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 Reinstate Adam Liberatore, Place Luis Avilan on 10-Day DL

The Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday evening reinstated left-handed pitcher Adam Liberatore from the 10-day disabled list and placed left-handed pitcher Luis Avilán on the 10-day disabled list with a left triceps. Avilan’s placement on the DL will be retroactive to May 24, if needed.

Liberatore, who missed 14 games due to a left groin strain, last pitched on May 8 against the Pirates and tossed a perfect inning of relief with one strikeout. In two relief appearances in the big leagues this season, he has allowed one run over 1-1/3 innings and has held opposing batters to a .200 average (1-for-5). Liberatore started the season with Triple-A Oklahoma City, going 0-1 with a 0.93 ERA (1 ER/9.2 IP) and has limited the opposition to a .152 average, while striking out nine against one walk in eight games.

Avilán last pitched on May 23 against the Cardinals, allowing one hit in an inning of relief with one strikeout. He has made 23 relief appearances this season, going 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA (5 ER/15.0 IP) and has stuck out 20 batters against eight walks.

Earlier on Thursday afternoon, the club activated righty pitcher Kenta Maeda after placing outfielder Joc Pederson on the 7-day concussion list.

(Dai Sugiura provided the majority of information furnished in this report)

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)

A First-Quarter Progress Report for the Oklahoma City Dodgers

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(Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Davis)

While we typically take a concise look at a handful of standout Dodgers prospects on a weekly basis, we very rarely check the progress of one of the affiliate squads as a whole. Yet, as it’s a bit difficult to size up the growth of the Triple-A Oklahoma City club with all the very frequent roster fluctuation, we thought it be interesting to check on the team just past the quarter-way mark of the regular season.

Continue reading “A First-Quarter Progress Report for the Oklahoma City Dodgers”

Dodgers Activate Logan Forsythe, Option Josh Ravin to Oklahoma City

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

The Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday reinstated infielder Logan Forsythe from the 10-day disabled list and optioned right-handed relief pitcher Josh Ravin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

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Dodgers Prospect Watch: Willie Calhoun, Max Muncy, Wilmer Font, Edwin Rios & More

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(Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Davis)

As the 2017 regular season progresses, a few of the Dodgers‘ top-tier prospects are beginning to emerge on center stage, with infielder Willie Calhoun possibly the hottest of the group, especially over the past four weeks.

Continue reading “Dodgers Prospect Watch: Willie Calhoun, Max Muncy, Wilmer Font, Edwin Rios & More”

Dodgers Hope to Carry Momentum Through Current Homestand

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The high-powered Dodgers offense had a very good weekend at home, scoring a total of 26 runs, and they didn’t score less than six runs in any one game. Even though the beginning of Saturday’s game looked as though it may be bad, even possibly a no-hitter, the offense battled back to score six runs. Invariably. that was not enough to win the game. However, the Dodgers still took three of four from the struggling Marlins.

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Dodgers Recall Josh Ravin, Option Julio Urías to Oklahoma City

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(Photo courtesy of si.com)

The Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday recalled right-handed pitcher Josh Ravin and optioned left-handed pitcher Julio Urias. Each player will trade spots on the Triple-A Oklahoma City 25-man roster.

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Dodgers Roster: How a Few Injuries Have Opened the Doors to Early Success

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(Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)

Instead of putting together our normal weekend injury report, we thought perhaps a more interesting approach would be looking at a few of the positives that have resulted for the Dodgers from several of the unfortunate injuries that have occurred during the first six weeks of the season.

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Dodgers Place Justin Turner on Disabled List, Recall Brett Eibner

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

The Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday afternoon placed third baseman Justin Turner on the 10-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain and recalled outfielder Brett Eibner from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Continue reading “Dodgers Place Justin Turner on Disabled List, Recall Brett Eibner”