Watch Now: Thoughts On Opening Day (2:14)

The 2020 MLB season will be unlike any other. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the season to be shortened to 60 games, and there will be a universal designated hitter and an extra-innings tiebreaker rule. The postseason format is unchanged, so that will look familiar. Not much else will though.

MLB will begin the season with two nationally televised games on July 23, with the traditional league-wide Opening Day following on July 24. Since Summer Camp opened July 1, some teams around the league have announced their Opening Day starter, and the rest will do so between now and the season opener. Here is the all-time Opening Day start leaderboard:

  1. Tom Seaver: 16 career Opening Day starts
  2. Steve Carlton: 14
  3. Jack Morris: 14
  4. Randy Johnson: 14
  5. Walter Johnson: 14

Only 13 others have made double-digit Opening Day starts. It's an honor -- the Opening Day starter is the team's ace -- but, in the grand scheme of things, Opening Day is just another game. It means just as much as the other 161 games, or, in 2020's case, the other 59 games. 

All 30 MLB teams announced their Opening Day starter over the last week or so. Here's who's getting the ball in Game 1 around the league.


LHP Madison Bumgarner. As expected, the prized offseason pickup will be the Opening Day starter. The D-Backs made it official on July 18 . Bumgarner is 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA in five career Opening Day starts. He famously hit two home runs in Arizona on Opening Day 2017 . Bumgarner will be the team's third different Opening Day starter in the last three seasons, joining Zack Greinke in 2019 and Patrick Corbin in 2018. Greinke is the last D-Backs pitcher to start consecutive season openers (2016-17). The Diamondbacks will open the 2020 season in San Diego on July 24.

RHP Mike Soroka. A second-place finish in the Rookie of the Year voting (and a sixth-place finish in the Cy Young voting) in 2019 equals an Opening Day start in 2020. The Braves named Soroka their Opening Day starter on July 14. At 22 years and 355 days, he will be the youngest Opening Day starter in Braves history. Julio Teheran had started the team's previous six season openers, a franchise record tied with Hall of Famer Warren Spahn (1957-62). The last pitcher other than Teheran to start Opening Day for the Braves was Tim Hudson in 2013. Soroka went 13-4 with a 2.68 ERA in 2019. The Braves will begin the new season on the road against the Mets on July 24.

LHP Tommy MiloneJohn Means was originally scheduled to start Opening Day, but he came down with a sore shoulder this past weekend, forcing the Orioles to shift gears. On July 21 manager Brandon Hyde told reporters, including MLB.com's Joe Trezza, that Milone will get the ball instead. The veteran southpaw threw 111 2/3 innings with a 4.76 ERA for the Mariners last season. It will be his first career Opening Day start. Milone will be Baltimore's fifth different Opening Day starter in the last five years, joining Andrew Cashner (2019), Dylan Bundy (2018), Kevin Gausman (2017), and Chris Tillman (2016). Tillman is the last pitcher to start consecutive Opening Days for the O's (2014-16). Baltimore will open the season in Boston on July 24.

RHP Nathan Eovaldi. Chris Sale is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and Eduardo Rodriguez was late reporting to summer camp after testing positive for COVID-19, so Eovaldi will get the Opening Day assignment, the team announced July 18, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe . It will be Eovaldi's first career Opening Day start. He had a 5.99 ERA in 67 2/3 innings around injuries last season. Sale had started the club's last two season openers. The Red Sox will begin the 2020 season at home against the Orioles on July 24.

RHP Kyle Hendricks. For the first time since their World Series championship season in 2016, it will not be Jon Lester on the mound on Opening Day for the Cubs . On July 17, new manager David Ross announced Hendricks will start the season opener, reports The Athletic's Patrick Mooney . Hendricks went 11-10 with a 3.46 ERA last season. Lester had started the last three Opening Days for the Cubbies. Jake Arrieta in 2016 was the last Cubs pitcher to start the opener prior to Lester. Chicago opens the new season at home against the Brewers on July 24.

RHP Lucas Giolito. Giolito will get the Opening Day nod, manager Rick Renteria announced July 19, according to MLB.com's Scott Merkin. His 2019 breakout was certainly worthy of the honor. After a disaster of a 2018 season in which he posted a 6.13 ERA, Giolito was an All-Star and finished sixth in AL Cy Young voting. He was 14-9 with a 3.41 ERA (134 ERA+), 1.06 WHIP and 228 strikeouts in 176 2/3 innings. Giolito will be Chicago's sixth different Opening Day starter in the last six years, joining Carlos Rodon (2019), James Shields (2018), Jose Quintana (2017), Chris Sale (2016), and Jeff Samardzija (2015). The White Sox will open the 2020 season at home against the Twins on July 24.

RHP Sonny Gray. A breakout 2019 season has been rewarded with a 2020 Opening Day start. Reds manager David Bell named Gray the team's Opening Day starter on July 8, according to David Jablonski of the Dayton Daily News . Gray is 1-0 with 14 scoreless innings in two career Opening Day starts, both with the A's (2014-15). He will be Cincinnati's sixth different Opening Day starter in the past six years, joining Luis Castillo (2019), Homer Bailey (2018), Scott Feldman (2017), Raisel Iglesias (2016), and Johnny Cueto (2015). Cueto is the last Reds pitcher to start consecutive Opening Days (2012-15). The Reds will open the season July 24 at home against the Tigers .

RHP Shane Bieber. Bieber was named the team's Opening Day starter back in spring training and he will still get the ball when the shortened season begins later this month, reports Cleveland.com's Paul Hoynes . Bieber broke out with a 3.28 ERA and 259 strikeouts last season. That earned him a fourth-place finish in the Cy Young voting. He's the first pitcher other than Corey Kluber to start the season opener for Cleveland since Justin Masterson (2012-13). Bieber and his teammates will host the Royals on Opening Day on July 24.

RHP German Marquez. Manager Bud Black announced Marquez will start Opening Day on July 20, according to The Athletic's Nick Groke. He enters his age-25 season coming off a campaign in which he went 12-5 with a 4.76 ERA. Adjusting for ballpark conditions, that was good for a 109 ERA+. He struck out 175 in 174 innings with just 35 walks. The Coors Effect crushed him, too. He had a 6.26 ERA at home and 3.67 on the road. In that regard, it appears fortunate they open on the road (against the Rangers on July 24). Kyle Freeland started Colorado's season opener last year and Jon Gray the two prior to that.

LHP Matthew Boyd. Following a breakout season in 2019, Boyd will indeed get the Opening Day assignment in 2020, reports Chris McCosky of Detroit News . The team made it official on July 19. It will be Boyd's first career Opening Day start. He had a 4.56 ERA with 238 strikeouts in 185 1/3 innings a year ago. Jordan Zimmermann , who may not pitch this year due to injury , had started the last two season openers for Detroit. The Tigers open the regular season in Cincinnati on July 24.

RHP Justin Verlander. As expected. On July 15 new manager Dusty Baker told reporters, including Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle , that Verlander will start the season opener. This will be Verlander's third Opening Day start with Houston and the 12th of his career. That is the most among active pitchers and tied for the eighth most in history with Hall of Famers Grover Cleveland Alexander and Bert Blyleven. Verlander is 4-1 with a 3.74 ERA in his 11 previous Opening Day starts. The Astros will host the Mariners on Opening Day on July 24th.

LHP Danny Duffy. The Royals will give the Opening Day start to Duffy, new manager Mike Matheny told reporters, including Fox 4 KC's Harold Kuntz , on July 14. Brad Keller , last year's Opening Day starter, is out indefinitely after testing positive for COVID-19. This will be Duffy's third Opening Day start. He allowed one run in six innings on Opening Day 2017 and was hammered for five runs in four innings on Opening Day 2018. Duffy is the first Royals pitcher to start three Opening Days in a four-year span since Gil Meche started three straight from 2007-09. The Royals open the season in Cleveland on July 24.

LHP Andrew Heaney. New manager Joe Maddon told reporters, including MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger , on July 5 that Heaney will be the club's Opening Day starter. This will be the southpaw's first career Opening Day start -- he was on track to start Opening Day last year before suffering an elbow injury in spring training -- and he will be Anaheim's fourth different Opening Day starter in the past four seasons. The Angels started Trevor Cahill on Opening Day in 2019, Garrett Richards in 2018, and Ricky Nolasco in 2017. The last Angels pitcher to start consecutive Opening Days was Jered Weaver (2010-15). The Halos begin the season July 24 in Oakland.

RHP Dustin May. May is a surprising starter for the Dodgers, and he'll face the Giants after Clayton Kershaw was scratched due to a back issue. Kershaw, who was in line to make his ninth career Opening Day outing, was placed on the injured list just hours before first pitch. May, 22, had a 3.63 ERA in 14 big-league appearances last year.

RHP Sandy Alcantara. Manager Don Mattingly named Alcantara, who posting a 3.88 ERA and 151 strikeouts in 197 1/3 innings as a rookie (and an All-Star) in 2019, the Opening Day starter on July 14, reports David Furones of the Sun Sentinel . It is the first Opening Day start for Alcantara. Jose Urena started the past two openers for Miami. The Marlins will open the 2020 season in Philadelphia on July 24.

RHP Brandon Woodruff. On July 17, manager Craig Counsell announced Woodruff will be the team's Opening Day starter, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel . It will be Woodruff's first Opening Day start. He had a 3.62 ERA with 143 strikeouts in 124 1/3 innings during his All-Star 2019 season, and he started the NL Wild Card Game as well. Woodruff is the Brewers' seventh different Opening Day starter in the last seven years, joining Jhoulys Chacin (2019), Chase Anderson (2018), Junior Guerra (2017), Wily Peralta (2016), Kyle Lohse (2015), and Yovani Gallardo (2014). Gallardo, who started five straight season openers from 2010-24, is the last Brewers hurler to start consecutive Opening Days. Milwaukee will begin the 2020 on the road against the Cubs on July 24.

RHP Jose Berrios. Berrios was named the Twins ' Opening Day starter in March and nothing will change after the shutdown. Manager Rocco Baldelli confirmed on July 17 that Berrios will start the season opener, reports The Athletic's Dan Hayes . This will be his second straight Opening Day start. Berrios struck out 10 in 7 2/3 shutout innings in Game 1 last year. The Twins will begin the season on the road against the White Sox on July 24.

RHP Jacob deGrom. A minor back issue created some doubt last week, but deGrom is good to go and will star Opening Day, rookie manager Luis Rojas told reporters on July 19, including The Athletic's Tim Britton. deGrom threw 204 innings with a 2.43 ERA and a National League leading 255 strikeouts en route to his second straight Cy Young last year. This will be his second straight Opening Day start. The Mets begin the 2020 season at home against the Braves on July 24.

RHP Gerrit Cole. No surprise here. The Yankees did not give Cole a pitching record $324 million contract to not start him on Opening Day. Manager Aaron Boone confirmed the team's Opening Day plans during a conference call with reporters on July 13. This will be Cole's second career Opening Day start -- he allowed five runs in five innings in the season opener with the Pirates in 2017 -- and he will be the club's third different Opening Day starter in the past three years, joining Masahiro Tanaka (2019) and Luis Severino (2018). Tanaka is the last Yankee to start consecutive Opening Days (2015-17). The Yankees open the 2020 regular season in Washington on July 23.

RHP Frankie Montas. Montas, not Sean Manaea or Mike Fiers , will start Opening Day, the Athletics told reporters, including Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle , on July 18. It will be his first Opening Day start. Montas went 9-2 with a 2.63 ERA around an 80-game performance-enhancing drug suspension last season. He will be Oakland's third different Opening Day starter in the last three years, joining Fiers (2019) and Kendall Graveman (2018). Graveman is the last A's pitcher to start consecutive season openers (2017-18). The Athletics will begin the season at home against the Angels on July 24.

RHP Aaron Nola. Nola gets the Opening Day call for the third straight season, reports Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The 27-year-old righty was 12-7 with a 3.87 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 34 starts last season. He was a top-flight Cy Young candidate through much of 2018, but fell inconsistent in the final month and that carried over into 2019, resulting in a good-but-not-great season. He'll look to get back to ace form with the opener this season. It will be his third straight Opening Day start. The Phillies begin the regular season at home against the Marlins on July 24.

RHP Joe Musgrove. New manager Derek Shelton announced Musgrove as the club's Opening Day starter on July 17, reports Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette . Musgrove is a trendy breakout pick and he'll make his first career Opening Day start after throwing 170 1/3 innings with a 4.44 ERA last season. He became the favorite to start the season opener once Chris Archer needed surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome . Musgrove will be Pittsburgh's fifth different Opening Day starter in the last five years, joining Jameson Taillon (2019), Ivan Nova (2018) Gerrit Cole (2017), and Francisco Liriano (2016). Liriano started three straight season openers from 2014-16. The Pirates will begin the season in St. Louis on July 24.

RHP Jack Flaherty. Flaherty was named the team's Opening Day starter back in spring training and on July 14 he told reporters, including Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch , that remains the plan. It will be his first Opening Day start. Flaherty went 11-8 with a 2.75 ERA last season, including 7-2 with a 0.91 ERA in the second half, and finished fourth in the Cy Young voting. The Cardinals have used three different Opening Day starters the last three seasons: Flaherty (2020), Miles Mikolas (2019), and Carlos Martinez (2018). St. Louis will host the Pirates when the team's season begins July 24.

RHP Chris Paddack. Paddack wanted the ball on Opening Day as a rookie last year. He didn't get it. This season he will. Paddack was named the team's Opening Day starter on July 20, reports Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune. He had a 3.33 ERA with 53 strikeouts in 140 2/3 innings in 2019. Paddack will be San Diego's eighth different Opening Day starter in the last eight years, joining Eric Lauer (2019), Clayton Richard (2018), Jhoulys Chacin (2017), Tyson Ross (2016), James Shields (2015), Andrew Cashner (2014), and Edinson Volquez (2013). That is the longest such streak in baseball. The Padres will open the 2020 season at home against the D-Backs on July 24.

RHP Johnny Cueto. The Giants named Cueto the team's Opening Day starter back in spring training and he will still get the assignment when the season begins later this month, new manager Gape Kapler told The Athletic's Alex Pavlovic on July 14 . Cueto returned from Tommy John surgery last September and is 1-1 with a 0.64 ERA in four previous career Opening Day starts, all with the Reds. He will be San Francisco's third different Opening Day starter in the past three years, joining Madison Bumgarner (2019) and Ty Blach (2018). Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum , and Matt Cain combined to start every Opening Day for the Giants from 2009-17. The Giants begin the 2020 regular season at Dodger Stadium on July 23.

LHP Marco Gonzales. Manager Scott Servais confirmed Gonzales will make his second straight Opening Day start on July 8, according to The Athletic's Corey Brock . Gonzales allowed four runs (three earned) in five innings in last year's Opening Day start. Felix Hernandez started Seattle's season opener every year from 2009-18. Gonzales will be the first Mariners pitcher other than Hernandez to start consecutive Opening Days since Jamie Moyer started three straight from 2004-06. The Mariners will begin the season July 24 in Houston.

RHP Charlie Morton. Morton will get the ball on Opening Day "in all likelihood," manager Kevin Cash told reporters, including MLB.com's Juan Toribio , on July 18. It would be the 36-year-old's first career Opening Day start. Morton went 16-6 with a 3.05 ERA and 240 strikeouts in a career high 194 2/3 innings last season, earning him a third-place finish in the Cy Young voting. Should Morton not start the opener for some reason, 2018 Cy Young winner Blake Snell is the most obvious alternative. Snell started Opening Day last year. Chris Archer started Game 1 the previous four years for Tampa. The Rays begin the 2020 season at home against the Blue Jays on July 24.

RHP Lance Lynn. The Rangers wasted no time naming Lynn their Opening Day starter. Manager Chris Woodward made the announcement on June 25, a week before the club started Summer Camp, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan . Texas had two other quality Opening Day starter candidates in Mike Minor and two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber . This will be Lynn's first Opening Day assignment and he will be the fourth different Opening Day starter in four years for the Rangers, joining Minor (2019), Cole Hamels (2018), and Yu Darvish (2017). The Rangers have not had a pitcher make consecutive Opening Day starts since Kevin Millwood (2006-09), if you can believe that. Texas will open the 2020 season at home at brand new Globe Life Field on July 24. They will host the Rockies .

LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu. The obvious choice. Manager Charlie Montoyo named Ryu the club's Opening Day starter on July 19, reports MLB.com's Keegan Matheson . The Blue Jays gave Ryu a four-year deal worth $80 million over the winter. This will be his second career Opening Day start. Ryu subbed in for the injured Clayton Kershaw last year and allowed one run in six innings in the Dodgers' season opener. He is Toronto's fourth different Opening Day starter in the last four years, joining Marcus Stroman (2019), J.A. Happ (2018) and Marco Estrada (2017). The last Blue Jay to start consecutive Opening Days was R.A. Dickey in 2013-14. Toronto will begin the 2020 season in Tampa Bay on July 24.

RHP Max Scherzer. It'll be the three-time Cy Young award winner once again. Scherzer will make his third straight Opening Day start and fifth in six years with the Nationals this season, reports MLB.com's Jessica Camerato . World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg , who has four career Opening Day starts under his belt, was the other obvious candidate. Scherzer is 1-2 with a 1.27 ERA in his four prior Opening Day starts. Only Steve Rogers (nine) and Dennis Martinez (six) have made more career Opening Day starts for the Expos/Nationals franchise than Scherzer. Washington will begin its World Series title defense at home against the Yankees on July 23.