MLB Season Opens Thursday

March 27, 2024 by Staff

A week after the LA Dodgers and San Diego Padres played a pair of season-opening games in Korea, the rest of the league gets onboard tomorrow with the Milwaukee Brewers and New York Mets tossing out the first pitch at 1:11 at Citi Field. It will be the managerial debut for Pat Murphy with Milwaukee and Carlos Mendoza with New York.

Craig Counsell shockingly jumped off the keg in Milwaukee and signed-on as manager of the Cubs while Counsell's bench coach, Pat Murphy was elevated to manager.

Mendoza replaces Buck Showalter after spending six seasons as a coach with the crosstown Yankees.

Despite the fact that the Mets are 8th in the National League with 2400:1 odds to win the pennant, and the Brewers lag at 4500:1, the MLB Odds at list Milwaukee (-1.5) as the favorite with an over/under runs total of 7.5.

The Mets are coming off a disappointing 2023 campaign in which they finished under .500 at 75-87 after winning 101 games the previous year and only missed out on capturing NL East pennant because of a 9-10 record against the Atlanta Braves who also won 101 games. New York went on to get bounced in the Wild Card series by San Diego, 2 games to 1. This year, the Mets' Win Total sits at 81.5.

To say the Mets didn't live up to expectations in 2023 would be a huge understatement. They basically surrendered at the end of July and jettisoned future Hall of Fame pitchers Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. Now, they will bank on rookie of the year runner-up Kodai Senga to lead the way after a 2023 campaign in which he finished 12-7 with 202 strikeouts.

For offense, JD Martinez was just signed for $12 million after spending just 1 season with the Dodgers after 5 in Boston. He's been an all=star each of the last 3 seasons and belted 33 homers in 113 games a year ago.

As for the Brew Crew, they are seen as lacking depth in the pitching rotation as the win total of 77.5 may be hard to hit. Milwaukee hasn't won fewer than 78 games since 2016.

The Mets have the MLB best record in openers at 41-21.

Other Openers

All 30 Major League teams will see action on Thursday.

3:05 PM: A pair of games are slated for starts as the Angels visit the Orioles and the Braves open in Philly. Corbin Burnes will make his debut for Baltimore after acquiring the 2021 National League Cy Young Award winner from the Brewers in an offseason trade. Mike Trout is set to make a 12th consecutive start of the Angels.

In Philly, Spencer Strider (Atlanta) and Zack Wheeler will start for the their respective clubs in the only game featuring a pair of Cy Young Award vote-getters in 2023.

4:10 PM: Nats at Reds, Cards at Dodgers, Giants at Padres, Blue Jays at Rays, Twins at Royals, Tigers at White Sox, Pirates at Marlins, Yankess at Astros.

7:35 PM: Cubs at Rangers.

10:07 PM: Guardians at A’s

10:10 PM: Rockies at Diamondbacks, Red Sox at Mariners

New Managers

In all, there are 8 new managers. That's 26.67% of the league teams that will open with a new skipper on Thursday.

In addition to the aforementioned Mendzoza (Mets), Murphy (Brewers), and Counsell (Cubs), Ron Washington replaces Phil Nevin with the Angels, Joe Espada attempts to fill the shoes of the legend Dusty Baker in Houston, Bob Melvins has moved from San Diego to replace Gabe Kapler in San Francisco, and Terry Francona stepped down for health reasons from his leadership role with the Guardians who gave Stephen Vogt his first managerial job. Mike Shildt replaces Melvins in San Diego.

Mendoza and Vogt are the league's only first-time managers this season.