It's here. By golly, it's really freaking here. I mean, yeah, we've already seen the Red Sox kick off the season with a win over the Yankees last night to take their first big step toward an AL East crown, but finally the real contenders get to go at it today, as the Blue Jays
and Orioles (Baltimore plays tomorrow.. sorry about that.) take the field for the first time. A win over the Rangers today could spell some truly great things for Toronto this season, as they've never failed to make the playoffs after winning an Opening Day game against an AL West team. Or maybe I made that up, whatever, I'm excited for the games to begin.
I'd like to kick things off by looking at some of the match-ups that I'm most excited to watch today, as the baseball gods have thrown up a pretty interesting schedule for Day One (Two?) of the 2010 season.
For those of you who haven't heard, today's most interesting match-up comes between two of the less interesting teams in the game. Royals and Tigers aces Zack Greinke and Justin Verlander finished first and second, respectively, in FIP in the AL last season. Today, each of them is taking the mound in an epic match-up of two elite starters, at least as far as Opening Day epicness goes. If you're going to tune in for this series, today's the day, because Max Scherzer, Dontrelle Willis, Luke Hochevar and Brian Bannister are scheduled to finish up the series. And well, they're not Greinke and Verlander, per se.
- If this match-up happens in a year or two, you could be hearing the same things about it as you're hearing about today's Tigers-Royals game. The Brewers and Rockies kick off their seasons with flamethrowers Yovani Gallardo and Ubaldo Jimenez on the mound, two of the game's best young pitchers. Jimenez has already established himself as an ace, he's been worth 10 wins in the past two years, and Gallardo could similar emerge if he can harness his impressive raw stuff. If you like watching Clint Barmes and Carlos Gomez flail at fastballs, this game should please you.
- I don't know about you guys, but I'm pretty jacked for Mike Jacobs' big return to the Big Apple. Not to mention the fact that the Mets are starting their season with the almighty Alex Cora as their leadoff hitter. How many Met fans would've believed you if you told them that their Opening Day lineup would have Alex Cora at the top of it and Mike Jacobs at first base? Hey, at least Johan Santana and Josh Johnson match-up in what should be a great pitcher's duel. If only Santana could start everyday..
-To say the least, I'm not exactly tall. I'm not short, but you wouldn't confuse me with a dart-throwing workhorse. So tonight's Houston-San Francisco game particularly excites me, as two of the greatest "short" pitchers of the decade (hmph, they're still taller than me) take the mound. Astros ace Roy Oswalt, standing at 6 feet flat, makes his club-record eighth consecutive start on Opening Day, facing off against the Giants and Tim Lincecum, who presumably is hoping to make a similar run at the top of San Francisco's rotation despite his relatively short (I wish I was 5-11..) stature. He'll have two under his belt this year, so he's already one quarter of the way!
-Last, and definitely the least, is today's Dodgers-Pirates game. I think that we can safely say that this will be today's least interesting game, unless Vicente Padilla does something wild or something. What's really surprising, though, is that Pittsburgh's Opening Day starter is actually better than than LA's. Could it be a sign of things to come? Ehh.. probably not.
Ah.. did I miss baseball.