Opening Day

At Baseball Prospectus this morning, my weekly fantasy article about relief pitchers went live, and I noted the beginning of the season thusly:

It’s Opening Day! Or, as I like to think of it, “the equivalent of Christmas plus your birthday multiplied by ten Super Bowls”–not to overstate it, of course. It really ought to be a national holiday, no?

That’s the toned-down version, because in reality, it’s more like “Christmas plus your birthday multiplied by ten Super Bowls but if the Super Bowl teams were comprised of puppies that paid out rare coins and had the answers to all of history’s greatest mysteries.” Not enough? Throw in some zombie strippers wielding chainsaws then, too. Whatever fantastic situation you can come up with, that’s how great Opening Day is to baseball fans. After a long winter that started with wondering who would fill 3/5 of the rotation but quickly turned into hand-wringing over the offense and left field in particular, we finally get to see the results on the field. It’s the day we’ve been waiting for for months.

Here’s the lineup you’re likely to see today:

1. Rafael Furcal SS
2. Tony Gwynn, Jr. LF
3. Andre Ethier RF
4. Matt Kemp CF
5. James Loney 1B
6. Juan Uribe 3B
7. Rod Barajas C
8. Jamey Carroll 2B
9. Clayton Kershaw P

In addition, the final roster has now been set, and as I’d hoped, A.J. Ellis did make the squad, sparing us the worry of having Hector Gimenez being the only backup catcher to Barajas. Non-roster players Aaron Miles, Mike MacDougal, and Lance Cormier all made the club, requiring two 40-man moves. John Lindsey was DFA’d, which we’d widely expected, but so was Jon Link, which came as something of a surprise. Lindsey’s almost certain to pass through waivers and report to Albuquerque, but I’m not as sure that Link makes it through – particularly because I’m not all that convinced that either Cormier or MacDougal are better than he is.

Finally, also at BP, I took part in pre-season predictions. While I did pick the Dodgers third in the NL West, I was also one of the few who took Kershaw as the NL Cy Young winner. We didn’t go into wins, but I believe I’ve said before that this is a club that’s built for 85 wins, and one you could just easily see winning 80 or less as you could 90 for more.

Is that a championship team? Probably not. But that is a team that looks to be in contention all year, and that alone makes for a fun season. Can’t wait – let’s get to it.

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