Dodgers Head to Arizona with High Expectations

The Dodgers head into Arizona this weekend with a record of 8-8, a little sub-par for what most Dodger fans were hoping. Los Angeles currently is in third place in the division, behind both the Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies. With a sweep of Arizona, the Dodgers would move ahead of them, and possibly be back on top of the NL West.

Injuries continue to plague the Dodgers. Newly acquired second baseman Logan Forsythe is the most recent Dodger to hit the DL. He was placed on the 10-day disabled list, but is expected to be out at least two weeks. Forsythe fractured his big right toe when he was hit by a pitch in Tuesday’s game. Manager Dave Roberts called the fracture “a little hairline thing,” and is hopeful that it will not take as long as four weeks, which is about the average recovery time for a broken toe. When he returns will have a lot to do with his pain tolerance, and he will wear cushioning in his shoe for protection when he comes back to the squad. Also joining Forsythe on the DL with an injured toe is newly recalled utility man Rob Segedin. He strained a tendon in his big right toe on a check swing Monday, his first game after being called up. He will be reevaluated every day to check on the sprain’s progression.

Chris Taylor is making the most of his time back in the big leagues. He was called up Wednesday to replace Forsythe on the roster, and all he did was go 2-for-3 at the plate with two doubles against a left-handed pitcher.

“It’s nice to get off on a good foot, and play well in that first game, and take some of the pressure off,” Taylor said after the game. “Now I can just go out there and play.”

Many fans thought that Taylor should have been with the team earlier, after having a torrid spring trading where he hit .357/.483/.500. Asked about when he thought he’d be back with the big team Taylor said, “You know, I knew in the past this team has made a lot of moves, I knew there was a chance, but I just tried not to think about it. I just focused on what I could control, went down there and just try to continue to play well.”

Enrique Hernandez, who made the Opening Day roster over Taylor, also hit well against Colorado’s left-handed offerings on Wednesday. He went 2-for-4 with an RBI double and a triple in his first start at third base this season. Even the struggling Scott Van Slyke got in on the action, hitting his first home run of the year. The Dodgers need all these players to produce against lefties, plus more, if they’re going to break the narrative that they cannot hit opposing southpaws.

One player in particular has a theory about how to improve against said left-handed pitching. Catcher Yasmani Grandal believes that in the long run, other teams lining up all these lefties in their respective rotations will only benefit the Dodgers.

“It’s early in the season. You get us going, it’s going to come back to bite them,” Grandal told reporters. “I think it’s great. I really do. I’m glad that they’re doing it. I take it as a challenge. Keep on doing it. It’s only going to make us better.”

Three of the seven starting pitchers the Dodgers will see on the upcoming road trip are left-handed, starting with Diamondbacks pitcher Robbie Ray on Saturday.

Clayton Kershaw, who doesn’t usually take much of a stance on things, had some harsh words for Rockies’ pitcher Tyler Anderson after the game on Wednesday. Anderson walked from his bullpen session to his dugout when Kershaw was already on the mound, prepared to pitch to Charlie Blackmon.

“That was one of the more disrespectful things I’ve been a part of in a game,” Kershaw said after the game. “I really didn’t appreciate that. The game starts at 7:10, it started at 7:10 here for a really long time. Just go around, or finish earlier. That wasn’t appreciated.”

It did appear to rattle Kershaw a little bit as, as he allowed the first three hitters to reach base. Only one scored, and Kershaw settled down, eventually proceeding to strike out 10 and notch the win.

Some awesome Clayton Kershaw stats: He has the best ERA at Dodger Stadium since 1913 — 1.98. He is 87-0 when receiving four or more runs of support. His jersey is the No. 3 selling jersey in baseball, the only one in the top five who does not play for the Chicago Cubs.

The Dodgers are headed out on a seven-game road trip, starting with a three-game series in Arizona on Friday night. After that, the squad heads off to San Francisco for the first meeting with the Giants this year.

(FOLLOW ANDY ON TWITTER: @DODGERGIRLINPA)

 

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Dodgers Roadtrip Review: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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The Dodgers have completed their first road trip of the season, returning home with just a 2-6 record against the Colorado Rockies and Chicago Cubs. As my friend Chuck says, just get in and out of those locales without any injuries, and we can call it a success. Mission almost accomplished. During the road trip the Dodgers lost Franklin Gutierrez to a left hamstring strain, placed him on the 10-day DL and recalled Trayce Thompson from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

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Dodgers Lineups: What’s the Problem Against Lefty Pitching?

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(Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports)

Last year, a few stubborn fans who didn’t care to comprehend simple math believed it to be a season-long jinx. But only ten games into the 2017 campaign, the struggles the Dodgers have been wrestling with against left-handed pitching have become so obvious that other teams are realigning their pitching rotation when they see a series vs. Los Angeles appear on their respective schedules.

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Dodgers Roster: Is It Too Early for a Few Performance-Based Adjustments?

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One week into the season, and fans of the Dodgers are already getting restless. The narratives from last year have carried into this one — the injuries, the inability to hit with runners in scoring position, and the troubles facing left-handed pitching. Other teams are changing their rotations to have as many left-handers as possible face the Dodgers. Rich Hill is the first starter to be placed on the DL, and Justin Turner left the game early last night with a quad strain.

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Better Utility Option: Chris Taylor, Kiké Hernández or Charlie Culberson?

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(Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

Listening to the Dodgers radio broadcast yesterday, Rick Monday said something that piqued my interest. He said that he thought Chris Taylor might have a better chance making the 25-man roster because he was there, in camp, showing his hustle. Meanwhile, Enrique Hernandez was playing with the Team Puerto Rico, and not being seen or evaluated by the front office and coaching staff.

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Dodgers Bullpen: Grant Dayton May Be on Verge of Breakthrough Season

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(Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports)

With all the speculation surrounding which roles certain players will fill in the bullpen for the upcoming campaign, it’s a bit tough to forecast the level of success for the relief crew of the Dodgers moving into the 2017 season.

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Dodgers Roster: Outlining the Battles that Could Go Down to the Wire

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(Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri/USA TODAY Sports)

Now that a full week has passed since the Dodgers began their 2017 Cactus League campaign, we thought it may be a good time to revisit several of the roster battles that we’ve been discussing since the squad began taking shape earlier in the winter.

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Dave Roberts Determined to Guide Dodgers to World Series

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Dave Roberts and Logan Forsythe stand on the side of the Dodgers‘ practice field in Glendale chatting. “You know what makes this a championship club?” Logan asked his new manager. “I do,” Roberts said while nodded vigorously. He turned from watching the players to look his new second baseman in the eye. “This, it’s the veteran guys that talk about winning. And, other teams that I’ve been on, it’s been a handful,” Forsythe continued. “Last year, we were tough, man. Our team is tough,” Roberts said. “And it’s like…” “You got the right guys to be that way,” Forsythe continued for him. “We do, we do, man,” said Roberts.

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Dodgers Trade Rumors: What’s Next on Andrew Friedman’s Wish List?

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(Mandatory Credit: Bryan R. Smith)

Despite the unusually high number of player trades orchestrated by president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers over the winter months, many of the deals, excluding the acquisition of Logan Forsythe, have been that of the low profile variety. Yet after continuing to add to the bottomless pit of talent on the Los Angeles farm, many fans are beginning to wonder if the management crew may be on the verge of cashing in on a potential blockbuster.

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Would Joe Blanton’s Presence Boost Dodgers’ Roster to Higher Level?

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The Dodgers have done an excellent job this offseason getting the gang back together. Over the weekend, Chase Utley reportedly agreed to a one-year deal to return to the team. Even though he could find more playing time elsewhere, perhaps even a starting position, he chose to come back to LA. Sure, he’s a SoCal native at the end of his career, and maybe he just didn’t feel like starting over again. But most likely he recognized that this team has an excellent chance to win it all this year.

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