Delpercio: National League East Opening Weekend

Graphic for NL East Column. - Graphics Editor / Julia Quennessen

After a prolonged offseason and shortened spring training, we finally made it to one of the best days in sports – Opening Day in Major League Baseball.

Throughout the weekend we saw plenty of debuts, storylines and more, so why not take a closer look at everything? 

Welcome to the Show 

The NL East saw two players make their major league debut this weekend, with Bryson Stott of the Philadelphia Phillies getting the nod at third Opening Day and Lucius Fox of the Washington Nationals getting the start in their series finale against the New York Mets.

Stott went 2-4 and got his first major league hit, run, and RBI during the Phillies’ 9-5 Opening Day win over the Oakland A’s. Fox went 0-2, but got a sacrifice bunt down that scored the game-tying run and kept the eighth inning alive, which was the inning the Nationals took the lead and held on in the top of the ninth to avoid getting swept by the Mets. 

Familiar Faces in New Places 

This past offseason was one of the craziest in recent memory, and it had NL East teams going blow for blow with each other. The Mets and Phillies went out to spend a combined 462 million dollars and the Atlanta Braves made a blockbuster trade with the A’s to fill their first baseman void. 

Throughout the first week of play, these respected clubs have seen their offseason moves pay off.

Starting pitcher Max Scherzer went six innings, gave up three runs and three hits, walked one batter and struck out six in his debut with the Mets. Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos both hit a home run in their first couple of days as a Phillie, leading them to a series win over the A’s. And Matt Olson had a batting average over .500 in the Braves’ four-game series against the Cincinnati Reds. 

Reds Spoil Braves World Series Homecoming 

Fresh off hoisting the trophy in 2021, the Braves and their fans came into this season hoping that momentum carried over to 2022. The stage was set for the Braves to get off to a hot start, as the Reds traded one of their best players in the offseason and are potentially transitioning to a rebuild.

Unfortunately for Atlanta, Cincinnati had other plans, splitting the four-game series.

The Braves struggled to get going out of the gates, with everyone but Austin Riley going 1-27 with 13 strikeouts on Opening Day but quickly bounced back with a 7-6 and 2-1 victory the following days.

The Braves had the chance to keep pace with the Mets on Sunday but fell to the Reds 6-3 in a game where starting pitcher Ian Anderson struggled and put the Braves in an early deficit that proved too large to overcome. 

Fish Hang Tough With One of 2021’s Best 

The San Francisco Giants finished the regular season last year with the best record in the league so this past weekend was going to be a test for the young Miami Marlins squad.

The Marlins lost the series, winning only one of three, but had opportunities to win each game. The Marlins lost the two games by one run each, however, they can only blame themselves as they went a combined 2-22 with runners in scoring position this series.

If a couple of the Marlins at-bats go differently, we may be talking about how they just swept 2021’s best regular-season team, but hey, that’s baseball. 

No deGrom, No Problem 

Who needs Jacob deGrom when you have Tylor Megill?

The Mets, powered by their starting pitching, won their opening series down in DC against the Nationals.

This series was filled with drama from the jump, with Pete Alonso getting hit in the face with a pitch during the ninth inning of Opening Day, then Francisco Lindor getting hit in the face with a pitch the following game, leading to the first bench-clearing brawl this season. Both players would leave the game for precautionary reasons but returned to the lineup the following game.

The Mets bats produced enough timely hits throughout the series to help out the starting pitching performances they got, including Pete Alonso’s first career Grand Slam. 

With the Opening Week in the books, here’s a look at five guys who came out of the gates hot, and five guys who need some more time to get back into the flow of things, along with the standings one series into the new campaign.

Who’s Hot: 

Philadelphia Phillies SP: Kyle Gibson – 7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 K

Atlanta Braves 1B: Matt Olson – .571 AVG, .647 OBP, 1.576 OPS, 3 BB

New York Mets LF: Mark Cahna – .700 AVG, .769 OBP, 1.469 OPS, 2 RBI

Philadelphia Phillies 1B: Rhys Hoskins – .444 AVG, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB

New York Mets LF/2B: Jeff McNeil – .500 OBP, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB 

Who’s Not: 

Washington Nationals 3B: Maikel Franco – .077 AVG, .154 OPS, 30.7 K%

Atlanta Braves SP: Ian Anderson – 2.2 IP, 3 H, 5 ER, 5 BB, 1 K

Atlanta Braves 2B: Ozzie Albies – .083 AVG, .294 OBP, .337 OPS, 4 K

Miami Marlins 1B/DH: Jesus Aguilar – .077 AVG, .154 OPS, 3 K

Philadelphia Phillies CF: Matt Vierling – 0 H, 2 K 

Standings (As of Monday, April 11): 

1. New York Mets 3-1 

2. Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 (0.5 GB) 

3. Atlanta Braves 2-2 (1.0 GB) 

4. Miami Marlins 1-2 (1.5 GB) 

5. Washington Nationals 1-3 (2.0 GB)

For comments/questions about this story tweet @TheWhitSports.