Nov 03

Now the offseason has officially begun

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.

What do you think?

Jun 16

Game 68, 2016

Brewers at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, FSWI

The Brewers open up a four-game series with the Dodgers tonight, sending righthander Junior Guerra (3-1, 3.31 ERA) out to face the Dodgers’ Scott Kazmir (5-3, 4.52 ERA). Kazmir walked five in his last start against the Giants and left after just five innings, but he’s won his last three decisions. Fun fact: when he throws his first pitch tonight Kazmir will become one of the small number of pitchers who have faced all thirty MLB teams over their careers. In other milestone news, Jansen’s save last night was his 161st as a Dodger. That ties Eric Gagne for most ever by a Dodger reliever.

The Brewers’ Braun (OF) and Lucroy (C) have both been mentioned in trade rumors. I can’t see the Dodgers wanting Braun, but they might want a catcher who’s less vulnerable to injury than Grandal has shown himself to be over his 160 games in a Dodgers uniform.

Lineup:

This is Venable’s first start in Dodger blue.

Dec 07

Winter meetings

Update: The Chapman trade is on hold until MLB finishes a domestic violence investigation of an incident involving Chapman and his girlfriend in October. It’s not pretty, although the police filed no charges.

Police interviewed multiple people, including Chapman, Chapman’s girlfriend, her brother and a man identified as Chapman’s driver, according to the report. No arrests were made “due to conflicting stories and a lack of cooperation from all parties involved,” the report said.

On Day One of the meetings the Dodgers have already traded for Aroldis Chapman, sending two prospects to the Reds. According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Corey Seager, Julio Urias and Jose De Leon are not in the deal.

As the article suggests, getting an elite closer in a trade means your current elite closer may have some bad feelings, understandably so. What they’re going to do, or try to do, with Kenley Jansen is still up in the air.

Earlier in the day the Dodgers signed 34-year-old right-handed starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, a free agent who’d been with the Mariners for four years. Interestingly, he’s thrown fewer pitches in his career than Greinke, who’s three years younger.

They also signed 37-year-old infielder Chase Utley to a one-year deal for $7M, about half what he made last year, a season in which he never fully recovered from an ankle injury he suffered in January.

Jun 04

Game 54, 2015

Cardinals at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA

It’s a pitching rematch of last Saturday’s game featuring the Cards’ Michael Wacha versus the Dodgers’ Carlos Frias. Frias won the first game 5-1, going seven innings and giving up just that (unearned) run. Wacha gave up just three hits but four earned runs, including a three-run homer to Yasmani Grandal in the sixth which chased him. It was Wacha’s only loss of the season so far: he’s 7-1 with a 2.27 ERA. Frias is 4-2 with a 4.29 ERA.

Regarding Kenley Jansen’s non-appearance in last night’s ninth inning, Mattingly said repeatedly “he just wasn’t available.”

Update:

I think Vassegh co-hosts Dodger Talk on AM570 radio in LA.

Lineup:

May 15

Game 35, 2015

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.

Apr 05

Opening Day 2015

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.

Lineup:

Oct 01

Walkoff win!

It’s not every day you see a manager pull a double switch which involves pulling the guy who hit a two-run home run earlier in the game and putting a relief pitcher in his spot. That’s what Don Mattingly did in this game, however, taking Andre Ethier out of the number-two spot and replacing him with closer Brandon League while putting little-used utility-man Elian Herrera in the number-nine spot. It paid off in spades when Herrera came up with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning and lined a single off the glove of the drawn-in Marco Scutaro at second base, scoring Hanley Ramirez to give the Dodgers a 3 – 2 win and keeping their slim playoff hopes alive.

This was a tight game all evening, with the Dodgers falling behind 1 – 0 on a double by Buster Posey in the very first inning, scoring Scutaro, who’d walked. Ethier got the run back and one more with a booming home run to center field after a Mark Ellis single. The Dodgers had a chance to score an insurance run in the sixth inning, but Adrian Gonzalez’s career-high 47th double of the year was wasted when he was out at the plate on an excellent throw by Dodger cast-off Xavier Nady after a single by Shane Victorino. Then in the eighth inning the Giants tied the game on a double by Angel Pagan and a single by Scutaro, who took second on Victorino’s ill-advised throw to the plate. Fortunately for the Dodgers, pitcher Kenley Jansen got the next two Giants out with no further damage. League got the Giants out in the ninth, allowing a single by Aubrey Huff but no further damage. That set the stage for Herrera’s heroics in the bottom of the inning.

St. Louis defeated Cincinnati 4 – 2 earlier in the evening, reducing its magic number to one. The Dodgers’ only hope is to win the final two games against the Giants while the Reds defeat the Cardinals in the final two games of the season. That would leave the Dodgers and Cardinals with identical 87 – 75 records and force a one-game playoff between the two teams to determine which goes on to another one game playoff against the Atlanta Braves, who won the National League’s Wild Card #1.