Only Major League Baseball can manage to make Opening Day confusing. It isn’t enough for them to have an extremely convoluted system for the amateur draft/international spending limits, team control/arbitration rules, free agency/qualifying offers, and for the all-star game/World Series home field advantage, but they also need to have two Opening Days! So which one is the real Opening Day? Neither. As the old saying goes, “if you have two Opening Days, you don’t have one.” Or is that for quarterbacks? Either way, here is what to watch for on the day formerly known as Opening Day:
Houston Astros at New York Yankees – Game has been postponed until tomorrow. Smart move for MLB and ESPN to bank on New York weather in April for their opening day, marquee game.
San Francisco Giants at Milwaukee Brewers – San Francisco has won the World Series every other year since 2010. They are due. As for Milwaukee, they are far off from competing for a World Series, but they have done a great job rebuilding so far. Talented young slugger Domingo Santana will bat leadoff today vs lefty Madison Bumgarner. Santana triple-slashed .288/.373/.577 in 52 AB’s vs. lefties last season.
Minnesota Twins at Baltimore Orioles – Lots of pure power in this matchup. Chris Davis, Adam Jones, Mark Trumbo, Pedro Alvarez, Byung-ho Park, and Miguel Sano are the headliners. Playing in Baltimore, this entire series could be bombs away if the weather cooperates.
Seattle Mariners vs. Texas Rangers – Battle of the aging aces! Felix Hernandez vs. Cole Hamels.
Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves – Is there a more exciting pitcher/position player combo than Max Scherzer and Bryce Harper? I don’t think so.
Boston Red Sox at Cleveland Indians – The $30-million-dollar ace (Price) vs. the $4.7-million-dollar ace (Kluber). Gotta love baseball’s draconian team control rules.
Philadelphia Phillies at Cincinnati Reds – Tankapalooza. The winner of this game is really the loser, in the battle to the bottom of the standings.
Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres – If Yasiel Puig can get his act together, Kershaw/Puig can rival Scherzer/Harper for most exciting duo.
Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays – Drew Smyly vs. Toronto’s death on lefties lineup will be a fun one to watch. If Smyly shines in this one, the sky is the limit for him.
Colorado Rockies at Arizona Diamondbacks – The Arizona doubters will be ready to pounce at the first sign of weakness, so it is important for Grienke to get them off to a good start. On Colorado’s side, it will be interesting to see if Trevor Story can carry his Spring Training success over to the regular season.
Chicago White Sox at Oakland A’s – Strikeout artist Chris Sale vs. control artist Sonny Gray, in a classic battle of power vs. finesse.
Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Angels – The Cubs have finally completed their 107 year rebuild. This could be the year they break the curse.
By Michael Halpern
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)