Opening Night is here. The Padres host the Dodgers at 5 p.m. PT. A few items of potential interest:
- Andrew Cashner completed six innings in 21 of his 26 starts last year. The Padres won 13 of those 21 games. They lost all five in which he failed to go six.
- Andre Ethier and Adrián González have had the most success against Cashner, although both have done so in fewer than 15 plate appearances, so take that with large buckets of salt.
- Dodgers starter Hyun-jin Ryu had a reverse platoon split last year (633 OPS against righties, 738 against lefties), so sitting lefties might not be the best strategy.
- Exceptions are Seth Smith, who owns a 582 OPS in more than 400 career plate appearances against southpaws, and Alexi Amarista, who is not a big-league hitter.
- Despite his left-handedness, Will Venable has to start in center; an outfield of Tommy Medica, Chris Denorfia, and Xavier Nady is an inside-the-park-home-run waiting to happen.
- As I mentioned the other day, Yonder Alonso has looked great this spring. Now is his time. If he doesn’t bust out with a vintage Lyle Overbay performance (.270/.360/.450), his days as a starter are numbered. It’s only a gut feeling, but I like his chances.
- A few players could make their Padres debut tonight: Joaquin Benoit, Alex Torres, Smith.
- Right-hander Donn Roach, acquired in the trade that brought Amarista to San Diego, has made the club as a reliever after spending 2013 in the Double-A San Antonio rotation and could make his big-league debut. His 4.9 K/9 last year is pitiful, but everything he throws has sink, which could mitigate the risk inherent in guys who don’t miss bats. Or not, we’ll see.
Those are a few things to watch tonight, I’m sure there will be others. Enjoy the game!