MLB Opening Day 2021: Schedule and best matchups

Coors Field
Coors Field features on April 1st's Opening Day schedule. Photo from CBS Denver.

The Opening Day MLB 2021 schedule is tantalizing. There are great pitching matchups. There are new faces. Fans might be limited, but the excitement is not.

Even with two cancellations, this is a busy day of baseball. Gerrit Cole and Hyun-Jin Ryu get the action underway at Yankee Stadium. The games run through to the middle of the night UK time.

Opening Day MLB 2021 Schedule

Blue Jays @ Yankees, 6:05pm BST

Cleveland @ Tigers, 6:10pm BST

Twins @ Brewers, 7:10pm BST

Pirates @ Cubs, 7:20pm BST

Braves @ Phillies, 8:05pm BST

Diamondbacks @ Padres, 9:10pm BST


Rays @ Marlins, 9:10pm BST

Rangers @ Royals, 9:10pm BST

Dodgers @ Rockies, 9:10pm BST

Cardinals @ Reds, 9:10pm BST

White Sox @ Angels, 3:05am BST

Astros @ Athletics, 3:07am BST

Giants @ Mariners, 3:10am BST

Best Opening Day matchups

Unfortunately, COVID-19 caused a cancellation of Jacob deGrom versus Max Scherzer. The Mets and Nationals will hopefully play their season opener over the weekend.

Cole and Ryu is obviously one of the better pitching duels. Cole is a frontrunner for the American League Cy Young award, while the Jays will lean heavily on Ryu as their ace. Just a couple of hours later, though, there’s an absolute belter in the NL East as Max Fried and Aaron Nola face-off.

Atlanta have pitching depth and plenty of talent. Many of their young arms are difficult to project ahead of Opening Day 2021. Nola, in contrast, is a known quantity. He’s an All-Star level pitcher, and had a very strong 2020 season, striking out more hitters per nine than ever before.

There’s a Floridian clash to keep an eye on, too. Tyler Glasnow and Sandy Alcantara are two of the most exciting young pitchers in the game. Glasnow is under pressure to deliver for the Rays after the Blake Snell trade. Alcantara will be hoping to lead this fun Marlins staff to a competitive season.

The National League Central hasn’t exactly been exciting this offseason. Talent still remains in the division, however, and two of the better starters will be on show as Jack Flaherty and Luis Castillo matchup in Cincinnati.

Out west, Lucas Giolito and Dylan Bundy‘s battle might not get the attention of others, but it’s as significant as any. One game doesn’t change the season. Bundy’s performance, though, is so significant to how good the Angels can be. This could be an early indicator for his season. The same, of course, can be said of Giolito. He’s been great over the last two seasons – will he continue on that path?

Most Opening Day starts

For many, Opening Day starts are a fresh experience. Clayton Kershaw is the most seasoned of the pitchers taking the mound on April 1st. His nine Opening Day outings is an impressive feat of greatness and longevity, yet it’s not even enough to break the top 10 all-time.

Tom Seaver holds the record with 16 Opening Day starts, two clear of Steve Carlton, Jack Morris, Randy Johnson and Walter Johnson.

Kershaw leads the pack in 2021. Scherzer holds the franchise record for the Nationals with five Opening Day starts, and Madison Bumgarner is set for his seventh Opening Day start and second as a member of the Diamondbacks.

Amid these veteran greats, though, the pitching matchups on Opening Day 2021 feature many brilliant young arms. There’s a mix of experience and youth, combining for an awesome slate of MLB games.

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About Sam Cox 651 Articles
Sam is a widely published freelance writer, covering basketball, baseball and a range of other sports. He's still trying to decide if he prefers a rundown shot block or a smooth double play.

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