Rangers at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, MLBN, FSSW
It’s a battle of lefties. Clayton Kershaw (5-3, 3.21 ERA) starts against the Rangers, the team he grew up following. The team from Texas counters with Wandy Rodriguez (3-2, 3.03 ERA). This will be Kershaw’s first time pitching against the Rangers, while Rodriguez has a 5-5 record with a 2.64 ERA in 12 career starts against the Dodgers as an Astro and a Pirate.
The Dodgers activated Scott Van Slyke from the DL and placed Chris Hatcher on it with a shoulder strain.
Joc Pederson gets a rest, as does André Ethier.
Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA
The D-Backs send out LHP Robbie Ray, who’s 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA in 11 innings in his second partial season in the big leagues. He’s thrown a lot of pitches in each of his two starts, which is why he’s gone no longer than six innings in either of them. He’ll face the Dodgers’ Carlos Frias, who’s 4-3 with a 4.25 ERA. He’d been perking along with an under-2.50 ERA until a disastrous start against the Padres on May 24 when he gave up 10 earned runs in 4 innings.
Here’s a list of the Dodgers’ first ten draft picks. Begin your wild speculations now.
Joc Pederson sits down for the first time this season. Ethier sits because Ray is a lefty. Turner probably sits because he hit a ball hard off his knee in last night’s game.
Padres at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, MLBN, FSSD
Right-hander Mike Bolsinger tries to continue his early-season success (he’s 2-0 with a 1.04 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings, all starts) against right-hander Ian Kennedy, who’s had a slow start. He’s 2-3 with a 6.75 ERA over 6 starts and a 2-1 K/BB ratio.
Grandal wasn’t scheduled to play today anyway, according to Mattingly, but now they’re going to monitor him for concussion and rest him at least until tomorrow. If it’s determined he has been concussed he’ll likely go on the 7-day DL, which was instituted in 2011 for just this kind of circumstance.
Of note to the strikeout-obsessed: “Pederson has struck out four times in his past 39 plate appearances (10.3 percent). Prior to that in 2015, he had struck out 43 times in 127 plate appearances (33.9 percent).”
Fun fact: There was some wondering about one-pitch winners and whether a reliever could win a game without throwing a pitch. It reminded me of Tippy Martinez of the Orioles, who picked off three runners in the tenth inning of a game against the Blue Jays in 1983. Infielder Lenn Sakata had been pressed into duty as the catcher because the Os had used both their starter and his backup in the rally in the ninth to tie the game. Sensibly, the Jays thought they could run on Sakata. The first three guys got on base, and Martinez picked off each one (see Roger Angell’s “Season Ticket” for another description). To make it even sweeter, Martinez got the win when Sakata homered in the bottom of the tenth.
Lineup when available.
Rockies at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA
Clayton Kershaw goes for victory number 100 for the fifth time. His last time out he was roughed up (or nibbled to death) by the Rockies for five runs in 5 1/3 innings. He didn’t figure in the decision as the Dodgers recovered to win 9-5 at Coors Field. His opponent will be Eddie Butler, who pitched and lost the rain-shortened game last week, also at Coors.
The Dodgers could activate Kenley Jansen as early as today. Whether he’s immediately thrown into the closer role is up in the air.
Sports Illustrated has a nice story about the Dodgers’ defense and how it’s improved, particularly with Joc Pederson in center field.
Lineup when available.
Giants at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA
It will be Zack Greinke v. Ryan Vogelsong in the rubber match of the series. Greinke didn’t pitch in last week’s series against the Giants, while Vogelsong gave up two runs in six innings in the Giants’ 10-inning 3-2 victory. That was the game Kendrick saved with his headlong dive behind second base in the ninth inning only to watch Maxwell single past third base to drive in the winning run in the tenth.
Greinke has been the best pitcher the Dodgers have so far this season, going 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA in four starts, all of them quality ones. Vogelsong is 0-1 in four starts with a 7.71 ERA, and righthanded hitters have been particularly troublesome for him, hitting .298 so far this year.
Puig and Crawford are on the DL, but Van Slyke, who’ll probably replace one of them, has a seven-game hitting streak of his own. If Guerrero replaces the other all he’s done is hit five home runs in limited duty.
Lineup when available.
My goodness, what have we here? Joc leading off, Rollins in the two-hole, Uribe in the eight-hole, and something which will cause lots of talk, no Guerrero in the starting lineup.
Giants at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, MLBN
Like yesterday’s, this game is a rematch of the starters in last week’s series. Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner squared off last Wednesday. Neither one got the decision in a game ultimately won by the Giants. Each gave up two runs; Kershaw gave up three hits, Bumgarner gave up six. Kershaw walked one and struck out nine, Bumgarner walked two and struck out six. Each pitcher has faced the other team a lot in his respective career: Kershaw is 14-5 against the Giants with a 1.48 ERA and four shutouts. Bumgarner is 11-5 against the Dodgers with a 2.56 ERA.
Lineup when available.
The reason Alex is in left field is that Carl Crawford was placed
on the 15-day DL and IF/OF Kiké Hernandez was brought up from Oklahoma City. There’s been no Twitter explanation for Joc’s absence from the starting lineup.
Padres at Dodgers, 1:10pm PT, Dodger Stadium
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.
Pederson makes somersaulting catch in center field.
Puig and Kendrick collide in right-center field. Per the Dodgers, both players are fine. Puig left the game as a precaution.
Correction: I thought the Dodger Insider post I linked to was written by Jon Weisman. I’m still not used to thinking of that site as a multi-author blog. It was actually written by Cary Osborne. I’m sorry for the misattribution!
Mr. Weisman’s Cary Osborne’s calculations, the moves the Dodgers made during the off-season have made them the most improved team in the West in terms of Defensive Runs Saved.
Huh? What’s that number, you ask? Defensive Runs Saved is an attempt to determine the value of a player against other players of the same position. As Joe Posnanski put it at his blog: “the number determines (using film study and computer comparisons) how many more or fewer successful plays a defensive player will make than league average.”
Here’s the full-on explanation from its creators at The Fielding Bible, if you’re interested. It’s lengthy.
Jon Cary says
Gone from the Dodgers are Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez and Dee Gordon, who combined for -37 DRS. In are Howie Kendrick, and Jimmy Rollins and what appears to be either Joc Pederson or Andre Ethier. Since there isn’t enough Major League statistical data on Pederson, we’re going to slot Ethier into the replacement for Kemp. Rollins, Kendrick and Ethier combined for six DRS. That’s a swing of +43 DRS.
He’s got the other NL West teams’ DRS data, and he comes up with the startling fact that the Dodgers are the only team in the division whose changes over the winter give it a net positive number.
Update: Ernie Banks passed away today. The Hall of Famer and former Cub was 83 years old.
Baseball America has a recap of the Dodgers’ offseason moves, with some attention paid to the minor leaguers.
Aside from the Cubs, the Dodgers’ top three prospects are as strong as any other organization’s in baseball. Corey Seager, a shortstop for now who likely moves to third base, is one of the most talented hitters in the minors. Center fielder Joc Pederson is a 2015 Rookie of the Year frontrunner, while teenage lefthander Julio Urias has the makings of a future ace, combining plus stuff with feel for pitching beyond his years.
After the vaunted trio, the Dodgers farm system is in a better place than it was a year ago because of the emergence of depth beyond them. Their top 2014 draft picks—first-round righthander Grant Holmes and outfielder Alex Verdugo — both had strong debuts and look like potential impact talents.
We’re less than a month away from pitchers and catchers reporting. They do that on Feb. 19 and have their first workout Feb. 20. Position players report Feb. 24 and have their first workout Feb. 25.