4 Things We Learned from Dodgers’ Opening Series Against Rockies

austin-barnes-will-smith
(Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports)

No doubt, Colorado must be one of the most unideal venues to open a season for a visiting club, particularly from the sense that anything possible can happen at any given point in time, often being reflected in a game’s outcome.

Undeniably, the Dodgers were fortunate in snagging three wins under these circumstances. Aside from the first game that was sloppy—and most crazy—on multiple levels, Los Angeles came together with timely pitching (mostly), clutch hitting, and relatively decent defense when it counted.

Indeed, there are dozens of points one can make when putting together a series analysis, but here are four that stick out and might be worth watching as the season progresses.

Corey Seager Is on a Tear

Corey Seager just won’t stop hitting. Even though he was given a “scheduled day off” in the finale, Seager is already among baseball’s base-hit leaders. In his three games against Colorado, he went a whopping 8-for-12 with two doubles, four walks, and four runs scored, tallying to a .667/.750/.833 slash line.

Seager’s current offensive streak, stretching back to last year’s playoffs, has been nothing short of remarkable. He slugged five homers, two doubles, and 11 RBI in the 2020 NLCS, securing the series MVP. He also stole MVP honors in the World Series after going 8-for-20 with another two long balls. His 2021 Cactus League stats weren’t too shabby, either.

If he remains healthy, one can only imagine the contract offers he’ll receive.

Moving Julio Urias to Starting Rotation Was Right Call

Admittedly, I was one of those people who thought that Julio Urias should have been considered for relief duties at the beginning of 2021, especially after witnessing how well he pitched out of the bullpen during last year’s playoff run.

However, after seeing how well he threw in his season debut in Colorado, all indications are that his move back to the rotation was absolutely the right call. Over an even seven innings on Sunday, Urias allowed just one earned run on three hits and a walk while striking on six batters. Those seven full innings came on an efficient 79 pitches. Of course, the season is long, but a pitcher cannot ask for a better start, particularly after throwing at Coors Field.

Jimmy Nelson Not Throwing So Well

One of the things we’ve been talking about periodically is how the Dodgers will create roster space for either Joe Kelly or Brusdar Graterol whenever they’re ready to return to the roster. One of those who could suffer consequences is swing man Jimmy Nelson.

Nelson made two relief appearances at Coors Field this weekend, allowing three earned runs on two hits and four walks over 1-2/3 innings. Yes, it is Denver, but from a command standpoint, the 31-year-old righty does not look good in the least. One thing that might be in Nelson’s favor is that he does not have any options on his contract, making a prospective demotion a last resort for the team. Still, that won’t protect him if he continues to perform at such a poor level.

How Austin Barnes and Will Smith Might Split Playing Time

Of course, we’ve known for quite some time that both Austin Barnes and Will Smith bring entirely different talents to the ballpark. Smith is obviously known for his bat, while Barnes is infamous for his pitch framing and ability to call a game. Moreover, both Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler prefer to throw to Barnes, which seemingly might create a 60/40 split as far as playing time goes down the road.

It will certainly be interesting to see how skipper Dave Roberts decides to divvy up the playing time as the season progresses, especially if the team finds itself amidst a mid-season offensive drought or two.

13 thoughts on “4 Things We Learned from Dodgers’ Opening Series Against Rockies

    1. She was a very gracious, kind and (not known to the rest of us) talented lady. RIP DBM. Sorry she never made it over to TBPC. She would have been a great addition over here.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Comments on Dennis’ “4 Things”:
    1) Seager – Highly unlikely, but maybe AF is negotiating with Boras behind our back and will have a surprise announcement in the next few weeks.
    2) Urias – hard for me to believe he’s still only 24. Seems like he’s been around forever. I think we’re finally seeing the Julio we have long anticipated. JHair on the post game show today pointed out that a pitcher’s prime is normally at around age 27. That’s still three years into the future!
    3) Nelson – I’m not all that worried. His control hasn’t been great, but he’s been away, been injured and, of course, he was forced to come back at Coors. In the meanwhile, Catman hit the IL today with shoulder inflammation and Santana was added to the active roster. Santana does have options so I would guess that Nelson is safe for a little while anyway.
    4) Catcher split time – I think Doc is probably happy with a 60/40 split, at least for now. Smith will also get a few at bats at DH when we play American League teams and, of course, will be available to pound pinch hit walk off homers on the days he doesn’t start.

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  2. I didn’t know DBM very well, but her posts were always gracious.

    Seager has said there will be no contract negotiations nor an extension, but that of course could change. I have a gut feeling he wants to win a championship with the Yankees.

    I want Smith and Ruiz to split time.

    I think Lux is good enough to be our shortstop. He’s already a better fielder than Seager and believe he is going to hit.

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    1. DBM was never shy about seeking answers to questions about baseball that she was not sure of. She always complemented me on the story’s I did about Dodger history and I always appreciated her comments. I am glad she went peacefully.

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  3. I have predicted this is Urias’s year to demonstrate the talent he has. He has great velocity, a full complement of pitches is mentally tough, and loves the challenge.
    Hoping Lux can continue to shine, I believe we may lose Seager next year. Performances at Coors Field are not useful as baselines. I am very concerned that Kershaw was at 91 and below with his velocity. He needs another 2-3 MPH to differentiate his pitches and get his fastball by hitters.
    If Barnes can continue to hit as he has this Spring Catcher will be a very valuable offensive spot.
    Bellinger does not look comfortable with his swings. Is the cat still at Coors Field or did Gonsolin adopt it?

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  4. Unless they had some minor injuries, I just do not “get” having scheduled days of for the likes of young guys like Betts, Seager and Bellinger during the first series of the year. I can see older injury prone guys like Turner and Pollock, but not the young studs. Fortunately, it worked out and we won the last three games. Urias looked best of the starting pitchers.

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    1. Totally agree Gary. These are young guys in very good shape and Doc is telling them that after 2 or 3 games they need to sit for a game. I think the real reason is that he wanted to get CT3 and ZacMac some playing time and in order to do that he had to sit somebody. Some teams struggle to put 8 good players on the field. We have to find excuses to sit our guys so that everyone can play. I guess there could be worse problems.

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    2. Roberts will never say his reason which I suspect is to get the bench guys playing time. Roberts is all about keeping the clubhouse happy. That is why he will never upset Jansen and use an open closer idea. He is not a manager he is like a cruise coordinator. Happy Happy.. He will never make the hard decision. It’s why the Dodgers lost in the playoffs before last year.

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