Shohei Ohtani is doing this, and when Sunday dawns, the magnitude of this moment should not be minimized. Strip away all the angst about his spring training and remember those four words: He is doing this. He was the Los Angeles Angels’ designated hitter Thursday against the Athletics, and he will be their starting pitcher Sunday. That’s nothing short of crazy. As the season wears on, he is expected to hit two or three times a week and be the starting pitcher once a week. In the modern game, it is unprecedented, and yet as the moment approaches, it still somehow feels underappreciated.
Padres: C Austin Hedges (back) was out of the lineup a second straight game. … OF Wil Myers didn’t start a night after coming out of the game with a triceps injury.
Rockies: RHP Jon Gray (0-1, 6.75 ERA) looks to bounce back from an opening-day loss to Arizona.
Padres: LHP Clayton Richard (0-0, 1.00 ERA) pitched seven strong innings on opening day.
You might have viewed the Dodgers’ season-opening festivities as an in-your-face reminder of how long it has been since their 1988 title. You can’t blame the team. We all love to celebrate round-numbered anniversaries, and that L.A. team was awfully memorable. Who hasn’t seen Kirk Gibson’s homer off Dennis Eckersley replayed a million times We all remember Vin Scully’s unforgettable epilogue: In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened.
Gibson was there to throw out the first pitch, one day after he autographed the seat where that famous home run landed. That seat is now covered in blue and beginning this year is called The Kirk Gibson Seat. The story of Gibson’s homer was told in a short documentary on the scoreboard, then he came out of the dugout carrying the same bat and took a couple of swings from the on-deck circle. Orel Hershiser, his Cy Young-winning teammate on that ’88 team, and Tommy Lasorda, his manager, took part in the ceremony.
The Dodgers lost their opener to the hated Giants 1-0, the franchise’s first 1-0 loss in an opener since 1930. Joe Panik curled a homer around the right-field foul pole off Kershaw for the game’s only run. No one was too worked up about it, of course. What is one game for a team that has achieved everything together Well, almost everything.