Kershaw, Buehler Expected to Be Ready for Opening Day

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According to multiple reports coming from spring camp on Sunday afternoon, the Dodgers expect two of their most valuable pitchers—Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler—to be ready for the beginning of the season.

Seemingly, there was never much concern about Buehler, despite the righty still not having made an official Cactus League appearance. Management has decided to handle him lightly so far in camp in a cautionary effort after his high workload in 2018.

On Saturday, Buehler finally pitched to live hitters on the back fields. He threw a total of 21 pitches against two different batters—newly acquired utility man Brad Miller and minor league middle infielder Omar Estevez.

“It was a good day for us, a good day for Walker,” manager Dave Roberts said about Buehler’s performance. “Just the swings the guys were taking, talking to the catcher, Russell Martin, talking to the hitters, the ball was coming out well. And so I talked with Walker after and he felt really good about it. So I’m encouraged.”

As far as Buehler himself is concerned, there were never any questions surrounding his readiness to begin the season.

“I’m confident I’ll be ready to go,” Buehler stated last week. “The way that I throw the ball, I feel that I can get going pretty quick, and once I get into games is all relative at some point. I felt good. The velocity is fine. I’m right where I need to be.”

Yet, while there are not many worries about Buehler, it’s a different story for Kershaw.

Last week, the signals all but indicated that time was running out for the lefty ace; but now, Roberts is saying that there’s still a chance for Kersh to make his ninth consecutive Opening Day start.

“Nothing is official,” Roberts said on Saturday. “Right now, he’s feeling pretty good. The mood meter is trending up.”

There are exactly 18 days remaining before the 2019 regular season begins, and Kershaw, after sustaining inflammation in his throwing shoulder early in camp, has yet to throw off a mound. However, according to Ken Gurnick, the three-time Cy Young Award winner fired fastballs off flat ground on Saturday as if he’s no longer injured.

The biggest battle CK may be facing right now is time.

Looking ahead to next week, Kershaw is scheduled to throw another bullpen on Monday. Buehler is expected to throw to live hitters again on Tuesday or Wednesday.

In the meantime, Julio Urias, who many believe will begin his 2019 campaign at Triple-A Oklahoma City, will start for the Dodgers in Sunday’s Cactus League contest against the Rockies.

It will be Urias’ third official start of the spring.

First pitch is set for 1:10 PM Pacific time.

 

17 thoughts on “Kershaw, Buehler Expected to Be Ready for Opening Day

  1. Today’s starting lineup against the Rockettes. Pollock, CF, Turner 3B, Muncy, 1B, Hernandez, 2B, Bellinger, RF, Pederson, LF, Martin, C, Freese, DH, Taylor, SS, No starting P announced as of yet.

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  2. I still have no clue why Roberts continues to bat Hernandez in the 4 hole. I realize it is only spring, but I hope he does not continue the insanity into the season. Kike’s career stats as a cleanup hitter are abysmal. PERIOD>

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    1. Hernandez hitting clean up? He’s not being prepped for that role. It might be as simple as Roberts wants him to get some at bats with men on. He OPS’d .611 with men on base last year.

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  3. I cannot see anyway that either pitcher will be ready to start March 28. With the schedule as you have described above, the earliest that Buehler can pitch in a ST game will be next Sunday (Maybe Saturday). He would be in line for one more ST start before opening day. Why would you hold Buehler back to rush him to pitch 5 + innings after only 2 ST starts? IMO, that makes no sense. Kersh is even more skeptical. He needs at least one bullpen (probably two) before facing live batters. There is no way he will have the time to build up for 5+ innings in the short amount of time. Why, just for the honor of being opening day pitcher for nine consecutive years? Isn’t it more important to make sure that Kersh is available all season minus the first couple of projected starts? It is that kind of favoritism thinking from the brass that seemingly hurts the team. It is a 162-game season, and Kersh and Buehler will get plenty of opportunities to pitch. They are being held back for a reason. They made the choice for Buehler, now live with it. Don’t push Kersh. Doc and Friedman are going to need to wear their Big Boy Pants and tell Kersh NO.

    The same is true with what Bear said. Why is Kike’ batting 4th, except he is a Doc favorite?

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    1. Personally, I don’t think Kershaw will be anywhere near ready. I feel that management is seemingly just keeping the door open to allow Kershaw himself to remain optimistic and confident through his progressions.

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  4. Just adding my name to the list of folks who know that CK will not be pitching on opening day unless he’s used as the opener and only pitches an inning or two which, I guess, is not beyond the realm of possibility.
    Is Kike a #4 hitter? No, but he is slowly playing his way into the starting 2nd baseman role. He’s having a very good spring with the bat and he just made a spectacular play to start a double play. Followed up by leading off the next half inning with a hit. Kike is an absolute joy to watch in the field, especially in the infield (2nd or short).

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      1. Happy for him that he didn’t have to settle for a minor league deal but would have preferred it not be in the NL West. On the other hand, if the best deal he got offered was 1/3, maybe I shouldn’t be so concerned if he’s in our division.

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      2. The ball flies quite well. I see he is projected to hit 16 home runs. I’d take the over.

        Wait… that figure just went up to 19 with 72 RBIs. I think that’s more like it.

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    1. That would be the ball flies quite well in Arizona. Jones projects .7 WAR. If he gets enough at bats down there he will do better than that. I wonder how many hits he will get against Dodger pitching?

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