Squaring off in the first game of the season for their respective teams, the top finishers in the 2018 Cy Young balloting both tallied 10-plus strikeouts. According to ESPN Stats & Information, it marked the first time in nearly 50 years that opposing starters recorded double-digit whiffs on Opening Day. The last pair to do it was Sam McDowell of the Cleveland Indians and Dave McNally of the Baltimore Orioles, who accomplished the feat in 1970.
DeGrom, the Mets ace who won the NL Cy Young last year, fanned 10 over six shutout innings to lead New York to a 2-0 victory. Scherzer, who's garnered three Cy Youngs but finished second behind deGrom in last year's voting, struck out 12 over 7 2/3 innings. After yielding a solo homer to Mets newcomer Robinson Cano, Scherzer allowed just one more hit the rest of the way, but still took the loss.
"Both pitchers were very, very good," said Washington shortstop Trea Turner, whose last swing during a third-inning whiff against deGrom resulted in him accidentally flinging his bat into the netting by the third base dugout. "Max was unbelievable for us today, and gave us a chance to win. We've just got to push some runs across for him and we'll get there."
"You can all see what happens when two Cy Young winners go head-to-head," said Nats leadoff man Adam Eaton, who struck out to end a fifth inning in which deGrom fanned the side. "It's a heck of a battle."