After 148 days, it's finally here. The reigning World Champion Houston Astros begin their Repeat campaign this afternoon at 2:40pm Central Time against the East Aledo Rangers who, if you recall, finished 23 games behind the defending World Series Champion Astros. The game will be on ESPN and will feature Justin "I chose to be in Houston" Verlander vs. Cole "I chose to be in Arlington" Hamels.
The Astros are 5-0 (2-0 on the road) on Opening Day since 2013.
*Mr. White Privilege Hisself:
I think we have a really good rivalry going. I know we played them really hard the last couple years since I've been here, but last year not so much. So what we have at stake is some really fun, competitive baseball, and I think that's something to look forward to for the whole season.
*ClintShane wrote 30 words each on all 30 MLB Teams heading into 2018. It is very funny.
*Brian Arbour wrote about the magic of this particular Opening Day.
*The good dudes at Astros Fans UK shared with us how they're feeling on Opening Day Eve, with an update on MLB in the UK.
*Note: In yesterday morning's links I had a link to a guest article that I pulled down until I could get it formatted correctly.
*Looks like Kyle Tucker is headed to Triple-A.
*Adrian Beltre is not scared of the Astros:
There's no intimidation. We know they are a good team, the team to beat. Playing this first series against them is going to show us what we have to do.
*Sean Pendergast has six prop bets for the 2018 Astros he likes.
*One prediction from The Guardian: The Astros will threaten the 2001 Mariners' single-season win record (116).
*The Athletic round-up (I'll go first):
-I checked out Dallas Keuchel's "We're Not The Cubs" comment and compared the 2016 fWAR the Cubs brought into 2017 to the 2017 fWAR the Astros are bringing into 2018.
-Here's Jake Kaplan asking what other Astros pitchers have learned from Justin Verlander.
-Poop and Circumstance: Pedro Moura reports on the sewer pipe bust at Dodger Stadium.
-Marc Carig tapped into 25,000 games of managerial experience to figure out what the five first-time managers have in store for them.
*Carlos Correa was great before this off-season. Now he's on a mission for Puerto Rico, writes Hunter Atkins.
*Brian T. Smith gave it the Kiss of Death with his "The Astros should end up as MLB's best again" headline.
*Eureka Heights Brew Co is tapping their Glitter Factory beer at 2pm today.
*Hey cool the Astros like Fortnite.
*The Astros released OF Jose Benjamin and C Ray Henderson yesterday. Benjamin had been in the Astros' organization since 2014 and put up a .704 OPS. Henderson was the Astros' 22nd Round pick in 2016 and hit .208/.288/.310 in 60 games for Quad Cities last year.
*USA Today: The average Major-Leaguer got a 3% raise, but storm clouds are ahead.
*48 hours before Opening Day, Royals catcher Sal Perez suffered a Grade 2 MCL tear in his knee after he slipped carrying his luggage.