Stephen Strasburg gets Opening Day start for Nationals

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For the third straight season the Nationals have turned to Stephen Strasburg as their Opening Day starter, choosing him over Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann.

“He’s earned it,” rookie manager Matt Williams told Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com, noting that he also gave serious consideration to Zimmermann.

Last season Strasburg threw 183 innings with a 3.00 ERA and 191/56 K/BB ratio, while Zimmermann–who will start Game 3 of the season after Gonzalez takes the mound in Game 2–threw 213 innings with a 3.25 ERA and 161/40 K/BB ratio.

Ultimately the order of a rotation matters little and the Nationals have perhaps the best collection of front-line starting pitching in the league, especially if Doug Fister gets healthy soon and joins the mix as the No. 4 starter.

Announcement: HardballTalk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $100,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Opening Day’s games (March 31). It’s $25 to join and first prize is $15,000. Starts at 1:05pm ET on Opening Day. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Report: Blue Jays and Marco Estrada nearing agreement on contract extension

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Jon Morosi reports that the Blue Jays and starter Marco Estrada are nearing an agreement on a contract extension. The deal is expected to be for one guaranteed year, Morosi adds.

Estrada, 34, was set to become a free agent after the season. He earned $26 million on a two-year contract signed with the Jays in November 2015. While the right-hander has a subpar 4.84 ERA on the season, he has a solid 170/67 K/BB ratio in 176 2/3 innings and has looked much better since the end of July. Between July 31 and his most recent start on Saturday, Estrada owns a 3.75 ERA.

J.A. Happ is the only other starter technically under contract with the Jays next season. Marcus Stroman will be eligible for his second year of arbitration and the Jays will certainly agree to give him a raise on his $3.4 million salary for the 2017 season. The Jays will likely be active this offseason in adding rotation help and they’re starting early by locking up Estrada.

Video: Jackie Bradley, Jr. robs Chris Davis of a home run

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Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. robbed Orioles first baseman Chris Davis of his 25th home run on Tuesday evening, leaping at the fence in center field to make the catch and keep the game scoreless in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Davis swung at the first pitch he saw from Drew Pomeranz, a slider that crossed the middle of the plate.

This game has potential playoff implications, as the first-place Red Sox hold a three-game lead over the Yankees in the NL East. Meanwhile, the Orioles are still in the AL Wild Card race, trailing the Twins by 5.5 games for the second Wild Card slot.