Baseball Games I attended in 2018
Happy Opening Day! Last year I posted a summary of all the Blue Jays games I attended in 2017, along with a summary of individual players’ stats from those games. This year I lived at home in Kitchener, Ontario, for most of the season before moving to New York City at the end of August. Because of that, I ended up going to a bunch of different teams’ games, and so it doesn’t make much sense to summarize player stats. I still saw a lot of baseball, though, and so I wanted to put together this summary to remember it by.
Boston Red Sox (5) @ Toronto Blue Jays (4), Thursday, April 26
Starting pitchers: Chris Sale (Red Sox), Marco Estrada (Blue Jays)
With Sale pitching, I was expecting a loss going in, so the highlight of the game was Estrada getting his 1000th career strikeout. It came on a full count against Mitch Moreland, for the first out of the second inning.
Brantford Red Sox (4) @ Kitchener Panthers (5), Sunday, July 15
This was my first ever independent league game. Both teams play in the Intercounty Baseball League, of which all the teams play in southern Ontario. Unfortunately I can’t find a write-up about the game anywhere, but I know it went at least 13 innings, and Kitchener used one pitcher for the last six or seven.
Philadelphia Phillies (6) @ Toronto Blue Jays (8), Saturday, August 25
Starting pitchers: Nick Pivetta (Phillies), Aaron Sanchez (Blue Jays)
At one point in this game, the Jays were down 5-0, but they managed to come back and win. That was kick-started by a Kendrys Morales home run, making it his sixth consecutive game with a home run to tie José Cruz Jr for the club record. He would homer again the following day but that was where the streak ended. The Major League record is eight straight games with a home run, held by Ken Griffey Jr, Don Mattingly, and Dale Long.
Detroit Tigers (8) @ New York Yankees (7), Thursday, August 30
Starting pitchers: Francisco Liriano (Tigers), J. A. Happ (Yankees)
This was the first baseball game I went to after moving to New York. I didn’t realize it until I was in Yankee Stadium, but both starting pitchers ended up being former Blue Jays, which was cool. This was also the game where Giancarlo Stanton hit his 300th career home run. It wasn’t a particularly impressive one, going just over Yankee Stadium’s famously close right field wall, so I couldn’t figure out at first why everyone was so excited.
Staten Island Yankees (4) @ Brooklyn Cyclones (5), Monday, September 3
This was my first ever minor league game, a match-up from the New York-Penn League, a Class A Short Season league. The Cyclones’ home park is on Coney Island at the far south end of Brooklyn. It was definitely the most unique ballpark I’ve been to, with ocean breeze blowing in from the outfield and roller coasters in left field. The game went to 10 innings and ended when L. A. Woodard, in his first and last game with Brooklyn, took a walk-off walk. After the game, fans were allowed onto the field to run the bases, which was pretty cool.
Since this wasn’t an MLB game, I suspect it will be harder to track down the box score in the future, so here it is.
Philadelphia Phillies (4) @ New York Mets (3), Friday, September 7
Starting pitchers: Aaron Nola (Phillies), Steven Matz (Mets)
So this was my fourth Phillies game, still not in Philadelphia. I’m going to be back living in NYC this summer, so hopefully I’ll get down to a Phillies home game at some point.
This game will probably be best remembered as the first game back in Queens for Asdrúbal Cabrera after being traded to Philly. It was José Bautista’s first game back too, but naturally that wasn’t as important to Mets fans.
Miami Marlins (5) @ New York Mets (3), Tuesday, September 11
Starting pitchers: José Ureña (Marlins), Jacob deGrom (Mets)
DeGrom’s 2018 season was one for the ages, as he threw 217 innings with a 1.70 ERA, 1.99 FIP, and 0.912 WHIP. His record was just 10-9, but awards voters managed to look past that and give him the NL Cy Young anyway. Hopefully they continue to think that way in the future. This game was emblematic of his season, as he threw 7.0 innings, allowing just two runs and taking the loss. There was a glimmer of hope for the Mets as Kevin Plawecki hit a two-run home run in the ninth inning, but it wasn’t enough.
Toronto Blue Jays (3) @ New York Yankees (2), Sunday, September 16
Starting pitchers: Thomas Pannone (Blue Jays), Lance Lynn (Yankees)
This was the first time I’d been to a Blue Jays game outside Toronto. I went in my Jays T-shirt and cap, but didn’t have too much trouble. On the way in, a security guard told me to “enjoy the loss”, apparently ignoring that the Yankees had lost the game the night before. I chatted with some Yankees fans sitting near me, but I was careful not to be too loud as the only Toronto fan in the section.
Baltimore Orioles (2) @ New York Yankees (3), Saturday, September 22
Starting pitchers: David Hess (Orioles), Lance Lynn (Yankees)
In the middle of the day, when the game started, it was pretty warm out, but sitting in the top level of Yankee Stadium, with the wind blowing, by the end of the game it had gotten pretty chilly, and I was not dressed for it. I was pretty conflicted on who to root for, not liking either team, hoping for the Yankees to overtake the Red Sox if possible, but to miss the playoffs if not. By the time the game got to extras, I was just ready for it to be over. It ended in the bottom of the 11th when Aaron Hicks hit a walk-off double to drive in Didi Gregorius.
Atlanta Braves (1) @ New York Mets (4), Thursday, September 27
Starting pitchers: Julio Teheran (Braves), Jason Vargas (Mets)
Vargas had a pretty bad year in 2018, with a 5.77 ERA and 5.02 FIP through 92.0 innings pitched in 20 starts, but he did really well in this game, better than the deGrom start I saw, in fact. Vargas went seven innings and didn’t allow a run. I also saw home runs by two different Mets catchers: Kevin Plawecki hit a solo shot and Devin Mesoraco batted in the other three Mets runs with his.
Miami Marlins (0) @ New York Mets (1), Sunday, September 30
Starting pitchers: Sandy Alcántara (Marlins), Noah Syndergaard (Mets)
David Wright played the final game of his career the day before this game. When it was announced that he would be retiring after the September 29 game, I looked at tickets and they were about $30. I figured it would be cool to see, but didn’t want to commit right away. That was a mistake. The next time I looked, they were well over $100 each. Instead, I got a ticket to the September 30 game, which was also a good one to be at. Noah Syndergaard had the first complete game shutout of his career, and he hit a single. It was also José Reyes’ last game as a Met. The send-off was awkward; Reyes was terrible last year, and he was once suspended for domestic violence. It seems he hasn’t officially retired, but he should, and he probably will soon.
As for this season, I’ll be moving back to New York at the end of June and hope to see a whole lot more home games for the Mets and Yankees, plus the Cyclones and Staten Island Yankees. Until then, I’m living at home in Kitchener, but my brother has a summer internship arranged with a company in Toronto, so I’ll definitely have a chance to see some Jays games, too. Looking forward to another great season of baseball!