Cubs' banner-raising day among home openers on schedule
By Cash Kruth
The second week of the season is upon us, and it begins today with a bang.
Several of baseball's top pitchers toe the rubber -- highlighted by a potential duel in Motown -- and the competitive West divisions feature matchups that, while it's early, should provide a September feel to the spring air.
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Here's what to watch for throughout the day (all times ET):
Aces duel: BOS@DET, 1:10 p.m.
Detroit's Justin Verlander and new Red Sox lefty Chris Sale have had their share of battles over the years as division foes when Sale's Sox were pale. Now, they face off with both of their clubs expected to contend for the postseason.
Sale is 8-7 with a 3.05 ERA in 29 games (19 starts) against the Tigers, while Verlander is 5-5 with a 2.96 ERA in 15 career outings against Boston.
The champs come home: LAD@CHC, 8:05 p.m.
The Cubs are six games into their season as reigning World Series champions, but they've yet to play at the Friendly Confines with that label. Wrigleyville will be buzzing like last October for a party that even the weather forecast can't dampen.
Jon Lester faces the Dodgers in a National League Championship Series rematch and will be opposed by Alex Wood.
The deGrom show: NYM@PHI, 7:05 p.m. Jacob deGrom was one of the game's hottest pitchers in Spring Training and carried it over in his first start, fanning six in six shutout innings. He'll look to continue his dominance against a Phillies team he's 4-0 against with a 2.42 ERA in seven career starts.
Philadelphia counters with Jerad Eickhoff, its own young right-hander, who held the Reds to two runs in 6 2/3 innings in his season debut.
NL West contenders: ARI@SF, 4:35 p.m.
The Giants and D-backs face each other for the second time this season after a short respite, this time in San Francisco. The D-backs took three of four from the Giants in the desert.
Monday will be the Giants' home opener and features a rematch between Giants lefty Matt Moore and D-backs righty Taijuan Walker. Moore allowed six runs (three earned) on Wednesday to take the loss, while Walker earned the win by holding the Giants to four runs in six innings in his D-backs debut.
AL West rematch: HOU@SEA, 5:10 p.m.
The Mariners are off to a slow start -- thanks in part to a season-opening-series loss in Houston -- but they were a trendy American League West pick for a reason. The Astros, meanwhile, are looking to rebound after a tough trip to Kansas City.
Seattle returns to Safeco Field for its home opener, with James Paxton looking to replicate his strong season debut of six shutout innings. Charlie Morton makes his second start for the Astros after opening the season with a quality start.
Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.