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04/02/10 8:33 PM ET

L.A., Pittsburgh meet in Opening Day first

By Bailey Stephens/MLB.com

Opening Day is prime territory for firsts.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates will make history when they face each other on Monday at PNC Park at 1:35 p.m. ET -- meeting for the first time on Opening Day.

The Brooklyn Dodgers did play Pittsburgh in the 1955 season opener, three years before their move to Los Angeles.

The Dodgers begin 2010 looking to win their third consecutive National League West crown, which would be another franchise first. Having made very few changes from last year's club, the Dodgers have a good chance at repeating, if they can execute at the same level.

The Pirates signed Octavio Dotel and Ryan Church this offseason but still have big strides to make in their building process. There is talent in the pipeline, though, as Pedro Alvarez waits in the wings. Between young talent already on the field in Pittsburgh, in outfielder Andrew McCutchen, and that which could arrive by season's end, the Pirates' stock appears to be rising quickly.

It's a long season, but both teams could use a quick start to help them on their way, and Opening Day is a perfect place to start.

Dodgers: Padilla gets first opening nod
The Dodgers kick off what could be Joe Torre's last year as manager with Vicente Padilla on the mound. Padilla is making his first career Opening Day start and will be followed by a talented young rotation that includes Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley. Manny Ramirez is back and should still be counted on for his usual run production. This Dodgers team shouldn't be much different than last year's, although its ability to counter the adjustments made by other teams in the West remains a question. After visiting Pittsburgh, the Dodgers head south to take on the Marlins.

Pirates: Optimism abounds in Pittsburgh
Zach Duke gets the ball for the Bucs on Opening Day as they go for their fourth consecutive opening win -- something they haven't accomplished since before the end of World War II. There is a lot of optimism surrounding this club's Minor League system, with Alvarez, Jose Tabata and Brad Lincoln all waiting in the wings. After their opening series against the Dodgers, the Pirates head west to take on the D-backs.

Worth noting
When the Brooklyn Dodgers played the Pirates on Opening Day in 1955, Jackie Robinson propelled his team to a 6-1 victory, going 2-for-4 with an RBI double. Monday marks the first of seven matchups between the clubs this season, as the Pirates will head to L.A. at the end of April for four. Dodgers catcher Russell Martin, who missed most of the spring with a groin issue, should be happy to see Duke as the starter -- he sports a career .467 average against the Pirates' hurler.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.