Thanks to a massive opening frame and a sprinkling of hits and runs in between, the Cardinals are leading the Astros 7-0 after six full innings.
And it’s not just about the awoken offense.
Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter has surrendered just two hits over six scoreless innings. He has eight strikeouts and has issued just one walk while throwing 56 of his 81 pitches for strikes.
The veteran right-hander has induced seven groundball outs and three via the sky. An ace-like performance, even against the Astros’ light-hitting lineup.
Houston has already turned things over to the bullpen.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu will open the regular season in the starting rotation, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports.
Ryu, 30, missed the entire 2015 season and made only one start last season due to shoulder and elbow injuries. The lefty has looked solid in three spring appearances, however, yielding a lone run on five hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in nine innings.
With Scott Kazmir likely to begin the season on the disabled list, that leaves Alex Wood and Brandon McCarthy to battle it out for the fifth spot in the Dodgers’ rotation.
Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, making it likely that he begins the regular season on the disabled list, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.
The Royals acquired Soler from the Cubs in December in exchange for reliever Wade Davis. Over parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Soler hit .258/.328/.434 with 27 home runs and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances.
When he’s healthy, Soler is expected to find himself in the Royals’ lineup as a right fielder and occasionally as a designated hitter.