Quartet of walk-off wins spark the beginning of 2022 MLB season

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By: Avery Rosas

Javier Baez (top) and Seth Beer (bottom) get game-winning hits for their teams on Opening Day.

Avery Rosas, Sports Editor

The bloom of spring leaves marks the beginning of a long 6-month journey. For most teams, that journey ends at the end of September. The remaining contenders will use every ounce of remaining strength to try to make their mark in history. 

We’ll write about that once it happens. For now: Opening Day. An unofficial national holiday that baseball fans revere more than Christmas. From November to late March, a pitiful void ached the hearts of fans who, eventually, survived the lockout. As if baseball wasn’t already missed enough, this year’s fans were desperate.

Among the unmentioned highlights from April 7-8, Seth Beer of the Arizona Diamondbacks hit a walk-off, three-run home run against the San Diego Padres in their opening game to beat them 4-2. 

The San Francisco Giants were leading by 2 in the 9th inning against the Miami Marlins when the Marlins put up 3 runs, headlined by Jazz Chisholm’s 2-run homer against Camilo Doval, the Giants supposed star closer. The Giants would somehow tie it in the bottom of the 9th and would win in the bottom of the 10th on a double from Austin Slater, an early preview of their supposedly continued devil magic.

Javier Baez, leading a new and improved Detroit Tigers team, hit what seemed like a long, hard lineout to right field that was caught by AJ Pollock to conclude the 9th inning instead of winning the game for the club. 

Upon review, the call that indicated the play as a catch and an out was overturned as evidence showed that the ball hit the outfield wall before falling into Pollock’s glove. The Tigers were elated as they got the win of what they hoped to be a very good season. 

The Mets, fresh off an underwhelming season where they were projected to be a force in their division, decided against continuing the trend. They won 5-1 against the Washington Nationals in D.C., marking the start of what would be a nice opening series to start the year.

Game 1 seems like a good portrayal of the Mets,” said Mets fan Patrick Quinn. “Good pitching, scrappy offense, the bullpen needs to tighten up a bit, however.”

Led by new manager Buck Showalter, the Mets were not submissive when Nationals pitchers combined for 3 hit by pitches, or HBP. They stood their ground and showed the intensity that they once lacked.

“What stood was the intensity and chemistry after being drilled by 3 pitches.” said Quinn. “The team was bothered and let Washington know. It was a good sign.”

The Angels, although taking a loss, don’t expect to be taking too many more with the unbelievable core of Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, and Anthony Rendon. They lost to the Astros but showed signs of serious improvement with their bullpen being mostly successful, the one caveat of the past decade of Angels baseball. 

“85-88 wins should be a piece of cake for the angels this year,” said sophomore Angels fan Noah Farias. “I think they’ll have a better record.”

Hopefully foreshadowing a successful season for the Yankees, they walked it off against their rival Boston Red Sox for their first win of the year on Opening Day. Homers from Anthony Rizzo, Giancarlo Stanton, and DJ LeMahieu provided just enough for Josh Donaldson to hit a seeing-eye single in the 11th to score the automatic runner that started at 2B to start the inning.

“Definitely how the Yankees walked off in the 11th against the Red Sox,” said sophomore Yankees fan Brennen Rodriguez. “It was really cool; especially for the new guy Josh Donaldson.”

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole struggled in the first inning of the game, allowing 3 runs before recording an out and figuring it out for the next 4 innings before leaving the game with what was ultimately a subpar performance. However, his talent is too prominent to have completely been lost over the offseason.

“Cole is an elite pitcher and each pitcher has a bad start so he’ll be fine as the season develops,” said Rodriguez.

In total for the 2 days of Opening Day, there were 4 combined walk-offs, creating 4 memorable starts for some fans and 4 nightmare starts for 4 other fanbases. The season opener is cool, and a big event for any baseball fan that is invested in their team. Albeit an important one, there are 161 games left in the season. This is just the start of a long, and hopefully successful, journey through the 2022 MLB season.