Cedric Mullins was the straw that stirred the drink Friday as the Baltimore Orioles centerfielder spoiled the opening day party at Fenway Park with a 3-0 win over the Boston Red Sox on an afternoon that was colder than the day the season was scheduled to start in The Bean.
Mullins, who the Orioles are hoping will become their everyday leadoff batter, made a case for being that dude in Charm City. In his season debut, he went 2-for-4 and scored a run.
It was 46 years to the day that the franchise traded the late Don Baylor for Reggie Jackson before the legend of Mr. October was born. That set the organization back for several years before ultimately winning the American League pennant in 1979. Mullins didn’t dominate the game from the top of the lineup but his presence helped the Birds bang out nine hits on a day where pitching was ahead of the offense.
Manager Brandon Hyde has been talking openly about the prospect of his offense’s ability to score runs this year. Friday afternoon may have given their suffering fan base a glimpse of how they will play in the future.
In a division that is defined by the ability of the Red Sox and New York Yankees to play long ball, the Orioles will be looking for ways to manufacture offense and Mullins will need to be their catalyst. His bunting and base stealing give him a chance to be a unique presence in a division that is noted for its big fly persona.
@Orioles outfielder @cedmull30 has earned a starting position by utilizing one of baseball’s oldest, most under appreciated and dangerous weapons — the bunt.
He figures to be an agitator at the top of the lineup this season and has to be if Baltimore hopes to stay out of the triple-digit loss cycle while the organizational remix continues under the watchful eye of Vice President of Baseball Operations Mike Elias.
The DMV was ready for two bros to start for the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles on Opening Day, but fate caught them looking. The Orioles and Boston Red Sox were postponed due to weather conditions in the Bean. Meanwhile, COVID-19 could extend the wait potentially for 14 days before the first pitch in the Nation’s Capital.
Josh Bell, one of the down-low free acquisitions during the off season was scheduled to make his debut at first base where he will replace Ryan “Mr. Nationals Zimmerman. Bell, a mainstay on The Shadow League’s Top MLB Black Knights list, is trying to rebound from a difficult 2020 campaign where his stats took a dip with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Nonetheless, he is a substantial defensive upgrade at the position.
Bell, who smashed 37 homers in 2019, signed a downgraded, one-year $6.35 million contract coming off a year where he struggled with a .226 batting average, just 8 dingers and a 26.5 percent strikeout rate (a career-worse) during the truncated 60-game season.
But hitting behind the Uber talented Juan Soto should give the Big Bopper every chance to rebound and solidify Washington’s first base position. If he does his thizzle, he will position himself to land a mega, multi-year deal from the organization. He was scorching at the plate over the last two weeks of Spring Training. On the other hand, if he fails, his career will be at a Khris Davis type of crossroads.
During a press conference, late Thursday afternoon National team president Mike Rizzo confirmed that four players tested positive for the coronavirus and have been placed under quarantine while MLB currently plans to let the Nats and Mets start the regular season on Friday.
However, D.C.’s COVID-19 protocols could be a conflict so stay tuned
The weather in Beantown delayed the debut of another newly-minted starter of African-American descent. A guy who is the leader of a bunting resurgence in the MLB, as players try to figure out ways around the infamous shift.
Baltimore’s Black Knight, Cedric Mullins, was scheduled to start for the Orioles in center field as their rebuild continues. Mullins is currently in a battle with Austin Hayes for the position as the long-term replacement to the departed perennial All-Star Adam Jones in center field. However, insiders tell me that the Orioles are hoping he can continue to develop and become their long-term leadoff hitter, to take advantage of his speed at the top of the lineup.
The 24-year-old third baseman made his first Opening Day start one to remember; blasting a 410 foot shot off of Kyle Hendricks to give his Pittsburgh Pirates a 2-0 lead in a 5-3 win over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
“It doesn’t surprise me,” Pirates pitcher Chad Kuhl said. “That guy hits everything hard. He’s just an unbelievable player. Really happy for him to start the season this way.”
Hayes has been killing the baseball throughout his rise to the Bigs and has been an impactful Black Knight ever since his September 1 call up in 2020.
In case you don’t know, or don’t remember, Ke’Bryan went deep in his first game with the Pirates. Coincidentally, that blast was also against the Cubs and also traveled well over 400 feet. He went 2-for-5 that night with a double, driving in two, and scoring three runs while playing immaculate defense in a tough, 8-7 loss in extra innings.
The first home run of Ke’Bryan Hayes’ Major League career. Ties the game at 6-6.
“That was unbelievable. It was outstanding,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said that night. “He did things well in all three facets of the game.”
Ke’ Boogie is just the fourth Pittsburgh Pirate since 1901, and the first since 1922 to pick up multiple extra-base hits in his debut, and just the seventh Pirates player to go yard in his first game.
The son of former 14-year MLB world champion, Charlie Hayes, finished last season as a top-ten prospect in multiple publications after hitting an eye-opening .376; collecting 32 hits in just 24 games.
Twelve of those went for extra bases, including five homers. In fact, Hayes led all Pirates who played in at least 20 games in batting average, on base percentage, slugging and OPS.
The power and the eye were still there this Spring Training, with 10 extra-base knocks in 51 at-bats, and a healthy .431 average.
He had checked off every possible box on his way to this moment. Hayes was nearly a .300 hitter during his minor league career. After struggling to generate a lot of pop early on, Ke’Bryan has grown into a solid 5’10”, 205-pounder who still has room to build onto his frame.
It’s a huge responsibility to be the face of a franchise that has seen the likes of Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, Barry Bonds, and Andrew McCutchen carry the mantle in years past.
But Pirates don’t show fear, they create it. Opposing pitchers will go to sleep each worrying if they’ll be the next to be raided by the young man wearing number 13, and standing menacingly at the plate.
If you’re looking to get your paper up this baseball season, Brownie has all the MLB betting action locked down.
Brownie’s Opening Day Picks For 4/1/21
Cleveland Indians -185
Shane Bieber is a Top 5 pitcher in AL going against a weak Tigers’ lineup.
The Padres have big expectations this year and start things off right on Opening Day at home against an Arizona Diamondbacks team that’s expected to finish near the bottom of a loaded NL West.