Results tagged ‘ Matt Kemp ’
The Dodgers have not gotten off to the start many of us would imagine. At the moment are 7-8 which is a game below .500 which record wise you can work with. Well if you’ve seen the Dodgers play then you’d feel like it’s a lot worse than that. Los Angeles have really been struggling with their bats and bullpen. It’s really frustrating to watch and it’s an ongoing thing. In the series against the Diamondbacks and Padres (in LA) The Dodgers have been having issues hitting with RISP (Runners In Scoring Position) and Pitching (Mainly Bullpen). The Dodgers will be in Baltimore for the weekend series against the Orioles and the chance for them to get their act together is out there with the DH rule in effect. As of now we just want to know what is going on with the Dodgers. Why are they struggling so much? Who is to blame for such struggles with the team? Is this an easy fix and what can be done about it? Well let me tell you this in advance. The answer is not Trading Ethie or Kemp, Brining up Puig, or Firing Don Mattingly.
Offensive Struggles: Yes the Dodgers are facing the same problem they did last season. Leaving men on base, failing to score runs, even getting on base at times. Currently the Dodgers 28th in the MLB in Batting Average with RISP (.171). How the way I look at it is based on the line up Mattingly puts out there. You have Carl Crawford and Mark Ellis who have done a good job getting on base. Then you have Matt Kemp who is having a slow start to the season. Just when you think Kemp will knock the runs in he either grounds into a double play or flies out to the point where the runners can’t advance. It’s not just Kemp that is doing it but all over the line up. The Dodgers can not keep this issue if they want to win games. They have good hitters we all know this but whether they’re in the right place in the line up or not. I think Mattingly should move some players around and see if it works to affect because what they have currently isn’t working and that showed the last two series.
Bullpen issues: Oh where do I start with this one? It looks as if the Box of Pain have made is return and adding more fuel to the fire than helping put it away. The Dodgers Bullpen have been a serious issue right now with all the hits and runs being given up. The Dodgers bullpen have an ERA of 4.02 (15 in MLB). While that’s middle of the pack it seems a lot worse when watching. The last series against the Padres the Dodgers pitching had a bad series overall in what many would like to say a “Throw away series”. Not much can really be done with the bullpen at this point but they have to help the Dodgers stay in position to win ball games.
I still think the Dodgers will get things in order. Thursday the Dodgers got a day off as they traveled to Baltimore. Hopefully this game they can play better and keep themselves at a respectable position. Yes it is early Dodger fans but you have to remember that April games are important as well so there has to come a point where they must get it together. Right now the Dodgers on the pitching end are hurting with Zack Greinke out till June and Chris Capuano on the 15 DL but batting/Position wise Hanley Ramirez is making his return really soon. Hopefully he could provide the help the Dodger offense need. At 7-8 the Dodgers can turn it around with two good series on the road trip So anything could happen. It’s early but Dodgers MUST get things flowing here.
Last night the Dodgers defeated the Padres 3-2 thanks to Juan Uribe’s home run in the 8th Inning. While the Dodgers managed to grab the win their victory was overshadowed by what took place in the 6th inning. The Dodgers were up 2-1 with Greinke pitching and Carlos Quentin at bat. If you saw the game or watched the video above then you have a good idea where it went from there. Greinke threw a pitch where it hit Carlos Quentin. Quentin charged the mound and from there it went. Benches cleared and tempers flared as things really got heated between the Dodgers and Padres. Matt Kemp came from center field to charge into the pile to protect his pitcher. After a few minutes things kind of settled down on the field. Zack Greinke was taken off the field due to injury from a hit he took from Carlos Quentin but things picked up once again when Jerry Harriston Jr charged towards the Padres dugout. Things were really heating up between the two teams. Lets go ahead and fast forward to after the game. The Dodgers win 3-2 but many are awaiting the update on Zack Greinke. Vin Scully gives those who are watching at home the update that Zack Greinke had a fractured Left Collarbone in the scrum.
On my twitter account many fellow Dodger fans were upset about the whole thing with Carlos Quentin and it’s safe to say he has become public enemy #1 in Dodgertown. I saw some say that Greinke was at fault here. Many different opinions about it last night and today. Well here’s my take on it. I fail to see how Zack was in the wrong for the whole thing. Carlos Quentin claims the whole thing was not an accident by Grenkie and many San Diego media outlets along with others agreed. Two things they fail to realise was that it was a one run game (2-1) and it was the bottom of the 6th inning. Another thing people don’t realise is that Quentin gets hit by pitches a lot. Not cause pitchers don’t like him but because he crowds the plate when batting so why charge the mound now when you’ve been hit so many times from crowding the plate. I get Greinkie and Quentin have had history before but honestly was Zack waiting 4 years just to hit him again? That don’t make sense at all. Quentin makes a great point, All of this could have been avoided. It could have if he just took his base in a calm manner like before.
Now what about Jerry Harriston and Matt Kemp? We know Harriston wasn’t happy and charged towards the Padres dugout because a player from the Padres was joking about Greinke’s injury. That really made Harriston upset and he let them know how upset he was. Kemp on the other hand was ejected along with Harriston. Why was Matt ejected was beyond me. We saw him charge from the outfield to the pile but who wasn’t in that pile??? Apparently Kemp may have bumped an umpire through the whole thing and that was the cause for the ejection. He also was saying a few things as well. After the game Kemp and Quentin had a few words for each other outside of the stadium where they were both held back by teammates and police. Kemp told Quentin “We’ll see B***h”.
It’s unclear whether Kemp, Harriston, and Quentin will be suspended for their actions Thursday night. MLB was looking into it today and Matt Kemp is in today’s line-up for their game against the Diamondbacks in Arizona. We know none of the Dodgers players and fans are happy about this. Don Mattingly was obviously upset and called for Quentin to be suspended until Greinke can play again. I honestly agree with Don Mattingly because it was uncalled for and a bonehead move that got a player injured. These two teams play on Monday at Dodger Stadium so things could get interesting. Right now I just hope the Dodgers focus is on Arizona this weekend and not looking forward to Monday.
First off let me go ahead and say that Baseball is back you guys and it feels great to see the regular season in full swing. Being back in Dodger Stadium to see the Dodgers in action was great to see. How I missed waiting for 7:10 to roll around and hear Vin Scully start off the broadcast with “It’s Time For Dodger Baseball!”. The Dodgers opened up with the hated San Fransisco Giants. This was bound to be an interesting series either way. The Dodgers were eliminated from playoff contention by the hands of the Giants last season. Since then the Dodgers have spent money to improve pitching in order to contend. Spring Training we saw good individual performances from players like Luis Cruz, Hyun Jin Ryu, and Josh Beckett. Opening Day was a historic one for the books. From Sandy Koufax throwing out the first pitch to Magic Johnson being there to see his team take on the Giants. Clayton Kershaw and Matt Cain had a pitchers duel up until the bottom of the 8th inning when Clayton Kershaw nailed his first career Home Run to give the Dodgers the lead. After that it was all Dodgers from there as they scored 3 more runs in that same inning. Dodgers got a 4-0n victory on Opening Day over the Giants giving Kershaw a complete game shut out. Kershaw was also the first player since 1953 to throw a shut out and hit a Home Run in a opener (Bob Lemon, Cleveland Indians). After that it seemed like the magic was all gone and the Giants showed why they’re the defending World Series Champions defeating the Dodgers the next two games. Yeah the opening series wasn’t something we expected at all especially losing to the Giants.
Looking back at this series I saw a few things that caught my eye. Starting off with the good Carl Crawford had a great series. Opening Day and last night Crawford was getting on base weather it was via hit or drawing a walk, He got on base. Clayton Kershaw obviously had a great game on Opening Day with his historic game. Mark Ellis also started off good as well which shows that him and Crawford can put this team in good position to score some runs. The defense from the Infield on Opening Day also showed tons of potential and had a good outing last night as well.
As for the bad there was a good amount to point out. Matt Kemp has struggled batting this whole series going 0 of his last 10 at bats. Even though it’s early that is not good. Especially when you have runners in scoring position that can break open a game. Hyun Jin Ryu made his major league debut Tuesday night but gave up 8 hits in a 3-0 loss. You can say it was pitching and a number of errors that night but with Ryu he is still transitioning into the MLB. Last night was also very bad with the Dodgers being 1-13 with RISP dispite Lincecum giving up a career high of 8 walks. The Dodgers look to be swinging for the fences instead of getting the base hits that are needed to get runs in. Josh Beckett also was up and down last night giving up two Home runs.
Theres alot the Dodgers can take from the first series of the season. It’s only the begining 3 games so theres no need to panic at all. If anything the Dodgers are trying to get it all together right now and they will In my opinion. Beckett and Ryu will have everything settled down, Kemp, Ethier, and Gonzalez will find there grove, Injured players such as Ted Lilly and Chad Billingsley are on the way back, and Don Mattingly will have a set line up. Yes it always sucks to lose to San Fransisco but it’s the begining. Let the Media and everyone else overhype issues. The Dodgers will be fine folks.
Thats right it’s that time again. Thats right Opening Day is here! Fans have been waiting for almost 6 months for this and this is where teams take today to make a statement on the first day. As we celebrate the start of Baseball season whats a better way than to have another edition of I-5 Bias. Kristen, who runs a great blog “This is a very simple game” (http://blithescribe.mlblogs.com/) and myself have done a set of post together refering to the Dodgers and Angels. In this edition we will talk about Opening Day and post Spring Training. With the baseball power shifting towards the west a lot of attention is on the AL and NL West. For those who haven’t read our collabrations before you are in for a treat and it’s something for EVERY baseball fan to enjoy. We really hope you enjoy reading. And Now The I-5 Bias!!!
1) So, about those less than stellar spring training records? Are you concerned? What, if anything, did you learn about your team from spring training?
Kristen says: I’m not really concerned about the Angels spring training record (or, truth be told, the Dodgers either for that matter). Split squads facing full squads. Pitchers taking the mound in unconventional innings for unusual stretches of time. Players pulled both more and less quickly than they usually would be. Minor leaguers finishing what the big leaguers start. Spring training play is just too different from regular season play for the one record to say anything predictive about the other. Besides, lately the Angels have started off their seasons with a crappy April and early May. The terrible spring training record gives me a small, odd hope that they’ve somehow gotten it out of their systems earlier this season. Now, having watched more spring training games than not, I can tell you that I am still really concerned about the Angels bullpen and only somewhat less concerned about the back end of the starting rotation. Here’s hoping that I’m just a hopeless worrywart without cause.
Matt: as far as the records I’m not concerned at all because if you look at spring training most of the time it’s the minor league guys and Non roster guys playing so no need to worry at all. As far as what I learned in Spring I learned a few things. 1- the Dodgers minor league system is in great hands and 2- Dodgers have depth.
2) After watching spring training, what player(s) have particularly impressed you? What player(s) you look forward to seeing this upcoming season?
Kristen says: I’m still head over heels enamored with the Angels outfield – Mike Trout, Peter Bourjos and Josh Hamilton. They had their rough games and bouts of butterfingers this spring training but I really got the impression they learned to work well together. Watching Bourjos get his centerfielder’s confidence back after a season spent largely on the bench was a kick and a half, as was watching Hank Conger kill it at the plate.
Matt: One player I am really looking forward to seeing and Impressed by is Josh Beckett and here’s why. While Beckett isn’t going to be a Cy Young Award winner he is going to produce for the Dodgers. I believe the change of scenery will really help him this season. Another player that impressed me was Hyun Jin Ryu. Ryu will have to adjust to the MLB style of play but without a doubt he can for sure get it done. He will be a treat to watch this season. Yasiel Puig also impressed many Dodger fans this spring. Even though he was sent to Double A due to no room on the roster he will be something else once he’s called up.
3) This is the first season with two 15 team leagues and interleague play every day. In fact, the Angels are one of the teams opening the season with an interleague series. What are your thoughts on this?
Kristen says: I’m an oddity among hardcore baseball fans in that I actually enjoy interleague play and look forward to all of the odd matchups — perhaps it’s a throwback to my childhood and all of those great DC/Marvel comic mash ups. So, on many levels, I am excited to see the Angels take on the Reds. In fact, my only annoyance with the Angels season opener is not that it’s against a National League team. It’s that the series takes place on the East Coast and most of the games are early, sticking me with the unappealing choice of either catching games that take place while I’m at work only in bits and pieces on the radio and in phone updates, or watching them on delay knowing full well that there is no way I will be able to avoid knowing the outcome of the game prematurely unless by some miracle I can avoid the entire internet, the radio, television and basically all human contact until I’m finished watching the game. I know. Not bloody likely. As for this being the first season with two 15 team leagues, I love having an equal number of teams in both leagues at last, but still have some serious reservations about that equal number being an odd one. We’ll see how this works out.
Matt: I honestly believe is a pretty cool yet odd thing. With Opening Day it’s the start of the season and you always want to start the season off on the right foot. Interleague games to start the season will be an odd one but will also be fun. A good example is Angles and Reds. The Reds pitching staff against the Angels line up at Great American Ballpark is a game that catches many eyes. AL vs NL contenders. I believe it is a great treat for baseball fans
4) What are your thoughts on your team’s Opening Day 25-man roster? Do you have any issues or just plain surprises?
Kristen says: The 25-man roster is more or less what I expected. There were no surprises for me in terms of the starters and I am completely happy on that front, ecstatic even. I was thrilled, though not surprised, that Hank Conger made the roster. Hopefully 2013 is his year to really make an impact! I was pleasantly surprised to see Andrew Romine make the bench list and am excited to see what he can do. I’ve had a soft spot for the kid ever since I saw him pull off a tough force play at third with a long distance slide across the bag with the ball, just ahead of the runner. He’s rough around the edges and needs work at the plate but has good instincts and an appealing versatility. My only issue is that even, with a large personnel shuffle in the bullpen, I still don’t trust them to be consistently reliable. Prove me wrong guys. I would love nothing more than to be making heartfelt, happy mea culpas to the bullpen at the end of the season.
Matt: Justin Sellers is a player that surprised me. I would’ve thought Alex Castellanos or Ellian Herrara would be on the roster but Mattingly wanted to go with Defense. Paco Rodriguez is also another surprise but the kid shown that he can pitch. That’s for a fact. He can really pitch and has a bright future with this team. Other than that I see no other surprises on the 25 man roster. Most are healthy which is great.
5) The World Baseball Classic was big news and now the media are debating the impact it will have
on the regular season. What are your thoughts?
Kristen says: I think it’s a mixed bag and that the effects will differ from player to player. I’m thrilled silly that the Angels’ participant, Erick Aybar, emerged from the WBC with a May and June like hot bat that he shows every intention of maintaining. In the case of Aybar, who regularly plays pretty much year around between the regular season and the Dominican League, I think he actually has a chance of maintaining it and other teams will be in this same, happy little boat. Other players may start out hot but fade early having, effectively, started playing hardcore, competitive baseball a month earlier than their teammates. And, of course, WBC related injuries – many of which would not have happened during less intense ST play – will be an issue for a few teams, including the Dodgers. What we have to remember, however, is that if the unfortunate end of the WBC related effects spectrum is enough to tip the seasonal balances for any team, then one of any number of the sort of injuries/issues that managers have to anticipate during the regular season might well have had the exact same effect.
Matt: I honestly believe it will. Hanley’s injury was something that could’ve Happened in a Spring Training game. What many fail to realize is that the WBC gets players into 9 innings shape instead if slowly getting into that game by game. It gets them ready and going and if their teams make playoffs then the atmosphere will have them set to go. So I believe for the good it will have them ready.
Meet the Bloggers Bonus Question: So, Opening Day. Do you have tickets to your team’s home opener and what, if any, Opening Day traditions do you have?
Kristen says: I am bouncing off the walls excited! Yes, we do have tickets to the Angels home opener, though it’s just about the latest home opener for any team this season so I still have a ways to go before I get to see my guys play live. For the last three seasons, our tradition has been to go to the Angels home opener. In seasons like this one where that doesn’t coincide with Opening Day, our tradition is just to watch as much baseball as possible and really soak it in after the long winter without, preferably accompanied by a nice bottle of red…or two. Sadly, this year all traditions will be bucked. I’m sick, so no wine, and the Angels are playing at 1 p.m. on a weekday so, really, no Angels. Thus this year’s ‘tradition’ is apparently watching not my team and being frustrated until the Angels hit Texas. But, you know what? Today umpires will call out those magical words, ‘Play ball!’ twelve times in regular season play, so I simply can’t be bothered to wipe the big, silly grin off of my face long enough to be upset about much of anything. Baseball is back!
Matt: yes I absolutely do. This is my first FULL season as a season ticket holder and I am looking forward to it. A tradition I always have is I check my stuff the night before and put it in one place. Then I get there the next day for batting practice and to see all the festivities. Opening day is really great.
Throughout Spring Training there’s been a lot of stories and players that has impressed but as of right now nobody is lighting it up like Yasiel Puig. Many scouts who have followed Puig made note that he has power and speed but was raw and needed more coaching. While playing for the Arizona Rookie League and Class A Rancho Cucamonga Puig batted .354 in 82 At Bats hitting 5 Home Runs and 15 RBI’s. This spring many Dodger fans didn’t really know what to expect from the 22 Year Old Outfielder. Yasiel have impressed many players, fans, and coaches with his play. I was even impressed how the way he played. Don Mattingly compared him to Bo Jackson with his speed and power and for a player built like that who can blame him. During Spring Training Puig is batting .547 with 3 Home Runs, 11 RBI’s, and an On Base Percentage (OBP) of .527. Right now he have a lot of people talking about a spot on the 25 man roster. Now should he have a spot on the 25 man roster? That is a great question and something that should be looked at.
The Dodgers already have 3 outfielders that will play every day. Carl Crawford at Left, Matt Kemp in Center, and Andre Ethier in Right but it’s a fourth outfielder that the Dodgers could use. I’ve always stressed that a bat off the bench could help. Los Angeles have two utility players in Schumaker and Harriston Jr. I don’t think anyone trust Uribe and with Hanley out for 8 weeks that opens up a spot. Likely Ellian Herrera will get called up come opening day but why not look into bringing Yasiel Puig? With him playing the way he is Puig is doing everything he can to get on the roster and having him come in as the 4th outfielder off the bench would be ideal but there will be a time that he will become day to day. Right now some see Puig challenging Carl Crawford or Andre Ethier for one of their spots and that can’t be any further from the truth. As good as Puig is Crawford and Ethier have their positions locked unless otherwise.
It’s up in the air right now weather if Puig will make the Opening Day Roster or not. With Hanley out for 8 weeks that brings the possibility of him being called up come April 1st and I can see it happening. If not then the likely place will be Double A Chattanooga to have more At Bats and coaching. What do I think of Puig? I honestly think he’s ready for the MLB. Based off what I have seen this kid can flat out play but the issue has been room on the roster. The Dodgers have proven players on the initial roster and they can’t have too many outfielders on the team. Puig will be called up this season and pending on others things will start for the Dodgers but this year isn’t that year in my opinion. In the end Puig should have a spot on the 25 man roster but if there’s no room then it won’t hurt for him to be in Double A.
And we’re here. The final part to our 2013 Dodgers spring preview will not focus on positions or players but the whole look at the Franchise. Hopefully the guide has given you an outlook on each position and answered some questions that you asked. Or maybe brought new questions to you regarding the 2013 Dodgers. This Off-Season the Dodgers took time fill the needs in order to not only make playoffs but win the NL West and contend for a World Series. They loaded up on pitching with the signings of Zack Grenkie, Hyun Jin Ryu, and J.P. Howell as well as re-signing Brandon League. They also hired Mark McGuire as batting coach to help improve the batting, An issue that the Dodgers had last season. Los Angeles done a lot in the off-season and it shows that they want to win the whole thing. Will they do it though? That’s something we all want to know. Before we drive right into the final take a few question and answers that should help. Now about a few weeks ago I asked some fans on twitter and Facebook what questions they had about this Dodgers team.
From @LAno1sportsfan via Twitter- Will Luis Cruz will play 3rd base for the rest of the season or do the Dodgers eventually make a move for a 3rd Baseman at some point?- Well to be honest it really depends on Cruz really. You have to look at it like this…If Cruz can repeat what he did last season and what he’s doing during Spring Training then yes he’s going to be there but once he struggles OR has an injury that keeps him out or something then most likely. I don’t think they’ll trade for one if Cruz struggles because look at who they have on the bench that can play that position but that’s what I see.
From Victoria Nunez who asks If Crawford isn’t ready by Opening Day, who will take up left field- That has been a question we’ve been asking since the end of the season really. My mind keeps shifting because a part of me think Crawford will be ready and another don’t see him ready till mid April maybe first week of May. Anyways if Carl Crawford isn’t ready then I believe Skip Schumaker will take his place. It’s a tough toss-up because you have Jerry Hariston there as well as Alex Castellanos but I really see Schumaker there come opening day but don’t be surprised if Mattingly platoons at Left till Crawford comes back.
@KingBilly via Twitter- Besides Kershaw and Greinke, what other starter do you see having a good/great season ?- I really believe Josh Beckett will have a good season. Many don’t think about Beckett as much but he did have a solid season when he was traded to Los Angeles. I think that along with him being in the NL (A Pitchers League), Pitching at Dodgers Stadium (Pitchers park), as well as a change of scenery will really help him out. Beckett won’t put up Cy Young numbers like that but he will be a solid Number 3 and that’ll be enough to help the Dodgers win.
@Dodgersrules1 via Twitter- are the dodgers going to trade harang or chris capuano- Right now with all the injuries It’s probably not wise to trade either at this point but I do see them getting traded. Eventually I do see both getting traded but at the right price. Depends on who needs Starting Pitching and everything.
Now that all the questions are out the way lets hit the home stretch. With everything the Dodgers did in the off-season and last summer, Is it enough for the Dodgers to win the NL West? If you look at the NL West it’s really bound to be interesting. The hated San Fransisco Giants brings back everyone (Pretty much) and Arizona spending on pitching nothing will come easy for the Dodgers. Los Angeles has some questions with the health of players and positioning especially at Left Field. I believe it comes down to if this team can be consistent and healthy enough to win the division. On paper they’re contenders but can this team keep it together to win the NL West and more? I think they will based on what I’ve seen during spring training and the World Baseball Classic. ultimately it will come down to pitching and that’s what will carry this Dodger team to a NL West title.
Not only is there questions with the team but there’s questions with the Manager as well. Many people question if Don Mattingly is the right guy for the job. Don Mattingly have been the Dodgers manager since 2011, When the Dodgers were going through its worst times with the franchise. Mattingly has gotten his team through the worst of things and the next year came close to leading this team to the Playoffs. I believe the Dodgers front office will wait and see what he’ll do with this team before deciding if they should sign him back to manage this team. I do believe he can be the right guy but he will have to gel all this talent together. He has the staff and players so there’s no more excuses for Mattingly not to succeed with this team.
So there you have it. We made it through the Spring preview. We broke down the positions, answered the questions, and took a look at a few things with the team. With all of that out the way we can now let the team go out on the field for their 2013 campaign and answer everything for us. On to Opening Day We Go!!!
And It Begins. That’s right folks Baseball is finally here. The Dodgers full squad are at Camelback Ranch in Glendale Arizona and preparing for their upcoming 2013 campaign. This year there’s a lot of high hopes for the Dodgers after the ending of last season and the off-season moves that were made. Regardless of the signings there’s still questions that loom around this team but it seems like for the most part are working towards answering those. Theres a lot of headlines going into Spring Training this year…You can say more than last season at that and yes it is Interesting.
One of the biggest things that’s being talked about with the Dodgers is chemistry. Many fans and media seem to mention this a lot and wonder how the Dodgers will mesh on the field. Other players seem to be talking too, Most noticeably Giants First Baseman Brandon Belt who said “All I can say is you can’t buy chemistry.” That quote has had many Dodger fans talking but the players aren’t fazed by it at all. Matt Kemp however had something to say about Belts comments with a few words of his own. The Dodgers for the most part look like they’re getting the whole chemistry thing down but once they get on the field that’ll be a whole different thing. I honestly don’t believe the Dodgers will have an issue with chemistry. Hanley, Adrian, Kemp, Ethier, Cruz and so on have played in the second half of the 2012 season and only a few pieces will have to mesh which they’ll have all spring to get it together.
Clayton Kershaw named Opening Day Starter
Clayton Kershaw was named the Dodgers Opening Day Starter by Don Mattingly (Insert your pretend surprised face here). This was something that we ALL knew for months unless there was something we didn’t know. Baring any injury Kershaw is the Dodgers guy and there shouldn’t be any shock or anything like that.
Hyun Jin Ryu Impresses
Many Dodger fans have been waiting to see what Hyun Jin Ryu brings to the Dodgers and when he was given the chance in a Bullpen session he didn’t disappoint. Ryu placed the ball where he wanted very well, had good command with his fast ball but the curveball needed more work. Mattingly, AJ Ellis, and Rick Honeycutt were all very impressed with his bullpen session but the knock on Ryu was his conditioning which has gotten better. In Korea training and conditioning is a much slower paced conditioning schedule so it’s all apart of the adjustment that Hyun Jin Ryu will have to make. Feb 25th is when we’ll see Ryu pitch in a live game.
Non Roster Players
Usually in Spring teams have players who get signed to minor league deals and give them a shot to make the 40 man roster. This year the Dodgers are hoping to find a gem that will make the Opening Day Roster like years before. This year the Dodgers are looking for a vet in a young Bullpen and there’s a few arms that stick out to the Dodgers. One of them being Peter Moylan who was with the Braves last season but only played in 8 games. Moylan also has an issue with staying healthy which is something he’s working towards doing. Another is a player the Dodgers just signed to a Minor League deal in Mark Lowe. Lowe played 38 games with the Rangers last season until getting injured. Lowe has an escape clause in his contract if he does not make the Dodgers come Opening Day where Moylan is willing to pitch in Triple A if he doesn’t make it. Both of them will have to battle with Josh Wall and Stephen Fife. Outside of pitching you have players like Tony Gwynn Jr who was on the team last season fighting for a spot on the 40 man roster. Alex Castellanos, Ellian Herrara, and Yasiel Puig are currently on there right now so a spot for Tony Gwynn jr will be pretty difficult at this moment.
Saving the best for last. Sandy Koufax back with the Dodgers as an Advisor and was it a sight to see him back in a Dodger uniform. It was a treat having a Dodger great back in Uniform talking with players and helping pitchers like Hyun Jin Ryu and Zack Greinke prepare for the upcoming season. I think this is overall a great thing for the Dodgers to do. Koufax is one of the best Dodgers and to have him involved with franchise is great for not only the Dodgers and it’s players but for the Fans as well.
The Los Angeles Dodgers held their Fan Fest which was a chance for many Dodger fans to come up to the Stadium and see their favorite Dodger players, coaches, legends, and personalities in person before the season started. Last year the Dodgers held a Fan Fest which was a such a success that they held it again on Saturday, A Month before Spring Training. Like last year, I managed to go this year and I have to say in my view Fan Fest over did itself from last season. Unlike last year I managed to meet many current players and coaches who turned out to be very great people. Fan Fest though started off great for me when i met the Stan Kasten. The man behind the work of putting the Dodgers back on top. I managed to get a picture with him after he talked on the podium to Season Ticket Holders who got to enter at 30 minutes before the General Public. After meeting him I have to say I can see why I along with many Dodger fans are sold on this guy restoring the Dodgers back to Major League prominence.
Back to the players. The players were very friendly and welcoming to the fans today that it made the event even better in my view. From Andre Ethier, Zack Greinke, Nick Punto, Jansen, and Javy Guerra meeting the Dodger players made me feel like a kid again. The highlight of the whole thing was having a good conversation with Javy Guerra about season tickets and Andre Ethier joking around with my little cousins. One thing that bothered me was how long the lines were for Kemp, Ryu, Cruz, and Mark Ellis which cause us to not even attempt to stand in line for them. The interviews were also very good as well and attracted a huge crowd once Vin, Kemp, and Aj came. Matt Kemp managed to follow a fan on twitter during a Q&A with fans as well as encouraged many Dodger fans to make the trip to Spring Training next month. I honestly believe the best on stage Interview by far was by Tommy Lasorda who gave the fans a real pep talk to pump them up. He told many Dodger fans in attendance that he had a Wait Problem because he can’t wait till the season starts. I honestly felt very pumped up when he was talking. Made me want to suit up and play. You can always count on Tommy Lasorda to get the Fans going. Vin Scully was also a treat to hear and see. Vin always blesses us with his voice during Dodger games and his presence was even greater to see at Fan Fest. The crowd also got its first look at Hyun-Jin Ryu as he came to the stage and greeted the many Dodger fans at Fan Fest. One area that really caught my attention was the baseball history tent where they had historical artifacts from years on in baseball. I was very impressed with the programs from the late 1800′s and old uniforms they wore in the 1920′s as well.
There were some things that would’ve been done better like being better organized but In my opinion I was very good. There were some people on the other hand who had a lot of complaints about Fan Fest and I hope the Dodgers fix that next time to make it even better. Many Dodger fans not only showed for Fan Fest but to also buy Tickets for Individual games. From early Saturday morning many Dodger fans showed up to receive a wristband and take part in a raffle to purchase tickets so it wasn’t promised that you’d got tickets regardless if you got a wristband. Some decided to buy online but there a few who told me that the website crashed and that they were unable to get tickets while some were just unlucky. Tickets sold out very quickly. Tickets online were however limited which ment only a number was sold. it’s unclear though if more will go on sale later on so that’s something to wait and see later on. It will also be interesting to see if Season Tickets and Mini Plan demands go up because of the people who didn’t get tickets to the games.
All in All Saturday the Dodgers did a lot to bring a bigger buzz and anticipation for Baseball. 21,000 Fans were in attendance for Fan Fest. It pumped me up even more for the season and I can’t wait till Spring Training to see the Los Angeles Dodgers step on the field for their road toward bringing back a championship to Los Angeles. The threat of rain was a big concern but it grew smaller and smaller as the skies cleared and the sun beamed through Blue Heaven On Earth. Cousins had fun, Got to meet players, and meet more Dodger fans and catch up with many friends as well. Oh how I can’t wait for the season to start.
Today the Team USA Roster was announced for the World Baseball Classic and while names were already mentioned on who would headline the team the full roster was a mystery. Well this morning Team USA Manager Joe Torrie announced who would represent the country in this Spring Baseball Tournament. Here is your Roster (From the Team USA Baseball website)
Jeremy Affeldt – San Francisco Giants – LHP
J.P. Arencibia – Toronto Blue Jays – C
Heath Bell – Arizona Diamondbacks – RHP
Willie Bloomquist – Arizona Diamondbacks – UTL
Mitchell Boggs – St. Louis Cardinals – RHP
Ryan Braun – Milwaukee Brewers – OF
Steve Cishek – Miami Marlins – RHP
Tim Collins – Kansas City Royals – LHP
R.A. Dickey – Toronto Blue Jays – RHP
Luke Gregerson – San Diego Padres – RHP
Derek Holland – Texas Rangers – LHP
Adam Jones – Baltimore Orioles – OF
Craig Kimbrel – Atlanta Braves – RHP
Jonathan Lucroy – Milwaukee Brewers – C
Joe Mauer – Minnesota Twins – C
Kris Medlen – Atlanta Braves – RHP
Glen Perkins – Minnesota Twins – LHP
Chris Perez – Cleveland Indians – RHP
Vinnie Pestano – Cleveland Indians – RHP
Brandon Phillips – Cincinnati Reds – IF
Jimmy Rollins – Philadelphia Phillies – IF
Giancarlo Stanton – Miami Marlins – OF
Mark Teixeira – New York Yankees – IF
Shane Victorino – Boston Red Sox – OF
Ryan Vogelsong – San Francisco Giants – RHP
David Wright – New York Mets – IF
Ben Zobrist – Tampa Bay Rays – UTL
Now while that isn’t a bad Roster in my view there are still opinions on the roster. Many will complain the roster not having enough Stars on it. Well let me go ahead and get into that. As many know the format of USA Basketball most of the International Tournaments take place during the Summer when the NBA isn’t going on. That allows Stars like Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, and LeBron James to play. With the World Baseball Classic it can’t take place in the Summer because that’s in the middle of MLB and the Main pool games can’t take place in the Winter because most players are playing Winterball. Some will skip most of Spring Training with their teams to play and some will stay with their teams to get ready. Players like Mike Trout for the Angels chose to skip the Classic so he can get ready with the Angels and that’s understanable. Other players such as Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw will not play due to Injuries or recovering/Rehabing from Off-Season surgery. So the whole Not enough Stars have to be put away.
On paper this is still a good team and good enough to win. Will they win is going to be a mystery until the Classic because we don’t know who will be on the other teams roster till later. Looking at the Pool in Arizona I’d say the top two favorites would have to be Mexico and USA. All together I am excited like many baseball fans for this and been looking forward to the World Baseball Classic for a while. First Round of the World Baseball Classic take place on March 2nd at Fukuoka Yahoo! Japan Dome in Fukuoka Japan.
We are 30 Days Away from Pitchers and Catchers reporting, Almost a month before the first Spring Training Game against the White Soxs, and 78 Days until Opening Day. A lot can happen between that time and that has been proven before. This off-season the Dodgers managed to go on a spending spree to try to improve the team. Stan Kasten and Ned Colleti got together and signed the likes of Zack Greinke and Hyun Jin Ryu as well as trade for guys to help on the bench such as Skip Shoemaker. Off the field the Dodgers have been busy getting Dodger Stadium redone to not only improve fan experance but improve the Stadium for the players and modernize the 51 year old stadium as well. As we aproach the 2013 Season there are still questions that loom over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Regardless of the amount of talent and spending the Dodgers did there’s still some things that many are uncertain with. Let’s see what questions suround the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Will Zack Greinke live up to expectations in L.A?
I think this is the key question many were asking once the Dodgers signed Greinke. Yes the Dodgers did pay a lot for Greinke and we understand that but in this case Dodgers had Greinke on their list and was willing to pay whatever for him so lets clear that up. Theres going to be a lot of things expected from Grenike and with him being the #1 Pitching Free Agent there’s going to be pressure on him for a fact. To be honest I for one am not worried about Greinke at Dodger Stadium but when the Dodgers go out on the road is something that I will keep a good eye on. I think if he can stay consistent and healthy then watch out MLB.
How will Hyun Jin Ryu adjust to the Major Leagues?
Lets be real here we know International players have to adjust to the style of Major league pitching and play and Ryu is no different. After a dominant career in the KBO (Korean Baseball Organization) Hyun Jin Ryu signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers and if you look at his highlights you along with myself would be very excited to see him pitch. The one good thing about this is that no one in the Majors has seen Ryu pitch but MLB runs longer for pitchers which is something Ryu does know and is preparing for. I do believe Ryu will be a treat to watch but also is very unknown to many fans in the U.S. I think as the season progresses we will know more about him on the field.
Will Chad Billingsley, Matt Kemp, and Carl Crawford be the same coming off Injuries?
A concern with the Dodgers last season and something that hampered the team was Injuries. Chad Billingsley came off a stent on the DL when the second half of the 2012 season hit and was really pitching well until he suffered a partially torn right elbow ligament which sidelined him for the rest of the season. Matt Kemp was also bothered with injuries throughout the season and that affected his play through the season. Suffering from Hamstring injuries that sidelined him until the All-Star break and then tearing his right labrum and a frayed shoulder-blade which really affected him through the season. While Carl Crawford didn’t suit up with the Dodgers last season he also was injured and had to have Tommy John surgery which sidelined him for the season as a Red Sox. The health of those three have been closely watched since the end of the season and from the sounds of it progress is being made with Kemp and Billingsley. Kemp is swinging the bat again and working with McGwire in Arizona, Experiencing no pain while Billingsley has went fourth with is throwing program and from what is being said he’s sound confident which is also good to hear. While nothing is out on Crawford they expect him to be the Opening Day Starter at Left Field. My main concern at the moment for these guys is game speed. Yes they’ll have Spring Training to get it together but will they be at game speed and game condition once the season hits? Last thing everyone wants is for Kemp, Billingsley, and Crawford to struggle because that’s never a good thing to see. The key for their success as players is going to be Good health and confidence and If they can do that then watch out.
If Carl Crawford Isn’t Ready Who Starts at Left Field?
This was the talk at the end of last season and the answers was all over the place. In the event of Crawford not being able to play come the start of the season then who will start at his position? There were tons of players thrown into the discussion and some weren’t bad ideas while others were ehhh I don’t know. One Idea was to sign back Shane Victorino but there were two problems with that. 1) Shane wanted to be a starter and was not going to sign with the Dodgers to be a bench player once Crawford returned plus I questioned if he even wanted to be a Dodger and 2) he signed with the Red Soxs for a ridiculous amount of money so he’s officially out the picture. A few players also thrown out there was Juan Rivera which isn’t a bad idea but wasn’t the same player he was when he was traded to the Dodgers and Tony Gwynn Jr who was with the Dodgers until L.A. designated him for Assignment to Albuquerque. Yasiel Puig is a name plenty of Dodger fans put out there and while he is on the 40 man roster and has been Killing it in the Minors I question if he is indeed ready for MLB ball. He hit a major slump in winter ball but seems to be picking it back up. We have to see how he does at Spring Training to really judge if he is truly ready.
Will Luis Cruz repeat his 2012 Season
Luis Cruz was fantastic and was quite the surprise in the 2012 season. Cruz really became a popular player in Los Angeles and a key player as well earning the everyday 3rd Base spot. This season Mattingley said that the plan will be for Cruz to be starting 3rd baseman come Opening Day and why not? How the way he played Last season he should but whether he will make the same impact is a good question. Cruz will be playing with Team Mexico in the World baseball Classic so he will miss part of Spring training with the Dodgers for that. We’ve seen Juan Rivera who had a good impact on the team some what struggle the next season along with Dee Gordon and that is one thing that is in the back of some minds but with Cruz he has the work ethic to be better and help this team so it’s something to keep an eye out.
Is Andre Ethier on his way out of Los Angeles?
Andre Either has had his name in many trade rumors in the off-season and while the word is that the Dodgers are listening to offers they have not indicated that they will trade Ethier. Andre Ethier signed a 5 year $85 Million Contract extention during the season which raises eyebrows on why the Dodgers would trade him. Yes the knock has been that he can’t hit off left-handed pitchers and we all understand that but wouldn’t it be fair to wait and see how he does with Crawford AND Kemp in the outfield with him? There has been the rumor of him being traded to Seattle then signing Michael Bourn but that remains to be seen at the moment. I honestly think if Ethier struggles come the trade deadline then the Dodgers will likely look into Trading Ethier away but with his contract there isn’t many teams who will be willing to take him. I see the Dodgers holding on to Andre because as of right now it’s the right and smart thing to do.
Will The Dodger Stadium Renovations Be Done In Time?
I think this is another major question but it takes place with the stadium. If you have seen pictures of Dodger Stadium being redone or have been to the stadium then you can’t help but to worry about the Stadium being done in time for Opening Day. Stan Kasten made note that it will be ready by March 29th when the Dodgers take the field for their exhibition game against the Angels. Dodger Stadium was in need of renovations and that wasn’t a mystery at all if you visited there. After the 2012 Season the renovations start to modernize the 51 Year old Stadium but the worry is if it will be done and ready in time. It’s currently January right now and Dodger Stadium has to be ready by March for the season but in the event of it NOT being ready then there has been plans in place for the Dodgers to play at the L.A. Coliseum or Angel Stadium. I don’t believe that the Dodgers will have to play else where for their games and that the stadium will indeed be ready by March. They’ve already moved the Dodgertown Classic where USC and UCLA play at Dodger Stadium due to renovations so that’s already one event down. Yes A lot has to be done and it is a concern about getting it done in time but workers are working hard to get the upgrades done and it will be worth it.
Will Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez Have A Better Season L.A.?
Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez had up and down season in L.A. after they were aquired. With Adrian playing in the World baseball classic and Hanley in Winter Leagues I expect those two to improve. Another advantage is that Mark McGwire is the hitting coach and based on what he did for the Cardnials I can see him really doing what he can to help Hanley and Adrian improve. Weather it will work or or not is something we will have to wait and see. If Adrian Gonzalez can hit lights out and if Hanley can hit like his 2009 Batting Champion self then the Dodgers will really be a dangerous team hitting wise.