Last week I wrote a piece arguing that one Nathan Eovaldi or David Price should be given the Opening Day start, a designation typically reserved for the best pitcher on the staff. Everyone would agree neither of them are better than Chris Sale — there may not be more than one or two pitchers in the entire sport better than Chris Sale — but the argument from me was that it is more of a ceremonial designation. Eovaldi and Price were two of the faces of last year’s World Series run, and an Opening Day nod would have been a nice gesture to acknowledge that.
Well, Alex Cora disagrees with me. On Sunday, before the team participated in a pair of split-squad games, the manager announced that Sale would indeed be making the start on Opening Day in Seattle.
Cora announces Chris Sale as the Opening Day starter in Seattle.— Jen McCaffrey (@jcmccaffrey) March 17, 2019
Cora didn’t really think twice about the decision. Even when I was talking myself into my own proposal, it was a good guess that this move would be the one that was made. Sale is, again, one of the very best pitchers in baseball and starting on Opening Day is a definite statement on status for a pitcher. It would have been a little weird if he hadn’t made the start. I still wish Cora followed my advice, but there may be a chance he is smarter than me at baseball strategy. The jury is still out.
As for the rest of the rotation after Sale, that order is not clear. Price was the obvious number two, but he was scratched from his scheduled start on Sunday due to an illness. It shouldn’t be too serious and hopefully won’t alter things, but Cora wants to wait until the southpaw is ready to go again before he makes any decisions. As such, we probably won’t learn of plans for the order after Sale for at least a few days. For now, though, we know March 28 is going to be a Sale Day.