Welcome to Opening Day Dodger fans! We finally made it. Spring training is finally over, and it all starts for real tonight. From now on every game counts. For Stacie and myself this will be our first full season on Lasorda’s Lair, and we are very excited to provide you with the best Dodger coverage on the internet. So, commencing pregame….now.
The Dodgers open the season in San Diego, for only the third time ever. How have the Dodgers fared at San Diego on opening day? The Dodgers are 1-1 in opening day games at San Diego. I don’t mean openers at Dodger Stadium, the very first opener. Back in 1973, at the old Jack Murphy Stadium/Qualcom the Dodgers lost 4-2 against San Diego starter Clay Kirby. Don Sutton made the start for the Dodgers and took the loss. Joe Ferguson hit a home run in the ninth inning of that game. The Padres scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to break a 1-1 tie, giving Kirby the win.
Dodger LineupDee GordonMark EllisMatt KempAndre EthierJuan RiveraJames LoneyJuan UribeA.J. EllisClayton Kershaw
Clayton Kershaw vs. Edinson Volquez
Kershaw-7-3 vs. San Diego
Volquez-1-0 vs. Dodgers
The next time the Dodgers were in San Diego wasn’t until 2009. In that year, they won by a score of 4-1 at the current Petco Park. Hiroki Kuroda made the opening day start that season, pitching an effective 5.2 innings and earning the win. Jake Peavy countered Kuroda and took the loss. Matt Kemp, hit the game’s only home run, a solo shot in the seventh inning.
Let’s get to the pitching match-ups. Clayton Kershaw will make his second straight opening day start for the Dodgers. Kershaw had a very good spring, despite having some minor troubles with his slider, and a sore back in the first week. Kershaw pitched 22 innings, posting a 2.45 ERA, walking eight batters, and whiffing 16. Those were similar numbers compared to the spring numbers last year for the reigning Cy Young Award winner. Last year, he pitched in 25.1 innings, posting an ERA of 2.49, with six walks, and 20 whiffs.
San Diego will counter with Edinson Volquez. He is the right hander they acquired in the Matt Latos trade from the Reds. Volquez, if you remember was an all-star in 2008, but since then has struggled with injuries. Of course, the Padres are hoping that he can return to form. Taking a look at the numbers, the current Dodgers haven’t had many at-bats against Volquez over the years. What stands out is the Dodger that has hit Volquez the best over the years, is none other than Adam Kennedy. Yes! I am not kidding. Kennedy is 5 for 12, for a .417 average. The only other Dodgers that has see Volquez more than two or three at-bats, is Mark Ellis, who is three for four in his career vs. Volquez, with a double, a home run, and three RBI.
As for Kerhsaw, he has been utterly dominant against the Padres in the past (When has he not been?). Kersh is 7-3 with a 2.32 ERA and 67 whiffs against the Pads. No one has really hit Kershaw at all from the San Diego roster. The only two players that have batted above the Mendoza line versus Kersh is Catcher Nick Hundley and former Dodger Orlando Hudson. The Padres backstop is 6 for 19 with a .333 batting average. O-dawg is hitting .286 off of his former teammate (4 for 14), and the lone home run Kershaw has allowed to the Padres.
We will be selecting the player to give the game ball to and updating the Gagne Game Ball Corner up at the top of the page. The Game Ball can go to the most valuable player or players of the game. Let us know who you think should receive the game ball.
Opening day has given us many wonderful moments, from Stave Sax hitting a home run on the first pitch of the season in 1988, to Raul Mondesi hitting two home runs to beat Arizona in 1999. Of course we all remember Orlando Hudson hitting for the cycle on opening day in 2009. There are so many memories. I think it should be a national holiday, and I am observing.
I don’t know about you, but I am ready to go! Stacie will have a complete recap of the game (4:05 PM start time) immediately following. If you can’t make it to a TV, you can listen to the Dodgers on KLAC 570, the new Dodger radio home. Let’s start the season on a good note with a win shall we boys? To get us a little more fired up, I would like to share with you a video from Los Angeles music group Ozomatli, called “ Can’t Stop the Blue”. Let’s Play Ball! Go Blue!