Dodger Baseball: Can’t Hardly Wait

“Lights that flash in the evening
Through a hole in the drapes
I’ll be home when I’m sleeping
I can’t hardly wait

I can’t wait
Hardly wait”

~The Replacements

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It’s a sight for Dodgers fans sore eyes — on Thursday, the trucks were loaded up and headed to Camelback Ranch for spring training. Pitcher and catchers report on Wednesday, one day after Valentine’s Day, a little love note to all baseball fans.

In honor of baseball being so close, I posed this Fan Friday question to Twitter: What are you most looking forward to in the upcoming season?

Last year saw Julio Urias make his major league debut against the New York Mets at the tender age of 19, earlier than expected due to the high amount of injuries to the pitching staff. Then his second start was against the Chicago Cubs. No easy task for such a young pitcher. He ended the season pitching two scoreless innings in Game 5 of the NLDS, eventually allowing four runs to the Chicago Cubs in 3-2/3 innings in Game 4 of the NLCS. He finished the season with a 5-2 record, 3.39 ERA, 84 strikeouts and a 1.45 WHIP. He has a nasty pickoff move, which I personally am excited to see more of this season. Manager Dave Roberts has said that Urias may begin the season in extended spring training, as Julio will be on an innings limit this season. With a plethora of starting pitching this year, they have some room to play with in regards to keeping those innings down. Steamer projects for him to have a 7-5 record with a 3.35 ERA. When he does join the rotation, he will be the third lefty behind Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill, as those are two fabulous pitchers to follow.

Speaking of Rich Hill:

I agree, Gail! Rich Hill is such a special story. There is a fabulous story by Andy McCullough of the LA Times that if you haven’t read yet, I highly suggest you do. Despite all of the injuries last season, he gave it his all out there on the mound every time. He finally got to sign the big contract, and pitching behind Kershaw will be all out to help the team finally get to the World Series. Who doesn’t love that little hop off the mound? A full season of a man leaving it all on the mound every time is as much as you can ask for.

I am also in agreement with this. I’ve stated many times before that I would like to see more aggressive base stealing, just more aggressiveness on the basepaths in general. I had really hoped with Roberts as the manager, he of the infamous steal in the 2004 playoffs versus the New York Yankees, that some of that aggressiveness would reach the Dodgers baserunners. And maybe this will be the season, with Logan Forsythe for size at the lead off position and Andrew Toles somewhere in the lineup. Yasiel Puig has the speed too we know, so let’s get this aggressiveness up and running.

If there’s any damper on the upcoming season, it’s that it will be the first without our beloved Vin Scully. But Eddie is right. Joe Davis has proven himself to be an excellent replacement. I love reading his tweets about how he’s preparing for the season, like this one about Rich Hill

I also enjoy that he takes the time to interact with a lot of fans on Twitter. Together he and Orel Hershiser will be a great duo in the booth for many years to come.

Of course, it’s on every Dodgers fan’s mind — finally reaching the World Series again. It’s been almost 30 years since the Dodgers have last been there, and it’s time for the team to finally take that extra step. Four straight division titles are amazing. Getting to the NLCS last year was fantastic. But, with as good as this team is, they need to make it to the World Series. The time is now. All the right offseason free agent re-signings  were made to keep this team together, plus the acquisition of Forsythe to solidify the infield. The time is now.

No, I’m not going to get into politics here. But it goes without saying that it’s been an incredibly long off-season, no matter which side of the political spectrum you are on. Baseball is that great distractor. Unlike football which is only played once a week, baseball is there for you pretty much every night. Three hours were you can forget what else is going on with your life, and lose yourself in the beauty of the game. It’s what we all need right now. Thank goodness baseball is back.

(FOLLOW ANDY ON TWITTER: @DODGERGIRLINPA)

 

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