Regardless of projected season-long outlook, hope springs eternal for every MLB team on Opening Day. Anything can happen once the first pitch is thrown, but history was made on Thursday afternoon simply by certain players taking the field.
Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer faced off in Washington, D.C., while Blake Snell and Justin Verlander are doing the same thing in Tampa Bay. Each pair finished one-two in their respective league’s Cy Young award voting last year. This marks the third and fourth time in baseball history where the top Cy Young vote-getters from the year prior faced each other on Opening Day the following season.
Having something like this happen on literally the first day of the 2019 season is cool enough, but deGrom and Scherzer weren’t satisfied. Their matchup was portrayed as the ultimate pitching duel, and that’s exactly what happened. They shared a similar characteristic from their season debuts: all of the strikeouts.
The NL Cy Young race is going to be fascinating to follow due to the depth of talent around the league. There are a number of dark-horse candidates that can easily make their mark, but anyone who truly wants a shot will have to get past deGrom and Scherzer first.
After all, they have combined to win the last three Cy Youngs in the Senior Circuit. And since the start of 2016, Scherzer (19.1) and deGrom (16.0) also take up residence in the NL’s top two spots with regard to cumulative fWAR.
If this is a glimpse as to what this season’s race in a stacked NL East is going to look like, then we’re all in for a treat.
About Matt Musico
Matt Musico currently manages Chin Music Baseball and contributes to The Sports Daily. His past work has been featured at numberFire, Yahoo! Sports and Bleacher Report. He’s also written a book and created an online class about how to get started as a sports blogger. You can sign up for his email newsletter here.