Cubs second baseman Javier Baez went 2-for-4 with a pair of solo homers in Tuesday's home opener vs. the Pirates. During his first at-bat in the second inning, Baez belted the first pitch he saw from Ivan Nova into the left-field bleachers for his first homer of the season, which traveled 423 feet according to Statcast. Baez struck again in the seventh with another solo shot, completing his second career multi-homer game and first since August 7, 2014. The 25-year-old showed good power last year with 23 home runs and a .480 slugging percentage, so it was only a matter of time before he found the cheap seats.
Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg won after blanking the Braves for eight innings on Tuesday, allowing three hits and two walks with eight strikeouts. Strasburg brought his A game against Atlanta on Tuesday in what was easily his strongest start of the young season. He retired 12 batters in a row at one point and seemed to have a shot at a complete game before departing after eight innings and 103 pitches (64 strikes). The eight frames and whiffs were both season highs for Strasburg, who yielded a season-low three hits and did not allow a run for the first time this year. He's one of the best pitchers in baseball when he's healthy, and he'll look to have another stellar outing in his next start vs. the Rockies at home on April 15.
Pirates right-hander Ivan Nova was the winning pitcher against the Cubs on Tuesday, allowing three runs on seven hits (including two homers) and no walks with six strikeouts. Nova bounced back from a pair of subpar outings to notch his first win and quality start of the season, keeping Chicago mostly in check aside from a pair of Javier Baez solo homers. The seven innings and six strikeouts were both season highs for Nova, who threw 66 of his 102 pitches for strikes and did not walk a batter for the first time this year. Nova is a control artist who's at his best when he's limiting walks and homers, so this outing was certainly a step in the right direction for him. He'll look to build on Tuesday's performance vs. the Braves at home in his next start on April 15.
Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola notched his first win of the year Tuesday after limiting the Reds to one run on three hits and three walks with six strikeouts over eight strong innings. Nola survived 5 1/3 no-hit frames from opposing starter Homer Bailey, firing 70 of his 103 pitches for strikes and making the longest start by a Phillies pitcher since Ben Lively on September 10, 2017. Nola had not completed more than 5 1/3 innings in either of his two previous starts, which was well below his average of 6.2 innings per start last year. The 24-year-old has yielded only four earned runs and 10 hits over his first three starts, although his 13:8 K/BB ratio isn't great. He had career marks of 2.4 BB/9 and 9.4 K/9 coming into the season, however, so his peripherals should improve soon. He'll face the Braves on the road in his next start on April 16.
Mets righty Jacob deGrom received a no-decision Tuesday against the Marlins after allowing four runs on seven hits (one homer) and one walk with six strikeouts in six innings. After allowing just one earned run in each of his first two outings, deGrom surprisingly struggled against a weak Marlins lineup. He kept Miami off the board until unraveling in the fifth, when he allowed four runs to erase New York's 3-0 lead. He also surrendered his first home run of the year during the frame. To his credit, deGrom recovered to finish the inning as well as the sixth, ending his night at 101 pitches (66 strikes). He pitched well aside from the fifth inning, and will look to rebound in a tougher assignment vs. the Nationals at home on April 16
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