There was no shortage of storylines in Fenway Park during Friday’s lone daytime MLB game as the Boston Red Sox (Read: Bahstan Rad Sahks) host the Baltimore Orioles (or as my boss insisted they were called, the Balmer Oreos). It saw not only the return of the Red Sox faithful in the crowd, but of
cheating punk world series winning manager, Alex Cora. The game also saw the regular season return of Baltimore’s Trey Mancini, who missed the COVID-shortened 2020 season as he battled (Read: Conquered) cancer.
With all of these headlines, it was a 27 year old pitcher from Olathe, Kansas that stole the show. Truly, this game was the story of some guy named John Means.
John Means Business as the O’s Start 1-0
On Baltimore’s sixth pitch of the game, Boston’s Enrique Hernandez hit a John Means fastball out to right field to get on first base. He’d line out seven pitches later, but the Red Sox had no reason to panic. After all, Baltimore’s pitcher failed to strike out any of Boston’s first three pitchers, surely, they’d enjoy more success as the day went on.
However, unfortunately for the dumbest team name in professional sports, that wasn’t on the schedule for John Means. He didn’t allow a single run in his seven innings on the mound, and in fact, he wouldn’t let another Red Sox get on base. That’s not a typo, he didn’t let a single Red Sock get on base. Not a home run, not a hit, not even a walk. He played brilliant baseball, and Boston didn’t even get on base again until Tanner Scott walked Rafael Devers at the bottom of the eighth inning.
At the top of the sixth, Pedro Severino singled, Matt Andriese walked Trey Mancini, and Ryan Mountcastle doubled into deep left to give the O’s a 2-0 lead that they would never relinquish. They added a Cedric Mullins run in the top of the eighth, but by then, it was just gravy as they shut Boston out, 3-0, to win their opener.
It was a historical win for Baltimore, becoming the first team to shut Boston out in the opener since 1976. Means became the first Oriole, and only the third pitcher period since 1901 to play seven innings, allow no more than one hit, and allow zero walks in the opener. They say you never get a second chance at a first impression, and the 2021 Baltimore Orioles gave one hell of a hello.
Baltimore, who is in year three of Mike Elias’ re-build, start the 2021 season on a surprisingly happy note. Whether or not this means anything for the rest of the regular season remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure…
They’ve got themselves one hell of a pitcher.