The Los Angeles Dodgers completed Cactus League play Wednesday with their seventh tie of the spring and they now only three exhibition games with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim stand in their way before they can at last take the field for the official start of the 2015 season.
Opening Day at Dodger Stadium has the San Diego Padres in town, who like the Dodgers, underwent an offseason makeover. The Padres of course acquired Matt Kemp, also traded for Wil Myers and Justin Upton, and signed James Shields.
Monday will be a battle of aces as Clayton Kershaw starts for the Dodgers and Shields starts opposite of him. While the pitching matchup provides plenty of intrigue, it pales in comparison to the thought and expectation of Kemp facing Kershaw.
Legendary broadcaster Vin Scully is among those who are eager to see the former teammates do battle and his anticipation has led to an interesting scenario manifesting in his mind, via J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News:
I have a picture in my mind of Opening Day,” he said. “Bases loaded. Kershaw in a little trouble and Matt Kemp the batter. How about that! That’s thinking like a fan, and there’s still a lot of that in me.”
Being that up until this season, both Kemp and Kershaw have spent their entire careers with the Dodgers organization, it’s impossible to see how they’ve fared against one another. However, there are other peripherals available.
Kershaw is 3-0 with 26 strikeouts and one run allowed over 25.2 innings through his first four career Opening Day starts. Right-handed batters are a career .214/.278/.309 against Kershaw; last season he held them to a lowly .197/.233/.298, eight home runs and 34 RBIs.
Kershaw is 52-25 lifetime at Dodger Stadium with a 2.13 ERA. Meanwhile, Kemp has fared well against lefties, hitting .331/.394/.556 with 52 home runs and 192 RBIs over his career. Kemp’s career slash line at Dodger Stadium is .286/.341/.500 and last season he hit .274/.318/.533 with 17 home runs and 48 RBIs at the pitcher-friendly stadium.
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