On Friday, the Los Angeles Dodgers will begin their quest to win another World Series.
This team and season are a bit reminiscent of the 2017 team, where the expectations were sky high – win the World Series or bust. The feeling around the league is that the Dodgers are the best team around, and anything less than making the World Series, and winning, would be a disappointment.
But as we saw last season, things happen along the way to derail the train on the way to the station. Fighting for the division right down until the last games, losing a key starting pitcher and your first baseman made it hard to repeat as world champs.
Here are some things for Dodger fans to keep an eye on as the season progresses.
As stated above, injuries, especially to key players is the fastest way to end a championship run. And injuries are a concern for every team, of course. But it will be particularly worth watching the Dodgers’ pitching and if the late start to the season and truncated spring training have any effect on the health of the pitching staff, especially on the starters. The Dodgers have a thin starting rotation as it is, and any injury could make them pivot to a piggy-back type scenario of two not quite stretched out pitchers or god forbid, the return of the bullpen game. We saw way too many of those last season.
The Trevor Bauer situation
Along with any injuries, a possible return to the pitching staff by Bauer could make an impact on the starting rotation, and no one knows in what way.
Bauer is currently on administrative leave while MLB investigates sexual assault allegations against him by at least two women. He has been on leave since the beginning of July 2021. MLB has said that they would like to have their investigation finished by the time his current extension is up, which is April 17th. They could decide to suspend him for another block of time, or conclude that the time he’s already spent not pitching is good enough.
If Bauer is eligible to return, it is uncertain when he would rejoin the rotation. He has been working out with the intention of being able to join the staff once the April 17th deadline has passed, thinking he will be cleared to play. But if past prescient is anything, MLB will suspend him for some time. If it were to be, say, 80 days, that means he would be back just halfway through the season.
It’s also unclear what his return to the dugout. Manager Dave Roberts had stated last week that this season, he doesn’t have to manage any egos. That would definitely change if Bauer rejoins the team. Many players have also stated that they don’t ever want Bauer to play for the Dodgers again. While the Dodgers may need Bauer’s arm, they definitely do not need the distraction that his return would bring.
There aren’t many players as streaky as Cody Bellinger. The center fielder won his 2019 NL MVP award on his first half alone – he faltered down the stretch but that first half was still good enough to garner him the award. Cody spent most of last season battling back from shoulder surgery, finally finding his swing at the end of the season.
So far in spring, he hasn’t looked great at the plate, although he consistently says that he feels really good. Still, Dave Roberts has said that he’s confident that Belli will find his groove again soon. If Bellinger can do so, the addition of his power bat will only make this lineup all the more potent.
On Thursday, the Dodgers announced their 2022 Opening Day roster. It includes 16 pitchers, two outfielders, and two utility players
RP Phil Bickford was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City, and Victor González was placed on the 10-day IL with left elbow inflammation.
The Dodgers begin their season in Colorado against the Rockies. Walker Buehler will be the Opening Day starter and as of yet, have not announced who will follow him in the starting rotation. As with all series in Denver, we just hope to escape with no injuries and not an excessive amount of pitchers used.
Here’s to a great season ahead Dodger fans! May the odds be ever in our favor.
19 thoughts on “Things to Keep an Eye on Through the Dodgers Season, Opening Day Roster Announced”
So, 16 pitchers that do not include Bickford (optioned) or Gonzalez (10-day IL). On May 1, if those two are ready and there is then a limit of 13 pitchers on the active roster, 5 of the 18 have to be somewhere other than the active roster. Will be interesting to see how that sorts out. If Bauer is allowed back without a suspension, that is another spot. I hope we don’t end up optioning better pitchers just because they have options while poor performers are kept. Oh and BTW Ferguson and Kahne both looked pretty good in the Spring games I saw!!
Bickford, Ferguson and Kahnle all looked better than Cleavinger this spring, but I guess Andrew has his reasons. Maybe they don’t feel any of those three guys can come back quickly from an appearance so would rather they take their time on the IL or at OKC.
They’ve said they’re going to pace them and not rush them back, making sure they’re healthy when they join the bullpen
Bickford went to AAA, but Ferguson and Kahnle both went to the 10 day IL, so they could be back soon.
If or When Bauer returns and I am not a fan but it looks to me he will pitch this season he will help the rotation. Heaney to me is a huge question mark. Looking at the roster it looks like the Dodgers will compensate for the rotation with the bullpen, a strategy many teams have been successful with. I am curious to see if T Turner tears up the league. The offensive ability of the team is amazing as they will all protect each other. I am hopeful Bellinger gets his act together but I was certain he would be fine after his great showing in the playoffs. Now I am not so sure. Bellinger is missing the ball by a lot.
Bellinger hasn’t struck out in 4 days. I take that as a good sign
I’ve calculated what I think will be the median number of runs needed to win 19 of the first 30 games using the Peter Brand n = 1 IP + 1 x .26 0(j) index and I came up with over 4 but not quite 5, so rounded up, that would be 5 runs/9. I made that up.
More from The Physics of Baseball – What goes down, must come up. The 10 day revolving door starts on Friday.
The Dodgers need Bellinger to get his head/swing together. I wish him well. The last 4 days he has actually made contact 💥🎉🎊and we r all excited. He’s making 17 million this year he better produce!
Close scoop but actually n=1ip+1×.26 0(j) index comes out to 4.3 and rounds out to5.4 per 9 but you were very close. Good work.
I know you guys are just kidding, but I think you’ve come pretty close to Manfred’s formula for figuring Bauer’s length of suspension.
Gordon’s probably right. Math wasn’t my best subject. I was more of a letters guy. Yeah, I got letters in football and baseball. That used to mean something. Don’t believe many care now. I know my wife isn’t much impressed with what I did 57 years ago. She just smiles that patronizing smile. Yeah, that’s the one Jefe. She has learned this though – tell them what they want to hear and you can lead them the direction you want them to go. I think Roberts is doing a bit of that with the team now. For as good as we have been for 8 years or so, 1 championship ain’t all that impressive. We’re supposed to win. Now, let’s get started.
Scoop, Last 10 years have been Kasten like.
I counted 9 Fred, 8 ending with an L.
Opening day is always fun because you can project a single game into a full season.
Cards beat Pirates 9-0, but old friend Yoshi Tsutsugo is batting .667.
Cards outfielder Tyler O’Neill is on pace for 810 RBI this year (had 5 today).
I’ll take the over on half the guys and the under on everybody else.
Either the Padres or the dbacks will be in first place in a few hours. I got the under on either staying there.
Bellinger is making contact but I don’t know if any of that contact was against a Major League starter with bonafides. I’ll need to see more.
It would appear most of the home runs hit in Spring Training got sent down. Most of March our starters had warning track power. They’ll warm up by Mother’s Day.
We can’t wait till Mother’s Day. Move in the fences.
Bellinger hopefully will stay with a contact first approach and gradually expand his swing.
As far as I can tell, Bellinger is still over swinging. He’s choking up, and has widened his stance, but he’s dropping to his knee and rolling over his front foot. Has he not hit with two strikes this year?
Starters in Colorado – Buehler, Gonsolin, and Urías
My prediction in innings pitched by those 3 guys.