And it starts with the announcement that nine Dodgers are officially free agents. Justin Turner and Kenley Jansen top the list, followed by by starting pitchers Rich Hill and Brett Anderson, relievers Joe Blanton, J.P. Howell and Jesse Chavez, outfielder Josh Reddick and second baseman Chase Utley. Scott Kazmir and Carlos Ruiz could join the list depending on their respective opt-outs.
My personal opinion? Keeping Turner and Jansen should be management’s first priority. After that it’s mixed. I doubt they’ll keep Utley. I think I’d keep Blanton and Howell, I’d try to keep Hill, and I’d watch Reddick and Chavez go.
The Dodgers keep putting youngster Julio Urias (1-2, 4.98 ERA) on the hill despite their efforts to minimize his number of pitches this year because their other options keep getting injured. Tonight he’ll face RHP Zach Eflin (3-4, 4.77 ERA), whose last two starts have been forgettable. In one of them his team got six runs against Madison Bumgarner, no less, and he couldn’t hold the lead.
This will be the first time Chase Utley faces his former team.
Tonight's Dodger lineup vs. Phillies: Utley 2B Seager SS Turner 3B Reddick RF González 1B Grandal C Pederson CF Segedin LF Urías P
The first game of the Freeway Series tonight is on Prime Ticket at 7:05 PM from Anaheim. It’s also the free game on MLB.tv. The lineups are not yet available. We do know that Hyun-Jin Ryu will pitch for the Dodgers against old friend (well, acquaintance might be better, for as little time as he spent with the team) Joe Blanton.
The Dodgers’ 3 – 0 victory this evening coupled with St. Louis’s 6 – 4 loss to Washington at home in extra innings has pushed the Dodgers one step closer to Wild Card #2. Matt Kemp hit two home runs and the bullpen was stellar following Blanton’s strong six innings. They’re still 2 games behind the Cardinals, but the Cards’ magic number remains 3. That means at least the first game with the Giants on Monday will be meaningful.
That ought to be interesting. Which team will come out on top in this ancient rivalry this time? The Giants, as they did in 1951 and 1982 (curses be upon you, Bobby Thomson and Joe Morgan!), or the Dodgers, as happened in 1959, 1993 and 2004?
It’s Blanton v. Chatwood today at 5:00PM PDT in Dodger Stadium. Blanton’s had little success since coming over to the Dodgers from the Phillies, posting a 1-4 record with a 5.57 ERA in nine starts. In his last start he showed some improvement, giving up one run in 5 2/3 innings against the Reds and getting a no-decision for his trouble. Chatwood is 5-5 with a 5.49 ERA this season, but he too had a pretty good game his last time out, giving up two runs on three hits over 5 2/3 innings to the D-Backs and getting the win.
The Cardinals’ magic number is three. The Dodgers have to win and hope the Nationals can do their part by beating St. Louis this evening. The Nats send out Jordan Zimmermann against the Cards’ Kyle Lohse.
Punto 2B .345
Ethier RF .285
Kemp CF .303
Gonzalez 1B .276
Ramirez SS .251
Victorino LF .252
Cruz 3B .306
Ellis C .268