Welcome to opening day. The Dodgers host the Diamondbacks this evening. Here are some stories to read while we wait for first pitch.
Included this profile of Clayton Kershaw by Jack Harris in the Los Angeles Times is the left-hander’s comfortability with going year to year with his contracts. “It just turns out that right now, I feel fully committed to this year. It might be [the same] next year,” Kershaw told Harris. “But I love the freedom of not being committed. … I like the ability to reset after every year.”
The Dodgers need J.D. Martinez to thrive, writes Bill Plunkett at the Orange County Register. Included are thoughts from hitting coach Robert Van Scoyoc, who has worked with Martinez before, as well as former Martinez’s former Red Sox teammate Mookie Betts.
Brusdar Graterol is among a handful of pitchers identified as breakout candidates in 2023 by Dan Szymborski at FanGraphs. “Graterol pitched well, but he’s still not hitting the strikeout rates I think his stuff could be giving him,” he wrote.
Mona Holmes and Matthew Kang at Eater Los Angeles mapped out the essential places to eat near Dodger Stadium.
Included in David Brandt’s compendium of major league players’ reactions to the new MLB rules for the Associated Press, Clayton Kershaw found the idea of a pitch clock was scarier than the actual thing: “I find myself staring at it and thinking about it more than I probably need to. ... As we get going into the regular season, I don’t think it will affect me.”
Even after the practice in spring training, there figure to be bumps in the road early in the season, as everyone continues to adjust to the new rules. From Jeff Passan at ESPN:
“April is going to be a s--- show,” one longtime executive said. “May will be better. And I hope October, too. But April is going to have all the viral moments and people are going to forget there are 2,430 games in a season. If one or two games have bad outcomes, that means 99.9% of games don’t.”
This week, I previewed the National League West in podcast form along with Bryan Murphy of the Giants Chroncast and Evan Lang of Rocky Mountain Rooftop. You can listen at the Three-Inning Save podcast.