Last year I attended Opening Day for the Arizona Diamondbacks. In anticipation of our move to the state, this year I decided to watch on TV the D-backs first game. Turned out to be pretty good.
For the second straight year, the D-back opener featured something happening for the first time in the history of baseball. In 2016 it was Trevor Story of the Colorado Rockies becoming the first rookie to hit two home runs on opening day. Yesterday Madison Baumgarner of the San Francisco Giants became the first pitcher to hit two home runs on opening day. And quite the homers they were - with exit velocities of 112 mph, the hardest hit balls by a pitcher since StatCast was deployed on opening day in 2015. The performance was a continuation of the Giants hurler's batting skills as he'd hit 12 taters in the prior three seasons.
Baumgarner threw a perfect game into the sixth inning and left after seven, having given himself the lead with his second homer and fanning 11 D-backs.
The Arizona team picked up a run in the 8th to tie the game and then inserted 40-year old reliever Fernando Rodney to pitch the 9th. In a nightmare debut with his new team, Rodney gave up two hits and two walks along with the run to give the Giants a lead but managed to get out of the inning leaving the bases loaded.
The Giants, who fell out of contention last season because of a terrible bullpen, signed closer Mark Melancon to fill the role this year. Entering the game in the bottom of the ninth, Melancon got two quick outs and then gave up a double and three singles to lose the save and the game 6-5.
The D-backs are in a rebuilding stage in the wake of the club's downfall under the management team of Dave Stewart and Tony LaRussa but for now they are 1-0 and leading the NL West!