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:
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.
Tonight’s Dodger lineup at Nationals: Utley 2B Kendrick LF Turner 3B González 1B Grandal C Pederson CF Puig RF Taylor SS Kazmir P
The Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu makes his 2016 debut after sitting out the entire 2015 season recovering from shoulder surgery on May 21. In his last rehab start he threw 84 pitches, so he appears to have mended pretty well. His opponent will be Drew Pomeranz (7-7, 2.65 ERA). Pomeranz faced the Dodgers on May 1 and threw 7 innings of 3-hit ball, only to lose to a Kershaw RBI single in the third inning and a 3-hitter by the Dodgers’ pitcher as well. It was the only win the Dodgers got on that 7-game homestand.
From a column at SI comparing Kershaw’s six-year run to others in history:
my favorite stat on Kershaw: Since his debut season of 2008, he has lowered his career ERA every year without exception—eight straight years of improving upon greatness. Now that’s a special run.
Julio Urias (0-0, 10.13 ERA) gets the start which would normally be Kenta Maeda’s, but Maeda’s hand is still a little sore from getting hit with a line drive his last time on the mound. He’s expected to start Friday against the Braves in Los Angeles. Urias’s opponent today will be right-hander Kyle Hendricks (3-4, 2.93 ERA), who got a complete game win over the Phillies on May 28. Urias lasted only 2 2/3 innings in his major league debut against the Mets May 27.
Alex Wood has a posterior impingement of his elbow and will need four weeks of rest. After that he’ll start a throwing program and then pitch in a rehab assignment. Hyun-Jin Ryu threw a 90-mph fastball in Fresno last Wednesday and woke up with shoulder soreness, so the team has slowed his rehab down. Brandon McCarthy threw 45 pitches in two innings of bullpen work and hit 89 mph. Scott Van Slyke is expected to come off the 15-day DL this weekend in LA.
Lineup when available.
Utley 2B Seager SS Turner 3B Gonzalez 1B Pederson CF Thompson RF Crawford LF Ellis C Urias P
Andre Ethier broke his lower leg (the tibia, for the purists) when he fouled a ball off it last Friday. He’ll be out 10-14 weeks. This means in all likelihood that Carl Crawford will be the Dodgers’ starting left-fielder for the first three months of the season.
So do all these injuries:
pitcher Frankie Montas had a rib removed and was placed on the 60-day disabled list. Brett Anderson suffered a bulging disk and had surgery. Hyun-Jin Ryu’s recovery from shoulder surgery has been slow and he won’t pitch in a spring game. Pitcher Josh Ravin broke his non-throwing left arm in an auto accident. Brandon McCarthy is still recovering from Tommy John surgery. Brandon Beachy (elbow) and Mike Bolsinger (oblique) have had their fifth-starter candidacies derailed by injuries.
Seager sprained his knee almost two weeks ago, but is expected back by Opening Day. Starter Alex Wood missed a start with forearm soreness. Julio Urias was slowed with slight groin tightness. Caleb Dirks never pitched because of a back injury.
Yasmani Grandal missed several games with strained forearms and came out of Monday’s game after aggravating the right one. Alex Guerrero missed a week with a twisted knee. Adrian Gonzalez missed a couple games with a bulging disk in his neck. Howie Kendrick missed a handful of games with a tight groin muscle. Justin Turner has been eased back slowly after offseason microfracture knee surgery. Crawford missed a game last week because of a sore back.
Other than that, Dodgers’ fans, it’s been a great spring training.
The Dodgers were expected to spend WHATEVER IT COSTS to retain the services of Zack Greinke. Absent Greinke, or maybe even with Greinke, the Dodgers were expected to acquire one of the other big-time pitchers out there: David Price or Johnny Cueto.
Greinke signed with the Diamondbacks, Price with the Red Sox, and Cueto with the Giants. Ergo, the Dodgers had (or are having) a lousy winter. Right?
Before exploring that question in some detail, we should start with this salient fact: The Dodgers won 92 games last season.
Thank you, Mr. Neyer. The pundits and fans do somehow forget the team has won three titles in a row, and only two of them were Greinke-aided. It can survive without him.
Neyer points out that the Dodgers re-signed Anderson, who was pretty good and figures to be close to that again. They signed Kazmir, who figures to be better than Anderson. They signed Maeda, who only has to be an average pitcher for him to replace the 12 guys who tried to fill that role at the back end of the rotation last year. They also still have Wood, who’s young and whose history is better than his performance with the Dodgers last season. They’ll get Ryu back, and we don’t know yet how complete his recovery might be. Finally, they’ll get McCarthy back mid-season, and if he’s recovered most of his form that will be the equivalent of getting a mid-season trade for a starter done without giving up a player or two.
Neyer thinks the Dodgers will be pretty good this season. So do I.
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?
This is a marquee matchup on paper. The Dodgers send out their ace Clayton Kershaw, who is a three-time Cy Young winner, MVP and four-time ERA title winner. The Giants send out last year’s NCLS and World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner, who was the best pitcher in baseball for the last three weeks of last year. When they’ve faced one another Kershaw’s had the statistical edge but the Giants have gotten the win in three of four games (thanks to foultip in the comments to Game 39).
Kershaw’s off to a rocky start (for him) this season, with a 2-2 record and a 4.24 ERA. Bumgarner is 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA so far in 2015. In his career Kershaw is 8-2 with a 0.97 ERA at AT&T Park.
Brett Anderson goes to the mound for the Dodgers. He’s 2-1 with a 3.50 ERA, and his last two starts have been his best for his new team. He’ll face Tim Lincecum, who’s 3-2 with a 2.43 ERA, in somewhat of a rebound from his poor showings of the last three seasons. He’s 10-8 with a 3.45 ERA in his career against the Dodgers, which is pretty good compared to Anderson’s 0-3 with a 6.10 ERA against the Giants.
Fun fact: The Dodgers and Giants entered Tuesday night’s series opener 69-69 in games played at AT&T Park.
Carlos Frias brings his 3-0 record and his 2.89 ERA to the hill at AT&T Park to face veteran Tim Hudson, who’s 1-3 with a 4.57 ERA this season. Frias has faced the Giants twice, both times in relief, and is 1-0 with a 4.15 ERA against them. Hudson is 6-6 with a 4.03 ERA against the Dodgers in his long career.
In other news, the Dodgers finalized the contracts for 30-year-old IF Hector Olivera and 25-year-old RHP Pablo Fernandez. Olivera hopes to be in baseball condition within a month and playing in LA soon after that, while Fernandez says he wants to get into shape and he’ll go wherever the team sends him. Neither of these guys have played since the 2013-2014 season in Cuba.
Club President of Baseball Operations spoke to the press today, primarily about the two players mentioned above. Other topics included Frias, Bolsinger, Urias and Ryu.
Tonight's @Dodgers lineup:
Van Slyke, LF