As has become his personal custom, Bryce Harper homered on Opening Day against the Marlins. So far, so good for the 2015 MVP who struggled for most of last season. Harper had a monster Spring Training, and also had a monster April last season before coming undone after Joe Maddon pitched around him for an entire series. Which Harper shows up for the rest of the season will determine how far the Nationals go.
Stephen Strasburg was dominant on Opening Day, and the bullpen was not tested. The Nationals do not have an established closer, which may or may not work out. Dusty Baker has several very good relievers in his bullpen, but none of them have the valuable experience getting outs in the ninth inning. The Nationals will be a good test case for everyone on either side of the closer debate.
During the buildup to the regular season, the Astros were one of the most widely debated teams in the league. Sure, they had a blockbuster offseason that filled out their lineup with three more potential All-Stars, but how would their starting rotation fare? After only two games, those questions have to be quieting some.
Houston sent 2015 Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel to the hill on Opening Day and got a dominant performance. Lance McCullers followed suit on Tuesday night, pushing the Astros to 2-0 against the Mariners so far this season. These were two very strong starts from key members of the rotation. Keuchel and McCullers were both slowed by shoulder injuries last year, but if they stay healthy, Houston may be able to challenge Texas for best one-two punch in the division.