maxscherzer-getty.jpg
Getty Images

The 2022 Major League Baseball season officially got underway on Thursday, but only 14 teams were in action. The other 16 are scheduled to open their seasons Friday with all but four playing altogether. So while it isn't our first full day, yet, it's close enough. You can follow along with our live coverage here

In honor of the occasion, let's pick some games. 

We'll be using last year's stat lines when identifying the starting pitchers. They are all 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 2022, obviously. 

Athletics at Phillies, 3:05 p.m. ET

A's starter: Frankie Montas (13-9, 3.37)
Phillies starter: Aaron Nola (9-9, 4.63)

Featured Game | Philadelphia Phillies vs. Oakland Athletics

The only real concern here is Montas. He's good and he was excellent down the stretch for the A's last year. He's also pitching for a team that stripped itself down to the bones during the offseason and he was rumored to be traded (his former rotation mate, Sean Manaea, was traded just a few days ago). He had a brutal first start last season, too, won't be able to go very deep and the A's bullpen isn't scary. 

More than anything, though, I just like the Phillies here. They added thunder to the offense late in the spring with both Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos while youngsters Bryson Stott and Matt Vierling will inject life into the bottom of the order. 

Nola has been inconsistent the past couple years, but he was much better at home last season and this A's lineup won't pose much of an issue for him. Sometimes when I pick these games on the run line I'll say something like "I don't think it'll be a blowout or anything, but..." 

Well, this time I do think it'll be a blowout. The Phillies will roll. 

Oh, and remember, Bryce Harper has five career Opening Day home runs. A Harper home run can be had for +360. 

The pick: Phillies -1.5 (+105)

Mariners at Twins, 4:10 p.m. ET

Mariners starter: Robbie Ray (13-7, 2.84)
Twins starter: Joe Ryan (2-1, 4.05)

Featured Game | Minnesota Twins vs. Seattle Mariners

The adjustment to Ray's mechanics last season gives us good reason to believe he'll have a good follow-up campaign to his Cy Young season. Let's not forget that most starters are only going to last five or six innings here after that shortened spring training ramp-up period. The Mariners actually likely have a stellar back-end of the bullpen with Drew Steckenrider, Paul Sewald and Diego Castillo

The Twins' reworked offense will be fun to watch, but it's a tall order Friday given what they'll see on the mound. 

I actually like Ryan and believe he could have a good outing. It just won't likely last very long and the Twins' bullpen feels a lot more leaky than the Mariners. 

Plus, we get underdog odds. 

The pick: Mariners, +105 (Moneyline)

Marlins at Giants, 4:35 p.m. ET

Marlins starter: Sandy Alcantara (9-15, 3.19)
Giants starter: Logan Webb (11-3, 3.03)

Featured Game | San Francisco Giants vs. Miami Marlins

While I think the Giants win a lot fewer games than last season, 107 is quite a cushion. I don't believe it was a full-on smoke-and-mirrors job or anything. Their scouting, development, coaching and preparation is as good as anyone's. They'll once again extract all they can from their roster. Getting a home date against the Marlins is a nice beginning to the season. 

It's especially nice with Webb starting. He was every bit an ace last season and I'm buying the breakout as real. Behind him comes a line of solid relievers like Tyler Rogers, Jake McGee and the utterly electric Camilo Doval

The odds aren't even that heavy here and that's likely due to Alcantara and possibly even some belief the 2021 Giants were a fluke along with some preseason love for the Marlins as a possible out-of-nowhere contender. 

We'll take those odds. Alcantara is worse on the road, the Giants are the better team and things are generally just set up for them better in this one. 

The pick: Giants, -145 (Moneyline)

Mets at Nationals, 7:05 p.m. ET

Mets starter: Max Scherzer (15-4, 2.46)
Nationals starter: Josiah Gray (2-2, 5.48)

Latest Odds: Washington Nationals +1.5

This is 100 percent a "Mets won't lose Max Scherzer's debut start" bet. Anything that didn't hit -200 was going to get listed here. The Nationals are terrible anyway and we know Max is plenty familiar with this ballpark. 

The pick: Mets, -160 (Moneyline)