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Already Looking Ahead to Next Year

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Lookie what we Dodger fans have here: the preliminary 2010 schedule.

For the second year in a row the Dodgers will be opening the season on the road. In what can be surmised as a way to make up for this season, the Dodgers will open the season at PNC Park against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

“That will be warm,” manager Joe Torre said when alerted of the fact.

In stark contrast last night’s game marked the first time the Dodgers faced the Pirates this season.

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Not only do the Dodgers open the season on the road, they will be living out of their suitcases for most of April playing 15 games on the road while eight will be played at home.

As for the interleague games, aside from the annual home-and-home series with the Angels, the Dodgers will be hosting the Detroit Tigers and the New York Yankees and playing the Boston Red Sox on the road.

“It’ll be curious going to Fenway not wearing a Yankee uniform,” Torre commented.

Of note is that all four AL teams could potentially be playoff teams this season.

“Definitely the balance is not there with who teams play,” Torre remarked. “They could never get that right with the limited schedule they have to put it together.”

Russell Hitting Second

In an effort to take advantage of his increased productivity, Torre has decided to bat catcher Russell Martin second. Center fielder Matt Kemp who has been batting second has been moved down to fifth, a more power-centric part of the lineup.

“He’s swinging the bat really well,” Torre said. “It’s probably a good time to try him there again.”

Martin so far this month has been averaging .279. However his slugging percentage has jumped up to .465 this month, significantly higher than his season percentage of .338. In fact his OPS is .838 this month compared to the season average of .697.

What allowed Torre to make the move was giving first baseman James Loney a day off.

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“We took James out of the lineup, put Matt down in a productive area because of the way Russell has been swinging the bat,” Torre said.

Torre, though, believes that a player should be able to perform no matter where in the lineup they hit.

“I’ve had players say, ‘I can’t hit fourth,’” Torre said. “I’d go, ‘Pretend you’re hitting third.’

“It’s eerie because the first time through the lineup is the only time you’ll probably going to hit in the position you’re numbered.”

Count Yourself Lucky

While the Dodgers have had every game broadcasted on television (although there was one that was only available on MLB Network which not a lot of people have), the Pirates are not so lucky. None of their games in this three game series with the Dodgers are being broadcasted in Pittsburgh.

In fact only two of their four games for their weekend series at home against the San Diego Padres will be broadcasted locally in Pittsburgh.

Go figure.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  1. Andrew McCutchen, CF
  2. Andy LaRoche, 3B
  3. Garrett Jones, RF
  4. Ryan Doumit, C
  5. Lastings Milledge, LF
  6. Steve Pearce, 1B
  7. Ronny Cedeno, SS
  8. Luis Cruz, 2B
  9. Zach Duke, P

LA Dodgers

  1. Rafael Furcal, SS
  2. Russell Martin, C
  3. Andre Ethier, RF
  4. Manny Ramirez, LF
  5. Matt Kemp, CF
  6. Casey Blake, 3B
  7. Mark Loretta, 1B
  8. Orlando Hudson, 2B
  9. Randy Wolf, P