Update: Yasiel Puig arrived late and was scratched from the starting lineup. Matt Kemp will bat second and play center field, Andre Ethier moves over to right.
After beginning the season in Australia two weeks ago and then restarting the season in San Diego this past Sunday, the Los Angeles Dodgers will embark on their third and final Opening Day of the season in their home opener against the San Francisco Giants. The team is coming off a 5-1 win from Wednesday against the Padres in which Dan Haren pitched six solid innings and the middle of the Dodgers batting order was able to snap out of their small funk. The Dodgers are currently 4-1 and hope to extend their win streak to three after this afternoon’s game.
The most pressing story of today’s game will be the long awaited and expected return of Dodger center fielder Matt Kemp. Kemp has been dealing with a boatload of injuries since 2012, and the organization is hoping that this return will be a permanent one granted that his shoulder and ankle injuries are 100 percent healed. According to Kemp, he is feeling good and is more than ready get back into a Dodgers uniform. While Kemp was activated from the disabled list on Friday, he is not in the starting lineup. The center fielder may appear in the game at some point and a start on Saturday against left-hander Madison Bumgarner is likely.
The Dodgers have only played five games so far this season, and Hyun-Jin Ryu will have the rare opportunity to make his third start of the year today. Not only did Clayton Kershaw’s back injury force the Korean starter to assume more starts, but the unorthodox scheduling of the Dodgers first few regular season games also allows for Ryu to make his third start. The 27-year-old left-hander has been outstanding in his first two starts despite not getting the win in his most recent start against the Padres. Over these two starts, Ryu has pitched for 12 scoreless innings throwing 12 strikeouts and giving up only five hits. Last year, the Giants collectively batted .289 against Ryu.
On the mound for their NL West rival is right-hander Ryan Vogelsong. The 36-year-old is the fifth man in the Giants rotation, and he will be making his first start of the season today. Vogelsong only started in 19 games in 2013 after fracturing his wrist last May, and in these few starts, he went 4-6 and posted a 5.73 ERA. There is much uncertainty revolving around the Giants starter after having an impressive 2012 which some believed to be a kind of fluke. Brandon Belt has also homered in his each of the Giants first two games so far this season, and he could make that three games in a row after today’s game.
The game begins at 1:10 PM PT and will be broadcasted on Sports Net LA. For fans who are not Time Warner Cable subscribers, the game will be broadcast on 570 AM Fox Sports radio. The future of DirecTV and Sports Net LA is highly uncertain after rumors speculating that both parties have ceased negotiations, but the Dodgers network is still reportedly working with most other major cable providers.
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