March 9. March 14. April 5. April 10. Mark your calendars.
Manager Don Mattingly confirmed on Saturday what he had already alluded to earlier in the spring, that Clayton Kershaw, who is starting on opening day against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on April 5, will also start the Dodgers home opener on April 10 against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Mattingly hasn't yet decided whether or not the fifth starter - for now, Chris Capuano - would be skipped his first time through the rotation or start the second game of the homestand. There are still 33 days until opening day.
The last Dodgers pitcher to start both opening day and the home opener (not counting years when the Dodgers opened at home, like last year) was Tim Belcher in 1989. Orel Hershiser, who won 23 games and carried the team on his back in the postseason the previous year, was scheduled to take his 59-inning scoreless streak to the mound on opening day in Cincinnati, but Hershiser suffered from the flu during the last week of spring training in Vero Beach and had to be pushed back a few days.
Belcher gave up six runs while recording seven outs on April 3 against the Reds and took the loss. Ten days later, Belcher started at Dodger Stadium in the home opener against the Astros and allowed two runs in nine innings, but got a no-decision in a game the Dodgers lost 4-2 in 15 innings.
Belcher would go 15-12 with a 2.82 ERA in 1989, leading the National League with 10 complete games and leading the major leagues with eight shutouts. He finished sixth in the Cy Young voting.
- Shortstop Dee Gordon took a bad hop off his mouth during infield drills, and had to leave to get a few stitches in his lip. The injury is not considered serious and Gordon is expected to play in Monday's Cactus League opener.
- Mattingly has an idea of his batting order for opening day, though to date he has only revealed that Gordon would leadoff and Matt Kemp would bat third. When pressed he said on Saturday that Andre Ethier would hit cleanup most of the time.
- "I know our ratings at second base -- UZR and all that -- didn't rate very well. I didn't notice it being that bad at second base but we had a number of guys," Mattingly said when asked about second baseman Mark Ellis. "Mark is outstanding at second base, but he swings the bat. This guy can hit a little bit." Mattingly is confident that a healthy Ellis will hit better than the one who hit .248/.288/.346 in 2011.
- Tomorrow's intrasquad game will be four innings, with four pitchers scheduled to throw two innings each: Kershaw, Capuano, Stephen Fife, and Will Savage.
- Charley Steiner arrived at Camelback Ranch on Saturday, as did fellow broadcaster Pepe Yniquez. Hall of Famer Jaime Jarrin, who is in his 54th season calling Dodgers games, has been here for a few days. The Cactus League opener on March 5 won't be televised but will be on radio on both KLAC 570 and KTNQ 1020 AM.