San Diego Padres: National TV Spotlight on Opening Day
Jhoulys Chacin and the San Diego Padres open 2017 at Dodger Stadium on Monday. The game will air for the entire world to see on ESPN.
There will be no time for the young San Diego Padres to get their feet wet in 2017. Right off the bat, on Opening Day, the club will be faced with the challenge of Dodger Stadium and Clayton Kershaw. Not to mention, the game will air on ESPN as part of the worldwide leader in sports’ coverage of baseball’s Opening Day.
There are two ways to approach the game for fans and players. One, of course, is to panic, and the other is to see the spotlight as an ideal opportunity right away in 2017 to show all of baseball that the young club is not going to roll over this season just because of low expectations.
Seeing the game as an opportunity rather than an impossible task is what the Padres will at least attempt to do, as they should. After all, it is just one game, one which won’t define the season no matter what happens. But if San Diego were to pull it off, the confidence boost which would be provided as a result would be virtually unparalleled for a season opener.
Jhoulys Chacin will get the surprise Opening Day start for the Padres, and will be challenged with going toe to toe with a three-time Cy Young winner in Kershaw. This, coupled with the difference of talent in the two clubs’ lineups, will immediately put San Diego at a disadvantage on the surface.
But the Padres should be able to hold their own offensively with young and exciting players whom Kershaw and the Dodgers’ pitching staff doesn’t have much information on. Hunter Renfroe, Ryan Schimpf, and Wil Myers will anchor the middle of the lineup, while young players such as Manuel Margot and Luis Sardinas will aim to put their stamp on the contest at the top and bottom of the order.
The game will also serve as the first action catcher Austin Hedges sees as a starter in the majors, the beginning of what the Padres hope to be a long stretch of consistency at the catcher position. Others such as Renfroe and Margot will also start on Opening Day for the first time, a major step in San Diego’s rebuilding process, as many believe that this young core is the start of the right pieces being put into place.
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Regardless, the Padres will be forced to mature in a game of this magnitude. Dodger Stadium will be sold out without a doubt, and baseball fans on the east coast coming home from work will be able to see the game on ESPN, as well as the especially fanatic who may be taking a half day in order to follow all of the Opening Day action.
A lot of eyes will be watching, and San Diego won’t want to waste the opportunity.
Of course, the season opener on Monday is only one game at the end of the day. But due to all of the circumstances surrounding it, the contest seems like so much more. The good news for San Diego is, there seems to be a lot more to gain than there is to lose in this one. The opportunity is there, and the young club now needs to go and seize it, and grab the attention of baseball fans everywhere.
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So here we go Padres fans, time to get 2017 underway! Go Padres!!