Dodgers News: Lineup Notes For Opening Day Vs. Padres
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

For a second consecutive year the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres will face one another in a three-game series to start the regular season. However, the scene shifts to Petco Park in 2016.

Last year, the Dodgers defeated the Padres on Opening Day, 6-3, behind a go-ahead Jimmy Rollins three-run home run in the eighth inning. Los Angeles went on to take two of three from San Diego in the series.

While the Dodgers enter this season with plenty of question marks due to injuries, there are expected regulars who can be counted on, assuming of course they too don’t fall victim to the injury bug over the next few days.

Clayton Kershaw is slated to take the mound for a sixth consecutive Opening Day start. It leaves him one shy of tying Don Sutton’s Dodgers franchise record, set from 1972-78.

Kershaw is expected to be joined in the lineup by A.J. Ellis, Adrian Gonzalez and Justin Turner, with Chase Utley potentially batting leadoff, according to ESPN’s Doug Padilla:

Ellis getting the nod behind the plate hardly comes as a surprise given Yasmani Grandal’s uncertain status as he recovers from forearm soreness, and Ellis’ familiarity with Kershaw. Though, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts previously stated he doesn’t favor a personal catcher system.

Turner and Gonzalez spent much of last season batting third and fourth, respectively, in the lineup. In 38 games when hitting third in the lineup, Turner batted 269/.365/.515 with seven doubles, one triple, eight home runs and 23 RBIs.

Gonzalez hit .297/.375/.495 with 12 doubles, 10 home runs and 33 RBIs over 59 games when placed fourth in the lineup last season. Had Andre Ethier not sustained a fractured right tibia, he presumably would start in left field and bat leadoff on Opening Day with the Padres starting right-hander Tyson Ross.

Howie Kendrick presumably was the next ideal candidate, but he’s still sidelined by a left calf strain. Utley has 11 career starts in the leadoff position, last doing so nine times in 2015, including twice for the Dodgers.

Utley is a career .404/.431/.600 leadoff hitter, with six doubles, two home runs and five RBIs. Last season, he posted a .289 on-base percentage against right-handed pitchers in 308 plate appearances.