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2024 Opening Day starter tracker: Sonny Gray, Jesús Luzardo, Dylan Cease, Pablo López, more get Game 1 honors

The Opening Day nod is a huge honor, even if it’s just one game out of 162

            Mike Axisa

By Mike Axisa

R.J. Anderson

 & Dayn Perry

10 hrs ago•8 min read



Spring training is underway and Major League Baseball is scheduled to open the 2024 regular season on March 28. It is never too early to keep tabs on each team’s Opening Day starter, of course. These announcements will come in throughout spring training and sometimes before camp even opens.

With that in mind, here is our living document chronicling every team’s Opening Day starter situation. These announcements are tentative because sometimes things change due to injury, so check back regularly for updates. We’ll have everything you need to know about Opening Day starters right here.

Before we get to the good stuff, here is the all-time Opening Day start leaderboard:Top Storiesby CBS SportsREAD MORE2024 NFL Mock Draft: J.J. McCarthy leapfrogs DrakeMaye, Bills trade up for wide receiver

  1. Tom Seaver: 16
  2. Steve Carlton: 14
  3. Jack Morris: 14
  4. Randy Johnson: 14
  5. Walter Johnson: 14

While it’s true that Opening Day counts for only one game in the standings, it’s still an honor to be tabbed as the starting pitcher for that day. With that in mind, here’s who’s getting the ball in Game 1 around the league.

team logo Diamondbacks
TBA. The smart money is on Zac Gallen getting the nod after finishing third in the NL Cy Young voting last year, and fifth the year before. It would be his second consecutive Opening Day start. Arizona opens the regular season at home against the Rockies.
team logo Braves
TBA. Max Fried has started the last three Opening Days for the Braves, though the six-time defending NL East champs are not short on options. Charlie MortonChris Sale, and Spencer Strider are all deserving of starting the season opener. The Braves begin the 2024 season in Philadelphia.
team logo Orioles
TBA. Corbin Burnes, who arrived in a late offseason trade, is the favorite here. That is especially true with incumbent ace Kyle Bradish dealing with an elbow injury. The O’s will host the Angels to begin the regular season.
team logo Red Sox
TBA. The Chris Sale trade opens the door for Lucas Giolito or possibly even young Brayan Bello to start the season opener for Boston. The Red Sox start their season on the road in Seattle.
team logo Cubs
TBA. In Justin Steele and Kyle Hendricks, the Cubs have two worthy Opening Day starters. Steele finished fifth in the NL Cy Young voting last season and Hendricks started three straight season openers from 2020-22. The Cubs begin their season on the road against the defending World Series champion Rangers.
team logo White Sox
RHP Dylan Cease. Assuming he is not traded before Opening Day, Cease is the obvious call here. Sure enough, White Sox manager Pedro Grifol told reporters on Jan. 25 (via ESPN’s Jesse Rogers) that Cease will get the ball. It’ll be his second career Opening Day start after he was dominant in Houston last year. He struck out 214 batters in 177 innings last season, albeit with a 4.58 ERA. The White Sox open the new season at home against Detroit.
team logo Reds
TBA. The Reds have not had a pitcher start consecutive Opening Days since Johnny Cueto started four straight from 2012-15. That figures to change this year with Hunter Greene again likely to start the season opener. The Reds will be at home to take on the Nationals on Opening Day.
team logo Guardians
TBA. Shane Bieber has started the last four Opening Days and, as long as he’s not traded between now and the start of the regular season, he figures to make it five straight Opening Day starts. The Guardians will be in Oakland to open 2024.
team logo Rockies
TBAKyle Freeland, a Denver native, seems like the obvious call here with Germán Márquez on the mend following Tommy John surgery. The Rockies will begin the new season in Arizona, against the defending NL champs.
team logo Tigers
LHP Tarik Skubal. On March 1, manager A.J. Hinch announced Skubal will start Opening Day, per The Tigers spent money on veteran free agent pitchers this offseason and could have given the ball to Kenta Maeda or Jack Flaherty. but instead it will be Skubal, who had a 2.80 ERA with 102 strikeouts in 80 1/3 innings after returning from a flexor injury last year. The Tigers will be on Chicago’s south side to face the White Sox to start the new season.
team logo Astros
TBA. Framber Valdez has started the last two Opening Days and Justin Verlander’s achy shoulder would seem to make it likely Valdez will start a third consecutive season opener. Verlander was potentially in line for his 13th career Opening Day start, and his fourth with the Astros. Houston will host the Yankees to open 2024.
team logo Royals
TBA. Will Zack Greinke return to the Royals? If so, he could get the nod for the third straight Opening Day. Free-agent additions Seth Lugo and Michael Wacha are the alternatives. The Royals will be home against the Twins on Opening Day.
team logo Angels
TBA. For the first time since 2021, someone other than Shohei Ohtani will start Opening Day for the Angels. One of Reid DetmersGriffin Canning, and Patrick Sandoval seems most likely to get the nod. The Halos will travel to Baltimore to start the new season.
team logo Dodgers
TBA. Believe it or not, the Dodgers have used five different Opening Day starters in the last five years. Tyler Glasnow and Yoshinobu Yamamoto will start the two-game Seoul Series from March 20-21, we just don’t know in which order yet. The two games against the Padres in South Korea will serve as the 2024 regular season opener.
team logo Marlins
LHP Jesús LuzardoSandy Alcantara‘s Tommy John surgery takes him out of the running, and that means Luzardo will be Miami’s Opening Day starter, as manager Skip Schumaker told reporters. Luzardo, 26, is coming off a 2023 season in which he pitched to a 3.58 ERA with 208 strikeouts in 178 2/3 innings. The Marlins will welcome the Pirates to loanDepot Park to start the new season.
team logo Brewers
RHP Freddy Peralta. On Feb. 23, GM Matt Arnold announced Peralta will start the season opener. It will be his first career Opening Day assignment. Peralta had a 3.86 ERA with 210 strikeouts in 165 2/3 innings last season, and he will be the first pitcher other than Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff to start Opening Day for the Brewers since Jhoulys Chacín in 2019. Milwaukee will visit the Mets to begin the regular season.
team logo Twins
RHP Pablo López. On Jan. 17, the Twins became the first team to announce their Opening Day starter. It will be López for the second straight year, manager Rocco Baldelli said on Twins Radio. Acquired from the Marlins in the Luis Arraez trade, López had a 3.66 ERA and 234 strikeouts in 194 innings last year. That earned him a seventh place finish in the AL Cy Young voting. He will be the first Twins pitcher to start consecutive season openers since José Berríos from 2019-20. Minnesota will begin the new season in Kansas City.
team logo Mets
TBA. Kodai Senga, the odds-on favorite to start Opening Day, will miss the start of the season with a shoulder issue. Veterans José Quintana and Luis Severino have each made Opening Day starts in the past. Quintana was with the team last year and had the superior 2023, so figure he’s the frontrunner at the moment. The Mets will welcome the Brewers to Queens to open 2024.
team logo Yankees
TBA. There’s no reason to think it will be anyone other than Gerrit Cole, the reigning AL Cy Young winner. He has started the last four Opening Days for New York. Cole will face his former team, the Astros, in Houston on Opening Day.
team logo Athletics
TBA. JP Sears was the A’s best pitcher last season but Paul Blackburn is their longest-tenured pitcher. Either would be a good choice for a team that lacks good choices pretty much everywhere on the roster. The Athletics will host the Guardians on Opening Day.
team logo Phillies
TBA. Aaron Nola has started the last six Opening Days for the Phillies and that streak could continue, though Zack Wheeler is the team’s best pitcher, so it could be his turn to start the opener. The Phillies will welcome the NL East rival Braves to Philadelphia to start the new season. 
team logo Pirates
RHP Mitch KellerThe same day his five-year extension was announced, the Pirates announced Keller as the Opening Day starter. It’ll be his second straight. The Pirates hadn’t had a pitcher start consecutive Opening Days since Francisco Liriano started three straight from 2014-16. Keller broke out once he added a sinker in the middle of 2022, and he went to his first All-Star Game last year. The Pirates will be in Miami to open 2024.
team logo Cardinals
RHP Sonny Gray. The Cardinals signed Gray to a three-year, $75 million contract this offseason, and indeed the big free-agent contract comes with Opening Day responsibilities. Manager Oliver Marmol made the announcement on Feb. 27, but Gray’s hamstring strain has put Opening Day in question. A backup option has not been announced. Gray, 34, is coming off a 2023 season for the Twins in which he finished runner-up in the AL Cy Young balloting. The Cardinals will visit Shohei Ohtani and the Dodgers to begin the new season.
team logo Padres
TBA. With reigning NL Cy Young winner Blake Snell a free agent, the Opening Day nod figures to instead go to either Yu Darvish or native San Diegan Joe Musgrove. The Padres and Dodgers will begin the 2024 season in South Korea for the Seoul Series from March 20-21.
team logo Giants
TBA. Expect it to be Logan Webb for the third straight season. He finished second to Blake Snell in the NL Cy Young voting a year ago. Webb and Giants will be in San Diego on Opening Day.
team logo Mariners
TBA. The Mariners have an embarrassment of riches in their rotation. Luis CastilloGeorge Kirby, and Logan Gilbert are all qualified to start Opening Day. Castillo got the ball in Game 1 last season. The Mariners will host the Red Sox to start the year.
team logo Rays
TBA. Shane McClanahan‘s Tommy John surgery and the Tyler Glasnow trade mean the Opening Day honors are likely to fall to Zach Eflin, or maybe Aaron Civale. The Rays will be at home against the Blue Jays when the season begins.
team logo Rangers
TBA. Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer will begin the season on the injured list, so expect the Opening Day nod to go to postseason hero Nathan Eovaldi. The Rangers have had 14 different pitchers start the last 15 season openers (Cole Hamels did it in 2016 and 2018). Kevin Millwood from 2006-09 was the last Texas pitcher to start consecutive Opening Days. The reigning World Series champions begin 2024 at home against the Cubs.
team logo Blue Jays
TBA. Kevin Gausman finished third in the AL Cy Young voting last season and is the obvious choice here. The Blue Jays will be in St. Petersburg to take on the Rays on Opening Day.
team logo Nationals
TBA. Patrick Corbin has started the last two Opening Days, but it seems likely he’ll cede that responsibility this year. All-Star Josiah Gray is the best option. The Nationals start 2024 in Cincinnati.