By Earl Heath, Contributing Sports Writer
Spring has sprung as we moved into daylight savings time this past weekend.
That means it is closer to opening day in MLB. Dodger Manager Dave Roberts announced Clayton Kershaw with be the opening day starter.
The team opens up on the road against the Rockies at Coors Field in three weeks.
It will be Kershaw’s record ninth opening day start. He previously started 8 straight from 2011-2018 then injuries put a pause on the opener.
In 2019 it was shoulder soreness that put a hold on things. During last year’s COVID shortened year he was having back problems in spring training. Kershaw turns 33 this month and loves being in Los Angeles.
“I don’t know what it looks like,” said the three-time Cy Young Award winner. But I love being here, I love the Dodgers. I love everything about this organization and I just feel really fortunate that I have gotten as many opportunities as I have had to win a World Series and now that we have finally won you just don’t take that for granted. I really have enjoyed my time here and will continue to do so.”
The Dodgers have a stacked pitching rotation including newly signed Trevor Bauer current National League Cy Young winner. Walker Buehler, Julio Ur’ias, Tony Gonsolin, Dustin “Hippie” May and 2012 AL Cy Young winner David Price.
The defense is solid as you can’t go wrong with Austin Barnes and Will Smith behind the plate.
Last season Smith batted a solid .289 with 25 RBI’s and scored 23 runs in the COVID shorten 60 game season.
Barnes works well with the staff and considered one of the best defensive catchers in the NL.
The 31 year-old also caught four of the six World Series games.
Barnes recently signed two-year 4.3million dollar contract including a $300,000 bonus.
Max Muncy appears to have the edge at first base he had 3 homers and 14 RBI’s in last year’s post season. He’ll is challenged by Matt Beaty who is also playing the outfield this spring.
Has a career 265 average with 299 at-bats with 77 hits and 51 RBI’s.
Gavin Lux and Chris Taylor will be at second base. However the 30year-old Taylor has had a good spring playing in seven games batting .294 with 7RBI’s. He plays multiple positions and plays them well. Last season he started 49 of the 60 games and 16 of 18 in the post season.
Lux has had injuries but this spring he may have found his groove is hitting .381 in 8 games.
Corey Seager is the lone man at short with no challengers. The World series MVP is off to a good start this spring batting .421 with 3 homers and 8 RBI’s. He’ the strength of the infield playing during a contract year
At third will be Justin Turner who let us all exhale by signing a two -year 34-million-dollar deal last month. He’s the true leader of the team. Last season he batted .307 with 4 homeruns and 9 doubles, 23 RBI in 42 games. Just his presents in the post-season help lift the Dodgers also with his 4 doubles and 8 hits including some clutch ones.
Mookie Betts leads a solid outfield. He’s joined by Cody Bellinger and AJ. Pollack.
Betts electrified the sports world with his play in the Fall-Classic. He made defensive gems in right field going back and leaping up against the wall. He set the tone with his base running like racing home to score on a grounder to first with the infield in.
The April 9th home opener will be the first time since becoming champions the team plays with fans in the stands.
Kershaw added, “It will be great to have fans in the stands again, it’s great for the players and I am sure it special for them also.”