Everything you need to know about SD-ARI opener

April 7th, 2022

PHOENIX -- The Padres and D-backs will meet for the third straight Opening Day, though, unlike the previous two seasons, this one will be at Chase Field on Thursday night.

Once again it will be a matchup of each team's ace with Madison Bumgarner going for the D-backs against Yu Darvish and both pitchers would like a mulligan based on how last year's opener went.

Darvish allowed four runs on eight hits over just 4 2/3 innings, while Bumgarner gave up six runs over four innings in what was a back-and-forth game that saw the Padres prevail, 8-7, as they took three of four in the opening series.

Both teams are coming off disappointing seasons after the Padres faded down the stretch last year to finish with a 79-83 record that cost manager Jayce Tingler his job.

Bob Melvin took over for Tingler and he's certainly familiar to D-backs fans, having managed the D-backs for four-plus seasons, including in 2007 when he led them to the NL Championship Series.

The D-backs were far away from the postseason last year, finishing in last place with a 52-110 record.

When is the game and how can I watch it?
First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. MST and will be available on MLB.TV. The game will be televised on both Bally Sports San Diego (for Padres fans) and Bally Sports Arizona (for D-backs fans) and radio broadcasts will be provided by 97.3 FM The Fan in San Diego and 98.7 FM Arizona sports.

The starting lineups
D-backs: Christian Walker figures to get most of the starts at first base, but Pavin Smith will see time there as well as right field. Daulton Varsho will get most of his at-bats in the outfield with Carson Kelly behind the plate and Jose Herrera backing him up. Jake McCarthy will need some at-bats in the outfield while Cooper Hummel, a switch-hitter, is their only right-handed-hitting outfielder with Jordan Luplow on the injured list.

Starting lineup
1. Daulton Varsho, CF
2. Ketel Marte, 2B
3. David Peralta, LF
4. Christian Walker, 1B
5. Pavin Smith, RF
6. Carson Kelly, C
7. Seth Beer, DH
8. Drew Ellis, 3B
9. Geraldo Perdomo, SS

Padres: Manager Bob Melvin has mentioned the possibility that the Padres would rest Eric Hosmer against left-handers. But considering Hosmer's recent success against Bumgarner (and especially his success against Bumgarner on recent Opening Days), he made it into the lineup. There was a decision to be made in left field, where Matt Beaty and Jurickson Profar are vying for playing time. The lefty-hitting Beaty might ultimately get more starts there, but against Bumgarner, Profar got the nod.

Starting lineup
1. Austin Nola, C
2. Manny Machado, 3B
3. Jake Cronenworth, 2B
4. Luke Voit, DH
5. Wil Myers, RF
6. Eric Hosmer, 1B
7. Jurickson Profar, LF
8. Ha-Seong Kim, SS
9. Trent Grisham, CF

Who are the starting pitchers?
Padres: For the second year in a row, it's Darvish against the D-backs in the opener. For Darvish, it's his third career Opening Day start, and he becomes the first Padre to pitch consecutive openers since Edinson Vólquez in 2012-13. Darvish was brilliant during the first half of last season before dealing with hip trouble in the second half that saw his ERA balloon from 2.44 at the end of June to 4.22. Both the Padres and Darvish are convinced those injury woes are a thing of the past.

D-backs: Madison Bumgarner will make his third straight Opening Day start for the D-backs and his eighth overall. Bumgarner pitched well against the Padres a couple of years ago in the opener, but took the loss. Last year, though, he struggled, allowing six runs on seven hits over four innings.

How might the bullpens line up after the starters?
Padres: The Padres haven’t formally named a closer, but Robert Suarez has impressed this spring and seems like the favorite for the job. Suarez has never pitched in the big leagues, but his 2021 numbers were downright absurd in Japan. Bridging the gap between Darvish and Suarez are a handful of holdovers from the '21 Padres bullpen. Emilio Pagán, Craig Stammen and Pierce Johnson will serve as the main setup men, with Tim Hill as the bullpen’s primary left-hander.

D-backs: The bullpen was a disaster for the D-backs last year as they tied with the Nationals for the second-worst bullpen ERA in the league with a 5.08 mark. GM Mike Hazen made improving the 'pen his top priority of the offseason. With that in mind, the D-backs signed closer Mark Melancon, who spent last year in San Diego, and veteran setup man Ian Kennedy to try and stabilize the back end of the bullpen.

Manager Torey Lovullo figures to be more flexible in how he deploys his relievers this year, looking to exploit matchups where he can. Right-hander Noé Ramirez and J.B. Wendelken figure to be key setup men along with lefties Oliver Pérez and Joe Mantiply.

Any injuries of note?
Padres: The Padres got just about the worst injury news imaginable on the first day of camp this spring when it was revealed that Fernando Tatis Jr. had sustained a fracture in his left wrist. The star shortstop is expected to miss three months, but since that news, the Padres have remained relatively healthy otherwise.

D-backs: The D-backs were hit with some injuries the last 10 days of camp as shortstop Nick Ahmed (right shoulder inflammation), outfielder Jordan Luplow (oblique) and third baseman Josh Rojas (oblique) will open the season on the injured list.

Anything else fans might want to know?
• Manny Machado will become the first player to start at the hot corner on four consecutive Opening Days for the Padres since Ken Caminiti did so from 1995-98.

• The Padres have won three consecutive openers, but haven’t won a road opener since they beat the Cardinals, 5-3, in St. Louis in an 11-inning thriller in 2011.

• The D-backs and Padres have met four times previously on Opening Day, with each team winning twice.

• Bumgarner had the 10th-lowest fastball velocity (four-seamers, two-seamers and cutters) in 2021, per Statcast, averaging 88.2 mph.