Tony Larussa Will Reunite Against Albert Pujols When the White Sox Visit the Angels
Had the schedule makers paired the Dodgers against the Padres, that match up would have been the highlight of the start of the 2021 season. The defending champs would have right out of the gate had to face its most promising challenger in San Diego but, even though those two clubs will not open against each other, there are still plenty of intriguing match ups for the opening weekend of Major League baseball.
In the same city as the Dodgers, in fact, fans can see one of the most poignant. When the Angels host the White Sox, Anaheim stadium will be the setting for a remarkable reunion by guys in different dugouts. Hall of Fame manager Tony Larussa, who has been brought back by Chicago after a six year retirement, will be facing a future Hall of Fame player whom he coached in St. Louis.
Larussa won a couple of World Series with the Cardinals, whose best player was current Angels designated hitter Albert Pujols. A boatload of young talent and a stellar starting rotation might put Larussa back in the Fall Classic, and Pujols would like a similar fate in what is probably the last year of his career.
A couple of interleague games begin on Thursday as well, none of which is more compelling than the Minnesota Twins at the Milwaukee Brewers. These geographical rivals, who share a history with Hall of Fame player Paul Molitor, also share a fan base as well as a TV baseball network in Fox Sports North.
The two top contenders in the American League West, the Oakland A's and Houston Astros, have both reached the postseason consistently for the past half decade They have even shared players during that span, including Tony Kemp who left Houston for its top rival over the winter. Most notable of these shared players, of course, is Mike Fiers who, after leaving the Astros for Oakland, ignited the sign-stealing controversy that led to suspensions to Houston manager A. J. Hinch and his general manager.
Atlanta visits Philadelphia for a series of two projected contenders for the National League east. When the Phils signed Bryce Harper to a record free agent contract three years ago, it was they who were projected to be the reigning champs in the N. L. east. Instead, that distinction has gone to the Braves, whose young stars like Ronald Acuna look to take the title for the fourth straight year and leave the Phillies in the bottom half of the division.
Two Cy Young Award winners will meet in an Opening series, Jacob deGromm for the New York Mets and Max Scherzer for the Washington Nationals. With arms like those the offense will be limited, but fans will get the chance to see for the first time shortstop Francisco Lindor in a Mets uniform.
Decades have passed since the two Florida teams were both relevant at the same time, but last year Miami advanced in the postseason and Tampa actually won the pennant. The Sunshine State will have plenty of optimism when the Rays travel across state to battle the Marlins, as each team hopes to make a return to the playoffs.
All of the series begin on Thursday April First, and you would be a fool to miss out on watching as many of them as you can.