Results tagged ‘ San Fransisco Giants ’
Ok so what has gotten into the Dodgers? Morning of June 22nd this team was 12 games under .500 and 9.5 games back of 1st place in the NL West. Many of the media and fans wrote the team off and even said that they should be come sellers when the deadline comes. Well from then on the Dodgers managed to go on a hot streak surging them past the Giants, Padres, Rockies, AND Diamondbacks. The last two series after the break shown something that has fans really excited. In the 2nd game of the Nationals series and the 2nd and 3rd game of the Blue Jays series the Dodgers trailed late in the game but rallied back to win. Something that we haven’t seen much of from this Dodger team this season. So the question remains….What has gotten into the Dodgers?!
Well if you ask me I think it’s a few things. One they’ve finally gotten healthy. Through the 1st half of the season the Dodgers have been banged up and missed players when they needed them the most. If you remember this was the same thing that hurt the Dodgers last season. Another thing you have to throw in there is the fact that guys are finally producing. Early in the season the Dodgers had a low Average with RISP and the Bullpen ERA was as high as a kite. If you listened to what Adrian Gonzalez said before yesterday’s game in Toronto the guys are finally feeling the pressure fall off. They can take a few pitches, get walked, and do their part to help the batter behind them and have the confidence that they will cash in. Everyone is doing their job to help the team out and that’s what’s we’ve wanted out of them. Let’s also not forget that the Dodgers have gotten some help from the Giants and Padres cooling off.
This team is playing up to their potential and even in late games they’re finding ways to pull through and come away with wins. Dodgers don’t have to win EVERY game but just keep taking series and hold off Division rivals. If they can do that they’ll take the NL West and play onto October. The Dodgers are on fire right now and on top of the NL West. Lets hope they can keep this up.
In a season full of expectations and a new era of Dodger baseball there has been a lot of umm Drama around the Los Angeles Dodgers. If you looked at the roster you’d think this team would be in first place in the NL West by the All-Star break right? Right now as of today the Dodgers find themselves 2.5 Games out of first place which is being held by the Arizona Diamondbacks and are 4.5 Games back of the Wild Card. They also have a record of 47-47. So you might be wondering what on earth happened? Let me answer your question with this: A LOT! The start of the 2013 Season seemed very promising after opening day but from then on things kind’ve sent south. Losing games due to lack of offensive and defensive production, Bullpen issues, Mismanagement of the team, and Injuries were the main issues that hurt the Dodgers in the first half of the season. It seemed like an ever lasting nightmare from April to Mid June. It got to the point where the Dodgers found themselves below .500 and 9.5 games out of 1st place in the NL West. Come Late June things took a turn for the better. Lets break down the 1st half of the Dodgers 2013 season.
Injuries: Dodgers kept getting hit with Injuries left and right. From the begining of the season and on the Dodgers have struggled to keep healthy and that has hurt the Dodgers from producing. Think of it like this, Pretty much majority of the Dodgers roster has been on the DL at some point. Hanley, Kemp, Crawford, Aj Ellis, Scott Van Slyke. The group that took the hardest hit when it comes to injuries has to be Pitching. At the start of the season the Dodgers had Starting Pitchers like there was no tomorrow but with injuries that number quickly fell. Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett will miss the season which hurt the 4 and 5 pitching spot before the Nolasco trade, Zack Greinke broke his collar-bone in the bench clearing fight with Carlos Quentin and the San Diego Padres, and Fife/Capuano missing time as well. Last season the Dodgers injuries cost them and this season it has hurt them at the start.
Lack of production and bad play: Outside of injuries the lack of production was another thing that killed the Dodgers. Whenever there were runners in scoring position it seems as if the Dodgers failed capitalize on the chance given. Yes we all understand about the injuries and pitching but there’s no excuse for the Dodgers not getting runs when the chance is there. Leaving men on base, below average with RISP, It just doesn’t add up with a Line up like this. This season Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier who are usually key factors have really under produced and many Dodger fans aren’t happy about it. Lack of bench production hasn’t been all that great either and defensively the team just hard to watch. Overall it was just bad baseball.
Pitching issues and Bullpen Problems: Where can I start? Well lets put this out there the 1-2-3 Starting pitching slot was not an issue at all. We kind’ve got that but when it comes to the 4-5 spot and bullpen….thats a different story. The Dodgers came into the season with a loaded starting pitching staff and a bullpen that was one of the best in the NL last season. As the season went it was the complete opposite of that. Chad Billingsley went down to an ongoing arm injury that required Tommy John Surgery, Josh Beckett was winless during the season after he had an amazing Spring Training. A nerve injury forced him to have surgery and miss the season as well. As for Ted Lilly? He continues to struggle with injuries and had multiple rehab stints and continues to have a set back. Steven Fife tends to have solid outings and has potental but Chris Capuano has been very inconsistent and has given up a lot of hits in his outings. The bullpen on the other hand as really been an issue for the most part of the season. Josh Wall who is no longer with the team has really not helped and struggled before being sent down and later traded in the Ricky Nolasco deal. Ronald Belisario has hurt the Dodgers and come in only to give up hits and runs. His ERA has sky rocketed as the season went but seems to get the hang of things towards the break. Brandon League on the other hand as took a complete turn south. After closing games last season and showing that he can be a solid reliever League has blown saves left and right. Many of us kept wondering why Mattingly sending him out to close games but finally he got it together and had Jansen as closer. Jansen out of the two is a no brainer right there to have as closer. The Dodgers also brought up guys like Chris Withrow and Jose Dominguez who can really throw the ball in the high 90′s. Paco Rodriguez and JP Howell also have had solid outings and can also get the team out of innings as well so things won’t be all doom and gloom for the pen from the looks of it. As far as Starting pitching? The Ricky Nolasco deal solidified their Number 4 starting pitching but still the 5 spot is the big question mark.
Puigmania- Something uplifting here that really took Los Angeles and the Baseball world by storm. Yasiel Puig. They hype started up when he played in rookie leagues and Single A but it was Spring Training where many started to hop on the bandwagon after posting impressive numbers but due to the lack of room for him on the 25 man roster Puig, As expected my many scouts, was sent to Double A Chattanooga for more development. Once the injuries hit the Dodgers Yasiel Puig was called up to the Dodgers and from there everything played itself out. Puig lived up to the hype he generated batting above .400 while playing and exciting fans around baseball. Before All-Star Break he had many write his name in on the All-Star ballot and came in 2nd in the Last Chance vote. Yeah he didn’t make the All-Star game but his presence provided a spark for the Dodgers that helped them make up ground in the NL West.
From 9.5 to 2.5: By June 21st the Dodgers found themselves 9.5 games back of the NL West and pretty much left for dead by many but when June 22nd hit things changed. The Dodgers would go on and hit a streak that would really shape up the NL West for them. Winning 17-22 Games from June 22nd to July 14th. The Dodgers ended up gaining ground on the Padres, Giants, and Rockies in that stretch of games. Now that Los Angeles find themselves in a great position come All-Star break it’ll be interesting to see what they can do in the 2nd half of the season.
Opening week is in the books and it has been a real memorible one. We have seen Sandy Koufax throw out the first pitch, Clayton Kershaw hit his first career home run as well as shut out the Giants. We saw the debut of Hyun Jin Ryu and Zack Greinke pitching and Carl Crawford do work as the lead off hitter. Yes what an eventful week it was for the Dodgers. As Los Angeles prepares for their week long road trip lets look back at Opening Week.
Epic Moment of Opening Week: As if Opening Day wasn’t big enough with the game the Cerimonial first pitch was huge. Magic Johnson was prepared to throw out the first pitch until Don Mattingly came out and made a change. The cange turned out to be non other than Sandy Koufax. The Whole stadium erupted including myself. It was crazy to see and how the way the whole thing was played out wasell done including the video on how the ball got there.
Play of the week: There were a lot of good plays this week but I believe this has to go to Clayton Kershaw and his Home Run. The fact that no one expected him to hit a home run and how the way he got under it was something else. Hit a home run and have a complete game shut out against the hated Giants? What more can you ask for?
Carl Crawford was hurt?: From the time of the trade last season and on the huge question mark was at Left Field and carl Crawford. Crawford missed the rest of the 2012 season with Tommy John Surgery when he was with the Red Soxs. When the Dodgers traded for him people expected him to be out at least until June. When Spring Training came there was talk that Crawford playing April 1st until he had a set back which had many fans wondering if Crawford will even play Opening Day. Well late Spring Training Crawford played and made it to start on Opening Day and it seems as if he wasn’t hurt. Crawford has been playing really well Opening week batting .450 leading off for the Dodgers. Carl Crawford is doing this playing little games to really get him going and being eased into the line up. If he can stay healthy then there’s no doubt that he can help this team get into a position to strike.
Slow start for Kemp and Cruz: Matt Kemp and Luis Cruz have really been in a funk to start out the season. Matt Kemp who really had all of Spring to heal up seems to not get it together at the moment. When ever they have an opprotunity to do some damage and get runs on the board they either strike out or hit into a double play. Yes it’s early in the season but you can’t do that with runners in scoring position at all. Kemp and Cruz will get their act together but right now the slow start really hurts.
Zack Greinke Debuts: Zack Greinke was the most sought after Pitcher during free agency. When the Dodgers signed him he was expected to be number 2 behind Clayton Kershaw. April 5th Greinke made his Dodgers Debut and did not disapoint at all. Zack managed to pitch 6 innings striking out 6 batters and only giving up 2 hits. Batting wise he went 1-2 (Error was charged in his first at bat) and even manage to some what break up a double play. Zack Greinke had a good game and makes another start in San Deigo April 11th. I would love to see if he can follow up with a repeat of last week.
현 진 류(Hyun Jin Ryu): Another Pitcher the Dodgers signed in the off-season was the Korean stand out Hyun Jin Ryu. Through out Spring Training Ryu had to quickly adjust to MLB baseball. The exhibition game vs Anaheim he was fantastic which had many fans really looking forward to seeing him pitch. His debut game was something else. April 2nd Ryu made his first career start against the Giants and was knocked around quite a bit. Ryu gave up 8 hits in a 3-0 loss to the Giants. If anything this is all apart of the process of him adjusting to the MLB. His last start Sunday vs the Pirates was a better game. Yes he gave up 5 hits and a bomb to Andrew McCutchen but he struck out 6 in 6 innings. While some say he had all of spring training to adjust many have to remember he pitched limited games and it’s still an adjustment when the regular season comes because he’ll be pitching more frequently. Hyun Jin Ryu will be in a learning process for a few starts before he can really get it together.
What will we learn from the Dodgers on the road: Getting an early road trip in will show what the Dodgers can do in streatches like this. If anything we’ll see if the Dodgers can fix their problems with the slow start and leaving runners on base. San Deigo and Arizona will be interesting to see. My main concern is the Arizona series just for the fact the D-Backs have had the Dodgers numbers quite a few times before.
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.
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.
I’m going to take a few minutes to talk about something that I’m sure all Baseball fans out in the west coast (Basically California coast) can agree with me on and that is the landscape shift in Baseball. You see most of the time you have either the East (Yankees, Red Soxs, Phillies, Braves) or Midwest (Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, White Soxs, ) Ruling the baseball world and getting most of the attention and well deserved because of how they play and the division. From the last year or 2 that landscape is slowly but surely moving out to the west. About a year ago after the Angels signed Albert Pulojs and CJ Wilson I said that the baseball landscape would shift once the Dodgers get their new owners. So far I was right but I didn’t expect the extra stuff like the Dodgers trading for Hanley, Adrian, Beckett, and Crawford as well as becoming very active in the Trade Market during the season, The A’s beating out the Texas Rangers and The Angels to win the AL West, The Giants winning the Division and World Series (YUCK!!!) and the Padres got new ownership in the O’Mally’s (Former Dodgers owners and Yes the Family of the great Walter O’Mally). Baseball in California is getting interesting and moving on up.
You might be wondering how is that happening? Well let me go ahead and point it out for you. If you look at it right now the Yankees, Who would use to get pretty much any player they want, haven’t been really signing players like that and teams like the Dodgers and Angels this winter have been very active in the market. The Dodgers currently have a larger Payroll than the Yankees. YES THE YANKEES!!! Star players like Zack Grenike (Dodgers), Josh Hamilton (Angels), Albert Pujols in 2011(Angels) are moving to the west due to the Angels and Dodgers having the money to grab those big time players. The rivalries are also starting to grab more attention out west. The Yankees/Red Soxs has lost it’s luster due to the Red Sox’s decline and last season the Dodgers/Giants were in a heated Division race through out the summer. While the Red Sox/Yankees will have that historical bad blood the Giants/Dodgers will most likely be a divisional battle every year as will the A’s up and coming in the same division as the Star studded Angels will be something to keep an eye out for as well. Interleague out west is also starting to grab the attention of a lot of baseball fans. The Freeway Series with the teams the Dodgers and Angels have is starting to become a must see. If things go their way then the Freeway Series could go as far as a World Series Match up. Field wise the Yankees records were at least one W/L better than the A’s and Giants who went on hot streaks down the stretch. Think of it One and I don’t even like the Giants but it’s not about that right now. The Dodgers and Angels barely missed the playoffs which was disappointing for each teams fan base because of the current roster. What about San Diego you ask? Well now that they have new ownership it leaves the potential for them to become something in the NL West. While they won’t be like the Dodgers or anything in terms of ownership and having a major impact the O’Mally’s are no stranger operating a MLB Team. They have the challenge of not only fielding a team that can compete but filling the seats at Petco Park. The Padres played role of the spoiler towards the end and won 78 Games which gives the new ownership something to build on.
While I am a Dodger fan and live out in Los Angeles I am not blind at whats going on here. Yes the media will always have some east coast bias to it and the results on the field will have to back me up but the shift is starting to happen. We already seen a team have a higher payroll than the New York Yankees (Dodgers). It’s all right there. Weather you agree or disagree Is solely up to you but I can tell you in my opinion the West is starting to become an attention grabber so far and if the results on the field are what we hope it is then watch out.
It’s back to work for the Boys in Blue now that the All-Star Break is over it’s time to resume where the Dodgers left off. The 1st half of the season started great with the Dodgers having the best record in MLB and a good lead in the NL West only to take a turn for the worse when the Injuries began to stock pile, offense disappeared, and a slump happened. The Dodgers went into the break finding themselves a half game over the Giants and the Diamondbacks not too far off also the Dodgers find themselves 7 games over .500. Makes you say yikes the Slump did a lot of damage. However there’s help with Matt Kemp Andre Ethier and Mark Ellis Back in the line up the offense will have less pressure off. While there’s some solutions theres also plenty of questions to be answered that plague the Dodgers.
One question that many will ask is the Trade Deadline and what the Dodgers will do. The Dodgers need to address starting pitching help, LHP help, and add another bat to the corner position to help the Dodgers. We’ve heard so much about the Dodgers intrest with the Cubs on getting Matt Garza or Ryan Dempster which is a sign but with teams like the Brewers and Phillies being possible sellers it could be something if Cole Hammels or Zack Grenkee is available. Dodgers will likely have to give up prospects but to get players like that the Dodgers have to be cautious on the asking prices of these teams. Likely the Cubs and Brewers will not have high asking prices. As far as a bat the Dodgers have been real aggressive on trying to land a bat and missed twice. Missed out on Kevin Youkillis to the White Sox and Carlos Lee Vetoed a trade to LA only to land in Miami. The Dodgers could be aggressive again for a bat again but weather they strike gold or not is a question. It’s obvious this team wants to win THIS YEAR. A bat to the 1st and 3rd Base position looks to be a area as Juan Uribe and James Loney have been under performing at this point to make a solid contribution to help but the emergence of Eillian Herrara has been huge to the LF 3rd base position.
Another issue is the health and performance of the Dodgers again. The Injuries played a huge part in the wheels falling off in that slump that cost them that huge lead. What scares me personally is will key players stay healthy? Injuries happen but on slaught of injuries will be very bad to The Dodgers in the dog days. The performance of certain Dodgers will also be in mind like starting pitchers Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw. Will they be able to get it together to make a big run into September October? Billingsley’s meltdowns has been really bad in games and Kershaw hasn’t played like his usual Cy Young self. If they can pull through the the Dodgers will be dangerous. Another is the team itself. Will they bring it together to once again be the team that had the MLB talking? It all starts with the team but there’s no doubt Management and Mattingley will have this team ready to do battle.
All in All the Dodgers are in first place and will resume the season to keep that lead. But it won’t be easy. They start off with San Diego at home then go into a series at Dodger stadium with the Phillies. The same team that they swept in Philadelphia. After that a road trip in New York with the Mets then travel to ST Louis to play the Cardinals then conclude the road trip in San Fran against the hated giants in what could be a pivotal series in the NL West so the Dodgers have their work cut out. The 2nd Half is under way and the Boys in Blue have work to do.
Next Week!! Thats right we are One week away from Opening Day as the Dodgers travel to San Diego to take on the Padres. In a Stadium where it’s expected to be A LOT of Dodger fans in attendence in San Diego there will also be fans at Dodger Stadium watching the game on the big screen at Dodger Stadium that day as well. As we approach opening day I looked up some Dodgers facts when it comes to Opening Day and came across some that you may or may not know about the Dodgers on Opening Day. Some quite Interesting and Schocking as we count the Few days till the Start of the Dodgers Baseball Season.
-Through out their time in Brooklyn and Los Angeles the Dodgers have played 128 Opening Day games. April 5th will be the 129th Opening Day Game the Dodgers have played.
-In those 128 Games the Dodgers have played their record on Opening Day is 63-61-4. The Boys in Blue are currently on a 4 game winning streak on Opening Day with 3 of the 4 wins over the heated San Fransisco Giants.
- The Dodgers open with the Padres. Dodgers and Padres met only 10 Times on Opening day prior to April 5th. Dodgers and Padres Split the Games against each other on Opening Day 5 to 5 (Last game on Opening Day 4-5-2004 Dodgers loss 8-2)
-Clayton Kershaw will be starting on Opening Day. The Last Cy Young Award Winner to pitch on Opening Day was Sandy Koufax on April 14th 1964 vs the St Louis Cardinals (9 Innings Pitched, 6 Hits, and 5 Strike Outs in a 4-0 Dodgers win)
-The Largest Margin of Victory on Opening Day was 14 Runs in 1969 vs the San Diego Padres (14-0)
-The Largest Margin of Defeat on Opening Day was 15 in 1912 by the Hands of the Then New York Giants (18-3)
-The First Game at Dodger Stadium on Opening Day of the 1962 Season was a 6-3 Loss against the Cincinatti Reds. Johnny Podres was the Pitcher for the Dodgers on that day.
(Credit to Baseball almanac for facts and stats)