World Championship Los Angeles Dodgers baseball returns for another season. That feels really good to say. World Series Champion Clayton Kershaw — feels even better to say — takes on German Marquez in the unfriendly confines of Coors Field.
|1:10 p.m.||Denver, Colo.|
|RF Betts||LF Tapia|
|SS Seager||3B Fuentes|
|3B Turner||SS Story|
|CF Bellinger||RF Blackmon|
|1B Muncy||1B Cron|
|LF Taylor||C Diaz|
|2B Lux||2B Owings|
|C Barnes||CF Hampson|
|P Kershaw (L)||P Marquez (R)|
This will be Kershaw’s ninth Opening Day start for the Dodgers. It should be his 10th, but the pandemic and an injury prevented that in 2020. I looked at the previous eight last year. Surprisingly enough, this will be his first against the Rockies — either at Dodger Stadium or Coors Field. He owns an 11-5 career record with a 4.44 ERA in the hitter’s haven.
There has been just the slightest bit of concern about Kershaw in Spring Training. His velocity was down a bit and even he wasn’t satisfied with his performance. However, Alden Gonzalez of ESPN makes an interesting point.
I don’t think Kershaw is going to go out and be the 2014 version of himself, but it’s probably best not to fret about Spring Training numbers.
The only surprise — and it really shouldn’t be — is Austin Barnes drawing the Opening Day start over Will Smith. Barnes is essentially Kershaw’s personal catcher, so this will be the norm for the foreseeable future.
The Rockies’ lineup is missing Nolan Arenado, who is now a Cardinal. They still have Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon, but the rest of the lineup isn’t nearly as formidable as it has been in years past.
The Opening Day roster was unofficially set a few days ago. There wasn’t much suspense. Here’s how it shook out.
As expected, Brusdar Graterol and Joe Kelly begin the season on the injured list.
And for some extra content in this Game Thread, here are my season predictions.
Wild Cards: Blue Jays, White Sox
League Champion: Twins
MVP: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Cy Young: Gerrit Cole
ROY: Andrew Vaughn
Wild Cards: Padres, Nationals
League Champion: Dodgers
MVP: Juan Soto
Cy Young: Jacob deGrom
ROY: Dylan Carlson
World Series Champion: Dodgers
As if I’d choose anyone else. And if the Dodgers repeat, it’ll be the first time a team has done that since the 1999-2000 Yankees, who also won it in 1998 and lost in Game 7 in 2001. That was quite a run.