Dodger baseball is back. After a winter that saw a (stupid) lockout and the Dodgers replacing a homegrown left-handed hitter with a hometown left-handed hitter, we back. And the expectations for the Dodgers are sky high.
|1:10 p.m.||Denver, Colo.|
|RF Betts||RF Blackmon|
|1B Freeman||LF Bryant|
|SS Turner||2B Rogers|
|DH Turner||1B Cron|
|3B Muncy||3B McMahon|
|C Smith||DH Joe|
|LF Taylor||CF Grichuk|
|CF Bellinger||C Diaz|
|2B Lux||SS Iglesias|
|P Buehler (R)||P Freeland (L)|
Walker Buehler is making his first career Opening Day start. He takes up the mantle from Clayton Kershaw, who had started nine of the previous 11 Opening Days. His start last season in Colorado was, easily, the worst of his Hall of Fame career: 5 2/3 IP, 10 H, 6/5 R/ER, 1 BB, 2 K. Buehler has elevated himself to the top of the Dodgers’ rotation, and rightfully so. He’s coming off a career-best season in 2021 that saw him pitch to a 2.47 ERA, 3.16 FIP, 19.6 K-BB% and 207 2/3 innings pitched. He’s one of the favorites for the NL Cy Young award and it should be fun to watch him take the next step in his age-27 season.
The lineup, as expected, is stacked. I might swap Freddie Freeman and Trea Turner, but lineup construction, mostly, doesn’t matter. I’m a little surprised to see Gavin Lux get the start at second base over Hanser Alberto against the lefty Kyle Freeland, but he needs to show he can hit lefties at some point.
The Rockies made one of the biggest surprise signings of the offseason in Kris Bryant. Good for them for trying, but at the same time, it seems like a move a team on the cusp of a playoff berth would make. Then again, there’s an extra Wild Card spot this season, so maybe they, somehow, sneak into that. They also needed to replace Trevor Story, who signed with Boston. A late-spring trade of Ramiel Tapia landed them Randal Grichuk to be their center fielder and they locked up Ryan McMahon to a 6-year, $70 million deal last month.
The Opening Day roster was announced yesterday. There weren’t many, if any, surprises.
If you missed the news, Joe Buck leaving FOX Sports for ESPN means Joe Davis has been elevated to the lead MLB play-by-play person. He’ll call all the big games, including the World Series.
Could not be happier for him.
For the fives of you who care, here are my predictions or the 2022 season.
2022 MLB Season Predictions
East: Blue Jays
Central: White Sox
Wild Cards: Rays, Astros, Tigers
League Champion: Blue Jays
Wild Cards: Phillies, Padres, Giants
League Champion: Dodgers
World Series Champion: Dodgers
It’s hard to pick against the Dodgers, even if the starting rotation isn’t as strong as it has been in the past. They could (and probably will) make midseason trade for a starter (hi, Rich Hill, Yu Darvish, Max Scherzer) to improve that area of the team — if necessary. But there are a lot of other interesting teams in both leagues. It should be an interesting 2022 campaign.
Consider buying a shirt? It worked in 2020.