Reds at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA
The Reds have had to face two excellent pitchers already in Ryu and Greinke, and tonight they get Kershaw. All he’s done is go 3-1 on the season with a 3.49 ERA and 2-1 lifetime with a 2.78 ERA against the Reds. In those games the Reds are hitting .214. The Reds send Homer Bailey out against the Dodgers. He’s 3-3 with a 4.01 ERA in eight career starts against them and 4-3 with a 5.34 ERA overall on the season.
Matt Kemp is playing left field because Crawford has been placed on the 15-day DL. The Dodgers have purchased Jamie Romak’s contract from the Isotopes. Romak has been playing mostly 1st and 3rd in Albuquerque with 8 games in the outfield. He’s a 28-year-old from Canada. This is his twelfth year of pro ball and his first callup to the major leagues.
According to Jay Jaffe at Sports Illustrated, Yasiel Puig is a “disappointing” fifth in the first release of All-Star ballots for the outfield, behind Charlie Blackmon of the Rockies, Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates, Ryan Braun of the Brewers and Gioancarlo Stanton of the Marlins. Pack the ballot box, people!
Reds at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA
Zack Greinke brings his 2-runs-or-fewer per start streak (now at 22) and his gaudy 7-1, 2.01 ERA record out to face Alfredo Simon, who’s got a 6-2, 2.31 ERA record of his own.
Hanley Ramirez’s sore calf kept him out of the last few games, but he’s back in there at shortstop tonight. Matt Kemp is still out, which is surely not making him happy.
After yesterday’s excitement, the season goes on at a slightly lower level.
Reds at Dodgers, 5:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA
The Reds send Johnny Cueto to the hill. He’s 4-3 with a 1.86 ERA this season, coming off a bad outing in which he gave up six runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings in a loss to the Nationals. The Dodgers counter with lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu, who’s 4-2 with a 3.00 ERA. In his last start he went six innings and gave up two runs to the Mets, winning 4-3.
In an attempt to get Matt Kemp’s bat into the lineup without harming the defense, Mattingly is going to start him in left field for a while. In eight-plus years in the major leagues he’s averaged four errors per season, and he’s already got that many in just 39 games this year. And that doesn’t count the balls he’s not gotten to or taken bad routes on.
“Here’s where we’re going with Matt,” Mattingly said on Sunday morning after he put Andre Ethier in center for a third consecutive game. “We’re going to start working Matt a little bit in left field. We’re going to continue to work him in center. We’re just feeling like we’re giving him time to really get healthy. Not that’s he’s not healthy, but give him a chance to get all the way back.”
Kemp, who missed only 11 games from 2008-11, missed 145 games from 2012-13 due to injuries. He is currently hitting .264 with 13 doubles, five home runs and 13 RBIs in 42 games this season.
Lineup when available.
Dodgers at Phillies, 4:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA
Kershaw got shelled in his last outing, but this is about as misleading a sentence as I’ve seen in a non-political story: “After a brilliant start in which he tossed seven shutout frames against the Nationals on May 6, Kershaw has given up 10 runs in 8 2/3 innings since.”
Right. 7 runs in 1 2/3 innings in his last start against the D-Backs. 3 runs in 7 innings against the Giants in the no-decision start before that with 9 strikeouts and no walks. Overall he’s 2-1 with a 4.43 ERA.
Of greater concern, he was hit on the right shin with a line drive during BP Wednesday and it had to be bandaged. Whenever a pitcher gets hit on a foot or leg I always get an instant memory of Dizzy Dean changing his delivery after being hit on the foot by Earl Averill in the 1937 All-Star Game and never being the same pitcher again.
His opponent will be Roberto Hernandez, who is 0-1 in his only career start against the Dodgers, last August when he was with the Rays. He’s 2-1 with a 3.98 ERA so far this season.
The Dodgers have improved their offense over the past 15 games, hitting .272 over that stretch. Over the past five games, Adrian Gonzalez is 9-for-19 with three home runs and six RBIs. Additionally, Matt Kemp is hitting .344 (22-for-64) since May 3. Over his career he’s hit .390 (23-for-59) in 15 games at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.
Giants at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA
Madison Bumgarner for the Giants, Paul Maholm for the Dodgers. Seems like a mismatch, particularly when you read this data about the Dodgers’ outfielders past performances against the Giants’ pitcher: “Carl Crawford is 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Andre Ethier is 3-for-24 with nine strikeouts. Matt Kemp is 4-for-24 with seven strikeouts. Yasiel Puig is 4-for-15 with five strikeouts, while Scott Van Slyke is 2-for-5 with three walks.”
Bumgarner is 3-3 with a 3.18 ERA on the season; Maholm is 1-2 with a 4.70 ERA. Each pitcher did have a quality start in his last appearance.
Lineup when available.
Phillies at Dodgers, 7:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA
It’s the Fightin’ Phils’ Cliff Lee (2-2, 4.00 ERA) against the Dodgers’ Paul Maholm (0-1, 4.97 ERA).
If we’re to take MLB’s Preview as gospel, the Dodgers should just forfeit.
Of his four big-name outfielders, Carl Crawford’s .212 (7-for-33) lifetime mark against Lee is the best of the bunch. Yasiel Puig is 1-for-7 vs. the lefty; Andre Ethier is 0-for-11 with five strikeouts; Matt Kemp, who generally wears out lefties, is 1-for-18 with 11 whiffs.
How’s Scott Van Slyke? He’s 0-for-5 with three strikeouts against Lee.
Jeff Passan wrote a good editorial column exhorting MLB to take action to better control the way Cuban athletes are allowed into this country when defecting. He rightly calls the current system a form of human trafficking.
Dodger Insider has a fascinating little story about the Dodgers’ franchise official win total: Elias Sports Bureau has it at 9,997 including the twelve wins this year, while the official Dodgers’ records have it at 9,984 including those wins. The discrepancy is owed to wins achieved with the help of an ineligible player in 1899 (!).
Lineup when available.
Dodgers at Giants, 12:45PM PST, TV: SPNLA.
One of the two de facto aces on the Dodgers staff while Kershaw’s out, Hyun-Jin Ryu brings his 2 – 1 record and his 2.57 ERA to this game. He’ll face Madison Bumgarner, who has a 2 – 0 record with a 3.31 ERA as well as a hot bat. He hit a grand slam and drove in five runs in his last outing.
Mattingly is going with an all right-handed outfield against Bumgarner, saving Ethier and Crawford for pinch-hitting duty.
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.
Due to a quirk in the schedule, this will be Ryu’s third start in five games, all on normal or better rest.
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.
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).
When the team hasn’t announced a deal but the player has a locker at the Spring Training clubhouse in Arizona, does he have a deal? That’s what we know about Paul Maholm, who’ll be in his tenth year and has a lousy W-L record to show for it. On the other hand, if you’d pitched for the Pirates for seven years between 2005 and 2011, you’d have been hard-pressed to do much better.
Billingsley thinks his Tommy John surgery has given him an entirely new arm. He’s throwing 80mph off a mound and won’t try curveballs till the end of February.
Mattingly says Kemp probably won’t play in Australia; he hasn’t yet run outside.
Dee Gordon has been practicing at second base and in the outfield.
Update: From Camelback Ranch today:
Your best source for the latest gossip about Dodgers moves appears to be Chad Moriyama’s blog. Here’s the latest skinny on Kemp, Uribe, Price and others.