|Kyle Lewis - DH||Mookie Betts - RF|
|Ketel Marte - 2B||Freddie Freeman - 1B|
|Lourdes Gurriel - LF||Will Smith - C|
|Christian Walker - 1B||Max Muncy - 3B|
|Evan Longoria - 3B||J.D. Martinez - DH|
|Nick Ahmed - SS||David Peralta - LF|
|Corbin Carroll - CF||Miguel Vargas - 2B|
|Gabriel Moreno - C||James Outman - CF|
|Jake McCarthy - RF||Miguel Rojas - SS|
|Zac Gallen - RHP||Julio Urias - LHP|
There’ll be a bit of a different structure this year to Gameday Threads. We’ll no longer have a separate preview, and there will no longer be a stream for each game: just the GDT and the recap, both of which will be accessible directly from the home page. What the GDT includes and when it appears is going to vary. If there’s nothing to talk about, it will be just the line-ups and will appear close to game time. But if, say, there’s a roster move or other news of note, then it’ll be posted earlier to allow for discussion, with details of the news. Put simply, the everyday game previews weren’t worth the effort, and we don’t have anyone regularly at Chase to provide pre-game audio this season either.
On to the game! It’s going to be very interesting tonight, especially as it’s the first time we’ll get to see all the new rules in full effect. Pitch clocks, no shifts, limits on pickoffs, etc. will all be in play. The last is going to be particularly of note, since Zac Gallen was somebody for whom the throw over to first was a big part of his game. He’ll now have to pick and choose his battles there. However, I think the D-backs, with their young, fast line-up, are going to benefit more than they will be penalized by the changes. That said: who had Kyle Lewis batting lead-off on your Opening Day bingo card? He had a great spring, to be sure, but I was repeatedly informed that he had all the mobility and speed of an arthritic slug.
Unsurprisingly, the Twitterati are none too pleased with this, and five minutes on there confirmed my decision to hand the keys over to James and ISH. So. Much. “Why is Carroll batting seventh?” Whining. We also have the first “Torey should have been canned years ago” comment of 2023. Ah, D-backs fans - never change. No, wait: please do. Me, I think that’s a nice looking line-up, and I’m optimistic it will score a few more runs than last year. For comparison, over the nine games at Dodger Stadium in 2022, the D-backs hit .212/.278/.348 for a .625 OPS, and averaged four runs per game. So that’s the early marks which the team should be aiming to surpass.
There are certainly easier places to start your campaign than Dodger Stadium. Arizona hasn’t had a winning record there for any season since 2013, and over the past four years have gone just 5-26. Ouch. But this is Opening Day, when anything feels possible, and a victory here might just be a statement that the Dodgers and Padres aren’t going to have the NL West all their own way this year. I am cautiously optimistic, and will be tuning in tonight hoping for the best. Yet, of course, also preparing for the worst. So I reserve the right to bail for other entertainment options, should the need arise. Those seasons of Leverage won’t watch themselves, after all.