

The 29-year-old three-time American League Most Valuable Player clubbed a towering shot from Luis Garcia to left field to earn the Angels their first run in the fourth inning when they were trailing 4-0.

However once again the Angels did most of their work late, with four runs in the eighth inning, meaning they have scored in either the eighth or ninth inning in all five of their games this season.

The win improves the Angels to 4-1 while the Astros, who were once again booed, suffer their first loss to move to 4-1.

The Los Angeles Dodgers triumphed 10-3 over the winless Oakland Athletics but they lost star man Cody Bellinger to injury.

The two-time All Star was removed with a reported foot injury during a close play at first base where he was stepped on.

 

Rangers crowd silenced, Stanton slam leads Yankees

Full crowds were back in Dallas but the Texas Rangers did not give them much to cheer as the Toronto Blue Jays won 6-2.

Marcus Semien hit his second home run of the new season early, before Cavan Biggio went back-to-back in the second inning too, opening up a 4-0 lead.

The return of bumper crowds was a different dynamic as noted by Rangers shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa who said it "nerve wracking" and that it felt "like my debut all over again".

The New York Yankees cruised to a 7-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles with Giancarlo Stanton hitting a monster 471-foot home run in the fifth with bases loaded.

The Philadelphia Phillies maintained their perfect record with a 5-3 win over the New York Mets, although they left it late, with five runs at the bottom of the eighth.

 

Tatis injures shoulder in strike-out

The San Diego Padres lost talented 22-year-old shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr to a shoulder subluxation as he swung at an Anthony DeSclafani curveball in their 3-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants. Tatis looked in considerable pain and was escorted off the field.

 

Debutant Dustin on fire

Rookie pitcher Dustin May produced a sizzling display for the Dodgers in their win over the As, with eight strike-outs and six scoreless innings.

 

Monday's results

Minnesota Twins 15-6 Detroit Tigers
Toronto Blue Jays 6-2 Texas Rangers
Kansas City Royals 3-0 Cleveland Indians
New York Yankees 7-0 Baltimore Orioles
St Louis Cardinals 4-1 Miami Marlins
Cincinnati Reds 5-3 Pittsburgh Pirates
Philadelphia Phillies 5-3 New York Mets
Boston Red Sox 11-2 Tampa Bay Rays
Chicago Cubs 5-3 Milwaukee Brewers
Los Angeles Angels 7-6 Houston Astros
Los Angeles Dodgers 10-3 Oakland Athletics
San Francisco Giants 3-2 San Diego Padres
Chicago White Sox 6-0 Seattle Mariners

 

Astros at Angels

The Los Angeles Angels (4-1) take on the Houston Astros (4-1) once again.

World Series champions Los Angeles Dodgers were humbled on the Opening Day of the new Major League Baseball season 8-5 by the Colorado Rockies on Thursday.

The Dodgers had 14 stranded runners throughout the game while Cody Bellinger hit a ball into the stands which did not count as a home run on a strange afternoon.

With crowds returning to MLB, the Dodgers were unable to get off to a flying start.

"Honestly, we just didn’t play a good baseball game," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "All the way around, we didn’t play well."

In the Houston Astros' first game back playing in front of crowds since their cheating scandal emerged they were jeered and boed in an 8-1 win on the road against the Oakland Athletics.

Back-to-back home runs from Michael Brantley and Alex Bregman in the eighth put the Astros out of sight and silenced the crowd.

 

Trout lifts Angels, Mariners mighty comeback

Mike Trout flexed his muscle as the Los Angeles Angels rallied to beat the Chicago White Sox 4-3. At the bottom of the eighth, a visibly pumped Trout's hit gave him an RBI and tied the game. Shohei Ohtani then got on the board after an error by second baseman Nick Madrigal.

The Seattle Mariners trailed 6-1 in the eighth inning against the San Francisco Giants before mounting a remarkable fightback and eventually prevail 8-7. The winning run came when Jake Fraley walked with the bases loaded.

The New York Yankees' bats let them down as they were beaten 3-2 by the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Tampa Day Rays shut out the Miami Marlins in a 1-0 win earned by Austin Meadows' solo home run in the ninth.

 

Bellinger denied by mix-up

Bellinger was denied his first homer of the new season in a moment of confusion, when team-mate Justin Turner, who was on first base, thought Bellinger had been caught in the outfield and ran back. Bellinger's hit was actually fumbled by Raimel Tapia over the fence so when Turner reversed and passed by the left-hander that made him out and resulted in only an RBI single.

 

First homer of season

Detroit Tigers hitter Miguel Cabrera claimed the maiden homer of the new season in driving snow, which left him confused, sliding into base just in case it had not cleared the fence.

 

Thursday's results

Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 New York Yankees
Detroit Tigers 3-2 Cleveland Indians
Milwaukee Brewers 6-5 Minnesota Twins
Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 Chicago Cubs
Philadelphia Phillies 3-2 Atlanta Braves
Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 Miami Marlins
St Louis Cardinals 11-6 Cincinnati Reds
Colorado Rockies 8-5 Los Angeles Dodgers
San Diego Padres 8-7 Arizona Diamondbacks
Kansas City Royals 14-10 Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels 4-3 Chicago White Sox
Houston Astros 8-1 Oakland Athletics 
Seattle Mariners 8-7 San Fransisco Giants 

 

Dodgers to bounce back

The Dodgers will look to bounce back from their opening day loss on Friday on the road again versus the Colorado Rockies.

Opening Day.

A term synonymous with baseball across the United States and the globe. For fans, it is nothing short of a national holiday.

The highly anticipated start to the season on April 1 is an occasion steeped in history, with tradition front and centre.

This year's Opening Day means more than most. It is the latest signal of American life and sport returning to normal amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The coronavirus pandemic led to an enforced break and a reduced 60-game regular season schedule behind closed doors, with a limited number of fans allowed to attend the playoffs as the Los Angeles Dodgers went on to end their 32-year World Series drought.

But 2021 will see the return of the usual 162-game calendar and more importantly, spectators in the stands. All but one of the 30 teams will start at reduced capacity – the Texas Rangers hosting a full house for their home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays.

As America's pastime begins anew, we preview the upcoming season, in which the Dodgers look to defend their World Series crown, using Stats Perform data.
 

Kershaw gears up for a franchise-record start

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw – entering the final season of his three-year, $93million deal – will be on the mound when the Dodgers open their title defence against the Colorado Rockies.

It will be Kershaw's ninth Opening Day start – the most in franchise history – after injuries prevented him from beginning the 2019 and 2020 campaigns, the eight-time All-Star getting the nod ahead of Walker Buehler and high-profile recruit Trevor Bauer, the reigning National League (NL) Cy Young winner.

Future Hall of Famer Kershaw boasts a 5-1 record on Opening Day, with a 1.05 ERA (6/51.2), 59 strikeouts and eight walks. The 2014 NL MVP's only loss came in his previous start in 2018 as he allowed eight hits and one earned run, while tallying seven strikeouts in six innings against the San Francisco Giants.

Since 1913, when ERA became an official stat, Kershaw has managed the lowest Opening Day figure among pitchers with six starts – 1.05. The 32-year-old's ERA is ahead of Bob Feller (1.21), Jim Palmer (1.40), Hal Newhouser (1.41) and Walter Johnson (1.51).

As for the star-studded Dodgers, they are 74-62 (.544) all-time on Opening Day, winning nine of their 10 season openers since 2011, losing only in 2018.

Their 9-1 (.900) Opening Day record over this stretch is the best in the league, ahead of the Houston Astros (8-2), Baltimore Orioles (8-2), Seattle Mariners (7-3), Detroit Tigers (7-3) and New York Mets (7-3).
 

All eyes on Tatis and Padres

Fernando Tatis Jr. heads into the 2021 season fresh off signing his eye-popping 14-year, $340m contract with the San Diego Padres.

The Padres – winners of two NL pennants – are pinning their hopes on MLB's new poster boy delivering a first World Series to San Diego.

Tatis won a Silver Slugger award last year, having hit .277 with 17 home runs and 45 RBIs in the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season.

The powerful 22-year-old is the first player in MLB history to have at least 35 home runs and 25 stolen bases within the first 150 games of his career.

Tatis – the youngest Padres player to debut on Opening Day (20 years and 85 days) in 2019 – became the fastest player in franchise history (24 team games) to reach the double-digit home run mark in a season in 2020 after hitting his 10th and 11th homers in August.

In the postseason, Tatis homered twice against the St Louis Cardinals in October, becoming the youngest Padre to ever homer in a playoff game (21 years and 273 days) and the third-youngest player in MLB history to homer twice in a postseason match, behind Carlos Correa (21 and 20 days old) and Andruw Jones (19 years, 180 days old).

When it comes to on-base plus slugging, Tatis stacks up well. Since 1920, Tatis (150.8) is only behind Juan Soto (153.9 – 2018-20), Albert Pujols (159.3 – 2001), Jimmie Foxx (160.0 – 1925-29), Ted Williams (161.5 – 1939-40) and Trout (165.0 – 2011-13) for highest OPS-plus up until the age of 21.

Across his two Opening Day appearances, Tatis has three hits in seven at-bats and two runs while slugging at .571. The Padres will be hoping he can improve on that when they host face the Arizona Diamondbacks.

By comparison, Philadelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper and New York Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton love Opening Day.

Harper – the 2015 NL MVP and six-time All-Star – has nine hits, five homers and six runs in eight appearances, while 2017 NL MVP Stanton has 13 hits, four homers, 10 runs and 12 RBIs through 10 games.

Blue Jays recruit George Springer, a World Series winner with the Astros, has also impressed on Opening Day following five hits, three homers and six RBIs in six games.
 

Can Abreu and Freeman go back-to-back?

Chicago White Sox star Jose Abreu was crowned the American League's best in 2020.

Becoming the 28th player to win both the MVP and Rookie of the Year in his career, Abreu beat Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians and Yankees star DJ LeMahieu.

Abreu – the fourth White Sox player to win the award – was second in MLB with 19 home runs and fourth in the AL with a .317 batting average.

Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves trumped Dodgers star Mookie Betts and Padres sensation Manny Machado to the NL honour.

Freeman's 1.102 OPS was the second highest in MLB, trailing only Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto, while he led the majors with 51 runs scored and was second in the NL in batting average (.341), on-base percentage (.462) and slugging percentage (.640).

Does it bode well for the pair in 2020?

In a season after winning the MVP award, a player averages 135.9 hits, 21.5 homers, 80.5 runs and 79.5 RBIs with a slugging percentage of .516.

There have been 13 players to win back-to-back MVPs; 11-time All-Star Miguel Cabrera (AL) was the last to do so in 2012 and 2013. The most recent player in the NL was Albert Pujols (2008-09).
 

The end of Cleveland as we know them

After 106 years, this will be the last season the franchise will be known as the Indians, following the example of the NFL's Washington Football Team, who dropped their Redskins nickname in 2020 amid a long-time controversy.

Since 1915, Cleveland have won two World Series – in 1920 and 1948 – with their current streak of 71 seasons without a World Series title the longest active run in the majors.

In 1954, Cleveland went 111-43 (.721) in the regular season, before being swept in the World Series by the Giants. It stands as the highest single-season win percentage in AL history, and the best by any MLB team in the past 100 years.

Cleveland have had a winning record in each of the past eight seasons (2013-20), making them one of four MLB teams with an active streak of eight-plus (also Yankees 28, Cardinals 13, Dodgers 10). It is tied for the second-longest streak of winning seasons in franchise history (10 straight 1947-56; eight in a row 1994-2001).

Three Cleveland players have won the AL MVP Award – George Burns (1926), Lou Boudreau (1948) and Al Rosen (1953) – while five have claimed the AL Cy Young Award: Gaylord Perry (1972), C.C. Sabathia (2007), Cliff Lee (2008), Corey Kluber (2014 and 2017) and Shane Bieber (2020).

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