Aces spotlight baseball’s lineup of openers

Opening day is about packed houses, traditions and No. 1 starters. Neither CC Sabathia nor Josh Beckett was on Sunday night when the Red Sox outlasted the Yankees 9-7 at Fenway Park.

Three more aces to watch in today’s openers:

Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay. Halladay will start his eighth consecutive opening day when the Phillies visit Washington, but his first for a pennant contender. "There’s a lot more excitement for me going into the season knowing it’s a competitive team," he said, while trying to downplay the hype. He can do that. He’s already followed President Obama to the mound before, at 2009’s All-Star game.

Kansas City’s Zack Greinke. Detroit will start rookies Austin Jackson and Scott Sizemore at Kansas City. They could be in for a rude welcome. Greinke, the A.L. Cy Young winner, is making his first opening-day start.

San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum. Don’t be alarmed if Lincecum doesn’t dominate at Houston. He’s a slow starter, having lasted only three innings in last year’s opener. That didn’t hurt him much, though, as he finished the year with his second Cy Young award.

Stan McNeal is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at smcneal@sportingnews.com.

Opening day is about packed houses, traditions and No. 1 starters. Neither CC Sabathia nor Josh Beckett was on Sunday night when the Red Sox outlasted the Yankees 9-7 at Fenway Park.

Three more aces to watch in today’s openers:

Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay. Halladay will start his eighth consecutive opening day when the Phillies visit Washington, but his first for a pennant contender. "There’s a lot more excitement for me going into the season knowing it’s a competitive team," he said, while trying to downplay the hype. He can do that. He’s already followed President Obama to the mound before, at 2009’s All-Star game.

Kansas City’s Zack Greinke. Detroit will start rookies Austin Jackson and Scott Sizemore at Kansas City. They could be in for a rude welcome. Greinke, the A.L. Cy Young winner, is making his first opening-day start.

San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum. Don’t be alarmed if Lincecum doesn’t dominate at Houston. He’s a slow starter, having lasted only three innings in last year’s opener. That didn’t hurt him much, though, as he finished the year with his second Cy Young award.

Stan McNeal is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at smcneal@sportingnews.com.

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