The long, cold winter is over, and Opening Day in the MLB is finally upon us.
March 29 represents the earliest start ever to an MLB season, and it's also the first time since 1968 that every team will be in action on the same day to begin the campaign.
So what's on tap for Thursday?
Ahead is a full breakdown of the schedule, as well as a look at the day's best pitching battle and the most intriguing team matchup.
MLB Opening Day Schedule
Best Pitching Matchup: Chris Sale vs. Chris Archer
Boston Red Sox's Chris Sale (No. 4) and Tampa Bay Rays' Chris Archer (No. 20) both checked in among the top-30 starting pitchers in baseball when we put together our preseason rankings on March 22, and they'll square off at Tropicana Field to open their 2018 season.
The two have gone head-to-head just once in their careers, back on August 4, 2015. Archer came out on top in that game, tossing seven innings of two-run ball. Sale was hit hard, allowing six hits and seven earned runs over 5.1 innings.
That said, it was Sale who came out on top when the Rays and Red Sox matched up last season:
- Archer vs. BOS: 3 GS, 1-1, 5.87 ERA, 1.83 WHIP, 18 K, 15.1 IP
- Sale vs. TB: 6 GS, 4-1, 2.66 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 66 K, 40.2 IP
This will be the fourth straight Opening Day start for Archer in Tampa Bay, while Sale will be making his first Opening Day start with the Red Sox and the fourth of his career.
Most Intriguing Matchup: St. Louis Cardinals vs. New York Mets
The Cardinals and Mets both disappointed in 2017.
An 83-79 record resulted in a third-place finish in the NL Central for the Cardinals, who missed the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2008.
Meanwhile, injuries ravaged the Mets roster, and they slipped to fourth in the NL East standings with a 70-92 record.
Significant additions were made as each club looks to right the ship:
- Cardinals: OF Marcell Ozuna, SP Miles Mikolas, RP Luke Gregerson, RP Dominic Leone, RP Bud Norris
- Mets: 3B Todd Frazier, RF Jay Bruce, RP Anthony Swarzak, SP Jaime Garcia, 1B Adrian Gonzalez
Both teams will be looking to get off to a hot start, and a pitching matchup between Carlos Martinez and Noah Syndergaard should make it a battle right out of the gates.
It's a long season and a lot can happen, but don't be surprised if these two teams are battling it out in the NL Wild Card Game once the postseason rolls around.
All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference, unless otherwise noted.