Dodgers @ Padres March 20, 2024: 26-man roster set for season opener in Seoul, as Ohtani & Glasnow make Dodger debuts

(Photo: Stacie Wheeler)

The offseason seemed to last forever, as it started with anticipation of where Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, among others, would choose to play baseball for the foreseeable future. After they both signed with the Dodgers, the offseason seemed to drag, as most Dodger fans couldn’t wait for the season to start. Well, it finally begins this morning, with the Dodgers and Padres opening up the regular season with a two game set in South Korea. The Dodgers will get the first cuts to open the season as the road team today, meaning their trio of former MVP’s will usher in the new season and a hopefully successful new era of Dodger baseball.

The Dodgers and Padres each faced Korean squads over the last few days and won all their games. The Dodgers crushed the Kiwoom Heroes 14-3 on Saturday night and beat the Korean National team 5-2 Monday morning. The Padres squeaked out a 1-0 win against the National team on Saturday and held off the LG Twins for a 5-4 victory on Sunday Night. In 2023, the Dodgers took nine of 13 games against the Padres and outscored them by 22 runs, but both teams look a lot different in 2024. The Padres moved Juan Soto and lost reigning Cy Young winner Blake Snell, who signed with the Giants yesterday. A.J. Preller pulled off his big move a few days ago as they acquired Dylan Cease, who is in Korea but won’t make his debut until they return to the states.

Tyler Glasnow will make his debut for the Dodgers in the opener. In any other offseason, Glasnow would be a mighty fine headliner for a team. However, Glasnow seemed like more of an unsung aqcuisition as he was traded just five days after the Ohtani signing. The Dodgers acquired Glasnow and Manuel Margot (who was later traded to Minnesota for Noah Miller) for Ryan Pepiot and Jonny DeLuca, and Glasnow agreed to an extension that will keep him in LA through at least 2027 (with a club option for 2028). Glasnow is regarded as one of the most talented arms in baseball, but his extensive injury history has kept him from reaching that full potential. Last season, Glasnow threw 120 innings over 21 starts, both of which were career highs. He topped out at 88 innings over the four seasons before that (although his 11 starts in 2020 wasn’t an outlier in the shortened season). Glasnow suffered from forearm tightness in 2019, which developed into a need for Tommy John surgery in 2021 that mostly wiped out his 2022 season. Last season, an oblique strain kept him out for nearly two months (a true Dodger). Glasnow stated in the offseason that the arm injuries stemmed from the 2019 UCL tear that was not repaired with Tommy John, and now that it is repaired he believes the injury issues are behind him.

When Glasnow has been on the mound, he’s been mostly excellent. He has a 3.89 ERA in 529 2/3 career innings, but some of those struggles (and innings) came early in his career. From 2016-2018, Glasnow pitched in 67 games (28 starts) and 197 innings for the Pirates and Rays. He posted a 5.35 ERA and 4.76 FIP in that time, with a 24.6 percent strikeout rate and 12.1 percent walk rate. In 60 starts and 332 2/3 innings since 2019, Glasnow has a 3.03 ERA/2.89 FIP and a 35 percent strikeout rate with a 7.7 percent walk rate. A good chunk of that came with an elbow that needed repairing, so it’s a bit scary to think of how good he could be if fully healthy.

Glasnow is typically a three-pitch pitcher, as Baseball Savant has him throwing a four-seamer, slider and curveball nearly all the time for the last three seasons. Last season Glasnow threw a four seamer 43.6 percent of the time, which is likely his lowest usage rate with the fastball of his whole career. In 2017, Savant claims Glasnow only threw it 33.8 percent but had another 33.1 percent tracked as a sinker, and it’s the only year Glasnow has allegedly thrown a sinker. Probably a tracking quirk. Glasnow averaged 96.4 MPH on the fastball last season, which was the 13th-highest average velocity on the pitch among pitchers with over 1500 pitches thrown. He threw a slider 34.8 percent of the time and pretty evenly to both sides of the plate, but his best pitch has been his 12-6 curve. Glasnow threw 403 curves last year and allowed a .095 batting average and .109 slugging percentage off it, with expected numbers of .107 and .198, respectively. The curve came with a 52.2 percent whiff rate, which seems good. Glasnow looked excellent in the Spring, as he allowed a run and four hits in 10 innings with a 14-3 strikeout-walk rate.


Yu Darvish gets the opening day nod for the Padres. He’s coming off his worst season as a Padre, with a 4.56 ERA/4.03 FIP in 136 1/3 innings before elbow inflammation ended his season in August. Despite his overall struggles, Darvish turned in two very good starts against the Dodgers. In his first look at the Dodgers, he allowed two runs (one earned) over 6 2/3 innings in a 5-2 Padre win. In August, he held the Dodgers to two runs over seven innings but took a no-decision as the Dodgers put up eight runs in two innings against Padre relievers. Darvish’s career 2.38 ERA in 12 starts against the Dodgers is his third lowest against any opponent, only behind the Cubs (four starts) and Phillies (eight starts). Darvish is coming off a promising Spring, where he allowed three runs and nine hits in 9 1/3 innings over three outings.

Baseball Savant had Darvish throwing nine different pitch types in 2023 (althrough the changeup was only tracked twice last season). He didn’t throw any pitch more than 20 percent of the time, as his sinker (18.6 percent) was his most-used pitch. He also threw a sweeper (18.5 percent), slider (17.5 percent) and four-seamer (16.6 percent) above 10 percent, and was tracked using a cutter, splitter, knuckle curve and curve more than five percent of the time. That seems fun to face.

This will be the first matchup between Ohtani and Darvish, who only faced the Angels once since Ohtani entered the league in 2018.


The first 26-man roster of the season was announced earlier, with a few surprises.

Bobby Miller threw the exhibition game against the Korean National team and obviously won’t pitch in the two-game set, so he’s not on the roster. Gavin Stone, who reportedly won the fifth starter spot, is listed as an extra along with Hunter Feduccia and Miguel Vargas. Kyle Hurt and Landon Knack both made the roster, and if Knack appears in one of these two games, it will be his Major League debut.

The IL opened today, and the Dodgers officially placed four more pitchers on it.

Clayton Kershaw, Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin were already on the 60-day IL, and Walker Buehler was officially placed on the 15-day IL, as expected. It’s not a surprise that Brusdar Graterol and Emmet Sheehan were placed on the IL either, as neither of them made the trip to Korea, but their designations are a bit scary. Graterol was officially placed on the IL with shoulder inflammation after the initial report was he was suffering from hip tightness. The team reportedly believes it’s due to overcompensating for the hip pain. Sheehan’s designation is right forearm inflammation, which is the last thing you want to hear with a young pitcher. It’s apparently not a new injury and he’s facing hitters, but still something to keep an eye on.

The surprise is that Blake Treinen, who is in Korea with the team, was placed on the IL with a bruised lung. Treinen escaped major injury after taking a comebacker to the chest 10 days ago, but the bruised lung is bad enough to keep him out of the pen for the next two days.


First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 AM PT (kill me) and will be shown on SportsNet LA and ESPN (out of market).

About Alex Campos

I've been writing about the Dodgers since I graduated from Long Beach State, where I covered the Dirtbags in my senior year. I'm either very good or very bad at puns.