Three strikes is a weekly article that brings you three of the biggest stories in the last seven days of the MLB, every Monday Morning.
Red Sox Crushing it
Opening day did not go to plan for the Boston Red Sox. On the road, in Tampa Bay, the Sox, one of the favourites to make a run at the World Series, were cruising to an easy victory, up 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth with Joe Kelly pitching in relief. A disastrous effort from Kelly and little better from Carson Smith saw the Sox concede 6 runs in the half inning and drop a comfortable win.
Since then the two sides have very different fortunes, the Rays have dropped their last 8 games whilst the Sox have moved to an MLB leading 8-1 record, their best ever start to a season.
The Red Sox offence has been very strong and the defence solid to have one of the best run differentials in baseball at +16 runs. Rafael Devers and Xavier Bogaerts have both had hot starts with 9 RBIs each, with Bogaerts hitting two bombs already this season and a team-high 14 hits.
Chris Sale has opened his 2018 campaign like a man possessed, recording 15 K’s in two games and giving up just one Earned Run. Sale should have two wins to his name after two great starts but for the shocking work of Joe Kelly on opening day.
The Sox have their first real test of the season as they host the 5-5 Yankees in a three-game home side.
The @RedSox have existed since 1901.
They have never started a season 8-1 until now. pic.twitter.com/lsIzFd1Q8H
— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) April 8, 2018
Ohtani the most exciting man in Baseball
The Los Angeles Angels have kicked off the season at an impressive 7-3, good enough for second spot in the AL West after the first full week on MLB action. In six fewer game Ohtani, the two-way phenom, has equalled Mike Trout in home runs and RBIs. Ohtani homered in three straight games and the Angels are perfect in the games in which he has featured, including reversing a 6-0 deficit against the Athletics. On the mound, he has two wins, given up just 3 runs and struck out 18 in 13.0 innings of work. He has power and control in his pitches, with a splitter that is getting guys to swing and miss big. In short Ohtani is doing things we haven’t seen in a hundred years, starting the season excelling in two positions. Ohtani’s two wins have come against the A’s, the first 7-4 on the road and the second 6-1 at home. Ohtani’s next scheduled start is Friday night in Kansas City against the Royals. The Kid has had a big week, what will week two bring?
Shohei Ohtani is the best story in sports right now. pic.twitter.com/WMtcyMzRJ7
— MLB (@MLB) April 9, 2018
Dodgers slow out the gates
The World Series finalists command one of the highest payrolls in baseball, a stacked roster and the best pitcher of his generation, Clayton Kershaw, but the LA Dodgers find themselves as second class citizens in their home city placed fourth in the NL West with a 3-6 record.
The Dodgers split their opening series at home to the Giants after losing their opening two games 1-0 wasting two very strong pitching performances. The Dodgers’ bats work up to the tune of a 5-0 and 9-0 wins before dropping the next four matches, taking the Diamondbacks to extra innings in their last two games winning last night 2-1.
The Dodgers’ bats have been quiet being shutout in three of their nine matches, but when they’ve got scoring having put up big scores in losing efforts. Enrique Hernandez leads the side in RBIs with just four and one homer, whilst Kershaw somehow has zero wins from three quality starts with 19 strikeouts and a 1.89 ERA. Kershaw has had two starts wasted in losses thanks to the bats going quiet and picked up a no-decision as the Dodgers edged it in extras on Sunday.
The season is very new so jumping to conclusions would be ridiculous at this stage, but the Dodgers should be dominant in the National League with the players at their disposal and Dave Roberts will need to find a way to get the bats going sooner rather than later.
Clayton Kershaw’s Curveball Raining Down. 🌧️🌈 pic.twitter.com/u3Ww3GIyi2
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 8, 2018