About 57 hours after they landed in Australia, the Dodgers will play their first game in Sydney on Thursday night, or Thursday morning back home in Los Angeles. Zach Lee gets the start for the Dodgers in their exhibition game against Team Australia from Sydney Cricket Ground.
Lee, in his first big league camp this year, pitched in a pair of Cactus League games after getting sidelined earlier in camp with a strained lat. He allowed four runs (three earned) in 4⅔ innings, with five strikeouts and two walks (one intentional).
Red Patterson, like Lee a non-roster invitee to Dodgers big league camp, will likely pitch in relief of Lee in this exhibition game, an effort by the Dodgers to save as many major league pitchers as possible for the two regular season games against the Diamondbacks over the weekend. Patterson was the only one of 30 Dodgers on the plane to Australia to have already been cut; he was reassigned to minor league camp on March 11.
Ryan Searle gets the start on the mound for Team Australia. The 24-year-old right-hander split time between the Arizona Rookie League and low Class-A Daytona in the Cubs system in 2013. He was 2-3 with a 5.67 ERA in eight games for Daytona, including two starts, with 28 strikeouts and eight walks in 27 innings. Searle reached Triple-A once, in 2012, pitching 6⅔ scoreless innings in two games for Iowa.
The Dodgers' starting lineup outside of Lee is filled with regulars, with all eight likely Opening Day starters starting. It makes sense given that the team hasn't played in a game for three days, something manager Don Mattingly brought up on Saturday at Camelback Ranch.
"In the exhibition game, I still want my guys to play. We're leaving here, not playing for a few days," he said. "I'm sure my guys would want to play."
Dee Gordon gets the call in the leadoff spot, which was predictable with Carl Crawford back in Arizona.