Mar 29

Freeway Series begins

The Dodgers and Angels put on their annual Freeway Series three-game show to end spring training for both teams starting Friday night. Opening Day is Monday, April 3 against the Padres at Dodger Stadium.

Brandon McCarthy earned the #4 spot in the rotation. He’ll be preceded by Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill and followed by Hyun-jin Ryu. At least that’s the plan today.

Roberts added that Alex Wood, a finalist for the rotation, would share the long relief role with Ross Stripling. Rounding out the bullpen are closer Kenley Jansen, set-up man Sergio Romo, Grant Dayton, Luis Avilan and Chris Hatcher.

Barnes will likely be the backup catcher, although that’s not been formally announced. Kiké Hernandez hurt his wrist the other day and is questionable for the backup infielder spot until he shows it’s healed. If he can’t go, it’ll probably be Chris Taylor, and that might mean Van Slyke stays up too, since he can play center field and Taylor doesn’t. Additionally,

The Dodgers trimmed the roster before leaving Arizona on Wednesday, sending out seven players. Infielder Rob Segedin was optioned and reassigned were outfielders Tyler Holt and O’Koyea Dickson, pitcher Brandon Morrow, first basemen Cody Bellinger and Ike Davis, and infielder Charlie Culberson.

Mar 14

Yeah, but will they hit?

David Pinto of Baseball Musings is doing hitting projections for all MLB teams, and today is the Dodgers’ turn.

I don’t want to criticize the lineup too much, since apart from Seager, the starters project to OBPs between .334 and .352. They are the Lake Woebegone of OBP, everyone above average. All those are good, and all could easily vary 20 or 30 points from their projections. The Dodgers take the value of OBP literally, and every one batting will have plenty of chances to drive in runs.

The calculations are detailed at his site, so I won’t go into them here. His work is always interesting.

Feb 28

How will they handle Urias’s innings?

Here’s the current thinking:

“I think it’s something we continue to talk through and ultimately for us, it’s what’s best for Julio and what’s best for us,” Roberts said. “I think that there is a certain innings limit that he’s going to have this year and we all understand that and we all accept that. We want him to be ready to go in September and beyond.”

In other news, Scott Kazmir will likely be the starter on Wednesday against the Giants at Scottsdale Stadium. Hyun-Jin Ryu will pitch on a back field.

In case you missed Cody Bellinger’s home run the other day, here’s a link to the video.

Feb 13

Spring Training begins this week!

“It’s a doggy-dog world out there.” I have seen that written on the Internet more times than I care to mention, and it apparently applies to the Dodgers’ starting rotation competition this spring. There are seven proven pitchers trying to fit into the two spots for fourth and fifth starters. Kershaw, Hill and Maeda look to be locks for the first three slots, but after that you’ve got McCarthy, Wood, Kazmir, Ryu, Stripling, Stewart and Urias hunting for work.

“As we look around here today, we have a lot of starting pitching depth, but as we finish spring training, guys like Alex Wood, Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir, they’re going to have to pitch somewhere,” Roberts said. “So whether it is out of the rotation or potentially out of the pen, I don’t know that answer right now.”

Oh, and once they get the starting pitching set, they can start on their “eight outfielders for three positions” problem.

It all begins on Wednesday.

Dec 31

End of another year

The Dodgers got close again in 2016, but they were beaten by what appeared to be the season’s Team of Destiny, the Cubs, in the NLCS. It was frustrating at the time, but I can appreciate the effort more now, and I can look back at the wonder that was Game Five of the NLDS against the Nationals and smile with delight.

Jon Weisman has some thoughts about remembering the little things, although I don’t think he’d classify that game as little.

Hau’oli Makahiki Hou to all my favorite Dodger fans. Pitchers and catchers report in less than two months.

Mar 22

Tibias, forearms, obliques, oh my!

Andre Ethier broke his lower leg (the tibia, for the purists) when he fouled a ball off it last Friday. He’ll be out 10-14 weeks. This means in all likelihood that Carl Crawford will be the Dodgers’ starting left-fielder for the first three months of the season.

That stinks.

So do all these injuries:

pitcher Frankie Montas had a rib removed and was placed on the 60-day disabled list. Brett Anderson suffered a bulging disk and had surgery. Hyun-Jin Ryu’s recovery from shoulder surgery has been slow and he won’t pitch in a spring game. Pitcher Josh Ravin broke his non-throwing left arm in an auto accident. Brandon McCarthy is still recovering from Tommy John surgery. Brandon Beachy (elbow) and Mike Bolsinger (oblique) have had their fifth-starter candidacies derailed by injuries.

Seager sprained his knee almost two weeks ago, but is expected back by Opening Day. Starter Alex Wood missed a start with forearm soreness. Julio Urias was slowed with slight groin tightness. Caleb Dirks never pitched because of a back injury.

Yasmani Grandal missed several games with strained forearms and came out of Monday’s game after aggravating the right one. Alex Guerrero missed a week with a twisted knee. Adrian Gonzalez missed a couple games with a bulging disk in his neck. Howie Kendrick missed a handful of games with a tight groin muscle. Justin Turner has been eased back slowly after offseason microfracture knee surgery. Crawford missed a game last week because of a sore back.

Other than that, Dodgers’ fans, it’s been a great spring training.

Mar 12

Take THAT, Marlins and Mattingly!

I missed this back when news first hit that the Marlins banned facial hair and Mattingly (he of the exceptional mustache when he played for the Yankees) agreed to enforce it, but the American Mustache Institute reacted with sorrow at that horrific turn of events.

“The entire episode marks yet another dark chapter in the way the Mustached American community can often be treated,” said Dr. Adam Paul Causgrove, chief executive officer of the American Mustache Institute. “But we will continue to fight for those who have no representation and firmly push our agenda, making the case of the power of facial hair and all that it brings to all walks of life.”

I share Dr. Causgrove’s dismay.

Feb 22

Puig! Puig! Puig!

The young man says he’s going to get back to his 2013 form this season.

“I want to improve on last year, which was my worst season in all aspects,” Puig said. “I’ve never hit so poorly, not even when I was a little kid. Coming off such a bad season, I have to work on my body, my hitting, on hitting the cutoff man, all that’s required to do well in American baseball.”

[snip]

“I want us all to be together, and for me to join in, so we don’t lose in the playoffs again,” Puig said. “I’m tired of making the playoffs and not going further and reaching the World Series.”

I hope he succeeds in doing that. If he can stay healthy and be a team player he’s a tremendous athlete.