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The 2023 Major League Baseball season kicked off with a bang last weekend. Fans across the country were treated to some exciting games, as well as a first look at the new rules changes for this season. Here are some of the highlights from opening weekend.
One major factor in the 2023 MLB Opening Weekend was this season’s interesting new rule changes. First of all, a new pitch timer has been instituted that will enforce a maximum of 30 seconds between batters, 15 seconds between pitches when the bases are all empty, and 20 seconds between pitches when there are runners on base.
Secondly, the new defensive shift limit means that at all times there must be at least four defenders in the infield, with two to each side of second base. And finally, the first, second, and third bases have all been increased in size from 15 inches square to 18 inches square.
Opening weekend had many close games, as well as a few surprising ones on Saturday when a team was completely blown out of the water by the competition. The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 10-1 at Dodger Stadium, bringing intense cheers from their loyal fanbase. The Tampa Bay Rays had another huge victory, beating the Detroit Tigers 12-2.
Over in Oakland, the Athletics took a crushing loss at their home stadium, falling to the Los Angeles Angels 13-1. And finally, in the highest-scoring performance from any team so far this season, the Texas Rangers demolished the Philadelphia Phillies with a 16-3 win.
ESPN Power Rankings
Whether or not they’ll stay accurate throughout the season, one of the most enjoyable parts of Opening Weekend is seeing how the games influence ESPN’s initial power rankings for the league. Following the first set of games, where do the top teams stand?
In the top five spots in the league, ESPN’s analysts currently place the San Diego Padres at number five, the New York Mets at number four, the New York Yankees at number three, the Atlanta Braves at number two, and the Houston Astros in the top spot. The Astros look to be in fantastic condition and great morale after their World Series victory last year.
Technical standings based on games won and lost may differ from the analysts’ power rankings, and they rank teams only against the other teams in their conference. For the American League, the current leaders are the Minnesota Twins in the Central, the Tampa Bay Rays in the East, and the Los Angeles Angels in the West. The National League’s leaders are the Cincinnati Reds in the Central, the Atlanta Braves in the East, and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the West.
Astros celebrated their 2022 World Series Title
The Astros took their first game to celebrate winning the World Series in 2022 and raised the championship banner in their stadium on Thursday. This marks the team’s second banner in six years, an impressive achievement considering there are 30 teams in the league.
Houston native Megan Thee Stallion threw out the season’s first pitch before the team’s game against the Chicago White Sox. After four games of their series, the Astros and White Sox are currently tied 2-2.