The best part of the Dodgers returning home is that we get to hear Vin Scully behind the microphone. Scully will be behind the microphone for his first broadcast of his 61st season with the Dodgers, as the Dodgers face the Diamondbacks. The Dodgers are the 30th and final team to play its home opener, as the MLB schedule makers saved the best for last.
Clayton Kershaw may not have received the opening day nod in Pittsburgh, but he gets to start the home opener instead, not a bad consolation prize. Last season at home, Kershaw made 16 starts, and he allowed just 20 runs (18 of which were earned runs), putting up a 1.83 ERA with 47 walks and 97 strikeouts in 88 1/3 innings at Dodger Stadium. Kershaw is coming off a poor start in Pittsburgh, as he failed to complete five innings and tied a career high with six walks.
Courtesy of BHSportsGuy, here is the complete list of the 15 different Dodger pitchers to record a win since Kershaw's last win on July 18, 2009, including seven starters: Hiroki Kuroda, Chad Billingsley, Vicente Padilla, Charlie Haeger, Randy Wolf, Jon Garland, Jason Schmidt (!!), Jonathan Broxton, Scott Elbert, Jeff Weaver, George Sherrill, Ramon Troncoso, James McDonald, Hong-Chih Kuo, and Ronald Belisario.
Ian Kennedy starts for the Diamondbacks, pitching roughly 5.5 miles from the mound he starred at with USC. Kennedy was 24-12 with a 3.09 ERA as a Trojan, was drafted by the Yankees in 2006, and traded to the Diamondbacks in the three-way Curtis Granderson deal this offseason. Kennedy struck out eight Padres while walking none in his Diamondback debut last week, but pitched just five innings due to a relatively high pitch count of 94. In 13 career starts, Kennedy has pitched six innings or longer just four times.
Here are the lineups:
- Rafael Furcal has his season-opening run scoring streak stopped at five on Sunday, but has seven hit in 14 at-bats in his three Dodger home openers.
- Matt Kemp leads the club with seven runs batted in, but you are more likely to hear about his nine strikeouts right now than his .869 OPS. Perhaps the presence of strikeout king Mark Reynolds of Arizona -- currently two whiffs behind The Bison -- can shift some of the K-related focus.
Andre Ethier is back in the lineup today, after being held out of the starting lineup for the last four games. Ethier is one of seven Dodgers with an OBP of .400 or higher.
- Manny Ramirez doesn't have a home run yet, but has hit 86 career home runs in March and April, second most among active players, behind Ken Griffey, Jr. Ramirez didn't hit his first home run last season until his 12th game.
James Loney, in his last 162 home games, has hit .262/.331/.353, with six home runs, compared to .301/.359/.465 and 20 home runs over his last 162 road games. Loney is the only player on the team that has stolen a base in a Dodger home opener.
- Casey Blake is hitting .375 in the early going, which is all well and good, until you notice that his backup, Ronnie Belliard is hitting .500. Dodger third basemen are hitting a combined .480/.500/.800 through the first six games of the season.
- Blake DeWitt has reached base in all five games he has played, including reaching base at least twice in each of the first four games.
- Russell Martin, he of the major league leading .611 OBP, has had an eventful last seven plate appearances: walk, walk, walk, single, single, sacrifice, walk
Ernest Reyes of Blue Heaven found a 1948 letter from Branch Rickey, urging Walter O'Malley to trade starting second baseman Eddie Stanky. If you haven't bookmarked Blue Heaven yet, you should.
Josh Rawitch at Inside the Dodgers details the 11 hours of Dodger-related programming today on Prime Ticket, beginning at noon.
Xeifrank's simulation of today's game is here.
Game Time: 1:10pm
TV: Prime Ticket (and MLB Network)