Highlights of 2018 MLB Season So Far
It’s hard to believe, but we’re essentially half way through the 2018 MLB season. Opening Day was three months ago and with the All-Star Game right around the corner, baseball is just flying by. So much has happened in the past 90 days and we should stop to reminisce for a bit. Let’s take a look at the best moments of the season so far.
Shohei Ohtani’s First Home Run
On April 2, Angels’ Shohei Ohtani stepped up to the plate at Angel Stadium for the very first time. Heralded as the most exciting player to hit the MLB in years – mainly because of his ability as both a hitter AND a starting pitcher – there was a lot of hype for the youngster, and some of it wasn’t that positive. Could he truly be a two-way player, capable of being an elite starting pitcher one night and stepping up to the plate against elite pitchers the next? There were a lot of questions about him. Most were answered in that first home at-bat, as he belted a three-run homer – his first in the MLB – off Cleveland’s Josh Tomlin.
Yankees and Red Sox Brawl
In an April 11 game between these two storied rivals, benches cleared during the third inning after a hard slide into second from Yankee Tyler Austin. Austin then had some words with Boston’s Brock Holt. Later in the game, Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly absolutely smoked Austin with a 97.7 mph fastball that hit him between the shoulder blades and led to a bench-clearing brawl. Kelly and Austin threw punches after the pitcher threw down his glove and beckoned the Yankee batter to charge the mound. Both were ejected, as were Yankee third-base coach Phil Nevin and reliever Tommy Kahnle. It was an eventful brawl, one that prompted many baseball fans to remark that the rivalry is officially back.
Sean Manaea’s No-No
To date, there have been only three no-hitters this season. Seattle’s James Paxton was the most recent, blanking Toronto in early May. Days prior, a combination of four Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers did the same to San Diego. But the year’s first – and arguably most impressive – no-no came courtesy of Oakland’s Sean Manaea against a fantastic Boston Red Sox lineup. On April 21, Manaea pitched a 108-pitch, 10-strikeout no-hitter against the likes of Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, Hanley Ramirez, and a slew of other batters that often seem nearly impossible to get out. What made it even more impressive? It was the first no-hitter thrown against Boston in nearly 25 years.
Mike Trout Breaks MLB Statcast
Back in May, Mike Trout hit an absolute bomb of a home run off the Baltimore Orioles’ Dylan Bundy. I mean, he crushed it. With an exit velocity of 116.8 mph, the dinger actually broke MLB Statcast, which reported that the ball traveled an estimated 524 feet. While this absolutely wasn’t the case, it was still an impressive home run, one that had the baseball world talking.
Jose Altuve’s 10 Consecutive Hits
At the time of this writing, Houston Astros’ Jose Altuve, the reigning AL MVP, has 110 hits. With a .345 batting average this season, he won’t stay at that number for very long. Back in May, Altuve set an Astros’ record with 10 consecutive hits, breaking his own previous franchise record. What made this more impressive is that the streak started off with a hit that broke an 11 at-bat hitless slump. In a series on the road against Cleveland, Altuve absolutely destroyed the Indians’ pitchers.
Pujols Joins 3,000-Hit Club
Angels’ slugger Albert Pujols became the 32nd player to join the 3,000-hit club back in early May during a tilt against the Seattle Mariners. In the fifth inning, Pujols singled to right field off of Seattle’s Mike Leake. One of the best hitters of the last 15 years started out as a 13th-round draft pick, which made his entry into the exclusive MLB club all the more impressive.
Lowlight of the Season
This is the most depressing “highlight” of the year. Los Angeles Angels’ pitcher-outfielder-wonderboy Shohei Ohtani was recently diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament of his right elbow. Essentially, that means he has a partial tear in the elbow of his pitching arm. To avoid Tommy John surgery – which could effectively knock him out of baseball until 2020 – Ohtani’s UCL was injected with plasma and stem cells in hopes of rehabbing the injury. Currently, Ohtani is working toward getting back on the field, at least as a batter, something the Angels organization is open to while his elbow further recovers. With an update on the horizon, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with the Japanese rookie who has been the talk of baseball over the past few months.
There’s still a lot of baseball to be played this season, which means we’ll certainly have more highlights to discuss in a few months. As always, keep following TBA for MLB coverage, and for all your ticketing needs check the SeatGeek app.