Something almost resembling real baseball is back, baby! With it comes homers, headaches, hype, heartache, and history. On Opening Day of 2020, Angels fans experienced all of the above in rapid succession.
After both teams held the black ribbon in a pre-game show of support for equality, Andrew Heaney and Frankie Montas assumed the bump and began to duel in promising fashion. Andrew Heaney in particular was electric, allowing only 2 hits in 4.2 innings pitched with 6 strikeouts. His counterpart, to his credit, also only allowed 1 run and punched out 5, but struggled with high pitch counts and was forced out even earlier.
Of course, the Angels roster is full of pitchers that no one knows the names of, as is tradition. We will likely see some gems in the rough, but 7 relievers used in one game leaves a lot of room to find the odd bramble bush instead. Noe Ramirez was ineffectively wild but also lucky, Buttrey would blow a lead and surrender the go-ahead run, and Robles lost command after being forced to try and plow through a second inning of work.
But that probably isn’t as fair as it could be. After all, the offense left the bases loaded twice before extra innings and had a LOB total of 24 after drawing 6 walks and accruing 7 knocks. Jason Castro tried to save the game by re-tying things up at 3, a perfectly respectable number of runs allowed for the whole team up to that point, but opportunities were wasted from the very first inning. And then there were the multiple baserunning miscalculations and outright mistakes.
In the end, this season has a smaller allotment of excuses to dish out to every team. It’s already July, and time has somehow already slipped away.
On the other hand, baseball is finally back.