The Dodgers are looking for a mini two game sweep of the D-Back tonight, as game two of the series down under resumes at the Sydney Cricket Grounds in Australia. The Dodgers took the first game last night by a score of 3-1.
Hyun-Jin “And Juice” Ryu will take the mound for the Dodgers tonight and try to follow-up a very succesful rookie season where he went 14-8 with 3.00 ERA. Ryu will try to shake those dreaded sophomore blues that tend to strike some second year players. He’ll have to be carefull of Paul “Fools”Goldschmidt tonight. In 14 at bats Goldschmidt is hitting .500 with a homer and 5 RBI’s off of Ryu last season. Ryu is 1-2 with a 4.65 ERA against the D-Backs. Ryu doesn’t have the most dominant stuff, but is more of a pitcher than a thrower so if his command is good tonight watch out.
Facing Ryu for the D-Back will be Trever “Can’t Get It Together” Cahill. Cahill had a very disappointing season last year when he went 8-10 with a 3.99 ERA. He could do it against the Dodgers tonight, as he is 6-0 with 2.01 ERA lifetime against the boys in blue. He’ll have to be carefull for Adrian Gonzalez who has hit .450 with a homer and 3 RBI off of him.
Scott Van “Dam” Slyke, who had a great game one, will be replaced by Mike Baxter in left field, while we’ll see Dee “I like Big Bunts And I Can Not Lie” Gordon playing second base tonight.
The Dodgers and D-backs released their lineups for tonight’s game in Sydney.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Andre Ethier, CF
A.J. Ellis, C
Mike Baxter, LF
Juan Uribe, 3B
Hyun-Jin Ryu, P
A.J. Pollock, CF
Aaron Hill, 2B
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
Martin Prado, 3B
Miguel Montero, C
Mark Trumbo, LF
Gerardo Parra, RF
Didi Gregorius, SS
Trevor Cahill, P
Every kid that loves baseball loves to play catch. Every kid that has played catch at one time or another has dreamed of playing catch with a MLB player. Well Monday night Dodgers starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu made that dream come true for a little boy we”ll call Deuce for all intents and purposes. Before the Dodgers Monday night game against the Nationals, Ryu and Deuce played catch. The look on the face of Deuce is one of excitement and pure joy, and why not it’s not everyday you get to throw the ball around with a Major League baseball player.
To me not only does it show just how cool Ryu is, but it also shows the true awesome effect baseball has internationally. Ryu can’t speak English, and Deuce can’t speak Korean, but baseball knows no language barrier. All you need is a couple of gloves and a ball for friendships to be made, if only it was that way in all aspects of life. Also, we should probably keep tabs on Deuce in the future. From the looks of the video the kids got a pretty good arm on him.
Thanks to dodgerfilms for the video.
The first week of the Dodgers’ season has shown promise, at least in one aspect: this team can really pitch. The Dodgers have allowed more than three runs only once in their first 6 games, allowing only 1.67 runs per contest and pitching shutouts in half their games thus far. The two horses at the top of the rotation, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, have yet to allow a run. Brandon League has looked good to this point in the closer role, although I’m not so sure he’s the guy I trust quite yet. That being said, the bullpen looks much improved thus far and should continue to be pretty well rested if the rotation does what they have been doing.
Looking at Kershaw specifically, the upside is scary with the slider he’s added as a consistent piece of his arsenal. In his 16 innings, Kershaw has struck out a solid 16 batters, but the keys are in what he hasn’t allowed. To this point, with 1 walk and 6 hits, Kershaw’s whip is remarkably low at 0.438. For those of you scoring at home, that means he’s allowing a baserunner less than once every other inning. I know we’re only two games in, but look out. The Sandy Koufax comparisons he’s garnered his entire career may not be far off… and guess what? He’s only 25 years old and still improving.
Hyun-Jin Ryu looks good as well, picking up his first Major League win Sunday and sitting with a 2.13 ERA early on.
The Issue, however, is the Dodgers’ lack of scoring of their own. With 6 games in the books and a 4-2 record, the Dodgers are averaging fewer than 3 runs per game. This comes primarily as a result of a few individuals getting off to slow starts (Kemp, anyone playing the left side of the infield), and a lack of clutch hitting (.167 w/RISP). With the eventual return of Hanley Ramirez and imminent return of Kemp’s ability to rake (we saw signs all weekend), these problems will hopefully be solved over time. The good news offensively has come almost exclusively from Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, a pair of highly controversial 2012 Red Sox acquisitions for the Dodgers accounting for 10 of the team’s 17 runs this season.
With names like Josh Beckett and Chad Billingsley pulling up the back end of the rotation, the Dodgers should do a decent job of keeping teams from putting tons of runs on the board. If the offense can get going like we know they can (and believe they will), week 1 is a great sign of a team poised to win a lot of ball games. The next step is figuring out how to score against Madison Bumgarner… but we’ll worry about that again in May. Until then, I like what I’ve seen thus far.