- July 29, 2020 at 11:42 am #208955
LOS ANGELES — With three days before the opener, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts filled in some of the blanks on Monday:
Despite giving Gavin Lux the starting second base job last September, Roberts hasn’t given it to him this year. Lux, who reported to Summer Camp late, hasn’t made much contact at the plate since in limited action. Roberts started Enrique Hernández at second base on Sunday and Chris Taylor on Monday Jackie Robinson Youth Jersey, saying the position is “open and going to be shared.” Lux is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 1 prospect in the organization and the No. 2 prospect in the game.
“There’s a lot of things with Gavin’s swing,” Roberts said. “Need to get him more at-bats, live and simulated. [We were] getting there with his last at-bat last night, albeit a strikeout. Honestly, at second base, we have a lot of good options. Workload, matchups will certainly matter.”
Roberts continued the organization’s reluctance to confirm probable starting pitchers, saying that Ross Stripling and Alex Wood will pitch in the four-game series against the Giants, but not saying when or confirming a fourth starter. Clayton Kershaw had already been announced as the Opening Day starter. Julio Urías is a likely fourth starter. With a day off on Monday, Roberts has indicated Walker Buehler and Dustin May might piggyback Tuesday night in Houston.
Catcher Austin Barnes, who left Sunday night’s game shortly after being hit on the left hand by a pitch, was “a little sore” on Monday, when he wasn’t expected to start anyway. Roberts said Barnes might test the hand with batting practice, but he was able to play catch.
Roberts said the Dodgers would carry between 15 and 17 pitchers, an unusually large gap this close to the cutdown date. In part, it’s probably due to so many pitchers (Kenley Jansen, Pedro Báez, Tony Gonsolin, Scott Alexander and AJ Ramos) showing up to Summer Camp late. In part, it’s because Buehler isn’t stretched out, and in part because of starter David Price electing not to pitch and the domino effect of picking up his innings. Jimmy Nelson’s season-ending back surgery eliminated him as a swingman option.
There’s also the uncertainty with regards to reliever Joe Kelly, who last pitched in an intrasquad game 11 days ago. Roberts said Kelly threw to hitters on Monday and will be ready for Opening Day, but his current erratic workload is starting to resemble his mysterious idling last September Joc Pederson Dodgers Jersey, when he pitched only five innings.
Roberts said Báez and Alexander threw to hitters on Monday. Báez will open the season with the Dodgers, but Roberts was unsure about the next step for Alexander, who is coming off left hand surgery. Ramos will pitch an inning in Tuesday night’s exhibition game against the Angels, which will be started by Josiah Gray.
Despite a strong five-inning start on Sunday night, Mitch White won’t break with the big league club.
“To see him with us this season wouldn’t be a surprise,” Roberts said. LOS ANGELES — The Angels are expected in Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night for the final exhibition game of Summer Camp, but if they saw what the Dodgers did to the D-backs Sunday and Monday night, they might just want to skip it and proceed directly to Opening Day.
The encore to a 9-2 Dodgers win on Sunday was a 12-1 rout Monday night over Arizona, with Mookie Betts, Joc Pederson and Chris Taylor slugging home runs, Julio Urías tuning up for his rotation debut with five effective innings and new relievers Blake Treinen and Brusdar Graterol finishing it off. “We can beat you in a lot of different ways,” said manager Dave Roberts. In 16 offensive innings, the Dodgers agreed to “roll over” three innings, the equivalent of a mercy rule allowing an inning to end with fewer than three outs to save the arm of the opposing pitcher once he reached 25 pitches. It happened twice in this game, as the Dodgers erupted for a five-run second inning off starter Taylor Clarke and a six-run fifth inning off reliever Andrew Chafin.
Notes: Roberts on second base, rotation, more
A lineup that set a National League home-run record last year has added Betts Julio Urias Jersey, the 2018 American League MVP, at the top, plus a designated hitter — as if that was necessary. Pederson filled the role in this game and added a two-run double to his two-run homer. Roberts, though, cited a 12-pitch at-bat that Justin Turner ended with a first-inning double as the kind of sequence that exhausts and demoralizes the opposition, leading to later explosions.
“That kind of has a collateral effect,” Roberts said. “Our quality one through nine is remarkable.”
Run support is to be expected with an offense as loaded as the Dodgers’, but Roberts appeared just as pleased with the start by Urías, who is facing a make-or-break season in a thinned-out rotation that needs him to step up.
“Julio was really sharp. It was a great final tune-up for him,” said Roberts. Urías allowed a solo home run to Ildemaro Vargas and stranded runners in scoring position in three innings, which he considered a positive.
“I felt really good about the fact that I could get out of those jams,” said Urías. “I can’t control where the ball is going and there were some jams on the bases, but I really liked the outcome and what I did after their hitters got on base.”
Treinen and Graterol, the two relievers acquired to bolster a sometimes leaky bullpen Justin Turner Youth Jersey, delivered much different scoreless innings.
Treinen had to pitch out of a bases-loaded mess that included his dropping a popup, a misplay by second baseman Gavin Lux and a passed ball by Rocky Gale. Treinen, the best reliever in the game in 2018, is coming off a ‘19 season marred by health and mechanical woes.
“Whenever he puts the ball on the ground, that’s a good thing, and he did that tonight,” said Roberts.
Graterol would have had the crowd gasping with a 101 mph fastball, if there had been a crowd. Graterol, only 21 with a history of injuries, had a strikeout and two weak grounders.
“It’s the easiest 101 you can get,” said Roberts. “The slider was sharp. Really fun to watch. He’s in the plans. If he can throw the baseball like that, sky’s the limit. The conviction he had tonight was really encouraging.” The Dodgers are a little bit of an “even though” team right now. Even though they’re without David Price for the season, and even though Walker Buehler, who in normal times is the club’s No. 2 starter, is a little bit behind the rest in his readiness for game action, the Dodgers are still No. 1 in the Power Rankings Kirk Gibson Jersey. That doesn’t mean there is not concern about starting-pitching depth — given they won’t be at full strength, and they lost prominent arms last offseason in Hyun Jin Ryu, Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill, the Dodgers may have to piecemeal part of the season from a pitching standpoint. But the lineup, seemingly healthy right now, will be a force, and the bullpen seems to be in good shape. The long quarantine/shutdown allowed the Yankees to heal from injuries that would have hampered the offense had the season started on time. Instead, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, most notably, appear ready for Thursday’s opener. Pitching-wise, the Yankees should be plenty deep, even if they’re not at full strength to begin the season. Masahiro Tanaka is still recovering from a concussion suffered after he was hit in the head by a comebacker on July 4, and manager Aaron Boone floated the idea of possibly using an opener the first time through the rotation rather than a fifth starter. Regardless, a foursome of Gerrit Cole, James Paxton, J.A. Happ and Jordan Montgomery appears solid. This has been a strange two weeks for the Astros, who look strong offensively and in their rotation, but have a ton of question marks when it comes to the bullpen. Manager Dusty Baker indicated on Sunday that they may start the season without a large chunk of the core of their relievers from the prior season — Joe Smith, who for sure won’t be at the opener and whose season status is still undefined, and Brad Peacock and Roberto Osuna, who are not going to be ready in time, for various reasons. Newcomer Austin Pruitt is also battling injury. This could put pressure on a group of young and talented but unproven relievers to jump into the fray, perhaps prematurely.
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