WHO WANTS $100K? A data-driven road map to winning MLB, MasterCard’s big-money Opening Day contest

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Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw (three-time NL Cy Young) boasts cumulative tallies of a 1.33 ERA and 30/4 K-BB rate in his last four season-launching starts.

At first blush, it seems utterly pointless to devote countless hours of research and writing to Major League Baseball’s slate of Opening Day outings — in terms of predicting straight-up winners — even during a truncated season of 60 games.

Yes, the 2020 campaign (37 percent of a normal 162-game season) will resemble more of a sprint than marathon. However, it still doesn’t make the results of this week’s 15 openers any less random.

A bad bounce here, an errant toss there … and everything changes.

Especially with home-field advantage being largely benign on a daily basis, since there will be no ticket-buying fans in the stands.

So, why did we concoct a numbers-based feeder system of prognosticating the 15 winners for Thursday (two games) and Friday (13 outings)?

Well, just like Lou Gossett Jr.’s hilarious and tough-as-nails character (Honey Roy Palmer — below) in the 1992 boxing/comedy classic, Diggstown, we’re a sucker for a good cash-grab opportunity.

As such, check out MLB and MasterCard’s cool promotion of paying out $100,000 to anyone who can accurately forecast the winners all 15 Opening Day clashes.

So, without further ado, here’s BATSBY Sports’ data-driven breakdown of all 15 matchups.

Using history as our guide (see data below) … in most cases, this week’s winning teams will require at least 5.5 runs on Opening Day; and the losers typically don’t surpass four runs.

MLB AVERAGE RUNS SCORED ON OPENING DAY BY YEAR: WINNING CLUB

2019 — 6.10 runs
2018 — 6.13 runs
2017 — 5.47
2016 — 6.53
2015 — 5.47
2014 — 5.60
2013 — 4.53
2012 — 4.40
2011 — 6.47
2010 — 7.67

CLEMONS: A 5-year analysis of each NL club’s run of 60-game starts

CLEMONS: 5-year breakdown of every AL team’s run of 60-game starts

MLB AVERAGE RUNS SCORED ON OPENING DAY BY YEAR: LOSING TEAM

2019 — 2.73 runs
2018 — 3.13 runs
2017 — 2.67
2016 — 2.60
2015 — 1.01
2014 — 2.13
2013 — 1.47
2012 — 2.13
2011 — 3.53
2010 — 3.33

JULY 23 MATCHUPS

YANKEES @ NATIONALS

YANKEES

OPENING DAY RECORD SINCE 2010: 7-3
2019 ROAD RECORD: 46-35
2019 BULLPEN ERA: 4.08
2019 INTERLEAGUE RECORD: 12-8
AVERAGE RUNS SCORED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 4.3
AVERAGE RUNS ALLOWED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 5.4
GERRIT COLE — Last four season-launching starts: 22.2 innings … 3.98 ERA, 27/7 K-BB

NATIONALS

OPENING DAY RECORD SINCE 2010: 6-4
2019 HOME RECORD: 50-31
2019 BULLPEN ERA: 5.68
2019 INTERLEAGUE RECORD: 14-6
AVERAGE RUNS SCORED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 2.5
AVERAGE RUNS ALLOWED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 3.1
MAX SCHERZER — Last four season-debut starts: 27.1 innings … 1.98 ERA, 40/8 K-BB

BATSBY SPORTS PICK: NATIONALS

GIANTS @ DODGERS

GIANTS

OPENING DAY RECORD SINCE 2010: 5-5
2019 ROAD RECORD: 42-39
2019 BULLPEN ERA: 3.85
2019 RECORD VS. DODGERS: 7-12
AVERAGE RUNS SCORED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 4.2
AVERAGE RUNS ALLOWED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 3.6
JOHNNY CUETO — Last four season-opening starts: 24 innings … 1.88 ERA, 17/3 K-BB

DODGERS

OPENING DAY RECORD SINCE 2010: 8-2
2019 HOME RECORD: 59-22
2019 BULLPEN ERA: 3.85
AVERAGE RUNS SCORED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 6.6
AVERAGE RUNS ALLOWED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 2.7
CODY BELLINGER — .317 batting, .947 OPS against the Giants last year
CLAYTON KERSHAW — Last four season-debut starts: 27 innings … 1.33 ERA, 30/4 K-BB

IT’S ALSO WORTH NOTING: On Opening Day, dating back to 2016, the Dodgers have notched double-digit runs three times.

BATSBY SPORTS PICK: DODGERS

JULY 24 MATCHUPS

TIGERS @ REDS

TIGERS

OPENING DAY RECORD SINCE 2010: 8-2
2019 ROAD RECORD: 25-55
2019 BULLPEN ERA: 4.94
2019 INTERLEAGUE RECORD: 5-15
AVERAGE RUNS SCORED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 5.2
AVERAGE RUNS ALLOWED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 4.0
MATTHEW BOYD — Last four season-launching outings: 18 innings … 4.50 ERA, 15/8 K-BB

REDS

OPENING DAY RECORD SINCE 2010: 5-5
2019 HOME RECORD: 41-40
2019 BULLPEN ERA: 4.28
2019 INTERLEAGUE RECORD: 9-11
AVERAGE RUNS SCORED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 3.7
AVERAGE RUNS ALLOWED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 3.4
SONNY GRAY — Last four season-debut starts: 19.2 innings … 3.67 ERA, 19/13 K-BB

BATSBY SPORTS PICK: TIGERS

BRAVES @ METS

BRAVES

OPENING DAY RECORD SINCE 2010: 5-5
2019 ROAD RECORD: 47-34
2019 BULLPEN ERA: 4.19
2019 RECORD VS. METS: 11-8
AVERAGE RUNS SCORED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 4.2
AVERAGE RUNS ALLOWED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 3.9
MIKE SOROKA — Last two season-opening starts: 11 innings … 1.64 ERA, 11/3 K-BB

METS

OPENING DAY RECORD SINCE 2010: 7-3
2019 HOME RECORD: 48-33
2019 BULLPEN ERA: 4.24
AVERAGE RUNS SCORED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 5.1
AVERAGE RUNS ALLOWED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 2.8
PETE ALONSO — Seven homers, 20 RBI, 1.115 OPS versus Braves last year
JACOB deGROM — Last four season-debut starts: 23.2 innings … 0.76 ERA, 29/3 K-BB

BATSBY SPORTS PICK: METS

BLUE JAYS @ RAYS

BLUE JAYS

OPENING DAY RECORD SINCE 2010: 4-6
2019 ROAD RECORD: 32-49
2019 BULLPEN ERA: 4.79
2019 RECORD VS. RAYS: 6-13
AVERAGE RUNS SCORED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 4.1
AVERAGE RUNS ALLOWED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 4.0
HYUN-JIN RYU — Last three season-debut starts: 14.1 innings … 3.78 ERA, 15/6 K-BB

RAYS

OPENING DAY RECORD SINCE 2010: 5-5
2019 HOME RECORD: 48-33
2019 BULLPEN ERA: 3.65
AVERAGE RUNS SCORED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 4.4
AVERAGE RUNS ALLOWED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 4.5
CHARLIE MORTON — Last three season-launching starts: 17 innings … 2.11 ERA, 18/6 K-BB

BATSBY SPORTS PICK: RAYS

MARLINS @ PHILLIES

MARLINS

OPENING DAY RECORD SINCE 2010: 2-8
2019 ROAD RECORD: 27-54
2019 BULLPEN ERA: 4.74
2019 RECORD VS. PHILLIES: 10-9
AVERAGE RUNS SCORED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 3.5
AVERAGE RUNS ALLOWED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 4.3
SANDY ALCANTARA — Last two season-opening starts: 13 innings … 0.69 ERA, 8/5 K-BB

PHILLIES

OPENING DAY RECORD SINCE 2010: 6-4
2019 HOME RECORD: 45-36
2019 BULLPEN ERA: 4.53
AVERAGE RUNS SCORED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 5.7
AVERAGE RUNS ALLOWED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 5.1
BRYCE HARPER — .403 on-base, .958 OPS versus the Marlins last year
AARON NOLA — Last four season-debut starts: 24.1 innings … 1.85 ERA, 26/8 K-BB

BATSBY SPORTS PICK: PHILLIES

ROYALS @ INDIANS

ROYALS

OPENING DAY RECORD SINCE 2010: 3-7
2019 ROAD RECORD: 28-53
2019 BULLPEN ERA: 5.20
2019 RECORD VS. INDIANS: 7-12
AVERAGE RUNS SCORED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 3.6
AVERAGE RUNS ALLOWED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 5.0
DANNY DUFFY — Last three season-debut starts: 15 innings … 5.40 ERA, 14/8 K-BB

INDIANS

OPENING DAY RECORD SINCE 2010: 3-7
2019 HOME RECORD: 49-32
2019 BULLPEN ERA: 3.76
AVERAGE RUNS SCORED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 3.1
AVERAGE RUNS ALLOWED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 4.6
FRANCISCO LINDOR — .392 batting, 1.126 OPS vs. the Royals last season
SHANE BIEBER — Career numbers versus the Royals: 29.1 innings … 3-0 record, 5.22 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 29/9 K-BB

BATSBY SPORTS PICK: INDIANS

BREWERS @ CUBS

BREWERS

OPENING DAY RECORD SINCE 2010: 4-6
2019 ROAD RECORD: 40-41
2019 BULLPEN ERA: 4.40
2019 RECORD VS. CUBS: 10-9
AVERAGE RUNS SCORED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 3.6
AVERAGE RUNS ALLOWED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 5.9
BRANDON WOODRUFF — Last thee season-debut outings: 13.1 innings … 2.03 ERA, 12/3 K-BB

CUBS

OPENING DAY RECORD SINCE 2010: 4-6
2019 HOME RECORD: 51-30
2019 BULLPEN ERA: 4.10
AVERAGE RUNS SCORED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 4.4
AVERAGE RUNS ALLOWED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 4.1
JAVY BAEZ — Posted a middling slugging rate of .483 vs. MIL last year
KYLE HENDRICKS — Last four season-opening starts: 23 innings … 3.52 ERA, 20/8 K-BB

BATSBY SPORTS PICK: CUBS

ORIOLES @ RED SOX

ORIOLES

OPENING DAY RECORD SINCE 2010: 8-2
2019 ROAD RECORD: 29-52
2019 BULLPEN ERA: 5.59
2019 RECORD VS. RED SOX: 7-12
AVERAGE RUNS SCORED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 3.7
AVERAGE RUNS ALLOWED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 2.7
TOMMY MILONE — Last three season-opening outings: 12 innings … 7.00 ERA, 14/1 K-BB

RED SOX

OPENING DAY RECORD SINCE 2010: 5-5
2019 HOME RECORD: 46-35
2019 BULLPEN ERA: 4.70
AVERAGE RUNS SCORED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 5.2
AVERAGE RUNS ALLOWED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 4.6
RAFAEL DEVERS — Four homers, 1.034 OPS vs. Orioles last year
NATHAN EOVALDI — 2019 numbers versus the Orioles: 7 innings … 10.29 ERA, 1.86 WHIP, 4/7 K-BB

BATSBY SPORTS PICK: RED SOX

ROCKIES @ RANGERS

ROCKIES

OPENING DAY RECORD SINCE 2010: 6-4
2019 ROAD RECORD: 28-53
2019 BULLPEN ERA: 5.56
2019 INTERLEAGUE RECORD: 8-12
AVERAGE RUNS SCORED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 5.6
AVERAGE RUNS ALLOWED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 4.9
GERMAN MARQUEZ — Last three season-debut starts: 15 innings … 5.40 ERA, 13/10 K-BB

RANGERS

OPENING DAY RECORD SINCE 2010: 4-6
2019 HOME RECORD: 45-36
2019 BULLPEN ERA: 5.06
2019 INTERLEAGUE RECORD: 9-11
AVERAGE RUNS SCORED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 4.2
AVERAGE RUNS ALLOWED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 6.7
LANCE LYNN — Last three season-debut starts: 15 innings … 8.40 ERA, 12/7 K-BB

BATSBY SPORTS PICK: ROCKIES

TWINS @ WHITE SOX

TWINS

OPENING DAY RECORD SINCE 2010: 2-8
2019 ROAD RECORD: 46-35
2019 BULLPEN ERA: 4.18
2019 RECORD VS. WHITE SOX: 13-6
AVERAGE RUNS SCORED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 2.6
AVERAGE RUNS ALLOWED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 4.5
JOSE BERRIOS — Last three season-opening starts: 24.1 innings … 0.37 ERA, 20/3 K-BB

WHITE SOX

OPENING DAY RECORD SINCE 2010: 5-5
2019 HOME RECORD: 39-41
2019 BULLPEN ERA: 4.90
AVERAGE RUNS SCORED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 5.4
AVERAGE RUNS ALLOWED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 4.7
LUCAS GIOLITO — Last two season-debut starts: 12.2 innings … 3.57 ERA, 9/5 K-BB

BATSBY SPORTS PICK: WHITE SOX

PIRATES @ CARDINALS

PIRATES

OPENING DAY RECORD SINCE 2010: 5-5
2019 ROAD RECORD: 34-47
2019 BULLPEN ERA: 5.18
2019 RECORD VS. CARDINALS: 5-14
AVERAGE RUNS SCORED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 4.4
AVERAGE RUNS ALLOWED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 3.8
JOE MUSGROVE — Last three season-opening outings: 14 innings … 1.29 ERA, 10/3 K-BB

CARDINALS

OPENING DAY RECORD SINCE 2010: 5-5
2019 HOME RECORD: 50-31
2019 BULLPEN ERA: 3.80
AVERAGE RUNS SCORED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 3.7
AVERAGE RUNS ALLOWED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 3.9
JACK FLAHERTY — Last two season-debut starts: 9.1 innings … 4.84 ERA, 13/2 K-BB

BATSBY SPORTS PICK: CARDINALS

MARINERS @ ASTROS

MARINERS

OPENING DAY RECORD SINCE 2010: 8-2
2019 ROAD RECORD: 33-48
2019 BULLPEN ERA: 4.99
2019 RECORD VS. ASTROS: 1-18 (not a misprint)
AVERAGE RUNS SCORED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 4.3
AVERAGE RUNS ALLOWED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 2.4
MARCO GONZALES — Last four season-opening starts: 12.1 innings … 4.39 ERA, 6/1 K-BB

ASTROS

OPENING DAY RECORD SINCE 2010: 7-3
2019 HOME RECORD: 60-21
2019 BULLPEN ERA: 3.66
AVERAGE RUNS SCORED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 4.2
AVERAGE RUNS ALLOWED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 2.4
JOSE ALTUVE — Four homers, .329 on-base rate vs. M’s last season
JUSTIN VERLANDER — Last four season-debut starts: 25.1 innings … 2.13 ERA, 29/7 K-BB

IT’S WORTH NOTING: The Astros have won their last seven openers, while allowing an absurdly low average of one run per game during this triumphant span.

BATSBY SPORTS PICK: ASTROS

DIAMONDBACKS @ PADRES

D-BACKS

OPENING DAY RECORD SINCE 2010: 6-4
2019 ROAD RECORD: 41-40
2019 BULLPEN ERA: 4.25
2019 RECORD VS. PADRES: 11-8
AVERAGE RUNS SCORED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 5.3
AVERAGE RUNS ALLOWED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 5.2
MADISON BUMGARNER — Last four season-launching starts: 25 innings … 3.60 ERA, 29/6 K-BB

PADRES

OPENING DAY RECORD SINCE 2010: 3-7
2019 HOME RECORD: 36-45
2019 BULLPEN ERA: 4.60
AVERAGE RUNS SCORED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 2.5
AVERAGE RUNS ALLOWED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 6.3
CHRIS PADDACK — Last year’s season debut: 5 innings … 1.80 ERA, 7/1 K-BB

BATSBY SPORTS PICK: DIAMONDBACKS

ANGELS @ ATHLETICS

ANGELS

OPENING DAY RECORD SINCE 2010: 4-6
2019 ROAD RECORD: 34-47
2019 BULLPEN ERA: 5.12
AVERAGE RUNS SCORED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 2.9
AVERAGE RUNS ALLOWED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 4.3
MIKE TROUT — Only .222 batting and .377 on-base versus the A’s last year
ANDREW HEANEY — Last two season-debut starts: 10 innings … 4.50 ERA, 15/2 K-BB

ATHLETICS

OPENING DAY RECORD SINCE 2010: 3-7
2019 HOME RECORD: 52-29
2019 BULLPEN ERA: 3.97
2019 RECORD VS. ATHLETICS: 13-6
AVERAGE RUNS SCORED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 3.4
AVERAGE RUNS ALLOWED ON OPENING DAY SINCE 2010: 3.6
FRANKIE MONTAS — Last two season-opening starts: 12 innings … 1.50 ERA, 13/2 K-BB

BATSBY SPORTS PICK: ANGELS

About The Managing Editor

Jay Clemons remains the only sports writer on the planet to capture Cynposis Media’s national award for Sports Blog Of The Year (beating out NBA.com, MLB.com, PGATour.com, The Players’ Tribune in 2015), along with the Fantasy Sports Writers Association’s pre-eminent award for Best Writer (2008). Through the years, Mr. Clemons has been a key figure with numerous blue-chip sports/media brands, namely the Detroit Lions, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report and the NBC/Universal family. With Sports Illustrated (2006-11), Clemons served a triple role with SI.com‘s heralded football coverage—editing Peter King’s famed ‘Monday Morning Quarterback’ column, penning award-winning pieces for NFL and then writing/narrating scripted videos within the NFL and baseball realms. In 2013, Clemons’ first year with the company, FOX Sports South enjoyed a monumental increase of approximately 34 million Web hits in a 12-month cycle—merely posting 11 million hits the previous year. 

Then, over a two-month span in 2014, FOX Sports South amassed 19.5 million Web hits—a 60-day record for any FOX affiliate. And in 2015, Clemons claimed the aforementioned Cynopsis Media award on FOX Sports’ behalf, the company’s only national writing award during that period. Clemons, a graduate of Michigan State University  and Wayne State University, has been an on-camera Web-TV host for Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report and FOX Sports. In 2015, he also became the first-ever sports journalism professor at Kennesaw State University in suburban Atlanta.

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