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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.

Baseball is almost back!

Carlos Carrasco pitches during game action

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Indians starter Carlos Carrasco was diagnosed with leukemia earlier this summer. He’d been out since June. Despite that diagnosis, he and the Indians insisted that he would make every effort to come back this year. Yesterday he took a big step in that direction, making his first rehab appearance at Double-A Akron.

He only tossed one inning, walking one batter and striking out another. He thew 16 pitches but cranked it up to 97 with his first offering. Not too shabby.

It’s unclear what the timetable is for him returning to Cleveland. If they intend to use him as a starter again he’ll obviously need several more appearances to get stretched out. If he’s to be used as a reliever, fewer obviously. What his stamina level is and will be is also an open question.

However that gets sorted out, it’s good so have him back in action.