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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.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.