Listen, we know it's tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage, and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn't easy. It's okay, though, we're going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning, and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.
* * *
Every once in a while, a pitching matchup comes along and makes the game a must-watch affair. It doesn’t matter how the overall teams match up, the two pitchers are transcendent, and it’s not often we see two of them on the mound in the same game. Typically, these matchups take place on Opening Day, when every team is sending out their ace. Unfortunately, due to some bad luck, there weren’t many of those this year. The baseball gods are making up for it tonight, though, giving us Jose Fernandez versus Noah Syndergaard, two 23-year-olds who are also arguably the two best young arms in the game.
Fernandez is coming off Tommy John surgery, the fateful injury that caused him to make just 19 combined starts over the last two seasons. Luckily for us and the Marlins, the time he missed didn’t take away from his skills. He still has some of the best stuff in the league, consistently striking out well over a batter per inning throughout his career. He didn’t make the Opening Day start for Miami, but in Game 2, he allowed a disappointing five runs in 5 2/3 inning, but struck out 13 batters in the process. There’s little question that he’ll be in the Cy Young conversation provided he makes it through the season healthy.
Syndergaard, on the other hand, is coming off a completely dominating performance that has the entire league scared of what they’ll see from Thor in 2015. This is your classic big, flame throwing ace, and he pumped out high-90s fastballs against the defending World Champions to strike out nine Royals over six shutout innings. Kansas City responded with some sexist nonsense. Syndergaard and his long locks flashed some huge potential in 2015, and if the first start was any indication, tonight could very well be a matchup of two of the top Cy Young contenders in the National League.
- One of the other Mets aces, Jacob DeGrom, will miss his next start due to lat trouble. Don’t worry, you don’t have to pretend how that effects pitchers, Amazin' Avenue has you covered.
- Monday marked David Ortiz’s final Home Opener at Fenway, and the Red Sox surprised their star by having his daughter sing the national anthem. The big, burly slugger couldn’t help but tear up.
- He’s no Nomar Mazara, but Mallex Smith is plenty exciting in his own right and he’s coming up to join the Braves.
- On the other end of that spectrum, Atlanta just lost pitcher Dan Winkler for the year. There’s no describing how horrible a feeling that is for players, unless you’re Michael Baumann, that is.
- The Padres hit an infield fly that actually reached the outfield that also went down as a sac fly that also resulted in a double play. You get all that?
- Now that the Giants have Brandon Belt locked up on a long-term deal, how can we expect him to age based on similar players?
- Jacoby Ellsbury has a long time left on his deal, and things aren’t looking good. On the bright side, Yankee fans get to look at his face for years to come and everyone can agree that’s a positive.
- Some people still believe sabermetrics are what they were when Moneyball first came out, so let’s set those people straight.
- All of our lives, we’ve been told that Ty Cobb is the worst person to ever play the game of baseball. Is it really possible we’ve been lied to all this time?
- Cleveland was a popular sleeper pick heading into the season, and they’ll be getting their star outfielder back soon.
- Their division rival Tigers, meanwhile, look like they could lose their catcher James McCann and force them to start Jarrod Saltalamacchia on a regular basis.
- We all know Billy Hamilton is fast, but it’s kind of ridiculous to show off your wheels when rounding the bases on a home run trot.