In terms of who plays where and when against Milwaukee, Gavin Lux will likely be paired up the middle with rookie infielder Miguel Vargas, who hasn’t been swinging due to a hairline fracture on his pinky finger, but he should play about five innings. David Peralta could be in the lineup as well. Aside from knowing that starter Michael Grove will be the starting pitcher on Saturday, there are still questions brewing, especially with lineup construction.
“I’ve thought about it, you know,” said Roberts, when asked about how much time he’s spent on lineup combinations. “It’s just trying to figure out, you know, Mookie [Betts] at the top, is it best? Where to put J.D., where to put Will Smith, where’s Max [Muncy]? I don’t think there’s a right answer. As we have conversations and let things play out, it’ll show itself a little more.”
How does the up-the-middle defense hold up?
The Dodgers will have a new starting shortstop, second baseman and center fielder. Lux moves to short, Vargas will start at second (not till next week when his hairline-fractured finger is fully healed), and center is still uncertain.
Can Syndergaard turn back the clock?
Can he get his velocity back, and will his command come with it?
Which young pitchers take the next step?
If there are no injuries the rotation on Opening Day will be Julio Urías, Clayton Kershaw, Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May and Syndergaard. After them? Ryan Pepiot, Michael Grove and Andre Jackson. According to observers, Pepiot has impressed early in camp, and Grove will start the Dodgers’ opener on Saturday.
Top prospects Gavin Stone and Bobby Miller will also be in the mix. Stone is the Dodgers’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year and is the more polished of the two pitchers. Miller, on the other hand, hits triple digits with ease, and scouts fall in love with his ability to spin the baseball.
“It’s going to be important,” Roberts said of the Dodgers’ young pitchers continuing to develop. “They have to take the next step because we expect more from them this year than we did last year.”
That’s an astonishing statistic: 60 times Kershaw has gone seven-plus innings without allowing a run. In a different era he’d have been pushing the shutout numbers that Sutton (52), Drysdale (49) and Koufax (40) put up for the Dodgers.
Today in Dodgers’ history:
1951 Preacher Roe wins his 20th game of the season when the Dodgers beat the Pirates at Forbes Field, 3-1. The 36 year-old southpaw will finish the season with a 22-3 record.
2002 Chin-Feng Chen becomes the first Taiwan-born player to appear in the major leagues as he walks and scores as a pinch-hitter for the Dodgers against the Rockies. The 24 year-old first baseman-outfielder played for the 1990 Taiwan team which won the Little League World Series.
2008 Mets shortstop Jose Reyes, with his eighth-inning thievery in a 7-4 loss to the Braves at Shea Stadium, becomes the first player to have four straight seasons of 50 or more stolen bases playing for a New York area team, which also includes Yankees, Dodgers, and Giants. The accomplishment extends the infielder’s own record, as he is also the only Gotham major leaguer to achieve the feat for three consecutive years.
Also, in 1990 Mariner Ken Griffey and his son, Junior, become the first father and son to hit homers in the same major league game. The back-to-back blasts are given up by Angel hurler Kirk McCaskill.
RHP Sonny Gray (6-3, 3.19 ERA) pitches for the visitors this evening and RHP Ryan Pepiot (1-0, 2.76 ERA) does the same for the Dodgers. In Gray’s last start he went five scoreless innings and gave up just one hit but got no decision in a game which blew up after he left: The Jays got three runs in the sixth and six in the eighth and won 9-3. Pepiot has been in four games for the Dodgers, all starts in this his rookie season. He got his first win in his last game, the first one in which he went as many as five innings. He gave up four hits and one run in that one.
The Dodgers recalled RHP Ryan Pepiot and optioned RHP Andre Jackson.
1979 Dodger hurler Don Sutton sets a franchise record with his 50th shutout, blanking San Francisco at Candlestick Park, 9-0. The 34 year-old right-hander had previously shared the mark with Don Drysdale. (Ed. note: 50! In his twelfth year [now fifteenth] Clayton Kershaw has a career total of 15! In fact, Kershaw hasn’t thrown a complete game since 2017, which shows how the management of pitchers has changed.)
1995 The first forfeit in the majors in sixteen years occurs when the fans for the third time during the night throw promotional souvenir baseballs onto the Dodger Stadium field. At the time of the decision to halt the game, Los Angeles is trailing the Cardinals, 2-1 with one out in the bottom of the ninth.
August 10 is a good day for pitchers: in 1971 at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, Juan Marichal records his 50th career shutout as the Giants blank the Expos, 1-0. The Dominican hurler’s ninth inning double helps to build the winning run.