Dodgers-Padres Opening Day notebook
By Jon Weisman
With less than an hour to go before first pitch, here are some last-minute Opening Day notes …
- Not that this move needed defending, but Dave Roberts explained his choice to bat Corey Seager second, saying that Seager a) was a good matchup with Padres starter Tyson Ross, b) would give good at-bats and c) had the experience of batting high in the order during last year’s National League Division Series. Roberts also noted that Seager was not up there to bunt.
- As for Chase Utley batting leadoff, Roberts said that he trusted the veteran’s at-bats and believes he can get on base.
- Howie Kendrick is soon moving back to live batting practice and continues to aim for a return to active duty at next week’s home opener.
- The Dodgers are facing five straight right-handed starting pitchers to open the season, but Roberts said right-handed batters Kiké Hernandez, Scott Van Slyke and Trayce Thompson would see action before they presumably start against Madison Bumgarner in San Francisco on Saturday.
- One quirk I liked about this year’s lineup: It’s the first in Los Angeles Dodger history where all four infielders batted before all three outfielders (with the catcher and pitcher finishing things off).
- Do you think of Petco Park as a tough place to play for the Dodgers? Los Angeles has won the majority of games there for five consecutive seasons, going 30-17 (.638) since 2011.
- Here’s a profile of Ross from Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
This next batch of notes is courtesy of the Dodgers’ public relations department …
- The Dodgers are 31-27 on Opening Day since moving to Los Angeles in 1958.
- With five consecutive Opening Day wins, the Dodgers and Orioles have the second-longest active streak in MLB, behind Seattle (nine).
- The Dodgers have an active six-game win streak against the Padres. The last time the Dodgers beat the Padres seven times in a row was when they won 16 in a row over the Padres from September 9, 1973-September 20, 1974.
- Clayton Kershaw’s career Opening Day ERA of 1.14 is the second-lowest in the big leagues for pitchers with at least five season-opening starts since 1920, behind Rick Mahler (0.92).
- Austin Barnes, Louis Coleman (who turns 30 today), Ross Stripling, Kenta Maeda, Seager, Thompson and Hernandez will take part in their very first Opening Day.
- Roberts and Padres manager Andy Green form the first Opening Day meeting of two rookie managers since Fredi Gonzalez (Florida) and Manny Acta (Washington) in 2007.
- Pitching matchups for the next two nights: Scott Kazmir vs. James Shields on Tuesday, Kenta Maeda vs. Andrew Cashner on Wednesday.