Major League Baseball’s regular season is officially underway as three games kicked off the 2016 campaign on Sunday, including a World Series rematch between the Mets and Royals.
The Dodgers and Angels both begin their seasons today with the Halos facing the Chicago Cubs in Anaheim and the Dodgers in San Diego to play the Padres.
For the Angels, 2016 will be a season of redemption after a tumultuous 2015 that saw the exit of former general manager Jerry Dipoto due to differences with Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia and his coaching staff. His replacement, former New York Yankees assistant GM Billy Epler, used the offseason to sign former Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons, one of the hottest young talents in baseball, which gives them a much needed glove in the middle infield. Big names like Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and Jered Weaver all return to the Halos’ roster this year as they look to reclaim the American League West crown.
As for the Dodgers, they welcome a new manager in Dave Roberts, a 9 year MLB veteran and former Boston Red Sox commentator, as they look for their fourth straight NL West title. Adrian Gonzalez, Yasiel Puig, and last year’s rookie sensation Joc Pederson all return to the lineup. New additions include veteran shortstop Jimmy Rollins and starting pitcher Brett Anderson.
The Dodgers’ World Series hopes fell short last year as the eventual National League Champion New York Mets beat L.A. 3-2 in the National League Division Series. Meanwhile, the Angels fell just short of the postseason altogether, coming up one game short of a Wild Card berth behind the upstart Houston Astros.
What are the major storylines and players to watch this season? What are the teams’ postseason chances? How much have the teams changed from last year to this year?
Andy McCullough, Dodgers beat writer for the Los Angeles Time; he tweets @McCulloughTimes