“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.
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 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.
Tonight’s Dodger lineup at Phillies: Utley 2B Seager SS Turner 3B Reddick RF González 1B Grandal C Pederson CF Kendrick LF Stripling P
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.
Tonight’s Dodger lineup at Rockies: Kendrick 2B Seager SS Turner 3B Van Slyke RF González 1B Hernández LF Pederson CF Ellis C Stewart P
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.