Now that all the pomp and circumstance of Opening Day is out of the way, we can get back in to the groove of day-in, day-out baseball. The beautiful grind of the 162-game season. Here is everything you need to about from the world of baseball Friday.

Friday’s scores

Price dominates in first 2018 start

One reason the Red Sox expect to be better this season: David Price. Elbow woes limited the former Cy Young award winner to 74 2/3 total innings last year, and he finished the season (and postseason) in the bullpen. 

Now healthy, Price is back in Boston’s rotation, and he made his first start of the year Friday night. He was dominant at Tropicana Field, his old stomping grounds.

Price threw only 76 pitches Friday night, though I doubt that will be the new normal. It was his first start and teams tend to be very careful with their starters right out of spring training, especially when a guy is coming back from an arm injury like Price. Better to be safe than sorry, you know? 

The most important thing is Price looked like his former self. He was painting the corners and getting hitters to chase out of the zone.

As usual, Price pitched primarily with his two-seam fastball (36 thrown) and cutter (29 thrown), and he held the Rays to an average exit velocity of 81.3 mph. Translation: Price generated a ton of weak contact. That’s always been his game. When he’s at his best, Price is very difficult to square up, leading to a lot of strikeouts and soft contact.

That’s the Price the Red Sox saw Friday night and that’s the Price they hoped to get when they signed three years ago. The first two years of his record seven-year contract haven’t gone according to plan. But now that he’s healthy, Price and Chris Sale could quickly emerge as the best 1-2 punch in baseball. Friday night’s outing was very encouraging for Price and the Red Sox after last season.

Cueto flirts with perfection

Because Madison Bumgarner’s injury happened late in spring training, the Giants didn’t have enough time to rearrange their rotation and give Johnny Cueto the Opening Day start. It instead went to Ty Blach, who threw six shutout innings against the Dodgers en route to his team’s 1-0 win.

On Friday, Cueto made his first start of the season, and he was magnificent. He retired the first 18 batters he faced and lost his perfect game bid in the seventh inning, when Chris Taylor flared a leadoff single to center. Cueto erased the baserunner with a double play two pitches later. His final pitching line:

The Giants went on to win the game 1-0 on another Joe Panik solo homer. Back-to-back 1-0 wins on Panik solo homers to start the season. Just as we all expected, right? 

The Dodgers, meanwhile, have yet to score a run in 2018. They have seven singles and five walks through 18 offensive innings so far. It’s not time to panic though.

Cubs, Marlins go long

The longest game of the very young season was played Friday night in Miami. The Cubs and Marlins battled for 17 innings — 17 innings! — with long relievers Eddie Butler (7 IP, 4 H ,1 R, 1 BB, 5 K) and Jarlin Garcia (6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K) stealing the show. Given Miami’s pitching situation, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jarlin the Marlin in the rotation at some point soon.

Friday’s marathon eventually came to an end when Brandon Morrow, two pitches into his Cubs career, allowed a walk-off single to Miguel Rojas

The run was charged to Butler, who became the first reliever to throw seven innings in an outing since Kevin Slowey (seven innings) and Shawn Marcum (eight innings) both did it in the same game in 2013. The Marlins were involved in that game as well.

Braun has another memorable Petco moment

Brewers outfielder-turned-first baseman Ryan Braun has had a surprising number of memorable moments at Petco Park in San Diego. He made his MLB debut at the ballpark and also hit his first career homer there. Braun also had the first three-homer game in Petco Park history.

On Thursday, Braun made his first base debut at Petco Park. And on Friday, he smacked a monster go-ahead three-run home run against Padres closer Brad Hand to help the Brewers grab victory from the jaws of defeat. Check it out:

The Brewers visit Petco Park once a year. Braun probably wishes they’d make the trip to San Diego a little more often. He’s had some pretty big moments there in his career.

Kapler gets first managerial win

Gabe Kapler’s first day as Phillies manager didn’t go so well Thursday. He was second guessed quite a bit after his team blew a 5-0 lead, and hey, that comes with the territory. Want to manage in the big leagues? You have to deal with the criticism when you lose. That’s baseball.

On Friday, Kapler picked up his first managerial win thanks to Carlos Santana’s 11th-inning sacrifice fly against the Braves. Amazingly enough, Kapler managed to use nine pitchers in the 11-inning game. Look at this:


The Phillies used nine pitchers in 11 innings Friday.
CBS Sports

Good gravy. This much is clear: Kapler is going to manage his way whether you like it or not. It may be unconventional, but this is how it’s going to be.

Harper’s Opening Day homer streak ends

For the first time since 2014 and only the second time in six career Opening Days, Bryce Harper did not hit a home run Friday, in his team’s season-opener. (The Nationals and Reds were rained out Thursday, pushing Opening Day back to Friday.) Harper’s three-year Opening Day home run steak was the longest active streak in baseball.

Harper did have a productive day at the plate, however, going 2 for 3 with a walk in his team’s 2-0 win. He did it while rocking a pair of Louis Vuitton x Supreme cleats.

In six career Opening Days, Harper has gone 9 for 21 (.429) with five home runs, five walks, and four strikeouts. He’s reached base multiple times in every Opening Day game he’s played.

Tigers have walk-off win overturned

After getting rained out Thursday, the Tigers and Pirates played a wild back-and-forth Opening Day game at Comerica Park on Friday afternoon. Pirates closer Felipe Rivero blew a four-run lead in the ninth inning, then, in the tenth, JaCoby Jones hit was sure appeared to be a walk-off single to left. Nicholas Castellanos slid in ahead of the tag at the plate and the Tigers went nuts, as you’d expect.

Alas, the bang-bang play at the plate was reviewed, and MLB’s instant replay crew in New York determined Francisco Cervelli managed to slap a tag on Castellanos before he touched the plate. Castellanos was out, the run did not count, and the game continued. Here’s the play:

A few innings later, the Pirates grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat thanks to Gregory Polanco’s 13th-inning three-run home run. Pittsburgh was able to protect that lead. Pittsburgh blew a four-run ninth inning lead, thought they lost on the Jones would-be walk-off single, then won anyway. 

Bailey, Scherzer reach the century mark

Congrats to Homer Bailey and Max Scherzer. On Friday, they became the first starting pitchers to throw 100-plus pitches in an outing in 2018. Seriously. There were 13 games on Opening Day on Thursday and not a single pitcher threw as many as 100 pitches. Here is the super-early 2018 pitches thrown leaderboard:

  1. Homer Bailey, Reds: 104
  2. Max Scherzer, Nationals: 100
  3. Caleb Smith, Marlins: 100
  4. Dallas Keuchel, Astros: 99

This is the result of two things. One, teams tend to take it easy on their pitchers early in the season. They’re still getting stretched out coming out of camp. And two, teams have a much shorter leash nowadays, and are ready to go to the bullpen early. Phillies manager Gabe Kapler pulled ace Aaron Nola after 68 pitches — 68 pitches! — on Opening Day.

Props to Bailey and Scherzer for being the first two starters to hit the century mark this year. They did it in the same game and we only had to wait until the second day of the season for it to the happen. Crazy.

Yankees win despite tough nights for Judge, Stanton, Sanchez

The Yankees won their season-opener Thursday afternoon thanks in large part to their new middle of the lineup. Giancarlo Stanton cranked two home runs, plus Aaron Judge had two hits and a walk, and Gary Sanchez had a double. On Friday, those three didn’t have nearly as much success:

  • Judge: 0 for 4, 1 K, 2 GIDP
  • Stanton: 0 for 4, 2 K
  • Sanchez: 0 for 4, 1 K

Ouch. A combined 14 outs in 12 at-bats. And yet, the Yankees beat the Blue Jays anyway, because their No. 8 and 9 hitters drove in four runs. No. 8 hitter Brandon Drury had two two-out RBI base hits and No. 9 hitter Tyler Wade had a two-run double. Also, Masahiro Tanaka .

Most nights, the big guys are going to do damage for the Yankees. But even when they don’t, New York’s lineup is deep enough that the team still has a chance to win.

Quick hits

  • The Yankees placed OF Aaron Hicks on the 10-day DL with an intercostal injury, the club announced. Hicks joins OF Jacoby Ellsbury (oblique) and OF Clint Frazier (concussion) on the shelf. Manager Aaron Boone said OF Aaron Judge may see time in center field while the team is shorthanded.
  • The Phillies placed RHP Pat Neshek on the 10-day DL with a shoulder issue, the team announced. That means both Neshek and RHP Tommy Hunter (hamstring), the team’s two big offseason bullpen additions, are currently out with injuries.
  • The Blue Jays announced SS Troy Tulowitzki will have surgery to remove bone spurs from both feet. He’s played only 197 games the last two seasons due to injuries. Toronto has already placed Tulowitzki on the 60-day DL.
  • C Mike Zunino was placed on the 10-day DL with an oblique strain, the Mariners announced. He apparently suffered the injury taking batting practice during a workout earlier this week, before Opening Day.
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