First, the good news:
- Juan Uribe scored both runs for the Dodgers. He started the scoring with a solo home run in the second inning. He later added a double and was pushed across the plate with Justin Turner’s single. Uribe added a third hit, a single, later in the game. Juan has been on a tear hitting-wise and has continued his stellar play defensively. This game had me thinking that Uribe should be batting fifth, but then again, there was 2011-2012.
- Josh Beckett was able to survive a couple of major jams and actually pitched shutout ball for five innings despite walking five Giants. He was definitely shaky, but much improved from his first start. I’m actually looking forward to his third start.
- Matt Kemp hit his first single of the year! Maybe this is a sign that he’s not pressing so hard, not trying to hit every ball out of the park. Eventually, Mattingly will see the need to start Kemp in every game. Later, Matt added a huge double, which may have been worthwhile, if only…
Now the bad news:
- The FedEx bunt. It not only did not deliver, it took away a run by erasing Uribe just prior to the Matt Kemp double. We could have seen Uribe scoring all three runs and won the game. I can’t wait for AJ to return. The FedEx/Butera platoon works on defense, but it sure puts a hole in the lineup.
- Chris Withrow let a run score on him, just after the team showed confidence in him by sending Paco to AAA rather than Withrow. Of course, this was just the first time that he allowed a run this year, unlike…
- Kenley Jansen blew yet another save. Dodger fans far and wide must be wondering just what is going on here.
- Andre Ethier was unable to convert a scoring opportunity directly after Yasiel Puig hit a one-out triple. Ethier left him on third base with a strikeout, when “Not Every Day Dre” could have scored him with an ordinary fly ball.
- The non-appearance of Brian Wilson. Of course, this is completely on Don Mattingly. It looked like Mattingly was holding the Beard back for a possible save situation. To me, it appeared that Mattingly was playing the extra innings just to lose the game when he inserted…
- Brandon League. Why is he even still a Dodger? When will Ned Colletti and Stan Kasten wake up, recognize the sunken costs and abject failure of the League contract, and designate him for assignment (DFA)?
Losing the first game of this Giants series after it had seemed we would win is especially troubling due to the fact that Paul Maholm is starting for us tonight. That makes it doubly difficult to come out of San Francisco with a series victory.
I guess the Dodgers can’t get enough of the Valley of the Sun. After spending half of February and most of March there, they are back again.
Last year’s squabbling between the teams may not be forgotten, but it’s doubtful that either team wants any more of that. The place for revenge is on the field and in the box scores.
If it’s April, then it’s time to update the Dodgers DL.
On the DL
AJ Ellis – Surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. Second time around for this meniscus. Likely out until late May.
Clayton Kershaw – Back muscle tear, hopefully he will be back sometime in May. The sooner the better, but make sure you are ready.
Chad Billingsley – Coming off a Tommy John surgery, he may be available in May, and boy, do we need him. He could replace Paul Maholm in the starting rotation.
Onelki Garcia – He’s on the 60 day DL recovering from left elbow surgery.
Brian Wilson – Dead arm disease – he hopes to return by tax day.
Scott Elbert – Surgery on his left shoulder will likely keep him on the DL all of 2014, if not longer.
Josh Beckett – Recovered from losing a rib, now trying to stave off an ankle injury, he may move off the DL on Wednesday just in time to start against Detroit.
Off the DL
Matt Kemp – returned on Friday April 4th, hit two HRs on April 6th and hopefully he will stay of the DL for the remainder of 2014.
One foot in the DL
Yasiel Puig – Bonehead play sliding into first base has him sitting on the bench with a sore left thumb.
Drew Butera’s bat has been on the DL since 2007, which was the only year in professional baseball that he hit above .220. And that was in AA ball.
Ned’s brain – Why else do we have Figgins on our bench? At least we got rid of Baxter.
I had a few thoughts about the state of the Dodgers going into the home opener against the Giants. This will be partly a regurgitation of what we already know, but also partly a rant.
The Kershawless Pitching Rotation
Without Kershaw, Greinke and Ryu slip from #2/#3 to #1/#2, even though it doesn’t look that way in terms of the days they pitch. Rather, it looks like Ryu has moved into the #1 position, as he is about to start his third game in the sixth game for the Dodgers. But that’s really because Greinke was held back from going to Australia. Now whether he was held back by his calf injury or whether he held himself back and had a phantom injury, I will leave that for you to contemplate.
The rest of the rotation is slowly coming together. Haren looked great last night, so he slips into the #3 position. That leaves us with who can do a credible job at #4 and who can do at least semi-decent at #5 when that need arises. Maholm is slated to be the #4 man at this time, and we’ll get our first look at his abilities or inabilities to fill this role on Saturday against the hated ones. It will be some time before we need a #5 starter. With that extra time, Beckett may be available, but I for one have a nagging feeling that he may not be ready. In that case, we will likely use Fife as an emergency spot starter. Zach Lee would not likely be used until the team needs a #5 starter on a more permanent basis. By then, Billingsley may also be ready.
Well, Brian Wilson pretty much said that he didn’t have enough time in Spring Training to get in all the work he needed. That’s what precipitated him having to move to the DL. He’ll be back, hopefully in fifteen days. In the meantime, we need to find a new set up man for the eighth inning. The answer to that need is not immediately obvious. If it was me making the decision, I would use Paco. He was lights out last year until he got tired late in the season.
Impact of the Australia Trip
This reminds me of last year, when Hanley broke his thumb during the World Baseball Congress. Don’t mess around during Spring Training. It’s called Spring Training for a reason. This is the time to get the team ready for high level, professional, major league baseball.
The Return of Matt Kemp
The four outfielder conundrum returns. Who will be shipped off? Probably SVS, rather than Baxter. Why? (1) Options (2) Baxter is the left hander off the bench. Why does that matter if Crawford or Ethier will be on the bench? Keep Scott Van Slyke on the MLB roster. His bat is the bat we need off the bench. No more Michael Young, no more Sweeney. Get rid of Baxter, he hasn’t done a thing.
Somebody is getting into Mattingly’s head and moving the baserunners. Look at the surprise bunt by Puig to move Crawford to third base. Look at Ethier and Hanley stealing bases. I think this is the impact of Wallach as bench coach and it is a great impact. I’d like to see more of it. This will keep the opposing pitchers off balance when we’ve got guys on base. This is the National League, you don’t sit around and wait for home runs.
Puig is here to stay and will continue to be a force both offensively and defensively. Does he still have rough edges? You bet. How many? Well, let’s see there’s (1) baserunning mistakes, (2) doesn’t always hit the cutoff man, (3) missed a sign while batting last night. I’m sure there’s more than that. He is still a work in progress. He needs to take advice from both the coaches and his teammates. He’s getting there, but don’t expect him to be a veteran player by the end of this season. Meanwhile, right now he’s one of the most interesting hitters to watch. The others being Hanley and Matt.
Welcome to Opening Day, Part 2.
It is not often that a team is 2-0 before 28 other teams have yet to play a regular season game, but that is the position of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The pitching staff that many consider the best in baseball has already had their share of minor injuries. The presumed opening night starter, Clayton Kershaw, has been scratched and has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.
Let’s hope that the Dodgers have learned from the sloppy play in Australia that, while not costing them any losses, has caused a little concern in the management and broadcasting ranks.
If this team can stay healthy, and convert base runners to runs, it should be the team to beat in the NL West division.