It is finally here — Opening Day for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2022. There were many questions surrounding whether we’d even get to this point just a couple of months ago.
The Dodgers will open their season at Coors Field against their NL West rival Colorado Rockies. Walker Buehler will get his first-career Opening Day start. It is the first time in more than a decade that the Dodgers won’t hand the ball to Clayton Kershaw for another reason other than injury. The last time a healthy Kershaw didn’t begin the season for the Dodgers was in 2010, when the start was awarded to Vicente Padilla.
Kershaw was set to pitch on Opening Day last year, but was scratched late and right-hander Dustin May started the game instead.
As we know, Coors Field is never an easy place to play. Opening a season there can be challenging for a pitcher, especially since it’s a place where the ball flies and altitude is a major factor.
In three starts last year at Coors Field, Buehler posted a 4.86 ERA, which just adds to the resume that Coors Field may be the most hitter-friendly park in the MLB. Buehler is one of the early favorites to win the NL Cy Young, so he will look to start off with a win.
Today will also mark the permanent implantation of the DH spot for the Dodgers. We saw how in the shortened 2020 season it really helped the team on their championship run.
For much of the offseason, baseball fans and pundits have discussed how the Dodgers stack up to some of the all-time great lineups. The Dodgers will have three former MVPs in their Opening Day lineup, including Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts, and Cody Bellinger.
The lineup also includes last year’s NL batting champion Trea Turner, who had an average of .338 with the Dodgers after being acquired from the Washington Nationals at the trade deadline. We also can’t forget names such as Justin Turner, Max Muncy, and Chris Taylor, who have all been All-Stars.
As I mentioned earlier, the lefty Freeland will kick things off for the Rockies. In 2021, he went 1-2 and posted a 3.24 ERA against the Dodgers. Throughout 16 starts in his career against the Dodgers, Freeland is 3-7 with a 4.09 ERA, so he has struggled a bit. Of course, he’s had more starts against the Dodgers due to playing in the same division during his five-year big-league stint.
For the last decade, the memo going into a season for the Dodgers has always been World Series or bust. This year it is no different, especially when you look at the loaded roster. Expectations in L.A. are high once again.