With a longer regular season the 2018 campaign opens on a Thursday this year and opening day at Dodger Stadium will be the earliest on the calendar that the Dodgers have played domestically.
The March 29 start to the season is a byproduct of baseball’s collective bargaining agreement, which called for more rest days dispersed throughout the regular season. That means a 187-day “championship season” instead of the old 183 days on the baseball calendar.
That gives us a Thursday start day rather than a Monday, or Sunday start to the season.
Dodgers March history
|Mar 31, 1998||at Cardinals||L, 6-0|
|Mar 31, 2003||at D-backs||W, 8-0|
|Mar 31, 2008||vs. Giants||W, 5-0|
|Mar 31, 2011||vs. Giants||W, 2-1|
|Mar 22, 2014||at D-backs*||W, 3-1|
|Mar 23, 2014||at D-backs*||W, 7-5|
|Mar 30, 2014||at Padres||L, 3-1|
When the Dodgers start against the Giants on Thursday it will mark the earliest they have ever played a game in the United States. The only time they played earlier was on 2014 when the first two games of the regular season were played in Sydney, Australia against the Diamondbacks, about a week before everybody else.
Those games were played on March 22 and 23, both Dodgers wins, then the club returned home and played the ESPN ‘Sunday Night Baseball’ opener in San Diego against the Padres on March 30, meaning the Dodgers played three regular season games before 27 other teams got their year started.
The Dodgers are 5-2 in regular season games played in March, with losses in St. Louis in 1998 and in that San Diego game in 2014. Aside from the loss at Petco Park and the games in Australia, every other Dodgers game played this month was on March 31.
This year, their first three games against the Giants are in March.
In those seven previous March games the Dodgers hit three home runs — Brian Jordan, Jeff Kent and Scott Van Slyke doing the honors.
The club’s starting pitching has been excellent in March. After Ramon Martinez allowed four runs in 4⅔ innings in that 1998 loss, Dodgers starters have allowed one run in 41⅓ innings, with 38 strikeouts and nine walks. The lone run allowed was by Clayton Kershaw, in 6⅔ innings in Australia on March 22, 2014.
Dodgers starters’ ERA in March is 0.98.
Dodgers starting pitchers in March games
|Ramon Martinez||Mar 31, 1998||at Cardinals||4⅔||7||4||4||2||4||7.71||1.929|
|Hideo Nomo||Mar 31, 2003||at D-backs||9||4||0||0||1||7||0.00||0.556|
|Brad Penny||Mar 31, 2008||vs. Giants||6⅔||4||0||0||2||3||0.00||0.900|
|Clayton Kershaw||Mar 31, 2011||vs. Giants||7||4||0||0||1||9||0.00||0.714|
|Clayton Kershaw||Mar 22, 2014||at D-backs*||6⅔||5||1||1||1||7||1.35||0.900|
|Hyun-jin Ryu||Mar 23, 2014||at D-backs*||5||2||0||0||1||5||0.00||0.600|
|Hyun-jin Ryu||Mar 30, 2014||at Padres||7||3||0||0||3||7||0.00||0.857|