theScore Staff

21m ago

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters

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Major League Baseball is back.

For the first time since 1909 the Chicago Cubs enter the season as defending World Series champions. The North Siders will have a target on their back all year long as they look to become the first team to repeat since the New York Yankees won three straight from 1998-2000.

Here is theScore’s guide to the 2017 MLB season:

Opening Day: Sunday, April 2

ROAD HOME PITCHERS TIME (ET)
Yankees Rays Masahiro Tanaka vs. Chris Archer 1:10 p.m.
Giants D-Backs Madison Bumgarner vs. Zack Greinke 4:10 p.m.
Cubs Cardinals Jon Lester vs.Carlos Martinez 8:35 p.m.

The regular season officially opens Sunday with a three-game slate. American League East rivals, the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays kick off the 2017 campaign at Tropicana Field.

Twelve games are on the schedule for the following day, with the Miami Marlins-Washington Nationals, and Atlanta Braves-New York Mets opening play in the early afternoon.

theScore Primers All in One Place

AL East | AL Central (Friday) | AL West (Saturday)
NL East | NL Central | NL West

3 Essential Reads for Opening Day

30 X-factors for the 2017 MLB season

Every Affleck, Damon, and Wahlberg is ready to hand the Red Sox a second straight division title, but with David Ortiz off playing bocce with geriatrics in Boca, it’s not exactly a foregone conclusion that Boston’s lineup – the best in baseball in 2016 – is going to bash everyone’s brains in again. Read More.

Choosing temporary alternative baseball fandom

They aren’t going to be that bad, are they? The White Sox traded away superstar pitcher Chris Sale and solid outfielder Adam Eaton during the offseason to refill their farm system with the likes of Yoan Moncada and Lucas Giolito, among others. Rumors of a Jose Quintana trade and the notion that no veteran is safe makes things seem dire. The White Sox are not contending in 2017, but their time will come soon. Read More.

5 teams under the most pressure to win in 2017

The Royals could be a much different team in 2018 as longtime mainstays Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, and Lorenzo Cain are all set to become free agents. With a payroll just over league average, re-signing them all seems unlikely. Without this core, a rebuild is on the horizon, making 2017 Kansas City’s last shot at a mini-dynasty. Read More.

Opening Day Power Rankings

1. Chicago Cubs

The reigning champs – yep, it really happened! – will bring back essentially their entire roster from 2016 save for Aroldis Chapman, whom they replaced with Wade Davis, and they get full seasons from Kyle Schwarber and Willson Contreras. Look out.

2. Cleveland Indians
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
4. Boston Red Sox
5. Washington Nationals

Complete Week 1 Power Rankings here Saturday.

5 additional must-read articles

  • Projected over/under win totals
  • 5 series to watch in April (Friday)
  • Notable records to watch for (Saturday)
  • Ranking the Opening Day starters (Sunday)
  • 10 bold predictions for 2017 (Sunday)

Staff Picks: Awards, Playoffs, WS

American League

EDITOR EAST CENTRAL WEST WC
Birenbaum TOR CLE HOU BOS/TEX
Bradburn TOR CLE HOU BOS/NYY
Casaletto BOS CLE HOU TOR/SEA
Mcwilliam BOS CLE HOU SEA/BAL
Sharkey-Gotlieb BOS CLE HOU TOR/TEX
Soveta BOS CLE HOU TOR/SEA
Wile BOS CLE SEA HOU/TOR
Wilson BOS CLE HOU SEA/TOR

National League

EDITOR EAST CENTRAL WEST WC
Birenbaum WSH CHC LAD SF/NYM
Bradburn NYM CHC LAD WSH/SF
Casaletto WSH CHC LAD SF/STL
Mcwilliam WSH CHC LAD NYM/SF
Sharkey-Gotlieb WSH CHC LAD STL/SF
Soveta WSH CHC LAD NYM/MIA
Wile WSH CHC LAD COL/STL
Wilson WSH CHC SF LAD/STL

World Series

EDITOR AL NL WINNER
Birenbaum Red Sox Cubs Cubs
Bradburn Indians Dodgers Dodgers
Casaletto Red Sox Dodgers Dodgers
Mcwilliam Red Sox Cubs Cubs
Sharkey-Gotlieb Indians Cubs Indians
Soveta Red Sox Cubs Red Sox
Wile Indians Dodgers Dodgers
Wilson Astros Nationals Astros

What are the pundits saying?

Prediction SI.com USA TODAY
AL East BOS BOS
AL Central CLE CLE
AL West TEX HOU
AL WC HOU/SEA TEX/TOR
NL East WSH WSH
NL Central CHC CHC
NL West LAD LAD
NL WC NYM/COL NYM/SF

(Photos courtesy: Action Images)

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