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MLB Opening Day 2022: Schedule and starting pitchers as baseball season gets underway

MLB Opening Day 2022: Schedule and starting pitchers as baseball season gets underway

MLB Opening Day 2022, For the third straight season, RHP Nathan Eovaldi gets the nod for the Red Sox. The decision was coming down to him or lefty Chris Sale, but with the news that Sale had a stress fracture in his rib cage, the decision for manager Alex Cora became a no-brainer and he made the announcement on March 16. Eovaldi finished fourth in AL Cy Young voting in 2021 after going 11-9 with a 3.75 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 195 strikeouts in 182 1/3 innings. The Red Sox open the season on the road against the Yankees.

Free agent addition LHP Eduardo Rodriguez will start the season opener for the Tigers. He signed a five-year, $77 million contract with Detroit prior to the lockout . Rodriguez threw 157 2/3 innings with a 4.74 ERA with the Red Sox last season. This will be his first career Opening Day start. One way or another, the Tigers were going to have a new Opening Day starter this year after non-tendering Matthew Boyd, who started their 2020 and 2021 season openers. Detroit begins the season at home against the White Sox.

RHP Jacob deGrom will not make his fourth Opening Day start for the Mets after it was discovered he has a stress reaction in his throwing shoulder that will require him to be shut down for four weeks. The Mets haven’t announced who will take deGrom’s place. Max Scherzer, the obvious candidate, is dealing with a hamstring issue.

On March 23, the Reds announced that right-hander Tyler Mahle will get the call. It is the first Opening Day start of his career. Mahle, 27, was 13-6 with a 3.75 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 210 strikeouts in 180 innings last season. The Reds will open in Atlanta against the defending champion Braves.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced on Thursday, March 24 that Walker Buehler will be his Opening Day starter. This is Buehler’s first such start in his career and he’s only the fourth Dodgers Opening Day starter since 2010. Clayton Kershaw has gotten the task nine times, including in 2021, with Hyun-Jin Ryu going in 2019 and Dustin May in 2020. Buehler, 27, finished fourth in NL Cy Young voting last season when he was 16-4 with a 2.47 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 212 strikeouts in 207 2/3 innings. He has grown into the role of staff ace in L.A. and this start gives it the look of an official coronation.

Aaron Nola gets the nod for Joe Girardi’s Phillies on Opening Day. For Nola, this marks his fifth straight Opening Day start, which is the longest streak by any Phillies pitcher since Hall of Famer Steve Carlton answered the bell 10 times in a row. Nola, 28, is coming off a 2021 season in which he pitched to a 4.63 ERA in 180 2/3 innings. He’s a strong rebound candidate in 2022, given his strong pre-2021 record of performance and impressive underlying indicators.

Shohei Ohtani will make his first career Opening Day start for the Angels, the club announced. Ohtani will be facing off against the Houston Astros. In previous seasons, he had pitched no earlier than the third game of the year. Twice he had started the Angels’ fourth game. Ohtani is coming off an MVP-winning season that saw him hit for a 158 OPS+ and pitch to a 141 ERA+.

Just over a week to the opener, the Rays named Shane McClanahan their Game 1 starter. The southpaw made his regular-season MLB debut last year on April 29. In 25 starts, he went 10-6 with a 3.43 ERA and 141 strikeouts in 123 1/3 innings. He’ll look to continue his dominance over the Orioles, against whom McClanahan was 4-0 with a 2.74 ERA in four starts last year.

What a difference a year makes for Giants’ Opening Day starter Logan Webb. He entered the 2021 season as a back-end starter not expected to move the needle much. He’s now looking to post his second-straight ace-level season. Webb went 11-3 with a 3.03 ERA and served as the Giants’ playoff ace (0.61 ERA in two starts) in the NLDS. He’ll look to hold down the Marlins in San Francisco’s Oracle Park Friday, April 8.

Fresh off signing a free agent contract to play outside Colorado for the first time in his MLB career, Jon Gray will be making his third Opening Day start. The Rangers newcomer was 8-12 with a 4.59 ERA for the Rockies last season, though his 4.22 FIP and 157 strikeouts in 149 innings seem to indicate he’ll enjoy his escape from Denver. He faces a tall order on April 8, however, against the Blue Jays in Toronto.

Reigning NL Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes gets the nod as the 2022 Brewers’ Opening Day starter. This is Burnes’ first career Opening Day start, though it also comes as no surprise. He was 11-5 with a 2.43 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 234 strikeouts in 167 innings, securing the first NL Cy Young in Brewers history (Rollie Fingers in 1981 and Pete Vuckovich in 1982 were AL winners). Burnes takes the mound April 7 in Wrigley Field against the Cubs.

Lefty Framber Valdez, not former Hall of Famer Justin Verlander, will start Opening Day for the Astros. The Astros are easing Verlander into action following Tommy John surgery and he will start the third game of the season. This will be Valdez’s first career Opening Day start. He threw 134 2/3 innings with a 3.14 ERA following a finger injury in 2021. Houston opens the season in Anaheim.

For the second straight season, lefty Max Fried will start the opener for the defending World Series champion Braves. Charlie Morton was the other candidate to start Opening Day. Fried made 28 starts with a 3.04 ERA last season, and he won the World Series clincher as well. He is the first lefty to start consecutive Opening Days for the Braves since Hall of Famer Warren Spahn started six straight from 1957-62. The Braves open the season at home against the Reds. Quickly get some Braves tickets; you won’t want to miss your favorite team game.

As expected, $324 million man Gerrit Cole start Opening Day for the Yankees. It will be his third straight season opener. Last year Cole pitched to a 3.23 ERA in 181 1/3 innings, and finished second in the Cy Young voting. The Yankees begin the season at home against the rival Red Sox.

The Orioles will have John Means start on Opening Day. This will mark Means’ second consecutive Opening Day start. Last year, he threw seven one-hit inning against the Red Sox in a victory.

The Blue Jays have named Jose Berrios as their Opening Day starter in what will mark his first full season with Toronto after coming over in a midseason trade from the Minnesota Twins. The Blue Jays signed Berrios to a long-term extension over the offseason.

The Padres have named Yu Darvish as their Opening Day starter. This will mark Darvish’s third career Opening Day nod, and his second consecutive with the Padres. San Diego originally acquired Darvish from the Cubs prior to last season.

In a bit of a surprise decision, right-hander Joe Ryan, who still has his rookie status intact, will start for the Twins on Opening Day. He’s coming off a 2021 season in which he pitched to a 4.05 ERA and 6.00 K/BB ratio in five starts. Earlier this offseason, the Twins acquired Sonny Gray from the Reds, and it seemed likely that he’d get the first start of 2022.

Ace Shane Bieber will indeed be on the bump for Guardians in their 2022 opener. Bieber won the AL Cy Young award in 2020 and was an All-Star last season before shoulder woes cost him several starts. When healthy, he’s one of the best starting pitchers in baseball.

For the third straight year, veteran right-hander Kyle Hendricks will draw the Opening Day start for the Cubs. “It’s a tremendous honor,” Hendricks said of manager David Ross’ decision. “For Rossy to make that decision and have the trust in me, and to give me the ball, it was amazing the last two years.” Hendricks is coming off a 2021 season in which he pitched to a 4.77 ERA in 181 innings.

For the first time since Livan Hernandez in 2011, someone other than Max Scherzer or Stephen Strasburg will start Opening Day for the Nationals. Lefty Patrick Corbin will get the ball while Strasburg continues his rehab from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. Last season, Corbin made 31 starts with a 5.82 ERA, and was one of the least effective pitchers in baseball. Washington opens the season at home against Scherzer’s Mets on April 7.

As expected, reigning Cy Young winner Robbie Ray will start the season opener for the Nationals. He signed a five-year, $115 million contract over the winter. Ray led the American League in innings (193 1/3), ERA (2.84) ERA+ (154), and strikeouts (248) while with the Blue Jays last year. Lefty Marco Gonzales had started the last three Opening Days for Seattle. The Mariners begin the regular season in Minnesota on April 7.

The Pirates announced on April 3 that JT Brubaker will get the nod against the Cardinals. Brubaker, 28, will be making his first career Opening Day start. The Pirates’ alternatives included Mitch Keller and veteran southpaw Jose Quintana.

Fittingly, Zack Greinke will get the ball on Opening Day following his return to the Royals. Greinke played parts of seven seasons with Kansas City from 2004-10, and started Opening Day in 2010. This will be his sixth career Opening Day start, fourth most among active pitchers. Only Justin Verlander (12), Clayton Kershaw (nine), and Madison Bumgarner (eight) have more. Brad Keller and Danny Duffy alternated Opening Day starts for the Royals the last four seasons.

With Chris Bassitt and Sean Manaea traded, Frankie Montas will start Opening Day for the Athletics, unless of course they trade him within the next few days too. This will be his second career Opening Day start, joining 2020. The skeleton crew A’s begin the season against the Phillies on April 8.

Armed with a brand new contract extension, Sandy Alcantara will make his third consecutive Opening Day start for Miami. Alcantara’s three Opening Day starts will tie Josh Beckett, Josh Johnson, and the late Jose Fernandez for the most in franchise history. The Marlins open the season in San Francisco on April 8.

Adam Wainwright will start Opening Day in his final season. It will be his sixth career Opening Day start and first since 2016. Jack Flaherty, who is dealing with a shoulder injury, had started the previous two season openers. St. Louis begins the regular season at home against the Pirates on April 7.

Denver native Kyle Freeland will get the ball on Opening Day at Coors Field. German Marquez had started the last two Opening Days for Colorado. This will be Freeland’s second career Opening Day start, joining 2019. The Rockies will host the Dodgers to kick off the regular season.

For the fourth straight season and the eighth time in the last nine seasons, Madison Bumgarner will start Opening Day. Only Justin Verlander (12) and Clayton Kershaw (nine) have more career Opening Day starts among active pitchers. The D-Backs begin the regular season at home against the Padres on April 7.

Lance Lynn’s recent knee injury opened the door for Lucas Giolito to make his third consecutive Opening Day start. Giolito will be the first right-hander to start three straight season-openers for Chicago since Jack McDowell started four straight from 1991-94. The ChiSox will open the regular season in Detroit on April 8.