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Fair or Foul: Opening weekend takeaways

Opening Day 2022 returned on April 7, and there are still nearly 160 baseball games left for each team in the long season ahead. While it is too early to make full predictions on the rest of the season, here are some takeaways from various performances over opening weekend.

The Blue Jays mean business

Alexia Nizhny/DFP STAFF

The pitching staff may need to catch up to where the lineup is, but out of the gate the Toronto Blue Jays lineup is as fierce as feared. The way they thrashed the Texas Rangers pitching staff, led by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hitting a 467-foot home run, proves that everything written about this lineup seems true so far. Plus — Guerrero, Bo Bichette, George Springer and Teoscar Hernandez are all raking as much as expected. If their pitching staff, led by a rotation filled with both youth and veterans, catches up quickly, watch out for Toronto the rest of the season.

Injuries may do the White Sox in

The A.L. Central is a vastly improved division from 2021. The Kansas City Royals have prospects making it to the majors, the Cleveland Guardians still have Jose Ramirez and a strong pitching staff, the Minnesota Twins added sluggers like Carlos Correa and Gary Sanchez to the lineup and the Detroit Tigers have received a major facelift from a combination of free agents and prospects.

Despite this, the White Sox still had the best roster and greatest pull of talent in that division when the season started. However, injuries to pitchers Lucas Giolito and Lance Lynn and an early hamstring injury for outfielder AJ Pollock are already painting a potentially grim picture for the south-siders. If they don’t stay healthy they will have a slimmer chance to win their division with how much better it is this year.

Same old up-and-down Yankees

Through New York’s first game against Toronto and their opening series against the Boston Red Sox, the Yankees’ new additions to the lineup don’t seem to be impacting things yet. Isiah Kiner-Falefa has one hit, Josh Donaldson has more strikeouts than hits while Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are still the only two players on the team hitting well. Again, the season is only four games young, but this trend cannot progress all year long like it did for the Yankees in 2021.

The good news is that on the mound, every pitcher besides Geritt Cole seems to look sharp right away. Luis Severino looks solid for his first start in almost three years, Jordan Montgomery and Jameson Taillon both pitched decently well out of the gate and the Yankees’ bullpen looks otherworldly. Everyone from Aroldis Chapman down is throwing strikes, getting outs and just doing their jobs.

The Rockies took care of business against the Dodgers

Holding a lineup as loaded as that of the Dodgers to around four runs per game during a series at Coors Field will always be impressive. Winning a close one in the second game of the series, and then blowing out the Dodgers 9-4 in the third game might prove that there’s a little fight in a seemingly depleted Rockies team. With Kris Bryant’s awful defense being the only sore spot, solid line of production and taking down a roster as deep as the Dodgers alone is a notable achievement for opening weekend.

There is drama already — both between teams and inside clubhouses

Four games into the season, we have already seen New York Mets players nearly hit in the head in back to back games, Keegan Thompson of the Chicago Cubs get suspended for throwing at Andrew McCutchen of the Brewers and Alec Bohm of the Philadelphia Phillies have a public meltdown after struggling at the plate and performing abominably in the field through four games. No doubt that that is a lot of drama for so little time in the season, and it makes for some interesting storylines to follow through 2022. 

Only time will tell if we see Bohm, or any other young players in MLB, have such public meltdowns after truly rough stretches. And only time will tell if the division rivalries mentioned above will continue to boil over as the season goes on, especially with one of the two teams involved in each rivalry expected to contend this year while the other is expected to do poorly.

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