LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – After a four-month delay, the Boys in Blue are swinging their approach into Opening Day – however with out their ace or Dodger followers on the recreation.

An aerial view of about 4,500 cardboard cutouts of followers at Dodger Stadium. July 22, 2020. (CBSLA)

The Los Angeles Dodgers will kick off their truncated 60-game season in opposition to the San Francisco Giants Thursday night time in Dodger Stadium.

Clayton Kershaw was scheduled to take the mound, however was positioned on the injured checklist due to again stiffness Thursday afternoon.

Proper-hander Dustin Could was recalled and can begin rather than Kershaw. It makes the 22-year-old Could the primary Dodger rookie pitcher to start out on opening day since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981.

Could was 2-Three with a 3.63 ERA in 14 video games in 2019, together with 4 begins.

Whereas the ballpark will probably be empty, the Dodgers have up to now bought 4,500 cardboard cutouts of followers which have been have been positioned within the seats. The $800,000 raised has gone to the L.A. Dodgers Basis charity.

The Dodgers, one of many favorites to succeed in the World Sequence due to their stacked roster, kick off the season simply sooner or later after agreeing to a staggering 12-year, $365 million take care of outfielder Mookie Betts, the richest contract in Main League Baseball historical past.

The Dodgers will probably be piping in music and crowd noise to provide the gamers as shut a really feel as doable to having followers.

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Skilled sports activities is in uncharted territory within the post-coronavirus world. How the season performs out is anybody’s guess.

Supervisor Dave Roberts of the Dodgers walks out of the dugout throughout a preseason recreation in opposition to the L.A. Angels at Dodger Stadium on July 21, 2020 in Los Angeles. (Getty Pictures)

“The last word unscripted actuality present,” Dodgers historian Mark Langill informed CBSLA Wednesday. “How boring would it not be if we knew what was gonna occur? I believed we had been going to have Opening Day in April, and look what’s occurred. We’re a mirrored image of society, and the way nice that the Dodgers can be capable of present this to the group so far as, be capable of play, be capable of, we’re all on this collectively, that has so many various causes and meanings, and so, who is aware of what’s going to occur. That’s the enjoyable half.”

First pitch is at 7 p.m. and airs on ESPN.

Till the playoffs, all of the Dodgers video games will probably be on the West Coast. Forty of the 60 video games will probably be interdivisional, and the opposite 20 interleague video games will probably be in opposition to groups in their very own geographic space with the intention to restrict journey.

MLB introduced earlier this month that the 2020 All-Star Recreation, which was set to happen at Dodger Stadium, had been canceled. Since Atlanta has already been chosen to host the 2021 All-Star Recreation, L.A. will host once more in 2022.

MLB was pressured to delay the deliberate March 26 begin to the season because of the coronavirus. In late June, after weeks of tense negotiations, the MLB house owners and the gamers’ union and the house owners reached a deal on a shortened season. In preparation, the Dodgers started a second model of spring coaching on July 3.