Opening Day

How simulation predicts A's-Twins Opening Day would have played out

How simulation predicts A's-Twins Opening Day would have played out

Welcome to what could have been Opening Day 2020. 

The A's were originally supposed to host the Minnesota Twins on Thursday afternoon. That, of course, didn’t happen with the original date being pushed back amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Twins righty Jose Berrios earned the Opening Day starting job, as the team announced earlier this month. However, A’s manager Bob Melvin had yet to officially name his Opening Day starter, as he has been blessed with a pretty strong group that all could get the job done.

But, we can pretend as though he did, and take it a step even further with a simulation game thanks to Strat-O-Matic.

This “next best thing,” simulation broke down how the Twins-A’s Opening Day game would have turned out, and Oakland did well, winning the game 5-3.

Mike Fiers would have been the starter, according to the simulation, and he pitched in 5 2/3 innings. Across those frames, Fiers would give up three runs, including two solo homers, on seven hits and struck out five.

Liam Hendriks got the save, striking out two in the ninth inning. There surely would have been a storyline from Josh Donaldson returning to Oakland on a new team, who spent four seasons with the A’s. 

The two home runs Fiers gave up were from Nelson Cruz and Mitch Garver.

On the A's side, Khris Davis looked like his old self, picking up two base hits in the win.

Fiers had a bit to say after the game as well. (Wow, this is so weird)

[RELATED: What we'll miss most about Opening Day]

“I just wanted to give my team a chance to win,” Fiers said, according to the simulation. “I got burned on a couple of pitches. But we won the game, and that's all that matters.”

What a tease. 

How simulation predicts Giants-Dodgers Opening Day would have played out

How simulation predicts Giants-Dodgers Opening Day would have played out

Clayton Kershaw versus Johnny Cueto.

That was the pitching matchup Giants fans were expecting to see Thursday from Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, which would have been Opening Day of the 2020 season.

But with coronavirus putting an indefinite pause on professional sports in the United States, it remains to be seen when Opening Day actually will take place.

Those hoping for a result and a box score to scour through fear not, as the famous sports simulation game Strat-O-Matic simulated the anticipated matchup.

Spoiler alert: It doesn’t go very well for Gabe Kapler in his Giants managerial debut, as the Giants lost 10-3.

Cueto struck out seven, but was knocked around for four runs in the fifth inning before he was pulled from the game.

San Francisco did strike first, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in this hypothetical contest. But Kershaw still managed to pick up the win, striking out six Giants in five innings.

Hopefully for the Giants, Kapler’s bullpen has a stronger command when the real thing finally comes around, as the team walked 10 Dodgers in the loss.

Mauricio Dubon’s much-anticipated center field debut for the Giants also didn’t work out ideally, as the 25-year-old committed one of two errors for San Francisco on the day.

[RELATED: Bochy shares best Opening Day memory as Giants manager]

Just to throw salt in the wound, Hunter Pence suffered an injury in the simulation that will sideline him for the next six games.

But by far the most shocking thing from this simulation would be that Buster Posey hits a two-RBI triple, which gave the Giants that short-lived early lead.

Yes, you’re reading that right. A triple.

While we are yet to know when the real Opening Day will be played, it probably can't go much worse for the Giants than this simulation.

Relive A's most memorable Opening Day moments from past 20 seasons

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Relive A's most memorable Opening Day moments from past 20 seasons

History has not been too kind to the A’s when it comes to Opening Day. Since 2000, the A’s have gone 6-14 on a day considered a holiday by many.

Not great.

A's manager Bob Melvin has been pretty open about being disappointed in not bringing home a win when the A's lost 10 straight Opening Day games from 2005-14.

But there were some interesting Opening Days during that time. 

With the upcoming regular season being pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic, let’s take a look at some of the A’s most memorable Opening Days over the past 20 years.

Ichiro

Ichiro Suzuki made his MLB debut against the A's on April 2, 2001.

He went 2-for-5 in the M's win. Later on, he would go on to win AL MVP and Rookie of the Year as the Mariners won 119 games.

He had an illustrious 19-year career with the Mariners and retired ... against the A's in Japan last March.

Yes, this isn't necessarily about the A's, but it's Ichiro. 

Moneyball year

In 2002, the A’s had Mark Mulder starting on the hill against Alex Rodriguez and the Texas Rangers.

Oakland's first baseman Scott Hatteberg would ultimately become an icon in A’s history before he was played by actor Chris Pratt in the movie “Moneyball.” This was the season the movie and book are based on.

Chad Bradford closed out an 8-3 win for the A's at the Coliseum.

2008 Opening Day in Japan and Harden

March 25, 2008, at that time, was the earliest start in MLB history. And it would begin with a two-game series in Japan with the A’s hosting the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox.

The A’s were dealt an Opening Day loss thanks to a strong Daisuke Matsuzaka outing, and a two-run double from Manny Ramirez in the top of the 10th.

But game two was special thanks to a man named Rich Harden.

This was his season. He began it all going up against Jon Lester -- and picked up a win.

In six innings, he gave up just three hits, struck out nine and walked three. 

Harden easily is one the A’s, and baseball's biggest “what if’s.”

2012 Japan series

The 2012 Opening Day was a weird one. No, this wasn’t the first time the team would open up on the road … or in this case, across the seas, but this was unique.

The A’s played the Seattle Mariners in Japan at the Tokyo Dome. They lost, 3-1 in 11 innings, but then both teams flew back to Arizona and continued spring training.

Ichiro had an Ichiro-like game with four hits.

This, of course, was part of an effort to bring international audiences to the game.

It was successful on that front, but once again, the A’s would leave with an “L" in that game.

But they had Yoenis Cespedes on their plane, so that’s a win.

[RELATED: What we'll miss most about Opening Day]

2015 Sonny Gray dazzles

Sonny Gray had a shining 2015 debut against the Rangers. Across eight frames, he gave up just one hit and struck out three.

The right-hander's dominance helped break the 10-game Opening Day losing streak.

Gray also earned his first All-Star selection that season. At the end of it all, he would boast a 2.73 ERA with a 1.082 WHIP.