MLB Opening Day: Five intriguing pitching matchups to watch
MLB Opening Day is upon us.
Well, two games have already been played in Japan. But every fanbase can get excited about Thursday because all the teams are playing, and with that aces will be on mounds across the league.
That provides a lot of intriguing possibilities for pitchers' duels for the first games of the season.
All of them are interesting in their own ways, but we do not want to bog you down by breaking down every single matchup of the day.
We chose a few you should pay attention to and set aside some time to watch. So, without further ado, here are five intriguing pitching matchups for Opening Day:
1A. New York Mets at Washington Nationals: Jacob deGrom vs. Max Scherzer — It has been a while since a Cy Young winner and his runner-up have faced off on Opening Day of the next season, but it is happening on Thursday as DeGrom will take on Scherzer in Washington. The two men have combined to win the last three National League Cy Young awards and will lead very good pitching staffs this season. We are looking forward to seeing them face off several times this year, but especially in this one.
1B. Tampa Rays at Houston Astros: Blake Snell vs. Justin Verlander — This is why we have a 1A and a 1B. While it is already rare for Cy Young winners and runners-up to face off, it is happening twice this year as Snell and Verlander finished first and second, respectively, in the American League voting last season. Snell dominated the Astros last year, allowing a total of two runs in 14 innings pitched, so Houston's potent line-up will have a challenge on their hands.
3. Cleveland Indians at Minnesota Twins: Corey Kluber vs. Jose Berrios — The man who finished third in the AL Cy Young voting, Kluber, will take on one of the bright young pitchers in the game. Kluber is as good as it gets in the regular season and this is a year Berrios would like to take a serious step forward and insert himself into the conversation as one of Kluber's peers. Cleveland will be without Francisco Lindor on Opening Day, so Berrios could open the season very well.
4. St Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers: Miles Mikolas vs. Jhoulys Chacin — Two under-the-radar pitchers from a year ago, Mikolas finished sixth in the NL Cy Young voting with 18 wins and Chacin won 15 himself while posting a 3.50 ERA in 192.6 innings pitched. Add that their divisional rivals and this is a great way to kick off the season.
5. Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies: Julio Teheran vs. Aaron Nola — Julio Teheran has not been as good over the last couple of years as he was earlier in his career, but he is still a viable pitcher and can handle himself. The problem is, he will have to handle Bryce Harper in his first game as a Phillie at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Ballpark. He has a challenge, but the Braves' line-up might have more of one as Aaron Nola is proving to be one of the best pitchers in an NL East absolutely full of good hurlers.