MLB Australia Opening Series Preview
It’s finally here. The MLB Regular season is finally here.
The opening series will take place in Australia tomorrow, which is a different pace from usually having the opening series in the United States, sometimes in Japan and a handful of other countries.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks will square off for a two game series in the Down Under at Sydney Cricket Ground, a sports park famous for it Cricket matches.
The first game begins 7 P.M. Sydney time zone, which is 4 A.M. ET and 1 A.M. PT/MT in America.
Later on the day in America but the next day for Australia, the second game starts at 10 P.M. ET, 7 P.M. PT, and 4 P.M. Sydney time (on Sunday, March 23).
Dodgers ace and reigning CY Young award winner Clayton Kershaw (16-9 record, 1.83 ERA, 232 K’s last season) will face off against former NL Rookie of the Year runner-up Wade Miley (10-10 record, 3.55 ERA, 202 innings pitched last season) on the mound in the first game.
The second game will feature Dodgers potential second starter Hyun-Jin Ryu (14-8 record, 3.00 ERA, 192 innings pitched last season) will oppose D-Backs righty Trevor Cahill (8-10 record, 3.99 ERA).
Coming off a season where much not was going well in the 1st half but ended on a high note with a NL Championship Series appearance, the Dodgers will look to capitalize on their NL West Crown with a bigger trophy: the world series trophy. The team finished 92-70 in 2013.
The boys in blue also led the majors in attendance due to their midseason to late season surge thanks to revelation of a star-studded lineup and a pitching rotation led by superstar Kershaw. Of course, another bright spot for their success in the 2nd half of the 2013 season was Yasiel Puig, an NL rookie of the year runner-up and (almost) All-Star (considered for write-in votes but fell just short).
Dodgers skipper Don Mattingly will look to continue where he left off from the end of the 2013 season, of whom is team is projected to take the NL West pennant for a second straight year.
As for the team in the desert, the Diamondbacks are looking to rebound from an 81-81 season after falling short in the enticing wild card playoff run last season.
A positive for Arizona, however, is their big bopper 1st baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who was snubbed of the NL MVP award by Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen.
Goldy’s 2013 numbers were incredible: 36 home runs, 125 RBI’s, and a .302 ERA. The All-star is considered to be a top 5, if not the best 1B in the majors.
For a spotlight that glimmers from the Arizona rotation, newly donned ace Patrick Corbin is the pitcher with the most to accomplish. The young lefty started 9-0 and went on to finish 14-8 with 3.41 ERA and 178 strikeouts last season. Unfortunately, he will not be pitching in the series.
Corbin currently is out with a damaged elbow ligament that has him out for the rest of spring training and possibly a chunk of the regular season.
The series down under is considered a test run for the MLB, to see if the opening series will be successful and wager possible future openings in Sydney.
Let the 2014 MLB season commence.
Sports-Kings Reading Between the Seams Contributor Kevin L. Smith (Twitter: @KevLSmittie)