Welcome to Opening Day

A national holiday has arrived, as Opening Day is here.  The Dodgers today begin their quest for a third straight playoff berth, something they have never done in their 126-year history.  Here are some opening day facts and figures:

  • Since moving to Los Angeles, the Dodgers are 26-26 on opening day, including 12-15 on the road.
  • The last time the Dodgers opened their season against Pittsburgh was 1955.  Not only did the Dodgers have a great start to that season -- a franchise-best 22-2 -- but they had a great finish as well.
  • Blake DeWitt becomes the fourth Dodger since 1945 to make an opening day start at both third base and second base, joining Jackie Robinson, Jim Gilliam, and Jim Lefebvre.  DeWitt is also the 10th Los Angeles Dodger to make an opening day start at at least two different positions.
  • The Dodgers have seven position players starting today who also started last year's opening day, with the only difference being DeWitt for Orlando Hudson.  This is the first time since 1986-1987 that the Dodgers have had seven positions players start two straight opening days, and the first time since 1978-1979 that at least seven position players started at the same positions on consecutive opening days (all eight position players started the same positions in 1978-1979).
  • Manny Ramirez is starting his 17th straight opening day, the second longest active streak in baseball, behind Ivan Rodriguez, who is expected to start his 19th consecutive opening day, for the Nationals today.
  • The Dodgers are 24-10 all-time at PNC Park, and have won 28 of their last 39 games in Pittsburgh, dating back to 1999.
  • A few Dodgers have switched uniform numbers:  Garret Anderson changed from 00 to 9, Carlos Monasterios went from 68 to 37, and Charlie Haeger switched from 37 to 49, the same number worn by fellow Dodger knuckleballers Charlie Hough and Tom Candiotti.
  • Opening day starter Vicente Padilla hasn't started against the Pirates since 2005, but has a 4.13 ERA in four career starts against Pittsburgh.
  • Russell Martin has seven hits in 15 at-bats against Pirates' starter Zach Duke, including three doubles and a home run.  Martin is hitting .467/.467/.867 against the southpaw.
  • Andre Ethier is battling a slight knee bruise, which was the reason he didn't start the final two exhibition games against the Angels.  Manager Joe Torre downplayed the injury, saying Sunday that Ethier would have played in both games if it were the regular season.
  • Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times gives his thoughts on the Dodgers' 25-man roster.
  • Hernandez also wrote a profile of Rafael Furcal, which is worth the read if only for this quote from Furcal: "Remember, no one ever steals first. You have to get on base first."  Furcal has started three opening days with the Dodgers (2006, 2008, and 2009), and has had at least two hits in each of them, with a combined eight hits in 14 at-bats, hitting .571/.625/.643.
  • The Pirates have an opening day payroll of $35.4 million, the lowest in the majors, according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  • Steve Lyons, who will be calling the games on TV this week with Eric Collins, will be a guest on Lopez Tonight, tonight.
  • The Dodgers will hold a workout at 11am on their off day Tuesday.

Here are the lineups, which feature the Pirate plan this season to have the pitcher bat eighth:

Dodgers      Pirates            
SS Furcal 2B Iwamura
C Martin         
CF McCutchen
RF Ethier   
RF Jones
LF Manny C Doumit
CF Kemp LF Milledge
1B Loney 1B Clement
3B Blake 3B LaRoche
2B DeWitt P Duke
P Padilla SS Cedeño

Check out Xeifrank's simulation of today's game here.

Time: 10:35am

TV: Prime Ticket

Baseball Reference Preview | Box Score | Gameday

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