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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.

Angels claim pitcher Jacob Rhame off waivers from Mets

Jacob Rhame waivers
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The Angels announced on Wednesday that the club claimed reliever Jacob Rhame off waivers from the Mets.

Rhame, 27, was limited to 6 1/3 innings in the majors and 20 2/3 innings in the minors last season due to an elbow issue. He underwent ulnar nerve transposition surgery in mid-August.

Though Rhame has a career 6.23 ERA in the big leagues, he showed promise at Triple-A from 2016-18, averaging better than 10 strikeouts per nine innings in all three years. The Angels are taking a flier on the right-hander to see if he can translate that success to the majors.