Tuesday, April 7, 2015
With Opening Day out of the way for both teams, a 6-3 win for Los Angeles thanks to a late three-run homer by Jimmy Rollins, the Padres and Dodgers settle in for Game No. 2 of 162, with another dandy pitching matchup set for Tuesday between Zack Greinke of the Dodgers and Tyson Ross of the Padres.
This will be the first time Greinke has faced Major League hitters since March 27, as he pitched against Minor League players at the end of Spring Training.
Ross allowed two earned runs over his last 15 innings of Spring Training and has looked ready to start the regular season for, really, the last two weeks.
Things to know about this game:
• Look for Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal, obtained from the Padres in the Matt Kemp deal in December, to make his first start on Tuesday. A.J. Ellis, as per usual, caught Clayton Kershaw on Opening Day. But expect Grandal to get the bulk of the starts there.
• Think Greinke likes pitching against the Padres? He's 4-0 with a 1.84 ERA in his career against San Diego, going 3-0 with a 1.66 ERA the last two seasons.
• Four of Ross' losses last season came against the Dodgers. So they had his number, right? Not so fast. He actually had a 2.67 ERA in those four starts (27 innings) but didn't get much in the way of run support. He's hoping that will change with the revamped offense.
•San Diego shortstop Alexi Amarista will start Tuesday, as Clint Barmes got the start against the lefty Kershaw on Monday. Amarista impressed the team with how he handled the position during a six-week stint there late last season.
The second of 18 meetings between the Angels and Mariners features a matchup of lefties, with C.J. Wilson facing off against James Paxton at Safeco Field at 7:10 p.m. PT on Tuesday night.
Wilson and Paxton were both slotted ahead of pitchers coming off better seasons, largely because both teams wanted to split up right-handed starters.
Wilson, who posted a 4.51 ERA and led the American League in walks last year, is ahead of Matt Shoemaker, who finished second in AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2014. Paxton, who missed nearly four months with a shoulder issue last year, is ahead of Hisashi Iwakuma, two years removed from finishing third in AL Cy Young Award voting.
• The first lefty-lefty matchup of the season means we'll get a glimpse of how both clubs will utilize platoon advantages. The Mariners will replace Dustin Ackley with Rickie Weeks in left field and Seth Smith for Justin Ruggiano in right field. The Angels will move David Freese to the cleanup spot, and they could sit Matt Joyce for right-handed-hitting outfielder Collin Cowgill.
• Four of Paxton's 17 career starts have come against the Angels. The 26-year-old lefty was 2-1 with a 2.59 ERA against them last year, including two wins in the first seven days of the season.
• Wilson missed a start in Spring Training, and two of his turns came in an intrasquad scrimmage and a Minor League game. But the 34-year-old lefty entered camp with a lot more bullpen sessions under his belt, and he feels the difference in "the repeatability of different pitches."
Right-hander Colby Lewis makes his 143rd career start for the Rangers, the eighth most in club history, against Athletics right-hander Jesse Hahn in Game 2 of the four-game series on Tuesday night.
Lewis made 29 starts for the Rangers last season after missing 18 months because of elbow and hip surgery. Hahn is making his first start for the Athletics after being acquired from the Padres in the offseason. He won a spot in the rotation in Spring Training after posting a 3.06 ERA in five starts.
Things to know about the game:
• Athletics hitters have a combined 80 career at-bats against Lewis, but Coco Crisp and Josh Reddick have 44 of them, and both are on the disabled list. Next on the list is Billy Butler, who is 3-for-9 off Lewis in his career.
• Hahn needs to show some endurance. Last season opponents hit .200 off him, with a .269 slugging percentage, through 75 pitches. After 75 pitches those numbers jumped to .274 and .510. He threw at least 100 pitches in just one of his 12 starts.
• The Athletics seek to regain home-field advantage against the Rangers this season after going 2-7 them at the Coliseum in 2014. That was the most losses by the Athletics against the Rangers on their home turf, and it cost them home-field advantage for the American League Wild Card Game.
The Giants and D-backs continue their season-opening three-game series at Chase Field on Tuesday, with San Francisco hoping to preserve its recent success against Arizona. The reigning World Series champions have won their last eight series at Chase Field. Out to stop the Giants is D-backs starter Rubby De La Rosa, who has made two career appearances (one start) against the Giants, both as a member of the Dodgers. De La Rosa has a 6.35 ERA in those games.
Things to know about this game
• The D-backs are in a stretch where they will play their first 13 games against National League West opponents, including seven matchups with the Giants.
• The Giants, though, have a more extreme schedule. All 23 of their games in April are against division foes, including the first 14 in a row without a day off.
• With right-hander Ryan Vogelsong starting for the Giants in place of Jake Peavy, look for Jake Lamb to start at third base and David Peralta to get the nod in left field. Against the left-handed Madison Bumgarner on Opening Night, Aaron Hill started at third and Ender Inciarte in left.
Vogelsong has struggled in the season's first month. Lifetime in March/April, he's 3-7 with a 6.12 ERA in 34 games (18 starts).
What's intriguing about this great sport is the adjustments players make. Generally, what a guy's stat sheet says is who he is. He isn't going to change much. But history has shown that with the right growth and development, or the right changes, a player can reach a new level. The starting pitchers for the Brewers and Rockies, who will play the season's second game at Miller Park on Tuesday night, share dreams of becoming new men through their offseason changes.
Things to know about this game
• Brewers starter Matt Garza is entering the second year of four-year, $50 million deal. Although he posted a 3.64 ERA in 2014 with a franchise-record (among starters) .233 opponents' batting average, he spent most of August on the disabled list with a rib cage injury. For durability, Garza worked with his younger brother, Michael, a pitching coach in Southern California, on mechanical fixes.
• Rockies righty Jordan Lyles threw his curveball 8.5 percent of the time and his changeup 7.7 percent last year. But after working in the offseason and through the spring, Lyles' change has become his best pitch and he's improved the fundamentals of the curve. Lyles didn't face the Brewers this spring, so he believes he's a different guy.
• In the last five seasons, the only Rockies player to homer off Garza is Carlos Gonzalez (twice). Reserve outfielder Drew Stubbs (.313, one homer) could find himself in the lineup. Brewers outfielder Gerardo Parra is hitting .538 in 13 at-bats against Lyles.
Now past the pomp and circumstance that enveloped Opening Night on Sunday, the Cubs and Cardinals will enjoy an off-day on Monday before resuming a three-game series at Wrigley Field on Tuesday. The Cubs will send Jake Arrieta, 2-0 with a 0.92 ERA in five career starts against St. Louis, to the mound to face Lance Lynn. Lynn, who was mildly slowed by a left hip flexor strain this spring, slots into the No. 2 spot in the rotation after signing a three-year extension with the Cardinals in the offseason.
Things to know about the game:
• At 0-for-11, Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter has more hitless at-bats against Arrieta than against any other pitcher in baseball. The drought is especially surprising given Carpenter's career .301 average against right-handed pitchers. In fact, Arrieta is the only right-hander Carpenter has faced at least seven times without recording a hit.
• Last season, Arrieta did not make his first Major League start until May 3, spending Spring Training rehabbing a tight right shoulder. This spring was different and he feels like he's further along than he was last year. His goal is to pitch 200 innings this season, something he has yet to accomplish in his career.
• Cubs manager Joe Maddon experimented with having the pitcher bat eighth this spring and slotted Jon Lester there on Sunday night. He will continue to do so as long as he can insert a leadoff-type hitter in the No. 9 hole. His options include Tommy La Stella, who hit ninth on Sunday, Chris Coghlan and Arismendy Alcantara. Asked if he might do the same, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said he doesn't see a reason to do so given the makeup of his lineup.
The Orioles' offense will be bolstered Tuesday by the return of first baseman Chris Davis, whose 25-game suspension from 2015 ended with Opening Day. Davis is expected to be in the lineup against the Rays at Tropicana Field, with Tampa Bay sending right-hander Nathan Karns to the mound. Karns will make his sixth Major League start and third since joining the Rays' organization prior to the start of the 2014 season. Baltimore is countering with lefty Wei-Yin Chen.
Three things to know about this game
1. Davis' arrival, which will likely mean that catcher Steve Clevenger will be optioned to Triple-A Norfolk to clear a roster spot, has been long anticipated for the O's. After a monster 2013, Davis is hoping to put a '14 filled with injury and suspension behind him.
2. At 27, Karns is the oldest member of the Rays' season-opening rotation. When Karns is at his best, he is capable of being overpowering, as he showed on Sept. 12 at Toronto when he held the Blue Jays to no runs on two hits and two walks while striking out eight to earn the win.
3. New Orioles shortstop Everth Cabrera is expected to get the start on Tuesday, after Ryan Flaherty filled in for injured J.J. Hardy in the opener. Cabrera gives the O's speed and had a solid second half of the spring.
Mat Latos will get a taste of his new environment when the Marlins send him to the mound to start Tuesday night's game against the Braves at Marlins Park.
Miami bolstered its rotation this winter with the acquisition of Latos, who notched consecutive 14-win seasons in Cincinnati before missing the first half of last season with a knee injury.
Atlanta will counter with Alex Wood, who has developed into one of baseball's top young starting pitchers since making his Major League debut less than a year after he was selected in the second round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.
Three things to know about this game:
1. Though the Marlins are set to start three right-handed pitchers in this series, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez will likely put right-handed-hitting third baseman Chris Johnson and left fielder Jonny Gomes in the starting lineup for at least one game. Latos actually proved slightly more effective against left-handed batters last year, limiting them to a .270 on-base percentage. Right-handers produced a .310 OBP against him.
2. Wood has produced a 2.84 ERA through the first 35 starts of his career. Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale are the only other left-handers who have produced a better ERA while totaling at least 35 starts since the start of the 2013 season.
3. Giancarlo Stanton is currently tied with Dan Uggla for the most home runs in Marlins franchise history. Stanton has recorded two hits, including a homer, in 16 career at-bats against Wood.