Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 1:10 PM PDT, TV: FS-A, SPNLA
25-year-old RHP Luke “Dream” Weaver debuts for the D-Backs in this day game, while 24-year-old RHP Walker Buehler does so for the Dodgers. Weaver came up with the Cardinals in 2016 and has a record of 15-17 with a 4.79 ERA in 233 career innings since then, including a 7-11, 4.95 ERA record last season. He came to Arizona in the Paul Goldschmidt trade last winter. Buehler came up with the Dodgers in 2017 and has compiled a 9-5, 2.95 ERA in 146 career innings since then. Buehler had a somewhat abbreviated spring training while saying his arm didn’t “feel right,” so it’s unclear how fully ready he is.
Three Dodgers or former Dodgers are featured in these defensive highlights from yesterday:
Today in Dodgers’ history:
- 1948 At Ebbets Field No. 2, the Dodgers play their first exhibition game at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, which will remain the team’s home for 61 years. Amidst much fanfare, including Governor Millard Caldwell throwing the ceremonial first pitch, Jackie Robinson homers in the first inning as Brooklyn beats its top farm club, the Montreal Royals, 5-4.
- 2018 Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who goes 3-for-4 in the team’s 3-2 victory over the Rays at Tropicana Field, becomes the first American Leaguer to have multiple extra-base hits in the first three games of the season. In 2015, Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez also accomplished the feat, collecting at least two hits in each of LA’s first three contests when he compiled ten hits his first 14 at-bats of the season.
Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 6:10 PM PDT, TV: FS-A, SPNLA
The D-Backs send RHP Zack Godley out to make his first start of the year. He was 15-11 with a 4.74 ERA last season. He’ll face the Dodgers’ RHP Kenta Maeda, in his first start of the year. Maeda was 8-10 with a 3.81 ERA in 39 games, 20 as a starter. He only threw 125 1/3 innings all year, but astonishingly he struck out 153 in those innings.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
- 1966 Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale’s refusal to report to spring training ends when the hurlers agree to the Dodgers’ offer of $235,000, signing for $130,000 and $105,000, respectively. The LA starters’ joint holdout lasts for 32 days, paving the way for other players to be more aggressive when negotiating with owners.
- 2012 Jamie Moyer becomes the oldest starting pitcher to make an Opening Day roster when the Rockies announce that the 49 year-old southpaw will face Houston in the second game of the season. Knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm was the same age as the Colorado left-hander when he opened the season with L.A. in 1972, but ‘Old Sarge’ appeared strictly in relief for the Dodgers.
Lineup when available.
Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: FS-A, SPNLA
It’ll be Robbie Ray for the visitors versus Ross (Chicken Strip) Stripling for the Dodgers. Stripling has had all winter to fix his pitch-tipping problem, which kept him off postseason rosters for all three series the Dodgers played last year. Ray struggled for the first four months of last year and didn’t throw consecutive quality starts until September, but over his last eight starts he had a 2.09 ERA with 61 strikeouts in 43 innings.
MLB is all-in on technology these days, says Tom Verducci at Sports Illustrated. Here’s the opening paragraph:
Cold and clear as verity, a new dawn broke over Camelback Ranch, spring home of the Dodgers. So did morning. In one batting cage at the Glendale, Ariz., complex last month—not the cage with ground force measurement plates—rookie outfielder Alex Verdugo, 22, took batting practice while tethered to a laptop computer by two dozen thick white wires sprouting like vines from a harness around his hips and torso. Behind him, also in the cage, two technicians monitored the 3D motion images of Verdugo and his swing.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
- 1935 The reigning National League champion Cardinals release 44 year-old right-hander Dazzy Vance, who appeared in his first and only World Series during his one season with the team. The future Hall of Fame hurler will return to the Dodgers, where he spent the most productive years of his career, finishing his major league 16-year tenure in the major leagues with a 197-140 (.585) record along with an ERA of 3.24.
- 2008 In an exhibition game celebrating the club’s 50th anniversary of their move west from Brooklyn, the Dodgers lose to the Red Sox in front of 115,300 fans at the LA Coliseum. The crowd is the largest ever to watch a baseball game, surpassing the previous record when approximately 114,000 patrons attended an exhibition contest between the Australian national team and an American services team during the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne.
- 2017 The Dodgers commemorate Kirk Gibson’s historic pinch-hit, walk-off home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series by offering a special ticket package to sit in the right-field pavilion seat, recently painted blue and autographed by him, where the ball landed. The team is donating two-thirds of the $300 price of the ducats, which includes a companion seat, two commemorative T-shirts and food and drink, to the Kirk Gibson Foundation to raise money and awareness for Parkinson’s research, the neurological disease which affects the Fall Classic hero.
Lineup when available.
Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 1:10 PM PDT, TV: FS-A, SportsNet LA, ESPN
Zack Greinke will make his third consecutive Opening Day start for the D-Backs. He says he’s the healthiest he’s been in years. If that’s true the league may be in trouble because Zack is 32-18 over the past two seasons. Hyun-Jin Ryu starts for the Dodgers. As we all know, he’s the first pitcher other than Kershaw to start an opener for the Dodgers since Vicente Padilla in 2010. He’s earned it, though. Last year he was 7-3 with a 1.97 ERA in 81 innings and a 2.2 WAR.
On this date in Dodgers’ history:
Unsurprisingly the Dodgers have recorded no meaningful events on March 28 since the baseball season has only begun starting in March within the last decade or so.
Magic 8-ball says yes.
As late as March 1, scores of free agents were still unsigned as front offices divest from players who are 30 or older — All-Star outfielder Adam Jones is 33, Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel is 31, closer Craig Kimbrel is 30. At the same time, teams manipulate the service time of big-league-ready young players such as Vladimir Guerrero Jr. by leaving them in the minors. Teams do this assured in the knowledge that while these veteran and rookie players could obviously help a team, the public condones the anti-labor practice of tanking. Many teams simply aren’t trying to win, and fans don’t care.
But today’s player, across sports, was born into a country that has demonized labor so thoroughly that some of them do not even believe philosophically in the principles of unions and more quickly turn on one another. It should forever be remembered that when the owners squeezed veterans in the NBA and NFL, the players responded by attacking younger players, advocating for a rookie wage scale.
Baseball’s ownership is now reaching a brazen point. The new generation of Ivy League GMs, with their own metrics and measures for paying players (how is it not collusion if everyone is seemingly using the same methodology?), have crossed two lines:The first is their philosophy of no longer paying players for what they’ve done, only for what they are projected to do. The second is controlling players for six full years and then refusing to pay them once they reach their free agent seventh. The modern player, richer than ever, is faced with a question: Is a punitive free agent market, and a culture that threatens any player over 30, enough to shut down the game?
So far, the players aren’t looking like Curt Flood, while the owners are looking like Charles Comiskey (the reason the Black Sox threw the Series was because their owner was such a cheap man). The players seem to be opting for the security of multi-year contracts, which is rational seeing what’s happened to the stars who’ve hit free agency and received no offers at all.
Once more unto the breach!
Here’s the link
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Kershaw has thrown six of the last seven days, but Roberts and Honeycutt haven’t yet decided what Plan B is if, as seems likely, he’s unavailable for Opening Day.
Tweets of note: