NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta and the Cubs start a season their fans hope to savor forever, opening at the Los Angeles Angels. Favored by many to win the World Series, they’ll try to end a championship drought that dates to 1908.
“I think the expectations are wonderful,” Chicago manager Joe Maddon said. “Pressure is a wonderful word. And if you channel it properly, it’s going to make you better.”
HELLO AND GOODBYE
High-priced lefty David Price makes his Boston debut, starting at Cleveland. It will also be the first game of the final season for Red Sox slugger David Ortiz. Big Papi will see a familiar face in the opposing dugout — his former manager in Beantown is Indians manager Terry Francona.
Arizona newcomer Zack Greinke makes his first start that counts since signing a $206.5 million, six-year contract. The Diamondbacks host Colorado and star Nolan Arenado, who hit a major league-best .542 with six home runs in spring training.
DUST IT OFF
Washington manager Dusty Baker returns to the dugout after a two-year absence. NL MVP Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer and the Nationals take on Atlanta, where the Braves are beginning their 20th and final season at Turner Field.
ACES ALL OVER THE PLACES
Big names rule the mound on opening day. AL Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel and the Astros visit Yankee Stadium; Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers are at San Diego; Mariners righty Felix Hernandez faces Texas; White Sox lefty Chris Sale sees Oakland; and Giants star Madison Bumgarner starts at Milwaukee.
To commemorate opening day, Commissioner Rob Manfred will be joined by former New York baseball stars John Franco and Willie Randolph, among others, when he rings the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange. During the day, NYSE traders will wear baseball caps on the trading floor.