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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, April 1st (All times Eastern)

San Francisco Giants (0-0) at Los Angeles Dodgers (0-0), 4:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: San Francisco - Matt Cain (0-0, 0.00) Los Angeles - Clayton Kershaw (0-0, 0.00)

(Sports Network) - The San Francisco Giants begin defense of their World Series title on Monday when they kick off their 2013 season against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.

If it's not broke why fix it? Giants manager Bruce Bochy has essentially the same team from last year's championship squad, most notably catcher and reigning NL MVP Buster Posey, who signed a multi-year extension last week that will keep him in the Bay Area through the 2021 season and includes a club option for 2022.

"We like our chances," Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford said. "We've got our guys back. It's pretty much the same team we had last year. What we accomplished last year is our goal this year."

Last season, Posey rebounded from an injury-shortened 2011 campaign to bat a major-league best .336 with 24 home runs, 39 doubles and drove in 103 runs over 148 games.

With Posey leading the way San Francisco, which missed the playoffs in its first title defense in 2011, used a solid summer and dominated September (19-8) to nail down its second National League West crown in three years last season, going 94-68.

The Giants then dispatched the Cincinnati Reds in five games in the NLDS, only after falling behind 2-0 in the series. Surprisingly, both losses were at AT&T Park and the Giants were forced to advance on the road.

A subsequent seven-game marathon with the St. Louis Cardinals punched San Francisco's ticket to the World Series, where they swept the hard-hitting Detroit Tigers.

Pitching was key in that series for the Giants, whose rotation will have the same faces in Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, Ryan Vogelsong and Barry Zito. Lincecum struggled in the regular season, but was the ultimate team player coming out of the bullpen in the playoffs. However, Lincecum's problems have continued this spring and enters the season as one of the biggest question marks in the league.

Cain will be on the hill Monday, as he tries to follow up a terrific 2012 that saw him throw a perfect game, as well as the World Series clincher. He ended the year 16-5 with a 2.79 ERA.

Meanwhile, it wasn't that long ago that the Los Angeles Dodgers were headed towards bankruptcy.

Well, fast forward two years and they enter the 2013 season with one of the highest payrolls in baseball and are the favorites to unseat the Giants as division champions.

The Dodgers' spending spree, fueled of course by the deep pockets of the Guggenheim ownership group that includes former NBA star Magic Johnson, started with contract extensions to both Andre Ethier and superstar Matt Kemp.

But, it was a trade last summer that really set the baseball world on its ear and let everyone know that the Dodgers are indeed open for business.

Los Angeles acquired first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, outfielder Carl Crawford, righty Josh Beckett and utility man Nick Punto for prospects from Boston in what was essentially a salary dump by the Red Sox with a look towards this season.

The spending wasn't done, though, as the Dodgers pulled off a huge surprise this winter, landing former American League Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke with a 6-year, $147 million free agent deal. L.A. also signed highly touted Korean hurler Hyun-Jin Ryu.

Next up will be getting a deal done for lefty Clayton Kershaw, who very well could become the game's first $200 million pitcher with another strong season this year.

But, first things first for Kershaw, who will draw his third straight Opening Day assignment. Kershaw followed up his NL Cy Young Award winning campaign in 2011 by going 14-9 a year ago with a 2.53 ERA and 229 strikeouts in 227 2/3 innings.

"We can talk about it until we're blue in the face, but until we start winning some games and be in first place for the majority of the season, there's really not much we can say about it," Kershaw said about the Dodgers' expectations.

The Dodgers, though, do have some injury concerns as Hanley Ramirez is expected to miss at least the first six weeks of the season after a thumb injury he sustained at the World Baseball Classic.

San Francisco won the season series from the Dodgers last season, 10-8, and knocked them out of NL wild-card contention in the next-to-the-last game of the regular season.

04/01 10:25:10 ET

TV
  • Hoops Headquarters: Final Four Special

    Friday at 7:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBS Sports Spectacular: NCAA March Madness Confidential

    Sunday at 5:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NCAA Basketball Tournament Championship

    Monday at 9:00 pm on WRAL-TV

Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHA 104
BOS 116
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
CAR
 
Final
DET 2
ATL 4
Final
TAM 6
BAL 6
Final
PIT 18
PHI 4
Final
STL 6
WAS 2
Final
NYM 7
MIA 1
Final
CWS 1
CLE 4
Final
OAK 11
COL 2
Final
TEX 7
KAN 11
Final
SEA 5
ANA 3
Final
CIN 3
SDP 6
Final
CHC 8
SFG 5
Final
ARI 2
LOS 4
Final
HOU 4
TOR 7
Final
BOS 14
MIN 2
1:05pm Today
TAM
BOS
 
1:05pm Today
STL
MIA
 
1:05pm Today
WAS
NYM
 
1:05pm Today
MIN
NYY
 
1:05pm Today
DET
PIT
 
1:05pm Today
BAL
TAM
 
1:07pm Today
TOR
PHI
 
4:05pm Today
TEX
CHC
 
4:05pm Today
LOS
CWS
 
4:05pm Today
MIL
CIN
 
4:05pm Today
SFG
COL
 
4:05pm Today
CLE
SEA
 
4:10pm Today
ANA
OAK
 
4:10pm Today
ARI
TEX
 
6:05pm Tonight
ATL
HOU
 
10:05pm Tonight
SDP
KAN
 
Final
CHA 104
BOS 116
Final
PHI 111
LAL 113
Final
TOR 99
HOU 96
Final
ATL 101
MIL 88
Final
MEM 97
SAC 83
Final
MIN 84
UTA 104
Final
POR 109
PHO 86
7:30pm Tonight
DET
ATL
 
7:30pm Tonight
BRK
IND
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIA
SAN
 
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
GSW
 
Final
LOYC 65
LAMON 58
7:00pm Tonight
TEMPL
MIAMI
 
7:00pm Tonight
EVAN
TENNM
 
9:00pm Tonight
NARZ
YALE
 
9:00pm Tonight
ODU
STAN
 
Final
MON 3
TAM 5
Final
STL 1
VAN 4
Final
DAL 3
CAL 5
Final
CHI 4
LOS 1
Final
COL 1
EDM 4
Final
ARI 1
BUF 4
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
CAR
 
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
FLA
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
NJD
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
OTT
 
7:30pm Tonight
TOR
TAM
 
8:00pm Tonight
WIN
NYR
 
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
VAN