We are just over two weeks into the Major League Baseball season, and I think we can all agree that we are delighted that baseball is back and that this summer will be filled with games. Some rules that were adopted in the 2020 COVID-shortened season have remained, like seven-inning double-headers and beginning extra innings with a runner on second base. While I don’t care for some of those changes, I have loved to watch the changes that are going on with the different teams and players that have made it so fun to watch already.
Of course, the season is young, and things will change, but there has already been plenty of surprises that have made each day compelling. In this article, let’s take a look at some of the best surprises from around baseball so far.
The Boston Red Sox are Winning
On paper, there wasn’t a lot of trust in the Red Sox coming off one of their worst seasons and after all the drama that Alex Cora brought to the team. In fact, I picked them for third place in the AL East this season. I think many people still associated these Red Sox with the ones that traded away Mookie Betts, but this is a new team with a new attitude and their eight straight wins that they reeled off after being swept in the opening series might be here to stay.
For one, the rotation is better on the field than it is on paper. Nathan Eovaldi seems to be back to his 2018 self and Nick Pivetta who came over in a trade last year has emerged as a serious rotation starter. But the main key to their winning ways has been their power and offense. They have an incredibly deep lineup and can hit for power at just about every turn with J.D. Martinez, Rafeal Devers, and Christian Vasquez swinging hot bats.
Since 2017, we have seen 12 no-hitters in Major League Baseball. If I’m being honest, it just seems like it happens more now than it ever did before. We aren’t even three weeks into this season, and we already have two no-hitters. The first one was thrown by Joe Musgrove who gave the Padres their first ever no-hitter in their 53-year franchise history. To make that even more special, Musgrove is from San Diego and grew up a Padres fan. He was dominant against the Rangers with his only blemish coming in the fourth inning when he hit Joey Gallo with a pitch that ruined a perfect game opportunity.
A similar occurrence happened to Carlos Rodon who threw his no-hitter for the White Sox against the Cleveland Indians. Rodon went into the ninth inning with a perfect game and was just two outs away from getting it when he too plunked a batter. Maybe the craziest thing about Rodon’s is that it was the 20th in White Sox history. The starting pitching depth is one of the reasons I picked the White Sox to win the AL Central.
The Next Babe Ruth
Shohei Ohtani has always had a special hype that has buzzed around him since he came to the United States to play for the Angels. He is truly one of the most versatile players in the league with his ability to be a starting pitcher and his power to hit in the middle of the order. We haven’t seen that done since Babe Ruth was casually doing it. He made MLB history by becoming the first player in over 115 years to hit in the top two of a lineup while also being the starting pitcher. In that game, he struck out seven batters and also crushed a home run in his first at-bat that went 450 feet. Ohtani’s expected performance is one of the reasons I picked the Angels to win the AL West.