Roberts keeps switching batting orders around for reasons I don’t understand. Bellinger’s leading off? Toles was leading off and now he’s hitting eighth? Utley’s hitting 0-for April and yet he’s at second base?
There’s another lefty on the hill in this game, but for a change it’s the Dodgers’ pitcher. Alex Wood (1-0, 1.00 ERA, 8K) takes the injured Rich Hill’s spot tonight against the D-Backs’ righty Taijuan Walker (2-1, 3.94, 16K). Wood has made one previous start this season. He went 3 2/3 innings against the Cubs on April 10, walked five, struck out four and gave up only one earned run. He’s pitched an additional 5 1/3 innings of relief this year. Walker allowed one run in five innings with seven strikeouts against the Dodgers on April 16 and got the win.
Lineup when available.
Tonight's Dodger lineup at D-backs: Pederson CF Seager SS Turner 3B González 1B Puig RF Grandal C Toles LF Utley 2B Wood P pic.twitter.com/t1ONkcKAf5
It’ll be lefty Alex Wood (0-0, 0.00 ERA) making the start for the Dodgers, replacing Rich Hill (on the 10-day DL with a blister). Wood has made one appearance this year, against the Padres April 5. He threw two scoreless innings in relief of Hill in the Dodgers’ 3-1 win that day.
He’ll face lefty Jon Lester (0-0, 1.80 ERA), who went five-plus innings on Opening Day against the Cardinals in a game the Cubs eventually lost 4-3. Lester’s only 33, but it feels like he’s been around forever. He’s 2-2 with a 3.06 ERA in five career regular-season starts against the Dodgers.
The Cubs get their World Series rings and the Championship banner today, and that’s nice, but Dave Roberts is less than enthusiastic:
“Is it inspiring to see? No,” he said. “I think it’s great for the Cubs and great for their fans, and it’s been a long time coming. But for our guys to be on the line for 45 minutes to watch the rings when it’s 40 degrees, I don’t know how inspiring that will be.”
Lineup when available.
Dodgers lineup vs. LHP Lester: Forsythe 2B Seager SS Turner 3B Gutierrez LF Puig RF Gonzalez 1B Grandal C Pederson CF Wood P
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.
“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.
MLB released its Top 100 Prospectslist and the Dodgers placed five guys on it. Only two are in the top fifty; 1B Bellinger at #13 and RHP Yadier Alvarez at #49. Bellinger is up 19 spots since the last list was released at mid-season last summer, while Alvarez is up 49.
Logan Forsythe is glad to be on a winning team. “I’m happy to just come over to a winning ballclub, organization and help some young guys if I can, jump in with the core guys and try to help these guys anyway I can,” Forsythe said.
The Dodgers ask Rich Hill (12-4, 2.06 ERA) to continue the excellent work he’s done in his first four starts for the team, although he did stumble his last time out when he gave up four runs in 5 1/3 innings against the D-Backs. Those were the first four runs he’d given up since he came to the Dodgers, so they can be forgiven. He’ll face Johnny Cueto (16-5, 2.86 ERA), who’s been a horse for the Giants all year long. This will be his fifth start against the Dodgers this season. He gave up six runs to them in April but has given up two runs or fewer in each of the last three times he’s faced them.
Turner on Cueto:
“He only throws three pitches, but with the slide-step and hesitation, it feels like nine or 10 pitches,” said Turner. “He changes the tempo, and it messes with my timing. For me, it’s a fight because of my leg kick. That quick pitch, it makes it hard for me to get the leg kick. I try to anticipate the quick pitch every time and be ready to go. It’s a cat-and-mouse game every time. He’s one of my favorite guys to face.”
Bud Norris (5-7, 4.17 ERA) will make his fourth start for the Dodgers; he’s given up seven runs in 16 innings in the first three. He’ll face Gio Gonzalez (5-8, 4.70 ERA), whose July has been an improvement over his June; in his last start he went 5 2/3 innings against the Mets and gave up two runs, the fewest he’d allowed in any start since May.
Rumors have it the Dodgers are hunting a front-line pitcher like the Rays’ Chris Archer, now that Kershaw’s return is delayed, Ryu is back on the DL and Alex Wood’s elbow needed surgery which puts him out for eight weeks.
The team is obviously very highly-strung as we head down the stretch of the season:
Julio Urias (0-0, 10.13 ERA) gets the start which would normally be Kenta Maeda’s, but Maeda’s hand is still a little sore from getting hit with a line drive his last time on the mound. He’s expected to start Friday against the Braves in Los Angeles. Urias’s opponent today will be right-hander Kyle Hendricks (3-4, 2.93 ERA), who got a complete game win over the Phillies on May 28. Urias lasted only 2 2/3 innings in his major league debut against the Mets May 27.
Alex Wood has a posterior impingement of his elbow and will need four weeks of rest. After that he’ll start a throwing program and then pitch in a rehab assignment. Hyun-Jin Ryu threw a 90-mph fastball in Fresno last Wednesday and woke up with shoulder soreness, so the team has slowed his rehab down. Brandon McCarthy threw 45 pitches in two innings of bullpen work and hit 89 mph. Scott Van Slyke is expected to come off the 15-day DL this weekend in LA.
Lineup when available.
Utley 2B Seager SS Turner 3B Gonzalez 1B Pederson CF Thompson RF Crawford LF Ellis C Urias P
The last time the Dodgers saw Jake Arrieta it was a Sunday Night Baseball game on ESPN in which Jessica Mendoza made her second ESPN appearance and he threw a no-hitter against them. That was last August 30. Since then he’s thrown another no-hitter, hasn’t lost a game yet this season, and is currently 9-0 with a 1.72 ERA. Scott Kazmir (4-3, 4.84 ERA) has been improving (he’s 3-1 in May with a 4.13 ERA) since a poor start, but he’s got his work cut out for him. He’ll need to hold the Cubbies at bay and hope the Dodgers can get a couple of runs off Arrieta.
Oh, the Cubs have won all of the last 23 starts Arrieta has made. That ties a Major League record.
Lineup when available.
New Dodger lineup: Utley 2B Seager SS Gonzalez 1B Pederson CF Thompson RF Kendrick 3B Grandal C Crawford LF Kazmir P
Personnel news: Julio Urias will be brought back up to replace Alex Wood, who’s been placed on the 15-day DL with elbow soreness. Yasiel Puig has been scratched from today’s game with a sore left hamstring and Alex Guerrero has been designated for assignment.