Opening Day is (finally) here, and even with tempered expectations for the 2016 Atlanta Braves, there is nothing quite like baseball that actually counts. On Monday afternoon, Julio Teheran will take the ball against the Washington Nationals, and it is fitting that an NL East rival would be on the other side of the diamond to kick off the new campaign.
Teheran cruised through a very encouraging Spring Training in 2016, posting a 2.01 ERA in five starts (22.1 innings) while issuing only two walks. That was a welcome sign after a somewhat woeful 2015 season (4.04 ERA, 4.40 FIP) and Teheran will be counted on for productive innings as the team's number one starter by a wide margin.
On the opposite side of things, the Nationals will send All-Star Max Scherzer to the hill. Scherzer was absolutely incredible in 2015, taking advantage of his move to the National League with a 2.79 ERA and 276 strikeouts in 228.2 innings, and that means potential trouble for Atlanta. This year's Braves lineup (at least at the start) will feature a steady stream of left-handed bats, though, and that could be beneficial against an upper echelon right-hander in Scherzer.
Being that it is Opening Day, we are looking at the "number one" lineup for the Braves, and while it isn't exactly terrifying on paper, there are some bright spots. Freddie Freeman is healthy and ready to go, Hector Olivera provides theoretical pop from the right side, and rumblings are there that Nick Markakis is back into peak physical condition after a full and productive offseason.
There will certainly be overreactions to today's game, no matter the result, but the best part is that baseball is back. Let's do this together.
Game Date/Time: Monday, April 3, 2016, 4:10 pm ET
Location: Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: Fox Sports Southeast, MLB.tv (streaming)
Radio: 680 AM, 93.7 FM (Flagship in Atlanta), WYAY 106.7, Braves Radio Network