MLB Opening Day 2013: Biggest Storylines to Watch for as Season Begins

Dan Talintyre@@dantalintyreSenior Analyst IIMarch 31, 2013

TEMPE, AZ - FEBRUARY 27:  Starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong #32 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Los Angeles Angels during the spring training game at Tempe Diablo Stadium on February 27, 2013 in Tempe, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The wait is finally over.

Spring training has ended and the 2013 MLB regular season is beginning, with Sunday marking the start of a new season.

Plenty of teams will be eager to put the woes of last season behind them. Others will simply be looking to build on the success of 2012. Either way, every team will be looking to get off to a fast start.

As a result, there's plenty to watch and questions to answer as we get ready for MLB Opening Day and a brand new season of baseball.


Can the Pittsburgh Pirates Continue to Get Better?

As one of the least successful franchises of the past 20 years in sports, Pittsburgh has started to slowly improve the last few years, with solid starts in 2011 and 2012. However, those have seemingly always been followed a decline down the stretch, leaving them with little to be proud of at the end of the season.

With another year under their belt and further development from their youngsters, the Pirates will no doubt be even better in 2013 than they were in 2012. While their opening game against the Chicago Cubs might not seem that significant, it will be a great chance to see exactly where this team is as the season begins.

The Cubs on the road shouldn't be too much of a test for the Pirates, but you simply never know what you're going to get out of this team.

Can the Pirates continue to build this year? We'll soon find out.


How Will Injuries Affect the New York Yankees?

Spring training was not kind to the New York Yankees, with injuries crippling the roster for the start of the regular season.

Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson and Derek Jeter will all miss Opening Day. As a result, the Yankees could struggle against the Boston Red Sox, their AL East rivals.

Boston will be strong again this year, but neither team seems as strong as it has been, making it doubtful whether either will make the postseason in 2013 in a competitive AL East division.

While that might seem far away for both teams, we'll get a good chance to see just what they're capable of on Opening Day this year, even if the Yankees are missing some of their big-name players.


Who Will Triumph in the Battle of the NL West?

Arguably the pick of the games on Opening Day is the battle in the NL West between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants.

It wouldn't be at all surprising to see this matchup in the National League Championship Series.

The Giants won the NL West last year, finishing ahead of the second-place Dodgers and went on to win the World Series. Expect L.A. to be determined to reverse that outcome this year and try to close the gap on their NL West rivals, making for a fascinating Opening Day matchup.

Los Angeles has spent a lot of money adding big names to the roster. Now the players will have to prove they can get the job done on the field.

Can the defending champions start 2013 with a win, or will it be the Dodgers who finally start to live up to their billing as potential championship contenders?


What are you most looking forward to on Opening Day this year?

Comment below or hit me up on Twitter: