LA Dodgers (0-0) at San Diego (0-0)
When: Monday, April 4th 2016
Where: Petco Park, San Diego, CA
Time: 7:05 ET | TV: ESPN
The Los Angeles Dodgers open the 2016 season against the San Diego Padres in hopes of getting back into the playoffs and going in further this time. The Dodgers will start the season with some key injuries, but have plenty of depth and pitching to survive. Manager Dave Roberts will be without catcher Yasmani Grandal, second baseman Howie Kendrick and left fielder Andre Ethier. Grandal and Kendrick should be back by the team’s home opener on April 12th, while Ethier will miss the first half of the season. Carl Crawford and Scott Van Slyke are expected to fill in for Ethier and platoon in left field for the Dodgers. The Padres have missed the playoffs for nine straight seasons and face another rebuilding year under rookie manager Andy Green. The offense will need production out of Matt Kemp and first baseman Wil Myers to help a strong starting pitching staff. Opening day marks the Padres debut of shortstop Alexei Ramirez, who was signed as a free agent after hitting .249 with 10 home runs and 62 RBIs with the Chicago White Sox last season.
Probable Pitchers: Dodgers – Clayton Kershaw (2015: 16-7, 2.13 ERA) | Padres – Tyson Ross (2015: 10-12, 3.26 ERA)
Clayton Kershaw will make his sixth consecutive opening day start for the Dodgers after recording a career-high-tying 33 starts last season while reaching 300 strikeouts for the first time in his career. Kershaw posted a 1.96 ERA in six spring training starts and owns a 12-6 record and 2.25 ERA in 27 career starts against the Padres. Myers is 0-for-8 with five strikeouts against Kershaw, who gave up three runs and in six innings while striking out nine Padres in a 6-3 victory on opening day last season.
The Padres will counter with Tyson Ross, who was named the opening day starter on the first day of spring training. Ross had career-bests in innings (196) and strikeouts (212) last season and pitches in a very friendly pitchers-park. Carl Crawford is 9-for-18 against Ross, who is 0-6 in 10 career games (eight starts) against the Dodgers despite posting a 2.67 ERA over that stretch.
I don’t like laying -175 on any team on the road, so I would put a small play on the Padres. My ultimate pick will be on the over. 5.5 is very low despite the pitching matchup. The total has gone over four of the last five times one of these pitchers has started against the other team.
Pick: Over 5.5 -115