Thursday is Opening Day at Dodger Stadium and the Blue Crew are ready to get the season started. After all the pre-game festivities, the huge flag held across the outfield, the Air Force flying overhead and the 50,000-plus fans shaking the dust of Chavez Ravine, the Dodgers will take the field against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
For the first time since 2010 Clayton Kershaw will not be the season opening pitcher. A shoulder issue has kept Kershaw off the active roster so Hyun-Jin Ryu will get the start. Young phenom Walker Buehler is also recovering from injury so it’s only a guess when he will be back in the rotation.
For the DBacks, former Dodger Zack Greinke will take the mound, only the third time in his 15-year career. Before he took the lead starting role in Arizona, Greinke was the Dodgers’ #2 pitcher behind Kershaw for three years. Last season his record was 15-11, with an ERA of 3.21. Greinke will be a tough nut to crack for the Dodgers bats.
The Los Angeles starting lineup looks a lot like it did last season, except that Corey Seager is back in the slot, after missing much of last season due to injury. Manny Machado came in to play shortstop and this season he has moved south to play for the San Diego Padres. Dodger fans will see him a lot this season.
Joc Pederson will play left field and lead off, Justin Turner is back at third base and will bat second, Seager bats third, Max Muncy will be at first and bat clean up. Then center fielder A.J. Pollock, who came over from the DBacks has the fifth slot in the lineup Cody Bellinger will be in right field and batting sixth, Enrique “Kiké” Hernandez will be at second and bat seventh and catcher Austin Barnes will bat eight ahead of pitcher Ryu.
The lineup can change of course. Nothing is for sure until manager Dave Roberts officially posts the line up at Dodger Stadium.
As usual, the Dodgers are deep, in the pitching staff and with the position players. They have so many options if they lose someone, the experts have picked the Dodgers to win the National League for the third straight year. Dodgers fans should have another great season of baseball.
In the off season the Dodgers picked up reliever Joe Kelly from the Boston Red Sox and catcher Russell Martin, from the Toronto Blue Jays. Dodger Fans will remember Kelly — maybe not too fondly — from the 2019 World Series. They will also remember Martin, who started his big league career in Los Angeles. Kelly signed a three-year deal as a free agent and Martin was acquired in a trade with Toronto.
Our sports reporter Claudia Gestro Claudia spent over two weeks in Arizona covering the Cactus League Spring Training. She filed these 11 reports on the Dodgers.
Photos by Claudia Gestro
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