MLB Opening Day is upon us.
Well, technically, two games have already been played in Japan. But every fanbase can get excited about today 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. Which makes pitching lovers everywhere happy indeed.
We do not want to bog you down by breaking down every single matchup of the day. Some are much more intriguing than others. Apologies to those of you who are on the edge of your seats waiting for Rodón vs. Keller.
But we chose a few you should absolutely pay attention to. 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 today as DeGrom, will take on Scherzer in Washington.
The two men have combined to win the last three National League Cy Young awards and both lead what ought to be very good pitching staffs this season. Fresh off signing his hefty 137.5 million extension, expect deGrom to throw heat and look to keep Nationals off the board with vigor.
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. 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. Houston's potent line-up will have a challenge on their hands. But if there's one thing we've learned over the years it's this: don't bet heavy against the 'Stros main man on the mound.
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 in Berrios. 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.
Cleveland will be without Francisco Lindor on Opening Day, which could create an opportunity for Berrios to move in for the kill against the Indians.
4. St Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers: Miles Mikolas vs. Jhoulys Chacin
These are two under-the-radar pitchers from a year ago for those not paying attention. Mikolas finished sixth in the NL Cy Young voting with 18 wins and Chacin won 15 himself while posting a solid 3.50 ERA in 192.6 innings pitched.
Add that they're divisional rivals and this is a great way to kick off the season for the National League Central.
5. Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies: Julio Teheran vs. Aaron Nola
Julio Teheran has underperformed over the last couple of years as as compared with his earlier career, but he still finished with a 3.94 ERA in 2018. He also has improved his strikeouts per nine to 8.30.
Will he be able to handle Bryce Harper in his first game as a Phillie at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Ballpark? That is, to say the least, he has a challenge. But the Braves' line-up might have a challenge of their own, as Aaron Nola is proving to be one of the best pitchers in an NL East absolutely full of good hurlers.