Tigers @ Dodgers April 8, 2014: Interleague Play Already?

dodger_stadium_openingday2013Tonight is the first interleague game for the Dodgers in 2014. Given how the Dodgers typically perform in interleague play, it’s only natural that they have to start off against the red-hot Tigers, who have won four of their first five games. On top of that, the Dodgers begin the two-game series against reigning American League Cy Young winner (and potential future Dodger) Max Scherzer. This is Scherzer’s second start of the year, and in his first start he showed why he won the award last season. Against the Royals, he threw eight innings, allowed no runs, while striking out seven batters and walking one.

Tigers
Dodgers 
7:10pm PT
Los Angeles, CA
LF
Davis
2B
Gordon
2B
Kinsler
LF
Crawford
RF
Hunter
SS
Ramirez
3B
Cabrera
1B
Gonzalez
1B
Martinez
RF
Ethier
CF
Jackson
CF
Kemp
C
Avila
3B
Uribe
SS
Romine
C
Federowicz
P
Scherzer (R)
P
Haren (R)

Oddly enough, the Dodgers faced the reigning American League Cy Young award winner last season as well. David Price pitched well against the Dodgers last August, throwing seven innings, giving up one un-earned run while striking out four and walking one. That game is better known as the game which ended with Fernando Rodney throwing the ball into center.

The lineup facing Scherzer has a few notable changes. Tim Federowicz, called up from Albuquerque to replace the injured A.J. Ellis, gets the start at catcher. This isn’t unexpected, since the only reason Drew Butera was in the majors instead of Federowicz was to maintain some semblance of catching depth.

Apparently since Ellis is no longer in the lineup, it’s okay to lead off with Dee Gordon (who also led off on Sunday with Butera catching). Gordon has been fine so far this year, but 27 plate appearances doesn’t come anywhere close to convincing me that his problems are solved. Since Miguel Cabrera is starting at third base for the first time this season, maybe Dee will just bunt at him repeatedly. Putting Gordon next to Crawford also allows for a lefty to get two easy outs later in the game. Lineup construction doesn’t matter very much, but simple gaffes like this one are annoying and avoidable.

The other notable thing about the lineup is who isn’t in it. Yasiel Puig is sitting out tonight’s game due to his thumb injury. Given how the Dodgers usually report injuries, seeing “day-to-day” and “getting fitted for a splint” at the same time is a bit worrisome. Since Matt Kemp is 0-for-16 against Scherzer, it might have been a good time to give him the day off (even if match-up stats aren’t very predictive), but it seems that the curse of “too many outfielders” strikes again.

In unrelated news, the Dodgers now have an unofficially official mascot (dubbed a “unique performance character”):

The look on the baby’s face says it all, doesn’t it? If you want to terrify your children at their birthday parties, all proceeds will go to the Dodgers Foundation.

About Daniel Brim

Daniel Brim

Daniel Brim grew up in the Los Angeles area but doesn’t live there anymore. He still watches the Dodgers and writes about them sometimes.