I think the other National League teams have concluded that the Dodgers are vulnerable to left-handed pitching, and until proven otherwise they’re going to keep starting them. Thus today the Diamondbacks send LHP Robbie Ray (1-0, 2.19 ERA) out for the finale of this four-game series. He’ll be opposed by RHP Brandon McCarthy (2-0, 1.50 ERA) for the Dodgers.
Ray has a 2.96 ERA in his career against the home team. Among current team members only Kiké Hernandez and Yasiel Puig have had great success against him.
McCarthy has been a very pleasant surprise for the Dodgers since coming off last year’s surgery. He held the Padres to two runs over six innings in his first start and last time out he blanked the Cubs for six innings. Only one of the current D-Backs has even 10 at-bats against him in his career. He pitched for the D-backs in 2013-2014 and went 8-21 with a 4.75 ERA in 40 starts.
Lineup when available.
Tonight's Dodger lineup vs. D-backs: Forsythe 2B Seager SS Turner 3B Puig RF Grandal C Hernández CF Segedin 1B Van Slyke LF McCarthy P pic.twitter.com/Hbfpawhgcp
RHP Taijuan Walker (1-1, 4.91 ERA) takes the mound for the D-Backs and LHP Rich Hill (1-0, 1.80 ERA) comes off the 10-day disabled list to pitch for the Dodgers. Walker lost his grip on his last start against the Giants when he threw away (video) a comebacker with the bases loaded in the 4th:
With the bases loaded and one out, Moore tapped a dribbler that Walker fielded halfway up the first-base line. He threw wildly past home, enabling Brandon Crawford to score. Catcher Jeff Mathis scooped up the ball but misfired past Walker, who was covering home. Joe Panik scored on that play. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt caught up with the ball and threw home, but Jarrett Parker slid under Walker’s tag.
Hill missed his last start with a blister on his pitching hand. His curve is devastating to hitters but it hurts him as well, apparently. In his first and only start so far he was very effective, giving up only two hits and one run over five innings to the Padres on April 5.
The Dodgers will have to option someone to make room for Hill on the roster. Trayce Thompson goes down. Forsythe’s hammy leaves him available for pinch-hitting duty today. He’s expected to be back in the lineup tomorrow.
Lineup when available.
Today's Dodger lineup vs. D-backs: Toles LF Seager SS Turner 3B González 1B Grandal C Pederson CF Puig RF Utley 2B Hill P pic.twitter.com/Gybzy5B4gT
The Padres’ righthander Trevor Cahill makes his first start of the season against the team he’s faced more often than any other in the big leagues: he’s pitched against the Dodgers 20 times with a 6-5 record and a 3.86 ERA. He spent the last two years with the Cubs and went 4-4 in 50 games with a 2.74 ERA in 65 innings. He hasn’t been a full-time starter since 2014.
The Dodgers will counter with lefty Rich Hill, who signed a three-year $48M contract after coming over from the As at the trade deadline last year. He pitched well for the Dodgers despite ongoing blister problems, going 3-2 with a 1.83 ERA in six starts.
The Dodgers and Angels put on their annual Freeway Series three-game show to end spring training for both teams starting Friday night. Opening Day is Monday, April 3 against the Padres at Dodger Stadium.
Brandon McCarthy earned the #4 spot in the rotation. He’ll be preceded by Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill and followed by Hyun-jin Ryu. At least that’s the plan today.
Roberts added that Alex Wood, a finalist for the rotation, would share the long relief role with Ross Stripling. Rounding out the bullpen are closer Kenley Jansen, set-up man Sergio Romo, Grant Dayton, Luis Avilan and Chris Hatcher.
Barnes will likely be the backup catcher, although that’s not been formally announced. Kiké Hernandez hurt his wrist the other day and is questionable for the backup infielder spot until he shows it’s healed. If he can’t go, it’ll probably be Chris Taylor, and that might mean Van Slyke stays up too, since he can play center field and Taylor doesn’t. Additionally,
The Dodgers trimmed the roster before leaving Arizona on Wednesday, sending out seven players. Infielder Rob Segedin was optioned and reassigned were outfielders Tyler Holt and O’Koyea Dickson, pitcher Brandon Morrow, first basemen Cody Bellinger and Ike Davis, and infielder Charlie Culberson.
“It’s a doggy-dog world out there.” I have seen that written on the Internet more times than I care to mention, and it apparently applies to the Dodgers’ starting rotation competition this spring. There are seven proven pitchers trying to fit into the two spots for fourth and fifth starters. Kershaw, Hill and Maeda look to be locks for the first three slots, but after that you’ve got McCarthy, Wood, Kazmir, Ryu, Stripling, Stewart and Urias hunting for work.
“As we look around here today, we have a lot of starting pitching depth, but as we finish spring training, guys like Alex Wood, Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir, they’re going to have to pitch somewhere,” Roberts said. “So whether it is out of the rotation or potentially out of the pen, I don’t know that answer right now.”
Oh, and once they get the starting pitching set, they can start on their “eight outfielders for three positions” problem.
MLB released its Top 100 Prospectslist and the Dodgers placed five guys on it. Only two are in the top fifty; 1B Bellinger at #13 and RHP Yadier Alvarez at #49. Bellinger is up 19 spots since the last list was released at mid-season last summer, while Alvarez is up 49.
Logan Forsythe is glad to be on a winning team. “I’m happy to just come over to a winning ballclub, organization and help some young guys if I can, jump in with the core guys and try to help these guys anyway I can,” Forsythe said.
And what will the Dodgers do? Here’s one thought from the LA Daily News:
… the Dodgers’ focus this winter seems less about making significant additions to the roster and more about maintaining what they have already built — an uncommonly deep roster with flexibility and a more manageable payroll.
“Yeah, that’s a really, really good team,” Friedman said of a 2017 roster with the same elements intact that produced 91 wins in 2016 and fell two games short of reaching the World Series.
That group would return with the prospects of improved health, Friedman points out – how could it not be better than last year’s? — and added maturity for the young players who made such critical contributions.
But there is a strain of wistfulness in Friedman’s comments. He is aware just how unlikely it is that the Dodgers will be able to put last year’s band back together.
The word is that they’ve reached a deal with Rich Hill for three years and $40 million, so that’s one part of the puzzle, although not the most important one, at least as far as blogger Howard Cole is concerned. To him Justin Turner’s resigning is Job One.
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 Cubs send RHP Jake Arrieta (18-8, 310 ERA) to the mound to face LHP Rich Hill (12-5, 2.12 ERA) of the Dodgers. The last time Arrieta faced the Dodgers at this start time was last August; all he did was throw a no-hitter at them. Since then he’s faced them once in May of this season and shut them out for seven innings. He’s not been quite that good in the second half of this season and he hasn’t gotten much help: The Cubs lost all five of his starts in July and four of his last six entering the NLCS start. His ERA is 4.44 in his last 16 starts. Hill, a mid-season acquisition by the Dodgers, hasn’t been able to produce as much as they hoped due to blister issues and an inability to go deep in games. He pitched into the fifth inning in a 5-2 loss at Washington in Game 2 of the NLDS and came out in the third inning of Game 5 when he was working on three days’ rest.
Someone post the lineup when it’s out, please. I’ll be in the air to Honolulu and won’t arrive until about the sixth inning.