To help fill the baseball void, we’re flipping the calendar back one year to remind us all just how awesome our great game is. Here's a look back at the best of March 28, 2019:
What’s more thrilling than hitting a walk-off home run? How about robbing a walk-off home run?
One year ago today, in the Brewers’ 2019 opener against the Cardinals at Miller Park, center fielder Lorenzo Cain was able to pull off that exact feat.
The defending National League Central champions entered the ninth inning holding a 5-4 lead over St. Louis, with flamethrowing closer Josh Hader looking to finish off the two-inning save after striking out the side in the eighth. Hader got the first two outs, before Cardinals manager Mike Schildt sent up a dangerous right-handed pinch-hitter, José Martínez.
Martínez barreled a deep fly ball that looked as if it would leave the yard. But Cain, a longtime defensive standout who would go on to win his first career Gold Glove Award for last season, had other ideas.
His reaction? “Not today!”
“I'm talking to the baseball out there, telling it to come down so I could have a chance to make a play,” Cain said afterward. “I timed it well and I was able to bring it back.”
Cain got a good jump (4.3 feet better than average, per Statcast), helping him cover 101 feet toward the right-center gap before making a perfectly timed jump and snatching the ball just as it was about to drop over the wall. Game over.
The Cardinals would have the last laugh in 2019, edging the Brewers by two games to win the division. But on this day, it was Cain’s time to celebrate — and that he did.
The best of the rest
• Cy duel lives up to the hype: Opening Day in Washington had the makings of a classic, with 2016 and '17 NL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer facing off against ‘18 ( and eventual '19) winner Jacob deGrom. Baseball doesn’t always go according to plan, but this time, it followed the script.
While Robinson Canó homered in his first Mets at-bat for an early 1-0 lead, the afternoon was mostly about two great pitchers trading punch-outs. Scherzer (12 K’s) and deGrom (10) became the second pair of opposing pitchers, and first since 1970, to both strike out double digits on Opening Day. The Mets went on to win the game, 2-0, and deGrom went on to claim his second straight Cy — although it was the Nats who were crowned champs in October.
• HR Derby at Chavez Ravine: What a way to begin a season. The Dodgers had six different players smack a total of eight home runs against the D-backs, setting a Major League record for Opening Day and matching a franchise record for any game.