Arizona back home, Giants open season in desert

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 30, 2014 at 4:57 pm •  Published: March 30, 2014

PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Diamondbacks played their "home" opener 7,800 miles away from Phoenix.

After two losses to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Australia, they truly open at home Monday against the San Francisco Giants.

Left-hander Madison Bumgarner, an All-Star last season, makes his first opening-day start for the Giants and Brandon McCarthy starts for the Diamondbacks.

The four-game series features two teams that will try to unseat the favored Dodgers in the NL West.

San Francisco won he division title and the World Series two years ago, a year after the Diamondbacks finished atop the NL West.

Arizona has been hit by significant injuries to its top starting pitcher, Patrick Corbin, and its bullpen setup man, David Hernandez.

"Virtually every team is going to have obstacles," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. "We've had some hit us early. We"ll be resilient. We'll have to fight through it."

New Arizona closer Addison Reed said there's no way to avoid the kind of injuries Corbin and Hernandez sustained.

"But our farm system is deep," he said. "So many guys we can plug in"

Bumgarner, at 24 the youngest of the San Francisco starters, was 13-9 with a 2.77 ERA in 31 starts last season. As usual, starting pitching is the Giants' strength, with a rotation that includes Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and 38-year-old newcomer Tim Hudson.

The Giants finished third in the NL West last season, behind the Dodgers and Diamondbacks.

"There's a bad taste in everybody's mouths," San Francisco catcher Buster Posey said.

San Francisco had a hard time scoring last year.

"We've got to pick it up here," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "This is going to be a big road trip for us. We've got to have these bats going."

San Francisco needs output from speedy center fielder Angel Pagan, who was bothered by a sore back during spring training.

Wade Miley and Trevor Cahill started in Australia. Miley was solid but not as good as reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw in a 3-1 opening defeat, and Cahill was hit hard in a 7-5 loss. Miley and Cahill will start the second and third games of the Arizona series, while newcomer Bronson Arroyo, sidelined by a sore back during much of spring training, is to start the series finale.