Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Zach Britton, 2013 Topps Update Series Gold #US292
For the first blog post of the 2014 season, I give you the unlikely winner of the first game of the year. I had the pleasure of attending the Opening Day festivities at Camden Yards, and it was everything I had hoped: a 10:00 AM departure from the office, a pleasant sunny day (24 hours after one more baffling late-March snowfall), and of course a nail-biting 2-1 win over the defending World Champion Red Sox. Chris Tillman battled through five innings, stranding numerous Boston runners and allowing a single run on a just-barely-gone solo homer by the reanimated corpse of Grady Sizemore. Zach Britton relieved him and used his sinker to collect six groundouts in the span of seven batters. That put him in line for the W when Nelson Cruz heralded his own arrival in Baltimore with a towering solo shot to the left field seats off of Oriole nemesis Jon Lester in the seventh. From there, Brian Matusz stamped out a would-be Sox rally in the eighth and Tommy Hunter earned the save by striking out Jackie Bradley, Jr. with two runners on in the ninth. That's a good place to start.