MLB Power Rankings: Damn, Yankees! New York, Milwaukee get off to hot start – The Athletic

The Athletic MLB StaffApr 2, 2024

By Tim Britton, Chad Jennings and Kaitlyn McGrath

We’re not even a week into the season, and already benches have cleared twice. Save some of that for September, fellas. It’s a long season.

But Opening Weekend always carries a little more weight than is logical. It’s been a weird offseason. Some elite free agents signed only a few weeks ago, loads of No. 1 starters are already on the IL, and the sport’s biggest story is a gambling investigation that involves its most famous player. This sport has been begging for games that matter. And now we have them.


So, what did we learn from this opening slate? There’s no massive shakeup at the top of our list — the Braves and Dodgers still stand apart  — but Nos. 3 through 11 are mostly a murky group of American League teams without a universal standout. So, when the Yankees sweep one of those top-10 teams — in this case: the Astros, on the road, when Houston was previously No. 3 on our list — it creates significant movement. The Yankees made our biggest jump, up seven spots, but they were one of three teams to receive multiple votes at No. 3 from our voting body (and they were among the six teams that got votes at either No. 5 or 6).

It’s early and with our small sample size, we’re still learning what’s real and what’s not. Here’s our latest ranking, with one big thing we learned about each team on Opening Weekend.

1. Atlanta Braves

Record: 3-1
Preseason Power Ranking: 1

One big thing: As if Atlanta’s world-beating lineup needed the help, Jarred Kelenic sure looked worth the club’s offseason investment in him. Here’s how many at-bats it’s taken Kelenic to get his fifth major-league hit of the season in the past:

2021: 28
2022: 28
2023: 20
2024: 8

Those first four hits came out of the ninth spot, three of them in Saturday’s bludgeoning of the Phillies’ Aaron Nola. The fifth was a double while pinch-hitting late against Seranthony Dominguez Sunday.

Kelenic was once a top prospect for a reason, and for all his initial big-league struggles in Seattle, he was an above-average hitter for the Mariners last season. If he improves on that baseline as the ninth-place hitter in Atlanta? Get out of here.

Oh, Chris Sale’s good, too. — Tim Britton

2. Los Angeles Dodgers

Record: 5-2
Preseason Power Ranking: 2

One big thing: Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s first start went about as poorly as possible, ending after one 43-pitch inning in Seoul, South Korea. His second start, in unusually dreary conditions for Southern California, came as advertised. The righty struck out the side in the first inning and five Cardinals total over five one-hit innings. He didn’t walk anybody and looked, more than anything, in control of his delivery and arsenal.


The Dodgers are the Dodgers, and you must break out the magnifying glass to hunt for weaknesses. (Late in spring they had no shortstop; now they have the best one in baseball!) The rotation was a glaring weakness late last season, and as much as they preach patience for Yamamoto over the life of his 12-year deal, their hopes for a 2024 title revolve around him looking like Saturday’s version pretty often. — Britton

3. Baltimore Orioles

Record: 3-1
Preseason Power Ranking: 4

One big thing: The Orioles surprised many last year with their 101-win season. But no one is taking the defending AL East champs lightly this season. A new era has dawned in Baltimore, with new ownership taking over — and, as our Brittany Ghiroli wrote, it’s scary how bright the future looks in Baltimore.

Our big takeaway is that the Orioles gave credence to those picking them as World Series contenders this year with a convincing series win against the Los Angeles Angels, whom they outscored 24-7 in the first two games of the series before dropping the finale. The Orioles’ lineup looks deep and it doesn’t yet include their No. 1 prospect Jackson Holliday, who, uh, already looks pretty comfortable in Triple A and is making the Orioles’ decision to keep him down look sillier by the game. — Kaitlyn McGrath

4. New York Yankees

Record: 5-0
Preseason Power Ranking: 10

One big thing: Let’s not overthink this. Yes, it was helpful that Oswaldo Cabrera proved a worthy fill-in for injured DJ LeMahieu at third base (two home runs in the first three games, each a one-run win) and the Yankees’ pitching was good, but this was Juan Soto’s weekend. From the throw on Opening Day to the three hits in Game 2 to the go-ahead homer on Saturday to the ninth-inning game-winning RBI on Sunday, Soto made his presence felt.

And the Yankees certainly need him to be a presence. Soto might even be responsible for all of those out-of-the-gate Cabrera hits.

The Yankees didn’t get Shohei Ohtani or Yoshinobu Yamamoto (or any other top-10 free agent, for that matter). Their ace is hurt, and their division is loaded. But they still got off to a hot start, in no small part because Soto was one of the most productive players in the sport. — Chad Jennings

5. Houston Astros

Record: 1-4
Preseason Power Ranking: 3

One big thing: A slight drop from our preseason rankings, but a notable one because the biggest thing the Astros took out of Opening Weekend was a big, fat zero in the win column. Swept by the Yankees, the Astros found multiple ways to lose their first four games. They blew an early lead in the season opener, scored just one run in Game 2, and their late-inning trio of should-be-good relievers lost Games 3 and 4.


The bullpen struggles probably stand out the most. The Astros’ biggest offseason addition was closer Josh Hader, who gave up a pair of costly, two-out singles on Sunday. The day before, Bryan Abreu got knocked around. (Both relievers were victimized by Juan Soto, so maybe that was the common thread.) With Justin Verlander and José Urquidy on the IL, the rest of the staff will have to pick up some early slack. That didn’t happen enough this weekend. (Editor’s note: It did happen late Monday night, however, when Ronel Blanco threw a no-hitter in a 10-0 rout of the Blue Jays.) — Jennings

6. Tampa Bay Rays

Record: 2-3
Preseason Power Ranking: 5

One big thing: Zach Eflin is the least of the Rays’ pitching concerns, so his Opening Day dud was relatively easy to dismiss as a one-off. For a rotation that opened with five starters on the IL, depth feels most problematic, but Aaron Civalle went six innings, one run in Game 2, and Zack Littell followed with six scoreless in Game 3. (The opener strategy fell flat in Game 4.)

Littell is the latest in a long line of pitchers the Rays have plucked out of nowhere (in this case, the waiver wire) and turned into a legit big leaguer seemingly overnight (he had a 3.93 ERA in his first extended look as a major-league starter). His first start of the year was another good one, which is a good sign for a Rays rotation that needs to keep this team afloat until some pitching reinforcements return from the injured list. If the Rays’ pitching development machine can keep churning out arms, they will remain a don’t-underestimate-them threat in the American League.  — Jennings

7. Seattle Mariners

Record: 3-2
Preseason Power Ranking: 7

One big thing: The Mariners got a pair of gems out of their young starters in George Kirby and Logan Gilbert, and once again, Seattle is showing early that they’ll be a pitching powerhouse. The Mariners split their series against the Red Sox, thanks in part to some heroics from the face of the franchise, Julio Rodríguez.

At 23 years old, Rodríguez has already accomplished a lot in the game — but, somewhat surprisingly, missing from his list of accomplishments was a walk-off hit. Clearly, this gap in his C.V. was nagging at him. Rodríguez hit a walk-off single in extra innings on Saturday. His feat salvaged a 12-strikeout start from Gilbert. — McGrath

8. Arizona Diamondbacks

Record: 3-2
Preseason Power Ranking: 8

One big thing: The biggest thing the Diamondbacks accomplished on Opening Weekend didn’t happen on the field (although, yes, scoring a franchise-record 14 runs in an inning is impressive). What got our attention was the team officially introducing starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery during their series win over the Rockies.

Days before Opening Day, Arizona signed the 31-year-old left-hander to a one-year, $25-million deal with a vesting option for 2025. Representing the last of the Boras Four, Montgomery took a similar path to the players before him and settled for a short-term deal with a high AAV. It’s a bargain deal for the Diamondbacks, who don’t seem content to bask in last year’s Cinderella run to the World Series. They’re in for a tough battle in a competitive NL West, but Arizona is showing that the snakes are indeed alive. —McGrath


9. Philadelphia Phillies

Record: 1-3
Preseason Power Ranking: 6

One big thing: We don’t want to blow one bad Aaron Nola start — against Atlanta, at that — out of proportion, so let’s take a look at J.T. Realmuto’s opening weekend. The catcher had his worst offensive season last year since 2015, with a career-low batting average and career-high strikeouts. He embarked last winter on some swing changes in the club’s hitting lab, and the early results were promising.

Realmuto had three hits in 10 at-bats over the weekend, with a home run and another ball threatening the seats. Philadelphia’s lineup is strong, of course, but not without question marks, especially about some right-handed hitters. Getting Realmuto, the Phillies’ cleanup hitter all three days this weekend, closer to the offensive force he was ahead of 2024 could mitigate a lot of those other concerns. — Britton

10. Toronto Blue Jays

Record: 2-3
Preseason Power Ranking: 11

One big thing: The Blue Jays split a series at Tropicana Field, typically a House of Horrors for them. George Springer hit two home runs. They were a part of a benches-clearing incident and one of their relievers received a three-game suspension from MLB (he’s appealing). And the club even got a gem out of Kevin Gausman.

But none of those are the big thing. The big thing is Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who looked much like the guy who went toe-to-toe with Shohei Ohtani in 2021 for the AL MVP award. In four games, the Blue Jays first baseman hit .308/.500/.538 and launched a home run 450 feet (actually Vlad thought it went a little farther than that). Per Statcast, it’s the longest home run so far this season. It’s a minuscule sample size, of course, but if Guerrero can maintain this pace, he’ll help Toronto climb our rankings. — McGrath

11. Texas Rangers

Record: 3-1
Preseason Power Ranking: 9

One big thing: It took just three games for 22-year-old Wyatt Langford to hit second in the Rangers’ lineup. Granted, it was because Corey Seager had Sunday off following an abbreviated spring training and an offseason sports hernia surgery, but still, the decision to give the spot to a kid with only 44 games of minor-league experience — Langford was drafted last summer — spoke volumes about the Rangers’ belief that he’s going to be a real difference-maker right away. He came out of the gate with a .900 OPS in his first three games. He’s already been intentionally walked once. He even made a nice catch on Sunday against the Cubs, his first game in the field.

If you’re the glass-half-empty type, José Leclerc’s rough start to the year was one big thing keeping the Rangers from sweeping their Opening Weekend. But in a weekend of banners and rings, Langford provided some hope of doing it again.  — Jennings

12. Minnesota Twins

Record: 2-1
Preseason Power Ranking: 13

One big thing: The Twins won their series against the Kansas City Royals, but at what cost? All we can think about is that Royce Lewis, the Twins’ budding star, is hurt — again! As a tease, Lewis homered and then singled in his first two at-bats on Opening Day before getting injured while running the bases. The third baseman suffered a severe right quadriceps strain and it could sideline him for several months, our Dan Hayes reported. The good news is he won’t need surgery, at least.


It’s yet another cruel twist in Lewis’ young career and it is the third major injury for him since 2021. Another long-term injury to Lewis truly hurts us all because he is a treat to watch. Losing him for an extended stretch will put the Twins’ depth to the test, as well, but their ranking suggests they remain the favorite to come out of the cushy AL Central. — McGrath

13. San Diego Padres

Record: 3-4
Preseason Power Ranking: 14

One big thing: We can probably all agree that focusing on a team-wide batting split over a half-dozen games is foolish — that they play 162 games so weirdness can balance out. But weirdness didn’t balance out for the 2024 Padres, who underperformed their run differential by 10 games largely because their offense disappeared in the most important moments of tight contests. No team in baseball was worse last season (compared to its usual production) in late and close spots than San Diego.

This year, the Padres have crushed the ball in that situation, limited as that sample has been. Statistically significant? Not really. Mentally meaningful? It always helps to get good results, especially when the calendar turns, to avoid that “not again” feeling. — Britton

14. San Francisco Giants

Record: 2-3
Preseason Power Ranking: 12

One big thing: Jung Hoo Lee’s first day in the majors? Oof. The guy signed to put the ball in play struck out on three pitches in his first at-bat, and when he did get his first big-league hit, he was promptly picked off.

Jung Hoo Lee’s next three days in the majors? Wow.

Lee recovered from an inauspicious debut to show off the skills that prompted the Giants to hand him a nine-figure deal in the winter. He didn’t strike out again after that first one against Yu Darvish, and he only swung and missed once the rest of the weekend. When he made contact, which was often, it was hard. Oh, and he parked one in the seats off lefty specialist Tom Cosgrove Saturday night, for all of us wondering how his power might play stateside. — Britton

15. Milwaukee Brewers

Record: 3-0
Preseason Power Ranking: 22

One big thing: We learned that Brewers first baseman Rhys Hoskins has earned himself boos for life at Citi Field. How exactly did Hoskins become the main character in Queens during Opening Weekend?

It began on Friday when the Brewers first baseman slid hard — but legally — into second base, and Mets second baseman Jeff McNeil took umbrage with the play because, in his view, the slide was late. That led to benches briefly clearing. For Hoskins’ second act, he had a three-hit, four RBI performance on Saturday during which Mets reliever Yohan Ramírez also threw behind Hoskins. Ramírez was later issued a three-game suspension. The Brewers walked away from the dramatic series with a sweep while Hoskins may have moved up a few notches on the Mets’ villains list. — McGrath


16. Chicago Cubs

Record: 2-2
Preseason Power Ranking: 15

One big thing: Even if the Cubs had swept the defending champion Rangers instead of losing two of three, the biggest takeaway here would be the injury to ace Justin Steele. The lefty was every bit as sharp as he’d been during his breakthrough 2024 against Texas’ excellent lineup when he strained his hamstring fielding a bunt. Although it’s only a Grade 1 strain, that still means Steele’s next big-league start is probably not until May. In the meantime, the Cubs will host the Dodgers and Astros around a three-city West Coast swing.


Despite sloppy play, Cubs avoid sweep in Texas and have some positives to lean on

Injuries to your rotation this early in the season, though frequent, can be especially difficult to handle. The rest of your staff might not be built up to handle a larger part of the innings burden, and your best pitching prospects aren’t as ready now as they might be come summer. As evidence of that latter note, see the rough second inning of Ben Brown’s major-league debut Saturday. — Britton

17. St. Louis Cardinals

Record: 2-3
Preseason Power Ranking: 18

One big thing: The Cardinals were in position to split their season-opening series with the Dodgers, despite a 1-for-16 weekend from Nolan Arenado, thanks to a strong Sunday start from Steven Matz. The inability of a makeshift St. Louis bullpen to get that lead across the finish line shouldn’t undercut the importance of that effort from Matz, who remains a key part of a rotation that has to be significantly better than a year ago.

Matz returned from his bullpen exile last summer to post seven outstanding starts (1.86 ERA, 38-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio) in July and August — before hitting the IL with a season-ending lat strain. Facing Los Angeles’ potent lineup Sunday, he looked reasonably close to that version of himself, lasting into the sixth despite a tight pitch count. — Britton


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18. Cleveland Guardians

Record: 3-2
Preseason Power Ranking: T-20

One big thing: Six pitchers in major league history have recorded double-digit strikeouts in at least three Opening Day starters: Bob Gibson, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Félix Hernández, Max Scherzer and — as of Thursday — Shane Bieber. The Guardians’ season opener was an impressive return to dominance for their longtime ace who didn’t have double-digit strikeouts in any of his 21 starts last season but struck out 11 A’s on Opening Day. Granted, the opposing lineup was exactly Murderers’ Row, but still, that Game 1 start was a reminder that Bieber is still just 28 years old with a Cy Young Award to his name.

Sure, the Guardians had a relatively easy opening matchup, and they lost on a bases-loaded walk Sunday, but they largely took advantage of the series, taking three out of four and offering a reminder that they have the most proven ace in the AL Central. — Jennings

19. Detroit Tigers

Record: 4-0
Preseason Power Ranking: T-20

One big thing: If Kenta Maeda hadn’t thrown a dud in his season debut, the Tigers might have put up the best pitching numbers in baseball during Opening Weekend. Even with Maeda’s rocky Saturday, the Tigers pitched to a 2.57 ERA — third-best in baseball — this weekend. Tarik Skubal was terrific on Opening Day, Jack Flaherty was excellent in finishing off the sweep, and Jason Foley already has two saves as the Tigers bullpen combined for one run on four hits in 12 2/3 innings.


The Tigers offense wasn’t great — though, three cheers for Andy Ibáñez — but the pitching was enough to run away with the series. This weekend brought out some of the best in this team. Now, the real trick is to do it against a team that’s not the White Sox. — Jennings

20. Cincinnati Reds

Record: 3-1
Preseason Power Ranking: 16

One big thing: The Reds are a fun, youthful team, and yet, what was most memorable about their Opening Day was some home run magic from a 33-year-old journeyman.

Before this season, Nick Martini had never made an Opening Day roster — heck, he’d never even played one of his previous 112 MLB games earlier than May. But after earning his first Opening Day start, Martini made the most of it, hitting home runs on his first two swings. After the Reds’ 8-2 win over the Washington Nationals, Martini was still in disbelief, our C. Trent Rosecrans wrote. It was a sequence fit for the final 30 minutes of a Disney movie. There are plenty of forgettable moments across a 162-game baseball season, but it’s magical moments like this one that remind us why it’s worth tuning in. — McGrath

21. Boston Red Sox

Record: 3-2
Preseason Power Ranking: 19

One big thing: The biggest takeaway from the Red Sox’s opening weekend might have been the rotation — a perceived weakness — which performed quite well in a four-game split against the Mariners. Give them a healthy Rafael Devers in Game 2 (when the Red Sox were shut out) or a healthy Kenley Jansen in Game 3 (when the bullpen blew a two-run lead in the 10th) and the Red Sox might have won the series.

With apologies to Tyler O’Neill, who homered in his fifth-straight Opening Day, then again on Sunday, it was the Red Sox’s rotation that stole the show this weekend. Brayan Bello, Nick Pivetta, Kutter Crawford and Garrett Whitlock combined for a 1.64 ERA through 22 innings. They walked one and struck out 27.  The rotation doesn’t have to be that good to significantly exceed expectations and just maybe give the Red Sox a shot. — Jennings

22. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 5-0
Preseason Power Ranking: 24

One big thing: The Pirates were undoubtedly the first-quarter darlings last season and their 4-0 start this weekend against the Miami Marlins has them once again looking dangerous. But one key thing we learned about the Pirates last weekend is that the future of their pitching staff looks scary.

First, rookie Jared Jones struck out 10 over 5 2/3 innings in his electric debut on Saturday, becoming the 31st pitcher in MLB’s modern history — since 1900 — to strike out 10 or more in his major-league debut, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The right-hander recorded 22 whiffs, also a record for a pitcher in his debut in the pitch tracking era (since 2008), per And if that wasn’t enough, Pirates top pitching prospect Paul Skenes struck out five over three scoreless innings in his Triple-A debut last weekend. reported that Skenes, the 2024 first-overall draft pick, averaged 100.1 mph on his fastball and touched 101.2 mph. Wowza. — McGrath


23. New York Mets

Record: 0-4
Preseason Power Ranking: 17

One big thing: In a weekend sweep that heightened any concerns you might have had about this Mets team entering the season, Luis Severino’s subpar performance Saturday still stood out. The club’s biggest upside play in free agency, Severino had delivered his first healthy spring since 2018, looking sharp to boot. In his first regular-season start with the Mets, he allowed six runs on a dozen hits in five innings. Afterward, his manager defined Severino’s issues as his location, the lack of bite on his slider and diminishing ride on his fastball. Other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?

One start is one start, and nobody reasonable was crushing the Dodgers for signing Yoshinobu Yamamoto for one bad start in Seoul. But Severino’s first start of 2024 looked awfully similar to a lot of his starts in 2024, and the Mets need someone better than that version. — Britton

24. Los Angeles Angels

Record: 2-2
Preseason Power Ranking: 25

One big thing: If only it had been that Mike Trout home run on Opening Day. Third at-bat of the season, a generational talent goes deep to announce his return to prominence after a season lost mostly to injury? That would have been pretty special, but after the homer, Trout was 1-for-9 with five strikeouts the rest of the weekend.

Instead, the big thing was either the team meeting after Game 2 — stunningly early for such a thing — or the Game 3 win that followed. Sunday’s win to avoid a series sweep came with five strong innings from Reid Detmers, who’s trying to prove himself as a top-of-the-rotation starter and struck out seven in his season debut. Our Angels power ranking suggests we’re willing to believe in a Detmers breakout more than an Angels playoff run. — Jennings

25. Kansas City Royals

Record: 1-3
Last Power Ranking: 26

One big thing: Is it going to be like this all year with the Royals? A couple of one-run games when the young lineup just can’t do much, followed by an 11-run offensive breakout when young talent shows itself and Bobby Witt Jr. reminds everyone that he’s a superstar? The biggest thing was that 11-0 win on Sunday, when Witt had three hits, Salvador Pérez hit a three-run homer, and Brady Singer pitched seven scoreless. That’s a heckuva win.

But that same Royals team couldn’t take advantage of a good Cole Ragans start on Opening Day or a scoreless Seth Lugo start in the second game. There’s a reason the Royals are this low in our rankings, but would you bet against them playing spoiler by sweeping a series against a contender late in the year? — Jennings

26. Miami Marlins

Record: 0-5
Preseason Power Ranking: 23

One big thing: A rotation beset by injuries looked like … a rotation beset by injuries in a season-opening four-game sweep by the Pirates. Jesús Luzardo, basically the last man standing in a rotation that has lost Sandy Alcantara, Eury Pérez, Braxton Garrett and Edward Cabrera, was solid enough on Opening Day. But lefties A.J. Puk, Ryan Weathers and Trevor Rogers combined to allow 11 runs in 11 innings. And that didn’t have much to do with bad luck: The trio allowed 29 of the 62 Pirates it faced to reach base.


The Marlins are barely built to withstand average work from their starters, let alone that kind of performance. They hit .201 as a team over the weekend — their spring wasn’t much better — with even Luis Arraez going 2-for-18. He already needs hits in each of his next nine at-bats to crack .400. — Britton

27. Washington Nationals

Record: 1-3
Preseason Power Ranking: 27

One big thing: How long can an outfield sporting Jesse Winker in left and Eddie Rosario in center hold up defensively? Winker did not start a single game in the outfield while with the Brewers last season. Rosario started 130 out there for Atlanta, though they were all in left field. He’d made all of 39 career starts in center before the weekend, the last in 2019 with the large majority coming in 2016. 

Among Washington’s current starting five, only MacKenzie Gore flashed a strikeout rate above league average last season, and only Patrick Corbin flashed a fly-ball rate below league average. There’s gonna be some fly balls to track down, is the suggestion. — Britton

28. Oakland Athletics

Record: 1-4
Preseason Power Ranking: 29

One big thing: Look, there’s no cheering in the press box, right? But can we all be cool about this and root for these guys just a little bit? The situation in Oakland is a mess, and it’s not because of Mark Kotsay or Brent Rooker or Alex Wood. Those guys are doing all they can do.

If we learned anything in Oakland this weekend, it was that the fans are passionate about this team. Passionate enough to buy tickets and then sit in the parking lot just to make a point. It’s going to be a weird and maybe final year in Oakland, and the A’s don’t seem like much of a threat to make the playoffs. They’ll take wins when they can get them — they got their first on Sunday thanks to Paul Blackburn and a bases-loaded walk — and their fans will keep hoping for some sort of miracle that keeps ownership from taking it all away. — Jennings

29. Chicago White Sox

Record: 0-4
Preseason Power Ranking: 28

One big thing: As a former top pitching prospect, Michael Kopech was meant to be a pillar of a golden age on the South Side, billed as the future of the White Sox rotation. But, now as the White Sox begin to transition out of that era of unfilled potential, Kopech is embracing his new role as a reliever after failing to win a starter job in spring — and his performance in the opening series is what caught our eye.

The right-hander pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings of relief last weekend against the Tigers with four strikeouts. In Sunday’s outing, Kopech threw 16 of his 17 pitches for strikes, according to His performance was a bright spot in what was otherwise a disappointing sweep. It may be a long year, but Kopech becoming a lights-out reliever is something White Sox and baseball fans alike can get behind. — McGrath


30. Colorado Rockies

Record: 1-4
Preseason Power Ranking: 30

One big thing: Let’s just address this head-on. Allowing 14 runs in a single inning to the defending National League champions on Opening Day is not what you want. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, via, Arizona’s third inning was the biggest single-inning run total on Opening Day in the Modern Era. The 16-1 defeat to the D-Backs at Chase Field — I had to double check that this game didn’t occur at Coors Field — set an early low point for the Rockies, and on the first day of the season, no less. (So maybe it’s only up from here?) The Rockies salvaged a win to avoid the sweep, but it was a rough start to their year and a cruel reminder of why they may be hanging out at the bottom of these rankings a lot this season. — McGrath

(Top photo:  Tim Warner / Getty Images)

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