By Tommy Mumau │ Utica Blue Sox Media Relations Assistant
After delaying the start of its season by nearly four months, Major League Baseball recently made its highly anticipated return. The 2020 MLB season is sure to be must-see TV, as the schedule consists of many high-leverage divisional matchups.
These matchups were on display from the very start, as the Baltimore Orioles took on the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays hosted the Toronto Blue Jays to open their seasons. These games showcased two former members of the Blue Sox organization, as Ryan Yarbrough and Cedric Mullins took the field in baseball’s opening weekend. Both players called Murnane Field home when the team operated as the Utica Brewers.
Cedric Mullins made his first appearance of the 2020 season on Opening Night at Fenway Park. While Mullins didn’t start the season opener, he came into the game in the eighth inning as a defensive substitution.
Mullins then got the nod to start in the Orioles second game of the season, as he started in right field against the Red Sox. While the right fielder didn’t record a hit in the contest, he drew a walk and later scored on a Jose Iglesias RBI single. The run gave Baltimore a 5-0 lead, and they went on to defeat the Red Sox 7-2 for their first victory of the year.
Following the series in Boston, Mullins was given a start in right field when the New York Yankees came to town. In the top of the fifth inning, the right fielder made an impressive diving catch on a sinking line-drive hit by Yankees’ utility man Tyler Wade. The grab prevented the Orioles from yielding an extra-base hit, while the club was facing a one-run deficit.
The next day, Baltimore welcomed the Tampa Bay Rays to town for a weekend set. Mullins made an impact in the third game of this series, as he recorded his first base hit of the season while drawing a walk and scoring a run. This performance helped the Orioles defeat the Rays for their fifth victory of the season.
Cedric Mullins has played nine games for the Orioles thus far in 2020. Since this brief stint with Baltimore, Mullins has been assigned to the club’s alternate site. At the site, Mullins will work to earn another call-up to the big-league team.
On the other side of the AL East, former Utica Brewers hurler Ryan Yarbrough made his season debut when he started the Rays’ second game of 2020. Yarbrough impressed in his first outing of the year, as he dominated the Toronto Blue Jays lineup. The southpaw didn’t allow a run in his 5.1 innings of work, and he only allowed four hits in the contest. Despite recording a no decision, the Rays went on to defeat the Blue Jays 4-1 behind Yarbrough’s dominant performance.
Yarbrough’s next outing was against the Atlanta Braves. The left-hander impressed in his second appearance, as he only allowed two runs while striking out six batters. The dominant performance spanned 6.1 innings, in which he only allowed two hits. Despite his success, Yarbrough picked up his first loss of the season, as the Braves defeated the Rays 2-1.
Thus far, Yarbrough has posted a respectable 3.78 ERA in three starts for the Tampa Bay Rays.
These former Blue Sox will look to continue this success throughout the year, as each game is important in MLB’s 60-game sprint. The Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays are currently tied for second place in the American League East.