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An Uphill Start
2003-06-25 12:31
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Eleven of the Dodgers’ first 14 games are on the road.

Ten of the Dodgers’ first 14 games are against Arizona and San Francisco.

Three games against Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, four games against Barry Bonds.

What would be a reasonable start for this team?

The season opens with a three-game series at Arizona, beginning with games against Johnson and Schilling. Avoiding a sweep would be nice.

Four games at San Diego follow. San Diego has a promising young rotation, but a questionable lineup. At minimum, you want a split. We’ll set the target, though, at taking three out of four.

Then, we go up to Los Angeles for a whopping three-game homestand. The good news here is that at most, the Dodgers will face Schilling on home Opening Day, but Johnson will have pitched his second game in Colorado the previous weekend. The Dodgers need two out of three here.

Finally, up to San Francisco for four in the April cold. Since we’re holding out for three out of four in San Diego, we’ll settle for a split against the Giants.

Follow that path, and the Dodgers begin a tough season-opening stretch – a stretch with no off days – at 8-6.

During that same period, Arizona and San Francisco each have 1) at least one series against the Milwaukee Doormats, and 2) at least one off day , which means they have better chances to get off to fast starts. In fact, San Francisco opens the season with San Diego-Milwaukee-San Diego – it’s not hard to imagine the Giants running off to 8-1 by the time they meet the Dodgers, and 10-3 afterward, even if they only split with L.A.

Arizona has a series with Colorado as well, so don’t be surprised if the Diamondbacks start out around 8-4.

Of course, things won’t go by the numbers. The point is, just playing .500 ball and holding third place after the first two weeks would amount to a decent start by the Dodgers. Anything more would be gravy and reason to celebrate.

By the way, the Dodgers end the season on the road in San Francisco as well.

When should the Dodgers fatten up? From May 16 through June 5, the Dodgers play three games against Florida, six games each against Colorado and Milwaukee, and three games against Kansas City – 18 games total, 12 at home.

One other scheduling note:
May 23, 2002: Dodgers at Milwaukee. Shawn Green goes 6 for 6 with four home runs.
May 23, 2003: Dodgers at Milwaukee.

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