World Champion Giants Open Title Defense at Dodger Stadium

Kim HastingsContributor IApril 1, 2013

The San Francisco Giants were one of the least active teams during the offseason.  A left-field tweak here, a bullpen adjustment there, and "Play Ball!" 

On the other hand, the Los Angeles Dodgers were one of the most active teams during the offseason. Starting pitchers, relievers, infielders, outfielders, you name it.  

The reason for the differing approaches by the West Coast's premier sports rivalry?  It has to do with the rings that the Giants will acquire later this week before their home opening series against St. Louis.  The Giants are the champs.  The Dodgers haven't carried that title into a new season since 1989.  

This afternoon at Dodger Stadium, they hope to begin upsetting the Giants' plans to repeat, in an old-fashioned 1:10 p.m. PT, Opening Day tussle against their rivals from the Bay.

In what is probably the premier pitching matchup among the Opening Day slate of games, the Giants send ace righty Matt Cain to the hill against left-hander Clayton Kershaw for the Dodgers.  Cain, 16-5 with a 2.79 ERA last year, is the new undisputed ace of the Giants staff.  Kershaw, who may become the first $200 million dollar pitcher in baseball history in just a matter of days, was 14-9 with a 2.53 ERA during the 2012 campaign.

The health status of third baseman Pablo Sandoval, a hot topic during the spring, has been resolved to the joy of the Giants and their fans.  "The Panda" has recovered sufficiently from elbow miseries to be listed in Bruce Bochy's lineup for this afternoon's game, according to the official team site.

Opening Day is always a day of pageantry, hope and confidence.  The Giants and Dodgers matchup always adds a spicy flavor to a regular season ball game.  Combine the two, mix well and serve liberally to a pair of fanbases that have been enduring the cold, wet winter in anticipation of today.