It felt like just yesterday that Scott and I watched Clayton Kershaw‘s majestic Opening Day homerun sail over the center field wall at Dodger Stadium. This year’s home opener will be bittersweet for Dodger fans. Not only will Clayton Kershaw miss Opening Day at Dodger Stadium, but many fans will still not be able to watch their Dodgers on TV. Ticket prices to Opening Day at Dodger Stadium have increased this year, and it’s unfortunate that fans who cannot buy a ticket can’t even see the Boys in Blue play on SportsNet LA if they aren’t Time Warner Cable subscribers.
Despite the frustrations felt by fans who are blacked out, the games go on. After winning their first two series of the season (one in Australia
and the other in San Diego), the Dodgers will finally return home to their beautiful home ballpark on Friday to take on the rival Giants in an afternoon series opener. Hyun-jin Ryu will be on the mound for the Dodgers, their temporary ace. Ryu has pitched wonderfully throughout Spring Training and right on into the season for the Dodgers. Paul Maholm will start game two, and Zack Greinke will be on the bump for Game 3. After a sensational start by Dan Haren on Wednesday, the Dodgers hope to continue the forward momentum into this looked forward to series.
Hyun-jin Ryu has yet to allow an earned run this season in 12 innings of work. Last year, Ryu pitched well against the Giants and went 2-2 with a 2.48 ERA over 5 starts. Ryu pitched excellent at home last season going 7-4 with a 2.32 ERA in 15 starts. Hunter Pence gave Ryu some trouble last year, and the somewhat awkward outfielder hit .429 with 6 hits against the southpaw. Pence is looking to break out of an early season slump. He is 0-for-12 in the first three games of the season for the Giants. Buster Posey is only hitting .231 in 16 plate appearances against Ryu. The Dodgers will also have to fend off Brandon Belt who belted out two homeruns in each of his first two games. He only had 1 hit against Ryu last year.
The Dodgers will face some newbies on the Giants including Brandon Hicks who was a non-roster invitee this Spring for San Francisco. The Dodgers will also have to face Michael Morse for the first time during a regular season game as a Giant. The Giants also have a rookie infielder, Ehire Adrianza, who could make an appearance during the series.
Ryan Vogelsong will be on the mound for the Giants. The veteran right-hander made 19 starts for San Francisco last season, finishing with a record of 4-6 with a 5.73 ERA. Overall in his career, the 36-year old is 4-3 against the Dodgers with 3.91 ERA in 19 games. He is 2-1 with a 3.54 ERA at Dodger Stadium. Juan Uribe is hitting .417 against Vogelsong with 5 hits. Dee Gordon, who has been playing well and is hitting .385 on the season, has had 6 base hits against Vogelsong in 18 at-bats.
After having a very disappointing season last year, the Giants will be looking to redeem themselves in the division. After watching Arizona
get swept by the Dodgers in Australia, it looks like the Giants may be the Dodgers biggest competition in the NL West in their quest to defend their divisional title.
The middle of the lineup finally started to break out of their early season slump, and it won’t be too long before Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, and Andre Ethier are blasting homeruns over Dodger Stadium’s outfield walls.
Matt Kemp will be activated for Opening Day at Dodger Stadium, and the corresponding move will likely option Mike Baxter down to AAA-Albuquerque. Matt Kemp says he’s ready to go, and I hope that Kemp can rise from the ashes to recapture his place at the top of the leaders board for the league. I’m not going to expect him to be blasting homeruns right away, but if we can get a healthy Kemp for the entire season I feel that is an accomplishment and step forward to the Dodgers regaining one of their top players.
Scott and I will be at Dodger Stadium for our third Opening Day in a row. We’ve made it a tradition to be there at Dodger Stadium for Opening Day, and we look forward to sharing our experience with you. Last year’s win against the Giants and Kershaw’s homerun was a very memorable game, but I’m sure the Dodgers will not have any problem creating new Opening Day memories for us- hopefully winning memories.
Prediction: Adrian Gonzalez breaks out on Opening Day at Dodger Stadium
Tune into SportsNet LA at 1:10 p.m. PT or you can listen to 570 Fox Sports LA on the radio. Stay tuned for our postgame coverage and Opening Day festivities.