The pandemic-delayed MLB opener was a hit on television. The Nationals-Yankees game on ESPN was the most-watched regular season game in baseball on any network in nine years. It averaged 4 million viewers according to Nielsen fast national ratings and peaked at 8:30 p.m. EDT with 4.48 million viewers.
No regular season game had been viewed by that many since 4.7 million watched Boston beat the Yankees 3-2 in 10 innings on Aug. 7, 2011. That game was also on ESPN.
The Miami Marlins and Seattle Mariners carried a record 17 pitchers each on their opening day rosters, which were expanded to 30 players for the beginning of this season. The previous high was 28 players in 1995.
Many teams have opted for pitching-heavy rosters as they try to ease their starting pitchers into the 60-game season. Pitchers usually get at least six weeks in spring training to build up their arm strength but got half that during July’s three-week summer camp.
The Toronto Blue Jays finally found out where they’ll play home games this season, settling for a Triple-A stadium in Buffalo, New York, after being denied use of big league stadiums in Canada and Pittsburgh.
The club’s first home games were originally schedule on July 29-30 against the Nationals but those have been moved to Washington to accommodate infrastructure modifications at Sahlen Field to help it meet Major League Baseball standards and COVID-19 safety requirements. If the field isn’t ready by July 31, the team’s first “home” games in Buffalo would be on Aug. 11 against the Marlins.
Right-handed pitcher Brady Singer is expected to make his MLB debut when he takes the mound against the Cleveland Indians on Saturday. The 23-year-old was the No. 18 overall pick in 2018 after a stellar college career at Florida. He pitched well in summer camp and earned the spot after starters Brad Keller and Jakob Junis tested positive for the coronavirus.
Right-hander Taijuan Walker will be back on the mound for the Seattle Mariners on Saturday after two injury-plagued seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Walker missed most of the 2018 season after having Tommy John surgery and had various setbacks that limited him to just one inning in 2019.