Opening Day is finally here for MLB in 2013, and there are some classic rivalries that will highlight Monday's slate of games.
With only one game on Sunday's schedule, Monday will be one of those days you'll likely consider calling in sick to work. We all know the first game of 162 doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things, but that won't stop us from keeping our eyes glued to the tube.
Of the 12 games, three in particular stand out as must-watch affairs. These contests will pit long-time rivals against one another, setting the stage for a glorious 2013 season we can't wait to finally get underway.
Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees (1:05 p.m. ET)
One of the all-time greatest rivalries in baseball, Boston vs. New York never fails to excite.
The Red Sox have struggled historically against the Yankees in New York, posting an all-time record of 395-579 at Yankee Stadium.
But with the Yankees on the ropes with a plethora of injuries, New York is ripe for a beating.
Taking the hill for the Red Sox will be Jon Lester, who is coming off an off year in which he posted a record of 9-14. Lester is better than that, though, and he's been absolutely dominant for Boston in spring training, allowing just two runs in 24 innings.
CC Sabathia will be the starter for the Yankees. Sabathia hasn't been sharp this spring, allowing six runs in 10 innings.
If Lester can stay hot, look for Boston to open up this series with a big win in New York.
San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (4:10 p.m. ET)
Perhaps no rivalry in MLB is as fierce as the one between the Giants and Dodgers. It's only been two years since Giants fan Bryan Stow was beaten to within an inch of his life and ended up in a coma. Fights between fans and players alike are unfortunately common when these teams square off.
These illustrious franchises have battled each other 2,212 times, and the Dodgers have a home record of 583-517 against the Giants.
The Giants are fresh off their World Series victory, and stud pitcher Matt Cain will take the mound at Dodger Stadium. Cain was roughed up in spring training, allowing 14 runs in 20 innings.
Clayton Kershaw will start for the Dodgers. The lefty also struggled during spring training, allowing 16 runs in 28 innings.
Given the way these two starting pitchers have played thus far in 2013, this could be an offensive slugfest.
Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves (7:10 p.m. ET)
The Phillies and Braves have played each other 2,061 times, and there is no love between the fans of these teams. Atlanta has the edge in this historic series, as the Braves have a record of 556-462 at home against the Phillies.
It'll be interesting to see how the Upton brothers (Jason and B.J.) play together in the pros. Atlanta landed both of them in the offseason, and they'll be playing in left and center field for the Braves.
Lefty Cole Hamels will start for the Phillies. He was rock solid in spring training, allowing just three runs in 19 innings.
Veteran Tim Hudson will take the hill for the Braves. He was rocked a couple of times in spring training, allowing 13 runs in 30 innings.
This will be the first of 19 games between these rivals in 2013. The season will begin for them in Atlanta, and thus will it end, as the teams will finish the season with a three-game series in Atlanta.
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