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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Dodgers Activate Kenta Maeda, Place Joc Pederson on Disabled List

The Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday reinstated right-handed pitcher Kenta Maeda from the 10-day disabled list and placed outfielder Joc Pederson on the special seven-day disabled list for a concussion. Pederson’s stay on the DL can be retroactive to May 24, if needed.

Maeda, who missed 13 games due to left hamstring tightness, will make his eighth start of the season Thursday evening against the Cardinals. Maeda last pitched on May 10 against the Pirates, allowing two runs on five hits in a career-high 8-1/3 innings, and recording his third win of the season in the Dodgers’ 5-2 victory. In seven starts this year, he has gone 3-2 with a 5.03 ERA (22 ER/39.1 IP) and has struck out 40 batters against only nine walks, ranking among the National League leaders with 9.15 strikeouts per nine innings and a 4.44 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Pederson exited the game against the Redbirds on Tuesday night after colliding with Yasiel Puig on the final out in the 10th inning. In 35 games this season, Pederson is batting .200 with six doubles, two home runs and 11 RBI.

With the move, the Dodgers will continue to play short one bench player. The bullpen remains steady with seven pitchers, but the 25-man roster now has six starters in an overloaded rotation. Looking ahead, though, manager Dave Roberts did mention yesterday that the club has been having discussions regarding the utilization of lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu in a long relief role.

(Dai Sugiura furnished some information provided in this report)

Dodgers Still Hope to Gain Ground on Rockies in Weekend Series

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Baseball is a funny game. Things will happen in a game that make you scratch your head. On a night when your offense can’t buy a hit, the veteran who had been sent to Triple-A because of his lack of offense steps up to the plate and hits a pinch-hit home run. A relief pitcher that makes you cringe goes into Coors Field and throws two scoreless innings. A player who you thought needed to retire is suddenly hot, going 6-for-8 in his last three games with two doubles and a triple (I see you, Chase Utley). The same night the old man hits that triple, the guy who has been red hot at the plate and filling in for the old guy at second can barely scratch out one hit.

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Kenta Maeda, Hyun-Jin Ryu Trade Places on Disabled List

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(Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys/USA TODAY Sports)

The Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday reinstated left-handed pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu from the 10-day disabled list and placed right-handed pitcher Kenta Maeda on the 10-day disabled list with left hamstring tightness.

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

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(Mandatory Credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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 Injury Notes: Gutierrez, Forsythe, Ryu, Segedin & More

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(Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports)

While many fans of the Dodgers were hoping that the team’s general bill of health would begin to improve heading into the first full week of May, the injury report continues to be a revolving door of wounded players. With a bit of luck, though, a few may conceivably return relatively soon as the club hopes to avoid yet another week of double digits on the disabled list.

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Dodgers Place Hyun-Jin Ryu on Disabled List, Recall Josh Fields

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(Mandatory Credit: Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday placed left-handed pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu on the 10-day disabled list with a left hip contusion and recalled right-handed pitcher Josh Fields from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

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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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