Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Opening Day starters: NL West
We covered the American League Central Opening Day starters right here, so let's move on to the National League West.
San Francisco Giants
Matt Cain has taken over the honors from the struggling Tim Lincecum, a move skipper Bruce Bochy already has announced.
San Diego Padres
Despite some early signs that he'd be unseated, Edinson Volquez, last year's Opening Day starter, will get the nod again for the Padres, reports Corey Brock of MLB.com.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Clayton Kershaw will get the honor for the second straight season and there was little doubt despite the signing of right-hander Zack Greinke over the winter.
The Rockies gave the nod to Jhoulys Chacin on Monday. Chacin has a 7.00 spring ERA, but manager Walt Weiss is worried more about technique than numbers at this point.
The D-backs have again tabbed right-hander Ian Kennedy as the Opening Day starter. With Daniel Hudson out for another few months, Kennedy and Trevor Cahill were manager Kirk Gibson's top choices.
Lincecum, in particular, is one of the biggest question marks-slash-X factors in the entire division, as he could return to the form he showed in his first few years or once again be among the worst starters in baseball. Here's ESPN Insider Keith Law's take:
Keith LawNew role for Timmy?
"I saw him last week, and the issues that plagued him last year are still present -- he's pitching with an average fastball that has no movement, and he doesn't have the kind of command to get away with throwing it in the upper half of the zone. Either he relies more heavily than ever on the slider, a pitch he has commented in the past bothers his elbow, or he needs a change in role.I do think he could help this club in a high-usage relief role, kind of the way he was deployed in October, but it has been ages since any MLB team used a reliever in that fashion."