No new hire to replace Mattingly yet. I suspect (hope?) the Dodgers won’t step on the World Series by announcing a new manager in the midst of the games. Remember 2007 when Scott Boras announced that Alex Rodriguez, his client, was going to opt out of his contract with the Yankees in the middle of Game Four?
Should the Dodgers keep Puig? Will they sign Greinke? Can Pederson find a hitting stroke? Who’s gonna play second base? Will Ryu, McCarthy and possibly Arroyo recover? Can Alex Wood become an effective pitcher? Will Bolsinger improve?
Buster Olney of ESPN offers up seven things the Dodgers should do this off-season.
Re-sign Zack Greinke, no matter how much he wants or how long he wants it for
Decide on Mattingly’s fate
Add another deluxe starting pitcher
Decide Puig’s fate.
Keep Howie Kendrick
Shore up the bullpen
Change the clubhouse culture
On Puig: Olney reports that on the day Puig started in the series against the Mets he caught the last bus from the hotel, he didn’t start the stretch period with the rest of the team and he didn’t take as many cuts in the batting cage as usual. He thinks the Dodgers need to decide whether Yasiel’s “quirks” can be lived with and if so, they need to get the other players to learn to live with them too.
Well, maybe. From what we’ve read in the media Puig does seem to have a little trouble with clocks, but he’s shown nothing to me that would indicate he’s not a team player.
On clubhouse culture: He says some players felt “unsettled because for others besides Kershaw and Adrian Gonzalez and a handful of others, there was no sense about who might be headed out the door and who might arrive. Some players spoke about a diminished sense of investment in each other.” Olney then says the Giants, Cardinals and Pirates all exude mutual respect and esprit de corps, and the Dodgers don’t have it.
Who’s to say? He’s certainly in a better position to know that than am I. I can certainly understand if some of the everyday players whose names no one but fans know might feel like they’re parts to be slotted in from day-to-day.
If you’ve got an Insider account at ESPN you can read the whole thing.
It’s a pitching rematch of last Saturday’s game featuring the Cards’ Michael Wacha versus the Dodgers’ Carlos Frias. Frias won the first game 5-1, going seven innings and giving up just that (unearned) run. Wacha gave up just three hits but four earned runs, including a three-run homer to Yasmani Grandal in the sixth which chased him. It was Wacha’s only loss of the season so far: he’s 7-1 with a 2.27 ERA. Frias is 4-2 with a 4.29 ERA.
Regarding Kenley Jansen’s non-appearance in last night’s ninth inning, Mattingly said repeatedly “he just wasn’t available.”
Kenley said that high blood pressure coupled with his heart procedure could have made him go in to Afib that's why there was high concern
It’s the Phillies’ Kyle Kendrick, who is 0-1 with a 3.50 ERA, facing Dodgers right-hander Daren Haren, who is 3-0 with a 2.16 ERA.
The Dodgers defense has been awful, as we’ve all seen. They’ve committed 22 errors in their first 22 games, which won’t cut it.
“I’m assuming, if we’re going to get to where we want to go, it’s not going to be with 10-8 and 7-6 games, it’ll be 4-2 and 3-1 where a mistake can cost a run when they don’t come easily,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “You don’t get as much attention for playing solid defense. They don’t say, ‘Bills [Chad Billingsley] really backed up the bases well today.’ But we have to change what we’ve been doing. We need a much better concentrated effort. There are going to be certain physical limitations for certain players, but we can’t afford mental mistakes. We need to be in the right position and communicate. These guys know what to do. We’ve got to make sure we put enough focus on it. I’ve expressed it to them once and will continue to.”
Today is the home opener for the Dodgers, and it’s against their fellow migrants from New York, the San Francisco Giants, also known as “the hated enemy.”
First, we get the news that Matt Kemp will start in center field. Second, we learn that that was not the original plan, but that Mattingly changed the lineup to try to get the message across to Yasiel Puig that being late costs playing time.
It’s Ryu v. Vogelsong at 1:10PM PST on SPNLA or in Northern California on CSN-BA.
Paul Maholm and Zack Greinke will start Saturday and Sunday for the Dodgers, while rehabbing right-hander Josh Beckett will pitch in a Minor League game Friday.
Maholm was signed to be insurance if fifth starter Beckett wasn’t fully healed from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. Beckett’s recovery, however, was complicated by a bruised right hand suffered in the clubhouse in Spring Training. This will be Maholm’s first start of the season.
Beckett will pitch for Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga. Greinke, who pitched five innings for a win Tuesday, will be pitching on normal rest.
#Dodgers updated lineup:
Update: According to SI, “Puig thought he was supposed to be at the park at 10 AM PT, when he was actually supposed to be there in time for a stretch at 9:40 AM.” Okay, that’s a lot less annoying than I thought it might be. I was expecting that he’d underestimated traffic and hadn’t left his home on time, which in my world is unacceptable (I’m ten minutes early for everything).
If there’s a more magical phrase than that to a baseball fan, it can only be “Game Seven.”
Anyway, the Dodgers’ Spring Training Camp in Arizona opens today for those two groups of players. The rest of the team arrives on Saturday. Here’s the official schedule.
Chad Moriyama has several wonderful pictures at his place, including ones of the Dodgers’ spring training caps (!). Gotta maximize revenue opportunities, I guess, but specific caps for training camp?
I’m preoccupied with a new dog, but I’ll start up the blog in earnest as the whole squad gets to Camelback Ranch, honest.
Bonus Training Coverage: The Vatican (!) just released video of John Paul II taking batting practice from 1987 while on an American tour. This took place in California.
Note: There’s some speculation as to whether that’s really Pope John Paul II, based on the English fluency of the hitter and the lack of interest the spectators are taking in his swings. Who knows? It’s a fun video.
Update: Jon found this article at Fox Sports about our new #2 guy Greinke. Apparently he’s a pretty decent judge of baseball talent; so says his previous manager with the Brewers, and Ned Colletti agrees. Greinke met with Stan Kasten, Colletti and Mattingly before signing and they talked baseball:
“The conversation went three hours and could easily have gone longer,” Colletti said. “We talked about our draft — he knew Seager. We asked him to go through our lineup, and he went through all of our hitters’ strengths and weaknesses.
“I looked at Donnie, he looked at me. Zack was dead on.”