Aaron Bummer faced under outrageous pressure to kick off the season
On an Opening Day that saw a lot of big offense and ugly play around baseball, both starters acquitted themselves well.
Lucas Giolito ran out a 60 game score, a far cry better than his previous Opening Day start, last year’s debacle vs. the Twins (a 14). Giolito threw 87 pitches over 5 1⁄3 innings, mixing four-seam fastballs (44%, averaging 95 mpg), changeups (33%, 83.1 mph) and sliders (23%, 87.4 mph). The ace gave up six hard-hit balls (exit velocity 95 mph+).
Dylan Bundy outdueled Giolito, however, with a 64 game score. His mix consisted of four-seam fastballs (27%, averaging 91.7 mpg), curveballs (24%, 74.7 mph), sliders (22%, 81 mph) changeups (16%, 84.1 mph) and sinkers (11%, 91.7 mph). Bundy surrendered eight hard-hit balls.
Aaron Bummer faced an outrageous amount of pressure in this game, facing not just the most pressure in a single play in the game, but the five biggest pressure situations. Tops, by a hair, was the grounder he coaxed from Albert Pujols that yielded 4.51 LI — and the game-winning RBI.
With 3.61 pLI and through only partial fault of his own, Aaron Bummer faced the most pressure in the game, just to get his two outs in the eighth. Piling on the pressure was a pinball single from David Fletcher, an
error fielder’s choice mistake from Nick Madrigal, a passed ball from Yasmani Grandal, and a tight strike zone to boot. As Tony La Russa said postgame, Bummer deserved better.
Adam Eaton’s two-run blast with two outs and Tim Anderson on first base was a .252 WPA clout, tops in the game and the fuel for his game MVP.
Baseball is a crazy game, and along those lines, it’s Adam Eaton who wins tonight’s MVP courtesy of a two-run homer in four plate appearances, and a .201 WPA. Least valuable was Bummer, finishing with a brutal -.554 WPA to start the season.
Luis Robert’s double in the second inning was the hardest-hit ball of the game, at 111.1 MPH. But Max Stassi, with a 106.5 mph single off of Codi Heuer in the seventh and a 105.8 mph homer off of Lucas Giolito in the fifth, was the only hitter with two balls hit harder than 105 mph in the game.