Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage, and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn’t easy. It’s OK, though. We’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.
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Our long, national nightmare is over. After a spring training that was made a little better with the presence of the World Baseball Classic, we are finally back to regular season baseball. Things kick off this afternoon at 1 p.m. ET with the Yankees taking on the Rays in Tampa. Although neither of these teams are favored to win the American League East, they are both reasonable sleepers. The game also features a fantastic opening pitching matchup between Masahiro Tanaka and Chris Archer.
Following that one, at 4 p.m., will be the Giants and the Diamondbacks facing off in Phoenix. The hosting Diamondbacks are a sneaky contender this season, although they come with their share of question marks. One of those is their starting pitcher on Sunday, Zack Greinke. If their pitching can throw to their potential, though, the lineup carried by Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock can help this team surprise some people in 2017. The Giants will, of course, send Madison Bumgarner to the hill in their first game as they look to continue this incredible recent run of success.
Finally, the last and marquee matchup of MLB’s Opening Night is between the defending champion Cubs (yeah, that’s weird to say) and their rival Cardinals. First pitch will be at 8:30 p.m. in St. Louis with Jon Lester taking on Carlos Martinez. We’re so close, you guys. Real baseball is just about here. As you look to kill the last few hours before the games begin, make sure you check out our huge season preview.
- The Nationals‘ biggest storyline this winter was who would be their closer. They chose Blake Treinen instead of taking a truly bold road.
- The Royals‘ Raul Mondesi isn’t just a reminder of how old we are, given that he’s the son of the former major-leaguer of the same name. He’s also a phenomenal defensive infielder, as he shows on plays like this.
- Back to the Nationals closer gig for a minute. Dusty Baker explains his surprising choice to name Treinen as his Opening Day closer.
- Adrian Beltre is going to be on the shelf for Opening Day, making this the first time since 2001 (!) that he’s missed the season’s first game.
- The Cardinals and Yadier Molina are going to be together for a few more years. That’s great, but what does it mean for their top prospect, Carson Kelly, who happens to be a catcher.
- If the Orioles want to work on an extension for Jonathan Schoop, the owner of the most disappointingly pronounced name in baseball, they have some blueprints with which to work.
- In more injury news, J.D. Martinez is going to start the year on the disabled list for the Tigers.
- Eric Gagne might be able to turn his World Baseball Classic appearance into a major league comeback. Even better, it might be with his old team.
- It’s now been three years since Jeff Bridich took over as the GM of the Rockies. They’re already looking like a completely different organization.
- As I said in the opening blurb, the Rays could be a sleeper this year. Here’s why.
- Steven Matz is an outstanding pitcher. Unfortunately, he needs to be healthy to really show that.