The start of the 2022 MLB season has finally come!
Starting with seven Vernissage Day games on Thursday and continuing the rest of the MLB in action on Friday, it’s time to welcome the new year on diamonds. To celebrate the return of baseball, we asked our experts to weigh what they were most interested in watching – and make a fearless prediction for the opening day.
Once the games start, be sure to update this page early and often for our live updates and takeaways from each Vernissage Day game on Thursday and Friday.
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Opening day schedule for Thursday
All times are eastern
14:20: Brewers (Burns) to Cubs (Hendricks)
16:10: Guardians (Bieber) in Royals (Greinke)
16:15: Pirates (Brubaker) in the Cardinals (Wainwright)
19:05 on ESPN +: Mets (TBD) by Nationals (Corbin)
20:00 on ESPN2: Reds (Mahle) in Braves (Fried)
21:38: Astros (Valdez) to Angels (Otani)
21:40: Podres (Darwish) to Diamondbacks (Bumgarner)
Starting Fridays: Red Sox Yankees, White Sox Tigers, A-Phyllis, Orioles Race, Dodgers Rocky, Mariners Twins, Marlins Giants and Rangers Blue Jays
The predictions of the opening day and what we can’t wait to see
What do you find most interesting to watch on Vernissage Day?
Bradford Doolittle: I’m in Minneapolis for the Twins-Mariners series, which was postponed for the day due to the bad weather in early spring. The advantage is that I get two opening days and can watch Bobby Vita Jr.’s debut in Kansas City on some screen on Thursday before seeing Julia Rodriguez from Seattle first hand on Friday. We haven’t always seen the most exciting prospects on vernissage day (Witt – №2, and Rodriguez – №3 on Kiely McDaniel’s list of top 100 prospects), so that’s a great thing. There is a big race of newcomers of the year in the American League.
Jesse Rogers: Debut Cubs newbie Sei Suzuki. He is a player with several instruments with power on all fields and a rocket. As noted in the recent battle for collective bargaining, most newbies don’t make big money – but Suzuki has signed a five-year contract for $ 85 million this offseason so eyes will be on him around the world of baseball. He has a chance to become the next big star in a team that suddenly got rid of them. Thursday is his first chance to show fans across the city of Chicago what they get.
David Schoenfield: The most exciting team to watch in April may be the Padres. There is a lot of pressure on the team, which now has one of the highest salaries in baseball and is coming out of a losing season. They collapsed down, and while the rotation is healthy again, Padres will have to play a couple of months without Fernando Tatis Jr. So on opening day I want to see how Yu Darvish looks after the 1-8 (6.16 ERA) in the second half. I want to see how new manager Bob Melvin is setting up his bullpen on the latest games. I want to see if Ha-Son Kim can not only replace Tatis, but also hit like he did in Korea after a fight in his debut season. I want to see who will appear Manny Machada. The earthquakes start with 14 games against Diamondbacks, Giants, Rangers and Pirates – a golden opportunity to start a hot start and leave the disappointment of 2021 behind.
June Lee: I’m with David in this. The tremors are at an exciting turning point in AJ Preler’s possession due to Tatis ’injury and the level of financial investment in the core of this team. According to several sources, the chemistry of the Padres club has suffered under the leadership of Jace Tingler, so the addition of Melvin will completely shake the dynamics of the team’s locker room. I’m curious to see what kind of Darwish will appear on opening day and how former Cy Young winner Blake Snell is doing in his second season in San Diego after struggling to cite figures similar to his stay in Tampa Bay. Especially after the trend on Eric Hosmer failed and Tatis’s injuries, the team will need high-paying players to play better in 2022.
Buster Olney: I’m in Atlanta and I’ll be excited to see the reception of the new man from Matt Olson’s first base – and I expect it to be loud and long. If anyone is going to replace Freddie Freeman first, Olson is the perfect candidate, given his local roots, age and power. If Brau’s magical script from last year’s World Series is still in play, then Olson will get a key hit – and Atlanta fans will go crazy. What a story that would be.
Koli Harvey: I am very excited to join Buster in my hometown of Atlanta, where I will be sitting in the front row for a coronation that has been prepared for a generation. And as a lifelong fan of ATL, 404, Chick-fil-A and Waffle House, the 10-year-old teenager I still can’t believe that one of the professional teams from his city will finally have another banner-raising night. The Braves Championships of 1995 and 2021 and the MLS Atlanta United title in 2018 are all we have! After 28-3 memes and jokes “The city is too busy to hate” more than deserves to once again celebrate the victory in the World Series last October. Atlanta deserved it.
Olden Gonzalez: I will be at Angel Stadium on Thursday and so I was the luckiest. Shohei Otani will be on the mound and he will be in the lineup, starting what promises to be another exciting season as a two-way player. Talks around the Angels camp this spring focused on whether Ohtani could really be better this year, given how he has improved as a pitcher and how he has felt comfortable with a two-way role over the course of the season. It sounds impossible – until you realize how special this person is.
Tim Kawn: The Mets have forced Max Scherzer to reunite with Jacob de Grom, and they start with Vernissage Day … Tyler Magil. Next to J. T. Brubaker from “Pirates”, Magil is the most unopened starter on the Opening Day. Even in Auckland there is Frankie Montas, although there is a chance he could be exchanged before the first inning on Friday in Philadelphia. That may not mean much – Scherzer should be back soon, maybe even for a second game – but it’s sure to be a sign.
It’s time to make your choice: what is your one day forecast for the opening definitely is it true?
Doolittle: Albert Pujols travels to Homer in St. Louis. Even if it turns out to be the only Homer he’s beaten all season, it won’t happen. In St. Louis there are many young supporters of the Cardinals who have heard of Pujol only from their parents. It’s huge that they’re experiencing him this year as he moves from a career to the Hall of Fame.
Rogers: Corbyn Burns alone will hit the Cubs – and Suzuki will be the only striker to reach him. Chicago is a little left-handed, while right-handed opponents scored against it a minimum average of 0.179 in 2021. With a right-handed player at first base and a right field – two positions often reserved for left-handers – – The cubs will be at a disadvantage to right-handers all season. Trying to resist Burns on Thursday, at 40 degrees, will make things much harder.
Shanfield: Machada started slowly in 2021, but when Tatis came out, Padres needed him to hit from the start. In his career, he has not beaten so well in the Diamondbacks starting team Madison Bamgarner (.212 / .257 / .515), although three of his seven shots are home runs. I say he twice goes out of the yard from MadBum when Padres wins in his debut.
Olney: He is not performing on the day of the opening, but I will say that it will be the last year that future Hall of Fame member Jacob deGrom is in Metz. Steve Cohen has shown that he is willing and willing to invest in any way he thinks the Mets can help, but there are too many variables for DeGrom to return – questions about his health now, his health moving forward, and most importantly, he wants. We look back at his assertion that he is giving up the contract despite a recent injury as the first real signal that he is headed elsewhere.
Gonzalez: Rodriguez and Wit Jr. will make home runs in their Premier League debuts. The two highlight what looks like an incredibly deep field rookie of the year AL, along with Spencer Torkelson. They will eventually be joined by Adly Rutschman and Riley Green. Not included in this list: Vander Franco, who last year surpassed the rookie qualifier but will play in his first full season in 2022. He may be the biggest star of all. The young talent in this sport is amazing now – and I was only in one league.
Keown: We will all be reminded that Mike Trout not only exists but also remains the best player in the sport. The eyes of the game will be on Shohei Otani, who starts in the opening of the “Angels” against the “Astros”, but by the end of the fourth or fifth inning it will be Trout night.
Lee: Shohei Ahtani will emerge strong on Opening Day, showing that last year was not a mirage and that you can serve and beat at a high level for several seasons – and opening the idea that teams can potentially develop more bilateral players, not necessarily at Ohtani level but to maximize the value of each place on the list.
Harvey: Okay, so Austin Riley’s Grapefruit League wasn’t the strongest (0.214, 6-for-28), but I’m really looking forward to it having a great opening night. It will take place in his first game in Truist Park after the World Series. At home last postseason he scored 0.419 (13-for-31) with five extra shots at base. He will once again take advantage of this grand success in front of another stormy and frantic Atlanta crowd, giving fans magic at the end of the half.