Dodgers @ Padres, March 30, 2014: Grand Re-opening

petco_park_opener2013After a strange week, we’re back to baseball that actually counts, and it’s here to stay. The Dodgers re-open their 2014 campaign in San Diego tonight, and I have to say that the starting lineup looks pretty good against right-handed pitching. After all of the talk about Yasiel Puig leading off, he’s batting behind Carl Crawford tonight. The team also continues to be cautious with Dee Gordon, batting him eighth, which is absolutely the correct spot right now. The Dodgers are not scheduled to face any left-handed starters during the series against the Padres, so expect to see this lineup, or something similar, for the next few games. Of course, the real way to judge the lineup is in visual form.

Dodgers 
Padres
5:05pm PT
San Diego, CA
LF
Crawford
SS
Cabrera
RF
Puig
RF
Denorfia
SS
Ramirez
3B
Headley
1B
Gonzalez
2B
Gyorko
CF
Ethier
1B
Alonso
3B
Uribe
LF
Medica
C
Ellis
CF
Venable
2B
Gordon
C
Rivera
P
Ryu (L)
P
Cashner (R)

After some concerns about Hyun-jin Ryu‘s big toe, he will start for the Dodgers tonight. Ryu started out his 2014 season about as well as possibly could have, pitching five scoreless innings, striking out five batters and walking one. This is the second consecutive regular season game started by Ryu. Eric Stephen has some fun trivia about consecutive games started by the same pitcher here.

The opening day starter in San Diego’s injury-plagued rotation is Andrew Cashner. The right-handed pitccher had a good season last year after transitioning to a starter’s role for the first time. He allowed an ERA- of 86, FIP- of 93, and xFIP- of 96 in 175 innings. As a starter, he started pitching to contact, striking out just 6.58 batters per nine innings last season. If there’s anywhere he can get away with that style, it’s Petco Park. Cashner had an odd spring this year. He gave up 4 earned runs in 15-2/3 innings (good for a 2.30 ERA), but he gave up five un-earned runs on top of that.

Tonight’s game will be on ESPN, which has its benefits and drawbacks. Most fans can actually watch this game in the Los Angeles area, which wouldn’t be the case if the game was on SNLA. However, that means we also have to hear even more opinions on Puig. It’s also a landmark game for Major League Baseball; it is the first game with the new expanded replay rules in effect. We’ve seen some exhibition games with the new rules, but there seemed to be a lot of experimentation since the games didn’t count. The baseball world will watching to see if (and how) the new rules are put into effect.

If the Dodgers win tonight, they’ll have three wins before 27 major league teams have played, which wouldn’t be a bad place to be.

About Daniel Brim

Daniel Brim
Daniel Brim grew up in the Los Angeles area but doesn't live there anymore. He still watches the Dodgers and writes about them sometimes.