When is opening day for major league baseball ? All 30 teams will play in 15 games on Thursday, March 30, with two matchups kicking off the fun in the early afternoon: the Giants-Yankees and Braves-Nationals. The former is one of three interleague contests on Thursday, in addition to the nine divisional matchups that will take place. The reigning champion Astros, featuring new member Jose Abreu, open their season against the White Sox, the 2020 MVP’s former team, on ESPN.
Thirty of the best pitchers across the majors will take the mound, including eight Cy Young Award winners, 21 All-Stars and five pitchers who will be debuting for new clubs.
What are the most important things to know from the offseason going into the 162-game marathon that is the 2023 season? What are the most exciting matchups on Thursday? What are some storylines to watch?
We have you covered on everything you need to be prepared for this year’s Opening Day, from season previews and analysis to Thursday’s schedule.
When is MLB Opening Day 2023? Full schedule for every baseball team’s first game
Major League Baseball announced games times for the 2023 season, including Opening Day on March 30.
All 30 teams – 15 games – are scheduled to play on Opening Day, which would be the first time since 1968 that every team is playing its first game on the same day.
The defending World Series champion Houston Astros open the season at home against the Chicago White Sox, while other Opening Day highlights include the New York Yankees hosting the San Francisco Giants, and Cleveland Guardians visiting the Seattle Mariners.
The league introduced a new, balanced schedule for 2023 with every team playing 52 divisional games (down from 76), 46 interleague games (up from 20) and 64 intraleague games (down from 44).
When does the 2024 MLB season start?
The 2024 MLB season begins overseas with an NL West showdown between the Padres and Dodgers in Seoul, South Korea. Los Angeles and San Diego will play a two-game set from Wednesday, March 20 to Thursday, March 21, marking the first MLB games ever in the country.
MLB Opening Day 2023 Full Schedule, Start Times, Stadiums
Yes, the calendar has flipped to March, meaning the start of the 2023 Major League Baseball season is just a few short weeks away. But there are still spring training games to be played – and a World Baseball Classic to be held – in the lead up to first pitch on March 30.
That is when all 30 teams are scheduled to play on Opening Day, which, barring postponement, will be the first time since 1968 that every MLB team starts the season on the same day. The Opening Day slate includes some interleague matchups as the league reduces the number of divisional games to create a more balanced Wild Card race for teams in different divisions.
What are the MLB changes for 2023?
The number of divisional opponents that each team plays will decrease from 76 to 52 in 2023, including 13 games against each. Each team will play 64 intraleague games, a marginal reduction from 64, and 46 interleague games, an increase from 20 that will also include series against certain team’s natural rivals (Yankees vs. Mets, Cubs vs. White Sox, Dodgers vs. Angels, etc.).
Other highlights of the 2023 schedule include the All-Star Game in Seattle on July 11, a two-game series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs at London Stadium on June 24-25 as part of the MLB World Tour and a matchup between the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals for the Little League Classic in Williamsport, Pa., on Aug. 20.
Astros vs White Sox
The 2022 World Series champion Houston Astros will start this year’s campaign by hosting the Chicago White Sox at Minute Maid Park, which takes place at 7:08 p.m. ET / 4:08 PT. The Astros remain prime candidates to make another run at the title and make it two in a row.
Another highlight of the day is the matchup between the San Francisco Giants and the New York Yankees with first pitch at 1:05 p.m. ET / 10:05 a.m. PT. It will be the first time for the two teams to face each other at Yankee Stadium since 2016.
One new element this season is that the playing schedule is more balanced. Each team will participate in 52 divisional games, 46 interleague games, and 64 intraleague games.
Brewers at Cubs
The Cubs will kick off their season at Wrigley Field, but it should be a tough one against a divisional foe. The Brewers won the National League Central last season with a 95-67 record, while Chicago finished 20 games below .500 with a 71-91 record, placing them fourth.
Andrew McCutchen is the name to watch for Milwaukee. He signed a one-year deal worth $8.5 million this spring and should definitely bolster the Brewers’ lineup. McCutchen is a five-time All-Star, but his last nod came in 2015. He had 107 hits, 80 runs batted in and 27 home runs last season with the Philadelphia Phillies, which were all the most he has had since 2018.
For the Cubs, Seiya Suzuki will be making his MLB debut after signing a five-year deal reportedly worth $85 million. He had played for the Hiroshima Carp in Japan and tallied five All-Star nods and five Gold Gloves during his nine seasons there.
Mets at Nationals
The Mets, with the league’s second-highest payroll in MLB at over $252 million, enter the season as New York’s big spenders. But they could be without their two highest-paid players on Opening Day.
Jacob deGrom has been shut down for four weeks due to a stress reaction in his shoulder. His expected Opening Day replacement Max Scherzer, who signed a three-year, $130 million deal with the Mets in the offseason, remains day-to-day with hamstring tightness. If Scherzer is unable to pitch against his former team, it leaves some uncertainty as to who will take the ball for the Mets on Opening Day.
Whoever does will face one of baseball’s most prolific young hitters in Juan Soto, who hit .313 with 29 home runs and 95 RBIs last season. Patrick Corbin gets the Opening Day start as the Nationals look to rebound from last season’s 65-97 finish.
Reds at Braves
The Braves will start the quest to defend their 2021 World Series title at home in Truist Park against the Reds. Cincinnati posted an 83-79 record last season, which had them just outside the playoff bracket.
Matt Olson arrived in Atlanta from the Oakland Athletics via trade this spring, and the Braves inked the Georgia native to an eight-year contract worth $168 million. His debut will be one to monitor as former Atlanta star Freddie Freeman went to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
For Cincinnati, a key player to watch is Jonathan India. The 2021 NL Rookie of the Year was immense in his first season, batting .269 with 98 runs, 69 runs batted in and 21 home runs. Let’s see if he can build on that in his second season.
Astros at Angels
This AL West battle should also be an entertaining matchup. The Astros finished first in the division last season but fell in the World Series. Los Angeles finished fourth with a 77-85 record, but the Angels are expected to improve this season.
A key storyline to watch for Houston is the loss of Carlos Correa, who signed with the Twins on a three-year, $105 million deal. The shortstop last season had career-highs in runs (104) and home runs (26) to go with 155 hits and 92 runs batted in on a .279 batting average. Let’s see how the Astros replace that production.
For the Angels, the superstar duo of Matt Trout and Shohei Ohtani will be vital. Trout played a season-low 36 games in 2021 after a calf strain derailed his campaign, but he is now healthy. Adding Matt Duffy on a one-year deal could also prove to be a great under-the-radar move. The 31-year-old infielder batted .287 in 97 appearances last season with the Cubs and should help Los Angeles’ lineup.
Red Sox at Yankees (Friday)
Not only are the Red Sox and Yankees two of the most storied franchises in the sport, but both are expected to be competing for the World Series this season.
Last year, both teams made the playoffs with a 92-70 record. The teams met in the American League Wild Card Game, where the Red Sox advanced after a 6-2 win.
It will also mark a new chapter for Red Sox star Trevor Story. Story, who signed a six-year, $140 million deal this spring, is expected to play second base for Boston after previously playing shortstop for the Colorado Rockies. New York will look to big bats Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton to shine.
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