We are now fully one month into the Dodgers‘ season, and it ended up a little better than some might have thought a week ago. A four game winning streak, including one pretty epic comeback victory to end the month, will do that for you. The Dodgers sit at 14-12, third in the NL West, two games out of first. Not bad, considering.
The Dodgers have the usual parade of players on the disabled list, but the replacements brought up in their stead were solid. Cody Bellinger made his long awaited debut. While he started out slow, he’s found his rhythm a bit, even launching two home runs in Saturday’s game. His second one was a part of the back-to-back-to-back spree that ended up tying the game. Chris Taylor has made the most of his time with LA also, sporting a slash line of .296/.345/.593/.937. It seems unfair that it’s inevitable that these guys are sent back down to Triple-A Oklahoma City when the starters return from the DL, especially with some on the roster not contributing at the plate at all, but that’s a part of having such great depth — there’s not room for everyone at the same time.
Those starters are due to return this week. Joc Pederson, Logan Forsythe and Rich Hill are all slated to play for High-A Rancho Cucamonga, most likely Thursday. Forsythe is already eligible to be activated, and Pederson can be activated Thursday. Both were seen running the bases on Sunday before the game. Hill threw 48 pitches in a simulated game on Saturday and as long as the finger looks good, will have his first rehab assignment with the Quakes. He is expected to go four innings and 60 pitches. Although there had been some chatter about possibly placing Hill in the bullpen when he returned, manager Dave Roberts said that the plan is to keep him as a starter and slowly build him up. Franklin Gutierrez is also close to returning, having had two rehab starts in Rancho where he hit a homer Saturday, and went 2-4 on Sunday. The Dodgers face the left-handed Matt Moore on Tuesday, so that portends as a possible time for Gutierrez to return.
Let’s talk about how hot Justin Turner is, shall we? Turner ended the month of April batting .404, which is second only to Ryan Zimmerman of the Nationals who is batting .420. JT only had his first home run of the year on Saturday, which was the third of the three consecutive home runs. He leads the National League in doubles with 11, and is currently enjoying a 16 game hitting streak. His defense has been stellar, highlighted by the backhanded grab of a 106 MPH liner off the bat of Tommy Joseph, throwing him out with ease. Grateful every day JT was re-signed.
Other News and Notes: April ends with three batters tied for the lead in home runs with five each — Corey Seager, Yasiel Puig, and Andrew Toles. Lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu completed his first full month in the majors since 2014. He did so with an average of 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings, and picked up his first win in 973 days. On Friday, Kenta Maeda went seven innings for the first time since July 10, 2016.
(FOLLOW ANDY ON TWITTER: @)