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.
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?
Admittedly for many fans of the Dodgers, veteran lefty Rich Hill wasn’t the first member of the original starting rotation thought to have been destined for a stay on the 10-day disabled list so early in the season. But while this move is more of a precautionary measure than a required need, it’s probably safe to say that Hill’s stay will result more towards the minimum amount of time instead of an elongated period. Even so, it surely doesn’t hurt to take a look at the depth chart beyond the current starting five.
The Los Angeles Dodgers begin their quest to win the 2017 World Series on Monday, opening up a four-game set against the San Diego Padres. The Dodgers open the season at home, sending their ace Clayton Kershaw to the mound for a record tying seventh time, and their first without legendary announcer Vin Scully behind the microphone.
With less than seven days remaining before the Dodgers commence their 2017 regular season campaign, both the media and the fans were given a roster clue of sorts on Monday afternoon, when skipper Dave Roberts indicated that Brandon McCarthy and Alex Wood were both still in competition for the fourth spot in the rotation, but whoever misses out on the starting slot will have a place in the big league bullpen.
Heading into the weekend, skipper Dave Roberts insisted that the battle for the final two spots in the Dodgers‘ starting rotation remained open to four pitchers — Brandon McCarthy, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Alex Wood and Scott Kazmir. However, after Kazmir’s attempt to gain leverage in the race by facing the Rangers on Sunday, it’s probably safe to assume the competition has been narrowed to three.
On Tuesday, just moments after we began a pessimistic discussion about the state of the Dodgers prospective rotation, lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu took the bump against the Brewers and fired four solid innings of one-hit, shutout ball, making a clear argument for himself to be considered among the starting pitching crew when Opening Day rolls around on April 3.
For many fans of the Dodgers, it’s beginning to become an annual occurrence — overwhelming optimism about a stacked rotation in the winter, eventually turning into genuine concern about the prospective starting pitching crew as Opening Day draws near. What was once a highly talented staff extending to the rafters at Triple-A Oklahoma City now has a few gray areas even at the big league level.
As a whole, quite a few factors will determine how the starting rotation of the Dodgers compares to those of others around baseball as the 2017 campaign progresses. First and foremost, good health is particularly critical, while overall stamina and endurance will also play key roles in the team’s prosperity. The presence of resident ace Clayton Kershaw probably warrants a Top 20 MLB ranking in itself, yet without the luxury of a true No. 2 starter, the Dodgers slide somewhere right in the middle of the Top 10, at least in the eyes of most informed fans.
With the arrival of Opening Day now hovering right around the three week mark, much of the fan focus has steadied on the prospective starting rotation of the Dodgers, as each passing day seemingly has one small happening or event which somehow affects the future makeup of the pitching staff.