David Huff is a 30-year-old veteran with a lifetime 25-28 record and a career ERA of 5.02 in the major leagues. He’s been called up from Oklahoma City and is filling the fifth starter role for the Dodgers this evening. I imagine his 2-0 record with a 1.32 ERA over 13 1/3 innings during spring training had a lot to do with his call-up for this start. Darwin Barney was sent down to OKC to make room for Huff.
He’ll be opposed by RHP Hisashi Iwakuma, whose first start didn’t go well. He’s 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA. He’s a good pitcher, though, as witnessed by his 38-21 record with an ERA of 3.11 in his four years in Seattle. That’s after eleven years in the Japanese league where he compiled a 107-69 record and had an ERA of 3.25.
Tonight’s #Dodgers lineup vs. the Mariners:
Here it is at last, the first day of the new season, with the changes the new management made over the winter soon to be on display.
Will Jimmy Rollins play better defense than Hanley Ramirez? Will Howie Kendrick hit better than Dee Gordon? Will Kershaw win a fourth Cy Young Award? Can he lead the National League in ERA for the fifth consecutive year? Will Hyun-Jin Ryu recover from his shoulder woes and win more than fourteen games? Can Kenley Jansen come back from his foot woes and regain his form as an elite closer? Will the Dodgers miss Matt Kemp’s bat more than they’ll be helped by Puig’s play in right field? Can Uribe play up to his standard of the past two years while remaining healthy enough to play 125 games or so? Can Justin Turner keep up his torrid hitting from last year while coming off the bench and playing all over the infield? Will Joc Pederson keep up the hitting he did in spring training? What’s going to happen with André Ethier?
Questions, we have questions. Today we start getting answers.
Your #OpeningDay#Dodgers lineup:
Correction: I thought the Dodger Insider post I linked to was written by Jon Weisman. I’m still not used to thinking of that site as a multi-author blog. It was actually written by Cary Osborne. I’m sorry for the misattribution!
By Mr. Weisman’s Cary Osborne’s calculations, the moves the Dodgers made during the off-season have made them the most improved team in the West in terms of Defensive Runs Saved.
Huh? What’s that number, you ask? Defensive Runs Saved is an attempt to determine the value of a player against other players of the same position. As Joe Posnanski put it at his blog: “the number determines (using film study and computer comparisons) how many more or fewer successful plays a defensive player will make than league average.”
Gone from the Dodgers are Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez and Dee Gordon, who combined for -37 DRS. In are Howie Kendrick, and Jimmy Rollins and what appears to be either Joc Pederson or Andre Ethier. Since there isn’t enough Major League statistical data on Pederson, we’re going to slot Ethier into the replacement for Kemp. Rollins, Kendrick and Ethier combined for six DRS. That’s a swing of +43 DRS.
He’s got the other NL West teams’ DRS data, and he comes up with the startling fact that the Dodgers are the only team in the division whose changes over the winter give it a net positive number.
Update: Kemp is gone to the Padres for catcher Yasmani Grandal and a pair of pitching prospects. Fedex also goes to the Padres, along with about $30M to defray part of the cost of Kemp’s contract.
Wow! In very short order today the Dodgers
Got 36-year-old shortstop Jimmy Rollins from the Phillies to fill the gap left behind when Hanley Ramirez went the free agent route
Traded Dee Gordon and Dan Haren to the Marlins in exchange for pitcher Andrew Heaney, backup catcher Austin Barnes, minor leaguers Enrique Hernandez and Chris Hatcher
Flipped Heaney to the Angels for second-baseman Howie Kendrick
May be close to signing free-agent pitcher Brandon McCarthy
and have discussed adding pitcher Cole Hamels and second-baseman Chase Utley to the Jimmy Rollins deal with the Phillies
And there’s still tomorrow to find deals which send Ethier, Crawford or Kemp to somebody for a starting pitcher or prospects!
Now that they’ve gotten Kendrick, I can’t see why they’d want Utley except as more bait to trade off, as they did with Heaney (hey, kid, I’d have liked to see you pitch!). Do the Phillies need an outfielder?
Update: changed the post title to day 3, which is accurate. I lost a day somewhere.
Kershaw v. Jorge De La Rosa. Clayton has a career 5-3 record at Coors Field, but that’s with a 5.24 ERA. De La Rosa is a lefty, and the Dodgers have had trouble with guys who throw from that side all year (207/.338/.282 slash line).
#Dodgers lineup at Colorado:
Van Slyke CF
Madison Bumgarner for the Giants, Paul Maholm for the Dodgers. Seems like a mismatch, particularly when you read this data about the Dodgers’ outfielders past performances against the Giants’ pitcher: “Carl Crawford is 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Andre Ethier is 3-for-24 with nine strikeouts. Matt Kemp is 4-for-24 with seven strikeouts. Yasiel Puig is 4-for-15 with five strikeouts, while Scott Van Slyke is 2-for-5 with three walks.”
Bumgarner is 3-3 with a 3.18 ERA on the season; Maholm is 1-2 with a 4.70 ERA. Each pitcher did have a quality start in his last appearance.
Lineup when available.
#Dodgers lineup vs. Giants:
Van Slyke LF
It’s the Fightin’ Phils’ Cliff Lee (2-2, 4.00 ERA) against the Dodgers’ Paul Maholm (0-1, 4.97 ERA).
If we’re to take MLB’s Preview as gospel, the Dodgers should just forfeit.
Of his four big-name outfielders, Carl Crawford’s .212 (7-for-33) lifetime mark against Lee is the best of the bunch. Yasiel Puig is 1-for-7 vs. the lefty; Andre Ethier is 0-for-11 with five strikeouts; Matt Kemp, who generally wears out lefties, is 1-for-18 with 11 whiffs.
How’s Scott Van Slyke? He’s 0-for-5 with three strikeouts against Lee.
Jeff Passan wrote a good editorial column exhorting MLB to take action to better control the way Cuban athletes are allowed into this country when defecting. He rightly calls the current system a form of human trafficking.
Dodger Insider has a fascinating little story about the Dodgers’ franchise official win total: Elias Sports Bureau has it at 9,997 including the twelve wins this year, while the official Dodgers’ records have it at 9,984 including those wins. The discrepancy is owed to wins achieved with the help of an ineligible player in 1899 (!).
One of the two de facto aces on the Dodgers staff while Kershaw’s out, Hyun-Jin Ryu brings his 2 – 1 record and his 2.57 ERA to this game. He’ll face Madison Bumgarner, who has a 2 – 0 record with a 3.31 ERA as well as a hot bat. He hit a grand slam and drove in five runs in his last outing.
Mattingly is going with an all right-handed outfield against Bumgarner, saving Ethier and Crawford for pinch-hitting duty.
#Dodgers lineup at San Francisco:
Van Slyke LF
Haren v. Cahill. On paper this shouldn’t be a contest. Haren is 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA in 12 innings over two starts. Cahill is 0-3 with a 7.90 ERA in 22 1/3 innings over three starts. “But that’s why they play the games,” says the aphorism.
#Dodgers lineup at Arizona: