John Bollman's MLB Opening Day Pick & Preview - 4/7

John Bollman | @JohnBollman11

After a hugely successful 2021 season we had to bring John on-board as our MLB expert for 2022.

Enjoy the first of many picks from him this season below!

Milwaukee Brewers @ Chicago Cubs - 2.20pm ET

Well, its finally here! There were many different times this offseason where I didn’t think we would get baseball for a while, but we finally have Opening Day just one week late!

There are a couple things to be aware of on Opening Day. The best team doesn’t win just because it is opening day. Weird things happen in April, so don’t fall into the “this team can’t lose” or “this team sucks” trap. It is the one day of the season where all your favorite teams are tied for first place, and hope is at a maximum for fans and players.

Also, aces don’t always perform like aces. Yu Darvish was hit hard on Opening Day last season, Shohei Ohtani was hit hard, and Brandon Woodruff gave up some runs. The Orioles even swept the Red Sox last season to open the season, and the Red Sox still managed to make the playoffs. Weird things happen in April.

Corbin Burnes will get the Opening Day nod from the Brewers. He is coming off a Cy Young season where he went 11-5 with a 2.43 ERA. Most notably, he had 234 strikeouts in just 167 IP. He also only walked 34 batters all season. Burnes is getting the Opening Day start instead of Brandon Woodruff who started last season. Last season, Burnes allowed just 1 ER in his first 24.1 IP. That included a 6 IP, 0 ER, 10 strikeout gem against the Cubs. Interestingly enough, he only faced the Cubs three times last season despite being division rivals. However, he didn’t allow a run in either of his first two starts against the Cubs, and he pitched a quality start in the third game.

Kyle Hendricks is expected to get the start for the Cubs on Opening Day. Hendricks is coming off a season where he seriously struggled. He was 14-7 but he had a 4.77 ERA. He was very hit or miss all season. He only struck out 131 batters in 181 IP, in what is just about the complete flipside from Burnes in terms of strikeouts. He only went 3 IP and allowed 3 ER in his Opening Day start last season, and that was against the Pirates. Kyle Hendricks did pitch very well against the Brewers to start last season, but he allowed 4 ER in 6 IP, and 9 ER in 4IP in his last two starts against them. The Brewers actually had the second-best road record in the league last season going 50-31 while the Cubs were under .500 at 39-42 at home. Christian Yelich and Keston Hiura will want to make a statement after their poor 2021, and the Brewers have the much better bullpen. I like the Brewers on the road on Opening Day.

John's Pick

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