Opening Day starters: Who's getting the call?

March 29th, 2021

Below you will find every starting pitcher for each team in Game 1 of the 2021 season, as announced by the team’s manager. Noted in parentheses are how many times that pitcher has started on Opening Day, including the upcoming '21 start.


Rays (at MIA): Tyler Glasnow (1st)
With Blake Snell and Charlie Morton no longer part of the organization, the Rays will turn to Glasnow to start on Opening Day this season. After averaging 14.3 strikeouts per nine innings in 2020, the hard-throwing righty will try to become the second Tampa Bay pitcher to reach double figures in K's on Opening Day. Chris Archer, who was traded for Glasnow, Austin Meadows and Shane Baz in 2018 but is now back with the Rays, struck out 12 batters on Opening Day in '16.
2020 OD starter: Charlie Morton

Red Sox (vs. BAL): Nathan Eovaldi (2nd)
Eduardo Rodriguez was initially expected to start Opening Day in 2020, but ended up being unable to pitch during the season due to myocarditis. He was replaced by Eovaldi -- and that has happened again this spring, but for a different reason. Rodriguez was scratched with what the Red Sox called a "tired arm," so Eovaldi gets the call again.
2020 OD starter: Eovaldi

Orioles (at BOS): John Means (1st)
Means will make his first career Opening Day start this season. The Orioles haven't had the same Opening Day starting pitcher in back-to-back years since 2017. The last O's pitcher to do that was Chris Tillman, from 2014-16.
2020 OD starter: Tommy Milone

Yankees (vs. TOR): Gerrit Cole (3rd)
Cole will reprise the role he played in the Yankees' opener last year, when they won a rain-shortened contest at the Nationals. Cole pitched all five innings for New York, marking a complete-game outing. No Yanks pitcher has had a 10-strikeout outing on Opening Day.
2020 OD starter: Cole

Blue Jays (at NYY): Hyun Jin Ryu (3rd)
Ryu earns his third consecutive Opening Day start and third in his career. He pitched in the 2019 season opener for the Dodgers in his last season with Los Angeles, and then pitched on Opening Day last year for Toronto. Ryu was brilliant in the '19 opener against the D-backs at Dodger Stadium, tossing six innings while yielding one run on four hits, walking none and striking out eight in a 12-5 Dodgers victory. Last year, he wasn't as sharp, giving up three runs in 4 2/3 innings at Tampa Bay, though the Jays won that game, 6-4.
2020 OD starter: Ryu


Indians (at DET): Shane Bieber (2nd)
Coming off the AL Cy Young Award, it's not surprising that Bieber has been tabbed as Cleveland's Opening Day starter for the second straight season. In the Indians' first game last year, Bieber fired six scoreless innings against the Royals and registered 14 strikeouts -- tied for the second most all time by a pitcher on Opening Day.
2020 OD starter: Bieber

Royals (vs. TEX): Brad Keller (2nd)
Keller started Opening Day for the Royals in 2019, before Duffy got the nod for the third time in '20. Keller turned in a gem when he started Opening Day in 2019, tossing seven scoreless innings and allowing just two hits in a win against the White Sox.
2020 OD starter: Danny Duffy

Tigers (vs. CLE): Matthew Boyd
Boyd will make his second straight Opening Day start for the Tigers. He allowed four runs in five innings on Opening Day 2020 in a 7-1 loss to the Reds.
2020 OD starter: Boyd

Twins (at MIL): Kenta Maeda (1st)
José Berríos got the ball for the Twins on Opening Day in each of the past two years, but it will be Maeda's game in 2021. Acquired from the Dodgers last February, Maeda went 6-1 with a 2.70 ERA and 80 strikeouts over 66 2/3 innings during his first season with Minnesota, finishing second in the AL Cy Young Award race.
2020 OD starter: José Berríos

White Sox (at LAA): Lucas Giolito (2nd)
Giolito will be the first White Sox pitcher to start consecutive Opening Day games since Chris Sale in 2013-14. The White Sox ace will look for a better result this year, after allowing seven runs in 3 2/3 innings last year on Opening Day against the Twins.
2020 OD starter: Giolito


Angels (vs. CWS): Dylan Bundy (2nd)
Bundy will be making his second career Opening Day start, but his first for the Angels. He threw seven scoreless innings for the Orioles on Opening Day 2018 against the Twins. The last time the Angels had the same pitcher start Opening Day in consecutive years was Jered Weaver from 2010-15. Bundy, reprising the role taken by Andrew Heaney last year, continues the streak of different hurlers.
2020 OD starter: Andrew Heaney

Astros (at OAK): Zack Greinke (5th)
This will be Greinke's fifth career Opening Day start, but his first for the Astros. He started the Royals' opener in 2010 and the D-backs' first game in 2016-17 and 2019. His teams are 1-3 in his four prior Opening Day starts, and he's yet to strike out 10 batters or have a scoreless outing in one of those games. He'll be the first Astros Opening Day starter not named Verlander or Keuchel since Scott Feldman in 2014.
2020 OD starter: Justin Verlander

Athletics (vs. HOU): Chris Bassitt (1st)
Bassitt was terrific for the A's in 2020, going 5-2 in 11 starts, with a 2.29 ERA that ranked third in the AL and helped him finish eighth in Cy Young Award voting. His winning performance in Game 2 of the Wild Card Series against the White Sox (seven innings, one run) forced a decisive Game 3 in which Oakland advanced. Bassitt will be the 13th different Opening Day starter in the past 15 seasons for the A's, since the Big Three of Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito handled that job from 2001-06.
2020 OD starter: Frankie Montas

Mariners (vs. SF): Marco Gonzales (3rd)
Gonzales will be making his third consecutive Opening Day start for the Mariners, a streak that comes on the heels of Félix Hernández's 10-year streak from 2009-18. Only three pitchers have made more Opening Day starts for the Seattle, regardless of streaks: Hernández (11), Randy Johnson (six) and Jamie Moyer (four).
2020 OD starter: Gonzales

Rangers (at KC): Kyle Gibson (1st)
Gibson will reprise the role that now-White Sox starter Lance Lynn had last year. The last time the same pitcher started for the Rangers on consecutive Opening Days was 2006-09, when Kevin Millwood did so.
2020 OD starter: Lance Lynn


Braves (at PHI): Max Fried (1st)
Fried stepped up after Mike Soroka, the Braves' 2020 Opening Day starter, went down with a torn right Achilles, finishing the season 7-0 with a 2.25 ERA in 56 innings. The left-hander will get the Opening Day nod vs. the Phillies, who faced Fried twice last season and scored one run in 10 innings against him.
2020 OD starter: Mike Soroka

Marlins (vs. TB): Sandy Alcantara (2nd)
Alcantara was named Miami's Opening Day starter for the second straight year after dominating in his first four outings of Spring Training (19 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings, zero earned runs allowed). The 25-year-old right-hander will have his work cut out for him against the reigning AL champion Rays, but he was great on Opening Day 2020, when he beat the Phillies with 6 2/3 innings of three-hit, two-run ball (only one run earned) and seven strikeouts.
2020 OD starter: Alcantara

Mets (at WSH): Jacob deGrom (3rd)
This will be deGrom's third consecutive Opening Day start for the Mets. That's tied for the third-longest streak in franchise history, behind only Tom Seaver's 10-season streak from 1968-77 and Dwight Gooden's four-season stretch from 1988-91. The only other Mets starter with three straight Opening Day nods was Johan Santana, from 2008-10.
2020 OD starter: deGrom

Nationals (vs. NYM): Max Scherzer (6th)
For the fourth straight season and the sixth time in seven years, the Nationals will hand the ball to Scherzer on Opening Day. The three-time Cy Young Award winner is entering the final season of his seven-year deal with Washington. Scherzer is 1-3 in five Opening Day starts for the Nats, albeit with a 2.14 ERA and 48 strikeouts over 33 2/3 innings.
2020 OD starter: Scherzer

Phillies (vs. ATL): Aaron Nola (4th)
Nola will be making his fourth straight Opening Day start for the Phillies. That's the longest streak by a Phillies pitcher since Steve Carlton started 10 straight from 1977-87. The team is 1-2 in Nola's prior three Opening Day starts, but the only time he's allowed more than a run in those was in 2020 (four runs).
2020 OD starter: Nola


Brewers (vs. MIN): Brandon Woodruff (2nd)
Now established as the ace in Milwaukee, Woodruff gets the ball for a second straight Opening Day, making him the first Brewers pitcher to start consecutive openers since Yovani Gallardo did it five straight years from 2010-14. The 28-year-old right-hander was solid on Opening Day 2020, holding the Cubs to two runs in five innings, the start of a season in which he posted a 3.05 ERA and was top-10 in the Majors with 91 strikeouts.
2020 OD starter: Woodruff

Cardinals (at CIN): Jack Flaherty (2nd)
Flaherty went seven innings in the opener in 2020, allowing two runs in a St. Louis win. He will be the fifth Cardinals pitcher since at least 1901 to make multiple Opening Day starts for the club before turning 26, joining Joe Magrane (three), Dizzy Dean (three), Lee Meadows (two) and Johnny Lush (two).
2020 OD starter: Flaherty

Cubs (vs. PIT): Kyle Hendricks (2nd)
The Professor will start his second consecutive opener as the unquestioned staff ace in Chicago now that Yu Darvish and Jon Lester have departed. Hendricks was phenomenal in his first career Opening Stay start last year -- he pitched a complete-game, three-hit shutout against the Brewers, becoming the first pitcher to throw a shutout on Opening Day since Clayton Kershaw in 2013. What will he do for an encore against the Pirates at Wrigley Field?
2020 OD starter: Hendricks

Pirates (at CHC): Chad Kuhl (1st)
Following the offseason departures of Jameson Taillon and Joe Musgrove, the Pirates will turn to Kuhl to make his first Opening Day start. Kuhl will be the sixth Opening Day starter Pittsburgh has called on in as many seasons. He posted a 4.27 ERA in 11 games (9 starts) in his 2020 return from Tommy John surgery.
2020 OD starter: Musgrove

Reds (vs. STL): Luis Castillo (2nd)
Castillo got the nod for his first career Opening Day start in 2019, before pitching game two instead in 2020. He'll return to the first game of the year in '21. He allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings on Opening Day in 2019, striking out eight in a Reds win over the Pirates.
2020 OD starter: Sonny Gray


D-backs (at SD): Madison Bumgarner (7th)
After making five Opening Day starts with the Giants, Bumgarner will start Arizona's first game for the second straight year. The left-hander struggled in his first season with the D-backs, recording a 6.48 ERA over nine starts.
2020 OD starter: Bumgarner

Dodgers (at COL): Clayton Kershaw (9th)
Kershaw has a little experience when it comes to Opening Day starts -- the three-time Cy Young Award winner started every season opener for the Dodgers from 2011-18. That's a franchise record, both in terms of overall number of Opening Day starts and consecutive Opening Day starts. Don Sutton and Don Drysdale are second on the list with seven each. Interestingly, Kershaw has started on Opening Day against every other NL West team except the club he'll face this year, the Rockies.
2020 OD starter: Dustin May

Giants (at SEA): Kevin Gausman (2nd)
Gausman will make his second career Opening Day start but first with the Giants -- his other one came with the Orioles in 2017, when he held the Blue Jays to two runs in 5 1/3 innings in a rematch of the previous year's AL Wild Card Game. Gausman gets the nod over Johnny Cueto, San Francisco's 2020 Opening Day starter, who will instead pitch Game 2 and be lined up for the Giants' home opener on April 9.
2020 OD starter: Cueto

Padres (vs. ARI): Yu Darvish (2nd)
The Padres have more than one deserving candidate for an Opening Day start, but it's Darvish who will get the ball in Game 1 for his new team -- Blake Snell will start Game 2. Darvish's first career Opening Day start came with the Rangers in 2017. This will be the Padres' eighth straight season with a different Opening Day starter -- San Diego's last pitcher to start consecutive openers was Edinson Vólquez from 2012-13.
2020 OD starter: Chris Paddack

Rockies (vs. LAD): Germán Márquez (2nd)
Márquez will become the ninth pitcher in Rockies history to make multiple Opening Day starts, having started the club's first game in 2020. The 26-year-old led the Majors in batters faced (344) and posted a 3.75 ERA (138 ERA+) over 13 starts last season.
2020 OD starter: Márquez