Opening Day Starters 2012: NL West

Starting it off with the NL West since, well, since I typed so. Of the 5 divisional teams, two have named opening day starters that were not on their respective team’s roster during the 2011 season.

The other three? Well, they were just a little bit obvious.

San Diego Padres manager Bud Black just announced that 2012 newcomer Edibson Volquez will be the team’s opening day starter. The Padres will play host to the Dodgers on Thursday, April 5th at Petco Park.

This comes as a bit of a surprise, as many thought Tim Stauffer would get the nod this season. However, Stauffer’s spring troubles may have cost him that opportunity.Cory Luebke will get the nod in game 2 on Friday.

Volquez’s Spring Line: 20.2 innings, 8 runs, 3.48 ERA, 13 K’s, 11 Walks

Down in Magic-Land, the news that Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly pegged Clayton Kershaw the 2012 opening day starter is no surprise. Kershaw is coming off a stellar campaign, one that made him the 2011 recipient winner of the 2011 NL Cy Young Award.

As I mentioned above, the Dodgers will be squaring off with the Padres at Petco on opening day. Kershaw and Volquez should make for an interesting matchup.

In Phoenix, Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson had about as difficult of a decision as Mattingly had to make when naming his opening day starter. On Friday, April 6th, the Diamondbacks will host the Giants at Chase Field and for the second straight year, Ian Kennedy will be taking the hill first.

When asked who would get the nod, Gibson simply stated:

“If Ian’s healthy, he’s going to start Opening Day,” Gibson said. “Why wouldn’t he?”

As for the San Francisco Giants, I think the only other opening day starter that’s as obvious as Tim Lincecum is C.C. Sabathia getting the nod in the Bronx.The Giants will be heading down to the Arizona for their opener, as mentioned above.

Lincecum hasn’t exactly strung together the best spring training, but it’s sort of characteristic for #55. It will be interesting to see is he can keep up his K/9 (stikeouts per 9 innings) this season.

And lastly, the Colorado Rockies have named Jeremy Guthrie their opening day starter, as they will take on the Astors on April 6th in Houston. Similar to the situation in San Diego, the Rockies have a newcomer getting the nod on day one of the 2012 campaign.

However, many saw Volquez heading to San Deigo and manning the no. 2 or 3 slot, whereas Guthrie, when sent to Colorado in February, was expected to anchor the rotation.

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