athletics by Brian Symons April 23, 2021
We are now about a month into the baseball season. MLB storylines are teeming with intrigue and excitement.
We had 60 games last season, but this year we get 162. And being that we are only a month into the season, a lot can still change. Still, there have definitely been many storylines, both good and bad that have swept through the MLB.
Let’s revisit the ones that have had the most effect on the young MLB season, and the ones that are sure to continue as the marathon rages on.
It has been a major struggle for the Bronx Bombers on every side of the diamond: defensively, offensively and pitching-wise.
As things sit currently, the Yankees have the second-worst record in the American League and the third-worst in all of the MLB. Yankees fans have been shocked at the putrid start to this season, hoping, praying for a clutch hit, a player to show some emotion, or a pitcher to go further than 5 innings.
Going into this season for the Yanks, they were expected to be one of the top 5 teams in baseball. They have a stacked lineup, and if everything goes right a solid rotation, and a very good bullpen. However, the bullpen is the only aspect that has played up to that expectation.
They have a group batting average of .205, which ranks dead last in all of the American League. Also, they have a starting rotation ERA of 6.01, if you take away Gerrit Cole’s stats. And it feels like they are a team that has no desire to get better.
As mentioned, fans are clamoring to see any emotion out of their team. They want to see one of their players scream in frustration, break their bat, hit a water jug. However, right now none of that has happened, it gives off the impression to fans that they just don’t care.
After starting the season 0-6, most fans did not blink an eye, they were supposed to be bad, but after last night’s walk-off win versus the Twins, the Athletics are now riding an 11 game winning streak. Talk about a turnaround, which just goes to show how quickly things can change in baseball.
The Athletics are now more than halfway to the 2002 Moneyball Athletics’ 20 game win streak. There are still quite a few more games the A’s would have to win to get there, but hey, you never know.
However, for the Athletics, every part of their team has rebounded. The starting pitching that started the season terribly, seems to throw a shutout or near-shutout every night. Matt Olson has been blistering to start the season, defensively and from the plate.
He has 6 home runs, which is tied for the most in the AL and is only behind Ronald Acuña across all of baseball. Of course, there is also Jed Lowrie, the player that seems to have risen from the dead.
After Lowrie only played in 9 games for the Mets over the last 2 seasons, most people did not expect much from Lowrie, but boy were they wrong. Jed Lowrie is currently batting .323, with 2 homers and 14 RBIs, not to mention a .916 OPS.
Now, all this can quickly change for the boys out in Oakland, but for right now, just enjoy the success for however long it lasts.
Going into the season, the expectation was that the Red Sox would have a pretty horrible season, and after an opening series sweep at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles, it seemed to be an accurate expectation.
However, like the Athletics, things quickly changed. The Red Sox suddenly won 9 straight games, putting them atop of the AL East.
The reasons for their success are largely Rafael Devers, JD Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and the small ball hitting.
The Red Sox have three of the hottest hitters in baseball, both Martinez and Bogaerts are boasting above .360 averages, and both Devers and Martinez have 5 or more homers, and 15 or more RBIs.
While these 3 players have been the linchpin to the Red Sox offense, the whole lineup has been an amazing success. This lineup is not focused on the home runs, but instead on timely hitting, and stringing together line drives.
Of course, from time to time they hit one out of the park, but they have been a very successful small-ball lineup. Thus, the team has been one of the biggest storylines of this young MLB season.
Shohei Ohtani has been on fire to start the season, both offensively and pitching. Yes, for those that don’t know, Ohtani is both a pitcher and hitter, and a great one at both.
On the pitching side of things, Ohtani has started 2 games and pitched to 1.04 ERA.
Although the pitching has been amazing, what Ohtani has been able to do as a hitter is worth great note. In 15 games, Ohtani has a stat line that reads: 5 homers, 13 RBIs, .310 BA, and a 1.044 OPS. He has been one of the best hitters in baseball, along with being a top-of-the-line starter.
In a season where a lot of superstar players have started off the season slow, the same can be said for the recently 14-year, $340-million extended Fernando Tatis Jr.
You look at that number and expect to see jaw-dropping numbers every time he plays, but so far this season Tatis is batting a measly .154 batting average, and has made some mistakes defensively.
Tatis did suffer a pretty scary injury to start the season. Tatis had been dealing with some shoulder discomfort, which got worse after he “slightly” tore his labrum against the Giants earlier this season.
The idea of surgery had been thrown around baseball after he left the game, but luckily it was not necessary. However one thing is for sure, Tatis is not playing like his usual self. Could that be because of this shoulder injury? Only time will tell on this giant MLB storyline.
We could have highlighted Ronald Acuña Jr. We could have also analyzed the Dodgers’ chances of repeating based on what we’ve seen so far. And a whole lot more.
The point is, there are tons of storylines that have already made up the early MLB season.
As we push into the end of April, fans must realize that there are many more months of baseball to play.
So whether your team or favorite player has started off blistering hot, or cold as cold can be, know that there are still months to go.
And what sets baseball most apart from other sports, is that when a team gets hot at the right time, there’s no telling what they can do.