Giants @ Dodgers March 29, 2018: Opening Day!

Photo: Stacie Wheeler

Believe it or not, it’s Opening Day. We’re just four months removed from the Dodgers not winning the last game of the season. It almost doesn’t seem possible.

Giants
Dodgers
4:08 p.m.
Los Angeles
CF
Jackson
CF
Taylor
2B
Panik
SS
Seager
RF
McCutchen
RF
Puig
C
Posey
2B
Hernandez
3B
Longoria
1B
Bellinger
LF
Pence
LF
Kemp
1B
Belt C Grandal
SS
Crawford
3B
Forsythe
P
Blach (L)
P
Kershaw (L)

This game looks a lot different than most expected, say, just a couple weeks ago. Madison Bumgarner isn’t starting for the Giants because he took a comebacker off the bat of Whit Merrifield off his throwing hand. Justin Turner isn’t playing for the Dodgers because he was hit by a Kendall Graveman pitch. Unfortunately, that’s baseball. Neither team is at full strength, but things seem a little more dire for the Giants.

They do have their two big offseason additions in Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen. Both are some of the best guys in baseball, but they’re past their prime and I’m not sure how much they’re going to be able to help Buster Posey and the Giants contend this season.

But not only is Bumgarner hurt, Jeff Samardzija is out for a few weeks with a pectoral injury and Mark Melancon doesn’t appear to be 100 percent. The lineup looks a bit more formidable, but there are tons of question marks on the pitching side.

The Dodgers, despite missing Turner, still have a good-looking team. And yes, Matt Kemp is hitting sixth today. He figures to do so (or maybe even third or fifth) against lefties — at least until Turner returns. And when the No. 8 hitter in the lineup had a 138 wRC+ against lefties last season, you know the lineup is long and strong.

Oh, and then there’s that Kershaw fella. He’s starting his eighth consecutive Opening Day for the Dodgers. How has he fared in those games? Predictably well.

Coming off a scoreless spring training, the Giants could be in for a long day.

——

So begins another season of Dodger baseball. They haven’t won the World Series in 30 years. They may not have had a better chance than they did last season, but they are still one of baseball’s best teams and many are expecting them to repeat as NL Champions — and some are expecting them to finish the job (myself included).

Baseball is back. Here hoping we’re celebrating seven months from now. Go Blue.

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., and has yet to be shot.