We’ve made it to Opening Day! The Padres roster looks pretty drastically different from a year ago, and it’s not exactly what you’d typically expect of a Major League club, but it’ll be an interesting season to say the least.
And it all kicks off today with the 2017 PADRES ACE, Jhoulys Chacin, taking the mound against the 2011 SB Nation Cy Young Award Co-Winner, Clayton Kershaw. As TheThinGwynn talked about in his series preview (which you can, and should, check out here), neither of these pitchers are heading into unfamiliar territory, both having pitched on Opening Day(s) before.
That’s not the case, however, with some of the position players for the Padres. Outfielder Manuel Margot, made his first Opening Day roster this past weekend and today he is hitting in the leadoff spot against Kershaw. Hunter Renfroe is also making the start on his first MLB Opening Day, batting in the cleanup spot. Sandwiched between those two potential Rookie-of-the-Year candidates are two of the team leaders and fan favorites, Wil Myers and Yangervis Solarte.
Ryan Schimpf, who impressed in his rookie season last year, is another Opening Day first-timer. He will start and hit in the 5-spot. Catcher Austin Hedges has finally taken his place as the Padres’ full-time catcher, and after an offseason that saw him make some fantastic offensive strides, he also gets his first Opening Day start today, batting 6th.
The 7- and 8- spots in the starting lineup will go to a couple of veterans on the team. Erick Aybar and Jhoulys Chacin are entering their 12th and 9th Major League seasons, respectively. Both, however, are making their Padres regular season debuts.
Finally, rounding out the starting 9 will be Travis Jankowski, who made his second Opening Day roster this season. This will be his first time starting on Opening Day, however.
Of the ten times the Padres and Dodgers have met on Opening Day, the Dodgers have come out victorious seven times. Here’s to narrowing that gap today and getting the season started on a high note (or at least not repeating last year’s Opening Day disaster).