Some things are finally beginning to become more clear as the Dodgers get set to play their last two Spring Training game at Dodger Stadium against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
The 26-man roster is all but set, aside from a few small questions. On Sunday, the Dodgers reassigned Andy Burns, Elliot Soto, Enny Romero and Stevie Berman to minor league camp. That leaves 13 position players on the roster, so it is assumed that Zach McKinstry has made the Opening Day roster. Manager Dave Roberts would not affirm one way or another, however.
After Sunday’s game, Roberts said that they will keep Cody Bellinger in the fourth spot in the batting order and that Max Muncy will bat fifth or sixth. He also said that the team sees Gavin Lux as an everyday player.
On the pitching side of things, if one is going on assumptions, one could guess that Dustin May is lined up to be the Dodgers’ fifth starter. He will start Tuesday’s last Spring Training game. David Price was scheduled to start Sunday night’s game in Anaheim, but was not feeling well after traveling from Arizona to Los Angeles. He is scheduled to throw a simulated game on Monday at Dodger Stadium. Walker Buehler will also throw a sim game at the stadium on Monday.
A.J. Pollock also was scratched from Sunday night’s lineup because of feeling ill, but he is scheduled to be available to hit in the next two games.
The starting rotation for the Colorado series to open the season lines up like this – Clayton Kershaw vs Germán Márquez on Thursday; Trevor Bauer vs Antonio Senzatela on Friday; Buehler vs Jon Gray on Saturday; and Julio Urías vs Austin Gomber on Sunday.
MLB and MLBPA have incentivized teams getting their vaccine shots. If a team has 85% of their Tier 1 players and staff vaccinated, then they can enjoy looser Covid protocols. How this affects each team remains to be seen, as state mandates and phases vary. May 1st is the date that all persons in the United States will be eligible for the vaccine.
Bradford Doolittle at ESPN wrote an article Monday musing about how high the Dodgers ceiling is. He thinks that perhaps 118 wins is attainable with the chance to be the best team in modern history.
So many things would have to go right for this to happen; and, of course, a 118-win season means nothing if you don’t win it all. World Series hangover, the unknowns of a long season after a short season, and a tough divisional opponent in the San Diego Padres makes it seems dubious for that many wins. However, ESPN did just name the Dodgers rotation number one in all of baseball, and Bill Plaschke of the L.A Times predicts they’ll go down as the best team ever. I personally just want them to win the World Series again, so they and the fans can celebrate together at the stadium and with a parade, as we missed out on in 2020.
The Dodgers finish up Spring Training with games Monday and Tuesday night against the Angels at Dodger Stadium before flying to Colorado to start the season.