“Baseball–1st Pitch–60 Games”
Baseball starts hours from now.
It will look different, feel very different, but it will be a pennant race-pennant chase.
If you had told each team they’d be tied for first place on opening day, people would be excited.
Here’s a look at storylines with each club here in Southern California.
PADRES….They have the pitching, at least six starters deep, as many as 10-established relievers…and young phenom arms waiting in the wings if they need them. They are healthy, though their top 3-in the rotation have all had elbow surgeries. Chris Paddack, Garrett Richards, Zach Davies, Joey Luchessi, Dinelson Lamet and Cal Quantrill. I’d take that rotation any day of the weak. That and a load of setup guys before you ever give the ball to Kirby Yates. The big question, will Manny Machado-Eric Hosmer-Wil Myers-Tommy Pham produce big numbers to match the big contracts (97M) combined they are getting? A possible wildcard team but may have to be better than (30-30) to make this happen. If Fernando Tatis and Francisco Mejia hit, it makes everyone else in the lineup dangerous. They will get pitching. Do they get hitting is the issue? And what kind of gameday manager will Jayce Tingler be? And the schedule, pretty tough, 17-of-first 23-games against Dodgers-Diamondbacks. If your are going to the best, you better beat the best, and that starts right out of the gate. If they can win their share early against the NL-West big boys, they are in this thing. If not a likely long-short summer of disappointment…Hoping (35-25)
DODGERS…They shelled out a ton of money (385M) in that 12-year contract extension to take Mookie Betts off the free agent market, but a lifetime (.300) hitter, with power and MVP talents, he earned it. But Dodger Blue baseball is more than Betts. It’s Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner, Corey Seager, Max Muncey. It’s Kershaw-Beuhler-Urias-May-Jansen on a strong pitching staff. Not having David Price is a setback. It could be a (40-20) season though they do play some big boys in the West Coast schedule they have. But they have so much hitting, so much star talent, you can understand why people think they are headed back to the World Series again. The schedule makers love the Blue…They play 24-of-33 against the Giants-Mariners-Rockies and “the prove-yourself-to me” Padres in the first month..
ANGELS…So much hope now sidetracked again by injury, this time the oblique issue with 3B-Anthony Rendon, who won’t be ready opening day. The lineup would be scary with Rendon, Pujols, Trout, Simmons, Upton and maybe rookie Jo Adell. But the pitching is suspect with health issues lots of places. Andrew Heaney must make all his starts. Griff Canning has looked good coming off elbow issues end of last season. Will ex Oriole Dylan Bundy stop serving up home run balls? How long will it take Julio Teheran, coming off the Covid virus issue, to get ready to join the rotation? And is there enough in the bullpen? They do have Joe Maddon in the dugout, and that might make a difference, but you need healthy players, and he has too many question marks as opening day looms for the Halos. Maybe a (32-28), if they outscore everyone, but maybe not enough to be a wildcard team. Who they play…7-out of the gate with the Astros-A’s, and some 9-games against the threadbare Rangers-Mariners.
It’s time…let’s PLAY BALL…