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.

Jan 28

Almost time for the Ps and Cs to report

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 have a ton of starting pitching.

Veterans Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Alex Wood — each on the rebound from injuries last year — are on the outside of the starting rotation looking in, barring injury or a trade.

Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda and Julio Urias are the top four, with the fifth spot up for grabs among Kazmir, McCarthy, Ryu, Wood and young starters Brock Stewart and Ross Stripling.

Oct 22

NLCS Game Six, 2016

Dodgers at Cubs, 5:00PM PT, TV: FS1

LHP Clayton Kershaw (2-0, 1 Sv, 3.72 ERA this postseason) tries to keep the Dodgers afloat for a Game Seven. He’ll face RHP Kyle Hendricks (0-1, 3.00 ERA this postseason). They matched up in Game Two and Kershaw got the best of it, going seven innings and getting the 1-0 win. Both pitchers will have had five days rest, one more than usual. I doubt that makes a difference for either of them.

Lineup when available.

Huh. “Shake up the order” is the phrase of the day.

Oct 16

NLCS Game Two, 2016

Dodgers at Cubs, 5:00PM PT, TV: FS1

The Dodgers once again ask LHP Clayton Kershaw (12-4, 1.69 ERA) to pull their bacon out of the fire or stop the bleeding or pick your cliché. He’s pitching on regular rest from his last start, as long as you don’t count his bullpen heroics in Game Five of the NLDS against him. He’ll face RHP Kyle Hendricks (16-8, 2.13 ERA). Hendricks finished up strongly, going 7-1 with a 1.72 ERA in his last 11 starts. Like Lester, he’s been his best at Wrigley Field (9-2, 1.32). We know what Kershaw’s done, although his strikeout to walk ratio is still startling: he struck out 172 hitters while walking only 11 (one intentionally). That is a 15.6-1 ratio.

The visitors always want to steal a game in the other team’s home park. The Dodgers had a shot at it last night but failed. They’re hoping they can do it tonight.

Interesting note: the Cubs didn’t face any of the Dodgers’ three most likely starting pitchers in this series during the regular season. Kershaw faced them twice in 2015, beating him at Wrigley and losing at Dodger Stadium.

Lineup:

Oct 11

NLDS Elimination Game(s), 2016

Nationals at Dodgers, 2:00PM PT, TV: FS1

To extend their season the Dodgers have decided to go with Clayton Kershaw on short rest. He’s done this three other times in the postseason and put up a 1.89 ERA. However, those other times he hadn’t spent two months of the season on the DL with a bad back. We shall see. His opponent will be RHP Joe Ross (7-5, 3.43 ERA). More preview here from ESPN.

Lineup:

Cubs at Giants, 5:30PM PT, TV: FS1

The Cubs go with RHP John Lackey (11-8, 3.35 ERA) against the Giants’ LHP Matt Moore (13-12, 4.08 ERA). Lackey is a postseason veteran who’s got an 8-5 record with a 3.11 ERA over 127 1/3 postseason innings. This will mark the 16th playoff series for him. Moore has given up two runs or fewer in six of his last eight starts, so he’s on his game.

Oct 07

Divisional Series AL Games Two, NL Games One, 2016

Beginning at 10:00AM PT, there are four Division Series games on tap this Friday. First is Game Two of the Blue Jays-Rangers series, then at 1:30PM PT it’s Game Two of the Red Sox-Indians series. Next at 2:30PM PT is Game One of the Dodgers-Nationals NLDS, and then to close the day out Game One of the Giants-Cubs NLDS begins at 6:00PM PT.

Toronto at Texas, TV: TBS, SportsNet

The Jays start LHP J.A. Happ (20-4, 3.18 ERA), who ended the season with a rush, putting up a 2.35 ERA over his last five starts. He’ll face RHP Yu Darvish (7-5, 3.41 ERA), who’s 3-2 with a 2.45 ERA in seven starts against Toronto. Darvish finished strongly too, allowing one run and five hits with 21 strikeouts in 13 innings in wins over the A’s and Rays to end his regular season.

Boston at Cleveland, TV: TBS

The Red Sox send LHP David Price (17-9, 3.99 ERA) to the hill to face RHP Corey Kluber (18-9, 3.14 ERA). Price has been an ace everywhere he’s pitched, but in the postseason he’s been unable to replicate his regular season performances. He’s 2-7 with a 5.12 ERA in 14 career postseason appearances, with both of those wins coming in relief. Kluber skipped his last scheduled start with a tight quadriceps and has had ten days of rest.

San Francisco at Chicago, TV: FS1

The Giants ask RHP Johnny Cueto (18-5, 2.79 ERA) to pick up where Bumgarner left off in the Wild Card game, which might not be unthinkable: Cueto’s last start in the postseason was a complete game 1-0 shutout of the Mets in the 2015 World Series. He closed the season with a 4-0 record and 1.78 ERA in five starts in September. His opponent will be LHP Jon Lester (19-5, 2.44 ERA), who’s had plenty of postseason experience himself, going 6-6 with a 2.85 ERA in 16 games, 14 of which were starts. He finished the season with a flourish, going 9-1 with a 1.46 ERA in his last 12 starts.

Los Angeles at Washington, TV: FS1. Announcer Kenny Albert with Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci serving as analysts and Jon Paul Morosi contributing reports. Radio: ESPN. Dave O’Brien does play-by-play and Jim Bowden is the analyst.

The Dodgers send LHP Clayton Kershaw (12-4, 1.69 ERA) to the mound to make his tenth postseason start. He’s had bad luck in previous playoff appearances, going just 2-6 with an ERA of 4.59 in his career. He spent two months on the disabled list this year but came back to go 1-2 with a 1.29 ERA in the five starts he made in September and October. He’ll face RHP Max Scherzer (20-7, 2.96 ERA), who’s gone 4-3 with a 3.73 ERA in twelve postseason appearances, all with Detroit. The Nationals have some serious injury worries which may have an impact on this series: C Wilson Ramos is out for the year, P Stephen Strasbourg won’t pitch until the next round if Washington gets that far, 2B Daniel Murphy has made one game appearance since September 20 and RF Bryce Harper has both a jammed left thumb and a sore neck.

Lineup:

Oct 01

Game 161, 2016

Dodgers at Giants, 1:05PM PT, TV: SPNLA, KTLA, CS-BA

It’s a mound mismatch, if you look at the records of the two starters. The Dodgers send out Clayton Kershaw (12-3, 1.65 ERA) to face the Giants’ rookie lefthander Ty Blach (0-0, 2.00 ERA). Kershaw has been pretty successful in the Giants’ home park; he’s 10-3 with a 1.30 ERA lifetime. This will be Blach’s second major league start, but he’s seen the Dodgers before: he pitched three scoreless innings against them on September 21. The Giants need to win badly: they’re a game ahead of the Cardinals for the second Wild Card and need both a win and a St. Louis loss today to clinch a spot in the postseason. If they get one but not the other they clinch a tiebreaker game in St. Louis.

Charlie Culberson asked Vin Scully to sign the bat Charlie hit the walkoff HR with last weekend.

Lineup:

Sep 24

Game 155, 2016

Rockies at Dodgers, 6:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, ROOTRM, MLBN (out-of-market only)

This will be Clayton Kershaw’s (11-3, 1.79 ERA) fourth start since his return from the DL. In his previous three he’s gone from two earned runs allowed in three innings to zero in five, and then zero in six. In his last start he threw 88 pitches, so he’s close to fully recovered from his back problem (we all hope). Opposing him will be Chad Bettis (13-7, 4.79 ERA), who is on a roll himself: he’s given up three earned runs or fewer in every start he’s made in the last month.

In case you missed it, here’s Kirk Gibson doing commentary on Vinnie’s call of his 1988 World Series Game One home run.

Lineup when available.

Sep 19

Game 150, 2016

Giants at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, CSBA

It’s a battle of left-handed aces, with Clayton Kershaw (11-3, 1.81 ERA) making his third start since coming off the DL. He’ll face Madison Bumgarner (14-9, 2.66 ERA), who’s not been ace-like against the Dodgers this season, going 0-2 with a 5.63 ERA in three starts against them.

This may not be all we need to know about the Giants’ bullpen, but it’s significant:

The Giants’ bullpen has matched a franchise record set in 2004 and ’05 with 28 blown saves this season. Santiago Casilla has nine blown saves alone.

Unlikely masher department: Kiké Hernandez is hitting .579 with three home runs in 19 at-bats against Bumgarner.

Lineup:

Sep 14

Game 145, 2016

Dodgers at Yankees, 1:05PM PT, TV: SPNLA, YES

Clayton Kershaw (11-3, 1.89 ERA) makes his second start since coming off the DL. He’ll face Michael Pineda (6-11, 5.07 ERA). Pineda has given up 14 runs in his last four starts. This will be Kershaw’s first start in Yankee Stadium; he’s got a 1.20 ERA against them in two previous appearances.

Lineup:

Welcome back, Andre!