Hyun-jin Ryu (pictured) has already started the Dodgers' second game (March 23 versus the Arizona Diamondbacks in Australia) and third game (March 30 at San Diego) of the season. Now he'll look to extend his 12-inning scoreless streak when he takes the hill for the Dodgers' home opener.
The 27-year-old left-hander will get a break with Marco Scutaro (5-for-12 career against Ryu), who is on the disabled list with a back injury, out of the lineup. But Angel Pagan (4-for-6), Hunter Pence (6-for-14, 2 2B) and Pablo Sandoval (4-for-13, 2B) all had success against Ryu last season, while Buster Posey (3-for-13, 2B vs. Ryu) is always a threat against any pitcher and is off to a strong start in 2014.
Opposing Ryu on the mound for the Giants will be Ryan Vogelsong, who is trying to bounce back from an awful 2013 season in which he posted a 5.73 ERA in 19 starts. The 19 earned runs and 33 hits allowed in 19 innings pitched this spring isn't a good sign that he's back on track.
Matt Kemp, who is expected to return from the disabled list after an offseason recovering from shoulder and ankle surgeries, is 6-for-20 with a homer and triple against the 36-year-old Vogelsong. A.J. Ellis (4-for-16, HR, 5 BB), Andre Ethier (4-for-16, 2 2B), Dee Gordon (6-for-18) and Juan Uribe (5-for-16) have also done damage against him, although Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez are a combined 1-for-21.
Projected SF Lineup vs. Ryu
1 Angel Pagan, CF
2 Hunter Pence, RF
3 Pablo Sandoval, 3B
4 Buster Posey, C
5 Michael Morse, LF
6 Brandon Belt, 1B
7 Joaquin Arias, 2B
8 Brandon Crawford, SS
Projected LAD Lineup vs. Vogelsong
1 Carl Crawford, LF
2 Yasiel Puig, RF
3 Hanley Ramirez, SS
4 Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
5 Andre Ethier, CF
6 Juan Uribe, 3B
7 A.J. Ellis, C
8 Dee Gordon, 2B
Prediction: Ryu's scoreless streak will end early, as the Giants will jump out to a 2-0 lead before he settles in and enters cruise control for the next several innings. Vogelsong will keep the Dodgers in check for the first three innings, but he won't get through the heart of the order—Puig, Ramirez and Gonzalez—a second time without a ball leaving the yard.
Gonzalez will start the fireworks with his first homer of the season on a fourth-inning blast. By the time Vogelsong exits in the top of the fifth, the Dodgers will be ahead 6-2 and Ramirez will have also connected for his first long ball of the season.
They'll add an insurance run in the sixth and head into the seventh inning with a 7-2 lead. The loss of setup man Brian Wilson, who is on the disabled list with nerve irritation in his elbow, will expose the Dodgers' late-inning relief crew as they make things interesting after Ryu's six strong innings.
By the time closer Kenley Jansen takes the mound in the ninth, the Giants will have cut the lead to 7-5 on a two-run double by Posey and an RBI single by Morse. Jansen is lights-out, though, and closes the door with a 1-2-3 ninth inning, including a strikeout of pinch-hitter Hector Sanchez to end the game.