For those fans who watched Monday night’s contest against Arizona to the bitter end, they saw a little bit of everything from the Dodgers—sketchy starting pitching, some stellar relief pitching, some timely hitting, and another unimpressive appearance from one of the best closer in baseball.
After issuing two consecutive walks in the bottom of the ninth frame—the first time he’s walked back-to-back batters in nearly four years—Kenley Jansen delivered a 90 MPH cutter right down the center of the dish to Chris Owings, who drove the ball deep into the left-field bleachers to knot the game at six runs apiece. The Dodgers would eventually succumb to the D-Backs in the bottom of the 15th frame when Wilmer Font—in his fifth inning of work—finally ran out of steam when he gave up a game-tying double to Nick Ahmed and a walkoff single to Jeff Mathis.
While the defeat was a tough one to muster, most of the aftermath from the contest has been focused on Jansen and whether or not he’s healthy.
“From everything I understand, he is 100% healthy,” skipper Dave Roberts said after the game. “Just didn’t execute.”
Kenley echoed similar sentiments to his manager, but more than anything else credited the Diamondbacks for their skills at the plate.
“Listen, those guys have bats,” Jansen explained. “They compete, too. Nobody wants to get beat. Nobody wants to blow saves. Nobody wants to lose games, but the situation of the game, it happens. What can I do? I’ve just got to bounce back tomorrow and help the Dodgers win.”
Regardless, the All-Star closer will be under a microscope for the foreseeable future, and those close to the club hope he can work out the kinks in his delivery much sooner than later.
While the presence of normal three-hole hitter Justin Turner has certainly been missed over the first handful of games, the good news is that his return may be not far away. There’s still no timetable, but Ken Gurnick of MLB.com on Monday reported that the 33-year-old veteran is headed to Camelback Ranch to begin baseball activities.
Not far behind Turner is righty swing man Tom Koehler, who continues to work his way back from a sprained shoulder capsule he suffered during spring training. Although he appears to be progressing nicely, he was shifted to the 60-day DL earlier in the week to make room for the newly acquired Jesus Liranzo on the 40-man roster. This means Koehler will not be eligible to become active until May 26 at the soonest.
If you haven’t been giving much attention to the Dodgers’ minor league affiliates, Single-A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa released their respective rosters on Monday, while Triple-A Oklahoma City released their own preliminary roster on Tuesday.
Tulsa’s roster is absolutely stacked and is highlighted by an All-Star caliber outfield of DJ Peters, Kyle Garlick and Jacob Scavuzzo. The starting rotation will be headlined by two of the organization’s hardest throwers in Dennis Santana and Yadier Alvarez, while the catching crew will be made up of two of the best receivers in the system—19-year-old Keibert Ruiz and 23-year-old Will Smith.
Spearheading the Rancho Cucamonga rotation will be Jordan Sheffield, Tony Gonsolin and Andrew Sopko, while the left-side of the infield will be anchored by shortstop Gavin Lux and third baseman Cristian Santana. Catcher Connor Wong and outfielder Donovan Casey are the other prospects on the Rancho roster who are ranked among the Top 30 in the system.
Mitchell White and Dustin May will begin their seasons at extending spring training in efforts to build arm strength and conserve innings.
It came as no surprise when right-hander Walker Buehler was named the Opening Day starter for OKC. The most impressive part of the Oklahoma City roster, though, is the outfield, which is made up of Alex Verdugo, Henry Ramos, Travis Taijeron and Andrew Toles.
The most surprising observation from the announcement of all three of the rosters is the omission of position players Edwin Rios and Matt Beaty. Stay tuned for updates surrounding this news as they become available.