Opening Day starts are special, whether it’s a young pitcher getting his first chance in that spotlight or a veteran who has done it many times before. There’s the excitement, the pageantry and the chance to help your team begin the season in style.
Each year, only 30 pitchers are honored with such an assignment, and now we know who will be in that select group for 2023, heading into the full slate of openers on March 30.
Opening Day will feature eight Cy Young Award winners on the mound (Sandy Alcantara, Shane Bieber, Corbin Burnes, Jacob deGrom, Zack Greinke, Corey Kluber, Max Scherzer and Blake Snell) and 21 All-Star hurlers. In addition, five pitchers — deGrom, Kyle Gibson, Kluber, Pablo López and Kyle Muller — will take the mound on Opening Day in a debut performance with their new clubs.
As we look ahead, here is a fact to know about each of this year’s Opening Day starters.
All game times are ET. Noted in parentheses are how many times that pitcher has started on Opening Day, including the upcoming ‘23 start.
Giants at Yankees, 1:05 p.m.
Logan Webb (SF, 2nd): Webb will be the first Giants pitcher to make consecutive Opening Day starts since Madison Bumgarner in 2016-17. The right-hander is coming off a season in which he recorded a 2.90 ERA over 192 1/3 innings and received a couple of down-ballot NL Cy Young Award votes.
2022 OD starter: Webb
Gerrit Cole (NYY, 5th): For the fourth straight season, the Yankees will start Cole on Opening Day. Cole, who now holds New York’s all-time single-season strikeout record, joins CC Sabathia (2009-14), Mel Stottlemyre (1967-70), Lefty Gomez (1932-37) and Jack Chesbro (1903-06) as the only pitchers to make at least four consecutive Opening Day starts for the Yanks.
2022 OD starter: Cole
Braves at Nationals, 1:05 p.m.
Max Fried (ATL, 3rd): Fried has started the Braves’ past two openers and will take the ball again for Atlanta at Nationals Park. Coming off a 2022 campaign in which he posted a 2.48 ERA in 185 1/3 innings, Fried will try to help the Braves win on Opening Day for the first time since 2018. Only one Atlanta starter (Julio Teheran in 2015) has been credited with an Opening Day win in the past 11 seasons.
2022 OD starter: Fried
Patrick Corbin (WSH, 3rd): Corbin will make his second straight Opening Day start for the Nationals after Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg combined to start the previous 10 openers. Corbin, who also started on Opening Day for the D-backs in 2018, is 1-1 with a 3.72 ERA in his two season-opening starts.
2022 OD starter: Corbin
Orioles at Red Sox, 2:10 p.m.
Kyle Gibson (BAL, 2nd): Gibson’s lone prior Opening Day start came in 2021 with the Rangers, and it did not go well. In fact, it is one of only two instances in the Live Ball Era (since 1920) of an Opening Day starter allowing at least five earned runs while recording no more than one out, joining Toronto’s Mark Bomback in 1982. Despite that, Gibson bounced back to make his only career All-Star team.
2022 OD starter: John Means
Corey Kluber (BOS, 6th): Kluber, who signed a one-year deal with the Red Sox in the offseason, will be the first pitcher other than Nathan Eovaldi to start for Boston on Opening Day since 2019. The two-time Cy Young Award winner is no stranger to taking the ball in his team’s first game — he made five straight Opening Day starts for Cleveland from 2015-19, though he went 0-4 with a 4.01 ERA in those games.
2022 OD starter: Eovaldi
Brewers at Cubs, 2:20 p.m.
Corbin Burnes (MIL, 2nd): The 2021 NL Cy Young Award winner will face the Cubs on Opening Day for the second straight season, hoping to improve on his five-inning, three-run performance from 2022. Following six straight seasons of different Brewers starting on Opening Day, either Brandon Woodruff (2020-21) or Burnes has gotten the nod in each of the past four.
2022 OD starter: Burnes
Marcus Stroman (CHC, 3rd): Stroman will make his third career Opening Day start but his first in a Cubs uniform. In two previous opportunities with the Blue Jays in 2016 and ‘19, Stroman went 1-0 and tossed 15 innings with a 1.80 ERA. Kyle Hendricks had started the previous three Opening Day games for the Cubs.
2022 OD starter: Hendricks
Tigers at Rays, 3:10 p.m.
Eduardo Rodriguez (DET, 2nd): Rodriguez was the Tigers’ Opening Day starter in 2022, his first season with the team. He’ll reprise that role this season, becoming the fourth consecutive Tigers pitcher to make back-to-back Opening Day starts. Justin Verlander pitched the opener for Detroit in 2016-17, Jordan Zimmermann did the same in ‘18-19, and Matthew Boyd started on Opening Day in 2020-21.
2022 OD starter: Rodriguez
Shane McClanahan (TB, 2nd): McClanahan took the ball on Opening Day last season for the Rays, shutting out the Orioles for 4 1/3 innings en route to an All-Star season. He gets the nod again in 2023, breaking a string of five straight Opening Day starts by different pitchers — McClanahan, Tyler Glasnow, Charlie Morton, Blake Snell and Chris Archer, who was the most recent Opening Day starter to repeat the assignment (2015-18).
2022 OD starter: McClanahan
Phillies at Rangers, 4:05 p.m.
Aaron Nola (PHI, 6th): Nola will make his sixth consecutive Opening Day start, the longest active streak among MLB pitchers. Only two Phillies pitchers have started more consecutive Opening Day games in franchise history: Robin Roberts made 12 straight starts from 1950-61, while Steve Carlton made 10 straight from 1977-86. Nola owns a career 3.68 ERA in his five Opening Day outings.
2022 OD starter: Nola
Jacob deGrom (TEX, 4th): deGrom, the Mets’ longtime ace, will make his fourth career Opening Day start and first in a Rangers uniform. deGrom has thoroughly dominated his previous three Opening Day starts with no runs allowed and 25 strikeouts in 17 innings. deGrom will be the seventh pitcher in as many seasons to start for the Rangers on Opening Day, while Kevin Millwood (2006-09) remains the most recent to take the ball in Texas’ first game multiple years in a row.
2022 OD starter: Jon Gray
Blue Jays at Cardinals, 4:10 p.m.
Alek Manoah (TOR, 1st): José Berríos drew the Opening Day start for the Blue Jays in 2022, but Manoah will get the ball for Toronto this year, at Busch Stadium. Manoah’s sophomore season was a brilliant one, featuring a 2.24 ERA, an All-Star selection and a third-place finish in AL Cy Young Award balloting. He is the 10th different Opening Day starter for Toronto since 2010.
2022 OD starter: Berríos
Miles Mikolas (STL, 2nd): With Adam Wainwright going on the injured list due to a groin strain, Mikolas will get the ball for his second career Opening Day start. For the 24th straight season, the Cards’ Opening Day starter is right-handed; Donovan Osborne in 1999 was the most recent southpaw to start for St. Louis in a season opener.
2022 OD starter: Wainwright
Mets at Marlins, 4:10 p.m.
Max Scherzer (NYM, 7th): Scherzer will make his first Opening Day start for a team other than the Nationals. He took the ball for the Nats in six of seven openers between 2015-21, pitching to a 2.79 ERA. The Mets have won their first game in five of the past six seasons, and their all-time .656 winning percentage on Opening Day is the best in the Majors.
2022 OD starter: Tylor Megill
Sandy Alcantara (MIA, 4th): Alcantara will open the Marlins’ season for the fourth consecutive year, surpassing Josh Johnson and Josh Beckett for the most Opening Day starts in club history. The right-hander is coming off a dominant 2022 season, winning his first NL Cy Young Award, striking out 207 batters in 228 2/3 innings and pitching an MLB-high six complete games.
2022 OD starter: Alcantara
Rockies at Padres, 4:10 p.m.
Germán Márquez (COL, 3rd): Márquez started for the Rockies on Opening Day in 2020 and ‘21 before Kyle Freeland did so last season. Márquez’s third Opening Day start, which comes 30 years after the team’s inaugural season, will be the most in Rockies history; nine other pitchers have started two openers each for Colorado.
2022 OD starter: Freeland
Blake Snell (SD, 2nd): Snell’s only other Opening Day assignment was for the Rays in 2019, coming off his AL Cy Young Award season. With Yu Darvish having started San Diego’s past two openers, Snell becomes the 10th pitcher to take the ball for the team’s first game over the past 11 seasons.
2022 OD starter: Darvish
Twins at Royals, 4:10 p.m.
Pablo López (MIN, 1st): Acquired from the Marlins for Luis Arraez over the offseason, López becomes the fourth different pitcher to start for Minnesota on Opening Day since 2020. Since Brad Radke set a Twins club record with seven straight Opening Day starts from 1999-2005, no Minnesota pitcher has taken the ball to begin the season more than two consecutive years.
2022 OD starter: Joe Ryan
Zack Greinke (KC, 7th): Greinke, who re-signed with the Royals in the offseason, will return as K.C.’s Opening Day starter. Starting his seventh season opener — three for the Royals, three for the D-backs and one for the Astros — Greinke is one of three Opening Day starters from the 2010 season or earlier who remain active (Justin Verlander, Wainwright).
2022 OD starter: Greinke
Pirates at Reds, 4:10 p.m.
Mitch Keller (PIT, 1st): Keller is set to become the eighth different Opening Day starting pitcher for the Pirates in the past eight years. A former highly touted prospect now entering his fifth MLB season, Keller appeared to turn a corner in the second half of 2022, posting a 2.71 ERA over his final 15 starts.
2022 OD starter: JT Brubaker
Hunter Greene (CIN, 1st): Just under a year after he made his highly anticipated MLB debut for Cincinnati, Greene will bring his triple-digit fastball, with which he made history in 2022, to the mound to open the season for the Reds. The 23-year-old will be Cincinnati’s youngest Opening Day starter since a 22-year-old Frank Pastore shut out the Braves in 1980.
2022 OD starter: Tyler Mahle
White Sox at Astros, 7:08 p.m.
Dylan Cease (CWS, 1st): Cease will supplant Lucas Giolito, who made the prior three Opening Day starts for the South Siders. Cease struck out 227 hitters in 184 innings last season, finishing second to Verlander for the AL Cy Young Award. Cease will be the seventh different Opening Day starter for the White Sox since 2015.
2022 OD starter: Giolito
Framber Valdez (HOU, 2nd): Last year, Valdez drew his first Opening Day assignment, and now he’s back for more, coming off a World Series-clinching victory in Game 6 of the Fall Classic against the Phillies. Valdez outdueled Shohei Ohtani in the opener a year ago, tossing 6 2/3 scoreless innings against the Angels to help the Astros tie the all-time record with their 10th consecutive Opening Day win.
2022 OD starter: Valdez
Angels at A’s, 10:07 p.m.
Shohei Ohtani (LAA, 2nd): For the second straight year, Opening Day is Shohei Day for the Angels. Ohtani will be the first Angels pitcher to start consecutive Opening Days since Jered Weaver started six straight from 2010-15.
2022 OD starter: Ohtani
Kyle Muller (OAK, 1st): Muller, who was acquired from the Braves as part of the Sean Murphy trade, will be making only his 13th Major League appearance and 12th start when he takes the mound against the Angels. Muller is set to be the lone rookie to make an Opening Day start this season.
2022 OD starter: Frankie Montas
D-backs at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
Zac Gallen (ARI, 1st): Gallen, who finished fifth in NL Cy Young Award voting last season, will become the first Arizona pitcher not named Bumgarner to start on Opening Day since Greinke in 2019. Coincidentally, that was the last time before 2023 that the D-backs faced any team besides the Padres on Opening Day — and it was also a road game against the Dodgers, which Arizona lost, 12-5.
2022 OD starter: Bumgarner
Julio Urías (LAD, 1st): Urías, the reigning NL ERA champion, will become the Dodgers’ fifth Opening Day starter in as many years, following Walker Buehler (2022), Clayton Kershaw (‘21), Dustin May (‘20) and Hyun Jin Ryu (‘19). This will be the first time the Dodgers had such a streak since a span that ended with Kershaw’s first Opening Day Start in 2011, as he followed Vicente Padilla (‘10), Hiroki Kuroda (‘09), Brad Penny (‘08) and Derek Lowe (‘07).
2022 OD starter: Buehler
Guardians at Mariners, 10:10 p.m.
Shane Bieber (CLE, 4th): This won’t just be Bieber’s fourth career Opening Day start, but also his fourth in a row. That is just one shy of tying the longest streak of Opening Day starts by a pitcher in Cleveland history, held by Kluber (2015-19) and Stan Coveleski (1917-21). Bieber’s 14 strikeouts in the 2020 opener against the Royals is tied for the second most in history.
2022 OD starter: Bieber
Luis Castillo (SEA, 3rd): Acquired midseason from the Reds in 2022, Castillo will make his third career Opening Day start and his first for Seattle. Félix Hernández started a club-record 11 Opening Day games for the Mariners, including 10 straight from 2009-18, and posted a 1.53 ERA in season openers.
2022 OD starter: Robbie Ray