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PLAY BALL: Dodgers Spring Opener Game Chat

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Today is one of the most glorious days of the year. Tiger Woods returns to the PGA Tour in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship!

Actually, more importantly, today is also the first game of spring training. This is the first "Play ball" since Game 5 of the NLCS, a long four months ago. When Woods was busy winning the U.S. Open on a torn ACL and broken leg, the Dodgers were at their lowest point of the season. They just got swept by Detroit and were a season-worst seven games under .500, 5½ games behind the Diamondbacks.

The Dodgers were able to turn around their season, finishing 53-40 to take the NL West. They then faced today's opponent, the Cubs, and this happened:

Dodgers-cubs_nlds_gm_3_medium

The Dodgers and Cubs lock horns again today at HoHoKam Park, one of the greatest park names in all of baseball. Here is what we know about today's game:

  • The game is not televised, but can be heard on KABC 790 AM
  • Both teams will use the designated hitter
  • Per Tony Jackson of the Daily News, niether Russell Martin, Rafael Furcal, nor Orlando Hudson will make the bus trip to Mesa, AZ -- the trip is about 33 miles, in case you were wondering.
    Per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Juan Pierre, Casey Blake, and James Loney are on the "traveling roster"
  • Also from Gurnick, Claudio Vargas will be the starting pitcher, and will be followed by fellow 5th starter candidates Eric Milton and Ramon Troncoso.
  • For the Cubs, per Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, regular starters Derrek Lee, Geovany Soto, Mike Fontenot, and Ryan Theriot will all play today
  • Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports the Cubs will use pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Mitch Atkins to split the first four innings

UPDATE: Per Diamond Leung, here are the starting lineups:

Dodgers Cubs
Pierre LF Soriano LF
Ausmus C Theriot SS
Ethier RF Lee 1B
Loney 1B Hoffpauir DH
Blake 3B Soto C
Kemp CF Fontenot 2B
DeWitt 2B Johnson CF
Young DH Robnett RF
Abreu SS Scales 3B
Vargas P Samadzija P

"Let's go. Batter up. We're taking the afternoon off! It's a beautiful day for a ball game..."