Walt Taylor’s Whatevers (4-0) kicked off their season with a stunning sweep of Rod Caborn’s Beefers (11-17), Wednesday afternoon, April 8, showing plenty of firepower and solid pitching in their 2020 debut.
The sweep was the second four-game sweep suffered by the Beefers in the first half and effectively knocked the Bovines out any chance for the first-half pennant. For the Whatevers, the sweep served notice that the What hitters have taken advantage of their extended spring training to groove their home run swings.
The Whats totaled 13 home runs in the four-game sweep and belted 26 extra base hits while hitting .213. The Beefer bats, in true coronavirus spirit, showed plenty of social distance from the baseball, hitting only .183 in the series with only five home runs. The series was played via Skype.
Game 1 Whatevers 3, Beefers 1
The opener was a tight pitching battle between What righty Jake Odorizzi and Beefer righty Mike Fiers. The Beefs took a 1-0 lead on an Oscar Mercado RBI 2b in the fifth. RF Charlie Blackmon, however, tied the game in the seventh with a solo HR off Mike Fiers and, three batters later, Yuli Gurriel’s sac fly scored Francisco Lindor, who had doubled after Blackmon’s HR. What LF Eddie Rosario pounded a homer off Fiers in the eighth to wrap up the scoring with Hansel Robles closing things out for the Whatevers in the ninth. The Whats only generated four hits, but all four were for extra bases.
Whats 3-4-1 W-Jake Odorizzi 1-0. Sv Hansel Robels #1. HR Eddie Rosario #1, Charlie Blackmon #1.
Beefers 1-5-0 L-Mike Fiers 1-6.
Game 2 Whatevers 9, Beefers 3
The Whats pounded Beefer starter Julio Teheran for four homers and nine runs in five innings to waltz to an easy 9-3 runaway in Game Two. Bregman hit a two-run shot in the first to get the scoring parade underway. In the second, Ozzie Albies hammered a solo HR and, later in the inning, George Springer hit a two-run shot to make it 6-1. Two innings later, Charlie Blackmon hit a two-run HR, his second round-tripper in two games, to make it 9-1. Jose Berrios went seven innings for the Whats, giving up only one run to earn the win.
Whats 9-11-1 W-Jose Berrios 1-0. HR George Springer #1, Charlie Blackmon #2, Alex Bregman #1, Ozzie Albies #1.
Beefers 3-10-0L- Julio Teheran 3-4. HR Bryce Harper #3.
Game 3 Whatevers 8, Beefers 3
For the second straight game, the Whats came out firing, with Alex Bregman hitting a two-run HR in the first off Beef starter Kyle Hendricks and Eddie Rosario plinking a HR off Hendricks in the second. Ramon Laureano homered for the Beefs in the third to make it 3-1, but it was all Whatevers the rest of the way with Joe Lindor putting the lid on the game with a three-run HR in the seventh, off Beef reliever Seth Lugo. What starter Walker Buehler went eight innings, allowing only four this and two runs, both solo homers by Laureano and Matt Olson, surprised his Whatever teammates by getting into the HR derby with a shot of his own in the fifth inning, off Hendricks. Bregman had two homers in the win, driving in five runs.Whats 5-10-2 W-Walker Buehler 1-0. HR Alex Bregman 2, #2 and #3, Eddie Rosario #1 Walker Buehler #1.
Beefers 8-8-0 L-Kyle Hendricks 2-2. HR Ramon Laureano #4, Danny Santana #1, Matt Olson #3.
Game 4 Whatevers 3, Beefers 2 (15 innings)
What starter Justin Verlander and Beefer righty Mike Clevinger, making his first start of the season, were both outstanding in a game that saw the Whatevers pound out 10 extra-base hits, but score only three runs. Verlander allowed a second inning solo HR by Beef LF Danny Santana in the second, and nothing after that, going seven innings, allowing only two hits and the lone run. Clevinger was even better, going eight innings, giving up three hits and no runs. The ubiquitous Charlie Blackmon, however, tied the game for the Whatevers with one out in the ninth with a solo HR off Beef closer Emilio Pagan, tying the game at 1-1.Both teams scored in the 12th inning with Yuli Gurriel homering for the Whats and Beef 1b Matt Olson keeping the Beef hopes alive with a game-tying RBI double to make it 2-2. In the top of the 15th, What replacement 2b Whit Merrifield homered off Seth Lugo to give the Whats a 3-2 lead. Matt Barnes, the seventh pitcher for the Whats, closed the Beefs down in the bottom of the 15th for the save.
Whats 3-11-2 W Tommy Kahnle 1-0. Sv Matt Barnes #1. HR Charlie Blackmon #3, Yuli Gurriel #1, Whit Merrifield #1.
Beefers 2-8-0 L-Seth Lugo 0-1. HR Danny Santana #2.