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Topic-icon The Los Angeles Dodgers are once again loaded in their

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LOS ANGELES (AP) —chase for an elusive World Series title.A rock-solid starting rotation. Hitters who can produce offensively and defend multiple positions. Overall depth that allows for aggressive platooning.Manager Dave Roberts received a contract extension through 2022 during the winter. He’s guided the team to 287 victories in his first three years at the helm http://www.diamondbacksfanproshop.com/authentic-zack-greinke-jersey , tied for fourth-most among mangers during that span. The team has averaged 94 wins a season during its run of six straight NL West championships.“We have created something here where the number one goal is to win baseball games,” Roberts said. “It takes a lot of good players. It takes consistent work and focus, but it also takes sacrifice. So that comes with a lot of good players and, fortunately, for us to a man, these guys have bought into that, which makes my job considerably easier.”All that success, however, hasn’t led to a World Series title. The franchise’s last one came in 1988.Two straight appearances in the Fall Classic have ended with Houston and then Boston celebrating on the Dodgers’ field.History suggests a World Series hangover is inevitable. The Dodgers won an MLB-best 104 games in 2017 and they fell short in repeating that total last year with 92 victories.The franchise has never made three straight World Series appearances.Here are some things to watch for this season:NEW FACES: CF A.J. Pollock signed a $55 million, four-year deal to leave division rival Arizona. He gives the Dodgers a right-handed bat to complement their deep lineup. He missed nearly two months with a broken left thumb last season, the latest in a long line of injuries that have limited Pollock to 113 games since his breakout All-Star season in 2015. RH reliever Joe Kelly comes over from the Red Sox after they beat the Dodgers in the World Series. He’ll be Kenley Jansen’s setup man.ROOKIES TO WATCH: OF Alex Verdugo could find a spot on the opening day roster after a glut of outfielders has kept him in the minors in recent years. He could platoon with Cody Bellinger in right field and be a third option in left field. RHP Dustin May is expected to start the season in the minors but could contribute to the big-league club at some point. RHP Tony Gonsolin has an outside shot at catching on in a relief role.TOP-NOTCH ROTATION: The Dodgers boast quality and depth in their pitching ranks http://www.diamondbacksfanproshop.com/authentic-zack-greinke-jersey , which will allow them to withstand any injuries that occur. LH Clayton Kershaw won’t start opening day for the first time in nine years because of left shoulder inflammation that bothered him during camp. Kershaw’s velocity dipped to an average of 90.9 mph last season and his strikeout rate of 8.7 per nine innings was his lowest since his rookie year. Despite back problems in recent years, he remains one of the best pitchers in the National League. RH Walker Buehler, coming off a stellar rookie year, has had a sore shoulder that limited him in camp. RH Kenta Maeda started 20 games last year, but finished the season as a reliever and worked out of the bullpen during the postseason. However, the Dodgers see him as a starter and plan to use him in that role to begin the season. LH Hyun-Jin Ryu and LH Rich Mill make up a solid backend of the rotation.PROVE IT: SS Corey Seager returns as the starter after missing most of last season when he underwent hip and Tommy John surgeries. The 2016 NL Rookie of the Year will have to prove himself all over again. The team took a conservative approach with him during camp, but Seager showed he could make all the necessary throws his position requires. The Dodgers compensated for his loss last year by trading for Manny Machado, who moved on to division rival San Diego in the offseason.AWAY FROM TEAM: OF Andrew Toles, coming back from injury, never reported to spring training because of an undisclosed personal matter.ON DECK: The Dodgers open the season on March 28 at home with a four-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The rival San Francisco Giants follow them to town for a three-game set. Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig, who were traded during the winter Andrew Chafin Jersey , return to Chavez Ravine with the Cincinnati Reds in mid-April. The New York Yankees make a rare L.A. appearance in late August. SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The best game of Chris Stratton’s career got off to a shaky start when the San Francisco pitcher allowed hits to his first two batters and fell behind in the count 3-0 to the third.A deep breath, a little faith in catcher Nick Hundley and a fastball that was effective all night settled things down.Stratton threw a career-high eight innings to outpitch Patrick Corbin, and the Giants beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 2-0 Monday on a two-run homer by Steven Duggar.“It was huge,” Stratton said about working out of the early jam. “Hundo did an awesome job back there mixing it up, and once we got past that it really just kind of took off from there.”Arizona remained a game up in the NL West over Colorado when the Rockies lost 10-7 to the Los Angeles Angels.Stratton and Corbin had nearly identical outings, the difference being Duggar’s homer in the second.Stratton (9-7) permitted five hits, struck out six and allowed only two runners past first base. He walked none and retired 17 of his final 18 batters to win for the first time since June 17.The right-hander, who leads the Giants in wins despite two stints in the minors, gave up back-to-back singles to open the game but pitched out of it. Stratton also gave up a two-out triple to Jon Jay in the fifth but got Eduardo Escobar to fly out.Tony Watson retired two batters for San Francisco. Hunter Strickland got Nick Ahmed to fly out for his 14th save, completing the five-hitter.It was the Giants’ 11th shutout this season.“The first inning, that was the key inning for (Stratton) Alex Avila Jersey ,” San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. “After that he was really good. Really good with his command and all of his pitches. We needed it. Their guy threw well.”Corbin (10-5) was equally sharp after yielding Duggar’s home run. The Arizona lefty retired the next 10 batters, then got three consecutive groundouts after allowing a double and a single to start off the sixth.Corbin had nine strikeouts and one walk in seven innings while absorbing his first loss in six starts against the Giants this season. He gave up four hits.“Usually our offense is going to get us back in it so I just tried to put up as many zeros as I could,” Corbin said. “We had a couple chances early tonight but Stratton was a little bit better.”The Diamondbacks became the fastest team in major league history to reach 25,000 strikeouts as a team, topping the milestone in 3,371 games. The Miami Marlins did it in 3,650 games.“Really unfortunate night for Patrick,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “He threw the ball extremely well. Just made one mistake. Outside of that, he was outstanding. Unfortunately we couldn’t score some runs for him.”Duggar’s second home run of the season helped the Giants gain ground on the Diamondbacks. San Francisco pulled within seven games of first place and 7½ of the second wild card.“If we can keep rallying off some wins, we might surprise some people,” Duggar said.Jon Jay had three hits for Arizona. Paul Goldschmidt walked in the ninth and has reached base safely in 39 consecutive road games http://www.diamondbacksfanproshop.com/authentic-zack-greinke-jersey , an ongoing club record.Duggar lined a 3-1 pitch from Corbin to right field, two batters after Brandon Crawford singled. Duggar’s only other home run this season also came against Arizona on Aug. 4.CORBIN’S STREAK ENDSCorbin had not allowed a home run in 11 consecutive starts before Duggar’s drive. That matched the longest streak by a Diamondbacks pitcher, equaling the mark set by Miguel Batista from August 2002 to April 2003.“I’ve probably made worse pitches than that that weren’t for homers,” Corbin said.TRAINER’S ROOMGiants catcher Buster Posey underwent successful hip surgery in Vail, Colorado. The six-time All-Star will be sidelined six to eight months.UP NEXTRHP Clay Buchholz (7-2, 2.25 ERA) opposes San Francisco LHP Madison Bumgarner (5-5, 2.88) in a marquee pitching matchup Tuesday night. Buchholz is 2-0 and has allowed one run over his past two starts covering 16 innings. Bumgarner has yielded three runs or fewer in 12 of his 15 starts.

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