The Los Angeles Dodgers are the favorites to win it all in the fall, and they got off to a good start with a 5-3 win over the Colorado Rockies on Friday afternoon.

The two teams will play the second of a three-game set in Denver on Saturday night.

Los Angeles has one of the best lineups in the majors, but its pitching is hard to top as well. Clayton Kershaw, who has put together a first-ballot Hall of Fame career, isn’t pitching in the opening weekend, showing the depth of the rotation.

After Walker Buehler’s solid outing on Opening Day, Tony Gonsolin will get the ball in the second game. He will face the Rockies’ best starter, German Marquez, who was held out until the second game of the season.

Lefty Julio Urias, a 20-game winner last season, is scheduled to start Sunday.

Gonsolin has served mostly as a starter in his three-year career but has pitched out of the bullpen, too. Last season he made 15 appearances, 13 of them starts, and finished 4-1 with a 3.23 ERA. He missed much of the season with shoulder inflammation.

He faced Colorado once in 2021, pitching 5 1/3 innings of shutout ball in a 1-0 Dodgers win. In five career appearances — four starts — against the Rockies, he is 1-1 with a 1.79 ERA while striking out 28 and walking only three.

Justin Turner served as the designated hitter in the opener but will play third on Saturday, manager Dave Roberts said. Max Muncy played third Friday but will likely be the designated hitter. Muncy, Turner and Will Smith will serve the most time at designated hitter this season.

“I know Justin feels comfortable in that role. Max is going to have to embrace that role, because he’s going to be a DH at times,” Roberts said. “There’s really nothing next-level thinking about that.”

Marquez has been nearly unhittable at times — he took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against Pittsburgh last year before settling for a one-hit complete game — but he has also been rocked on occasion. Colorado’s only All-Star last season knows that to be great, he needs to be steadier.

“I can be better, no doubt,” Marquez said. “I want to be more consistent the whole season. Sometimes I can be up and down, up and down. I had three or four really bad games, but this year is going to be great.”

Marquez was 12-11 with a 4.40 ERA in 32 starts in 2021, his fifth full season in the majors.

Marquez has pitched well against the Dodgers in his career but doesn’t have the wins to show for it. In 13 career games — all starts — he is 2-1 with a 3.47 ERA but has had uneven outings against them. In 72 2/3 innings, he has given up 11 home runs, struck out 70 but also walked 34.

“He needs to minimize the damage in an inning that he’s stressed,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “There are times when every pitcher, no matter who he is, is stressed at least one time, even in their best game. You’ve got to get out of it. He does, a lot of times. But to really have a monster year, you’ve got to do that.”

–Field Level Media