Brewers, Cubs to lead off delayed 2022 MLB season

Cather Willson Contreras and the Chicago Cubs will face the Milwaukee Brewers in the first game of the 2022 MLB season at 1:20 p.m. CDT Thursday at Wrigley Field in Chicago. File Photo by Mark Black/UPI
1 of 8 | Cather Willson Contreras and the Chicago Cubs will face the Milwaukee Brewers in the first game of the 2022 MLB season at 1:20 p.m. CDT Thursday at Wrigley Field in Chicago. File Photo by Mark Black/UPI | License Photo

MIAMI, April 7 (UPI) -- Iconic Wrigley Field will host the first game of the 2022 MLB season, when the Chicago Cubs face the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday in Chicago. Six more season openers air Thursday, while 16 teams start campaigns Friday.

The first pitch is scheduled for 1:20 p.m. CDT for the National League Central Division matchup between the Cubs and Brewers. The game will air on local affiliates and on MLB Network.


"Opening day is just that unique moment everybody works toward in the off-season," Cubs manager David Ross told reporters Monday. "Wrigley is a special place. When that place is packed, I don't know if there is a better place I've ever been.

"It's the start of the new journey. It's exciting."

The 2022 MLB season was set to start last Thursday, but a stalemate between MLB players and team owners over the collective bargaining agreement resulted in a work stoppage and one week delay.


The parties signed off on a new agreement last month, and players reported March 11 to spring training.

The 2022 season will have the standard 162-game schedule. The New York Yankees were scheduled to host the rival Boston Red Sox on Thursday in the first MLB game, but that was moved to Friday due to inclement weather.

Most of Thursday's games will air on local networks, MLB Network or stream through MLB.TV.

Reigning National League Rookie of the Year Johnathan Indian and the Cincinnati Reds will play World Series champion Atlanta Braves in a nationally televised game at 8:08 p.m. EDT on ESPN2.

New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor, Los Angeles Angeles outfielder Mike Trout and San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado will be among the other All-Stars in action Thursday.

The Yankees will host the Red Sox in the first of 13 games Friday. The first pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. EDT at Yankee Stadium. The game will air on MLB Network for out-of-network viewers.

The Detroit Tigers then host the Chicago White Sox at 2:10 p.m. CDT Friday at Comerica Park. That game airs on ESPN+.

Apple TV+ will air two games later Friday. The Washington Nationals host the Mets at 7:05 p.m. EDT in the first game on the streaming platform. The Angels host the Houston Astros at 6:38 p.m. PDT in the second Apple TV+ broadcast.


Yankees sluggers Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Staton, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts, Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper and Colorado Rockies outfielder Kris Bryant will be among the top players in action Friday.

Corbin Burns of the Brewers is expected to start against fellow right-handed pitcher Kyle Hendricks of the Cubs in the first game of the season. Shane Bieber, Shohei Ohtani, Yu Darvish and Max Fried are among the other top pitchers expected to start Thursday's games.

Gerrit Cole, Walker Buehler, Sandy Alcantara, Aaron Nola and Jose Berrios are among the pitchers expected to take the mound in Friday's games.

"The expectations are a little higher this year," Angels pitcher/designated hitter Shohei Ohtani, the reigning American League MVP, told reporters last week.

"I'm going to try to meet those expectations. That's what I'm shooting for now."

Format and favorites

The 2022 MLB regular season is scheduled to end Oct. 5. The 2022 All-Star Game is scheduled for July 19 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The playoffs are expected to start a few days after the end of the regular season. The World Series should start in late October and could run into November.

Players and team owners agreed to an expanded field for the 2022 postseason, which will features 12 teams. The American League and National League each will send six teams to the postseason. That group, up from the standard 10-team field, then will compete to reach the World Series.


The playoffs include a best-of-three format for the Wild Card and Division Series rounds. The National League Championship Series, American League Championship Series and World Series each will be decided through a best-of-seven game format.

The Dodgers, who signed All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman this off-season, are heavy favorites to win the title. The Toronto Blue Jays, Astros, Yankees and Brewers are among the other Top 5 title favorites.

The White Sox, defending champion Braves, Rays, Mets, Padres and Red Sox are among the Top 10 expected World Series contenders. The Baltimore Orioles, Pittsburgh Pirates, Arizona Diamondbacks, Nationals, Cubs and Rockies are among the teams with the worst odds to win the World Series.

Blue Jays teammates Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette, Trout and Ohtani of the Angels, Aaron Judge of the Yankees and Rafael Devers of the Red Sox are among the American League MVP favorites.

"I feel a lot better. I feel faster," Guerrero told last week. "I can run the bases a lot better than last year. I feel very, very good right now."

Juan Soto of the Nationals, Ronald Acuna Jr. of the Braves, Harper, Betts and Freeman are among the National League MVP favorites.


Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom of the Mets, Corbin Burnes of the Brewers, Zack Wheeler of the Phillies and Buehler are the National League Cy Young Award favorites.

Cole, Bieber, Robbie Ray of the Seattle Mariners, Lucas Gioloto and Dylan Cease of the White Sox and Lance McCullers Jr. of the Astros are the American League Cy Young Award favorites.

Opener schedule


Brewers at Cubs at 2:20 p.m. on MLB.TV

Mets at Nationals at 4:05 p.m. on MLB.TV

Guardians at Royals at 4:10 p.m. on MLB.TV

Pirates at Cardinals at 4:15 p.m. on MLB.TV

Reds at Braves at 8:08 p.m. on ESPN2

Astros at Angels at 9:38 p.m. on MLB.TV

Padres at Diamondbacks at 9:40 p.m. on MLB.TV


Red Sox at Yankees at 1:05 p.m. on MLB Network

White Sox at Tigers at 1:10 p.m. MLB.TV

Brewers at Cubs at 2:20 p.m. on MLB.TV

Athletics at Phillies at 3:05 p.m. on MLB.TV

Orioles at Rays at 3:10 p.m. on MLB.TV

Dodgers at Rockies at 4:10 p.m. on MLB.TV

Mariners at Twins at 4:10 p.m. on MLB.TV

Marlins at Giants at 4:35 p.m. on MLB.TV

Mets at Nationals at 7:05 p.m. on Apple TV+

Rangers at Blue Jays at 7:07 p.m. on MLB.TV


Reds at Braves at 7:20 p.m. on MLB.TV

Astros at Angels at 9:38 p.m. on Apple TV+

Padres at Diamondbacks at 9:40 p.m. on MLB.TV

Scenes from MLB spring training: New York Yankees vs. Philadelphia Phillies

The Philadelphia Phillies' Bryce Harper heads to the dugout after striking out against the New York Yankees' Jameson Tallon during the first inning of a spring training baseball game at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., on Monday. Photo by Steve Nesius/UPI | License Photo

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