Pittsburgh Pirates (A.J. Burnett) @Cincinnati Reds (Anthony DeSclafani)
Today's game starts at 12:35 pm Eastern Time and last night's rain-delayed, four-hour game ended at 1:46 am, so there will be some tired players on the diamond this afternoon. One would think that would benefit the pitchers, although I've never seen a study to prove it so it might be one of those "conventional wisdoms" that everyone just agrees is true even if it's not. Someone famous once said, "What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." It might have been Judge Judy. (Actually, it was Christopher Hitchens and is a translation of a Latin proverb "Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur", but it sounds like something Judge Judy would say.)
My pick: Pirates 5, Reds 3
New York Mets (Matt Harvey) @ Washington Nationals (Stephen Strasburg)
This is an early-season matchup of stud pitchers and easily the best pitching matchup of the day. Stephen Strasburg was the #1 overall pick in the 2009 June draft and burst upon the scene in 2010 by striking out 14 batters in 7 innings in his major league debut. Amazingly, that remains the most strikeouts he's ever had in one game. The next season, Strasburg came down with a hurt elbow and went under the knife with Tommy John surgery. He came back from that surgery and has had three very good seasons in a row but hasn't ascended back to the heights of that first year. In Matt Harvey's major league debut in 2012, he struck out 11 batters in 5 1/3 innings. Yep, 11 of the 16 outs he recorded were by strikeout. Harvey started 10 games in 2012 and 26 games in 2013, then he too went under the knife for Tommy John surgery. This is his first game back from that surgery. He struck out 21 batters in 22 2/3 innings during spring training, so he looks to be close to his old self. This should be quite a game. I'll put the over/under on combined strikeouts by Harvey and Strasburg at 16.
My pick: Nationals 2, Mets 1
Minnesota Twins (Kyle Gibson) @Detroit Tigers (Shane Greene)
In their first two games the Minnesota Twins have been outscored 15-0. That puts them on pace to go 0-162 with 0 runs scored and 1215 runs allowed. That would be the worst record ever, even worse than the 1899 Cleveland Spiders, who went 20-134. The Spiders averaged 145 fans per game that year. I don't think the Twins are quite that bad. In fact, I think they'll score their first run of the season in this game, so get your sparklers ready.
My pick: Tigers 6, Twins 1.
Chicago White Sox (John Danks) @Kansas City Royals (Edinson Volquez)
John Danks was an above-average pitcher from 2008 to 2011. In those four years, Danks won 48 games and had a 3.77 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. Before the 2012 season, Danks signed a 5-year, $65 million contract and immediately began to suck. He's been barely above replacement level over the last three years, with a 4.88 ERA and 1.39 WHIP and still has two years left on that contract and will make another $28.5 million. It's not the worst contract in baseball, but it's pretty bad.
My pick: Royals 6, White Sox 4
Cleveland Indians (Trevor Bauer) @Houston Astros (Asher Wojciechowski)
The name Asher Wojciechowski reminds me of two very different TV shows. Asher is the name of the Yale professor that Paris Geller dated on The Gilmore Girls (don't ask me how I know that). Wojciechowski is the last name of a detective on the 1970s TV show Barney Miller. They called him "Wojo." I wonder if they call the Houston pitcher "Wojo." Also, I wonder if it's pronounced the same. The Wojciechowski on Barney Miller was pronounced like woe-joe-hoe-witz. There's a Steve Wojciechowski who pronounced it like this: woe-joe-house-key. Which is it, Asher?
Texas Rangers (Nick Martinez) @Oakland Athletics (Kendall Graveman)
Unlike today's Mets-Nationals game that features two great pitchers in Matt Harvey and Stephen Strasburg, this game features Nick Martinez and Kendall Graveman. While the Harvey vs. Strasburg matchup is a summer blockbuster, this is a late night movie on the Lifetime network.
My pick: Oakland 8, Rangers 4
San Francisco Giants (Tim Hudson) @ San Diego Padres (Ian Kennedy)
For those of us who are follicularly challenged, Tim Hudson is our superhero. He has a very nice, bald dome. It's well-shaped and shines in the noonday sun. Tim Hudson's bald noggin is what other bald noggins aspire to be. Here's to you, Tim Hudson's noggin!
My pick: Padres 5, Giants 2
Toronto Blue Jays (Daniel Norris) @New York Yankees (CC Sabathia)
Nearly 100 pounds separates the 6'2", 195-pound Daniel Norris and the 6'7", 285-pound CC Sabathia, but they do have some similarities. They are both human. They are both left-handed humans. And that's pretty much it. Daniel Norris has never won a major league baseball game. CC Sabathia has 208 lifetime wins. I don't think he'll make it 209 in this game, though.
Blue Jays 6, Yankees 4
Boston Red Sox (Justin Masterson) @Philadelphia Phillies (David Buchanan)
It will be interesting to see if the Phillies have yesterday's hero, Jeff Francoeur, in the lineup again today. The Red Sox are starting Justin Masterson, a side-winding pitcher who is particularly effective against right-handed hitters but struggles against lefties. Jeff Francoeur is a right-handed hitter who hits much better against lefties and struggles against righties. It would seem the prudent move would be to have Jeff Francoeur ride the bendh in this game, but the Phillies are not generally known for doing the prudent thing. I wouldn't be surprised to see Jeff Francoeur batting fourth in this game. That would be a very Philadelphia Phillies thing to do.
My pick: Red Sox 9, Phillies 3