While there are still a few lingering issues that have affected the general makeup of the big league 25-man roster, injuries have not had a significant impact on the overall performance of the Dodgers so far in 2017. Veteran lefty Rich Hill is prepared to be reinstated from the 10-day disabled list to face the Diamondbacks on Sunday afternoon, and with a little bit of good fortune, one or two other players may soon follow in his footsteps.
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.
So far during the young 2017 season, one of the more common lineup themes of the Dodgers has been to employ utility man Enrique Hernandez in center field against left-handed pitching, while stashing away Joc Pederson on the pine for possible appearances later in games against righty pitching, or for his skills as a defensive replacement.
After skipper Dave Roberts informally revealed the remainder of the club’s 25-man roster makeup late last Thursday, the public relations department of the Dodgers announced the official Opening Day squad on Sunday morning. There were no new changes in the latest version, but the team did report what we suspected as far as players beginning the year on the disabled list.
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.
The countdown is on — just two weeks until the Dodgers open up the season against the San Diego Padres. Clayton Kershaw will be the starter that day, but on his last start he looked less than Kershaw-like. Kersh allowed three home runs, four runs total on six hits in five innings. He also had eight strikeouts and two walks.
The Dodgers just had their first day off of spring training, but some were playing games anyway — just not with the Dodgers. Various players were off competing for their native countries in the World Baseball Classic. There are thoughts against letting MLB players play in this tournament, as risk of injury is always high on the list. I’m sure we all remember Hanley Ramirez and his thumb injury in 2013. But for some players, it’s a way to represent their country, while also working on their skills for the upcoming season.
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.
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.
The Dodgers are undefeated so far in spring training. Who cares if there’s only been two games? Yesterday’s game was a wild affair, where the Dodgers allowed the Milwaukee Brewers to score seven unanswered runs and still won the game 10-8. Of course, in the grand scheme of things, the second game of spring training doesn’t really mean much. But let’s take a look at what does.