Houston Astros at Philadelphia Phillies (-260, 7)
Getting the nod for Opening Day is always memorable for a pitcher. But this Friday’s start for Houston Astros righty Brett Myers holds even more meaning, coming against his former club in his former ballpark.
"I probably have some adrenaline, but it's maintaining and harnessing it for the right reasons and not trying to overdo it or throw too hard," Myers told MLB.com. "Usually, the first inning for me is a test, and after the first inning every game I have to try to control myself and relax."
As a member of the Phillies for eight years, Myers made three Opening-Day starts for Philadelphia, posting a 0-1 and a 4.82 ERA in those outings. Last year, his first season with the Astros, he finished with a 14-8 record and a 3.14 ERA – the lowest Earned Run Average of his career.
"What he did last year was more than solid," Houston manager Brad Mills told reporters. "We want him to compete and let him keep the team in the ballgame, and there's no reason to think he won't do that, because that's the type of pitcher he is, the type of makeup he has and the type of teammate he is. He gives us a chance to win every time he takes the ball and goes to the hill."
Myers will go toe-to-toe with National League Cy Young winner Roy Halladay Friday, who was stellar in his Phillies debut on Opening Day 2010. Halladay delivered a one-run, seven-hit performance over seven innings for an 11-1 victory over the Washington Nationals.
Halladay posted an 8-10 over/under record inside Citizens Bank Park last season, while Myers was 5-13 over/under on the road in 2010.
Minnesota Twins at Toronto Blue Jays (-130, 8.5)
Opening Day will be a very special moment for one of baseball’s best Friday. Minnesota Twins first baseman and former American League MVP, Justin Morneau, takes the field for the first time since suffering a concussion last July.
Not only is Morneau back in action after a long rehab, but the Canadian is back on home soil, facing the Toronto Blue Jays in the Rogers Centre – which happens to be the same place he suffered the injury in a series with the Jays in early July.
"You know, I don't want to put too much into it," Morneau told TSN.com. "It's the first game hopefully of 162 and the playoffs for us. Obviously it will be special to be out there. But you want to continue to be out there."
Morneau is hitting .347 versus Toronto over the past three seasons. He’s totaled five homes runs, 14 RBIs, and boasts an OPS of 1.057 in 72 at-bats against Blue Jays pitchers in that span. The Twins have gone just 4-12 in their last 16 games in Toronto, while the over is 19-7-3 in the last 29 meetings north of the border .
"I just try not to put as much into it as I did," Moreau said of returning to Canada. "My first two years, we went (to Toro