Because the MLB season is a ridiculous 162-game endeavor, it’s absolutely absurd to push the panic button before we are even a week into the action. As a reminder, the Indians began the 2016 season with a 2-3 record but miraculously managed to climb out of that gaping hole and reach the World Series.
After this week’s season-opening series, there are only three winless teams in the majors. And while things could look completely different after this weekend, there’s still some cause for concern for each. The 0-fer teams, ranked by level of distress:
USA TODAY SportsTim Heitman
There wasn’t a team that needed to avoid a poor start more than the Royals, who are loaded with players in the final years of their contracts and could go into sell mode if April isn’t kind. And so far, it’s been downright disastrous. Kansas City was just swept by Minnesota, which finished with the worst winning percentage (.364) in the majors last season. The Royals were outscored 21-5 in the season-opening series, its pitching staff handed out 23 free passes and its once-vaunted bullpen allowed 14 earned runs (and 11 walks) over eight innings.
KC now heads to Houston, which just took three of four vs. Seattle. And the Astros have the offense to feast on poor pitching.
USA TODAY SportsBrad Rempel
Making their season-opening sweep at the hands of the Indians even tougher is the fact that the Rangers lost late-inning leads in two of the games – at home. As a result, there already are questions about a possible change at closer after Sam Dyson was charged with three earned runs on Opening Day and five more on Wednesday. And it’s troubling that Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish – the only two reliable arms in the rotation – both got touched up.
Texas has a chance to get in the win column this weekend against Oakland before hitting the road for a nine-game trip.
USA TODAY SportsJerome Miron
There’s no shame in losing to the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner (Rick Porcello) and a perennial Cy Young contender (Chris Sale) – especially considering how well Pittsburgh’s pitching performed in the two games at Fenway Park. Gerrit Cole was roughed up, but Jameson Taillon was magnificent over seven shutout innings. The Pirates held the Red Sox’s powerful offense scoreless in the second game of the series until Boston finally struck with a walk-off homer in the 13th inning.
After a rainout in the series finale in Boston, Pittsburgh heads home for three vs. the Braves and three vs. the Reds – a good chance to get in the win column and for Andrew McCutchen to snap an 0-for-9 skid.