What to watch: Pirates open vs. Detroit; Penguins seek 1st win vs. Devils | TribLIVE.com
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Tim Benz
Pirates pitcher Ivan Nova throws during a spring training game against the Phillies at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Fla.

What to Watch reminds us that it is Major League Baseball Opening Day. We preview Game 1 of 162 for the Pirates. We study tonight’s Penguins game in New Jersey. And Penn State can win the NIT.

Opening Day: Pirates at Tigers, 1:10 p.m.

The 2018 Major League Baseball season begins today. The Pirates start in Detroit. Some think the Tigers may be even worse than the Pirates will be this season.

With Jordan Zimmermann as the opening day starter, why wouldn’t you think that? He’s coming off a 2017 season that saw him post an 8-13 record with a 6.03 ERA. Plus Zimmermann gave up a career high 29 home runs.

That’s also the same number of homers allowed by Pirates starter Ivan Nova.

First pitch is at 1:10, weather permitting.

But it’s not all pessimism. Kevin Gorman talks to Clint Hurdle about how the Pirates can be … wait for it … BETTER in 2018.

Around MLB

Here’s the rest of the MLB slate courtesy of MLB.com.

Andrew McCutchen and his San Francisco Giants begin the year against the hated Dodgers at 7:08 p.m. Let’s hope the Dodger Stadium sewage leak is cleaned up by now.

Ex-Pirates pitcher J.A. Happ gets the Opening Day start for Toronto at home against the Yankees as well.

Penguins at Devils, 7 p.m.

The Penguins are on the road in New Jersey.

The Penguins have lost all three games against the Devils this year, including a 4-3 overtime loss at PPG Paints Arena on Friday, courtesy of a Taylor Hall goal. They have lost five of nine overall and six of their last eight on the road.

New Jersey begins play with 88 points, sitting in the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot. The Penguins are just four points in front of the Devils.

Here’s a closer look with Jonathan Bombulie.

A few other games of note in the Eastern Conference:

• Tampa is at Boston at 7 p.m. The Lightning have a one-point lead on the Bruins for first place in the Atlantic.

• Ottawa hosts Florida at 7:30 p.m.. The Panthers are the first team out of the playoffs in the East. They are three back of the Devils and seven back of the Penguins.

• Columbus visits Calgary at 9 p.m. The Blue Jackets have 91 points. That’s only a point behind the Penguins and Flyers, who are tied for second in the Metro.

Penn State vs. Utah, NIT Championship game, 7 p.m.

The Nittany Lions are at Madison Square Garden at 7 p.m. for the NIT championship. They play Utah. It’s on ESPN 2.

Here’s a preview featuring Shep Garner.

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