Dodgers @ Diamondbacks May 1, 2018: Good riddance, April

(Via)
Dodgers
Diamondbacks
6:40 PM
Phoenix
SS
Taylor
LF
Descalso
CF
Pederson
SS
Ahmed
C
Grandal
1B
Goldschmidt
1B
Bellinger
CF
Pollock
RF
Kemp
RF
Owings
2B
Utley
2B
Marte
LF
Verdugo C Avila
3B
Muncy
3B
Marrero
P
Kershaw (L)
P
Koch (R)

Clayton Kershaw gets the ball for the Dodgers looking to bounce back from perhaps the most troubling start of the season. On April 25, Kershaw faced the Miami Marlins, a team that sold their three great outfielders for pennies and are actively trying to lose baseball games. Kershaw needed a season-high 112 pitches to complete a season-low five innings, and he walked six batters (he walked 11 batters in 2016). He was an out away from completing five shutout innings, but walked two batters and surrendered a three-run home run to literally Miguel Rojas before getting a strikeout to end the inning. Kershaw’s numbers this season don’t look terrible (2.84 ERA/3.41 FIP, 26.9 K%, 5.8 BB%), but it’s a pretty severe dropoff from the Kershaw we’re all used to.

Today will be Kershaw’s third start of the season against the Diamondbacks. In Arizona on April 3, Kershaw allowed two solo home runs and struck out six in six innings. In Los Angeles on April 15, Kershaw earned his first win of the season as he allowed two hits and one solo home run over seven innings, striking out a season-high 12.

Joc Pederson gets the start today in center with Chris Taylor sticking at short. Matt Kemp gets the start in right and Alex Verdugo starts in left.

For Arizona, Matt Koch gets his third start and fourth outing of the season. The 27-year-old righty replaced the injured Taijuan Walker in the rotation and has thrown six innings in each of his two starts. He picked up his first win of the season last time out, tossing six innings of two-run ball in Philadelphia. The Dodgers haven’t seen Koch since 2016, when he got his only other career win by throwing a scoreless 12th inning before the Diamondbacks walked off on Ross Stripling. Among starters with more than 10 innings pitched, Koch has the third-highest groundball percentage in baseball at 61.8 percent (not including his two relief innings).

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The Dodgers made another roster move.

This is puzzling. Not the fact that Edward Paredes is back. Paredes showed some promise out of the bullpen late last year and gives the Dodgers another lefty out of the bullpen. Tony Cingrani had his velocity back last night, but his command was not sharp. Adam Liberatore has allowed one hit and no runs in five outings since being recalled, so having another lefty in the pen is fine.

I’m so confused about Stewart being optioned after throwing 1 2/3 innings in relief last night. Yesterday was Stewart’s turn to start on regular rest, but the Dodgers opted to start Stripling. Stripling had been arguably the best reliever on the Dodgers, so starting him puts him out of commission for a few days. Meanwhile Stewart, a starter who again only threw 1 2/3 innings in relief last night, goes back to Triple-A.

——

The initial report was that Justin Turner could go on a rehab assignment this weekend, but that won’t be happening. Turner has yet to play this season after breaking his wrist in Spring Training. Logan Forsythe hasn’t played since April 14th, but could be on his way back from right shoulder inflammation.

——

While the infield injury woes are still uncertain, a member of the rotation will be back this weekend.

Rich Hill was supposed to start last night, but a finger infection kept him from being activated. He’ll start the finale against the Padres in Mexico, with Alex Wood and Walker Buehler likely getting the other two starts.

——

Kenley Jansen hasn’t pitched since April 25, but he could be seen today for more than three outs.

The Dodgers haven’t really needed a closer much this season, because usually that requires a team to be have a late lead. Jansen’s struggles have been one of the bigger concerns for a team with a ton of concerns early on, so hopefully he can get going soon.

About Alex Campos

Alex Campos
I'm a writer that has blogged at a whole bunch of places about a whole bunch of sports. I was most recently writing for Chavez Ravine Fiends, but was also the former editor at Dodgers Way. I graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Marketing. At Long Beach, I covered the Dirtbags in the 2014 season as an assistant sports editor at the Daily 49er.