If you bought tickets for this game in the expectation of seeing a match-up between a pair of Opening Day starters for their respective teams, you'll be feeling pretty cheated tonight. For neither Brandon Webb nor Hiroki Kuroda will be taking part; instead, it's a match-up of the two teams #6 starters, Yusmeiro Petit going against Eric Stults. Webb's shoulder stiffness caused his scratch, and a strained muscle in his side has landed Kuroda on the DL, each after only one appearance.
Arizona has fond memories of their sole previous experience facing Stults, as he was tagged for three runs and retired just one hitter in relief, back in September 2007 - though most of the batters he faced that day are no longer with the Diamondbacks. His overall major-league numbers are mediocre; in 95 innings, he has a 4-7 record and an ERA of 4.83, though was solid enough as a spot starter for the Dodgers last season. Expect the Arizona line-up to be stacked with every left-hander they can find - heck, I'm awaiting a call from Melvin, since southpaws brutalize Stults to a career line of .357/.393/.619.
Meanwhile, Yusmeiro Petit will perform in one of two ways: either be slapped silly, or end up with a box-score line that flirts with perfection. There doesn't seem much middle ground with him, since any mistakes he makes tend to become souvenirs. I am not exactly filled with confidence at the prospect of him facing a Dodgers' lineup where the #8 hitter, Casey Blake, had 21 homers last season. Still, I am a good bit more optimistic with him facing another spot starter in Stults, rather than Kuroda. This one seems pretty much a toss-up, and I suspect both sides will have their hitting shoes on. To quote the Duke of Wellington at Waterloo, "Hard pounding, gentlemen: but we shall see who can pound the longest."
It's the game of the week on
Fox the MLB Network, hence the very early start, with first pitch scheduled for 5:10pm, Arizona time. That's fine by me, as it means we should be able to see a good chunk of the game before we head off to Funker Vogt. Thanks to soco, doing a spot recap for tonight's contest after he and mrssoco return from Chase - it seems appropriate, given we've also got two spot-starters - which will allow me to come home, go straight to bed and sleep in tomorrow!