Opening Day is always a special event around Major League Baseball. It signals the start of a new season, which means the warmer weather should be right around the corner. And in a season of 162 games over six months, the first one always means a little bit more.
The Texas Rangers and Houston Astros—new division rivals—get the season started with a single game on Sunday night. Monday is when things really get rolling, though. There are 12 games that will likely run from about 1 p.m. until 1 a.m. ET.
Here's a look at the complete schedule for Opening Day, which falls on April 1, including start times and television information. It's followed by a breakdown of the top three games on tap and predictions for which teams from those contests will get their seasons off to a 1-0 start.
2013 Opening Day Schedule
|Time (ET)||Road Team||Home Team||TV Info|
|1:05||Boston Red Sox||New York Yankees||ESPN|
|1:05||Miami Marlins||Washington Nationals||FSFL/MASN|
|1:10||San Diego Padres||New York Mets||FSSD/SNY|
|1:35||Chicago Cubs||Pittsburgh Pirates||WGN/ROOT|
|2:10||Colorado Rockies||Milwaukee Brewers||ROOT/FSWI|
|4:10||San Francisco Giants||Los Angeles Dodgers||ESPN|
|4:10||Kansas City Royals||Chicago White Sox||FSKC/CSN|
|4:10||Detroit Tigers||Minnesota Twins||FSD/FSNO|
|4:10||Los Angeles Angels||Cincinnati Reds||FSW/FSOH|
|7:05||Philadelphia Phillies||Atlanta Braves||ESPN2|
|10:05||Seattle Mariners||Oakland Athletics||ROOT/CSCA|
|10:05||St. Louis Cardinals||Arizona Diamondbacks||ESPN2|
Top Matchup Predictions
Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees
For so long, every season would begin with a debate about which team would win the AL East, the Red Sox or the Yankees. Things have certainly changed. Now, there are serious questions about whether either rival will make the postseason.
New York is dealing with several key injuries. Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez are out long term, while Phil Hughes and Derek Jeter hope to return in April. The good news for the Yankees is that they will have CC Sabathia on the mound and Robinson Cano to lead the offense.
The Red Sox counter with Jon Lester, who's coming off a forgettable season. His ability to get back to an ace level will play a major role in Boston's attempted bounce back. Not having a healthy David Ortiz to start the season will make it a challenge for the team to produce runs consistently.
Prediction: 5-4 Yankees
San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
The NL West foes get their seasons started with a tremendous pitching matchup. The defending World Series champions send Matt Cain out against Clayton Kershaw. It wouldn't be a surprise to see it become a matchup in Game 1 of a playoff series as well.
San Francisco is going to follow the same formula that led it to a title last season—a strong starting rotation, which could be bolstered if Tim Lincecum can return to form, being supported by timely hitting from players like Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval.
The Dodgers counter with plenty of star power. Zack Greinke joins Kershaw in the rotation to give Los Angeles a dynamic one-two punch, which will be key if it makes the postseason. Matt Kemp leads the offensive charge, but he should get plenty of help, especially once Hanley Ramirez returns.
Prediction: 3-2 Dodgers
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves
The Phillies have recently been perennial contenders in the NL East. Entering this season, however, they are serving as the third wheel behind the Braves and Washington Nationals. They will be out to prove the window isn't closed on them quite yet.
In order to keep pace, Philadelphia needs big seasons from all its veteran hitters. Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Michael Young lead a potent group, but they all must stay healthy, and they need to produce. If they do, the Phillies will be in the mix.
The Braves underwent a minor revamp during the offseason, bringing in B.J. and Justin Upton to recharge the lineup following the retirement of Chipper Jones. If Kris Medlen pitches like an ace over an entire season, Atlanta can beat out Washington for the division crown.
Prediction: 6-3 Braves
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