It’ll be LHP Ty Blach for the visiting Giants and LHP Clayton Kershaw for the Dodgers. Blach has been very good at Dodger Stadium in his four appearances: he’s got a 1.38 ERA. Kershaw will be making his eighth Opening Day start for the Dodgers, a new franchise record. He had previously shared the record of seven with Don Drysdale and Don Sutton. This will be Kershaw’s 41st career start against the Giants: he’s 22-9 with a 1.60 ERA in the first 40.
The Dodgers are virtually the same team as the NL Champions of last year, albeit temporarily without third baseman and team leader Justin Turner. They do have a left-field platoon which includes prodigal Matt Kemp; I think it’s fair to say most fans didn’t expect to see him still here on Opening Day. And I wonder: Andre Ethier is still a free agent and would have been cheaper to keep than Kemp is.
This is the 12th season opener between the clubs since they moved west in 1958. The Giants have won 6 of the previous 11.
An Opening Day Quiz from George Will at the Washington Post. I started off like a house afire and faded in the later innings. I scored 21 of 41.
Have a nice story complimenting the Dodger Stadium architects and the owners who have kept it up.
Okay, it’s an ad for Kingsford charcoal, it’s still kinda cute.
Cory Seager’s elbow shows no ill-effects from throwing in a game Wednesday and Kiké Hernandez says “Hey, I can hit right-handers too!” Alex Wood went five innings and struck out six White Sox “A” leaguers while giving up just one hit, and Matt Kemp went 1-4 as a starter in left field. Andrew Toles came off the bench and was 0-for-1. Alex Verdugo came off the bench and was 1-for-1 with a double. Trayce Thompson came off the bench and was 1-for-1 with a bloop double. Other news here.
So far this spring the Dodgers have a 2-3 record. I like this deal,though:
Dodgers @ Padres
Peoria Stadium – Wed 2/28
358 tickets as low as $4
As we all expected, the Dodgers have a bunch of outfielders all trying to win a job in left field (Yasiel Puig’s a fixture in right and Chris Taylor’s the same in center). Andrew Toles is coming back from a torn ACL in his right knee, Joc Pederson’s trying to regain his form of 2016, Alex Verdugo might be their best non-pitching prospect, and oh yeah, Matt Kemp is back. He’s 40 pounds lighter than he was last season, which should certainly help his fairly awful defense of the last few years, and he can still hit. I think it’s even money he and his $43M contract get traded, possibly before the season begins, but the Dodgers have supposedly been trying to do that since they reacquired him in the offseason. The left field situation featured in a Dodgers.com story about Maeda’s two-inning stint on Tuesday:
In the ongoing competition for left field, Matt Kemp started in left Tuesday and went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Joc Pederson started in center and was 0-for-2 with a walk, caught-stealing and strikeout, and he threw out former Dodger Willie Calhoun at the plate; and Alex Verdugo started in right and was 0-for-2 with a strikeout. Off the bench, Andrew Toles was 0-for-1 with a sacrifice fly and a strikeout.
I just subscribed to the new sportswriting website The Athletic. If you subscribe by clicking that link you get 25% off the $59.99 annual subscription price and I get $10 in credit at Amazon. It looks like a slightly pricey deal for a lot of extraordinary sportswriters, including people laid off by ESPN like Jayson Stark. Ken Rosenthal of Fox is there, as is Peter Gammons. It’s covering the NFL, the NHL, the NBA and MLS in addition to MLB. Take a look at it.
Starting for the Dodgers today is lefty Alex Wood (1-3, 4.17 ERA), who has been pretty successful recently: in his last four starts he’s gone 24 1/3 innings, striking out 30 and posting a 2.59 ERA. The Padres send out righthander Cesar Vargas, who’s 0-2 with a 3.55 ERA and may be pitching to stay in the big leagues, as Andrew Cashner will come off the DL this week and the Padres will have to make room for him.
Adrian Gonzalez is expected to return to the Dodgers’ starting lineup tonight after several days off with back tightness. Matt Kemp has made trouble for Wood in the past, going 5-for-9 with a home run and double against him.
Lineup when available.
Utley 2B Seager SS Turner 3B Gonzalez 1B Thompson LF Pederson CF Puig RF Grandal C Wood P
Scott Kazmir (3-3, 4.89 ERA) hopes to continue the pitching which got him within an out of a complete game win last time out. He’ll face Christian Friedrich (0-1, 1.50 ERA), who made his Padres debut last week, going six innings and throwing 116 pitches while walking six. He’s a callup from AAA El Paso to replace Andrew Cashner and his balky hamstring.
Dodger manager Dave Roberts says Adrian Gonzalez won’t start but will be able to pinch-hit tonight and get back in the starting lineup tomorrow.
Danger, Will Robinson! Matt Kemp is hitting .317/.371/.463 in 89 plate appearances against the Dodgers.
Tonight's lineup: Hernandez LF Turner 3B Seager SS Kendrick 2B Thompson CF Puig RF Grandal 1B Ellis C Kazmir P
The Dodgers look to Alex Wood (1-2, 6.00 ERA) to halt their unexpected 4-game losing streak. Wood has struggled so far this season, but he’s been better at home than on the road. The Dodgers hope that continues tonight. The Padres send out Cesar Vargas, a right-handed rookie who made his major league debut last weekend. He went five innings and gave up just one run but didn’t get the decision.
In this series there are a couple of guys playing against teams which traded them who have been successful doing so: Matt Kemp is hitting .310/.364/.408 in 19 games against Los Angeles. Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez has had similar success against his old club, batting .316/.360/.540 in 69 games.
Lineup when available.
Utley 2B Seager SS Turner 3B Gonzalez 1B Puig RF Grandal C Crawford LF Pederson CF Wood P
The Dodgers send lefty Brett Anderson out to face the Rockies’ righty Chad Bettis. Anderson was a Rockie last year and beat them in a rain-shortened game last Friday in Denver. Bettis has been up and down from AAA to the Rockies over the past three years, making 37 appearances and eight starts in 2013-2014 and earning a 1-6 record with a 6.88 ERA.
Tonight's #Dodgers lineup vs. Rockies:
Van Slyke LF
Update: Kemp is gone to the Padres for catcher Yasmani Grandal and a pair of pitching prospects. Fedex also goes to the Padres, along with about $30M to defray part of the cost of Kemp’s contract.
Wow! In very short order today the Dodgers
Got 36-year-old shortstop Jimmy Rollins from the Phillies to fill the gap left behind when Hanley Ramirez went the free agent route
Traded Dee Gordon and Dan Haren to the Marlins in exchange for pitcher Andrew Heaney, backup catcher Austin Barnes, minor leaguers Enrique Hernandez and Chris Hatcher
Flipped Heaney to the Angels for second-baseman Howie Kendrick
May be close to signing free-agent pitcher Brandon McCarthy
and have discussed adding pitcher Cole Hamels and second-baseman Chase Utley to the Jimmy Rollins deal with the Phillies
And there’s still tomorrow to find deals which send Ethier, Crawford or Kemp to somebody for a starting pitcher or prospects!
Now that they’ve gotten Kendrick, I can’t see why they’d want Utley except as more bait to trade off, as they did with Heaney (hey, kid, I’d have liked to see you pitch!). Do the Phillies need an outfielder?
Update: changed the post title to day 3, which is accurate. I lost a day somewhere.
Dan Haren goes for the Dodgers. He’s 3-0 with a 0.69 ERA in his last four starts and 13-10 with a 3.99 ERA for the season. After that mid-season slump he’s seemingly reduced the number of sinkers he’s thrown by 12 percent, says one statistical outfit, and that may have helped the turnaround. He’ll face Tyler Matzek, a rookie whose 5-10 and 4.23 ERA look bad, but may be misleading. In his last four starts he’s given up just four earned runs, including a three-hit shutout against the Padres. He’s 3-1 over those games. The loss was a four-hit 6 1/3 inning performance in which he gave up two runs but got no run support.
In other news, Ryu’s shoulder MRI on Monday showed no damage. He got a cortisone shot and will meet the team in Chicago. He’ll miss his next scheduled start but he’ll throw a little in Chicago and see how the shoulder feels.
Nobody on the Dodgers’ side is explaining what the cause of the mild flareup of tempers between Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig was during last night’s game. The press and we bloggers have therefore been free to speculate, as Steve Dilbeck of the Times notes and sneers at.
Via Twitter: “The Dodgers select the contract of LHP Daniel Coulombe from Double-A. RHP Stephen Fife was recalled from Triple-A and placed on 60-day DL.”
Tonight's Dodgers lineup:
Van Slyke LF