Pouliot's Keys to Game 1

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*Cliff Lee needs to work deep into the game in order to match CC Sabathia.
The Phillies will likely have to rely a great deal on their pen during Games 2 and 3, so it’s important that Lee provide them with at least seven strong innings. The chances of Chad Durbin, Chan Ho Park and Scott Eyre giving the Phillies quality work in the middle innings will decrease the more than the Yankees get to see them.
*The Yankees will work the count and try to get into middle relief.
The Bombers know they have a big advantage in the later innings, even if Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain aren’t giving them quite what they hoped in setup roles yet. If they can knock Lee out after six, they’ll get to the soft underbelly of this Phillies team.
*Jimmy Rollins has to start something for Phillies.
Rollins is hitting just .244/.279/.317 in the postseason, but he tends to come around once he reaches base. In 11 career at-bats against Sabathia, he’s collected four hits, including a triple and two doubles.

Jon Gray will start Opening Day for the Rockies

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Manager Bud Black has tabbed Jon Gray to start on Opening Day for the Rockies. That will be Monday, April 3 in Milwaukee against the Brewers in an afternoon contest.

Gray, 25, is starting Opening Day for the first time in his career. He’ll be the sixth different Rockies pitcher to start Opening Day in as many years.

The Rockies and Gray had a bit of a scare on Friday as he left his spring training start with discomfort in his left foot, but everything came up clean in an MRI. He pitched again on Wednesday with no issue.

Last season, Gray went 10-10 with a 4.61 ERA and a 185/59 K/BB ratio in 168 innings. A consensus top prospect entering each of the previous three seasons, Gray surprisingly put up better numbers at Coors Field — the most hitter-friendly park in baseball — than away.

Blake Treinen named Nationals closer

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Today Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker named Blake Treinen as his closer. Treinen has saved exactly one big league game.

There wasn’t necessarily an obvious choice, however. Last year Washington had Mark Melancon, but with him gone and GM Mike Rizzo’s failure to land a high-profile closer in the offseason, it became a contest between Treinen Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover.

Treinen posted a 2.28 ERA with 31 walks and 63 Ks in 67 innings in 2016. His big improvement last year came against lefties, who had tattooed him in the past. He pitched well this spring as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

The Nats are our favorites to win the NL East, but we do have some questions about the pen. Blake Treinen will take the first crack at answering them.