Opening Day of the Major League Baseball season is just one day away, and one of the highlights is getting to watch most teams’ aces fight it out on the mound. Let’s take a look at some of the marquee matchups from the first weekend of the MLB season.
St. Louis vs New York Mets
Carlos Martinez heads to the Big Apple, where the Mets are throwing Noah Syndergaard in his first game back from injury. Martinez had his best season as a pro last year, and if he can avoid the long ball he can the next step this season. Thor was one of the best pitchers in the league in 2016 before he was derailed by injury in 2017. His first start in 2018 figures to be must-see TV on Thursday.
Houston vs Texas
People outside of the Long Star State may not realize how big of a rivalry the Astros and Rangers really have. Justin Verlander begins Houston’s title defense in Arlington against Cole Hamels. Hamels is coming off of a down year but was quietly on of the best pitchers in the league from 2011-2016. Verlander had a similar downturn a few years ago and bounced back. Hamels looks to copy Verlander’s path in 2018.
New York Yankees vs Toronto
One of the biggest surprises in 2017 was Luis Severino becoming a top 5 pitcher in the AL. With the addition of Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankees enter 2018 as arguably the greatest draw in the MLB. Toronto looks to rebound from a highly disappointing 2017 and still boasts a potent lineup. JA Happ has been solid, but the real story will be watching the Bronx Bombers and Severino.
Boston vs Tampa Bay
Anytime Chris Sale and Chris Archer fight it out, it is a must-watch event. Both pitchers were injured in their final spring starts, but both should be at full strength for the first game. The Red Sox have a much better team than Tampa, but the Rays are always feisty. Sale and Archer are two of the only starters that will be allowed to go past six innings if their pitch count allows it.
San Francisco vs Los Angeles Dodgers
Somehow Clayton Kershaw seems underrated entering the 2018 season. He was absolutely dominant this spring and looks poised to reclaim his throne as the best pitcher in baseball. The Giants have already been hit by injury, so we have been robbed of another Bumgarner-Kershaw classic. However, Kershaw alone is worthy enough to make this list, but when factoring in the SF-LA rivalry this game is one of the best of day one.
Cleveland vs Seattle
Corey Kluber looks to fend off Chris Sale and try to win another Cy Young award. Last year, the Klubot was dominate for much of the season, but got off to a slow start. On the other side, King Felix is making his tenth straight opening day start, and Hernandez look to rebound from a forgettable 2017 campaign.
Colorado vs. Arizona
Two playoff teams get after each other right away in the desert. Jon Gray gets the nod, and everyone will find out immediately if the humidor decreases the offensive output in Chase Field this season. Patrick Corbin is a player that the Diamondbacks hope can carry them for a bit while they wait for Greinke to return from the DL.
Opening Day has finally arrived and almost every team sends their best to the mound on Thursday. If you happen to have a job with flexible hours, Thursday is a great day to work from home or start and end the day early to catch all of the MLB action.