Dodgers @ Padres April 4, 2016: Welcome to the 2016 season

Welcome to six (or more) months of hell. The Dodgers’ begin the season in San Diego, which is good news for Clayton Kershaw.

Dodgers
Padres
4:05 p.m. PT
San Diego
2B
Utley
CF
Jay
SS
Seager
C
Norris
3B
Turner
RF
Kemp
1B
Gonzalez
1B
Myers
RF
Puig
SS
Ramirez
LF
Crawford
3B
Solarte
CF
Pederson
LF
Upton
C
Ellis
2B
Spangenberg
P
Kershaw (L)
P
Ross (R)

Not that he needs any help, but Kershaw has a career 2.13 ERA in Petco Park, and the Padres’ offense looks much more anemic without Justin Upton and with the additions of Alexei Ramirez and Jon Jay.

Dave Roberts‘ first lineup probably draws mixed reviews. The bad is Chase Utley leading off. The options are limited and I understand not wanting to put any further pressure on Joc Pederson and the options to leadoff are slim, so it’s fine I guess. The good is the 2 through 5 of Corey Seager, Justin Turner, Adrian Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig. I could see that being a pretty consistent middle of the order throughout the season. There’s also this:

Thank goodness.

The 2016 season is going to hinge a lot on what the good (and healthy) players do. Puig has to produce like he did his first two seasons, Gonzalez needs to anchor the lineup, Turner needs to continue hitting like Anthony Rizzo … and the list goes on. Breaking news: Team needs to rely on good players to win — I know. But all of that (outside of Puig, maybe) has a high likelihood of coming to be. That doesn’t even factor in Yasmani Grandal‘s offense that could be one of the best of any catcher in baseball, Pederson’s hopeful resurgence and Seager’s low risk factor on offense.

Kershaw has to be great (and he will be). Kenley Jansen has to be great (and he will be). Beyond that, the rest of the pitching staff is filled with a lot of talent and question marks. There is definite risk with the starting rotation, but there are guys who have performed in the past, in other leagues, as well as guys who will come back and (hopefully) be effective. I’m actually not worried much about the bullpen. There is enough talent, velocity and veteraness to be successful.

The farm system is deep and ready to help basically whenever a need arises. Jose De Leon and Julio Urias will pitch for the Dodgers in 2016. The offense likely won’t need a big boost from prospects, but Austin Barnes and Trayce Thompson made the opening day roster, while Micah Johnson has some ability of his own. And the farm system might (will?) bring in a big-time player at some point this season. Not every prospect in the system is going to play with the Dodgers. Those players (assets) will be used to bring in present-day assets that could help the Dodgers make a deeper playoff run than in recent years.

A lot of folks are down about the offseason and a lot of folks in the media are down on the Dodgers in terms of making the playoffs and/or going deep in the playoffs. The team is constructed in such a way that changes can easily be made, if necessary. The depth is unmatched, and that will help provide a big boost throughout the season.

This is going to be a good season. The Dodgers will win the National League West. Here’s hoping they win more than that. Welcome to opening day.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t include this.

I’m sure it’s just as dusty in here as it is where ever you are.

ThrowsRelieverSat 10/15Sun 10/16Mon 10/17Tue 10/18Wed 10/19Thur 10/20Fri 10/21
LAvilan--OFF-2421OFF
RBaez34-OFF-2727OFF
RBlanton28-OFF13-19OFF
LDayton3-OFF16-12OFF
RFields--OFF-910OFF
RJansen-18OFF21--OFF
RStripling10-OFF-2018OFF
LWood--OFF-32-OFF

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.