If Spring Training is a place to get one's mindset in regular-season mode, Kershaw's disgust with the three runs on six hits he allowed in his 3 2/3-inning spring finale shows the bell has rung for the 24-year-old lefty. "I gave up runs and hits, and usually that constitutes a bad outing," Kershaw said. "I like to pitch better whenever I go out there. It's no fun to pitch bad. It doesn't count until April 5. I hope I got this out of my system." Kershaw registered a 2.45 ERA in five spring starts, including 19 hits allowed, 16 strikeouts and eight walks in 22 innings. In 2011, before putting together his Cy Young season, he went for a 2.49 ERA with 26 hits, 20 strikeouts, six walks in 25 1/3 innings. Right fielder Andre Ethier looked healthy and strong in Spring Training after missing the end of the 2011 season with knee surgery. Ethier led the Dodgers with 16 RBIs in Cactus League play. Meanwhile, Kemp's most impressive number actually was one that he and the Dodgers would not like to see carried into the season: He had 24 strikeouts in 62 at-bats. Padres: Starting out on the right foot
After stumbling out of the gate last season, the Padres are consciously doing what they can to ensure it doesn't happen again this April. In 14 of their first 25 games to start 2011, the Padres scored two or fewer runs -- including seven shutouts -- as they got off to a 9-16 start. "We're making sure all those things that we weren't doing well and caused us not to get off to a good start are over and done with," right fielder Will Venable said. "We'll continue to move forward, get good swings and hopefully get off to a good start." For the second straight season, Volquez will be making the Opening Day start. But what a road in between the two starts for Volquez, who was sent down to the Minors twice last year while struggling to a 5.71 ERA and then became part of the Latos trade to move to the Padres. "I'm excited to be here," said Volquez, who allowed five earned runs on six hits in last year's Opening Day start against Milwaukee. "I think we have a great team right now." Worth noting
The two teams have met on five previous occasions on Opening Day, with the Dodgers winning three and the Padres two. The last time was in 2009, when the Dodgers took a 4-1 victory at Petco Park. The starting pitching matchups for the remainder of the opening series will be Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley vs. Padres left-hander Cory Luebke on Friday, Dodgers lefty Chris Capuano vs. Padres right-hander Dustin Moseley on Saturday and Dodgers right-hander Aaron Harang vs. Padres left-hander Clayton Richard in the Sunday finale. Mattingly on the NL West: "It's going to be about pitching and defense, low-scoring games for the most part. It's one of those divisions where you can kind of count on everybody beating each other, so you just have to be steady and keep moving."