MLB Opening Day

April 5, 2012 by staff 

MLB Opening Day, Three games which count in the standings have already been played in the 2012 Major League Baseball season: the two-game set between the Seattle Mariners and Oakland A’s at Japan’s Tokyo Dome last week, and Wednesday night’s tilt between the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins. Yet Thursday is considered Opening Day, supposedly because all pre-season games and exhibitions have concluded, and the first day games are scheduled on Thursday. Sure, whatever. Play Ball!

The Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers are up first at 1 p.m. Eastern, 10 a.m. Pacific (TV: Sportsnet One, ESPN2, NESN, Fox Sports Detroit). Boston won two World Series under general manager Theo Epstein and manager Terry Francona in 2004 and 2007, but both are gone now and the club is under the new management of Ben Cherington and Bobby Valentine, respectively. Unfortunately for them, their team starts the 2012 season already in a hole.

Gone is often-injured closer Andrew Bailey, acquired in the off-season from Oakland. The righthanded reliever will miss a good chunk of the season because he needs ligament surgery on his right thumb; Alfredo Aceves will get the first chance to close out games. They will also be without leadoff hitter and left fielder Carl Crawford, who is on the disabled list after wrist surgery and is rehabbing in extended spring training.

The Red Sox want to forget their epic collapse last September, when they went 7-20, threw away their wild-card spot and finished out of the playoffs. Lefthander Jon Lester recorded a gaudy ERA of 5.40 in that month, and is looking for a fresh start as well.

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