Opening Day FAQ: D-backs vs. Dodgers
LOS ANGELES -- The series between the Dodgers and D-backs has been one-sided over the last three seasons, with Los Angeles winning 38 of the last 48 games.
During that stretch, the Dodgers won a World Series and made a National League Championship Series appearance. Arizona, on the other hand, has been working on an extensive rebuild, stocking up on promising, young talent.
Coming into the 2023 season with a young core that shows a lot of promise, the D-backs are hopeful they can start competing against some of the top teams in the NL West. There’s no bigger challenge in the division than the Dodgers, who have won nine of the last 10 division crowns.
The Dodgers have a different look this season. A lot of the core players from the 2020 World Series team are now playing elsewhere. Still, the Dodgers are one of the best teams in the Majors, and they’ll look to show that starting on Thursday against the upstart D-backs.
Let’s take a look at how the teams match up on Opening Day.
When is the game and how can I watch it?
First pitch is Thursday at 7:10 p.m. PT/10:10 p.m. ET. The game will air on Bally Sports Arizona, SportsNet LA, 98.7 FM Arizona Sports and Dodgers Radio AM570
What are the lineups?
- Kyle Lewis, DH
- Ketel Marte, 2B
- Lourdes Gurriel Jr., LF
- Christian Walker, 1B
- Evan Longoria, 3B
- Nick Ahmed, SS
- Corbin Carroll, CF
- Gabriel Moreno, C
- Jake McCarthy, RF
- Mookie Betts, RF
- Freddie Freeman, 1B
- Will Smith, C
- Max Muncy, 3B
- J.D. Martinez, DH
- David Peralta, LF
- James Outman, CF
- Miguel Vargas, 2B
- Miguel Rojas, SS
Who are the starting pitchers?
D-backs: Zac Gallen, RHP
Gallen is looking to build off an impressive 2022 season in which he posted career highs in wins (12), ERA (2.54) and innings pitched (184). The right-hander is 1-2 with a 2.30 ERA in nine career starts against the Dodgers. This will be his first Opening Day start.
Dodgers: Julio Urías, LHP
Like Gallen, Urías is looking to carry the momentum he’s built over the last two seasons into another big year for the Dodgers. After being the league’s only 20-game winner in 2021, Urías led the National League with a 2.16 ERA in '22 and finished third in the NL Cy Young Award voting. Urías, who is in the last year of his current deal, has developed into the Dodgers' ace and will also be making his first Opening Day start.
How might the bullpens line up after the starter?
Manager Torey Lovullo has yet to say who will be his closer, or if the team will even have a designated closer. Instead, Lovullo may let matchups dictate who gets the ball at the end of the game. Scott McGough and Miguel Castro figure to pitch late in games, as could Kevin Ginkel. If a lefty is needed, Andrew Chafin is also an option.
For the first time in over a decade the Dodgers will be going into a season without an official closer. After having Kenley Jansen for a decade and Craig Kimbrel last season, the Dodgers believe going without a closer is the best thing for a bullpen that is expected to be a strength again in '23. Evan Phillips won’t always get the ninth inning, but you can expect him to get the ball if or when the Dodgers face a high-leverage situation. Alex Vesia and Caleb Ferguson give the Dodgers two strong left-handed options.
Any injuries of note?
Arizona is without the services of catcher Carson Kelly, who suffered a fractured right forearm last week. Bullpen arms Mark Melancon and Corbin Martin will also open the season on the injured list.
Gavin Lux who was projected to be the team’s starting shortstop, tore his ACL and LCL during Spring Training and is expected to miss the entire season. Tony Gonsolin suffered a left ankle sprain as he fell running off the field during a workout in the backfields. He’ll be sidelined until late April.
Who’s hot and who’s not?
Outfielder Corbin Carroll has had an outstanding spring as has catcher Gabriel Moreno and it was precisely because of how well he swung the bat this spring that designated hitter Kyle Lewis beat out Pavin Smith for the final spot on the roster. Second baseman Ketel Marte looked outstanding early on in camp before leaving for the World Baseball Classic, but hasn’t swung the bat as well since coming back.
Freddie Freeman, Max Muncy and James Outman all had terrific springs and look ready for the regular season. J.D. Martinez, Chris Taylor and Mookie Betts didn’t have much success in Cactus League play, but the Dodgers are confident they’ll turn things around when it starts to matter.
Anything else fans might want to know?
The D-backs have more depth than in recent years, so look for Lovullo to adjust his lineup based on matchups. Alek Thomas will likely get most of the starts in center with Carroll in left and the same goes for Josh Rojas at third base, but with a lefty starting for the Dodgers, both might be on the bench for Opening Day.
The Dodgers look different than they have in previous seasons, as they are relying on more youth this season. But Los Angeles is still the favorite to win an 10th NL West crown in 11 seasons.