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Hyun-jin Ryu gets the call for the road opener in Arizona

Los Angeles Dodgers v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Dodgers get their first look in 2018 at the Diamondbacks as they head out on the road to Arizona, beginning Monday night at Chase Field.

Last season was the first time in Dbacks franchise history that the team didn’t win the division title after winning at least 90 games. That’s because the Dodgers were 11 games better. The two teams figure to battle it out again this season, with the Rockies also in the mix.

The Dbacks took 11 of 19 games from the Dodgers in 2017 and were one of only two teams Los Angeles didn’t have at least a .500 record against all season (Rockies).

Hyun-jin Ryu gets the ball Monday as he begins what could be his healthiest season since having shoulder surgery after the 2014 season. Manager Dave Roberts noticed a change this spring in his left-handed starter, pointing out that Ryu is able to get better extension on pitches than last year.

“For me just watching, last year the arm strength wasn’t there. There was a little bit of self preservation in his extension where this year he’s letting it go more in his second year removed from surgery,” Roberts said. “The fastball velocity with that is ticking up and his change is better because of the extension.

“He’s really excited to have a regular offseason and not just rehab. Everything is kind of profiling where Hyun-jin used to be.”

Ryu will look to continue what the Dodgers’ pitching staff has accomplished during the first four games this season. The only runs allowed in the 36 innings were two solo homers to GiantsJoe Panik.

The Dbacks got the best of Ryu last season, scoring seven runs in 10 innings against the lefty.

Taijuan Walker will take the ball for Arizona in his 2018 debut. The big right-hander had success against the Dodgers last year, going 2-0 in three starts while allowing six runs in 16 23 innings.

The last time the Dodgers faced Walker, however, came in the National League Division Series. Los Angeles scored four runs and batted around on Walker in the first inning of Game 1 on their way to sweeping Arizona out of the playoffs.

Game info

Time: 6:40 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA