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DeGrom-Scherzer Opening Day matchup lives up to billing

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On Tuesday, I highlighted a few of the Opening Day starting pitching matchups that piqued my interest. The first one was Mets-Nationals, which featured 2018 National League Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom squaring off against NL Cy Young runner-up Max Scherzer.

deGrom only won 10 games last year, but paced baseball with a 1.70 ERA along with a 269/46 K/BB ratio across 217 innings. The performance netted him 29 of 30 first-place votes. The right-hander also recently inked a five-year, $137.5 million contract extension with the Mets.

Scherzer, meanwhile, led baseball in innings pitched (220 2/3), strikeouts (300), complete games (two), and shutouts (one). He led the NL in wins (18), WHIP (0.911), and K/9 (12.2). 2018 marked his third consecutive year finishing first or second in Cy Young balloting, and his sixth consecutive top-five finish.

Both starters delivered on Opening Day on Thursday in D.C. deGrom got the best of Scherzer as the Mets won 2-0. deGrom tossed six shutout innings, limiting the Nationals to five hits and a walk with 10 strikeouts. Scherzer yielded two runs on two hits and three walks with 12 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings. Second baseman Robinson Canó accounted for both of the Mets’ runs, lifting a solo home run in the top of the first inning and adding an RBI single in the eighth.

The other marquee matchup today also features Nos. 1 and 2 in AL Cy Young balloting: the Rays’ Blake Snell opposite the Astros’ Justin Verlander.

Welcome back, baseball.

David Price to pay each Dodgers minor leaguer $1,000 out of his own pocket

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Francys Romero reports that, according to his sources, Dodgers pitcher David Price will pay $1,000 out of his own money to each Dodgers minor leaguer who is not on the 40-man roster during the month of June.

That’s a pretty amazing gesture from Price. It’s also extraordinarily telling that such a gesture is even necessary.

Under a March agreement with Major League Baseball, minor leaguers have been receiving financial assistance that is set to expire at the end of May. Baseball America reported earlier this week that the Dodgers will continue to pay their minor leaguers $400 per week past May 31, but it is unclear how long such payments would go. Even if one were to assume that the payments will continue throughout the month of June, however, it’s worth noting that $400 a week is not a substantial amount of money for players to live on, on which to support families, and on which to train and remain ready to play baseball if and when they are asked to return.

Price’s generosity should be lauded here, but this should not be considered a feel-good story overall. Major League Baseball, which has always woefully underpaid its minor leaguers has left them in a vulnerable position once again.