LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles Dodgers will open their 2019 season against the Arizona Diamondbacks today at Dodger Stadium, beginning their quest for an unprecedented third consecutive National League pennant.
The Dodgers have won back-to-back pennants six times in their glittering history -- three times in both Brooklyn and Los Angeles -- but never three in a row.
The Dodgers will have another bit of history to overcome to win their first World Series title since 1988 -- no team has won a World Series after losing in the World Series each of the previous two seasons since the 1923 New York Yankees.
The 2019 opener will mark the end of Clayton Kershaw's team-record streak of eight consecutive opening day starts. Kershaw is expected to be placed on the injured list Thursday when the Dodgers reduce their roster to the 25-player regular-season limit because of shoulder inflammation.
Kershaw's eight opening day starts are a team record for a pitcher, one more than the Hall of Famers Don Drysdale and Don Sutton.
Left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu will be the Dodgers starting pitcher, facing Arizona right-hander Zack Grienke.
Ryu was 7-3 with a 1.97 ERA in 15 regular-season starts last season. He was on the disabled list for 90 games because of a left groin strain.
Grienke was 15-11 with a 3.21 ERA in 33 starts last season. He pitched for the Dodgers from 2013-15.
Auto and stadium gates will open at 10 a.m., which coincides with the start of entertainment beginning throughout Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers will start working out on the field at 10:40 a.m. Arizona will begin batting practice at 11:15 a.m.
Pregame ceremonies will begin at approximately 12:30 p.m. and will celebrate the life and legacy of Brooklyn Dodger pitching star Don Newcombe, who died Feb. 19 at the age of 92.
Newcombe was the first player to win the rookie of the year, MVP and Cy Young awards. He was passionate about mentoring youth baseball players in Los Angeles' underserved neighborhoods. The proceeds of the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation's opening day 50-50 raffle will be donated to help support the baseball programs at Morningside, Inglewood, Dominguez and Centennial high schools.
The Dodgers wear their Don Newcombe memorial uniform patch for the first time, which they will wear throughout the 2019 season in recognition of Newcombe's contributions to the franchise, on and off the field.
The Newcombe memorial patch will also be worn by the Morningside, Inglewood, Dominguez and Centennial high school baseball teams this spring. Representatives of those baseball programs will take part in the first pitch ceremony.
In recognition of Newcombe's service in the U.S. Army, which forced him to miss the 1952 and 1953 seasons, the national anthem will be performed by U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jeff Smith, a commander and conductor of the 300th Army Band.
The U.S. Army's Golden Knights Parachute Team will parachute into the stadium, the Joint Color Guard from Fort Irwin will present the colors and members of all branches of the military will unfurl a giant flag in center field during the anthem.
There will also be a flyover from the 452nd Air Mobility Wing from March Air Reserve Base.
The Dodgers highest-profile transaction since their 2018 season ended with a five-game loss in the World Series to the Boston Red Sox was the trade of outfielders Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp, left-handed pitcher Alex Wood and catcher/infielder Kyle Farmer to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for the subsequently released right-handed pitcher Homer Bailey and two minor leaguers.
The Dodgers also re-acquired catcher Russell Martin, who had played for them from 2006-2010, and signed free-agent outfielder A.J. Pollock and reliever Joe Kelly.
Three Dodgers who were free agents opted to sign with other teams -- catcher Yasmani Grandal went to the Milwaukee Brewers, second baseman Brian Dozier to the Washington Nationals and pitcher Daniel Hudson to the Los Angeles Angels.
Changes at Dodger Stadium include an increased amount of self-service concession kiosks at concessions stands in an effort to expedite ordering at concessions stands; the addition of five-foot microphones honoring broadcasters Vin Scully and Jaime Jarrin in the Bank of America Retired Numbers Plaza; the remodeling of the Top of the Park store; and the installation of four Ashley HomeStore chairs to create “Home Sweet Home Seats” on the Loge Level.
Fans can enter a drawing at participating Ashley HomeStore locations to be able to sit in those seats.
The season's new food offerings are:
-- “Going Yard,” a 16.5-inch jalapeno cheddar sausage topped with grilled onions, roasted corn, and avocado relish, drizzled with sour cream;
-- “California Roll Bowl,” imitation crab, sriracha aioli, edamame, carrots, cucumbers in a bed of sushi rice;
-- “Chicken Burrito Bowl,” marinated pollo asado, black beans, pico de gallo, salsa roja on a bed of rice;
-- “Beyond Meat Burger,” a plant-based grill burger patty on a brioche bun topped with herb mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato and onions;
-- “Four Taco Plate,” four chicken or beef tacos on corn tortillas topped with onion and cilantro served with chips and salsa;
-- “Dodger Sausage,” stadium-exclusive al pastor-seasoned sausage stuffed with grilled pineapple chunks topped with pineapple salsa and cilantro- lime crema;
-- “Esquite,” corn in a cup topped with mayonnaise, cheese and topped with spicy aioli; and
-- “Summer Green Salad,” chopped romaine with baby spinach, diced cucumbers, sliced radishes, feta crumble, either pecans or walnut with a creamy mint dressing.
The Dodgers have also made a change in the broadcasting booth. Charley Steiner will call fewer games this season.
“Father Time, Mother Nature and the road have never lost a battle,” Steiner said in December after agreeing to a contract extension through the 2021 season. “I'm just trying to keep pace with those three, and hopefully getting to call the final out of the Dodgers next championship.”
The Dodgers hired Boston Red Sox broadcaster Tim Neverett, who will both call games on KLAC-AM (570) when Steiner is absent and on SportsNet LA during Joe Davis' national assignments.