Here’s All the Weird Baseball Things That Happened Already

Moments before the season’s first pitch, ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian giddily exclaimed something to the effect of, “Baseball season is about to start, and we have no idea what’s going to happen!” Kurkjian, 59, said this with a sense of childlike wonder. The kind of wonder that can only come from experiencing something for the first time, or the anticipation of a first-time experience. The kind of wonder that baseball renews annually.

Well, all the teams — with the exception of Detroit and Miami — have now either played a game or at least had a game postponed, and baseball hasn’t disappointed. Baseball never disappoints. We’ve missed this for so long, and now it’s back, so let’s celebrate it. Let’s take in all the weird baseball things that have already happened this season, just two days in. Something weird and fun has happened in every game! This is a post all about fun facts. Fun facts are great. And fun.

Pirates vs. Cardinals

We’ll begin with this one not only because it was the first game, but because I’ve already written this fun fact here. Francisco Liriano made the start for the Pirates, and his final pitching line was six innings, three hits, no runs, five walks, and 10 strikeouts. No pitcher since at least 1913 (and, presumably, before then, too, since pitchers didn’t strike out 10 batters in a game then) has ever finished a game with that pitching line. The first pitching line of the season was one that’s never happened before.

Blue Jays vs. Rays

These two clubs are the only teams to have played two games this season, and in that second game, Josh Thole hit a home run. Josh Thole’s only job in major-league baseball is to catch R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball. When he hits a home run, it happens on accident. We he does anything else besides catch a knuckleball, it happens on accident. Josh Thole hadn’t homered in almost three years. The last game in which Josh Thole hit a home run, Mariano Rivera got the save. A Josh Thole home run isn’t quite a Ben Revere home run, but it is a Josh Thole home run.

Philles vs. Reds

Joey Votto struck out in each of his first three at-bats, all against Jeremy Hellickson. It was just the sixth time in Votto’s career that he started a game with three consecutive strikeouts, and just the second time it’s happened in the last six years. And the swings looked horrendous:

Then he won the game with a go-ahead single in his next at-bat, because of course he did.

Dodgers vs. Padres

The Dodgers won the ballgame 15-0. It was the Padres’ worst loss in more than a decade. The Dodgers didn’t score 15 runs in a game all of last year, in 162 tries. It was the largest shutout win in Opening Day history.

Also, Yasiel Puig hit a little league home run to make the score 14-0:

Yankees vs. Astros

Opening Day was postponed, on account of the snow and ice on the field.

Indians vs. Red Sox

Opening Day was postponed, without an account of snow or ice on the field.

Diamondbacks vs. Rockies

Zack Greinke, he of the 1.66 ERA last season, allowed seven earned runs in his first start with the Diamondbacks. Last year, Greinke allowed seven earned runs in all of April. From June 7 to July 31, he made 10 starts, threw 73.1 innings, and allowed seven runs. Yesterday, he made one start, threw four innings, and allowed the same seven runs. He made 92 starts with the Dodgers, and never allowed more than five earned runs in a game. He’s made one start with the Diamondbacks, and has never allowed fewer than seven. Greinke allowed three homers in the game, something he’d done just seven times prior, in 365 career appearances. The last time he gave up three homers in the same game was nearly seven years ago. Here’s one more Greinke fun fact, for good measure.

And then there’s Trevor Story, who homered twice off Greinke, and did so in his first major league game. He’s just the fifth player in the last 100 hundred years to hit two homers in his major-league debut, and just the third to do it off the same pitcher. And that pitcher was Zack Greinke. Who had a 1.66 ERA last season.

Rangers vs. Mariners

The Texas Rangers amassed just one hit and won the ballgame. It’s just the 46th time in the expansion era, spanning 55 years, that a team has won a game with one or fewer hits. It’s the first time ever, dating back to at least 1913, that it happened on Opening Day. It was the first time in Felix Hernandez’s career that he pitched at least five innings, allowed one or fewer hits, and got the loss. This may actually be the most surprising fun fact in this post. I just kind of figured this happened to Felix Hernandez all the time.

Twins vs. Orioles

On a rainy, windy day in Baltimore, J.J. Hardy hit a ball down the left field line that the announcers say “looked like it was going to go 25 feet foul,” except for the wind that blew it all the way back into play, making for this catch, by Eddie Rosario:

Giants vs. Brewers

The Giants hit back-to-back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning. Here’s a concise little recap of all your back-to-back-to-back dinger fun facts:

Not to feel left out, the Brewers had some fun facts of their own. They drew three first-inning walks against Bumgarner, including one that brought in a run. Last year, Bumgarner didn’t walk more than three batters in an entire game last year. Scooter Gennett became just the 12th lefty to ever homer off Madison Bumgarner, and just the fourth since 2013. Fun fact disclaimer: Madison Bumgarner was very, very sick. But the Baseball Reference Play Index doesn’t know that!

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This has been two days in baseball. Most teams have 161 more games to play. Go to as many baseball games as you can, for the rest of your life. You’ll see something you’ve never seen before. You’ll feel like a kid again.





August used to cover the Indians for MLB and ohio.com, but now he's here and thinks writing these in the third person is weird. So you can reach me on Twitter @AugustFG_ or e-mail at august.fagerstrom@fangraphs.com.

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Moranall
6 years ago

I think Carlos Gonzalez’s home run last night should be on this list. For whatever reason, I don’t see it on Statcast, but Hittrackeronline has the exit velocity at 119.3 MPH. Furthermore, it was a liner that he hit out to right-center, past the pool in Chase Field. Apex of only 48 feet.

http://m.mlb.com/video/?content_id=573128583&c_id=mlb

Bipmember
6 years ago
Reply to  Moranall

The statcast era is upon us, even the broadcasters were asking for the launch angle and exit velocity. I could see this one being on the hardest homer list or the lowest homer list at the end of the year.

Anon
6 years ago
Reply to  Moranall

yeah, i was watching that DBacks/Rockies game and that thing was an absolute missile.

stuck in a slump
6 years ago
Reply to  Moranall

Statcast had it around 117 MPH at a 14 degree angle. Definitely helped my confidence in his second half power surge last year to see him just absolutely launch that thing.