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Opening Day pitching matchups

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Though the regular season officially began last week with a two-game series between the Athletics and Mariners in Japan, it will open States-side on Thursday afternoon. All 30 teams will be active. Here’s the schedule along with the pitching match-ups. All times ET.

The two games that really stick out are Mets/Nationals and Astros/Rays. Both feature the reigning Cy Young Award winners, unsurprisingly. deGrom won the award in the National League with Scherzer finishing as the runner-up. A 1-2 match-up between Cy Young finalists should be very entertaining. Similarly, Snell won the award in the AL just ahead of Verlander.

Braves-Phillies should be entertaining, kicking off what should be a season-long, four-team battle in the NL East. The revamped Phillies will feature a horde of new All-Stars in the lineup — Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Jean Segura, and Andrew McCutchen. They’ll also have Nola on the bump following his third-place finish in NL Cy Young balloting. Teheran has been solid against the Phillies in his career, holding them to a 3.65 ERA across 22 starts and one relief appearance, but their lineup hasn’t been this good since he has been a regular in the Braves’ rotation.

Ryu gets the Opening Day start for the Dodgers, becoming the first Dodger not named Clayton Kershaw to start the first game of the season since Vicente Padilla in 2010. Greinke will start on Opening Day for the third time in four years with the D-Backs.

The Red Sox will begin their title defense with a date with the Mariners. Sale, fresh off a five-year, $145 million contract extension, gets the nod opposite Marco Gonzales, who started the Mariners’ first game in Japan against the A’s.

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Oakland Athletics reverse course, will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.