Dodgers @ A’s Feb. 28, 2021: World Champion Dodger baseball is back

Mookie Betts (Photo: Cody Bashore)

Hey, baseball is back. It seems like just yesterday that the Dodgers closed out the Rays in Game 6 of the 2020 World Series to win the championship. Man, that was a good night.

DodgersAthletics
12:05 p.m.Mesa, Ariz.
RF BettsCF Laurenao
SS SeagerSS Andrus
C Barnes3B Pinder
LF PollockLF Canha
1B BeatyDH Moreland
3B RiosC Allen
DH DavidsonRF Reed
2B McKinstry1B Brown
CF Peters2B Kemp
P Kickham (L)P Jeffries (R)

The Dodgers begin their spring campaign in Mesa, Ariz., to take on the reigning AL West champion Oakland Athletics, who are going to look a bit different this season. The Dodgers, not so much.

The top two in the Dodgers’ lineup figure to be the top two for the majority of the season. Unless there are massive struggles, there’s no reason Mookie Betts and Corey Seager shouldn’t be hitting 1-2 in this lineup. AJ Pollock is the only other true regular who will see the field today. Austin Barnes figures to get plenty of work this season, but I wouldn’t call him a “regular.”

Bench options Matt Beaty, Zach McKinstry and Edwin Rios should get a chance to show what they can do this spring. DJ Peters is on the 40-man roster and Matt Davidson is a non-roster invitee. Speaking of NRIs, Mike Kickham will start the game, followed by Edwin Uceta, Dennis Santana, Garrett Cleavinger and Michael Grove.

On the Athletics’ side, you may not have heard, but they did trade for Elvis Andrus (and sent Khris Davis to Texas). They opted not to truly try to re-sign Marcus Semien, so Andrus was their backup plan at shortstop. Ramon Laureano and Mark Canha are firmly entrenched as everyday starters, while Mitch Moreland and Chad Pinder (a guy I really like) figure to get plenty of plate appearances for Oakland in 2021.

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Here are some notes from the media-type folks ahead of the first Spring Training game.

Give Juan a follow, if you haven’t already. He’s taking over for the recently retired Ken Gurnick over at Dodgers.com. The options he lists as guys to watch are pretty good, including Corey Knebel, Gavin Lux and Sheldon Neuse.

Once Will Smith really gains the trust of the pitching staff, the sky’s the limit for him.

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This is the first time since 1989 the Dodgers are beginning the season defending the World Series championship. It’s a different feel, but it feels good.

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.