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
Here it is at last, the first day of the new season, with the changes the new management made over the winter soon to be on display.
Will Jimmy Rollins play better defense than Hanley Ramirez? Will Howie Kendrick hit better than Dee Gordon? Will Kershaw win a fourth Cy Young Award? Can he lead the National League in ERA for the fifth consecutive year? Will Hyun-Jin Ryu recover from his shoulder woes and win more than fourteen games? Can Kenley Jansen come back from his foot woes and regain his form as an elite closer? Will the Dodgers miss Matt Kemp’s bat more than they’ll be helped by Puig’s play in right field? Can Uribe play up to his standard of the past two years while remaining healthy enough to play 125 games or so? Can Justin Turner keep up his torrid hitting from last year while coming off the bench and playing all over the infield? Will Joc Pederson keep up the hitting he did in spring training? What’s going to happen with André Ethier?
Questions, we have questions. Today we start getting answers.
Your #OpeningDay#Dodgers lineup:
The Nats have their backs against an 0-2 hole and need both a good outing from Doug Fister and some luck in order to beat the Giants and Madison Bumgarner. Fister has plenty of postseason experience, as does Bumgarner. The Nationals may start Ryan Zimmerman for the first time in the playoffs after two pinch-hitting appearances, which would add a potentially stronger bat to the lineup in left field and allow Bryce Harper to move to center, while putting the light-hitting Denard Span on the bench.
The Dodgers rest their hopes on Hyun-Jin Ryu, who hasn’t pitched for nearly a month while resting a shoulder. Based on a simulated game he threw last Wednesday and two bullpen sessions, they think he’ll be fine. The Cardinals hope that the John Lackey who’s been a star during previous postseasons with the Angels and Red Sox is the one who shows up today, rather than the guy who went 3-3 with a 4.30 ERA after they acquired him at the trading deadline.
Greinke’s on the hill for four or five innings as a tuneup. Uribe’s managing. Kershaw’s the pitching coach. Ryu may be the bullpen coach “if he can get him to understand when he calls down,” Mattingly said.
The Rockies send out rookie Christian Bergman, who’s 3-4 with a 5.29 ERA in nine starts this season and coming off a win against the D-Backs in which he gave up two runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Ryu is throwing bullpen today and Kershaw will throw a couple of innings in a simulated game. The Dodgers are feeling pretty hopeful that Ryu will be able to start Game Three of the NLDS on October 6.
If you’re interested in what has happened or is still happening elsewhere, here’s MLB’s live blog of the events in Cincinnati between the Pirates and Reds, in Texas between the As and Rangers, in Seattle between the Angels and Mariners, in Chicago between the Royals and White Sox, and in Detroit between the Tigers and Twins. What’s the big deal? Well, there’s a chance that there might be three, three! Game 163 tiebreakers required to settle the playoff seedings and even some of the participants. The possibilities are laid out in mind-numbing detail in that post.
Lineup when available.
Today's Dodgers lineup:
Nobody’s calling Dan Haren a hot young prospect anymore, unlike his opponent in today’s game, a right-hander named Eddie Butler. Haren’s luck against the Rockies throughout his career has been poor: he’s 7-9 with a 5.19 ERA in eighteen starts against them. He’ll be on a pitch count today, the team says. Young Mr. Butler made only his second big league start last Saturday and went six innings, giving up one run on five hits and a walk to the D-Backs.
Hun-Jin Ryu reported he felt fine after throwing off a mound for the first time in two weeks Friday. He only threw 20 pitches, though. He’s scheduled to throw a full bullpen session tomorrow. An aside: I’m not sure that’s going to be all that representative of his control or velocity, since as I understand it he doesn’t throw between starts, unlike his American-trained counterparts. We’ll have to see.
This is a mildly interesting bit of trivia:
The Dodgers will finish the season without a losing streak longer than three games, joining the 1988 (161 games) and 1924 (154) teams as the only ones in franchise history without a four-game losing streak in a season.
Their longest winning streak of the season was six, for comparison.
Lineup when available.
Tonight's Dodgers lineup: