The 2017 MLB season gets underway Sunday morning in St. Petersburg, as the Tampa Bay Rays play host to the New York Yankees.
It may ultimately mean very little in the scope of a 162-game season, but there’s no denying the excitement that baseball is, officially, back.
Here’s a look at everything you need to know to watch:
Yankees vs. Rays Viewing Info
Date: Sunday, April 2, 2017
Start Time: 1 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPN
The first pitch of the 2017 regular season will go to Chris Archer.
Tampa Bay’s 28-year-old ace finished last season just 9-19, but that was hardly an indication of his overall performance. He threw 201.1 innings, compiling a 4.02 ERA, 1.242 WHIP and 233 strikeouts. That 10.4 K/9 ratio ranked sixth in all of baseball, and if it weren’t for an inflated HR/FB percentage (16.2, well above his career average of 11.3), his overall numbers would have likely looked a lot more like his 2015 All-Star campaign.
In three starts against the Yankees last year, Archer had a 3.86 ERA and 0.905 WHIP with 22 strikeouts in 21.0 innings.
New York, meanwhile, will counter with Masahiro Tanaka.
Tanaka saw his strikeout rate drop for the second consecutive year in 2016, but he still finished with a sparkling 3.07 ERA and 1.077 WHIP, both of which placed him Top 5 among qualified American League pitchers.
The 28-year-old Japanese import proved to be a menace for the Rays last year, as he went 4-0 in five starts against Tampa, dominating to a tune of a 2.88 ERA, 0.786 WHIP and 34 strikeouts in 34.1 innings.