Royals host Mets to close season-opening Sunday tripleheader on ESPN

The Kansas City Royals will begin their World Series title defense against a familiar opponent: the New York Mets.

The season-opening series between the 2015 pennant winners will anchor ESPN's Opening Day tripleheader on Sunday, April 3.

NL Central foes the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates will open the slate with a 1 p.m. game on ESPN. That will be followed at 4 p.m. by a matchup between the AL East champion Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays to be aired on ESPN2.

The Royals will host the Mets to conclude the first day of the 2016 baseball season, with the first pitch scheduled for 8:30 p.m.

ESPN, ESPN2 and WatchESPN will air seven total season openers thanks to a quadrupleheader slated for Monday.

The April 4 baseball buffet will feature Astros-Yankees (1 p.m., ESPN), Mariners-Rangers (4 p.m., ESPN), Dodgers-Padres (7 p.m., ESPN) and Cubs-Angels (10 p.m., ESPN2).