Being a curious person, I was wondering what the initials "T.J." stand for so I went to the Baseball-Reference page of T.J. House. His full name is Glenn Anthony House. I do not see any Ts or Js anywhere in his name. T.J. House was born in Louisiana, so there's probably some folksy story about how he got the nickname T.J. I'm guessing it has something to do with crawdads.
My pick: Cleveland 6, Tigers 4
St. Louis Cardinals (Carlos Martinez) @Cincinnati Reds (Raisel Iglesias)
Reds' pitcher Raisel Iglesias had an interesting journey to the major leagues. His first attempt to defect from Cuba was thwarted when he was caught hiding in the mountains of Isla de la Juventud in September of 2013. Two months later, he successfully defected and established residency in Haiti. You would have thought the Cuban government would keep better watch over him. After defecting to Haiti, he held a tryout in Mexico and was signed by the Reds. This is his major league debut. It's hard to know what he'll do. I'm guessing he has some trouble with his control, maybe four or five walks, but also a good number of strikeouts.
Tampa Bay Rays (Nathan Karns) @Miami Marlins (Henderson Alvarez)
Congrats to Rays' first-year manager Kevin Cash on getting the first win of his career in yesterday's game. Cash is looking to be another in a long line of managers who epitomize the phrase: "Those that can, do. Those that can't, teach." Cash hit .183/.248/.278 in his major league career.
Toronto Blue Jays (Drew Hutchison) @Baltimore Orioles (Chris Tillman)
The Blue Jays and Orioles look to have the best chance of beating out the Red Sox for the AL East, so even though these games are early in the season, they are meaningful. Both teams are 3-2, a game back of the Sox.
New York Mets (Bartolo Colon) @Atlanta Braves (Alex Wood)
When Bartolo Colon was signed as an amateur free agent by the Cleveland Indians in 1993, the opposing pitcher in this game, Alex Wood, was two years old.
My pick: Braves 5, Mets 3
Washington Nationals (Max Scherzer) @Philadelphia Phillies (Sean O'Sullivan)
The Nationals are off to a rough start and the offense is mostly to blame as the team has scored just nine runs so far, the fewest in the majors. Ryan Zimmerman and Dan Uggla have combined to start the year 4 for 33 (.121). Zimmerman is likely to come around but Uggla is a big question mark. He's been getting progressively worse since his last good season in 2012. Over the last two years, Uggla has hit .171/.291/.326. It's surprising the Nationals are playing him when they could give Danny Espinosa a shot.
My pick: Nationals 4, Phillies 2
Minnesota Twins (Phil Hughes) @Chicago White Sox (Chris Sale)
Chris Sale is making his season debut a little late this year because of a foot injury. The White Sox badly need his pitching ability as they've given up 31 runs in their first 5 games (6.2 runs/game). He gets a nice matchup in his first start and should be good for the win.
My pick: White Sox 5, Twins 1
Pittsburgh Pirates (Casey Sadler) @Milwaukee Brewers (Kyle Lohse)
Pirate's hurler Casey Sadler is a 25th round pick from Western Oklahoma State College, so he was a longshot to ever get to the big leagues, but he's here now, so good for him.
Houston Astros (Dallas Keuchel) @Texas Rangers (Colby Lewis)
Seattle Seahawks' quarterback Russell Wilson has been invited to spring training by the Texas Rangers twice and doesn't want to give up on a baseball career just yet. Wilson will be featured on an upcoming episode of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel (who apparently is still alive and involved in sports, who knew?). Wilson will talk about the painful (to Seahawks' fans and Patriots haters) ending to the Super Bowl and about his thoughts on "pushing the envelope" as a two-sports star. It will probably be more interesting to watch than this game.
My pick: Astros 6, Ranger 5
Kansas City Royals (Yordano Ventura) @Los Angeles Angels (C.J. Wilson)
The 5-0 start by the Royals is the second-best start in team history, behind only a 9-0 start in 2003. That 2003 season was a lone bright spot amid years of losing. It was their only winning season in the stretch of years from 1994 to 2012. With Yordano Ventura on the hill, they have a good chance to make it 6-0.
My pick: Royals 7, Angels 3
Seattle Mariners (Felix Hernandez) @Oakland Athletics (Jesse Hahn)
The Mariners had an exciting win on Saturday and get the King on the hill today. No matter how good or bad the Mariners are in any given season, as long as they have Felix Hernandez on their team, one out of every five games or so will be something to look forward to.
My pick: Mariners 4, Athletics 3
San Francisco Giants (Jake Peavy) @San Diego Chargers (Tyson Ross)
Jake Peavy was scratched from his projected start on Wednesday, but the Giants are hopeful he can make the start today. He's dealing with back problems. I don't see a good outcome here for Peavy.
My pick: Padres 6, Giants 1
Chicago Cubs (Kyle Hendricks) @Colorado Rockies (Jordan Lyles)
It's too bad the Cubs and Rockies couldn't plan things better. They could have had Kyle Hendricks face Kyle Kendricks. They missed it by one day. Get on your game, Cubs and Rockies.
My pick: Rockies 8, Cubs 6
Los Angeles Dodgers (Zack Greinke) @Arizona Diamondbacks (Josh Collmenter)
Dodgers' starter Zack Greinke will try NOT to follow the example set by Clayton Kershaw yesterday as the Dodgers try to avoid being swept by the Diamondbacks.
My pick: Dodgers 5, Diamondbacks 2
Boston Red Sox (Clay Buchholz) @New York Yankees (Masahiro Tanaka)
All eyes were on Masahiro Tanaka in his season debut because of concerns about his elbow. He did not pitch well but claimed it had nothing to do with his elbow. That game was against a very good offense, the Toronto Blue Jays, and he doesn't get a cushy start here either. People probably just need to chill a little and let Tanaka pitch a few games before getting too concerned, but that's not how Yankees fans are. They can't "just chill" about anything.
My pick: Yankees 7, Red Sox 4