Series Preview – Padres vs. Dodgers (Seoul Series)

Credit: MLB

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Credit: AP Photo

Yes, it is, alas, baseball season and the San Diego Padres open up this season in Seoul, South Korea.

The Padres will face the rival Los Angeles Dodgers in a two-game tilt at Gocheok SkyDome in Seoul, opening the regular season. With both teams coming off significantly different off-seasons (and seasons, for that matter), the time has come for them to meet where it really matters: on the field.

Coming off a tumultuous off-season which saw them lose several key players to free agency, the Padres enter the season with a much different roster than last season.

This includes a new manager in Mike Shildt and several key prospects preparing to make their first mark in the big leagues, including infielder-turned-center fielder Jackson Merrill.

By comparison, the rival Los Angeles Dodgers are coming off yet another National League West division title, but as in years past, they have been unable to win it all, with a second consecutive number-one seed yielding yet another Division Series exit to a division rival. After spending over a billion dollars in free agency to bring in stars like Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto and trading for Tyler Glasnow, the Dodgers look prepared and poised to make a run at another division crown.

To start the regular season, the Padres will send right-hander Yu Darvish to the mound against Tyler Glasnow of the Dodgers, with Joe Musgrove facing off against Yoshinobu Yamamoto in the second game of the series.


Dodgers Hitters

The Dodgers made several additions to their roster on the offensive side of the ball, and facing back-to-back right-handers to start the season, they will likely roll out a lineup like this one.

Mookie Betts SS
Shohei Ohtani DH
Freddie Freeman 1B
Will Smith C
Max Muncy 3B
Teoscar Hernandez LF
James Outman CF
Jason Heyward RF
Gavin Lux 2B

The Dodgers’ offense is headlined by the top three hitters in the order: Betts, Ohtani, and Freeman. Of the three, Ohtani has never faced Darvish and is 0-for-7 in his career against Joe Musgrove, while Betts is 6-for-28 and 5-for-14 against Darvish and Musgrove, respectively. Freeman is 5-for-20 against Darvish since 2021 and 6-for-13 against Musgrove in the same time span.

Keeping the top of the Dodgers’ order at bay over the two games will be critical to success for Padres pitching, especially considering the depth of the lineup they will face over the two-game set. With a team that ranked second in MLB in offense last season, plus the offseason additions, this offense will be a challenge for opposing pitching.


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Dodgers Pitching

The Dodgers will send their two top starters to the mound in this series, with Tyler Glasnow starting Opening Day and Yoshinobu Yamamoto following him in game 2.

Glasnow, acquired from the Rays in December and extended for four years after this season, is coming off a strong season, posting a 3.53 ERA over 21 starts in Tampa. The right-hander has been sharp in Spring Training, having allowed only one run over ten innings.

Glasnow will be making his first career start against the Padres, having only faced the team three times as a reliever for the 2018 Pirates.

Yamamoto, on the other hand, will be making his Major League debut when he takes the ball against the Padres. Signed from the Orix Buffaloes to a 12-year, $325 million contract, Yamamoto is coming off three consecutive Sawamura Awards (the NPB equivalent to the Cy Young Award) and three consecutive MVP awards in NPB.

In his MLB Spring Training outings, Yamamoto has not been as sharp as he was in Japan, posting an 8.38 ERA in just under ten innings. While his strikeout-to-walk numbers have been solid (14 to 4), he has given up hard contact in Spring Training. Yamamoto will be making his first start against the Padres in his first big league start.

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