Dan Sheed, Contributor
In non pandemic years, the obvious choice for the Opening Day starter would be Justin Verlander, case closed. With Verlander being out this year, due to Tommy John surgery; that makes things a little more complicated for the Astros and their young pitching staff.
If I were Dusty Baker, I would choose someone who I would know would get the job done and not get rattled too easily with the pressure of Opening Day. My two picks are Lance McCullers Jr. and Zack Greinke, both are solid pitchers with multiple years of experience and can easily get the job done in my opinion.
Let’s start with Lance McCullers Jr.; McCullers went 3-3 in last year’s abbreviated season with a 3.93 ERA with 56 strikeouts after missing 2019 with Tommy John surgery. In my opinion, things could have gone a lot worse for McCullers after missing a full year of baseball, so putting those up those kind of numbers is commendable.
My other pick would be Zack Greinke. Greinke had an identical record to McCullers (3-3) but with a slightly higher ERA (4.03). Don’t let that fool you though, Greinke can still get the job done when called upon, whether he tells you what pitch is coming or not. Greinke is also the second oldest pitcher on this staff behind Justin, which is always a plus in my book.