By Kevin Costa
The approach of April means one thing in the world of sports: Opening Day is here. The baseball season starts this Sunday, April 2 with the Cubs at the Cardinals, the Yankees at the Rays and the Giants at the Diamondbacks.
The Cubs, the defending champions, will try to be the first team to win 100 games in a season two years in a row, ESPN reports. They can notch their first win against the Cardinals, the last team to have accomplished such a feat back in 2004 and 2005.
Chicago will start Jon Lester after his game-time heroics in last season’s World Series against the Indians. The lefty will face St. Louis’ Carlos Martinez, who posted a 3.04 ERA and 16-9 record last year, according to Cleveland.com. If everything goes right for the Cubs this season, they will become the first team to win back-to-back championships since the 1998-2000 Yankees, according to ESPN.
This year’s Yankees are studded with young talent, Sports on Earth states, and were just five games from securing a wild card berth last year. According to MLB.com, the Yankees have a viable chance to make the playoffs this season but have to face the Rays in the opener without shortstop Didi Gregorius.
A key player for the pinstripes both on offense on defense, Gregorius suffered a right shoulder injury and will likely be out until May. Until then, second-year Ronald Torreyes will likely start in place of the injured starter. According to Cleveland.com, New York will start pitcher Masahiro Tanaka against Tampa Bay’s Chris Archer.
In the last game of the opener, the Giants will visit the Diamondbacks. The National League West showdown will feature a pitching match-up between Madison Bumgarner, a three-time World Series champion and Zack Greinke, the 2009 American League Cy Young winner. These veterans will likely dictate a low-scoring game. The remainder of the league will make its debut with 12 games scheduled for Monday, April 3.