As if a game in which the Dodgers scored 15 runs wasn’t exciting enough, the Giants decided to have some fun of their own by letting Pablo Sandoval try his hand at pitching on Saturday. Needless to say, it was the third baseman’s first major-league inning on the mound, and… well, he had a few tricks up his sleeve.
His first pitch, an 83-MPH changeup, sailed high for Ball 1 to Max Muncy, but he induced a groundout on the next pitch. Yasmani Grandal went the same way, chopping another grounder to third base for the second out of the inning. Sandoval didn’t give Chris Taylor any leeway in the last at-bat of the inning, working an 0-2 count and capping the 11-pitch inning with a third and final ground ball.
While his pitching debut was the highlight of the afternoon, Sandoval impressed at the plate, too — he went 1-for-4 with an RBI single that put the Giants on the board in the first inning. The Giants ultimately dropped the game 15-6 for their 13th loss of the year.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts confirmed it in March and he confirmed it again on Tuesday: Clayton Kershaw will start on Opening Day, Jorge Castillo of The Los Angeles Times reports.
The Dodgers are one of four teams that will open the 60-game regular season schedule on July 23; everyone else begins play on the 24th. With a 10 PM ET start, the Dodgers will host the Giants at Dodger Stadium.
Johnny Cueto will likely pitch opposite Kershaw for the Giants. Cueto was named the Giants’ Opening Day starter on March 11, before the league shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Manager Gabe Kapler hasn’t yet officially named an Opening Day starter for the makeshift season.
Kershaw, 32, made the Opening Day start eight consecutive times for the Dodgers from 2011-18. Hyun-Jin Ryu, now a Blue Jay, pitched on Opening Day last season for the Dodgers. Last year, Kershaw logged 178 1/3 innings over 28 starts and one relief appearance, his highest innings total since 2015. He went 16-5 with a 3.03 ERA, 189 strikeouts, and 41 walks.