Today is the home opener for the Dodgers, and it’s against their fellow migrants from New York, the San Francisco Giants, also known as “the hated enemy.”
First, we get the news that Matt Kemp will start in center field. Second, we learn that that was not the original plan, but that Mattingly changed the lineup to try to get the message across to Yasiel Puig that being late costs playing time.
It’s Ryu v. Vogelsong at 1:10PM PST on SPNLA or in Northern California on CSN-BA.
Paul Maholm and Zack Greinke will start Saturday and Sunday for the Dodgers, while rehabbing right-hander Josh Beckett will pitch in a Minor League game Friday.
Maholm was signed to be insurance if fifth starter Beckett wasn’t fully healed from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. Beckett’s recovery, however, was complicated by a bruised right hand suffered in the clubhouse in Spring Training. This will be Maholm’s first start of the season.
Beckett will pitch for Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga. Greinke, who pitched five innings for a win Tuesday, will be pitching on normal rest.
#Dodgers updated lineup:
Update: According to SI, “Puig thought he was supposed to be at the park at 10 AM PT, when he was actually supposed to be there in time for a stretch at 9:40 AM.” Okay, that’s a lot less annoying than I thought it might be. I was expecting that he’d underestimated traffic and hadn’t left his home on time, which in my world is unacceptable (I’m ten minutes early for everything).
Now that Tanaka-san decided to try his luck with the Yankees, what do the Dodgers do? Do they really need another starter?
Yes, yes: “You can never have too much pitching.” And it’s true that after Kershaw, Greinke and Ryu the Dodgers have questions. Will Haren return to his earlier form, or is he now a .500 pitcher? Will Beckett and Billingsley recover fully from their respective injuries? Who knows?
Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez, Matt Garza and Bronson Arroyo, among others, remain unsigned. Santana and Jimenez received qualifying offers, which means that landing them would cost the Dodgers a draft pick. That seems unlikely, given the team’s imperative to rebuild the farm system gutted by Frank McCourt. Neither Garza nor Arroyo received qualifying offers, which could put them in play.
I dunno. I think they need to get Hanley Ramirez’s contract extended before offering more money to any of those guys.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox and Jerry Crasnick of ESPN both Tweet that the Dodgers have signed ex-Angel Chone Figgins to a minor league contract and invited him to camp as a non-roster guy. If he’s got anything at all left (he sat out last year and is 36 years old) he could be one of the utility guys the Dodgers desperately need.
Giants v. Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, 7:10 PM PT, KCAL & ESPN2. The Giants send out Tim Lincecum to face the Dodgers’ Josh Beckett. Beckett offers up these thoughts as he begins his first full season with the team:
“In years when I’ve been good, I feel like I’ve gotten off to a good start and built some confidence in April,” Beckett said. “In years where I fall behind, whether it be health or results, I’ve had some struggles trying to catch back up. I think a lot of that is just me being stubborn and trying to make up a few starts in one start and then I fall behind. I’m looking to get out to a good start.”
The Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy said Brandon Belt sat out Tuesday’s game due to illness, while the Dodgers’ sat Carl Crawford to “ease him in,” said manager Don Mattingly. Both are expected back for tonight’s game.
Cause for alarm?
This is the first time in Matt Kemp’s six full seasons with the Dodgers that he has gone hitless (0-for-6 with two strikeouts) through the first two games. From 2009-12, Kemp was a combined 13-for-31 (.419) with two homers and nine RBIs in the Dodgers’ first two games of each season.
Carl Crawford, LF
Skip Schumaker, 2B
Matt Kemp, CF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Andre Ethier, RF
Luis Cruz, SS
Juan Uribe, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Josh Beckett, P
As Dale mentioned in the comments below, the Dodgers optioned Dee Gordon to Albuquerque today and sent Yasiel Puig to AA Chattanooga, saying both players need more time to play regularly.
In addition, the team announced that Hyun-Jin Ryu will start Game Two of the season on April 2 against the Giants. Kershaw will pitch Opening Day April 1st, Josh Beckett will pitch Game Three and Zack Greinke will pitch Game Four. Chad Billingsley will pitch a minor league game Friday, March 29 and will go into the rotation after the first four pitch. There’s an off day after each of the first two three-game series the Dodgers play, so there will be a slot for Billingsley in one of those six games.
Update: The Dodger Stadium Express shuttle will run from Union Station downtown to the stadium: “. . . for the first time, a dedicated bus lane on Sunset Boulevard has been established that should speed up the process. Game-day tickets will be honored as payment to ride the service and the shuttle operates 90 minutes before first pitch and 45 minutes after the game.”
Update: Jon posits that there are never too many starters on the staff, so the Dodgers shouldn’t be in a hurry to trade any of the current overabundance.
The last thing the Dodgers should do is rush into a low-value trade of one of their excess starting pitchers – Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang or Ted Lilly – just so they can make room for a Wall or Kevin Gregg in the back of their bullpen.
Absolutely. Better to keep the veterans up and the rookies down unless there’s a fantastic opportunity to fill a hole in the infield, and what are the odds any team in the majors has that much interest in any of these three serviceable but not spectacular pitchers?
I just realized it. The game started 45 minutes ago, and the D-Backs lead 3 – 0 in the third. Josh Wall started, went two innings and was relieved by Peter Moylan. Crawford is hitting leadoff and singled in the third.
In personnel news, the team reassigned Tony Gwynn and Wilkin Castillo to Albuquerque and released Ramon Castro.
Josh Beckett and Chad Billingsley both were relieved of their starting assignments today and tomorrow respectively, Beckett with the flu and Billingsley with a bruised right index finger. Greinke is set to start on Wednesday.
Update: Chad Moriyama has injury updates on Hanley Ramirez, Greinke, Billingsley, Crawford, Beckett, Withrow and Gordon. The most serious of these may be Ramirez’s thumb, which he jammed playing in the title game of the WBC yesterday. He dove for a ground ball while playing third. He stayed in for another at-bat and even got a hit, but he came out after that. He’ll have an MRI today at Camelback Ranch.
The Dodgers won their fifth in a row Sunday afternoon, defeating the Rockies 7 – 1. Josh Beckett got his second win as a Dodger, scattering six hits over six innings and giving up just one run, a home run by Andrew Brown. Matt Kemp, AJ Ellis, and Luis Cruz each hit two-run home runs for the Dodgers.
Fun fact: “Five of Ellis’ 12 home runs and 18 of his 50 RBIs have come against the Rockies.”
The Cardinals, by winning today, keep their two-game advantage for Wild Card #2. They see Cincinnati come in to St. Louis to play three games, and the Reds are trying to secure home-field advantage, so they’re probably not going to roll over. If they manage to beat the Cards two out of three and the Dodgers sweep the Giants there’d be a single-game playoff to break a tie for the Wild Card spot. If the Reds sweep and the Dodgers sweep, the Dodgers, almost unbelievably after the last month of inept play, would get to play the winner of Wild Card #1 in a single game for the right to go on to the NLDS. The winner of that wild card appears in all likelihood to be the Braves, who remain three games in back of the Nationals for the NL East title with three games to go. Their opponent for those last three games will be the collapsing Pirates, so a sweep isn’t out of the question. The Nationals play three against the Phillies. With a magic number of one, all they have to do is beat the Philadelphians once.
It should be an exciting next three days. And I haven’t even written anything about the American League playoff situation, which is still as muddled as it can be!
Beckett v. de la Rosa (Jorge, not Rubby!) today, with the Dodgers starting their game two hours after the Cardinals and Nats go at it again. The Cards – Nationals game is the free MLB game, in case anyone cares more for baseball than football, and it starts at 11:15AM PDT. Ross Detwiler starts for the Nationals and Lance Lynn starts for the Redbirds. The Dodgers game is on Prime Ticket and begins at 1:10PM PDT.
Beckett’s been pretty good for the Dodgers since he arrived from Boston, but he’s been unlucky. He’s put up a 3.16 ERA but has only one win to show for it, with three losses. The Dodgers’ offense has scored only 13 runs in his six games with them.
Ellis, M, 2B
Victorino, S, LF
Kemp, M, CF
Gonzalez, A, 1B
Ramirez, H, SS
Cruz, L, 3B
Ethier, A, RF
Ellis, A, C
Beckett, J, P