Dodgers vs. Rockies Opening Day

Dodgers vs. Rockies Opening Day | 2021 MLB Expert Analysis

Written by on March 31, 2021

The Los Angeles Dodgers of course won the 2020 World Series for their first title since 1988, and they are favored on the MLB odds to repeat this fall. L.A. opens the 2021 regular season at NL West rival Colorado on Thursday.

How to Bet Dodgers at Rockies MLB Odds & TV Info
  • When: Thursday, 4:10 PM ET
  • Where: Coors Field
  • Probable pitchers (away/home): Clayton Kershaw/German Marquez
  • TV: ESPN
  • Stream/gameday audio: ESPN app
  • Opening MLB Lines: TBA (Dodgers will be favored)
Why Bet on LA Dodgers? | 2021 MLB Expert Analysis

As if the Dodgers weren’t already good enough, they signed the top free-agent starting pitcher on the market in Trevor Bauer, who won the 2020 NL Cy Young Award with Cincinnati. That means another high-quality arm added to the already impressive World Series champion rotation. Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner is coming back for at least another two years, Corey Knebel and Tommy Kahnle should help bolster the L.A. bullpen and reliever Blake Treinen re-signed with a two-year deal. Bauer was the big addition, but the Dodgers did see some notable departures this winter in longtime Dodgers’ Joc Pederson and Enrique Hernandez.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts enters his sixth season with the club after leading the franchise to its seventh World Series championship last year. The 2016 National League Manager of the Year piloted the club to a 43-17 record in the abbreviated 2020 season and then a 13-5 mark in the playoffs en route to the title. Since taking the reins in 2016, Roberts has compiled a record of 436-273, good for a .609 winning percentage, which is best in baseball over that time.

With a franchise-best .717 winning percentage (43-17), the Dodgers posted the first .700+ win percentage season by an NL team since the 1909 Pirates (110-42, .724). The Dodgers won a division title for the eighth consecutive year, something just two other teams have accomplished.

It’s lefty and three-time NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw on the mound. Last regular season, he led the Dodgers in wins (6), innings (58.1) and strikeouts (62) in his 13th MLB season, going 6-2 with a 2.16 ERA in 10 starts. Kershaw ranked among the NL leaders (min. 55 IP) in wins (T-4th), ERA (5th), opponents’ batting average (.194, 5th) and WHIP (0.84, 2nd). On Sept. 3, Kershaw reached 2,500 strikeouts by fanning Arizona’s Nick Ahmed, becoming the third-youngest pitcher in MLB history to reach the mark at 32 years, 168 days, behind only Nolan Ryan (31 years, 101 days) and Walter Johnson (31 years, 197 days). He ended the season ranked 36th on the all-time strikeout list, nine behind Bartolo Colon.

The future Hall of Famer will be making his ninth start on Opening Day. That will be the most in franchise history. Kershaw was scheduled to start his ninth Opening Day last season, but a back injury before the game forced the Dodgers to start Dustin May.

“I just feel that he’s earned it,” Roberts said. “He’s the right guy for the spot for 2021. For every reason, I just think it makes the most sense.”

Kershaw owns a 24-8 career record against the Rockies, posting a 3.22 ERA. He is 11-5 with a 4.44 ERA when pitching at hitter-friendly Coors Field.

Why Bet on Colorado? | 2021 MLB Expert Analysis

The Rockies traded franchise star third baseman Nolan Arenado this offseason in a salary dump to St. Louis. The return Colorado got in the trade was meager, at best. Nothing that will help them compete with the likes of the Dodgers and Padres in the NL West. And aside from the trade for Arenado, the club literally did not make a single impactful signing. After back-to-back postseason appearances in 2017 and 2018, it’s looking like it’ll be a long time before they get back there.

It’s right-hander German Marquez on the mound here. In his final Cactus League start over the weekend vs. the White Sox, he gave up three runs off six hits, and walked two in three innings. Márquez also struck out one. The six hits included a two-run RBI double hit by Tim Anderson. The 26-year-old right-hander has a 5.68 ERA in 19 innings of work this spring, and has given up at least three runs in the last four of his spring starts.

In the 2020 regular season, Marquez led the National League and ranked second in the Majors with 81.2 innings pitched. He also tied for the team and Major League lead with 13 starts, going 4-6 with a 3.75 ERA (81.2 IP, 34 ER), 25 walks and 73 strikeouts. He recorded his 600th career strikeout on Aug. 20 vs. Houston, becoming the seventh player in franchise history to reach the 600-strikeout plateau and the youngest to do so at age 25 years and 180 days (previous record: Ubaldo Jiménez, 26 years and 217 days).

The Rockies announced that they have been approved by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to host 21,363 fans at Coors Field beginning on Opening Day, which is equivalent to 42.6% of Coors Field’s capacity. Colorado was initially approved for 25% capacity, or around 12,500 fans, on Feb. 26.

Expert Prediction
  • Dodgers 6, Rockies 4

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