Los Angeles Dodgers (1-0) at San Diego Padres (0-1)
7:05 PM PST, April 5, 2012
Petco Park, San Diego, California
TV: KCAL
Radio: 570 AM (English), 1020 AM (Spanish)

Padres Projected Starters:
P:
Cory Luebke
C: 
Nick Hundley
1B: Yonder Alonso
2B: Orlando Hudson
SS: Jason Bartlett
3B: Chase Headley
LF: Jesus Guzman
CF: Cameron Maybin
RF: Will Venable

Dodgers Projected Starters:
P: Chad Billingsley
C: 
A.J. Ellis
1B: James Loney
2B: Mark Ellis
SS: Dee Gordon
3B: Juan Uribe
LF: Juan Rivera
CF: Matt Kemp
RF: Andre Ethier

Key Bench Players: IF Jerry Hairston Jr., OF Tony Gwynn Jr.

Dodgers Last 10: 1-0: W @ SD.
Padres Last 10:
0-1: L vs LA

Fun Facts:

  • Luebke made two starts against the Dodgers last season, compiling 13.1 innings while allowing 15 hits and 8 earned runs. In both outings, Luebke was paired up against Clayton Kershaw, who helped the Dodgers cruise to two victories.
  • Billingsley also made two starts against the Padres last season, including an outing on July 8 that was one of his best performances of the season. In that game, Billingsley threw eight shutout innings, allowing just four hits. The Dodgers won 1-0, as Rafael Furcal notched the game-winning RBI in the bottom of the eighth inning.
  • Andre Ethier and James Loney were a combined 1-for-11 (.090) in the two starts Luebke made against the Dodgers last season.

Keys to a Dodger Victory:

– Build confidence
With a rocky recent history, the first few starts for Billingsley this year will be extremely telling. If he can build his confidence early in the year, the Dodgers could be in excellent shape.

 Lefty curse?
Two of the bigger Dodger bats – Ethier and Loney, both have struggled historically against LHP. Ethier hit 101 points worse against lefties last year (.220 v .321), while Loney hit 99 points worse against lefties (.213 v .312), and this will be their first real test of the season. I think Mattingly will give both a chance early on to prove they can improve upon those splits, but if they aren’t able to, we could begin moving towards a platoon situation.

 Bullpen depth
Plagued by the flu, Kershaw only gave the Dodgers three innings on Thursday night, forcing them to use five different arms out of the bullpen. We’ll see if Billingsley can give the Dodgers a start of more than six innings to ensure the bullpen isn’t playing catchup all season.

Prediction: Dodgers 4, Padres 3

About The Author

Jeff Spiegel has been a staff contributor for DodgersNation.com since 2012. Jeff grew up in Oak Park, California before attending the University of Oregon. Follow Jeff on Twitter at @jeffspiegel.

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