Tonight, the Dodgers will honor Jackie Robinson on the 62nd anniversary of his first major league game. Don Newcombe, a teammate of Robinson for six seasons, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch for what is the first night game of the season at Dodger Stadium. Every uniformed Dodger will be wearing Robinson's number 42 tonight. In fact, all 750 players in MLB will wear #42 today.
Clayton Kershaw will start on the mound for the Dodgers. It's hard to say Kershaw needs to rebound from a start with a 1.80 ERA, but his pitch efficiency does need improvement. Kershaw threw 105 pitches in only five innings last Thursday in San Diego, 31 of which were foul balls.
#22 / Pitcher / Los Angeles Dodgers
Mar 19, 1988
Last year, Kershaw made 17 starts between Jacksonville and Los Angeles before earning his first win, despite pitching reasonably well. Matt Cain, however, takes the term "hard luck" to a whole new level.
#18 / Pitcher / San Francisco Giants
Oct 01, 1984
From 2005-2009, there are 28 pitchers in baseball with an ERA+ of 110 or higher in at least 500 innings. 27 of the 28 pitchers have a winning record, with the lowest winning percentage at .510 (Aaron Harang of the Reds). Matt Cain, however, with his 119 ERA+, has a 31-43 career record, for only a .419 winning percentage. Against the Dodgers, Cain has only a 4.06 ERA in 11 starts, yet he has an 0-6 record (the Giants are 4-7 in those games).
Jackie Robinson fared pretty well against the Giants in his career, enjoying particular success against former Giant Sheldon Jones, hitting .409/.458/.545 in 72 plate appearances (thanks to the amazing Retrosheet for that one). In a similar vein, Andre Ethier has owned Matt Cain in their young careers, hitting .593/.594/.704 in 32 plate appearances.
The Dodger lineup, courtesy of Josh Rawitch:
Be sure to get your guesses in for the score of today's game here.
My Pick to Click for tonight: #42.