Apr 18

Game 15, 2017

The Los Angeles Dodgers once again want you to forget everything you think you knew about starting pitching. So writes Tom Verducci at Sports Illustrated this morning.

Hill has a “hot spot” on his finger? Shut him down (twice) so it doesn’t become a blister. Urias is perfectly healthy but is only 20 years old and needs to be protected so that he throws only about 165 innings during the regular season? Stash him in Oklahoma City and conserve his innings. (His starts have lasted 3 2/3 and 4 2/3 innings. He should join the Dodgers at the end of this month, with occasional rests during the season.) Kazmir has a bad hip? Let him take his time in extended spring.

I emailed a link to this newsletter from the LA Times’ Houston Mitchell to those of you on my mailing list earlier. If you like it and want to subscribe, there’s a box at the bottom of that page where you can sign up to get it directly.

Rockies at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, ROOTRM

LHP Kyle Freeland (1-1, 5.91 ERA) goes for the Rockies, LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (0-2, 5.79 ERA) goes for the Dodgers. Freeland gave up one run in six innings and beat Ryu and the Dodgers earlier this month. Ryu’s velocity hasn’t gotten back to what it was in 2014 before his injuries and rehab, which may explain why he’s not gotten past the fifth inning and given up 12 hits and six runs including three HRs in his first two starts.

Lineup when available.

Apr 13

Game 10, 2017

Dodgers at Cubs, 11:20AM PT, TV: SPNLA, MLBN (out-of-market only), CSN-C

The Dodgers ask LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (0-1, 3.86 ERA) to defeat old friend and fellow LHP Brett Anderson (0-0, 1,89 ERA). Ryu went 4 2/3 innings last Friday and gave up two runs on six hits while keeping his velocity above 91mph.

This will be Anderson’s first start at home for the Cubs and his first start against his former teammates as well. He went 11-11 with a 4.18 ERA in 35 games (34 starts) with the Dodgers in 2015-2016 but pitched in only four games last year after shutting down due to disk surgery in his back in March. He came back in August but struggled. The Dodgers didn’t offer him a new contract over the winter and he signed with the Cubs in January of this year.

Lineup when available.

Thompson gets his first start of the season, Puig is at cleanup, and A-gon gets the day off. Also, it looks rainy.

Apr 07

Game 5, 2017

Dodgers at Rockies, 1:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, ROOTRM, MLBN (out-of-market only)

Hyun-Jin Ryu makes his first start of the season and first in two years, really. He’s had two surgeries on his pitching arm in the past two years. He had shoulder surgery in May of 2015 to repair the labrum, which kept him from pitching that season. Then in 2016 he came back and tried to pitch in July but had elbow discomfort and eventually had debridement surgery on the elbow in September. He had a minor groin injury this March but he’s recovered and posted a 2.57 ERA and 12/1 K/BB ratio across 14 Cactus League innings.

His opponent will be Kyle Freeland, a Denver native who’s making his MLB debut. He split time between Hartford of the AA Eastern League and Albuquerque of the AAA PCL last year, compiling an 11-10 record with a combined 3.89 ERA.

The Rockies have a new-to-them manager this year but a familiar one nonetheless. Bud Black managed the Padres from 2007-2015 and was fired in June, replaced for one game by current Dodger manager Dave Roberts, who’d been the bench coach.

Lineup when available.

Mar 29

Freeway Series begins

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.

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.

Aug 18

Game 120, 2016

Dodgers at Phillies, 4:05PM PT, TV: SPNLA, CSN-P

The Dodgers go for a series sweep with rookie RHP Ross Stripling (3-4, 4.07 ERA). He’ll face RHP Jerad Eickhoff (8-12, 3.82 ERA), who’s like Dodgers’ pitchers in that he gets in trouble in the sixth inning when the opposing batters get their third look at him. His ERA for that inning this year is 12.71. Stripling has, this season, shown himself to be better in a long relief role; he’s made three long-relief appearances in July, posting a 1.54 ERA over 11 2/3 innings. Over his 10 starts this season, Stripling has a 4.61 ERA.

A.J. Ellis writes a column for ESPN about Vin Scully.

Pitching notes from Jon Weisman. Highlights/lowlights: Kershaw may throw a bullpen session on Saturday, and Ryu is not expected to pitch again this season.

Lineup when available.

Aug 03

Game 107, 2016

Dodgers at Rockies, 5:40PM PT, TV: SPNLA, ROOTRM

Rookie righthander Brock Stewart (0-1, 9.00 ERA) spot-starts for the Dodgers, filling in for the newly-acquired Rich Hill and the possibly-injured Bud Norris, not to mention the disabled Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brett Anderson and Clayton Kershaw. In his first and only other MLB start he went five innings, gave up five runs, struck out seven and walked two. He’s been very good in the minors, posting a 1.80 ERA across Double-A and Triple-A and has a 3.00 ERA in four Triple-A starts since he went back down after that MLB start. He’ll be opposed by the Rockies’ rookie lefty Tyler Anderson, (3-3, 3.33 ERA), who’s had six quality starts in his first nine in the big leagues. He hasn’t given up a dinger in his last 22 1/3 innings.

Personnel news: Stewart, Fields and Urias up; Toles and Josh Ravin down (the latter after reinstatement from the restricted list for PED usage; he also recuperated from broken bone surgery while out); Coleman (right shoulder fatigue) and Liberatore (left elbow inflammation) to DL. And the biggest and most unpleasant news of all: Kershaw moved to 60-day DL. Eligible to return August 27.

Lineup when available.

Jul 20

Game 96, 2016

Dodgers at Nationals, 4:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, MASN-2

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:

Lineup:

Jul 19

Game 95, 2016

Dodgers at Nationals, 4:05PM PT, TV: SPNLA, MASN 2, MLB.TV free game

Scott Kazmir (7-3, 4.52 ERA) tries to improve on his last outing when he went only three innings and threw 85 pitches. His opponent will be the Nats’ #5 prospect (per MLB.Pipeline.com), RHP Reynaldo Lopez, who’s making his MLB debut this evening. He put up a 3.19 ERA in 16 starts in the minors this season.

The Dodgers activated Joc Pederson from the DL on Tuesday, so expect to see him back in center field. The Nationals expect to get Daniel Murphy back into their starting lineup. Also, the Dodgers have put Fein and Ryu on the 15-day DL.

Lineup: