For the 2014 Major League Baseball season, the league has been generous in its distribution of the “Opening Day” designation. There were the two games last week in Australia, of course. And now there will be the more familiar opening game on Sunday night baseball this weekend before the true Opening Day finally happens on Monday.
The Los Angeles Dodgers will have played three games before most teams play their first game. Similarly, left-handed starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu will have made two starts before most pitchers make their season debut. According to Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times:
With Clayton Kershaw scratched because of a sore back and Ryu having half his big right toe nail removed, the Dodgers were uncertain who would get the start against the Padres when the club resumes its season on the mainland.
But Ryu threw 30 pitches in a bullpen session, reported no pain and is now scheduled to start the nationally televised opener.”
These are still nervous times for the Dodgers, as it is their starting rotation that truly holds the keys to their potential World Series run. They will certainly be relieved to see Ryu back in action on Sunday; that said, they have now seen injuries, minor or otherwise, to all three of their top starting pitchers (Kershaw, Ryu, and Zack Greinke) before April 1st. That’s no way to enter the season for any team, even if they are the odds-on favorites to conquer the National League.