Small ball, timely offense drive Pirates to opening day victory in Cincinnati

Sports / Baseball /

CINCINNATI — If the Pirates are going to achieve their big-picture goal this season — essentially to play a better brand of baseball and start winning games — the recipe they deployed on opening day in Cincinnati is a keeper.

They got on base, which was a focus of the offseason. They were active on the bases. They also manufactured a run ...Read more

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Pablo López strikes out eight as Twins shut out Royals, 2-0

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Team Flexibility paid off on the very first day.

The Twins, who made adding depth their priority during a busy offseason, got 5 1/3 shutout innings from new starter Pablo Lopéz, plus a rally-extending walk and run-scoring single from newcomers Kyle Farmer and Donovan Solano, and opened the 2023 season with a 2-0 victory ...Read more

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Marlins' late rally not enough in opening day loss to Mets to begin Skip Schumaker era

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MIAMI — Garrett Cooper is the only remaining player from the Miami Marlins’ opening day roster in 2018, the first team assembled under the franchise’s current ownership group led by principal owner and chairman Bruce Sherman.

The first baseman has seen up close and personal everything the organization has undergone over the course of the ...Read more

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Rangers' 9-run inning chases Aaron Nola in an opening day 11-7 letdown for the Phillies

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ARLINGTON, Texas — It began Thursday where it ended four months ago, give or take about 250 miles up the road. Same state, though. Against a team from the American League West, too.

And the outcome?

Another letdown.

Let’s be clear: On a scale of mildly disappointing to utterly soul-crushing, the Phillies’ fall-from-ahead 11-7 loss to ...Read more

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Paul Sullivan: Opening day at Wrigley Field melds Cubs' past with future

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CHICAGO — Every opening day brings a reminder of something from the past, and the past is a prologue when it comes to the Chicago Cubs.

The yin and yang of Cubs baseball was in evidence again Thursday at the season opener at Wrigley Field, where the Cubs beat the Milwaukee Brewers, 4-0, in the first game of the pitch-clock era.

Winning ...Read more

Brandon Nimmo's two-run double lifts Mets to opening day win over Marlins

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MIAMI — The opening day matchup in Miami was exactly what you want to see as a baseball fan. Two aces were on the hill for the Mets and their NL East foe, the Miami Marlins.

Max Scherzer might be a decade older than reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara but he’s still one of the aces that other pitchers have to chase.

Neither ...Read more

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Nico Hoerner and Cubs make short-term bet on each other with 3-year extension: 'This is where I want to be'

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CHICAGO — Within his locker in the Chicago Cubs clubhouse, Nico Hoerner keeps a physical reminder of his connection to the organization’s most successful stretch in the modern era.

Hoerner’s stall previously belonged to Anthony Rizzo, and the second baseman still stashes a pair of Rizzo’s batting gloves featuring dachshunds inspired by ...Read more

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Adley Rutschman makes history with homer, 5-for-5 day in Orioles' season-opening 10-9 win over Red Sox

Sports / Baseball /

BOSTON — Much of the discussion surrounding the roster the Orioles put together for the 2023 season focused on who wasn’t on it. They didn’t sign a marquee free agent. They didn’t swing a big trade. Top-ranked prospects Grayson Rodriguez, DL Hall and Jordan Westburg will open the season in the minors.

But any qualm one might take with ...Read more

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Rays beat Tigers on opening day, just as they planned

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — When you get past all the pomp of opening day to the circumstance, winning the game is what matters most.

The Rays did that on Thursday, beating the Tigers, 4-0, in pretty much the style they hope will carry them throughout the next six months.

Shane McClanahan delivered a dominant six-inning start. The Rays grabbed an...Read more

Braves win bittersweet opener over Nationals as Max Fried exits with injury

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WASHINGTON — Opening day feels special because of the pomp and circumstance, from the flyovers to the massive American flag unfurled for the national anthem. Optimism abounds because each team begins with the same record.

The beginning of the baseball season also comes with the realization that the baseball gods do not care about any of that....Read more

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Mets place Justin Verlander on IL with low-grade shoulder strain

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MIAMI — The Mets were set to start the season with their healthiest rotation in years, but then Justin Verlander felt something wrong in his right shoulder during a bullpen session the night before opening day at LoanDepot Park.

The Mets’ co-ace and marquee winter signing, will start the season on the injured list with a low-grade major ...Read more

Judge picks up where he left off, Cole dominates in Yankees' win over Giants

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NEW YORK — Aaron Judge did his best to bring his offseason alter ego to life on Thursday, setting fire to the Giants with his first swing of the 2023 season.

Judge, aka “Arson” after an erroneous report sent him to San Francisco over the winter, took Giants pitcher Logan Webb deep in his first at-bat on opening day in the Yankees’ 5-0 ...Read more

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Meet the scouts who put Anthony Volpe on his path to pinstripes

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NEW YORK — “Volpe’s on deck.”

Matt Hyde, a Northeast area scout for the Yankees, used to send that text to his colleagues, crosscheckers and superiors whenever Anthony Volpe stepped to the plate. The messages, which began during a tournament in Jupiter, Fla. during the Fall of Volpe’s senior year of high school, also included the name...Read more

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How Bryce Harper planted the flag in Philly and got his friends to follow: 'Cool to see guys picking the Phillies again'

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PHILADELPHIA — John Middleton wanted to be the one to tell Bryce Harper. So, shortly after lunchtime in Philadelphia on the first Monday in December, once Trea Turner had accepted the Phillies’ $300 million offer, the owner reached for his phone and called the star slugger at home in Las Vegas.

“Hey,” Middleton said, “we got your ...Read more

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After 15 seasons, Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw has perfected his control

Sports / Baseball /

PHOENIX — Clayton Kershaw first confronted the conundrum almost 10 years ago.

On the verge of free agency ahead of the 2014 season, and having already become entrenched as the face of the Dodgers franchise following his second of three Cy Young Award wins, the left-hander faced a crossroads during contract negotiations with the club that ...Read more

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Nathan Ruiz: Orioles CEO John Angelos again whiffs on self-imposed deadline to share club's finances

Sports / Baseball /

First, it was “next week.” Then, it was “before spring training is over.” Now, Orioles CEO and Chairman John Angelos has self-imposed two deadlines to go over the team’s finances with Baltimore reporters and has twice failed to follow through.

The Orioles played their final spring training game Monday, more than two months after ...Read more

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Bill Shaikin: Are the free-spending Padres a wise investment? We asked one of their investors.

Sports / Baseball /

"We don't pursue the bling."

That is not a song lyric. That is a mission statement, from an interview with a man whose investment company owns a small share of six teams in Major League Baseball.

Christopher Zook's company is not about providing investors the chance to win and wear a World Series ring, or the opportunity to shake hands with ...Read more

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David Murphy: Cristian Pache is a big name who gives the Phillies a small upgrade in a marginal role

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There aren’t a lot of interesting trades that happen less than 24 hours before opening day. Any major leaguer who gets dealt didn’t fit on somebody’s roster. Any minor leaguer who gets dealt for somebody like that is essentially a penny ante. In other words, the only players who get traded this time of year are players who are, by ...Read more

Joe Starkey: Interesting Pirates bound for 74 wins

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It's time to take the Pirates somewhat seriously again — and kudos to them on a perfectly executed tank job.

I mean that. If you're going to tank, you better hit bottom. The Pirates went way past that. They went so far below bottom that they discovered dinosaur bones from 160 million years ago.

This club lost 201 games over the past two ...Read more

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Mets starting season without naming a replacement for injured closer Edwin Diaz

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MIAMI — When the Mets begin the 2023 season Thursday afternoon in Miami, they’ll be doing so without a closer. The club has yet to decide on a replacement for Edwin Diaz and they don’t anticipate doing so anytime soon.

The closer situation might be the biggest storyline and the biggest question for the Mets as the 2023 season gets ...Read more