Dodgers host final home opener of 2016

Fernandez, Syndergaard duel in New York; O's chase 7-0

April 12th, 2016

This season's final home opener is set for this afternoon as the Dodgers return to Los Angeles after beginning the year with a seven-game road trip.

The Dodgers open their home slate at Chavez Ravine with a matinee matchup against the division-rival D-backs. This National League West clash is just one of many intriguing contests on tap for a slate that also features a pitching duel between Jose Fernandez and Noah Syndergaard, as well as the Orioles' quest for 7-0.

Here's a few things to watch for throughout the day (all times in ET):

No place like home: [email protected], 4:10 p.m.

When the Dodgers return home to host the D-backs, they'll do so with rookie hurler Kenta Maeda on the mound, making his Dodger Stadium debut. Maeda impressed in his first big league start, tossing six shutout frames and even homering against the Padres in San Diego.

"Until you see it, you don't know what to expect, but I wasn't really too surprised [in San Diego]," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "He's a pitch maker; he can throw different pitches to different parts of the plate. Any time a pitcher can field his position, hold runners on, execute pitches, you've got a good chance to win a game."

For the D-backs, Patrick Corbin will take the ball in his second start of 2016. The left-hander was solid in his debut against the Rockies but gave up a trio of home runs and took the loss in the 4-3 defeat.

Stat that matters: The Dodgers were tied with the Cardinals for the best home record in baseball last season, going 55-26 at Chavez Ravine.

Fernandez, Thor duel in New York: [email protected], 7:10 p.m.

A premier pitching matchup between a pair of young stars will be on display in New York when Syndergaard and the Mets host Fernandez and the Marlins in Game 2 of a three-game series.

Syndergaard is coming off a stellar debut in which he tossed six scoreless innings vs. the Royals. The hard-throwing righty gave up just three hits while striking out nine and debuting a new addition to his pitching arsenal, a slider that sits in the low 90s.

Fernandez struck out batters at an even greater rate, totaling 13 in his debut against the Tigers, but still was tagged for five runs in a 7-3 loss, which brought an end to his Major League-record home win streak of 17 to start his career.

Thor, Fernandez make fastballs look faster

Stat that matters: Jose Fernandez is 5-9 with a 3.78 ERA in 21 career starts on the road compared with a 17-1 record and an ERA of 1.61 in Miami. Syndergaard, meanwhile, is 7-2 with a 2.46 ERA in 12 career starts at Citi Field.

O's look to stay perfect: [email protected], 7:10 p.m.

More than a week into the 2016 regular season, the Baltimore Orioles remain the last club standing without a loss. The Orioles are now 6-0 for the first time since the franchise moved to Baltimore in 1954. They'll try to make it 7-0 when they take the field at Fenway Park for Game 2 of a three-game set vs. the Red Sox today. Right-hander Clay Buchholz will start for Boston, while righty Mike Wright makes his season debut for the O's.

"We're obviously happy about the start, but I think for the most part, the mood's always pretty positive in the clubhouse," said first baseman Chris Davis, whose three-run homer in the ninth vaulted Baltimore to a 9-7 win in the series opener Monday. "It's a long season. In this division, you're always going to have ups and downs. You just got to kind of ride it out. I'm proud of the way guys are playing. It's obviously good to get off to a good start."

Stat that matters:Manny Machado has at least one hit in each of the O's six games this season. He's batting .458 (11-for-24) with three homers, one double, four RBIs, two walks and seven runs scored.

AL East rivals clash north of the border: [email protected], 7:07 p.m.

The defending American League East champion Blue Jays will host the runner-up Yankees for a three-game series beginning today. Toronto won last year's season series 13-6, finishing six games ahead of the Yankees in the standings.

New York will send its Opening Day starter, Masahiro Tanaka, to the mound in this matchup of division rivals. Tanaka has been a frequent thorn in the Jays' side, going 5-2 with a 2.23 ERA in seven career starts against them. Right-hander Aaron Sanchez is slated to start for the Jays, coming off a strong debut vs. Tampa Bay last Tuesday. The 23-year-old allowed one earned run in seven innings with eight strikeouts in the no-decision, which the Jays lost, 3-2.

Stat that matters: Tanaka has been at his best at Rogers Centre; he's 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in two career starts at the Blue Jays' home ballpark, including a complete-game win last August.

Rain, rain, go away: [email protected], 7:10 p.m.

Corey Kluber will toe the rubber when the Indians travel to Tampa Bay today for the opener of a three-game set against the Rays. The covered Tropicana Field will be a welcome reprieve for the Tribe, which had three of its first seven games postponed due to the weather.

Pitching in Cleveland's opener last Tuesday -- amid 34-degree temperatures, the coldest on record for a season-opener in franchise history -- Kluber allowed four runs on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings against the Red Sox. The Rays will counter with left-hander Matt Moore, who gave up three runs on five hits in five innings vs. the Blue Jays in his season debut last week.

Stat that matters: Tampa Bay first baseman Evan Longoria is hitting .357 (5-for-14) with a home run and three RBIs in his career vs. Kluber.