Things are looking up in 2013 aren’t they?
Opening Day is actually upon us and the anticipation around the friendly confines of Chase Field will soon be satisfied when our ace, Ian Kennedy, takes the hill for his third consecutive opening day start. Monday will mark the first of 162 games with infinite possibilities and expectations.
Diamondbacks groundskeepers prepare the field prior to the game against the San Francisco Giants during opening day at Chase Field. Image: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
To get the ball rolling, I thought it’d be fun to compare the lineup from opening day 2012 with 2013’s lineup card now that Kirk Gibson has his guys inked and ready for battle against Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday night.
Opening Day 2012 vs. San Francisco Giants (Win 5-4)
CF Chris Young
RF Justin Upton
LF Jason Kubel
3B Ryan Roberts
2B Aaron Hill
Opening Day 2013 vs. St. Louis Cardinals (7:10 p.m. MST)
3B Martin Prado
2B Aaron Hill
LF Jason Kubel
RF A.J. Pollock
P Ian Kennedy
The obvious change here is not having Justin Upton manning right field as he had been there each opening day since 2008 and hit in the number three spot each of the last three years. Aaron Hill will have the honors of hitting third in the lineup for game one.
The other changes you’ll notice are Ryan Roberts who began last season as our starting third baseman but was traded mid-season after struggling mightily early on. The club would go through two more third basemen over the course of the season (not even including John McDonald) in Ryan Wheeler and Chris Johnson.
General Manager Kevin Towers would eventually trade all four of the players that spent time on the hot corner in 2012 and totally revamped the position by bringing in Martin Prado and veteran Eric Chavez.
Beyond third base and right field we’ll also see a different shortstop with Willie Bloomquist on the D.L. to begin the season as well as in center field with the departure of Chris Young to Oakland during the off season. It will be the first time since 2006 that someone other than Young will open the season in center field.
While the Diamondbacks work to get their position players healthy- they have three expected starters beginning the season on the disabled list- they’re going to need their starting pitchers to come out strong in April to hopefully take some of the pressure off the position players.
NOTES: The Snakes were just 1-5 against the Cardinals in 2012 including being swept at Chase Field in May. Kennedy finished with a 6.23 ERA in his 13 innings of work, losing both starts.
*The D’backs have won Kennedy’s last three opening day starts and the team has won their last six opening day games overall.
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