Dodgers Roster: A Few Early Season Surprises

I think if I had to name the one thing I love the most about baseball, it’s that it just so darn unpredictable. Almost a third of the way into the season, there are quite a few things that no fan of the Dodgers could have predicted.

Take last night’s game, for example. After Rich Hill could not throw a strike to save his life on Wednesday, and the Cardinals took a lead that the Dodgers couldn’t recover from, it looked like deja vu all over again. The Dodgers had struggled to get runs against the Cardinals in the previous two games. They fell behind 3-0 early. But hey! Then Kenta Maeda got his stuff together — so much so that Dave Roberts let him bat in fourth inning, down one with two outs. After fouling off pitch after pitch, he ended up hitting a two-run single to put the Dodgers ahead for good.

Subsequently, Maeda followed up with a 1-2-3 fifth inning. The Dodgers scored two more runs in the bottom of the frame, knocking Michael Wacha from the game. Maeda was replaced in the sixth with Hyun-Jin Ryu. Ryu seemingly is the odd man out in the Dodgers rotation with the return of Maeda from the DL. Before the game, Roberts talked about it was a “very delicate” situation, and that the possibility of Ryu being long man in the bullpen was discussed.

The first experiment with doing just that went very well. Ryu only gave up two hits over four innings of work in his first ever relief appearance. He struck out two, walked one and threw a total of 51 pitches. Whether he will remain in that roll long term, time will tell. But it’s not something anyone saw coming at the start of the season.

Let’s talk about Chris Taylor, shall we? Originally left off the club in favor of Enrique Hernandez to start the season, he has made himself indispensable to the team. He has continued his hot hitting that started in spring training. Currently, his slash line is .344/.445/.581/1.026 with five home runs. He’s played games at second, third, shortstop, and has now forced the Dodgers to give him starts in the outfield, too, just to keep his bat in the lineup. The fact that he doesn’t play much outfield is why he was left off the roster in the first place. The last two nights he has started in center field, however, and has really held his own, even making a spectacular diving catch to rob Dexter Fowler of a hit.

Taylor has become something of a folk hero to Dodgers fans. On a team that boasts some of the best talent in the majors, it’s CT3 that has won over many a heart. His quiet, unassuming way he plays and his hot bat have consistently brought happiness to Dodgers fans. The fact that he seems to be a Giants killer doesn’t hurt either. While some complained that Zach Lee should not have been traded from the organization, its clear that LA stole a gem from the Mariners.

The top three pitchers on the staff currently are Clayton Kershaw (duh), Alex Wood and Brandon McCarthy. Only one of those is not surprising. Fans probably also would not have wanted to predict that the Dodgers would be in third place at this point in the season either, or that it would be Colorado and Arizona ahead of them. Colorado seems to be the real deal. I do have a feeling Arizona will fall off as the season progresses. The Dodgers have too much talent and depth to remain in third place. Their record at this point extrapolates to a 95 win season. They will be fine, even though we are sure to encounter many more surprises before the postseason begins.

(FOLLOW ANDY ON TWITTER: @DODGERGIRLINPA)

 

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What Happens when the Dodgers Get Healthy?

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(Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu/USA TODAY Sports)

For the sake of a better argument, perhaps a more proper question would have been: “What happens if the Dodgers get healthy?” One thing’s for sure, though, with a full compliment of capable and experienced hitters in the lineup, many fans hope that they don’t see another day of Franklin Gutierrez batting second with Enrique Hernandez in the cleanup hole.

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Dodgers Activate Rich Hill, Option Grant Dayton to Oklahoma City

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Not long after we began a little discussion involving a few of the bullpen’s high-risk pieces, the Dodgers on Tuesday reinstated left-handed pitcher Rich Hill from the 10-day disabled list and optioned lefty reliever Grant Dayton to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

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Dodgers Reinstate Brandon McCarthy, Option Brett Eibner to Oklahoma City

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The Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday reinstated right-handed pitcher Brandon McCarthy from the 10-day disabled list and optioned outfielder Brett Eibner to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

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Dodgers Starting Rotation: Who’s Next for a Rest on the Disabled List?

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With the return of lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu against the Rockies in Denver on Thursday night, and the prospective reactivation of veteran southpaw Rich Hill during the Giants series next week in San Francisco, the starting rotation of the Los Angeles Dodgers is about to get seven pitchers deep.

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The Current State of the Dodgers Starting Rotation

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(Mandatory Credit: Chris Carlson/AP)

When taking a cursory glance at the current starting rotation of the Los Angeles Dodgers, many who follow the club closely couldn’t be happier with the performance over the first five weeks of the 2017 campaign, despite the frequent shuffling of a few players because of several minor injuries.

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Dodgers Roster: Should Alex Wood Remain in Starting Rotation?

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(Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

There’s always some sort of negative fallout from a frustrating divisional loss, especially one against the rival Giants. In the latest episode of a three week long stage loaded with mediocrity, Dodgers’ skipper Dave Roberts pulled Alex Wood after having allowed only two base runners through seven sparkling frames. Wood’s pitch count stood at only 77, yet Roberts opted instead to utilize frisbee-throwing righty Sergio Romo, who would ultimately surrender two runs en route to a 4-3 defeat in 10 innings.

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Dodgers Opinions: There’s No Need to Panic Just Yet

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So, the title of my story on Friday was “Dodgers Head to Arizona with High Expectations.” The Dodgers didn’t meet any expectations, really, losing two of three to the Diamondbacks and losing another spot in the division. Now they head into San Francisco, where the Giants are all kinds of not good, just lost their best pitcher to a freak (dumb) accident, and Dodgers fans might revolt if the Dodgers do not do well against them.

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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 vs. Cubs Series Preview: More Lefty Pitching on Tap for Chicago 

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(Mandatory Credit: Ralph Freso/Associated Press)

It’s the series I’ve had my eye on since the schedule was announced last fall — the Dodgers facing the Cubs for Chicago’s home opener. Would the Dodgers be the World Series Champs, and the Cubs be dealing with the what-ifs, or would the Dodgers be faced with watching the Cubs raise the World Series banner?

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