The Los Angeles Dodgers have finished their first road trip of the season, amassing a respectable 6-2 record. It easily could’ve been 8-0, but there will be some losses, as we all understand. They are on pace to win 115 games over the course of the season.
The frustrating thing about both losses is that they should have been wins. In the first one, the offense got on base and couldn’t bring those runners home. The second loss, same as the first. 28 left on base, 14 in each game. The first loss was coupled with an uncharacteristically bad outing by Clayton Kershaw. The second one, however, featured another great start by Trevor Bauer that was wasted by the inability to drive home runners, alongside some bad bullpen management.
We know the offense is going to be fine, and we know the starting pitching is going to be fine. But the bullpen still remains the shaky part of the team. Manager Dave Roberts gave Kenley Jansen the ball in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s game up one run, and Jansen blew the save. Victor Gonzalez only threw two pitches in the previous inning, and one wonders why he was not allowed to start the ninth. Jansen had already pitched in Tuesday night’s game, and while he got the job done, it was not a clean inning. There was also no one throwing once Kenley showed signs of not being able to locate the ball.
But those two things, bullpen and not being able to plate runners has always been the Dodgers bugaboo. Fans do hope that they work to better those flaws.
Mookie Betts sat out of Wednesday’s game after waking up with back stiffness. With the off day Thursday, Roberts wanted to give Betts two full days of rest. The expectation is that he will be back in the lineup in Friday’s home opener.
Cody Bellinger might not fair so well. His left calf was spiked during the ninth inning of Monday’s game, and he has had lingering soreness. “He got cleated in the middle part of his calf, but it’s just more sore, it’s not an ankle thing,” Roberts explained.
Bellinger underwent tests that did not reveal any structural damage or fractures. But Roberts said that while they were waiting to see how he healed, there is a good possibility that Bellinger will not play in Friday’s game and could even be placed on the 10-Day IL. The team will wait until how Bellinger feels on Friday to make the decision.
The Dodgers will be taking on the Washington Nationals for their home opening series. The opening game will start at 1:10 p.m. Pacific on Friday, with pregame ceremonies starting at 11:45 a.m. World Series rings will be handed out to players, coaches and staff.
The Nationals have only played three games so far this season, as their team had many Covid positives. They lost two of three to the Atlanta Braves, including both games of a double header on Wednesday.
The pitching matchup for the three game series will be Walker Buehler against Joe Ross in Friday’s game; Julio Urías and Dustin May will start Saturday and Sunday for the Dodgers. The starters for the Nationals for those days have yet to be determined.