After a month of Spring Training, we are just a couple of days away from MLB Opening Day 2023 – which means regular season baseball is almost officially here! It’s one of the most exciting times of the year for baseball fans and one that will feature plenty of storylines as we prepare for an unpredictable season.
The 162-game regular season is scheduled to start on March 30 and will conclude on October 1 – the All-Star game will be hosted by the Seattle Mariners on July 11. One of the most exciting changes this year is the fact that every MLB team will face each other at least once – much like the NBA and NHL.
There are also three distinct rule changes that will make MLB Opening Day 2023 look a little different than in year’s past. Those three rule changes include larger bases, defensive shift restrictions, and a new pitch timer – all of which have been met with their fair share of criticism and praise during Spring Training.
Looking Ahead to an Exciting MLB Opening Day 2023
Amid all the excitement coming to MLB Opening Day 2023, one of the most interesting storylines has to do with the starting pitchers we’ll see on March 30. Of the 30 pitchers scheduled to start on Opening Day, 8 of them are former Cy Young winners – which means baseball fans are in for quite the treat Thursday!
MLB Opening Day 2023 rosters were released on March 24 in an effort to ramp up interest and it certainly worked. Opening Day will start with the Braves vs. Nationals and Giants vs. Yankees at 1:05 p.m. ET. The day will conclude with the Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers and Guardians vs. Mariners at 10:10 p.m. ET.
Now, let’s turn our attention to those eight former Cy Young winners who we’ll see on Opening Day – Sandy Alcantara, Max Scherzer, Jacob DeGrom, Shane Bieber, Corbin Burnes, Blake Snell, Corey Kluber, and Zack Greinke. We’ll take a closer look at their past history and what’s to come this year.
8. Sandy Alcantara – Miami Marlins
Sandy Alcantara is a 6-foot-5, 200-pound, 27-year-old pitcher who is entering his seventh season in the major leagues and sixth season with the Miami Marlins. He finished 2023 Spring Training with a 1-1 record, 0.68 ERA, 15 strikeouts, 4 walks, 6 hits, and 1 earned run in 13.1 innings pitched (4 starts).
Alcantara is scheduled to be the Marlins’ opening day starter when they play the New York Mets on March 30 at 4:10 p.m. ET – he’ll be squaring off against Max Scherzer, another former Cy Young winner. Alcantara has a 3-5 record, 31 earned runs, and 84 strikeouts in 94.0 innings (14 starts) vs. the Mets.
The good news is Alcanatara is coming off the best season of his career as the defending NL Cy Young winner. He finished the 2022 season with a 14-9 record, 2.28 ERA, 6 complete games, 1 shutout, and 207 strikeouts in 228.2 innings pitched (32 starts). He led the MLB in complete games, shutouts, and innings.
As for his career, he has a 34-43 record, 3.10 ERA, 9 complete games, 3 shutouts, and 638 strikeouts in 716.0 innings pitched (118 games). He’s a two-time All-Star and will likely add to that total in the near future. At 27 years old, he’s just entering his prime and has some of his best baseball ahead of him.
7. Max Scherzer – New York Mets
Max Scherzer is a 6-foot-3, 208-pound, 38-year-old pitcher who is entering his 16th season in the major leagues and second season with the New York Mets. He finished 2023 Spring Training with a 2-1 record, 1.53 ERA, 25 strikeouts, 2 walks, 16 hits, and 3 earned runs in 17.2 innings pitched (4 games started).
Scherzer is scheduled to be the Mets’ opening day starter when they play the Miami Marlins on March 30 at 4:10 p.m. ET – he’ll be squaring off against Sandy Alcantara, who we talked about previously. In 26 career starts vs. Miami, he has a 15-5 record and 189 strikeouts – he didn’t pitch against them in 2022.
One of the greatest pitchers of all-time, Scherzer is a 3-time Cy Young winner in his career – once in the AL and twice in the NL. He first won the award in 2013 with the Detroit Tigers, finishing with a 21-3 record. He then won it in back-to-back seasons with the Washington Nationals in 2016 and 2017.
Despite being 38 years old, Scherzer still has a good arm and finished the 2022 season with an 11-5 record, 2.29 ERA, and 173 strikeouts in 145.1 innings pitched (23 starts). That brought his career total to a 201-102 record, 3.11 ERA, 12 complete games, 5 shutouts, and 3,193 strikeouts in 2682.0 innings.
6. Jacob deGrom – Texas Rangers
Jacob deGrom is a 6-foot-4, 180-pound, 34-year-old starting pitcher who is entering his 10th season in the major leagues and first season with the Texas Rangers. He finished his 2023 Spring Training with a 1-0 record, 0.00 ERA, 10 strikeouts, 2 walks, and 4 hits in just 6.2 innings pitched (2 games started).
deGrom, who will be making his Rangers’ debut, is scheduled to be their opening day starter when they play the Philadelphia Phillies on March 30 at 4:05 p.m. ET – he’ll be squaring off against Aaron Nola. In 20 career starts vs. the Phillies, deGrom has a 9-1 record and 136 strikeouts – he was 1-0 in 2022.
He’s a 2-time Cy Young winner in his career, doing so in back-to-back seasons with the New York Mets in 2018 and 2019. He had a 10-9 record and MLB-leading 1.70 ERA in 2018 and an 11-8 record and 2.43 ERA in 2019. He’s also a former Rookie of the Year, a 4-time All-Star, and won the ERA title once (2018).
deGrom hasn’t played a lot of baseball over the past three seasons, only receiving 38 starts in that time due to injuries. He finished 2022 with a 5-4 record, 3.08 ERA, and 102 strikeouts in 11 starts and has an 82-57 record, 2.52 ERA, 4 complete games, 2 shutouts, and 1,607 strikeouts in 209 career starts.
5. Shane Bieber – Cleveland Guardians
Shane Bieber is a 6-foot-3, 200-pound, 27-year-old pitcher who is entering his sixth season in the major leagues – all of which with the Cleveland Guardians. He finished his 2023 Spring Training with a 2-0 record, 1.54 ERA, 25 strikeouts, 2 walks, 13 hits, and 4 earned runs in 23.1 innings pitched (5 starts).
Bieber is scheduled to be the Guardians’ opening day starter when they play the Seattle Mariners on March 30 at 10:10 p.m. ET – he’ll be squaring off against Luis Castillo. In 5 career starts vs. the Mariners, Bieber has a 1-2 record and 37 strikeouts – he pitched a 9-strikeout no-decision in 2022.
He won his first and only (so far) Cy Young award with the Guardians in 2020 – just his third season in the major leagues. He finished that season (shortened season) with an 8-1 record, 1.63 ERA, and 122 strikeouts in 77.1 innings pitched (12 starts). He led the MLB in wins, ERA, and strikeouts that season.
Bieber has been one of the most consistent and reliable pitchers since entering the MLB in 2018. He has a career 54-26 record, 3.17 ERA, 4 complete games, 2 shutouts, and 831 strikeouts in 703.0 innings pitched (111 starts) – including a 13-8 record, 2.88 ERA, and 198 strikeouts in 31 starts last season.
4. Corbin Burnes – Milwaukee Brewers
Corbin Burnes is a 6-foot-3, 246-pound, 28-year-old pitcher who is entering his sixth season in the major leagues – all of which with the Milwaukee Brewers. He finished his 2023 Spring Training with a 1-3 record, 4.74 ERA, 16 strikeouts, 5 walks, 23 hits, and 10 earned runs in 19.0 innings pitched (5 starts).
Burnes is scheduled to be the Brewers’ opening day starter when they play the Chicago Cubs on March 30 at 2:20 p.m. ET in Chicago – he’ll be squaring off against Marcus Stroman. In 8 career starts (14 games) vs. the Cubs, Burnes has a 2-2 record and 85 strikeouts – he was just 0-1 in 3 starts in 2022.
He won his first and only (so far) Cy Young award with the Brewers in 2021 – his fourth season in the major leagues. He finished that season with an 11-5 record, 2.43 ERA, and 234 strikeouts in 167.0 innings pitched (28 starts). He led the MLB in ERA in 2021 and led the NL in strikeouts (243) in 2022.
Burnes has been pitching well since entering the league in 2018 – with the exception of his 1-4 record in 2019. He has a career 35-19 record, 3.21 ERA, 2 saves, and 670 strikeouts in 515.2 innings (135 games, 74 starts). He finished 2022 with a 12-8 record, 2.94 ERA, and 243 strikeouts in 202.0 innings (33 starts).
3. Blake Snell – San Diego Padres
Blake Snell is a 6-foot-4, 225-pound, 30-year-old pitcher who is entering his eighth season in the major leagues and third season with the San Diego Padres. He finished the 2023 Spring Training with a 1-1 record, 5.63 ERA, 17 strikeouts, 6 walks, 13 hits, and 10 earned runs in 16.0 innings pitched (4 starts).
Snell is scheduled to be the Padres’ opening day starter when they play the Colorado Rockies on March 30 at 4:10 p.m. ET in San Diego – he’ll be squaring off against German Márquez. In nine career starts vs. the Rockies, Snell has a 3-1 record and 67 strikeouts – including a 1-1 record in 4 starts in 2022.
He won his first and only (so far) Cy Young award with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2018 – his third season in the major leagues. He finished the 2018 season with a 21-5 record, 1.89 ERA, and 221 strikeouts in 180.2 innings pitched (31 starts). He led the MLB in wins, led the AL in ERA, and was named an All-Star.
Snell has had his ups and downs throughout his career and hasn’t been able to duplicate that masterful 2018 season. He has a career 57-46 record, 3.41 ERA, and 989 strikeouts in 812.2 innings pitched (159 starts) – including an 8-10 record, 3.38 ERA, and 171 strikeouts in 128.0 innings (24 starts) in 2022.
2. Corey Kluber – Boston Red Sox
Corey Kluber is a 6-foot-4, 215-pound, 36-year-old pitcher who is entering his 13th season in the major leagues and first season with the Boston Red Sox. He finished the 2023 Spring Training with a 2-2 record, 3.24 ERA, 15 strikeouts, 7 walks, 17 hits, and 6 earned runs in 16.2 innings pitched (5 starts).
Kluber is scheduled to be the Red Sox’s opening day starter when they play the Baltimore Orioles on March 30 at 2:10 p.m. ET in Boston – he’ll be squaring off against Kyle Gibson. In 16 career starts vs. the Orioles, Kluber has a 6-4 record and 94 strikeouts – including just a 1-3 record in 6 starts in 2022.
He’s a 2-time Cy Young award winner, both of which with the Cleveland Guardians earlier in his career. He first won it in 2014 with an 18-9 record and 2.44 ERA in 34 starts and did it again in 2017 with an 18-4 record and 2.25 ERA in 29 starts – he led the MLB in wins, ERA, complete games, and shutouts in 2017.
Kluber had 94 wins between 2013 and 2018 with the Indians, but hasn’t been the same since due to injuries. He has a career 113-71 record, 3.31 ERA, 18 complete games, 8 shutouts, and 1,683 strikeouts in 1,586.2 innings pitched (251 starts) – including a 10-10 record, 4.34 ERA, and 139 strikeouts in 2022.
1. Zack Greinke – Kansas City Royals
Zack Greinke is a 6-foot-2, 200-pound, 39-year-old pitcher who is entering his 20th season in the major leagues and ninth season (second stint) with the Kansas City Royals. He finished 2023 Spring Training with a 1-1 record, 7.02 ERA, 16 strikeouts, 3 walks, 18 hits, and 13 earned runs in 16.2 innings (5 starts).
Greinke is scheduled to be the Royals’ opening day starter when they play the Minnesota Twins on March 30 at 4:10 p.m. ET in Kansas City – he’ll be squaring off against Pablo Lopez. In 26 career starts vs. the Twins, Greinke has just a 5-13 record and 117 strikeouts – he was just 0-4 against the Twins in 2022.
He won his first and only (so far) Cy Young award with the Royals in 2009, when he finished with a 16-8 record, 2.16 ERA, 6 complete games, 3 shutouts, and 242 strikeouts in 229.1 innings pitched (33 starts) – he led the MLB in ERA that season. He was also a Cy Young runner-up in 2015 with a 19-3 record.
Greinke is one of the greatest pitchers of his generation and has won at least 10 games in 13 of his 19 seasons. He has a career 223-141 record, 3.42 ERA, 17 complete games, 5 shutouts, and 2,882 strikeouts in 3247.0 innings pitched (514 starts) – he was just 4-9 with a 3.68 ERA in 26 starts in 2022.
Are You Ready for MLB Opening Day 2023?
MLB Opening Day 2023 is going to pack a lot of excitement for one day of baseball, so we hope you’re ready for it! Not only that, but it’s the start of what’s bound to be a long and unpredictable season ahead as teams put their offseason moves to the test. Remember, anything can happen once the season starts!
According to BetMGM, the current World Series favorites are the Houston Astros (+600), Atlanta Braves (+750), New York Yankees (+750), Los Angeles Dodgers (+800), and New York Mets (+900). Meanwhile, the Washington Nationals (+50000) and Oakland Athletics (+50000) enter the season as the underdogs.
It’ll be interesting to see how these teams fare once the season starts, but don’t hold your breath – 162 games won’t go by quickly. There’s a lot to witness and plenty of surprises – and disappointments – to be had, so strap in and prepare to enjoy the ride as MLB Opening Day 2023 is just a few days away!
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