Rockies' Freeland gets nod; MLB unveils Opening Day matchups

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Tuesday, March 19, 2024

It didn't have the drama of the NCAA tournament bracket release of two days earlier, but MLB held its own unveiling Tuesday by announcing the starting pitching matchups for all season openers.

At least half the teams already had announced their Opening Day starters.

"To be able to be told by your skipper that you're going to be the guy that's starting the first game of the season, it's an honor," Colorado pitcher Kyle Freeland said in a video released by the team announcing him as its Opening Day starter. "I definitely don't take it lightly. It's great to know and have that feeling that you've accomplished something that only a handful of guys get to do on a consistent basis."

The MLB opener Wednesday in Seoul, South Korea, has Los Angeles Dodgers newcomer Tyler Glasnow facing San Diego's Yu Darvish. Glasnow signed a $136.5 million, five-year contract with the Dodgers after they acquired him from Tampa Bay.

Perhaps the most notable matchup has Philadelphia's Zack Wheeler facing Atlanta's Spencer Strider at Citizens Bank Park. Corbin Burnes, the 2021 NL Cy Young Award winner for Milwaukee, will make his Baltimore debut in an opener against the visiting Los Angeles Angels.

The Chicago White Sox announced Monday that left-hander Garrett Crochet will make his first career start on Opening Day. Crochet, 24, is moving into the rotation this season, and all 72 of his previous big league appearances have come in relief.

Oakland gave its Opening Day assignment to Alex Wood, a 33-year-old left-hander who had never started an opener before.

Other Opening Day pitching matchups include Jose Quintana for the New York Mets facing off against Milwaukee's Freddy Peralta, Burnes vs. Patrick Sandoval for the Los Angeles Angels, Cincinnati's Frankie Montas vs. Washington's Josiah Gray, Tampa Bay's Zach Eflin vs. Toronto's Jose Berrios, Miami's Jesus Luzardo vs. Pittsburgh's Mitch Keller, Kansas City's Cole Ragans vs. Minnesota's Pablo Lopez, Houston's Framber Valdez facing Nestor Cortes of the New York Yankees, Crochet matching up with Detroit's Tarik Skubal, Texas' Nathan Eovaldi facing Justin Steele of the Chicago Cubs, Freeland facing Arizona's Zac Gallen, Wood facing Cleveland's Shane Bieber and Seattle's Luis Castillo vs. Boston's Brayan Bello.

Logan Webb gets the call for San Francisco when the Giants open their season against the Padres, and Miles Mikolas will pitch for the St. Louis Cardinals in their opener against the Dodgers.

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