Dodgers 4, D’Backs 1: Puig and Some Other Stuff

puig-points_2014-04-01

After sitting out yesterday, Yasiel Puig certainly made up for it today. Everything that Dodger fans love about him was on display. In the second inning, it looked like Miguel Montero had a sure double off of Beckett, but, well, this happened (GIF via Chad):


GIF link

The game stayed quiet until the sixth. Dee Gordon singled, then Carl Crawford tripled. After Hanley Ramirez popped out, Kirk Gibson intentionally walked Adrian Gonzalez to get to Puig for some reason. He made them pay (GIF via Chad):


GIF link

Here’s a good photo of the ensuing batflip from the game, since the TV broadcasts cut away early.

Even though Puig’s great game will grab most of the headlines, Josh Beckett‘s performance shouldn’t be overlooked. Beckett struck out seven batters and walked two, and only allowed one hit in five scoreless innings. His removal from the game was puzzling at first, but it was later revealed that Beckett is sick and could not pitch any longer. His stuff didn’t suffer too much; he missed spots here and there, but his pitches looked sharp in general. He was only really in trouble once, partially due to Tim Federowicz‘ second catchers interference in three games.

After Jamey Wright, Chris Perez, and J.P. Howell combined to give one run back, Kenley Jansen closed out the game by striking out the side on 11 pitches. Jansen is now up to 17.18 K/9 on the season and his xFIP is down to 1.49. Nothing is “wrong” with him. His usage in a three run game is a bit confusing, though. He has now pitched 13 times in the team’s first 19 games. If you can’t trust a pitcher to not allow three runs in an inning, that pitcher shouldn’t be on the roster. It seemed like a good opportunity to give Kenley a night off, but unfortunately nearly every manager in baseball would have made the same move.

The Dodgers are now 12-7 on the season and are eight games in front of the 5-16 Diamondbacks. Next up is the Phillies, who enter Dodger Stadium with Cliff Lee on the mound tomorrow night.

Diamondbacks @ Dodgers April 20, 2014: No Beckett Marathon Please

beckett_2014-03-08

Josh Beckett takes the hill for the Dodgers today, and while he threw five scoreless innings against the Giants in his last outing, the Dodgers will be looking for a more efficient performance this time around. The five walks he surrendered in his last outing ran his pitch count high and also put him at danger for the big inning, though he was fortunate enough to escape trouble. Most importantly, we should all be rooting for him not to struggle so that we don’t die of old age watching this game. Against the D-Backs, Beckett has a career 3.90 ERA in nine starts and 57.2 innings.

Beckett’s opponent will be Josh Collmenter, who moves between relief and starting duties for the D-Backs. Collmenter has a career 4.08 ERA as a starter and a 2.49 ERA as a reliever, so while he’s solid in the rotation the D-Backs would probably prefer if he was allowed to stay in the pen. Collmenter has a 5.06 ERA against the Dodgers in 32 innings for his career, including giving up a run in an inning of relief against the Dodgers down in Australia.

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DBacks
Dodgers 
1:10pm PT
Los Angeles, CA
CF
Parra
2B
Gordon
SS
Pennington
LF
Crawford
1B
Goldschmidt
SS
Ramirez
C
Montero
1B
Gonzalez
2B
Hill
RF
Puig
3B
Chavez
CF
Ethier
LF
Trumbo
3B
Uribe
CF
Pollock
C
Federowicz
P
Collmenter (R)
P
Beckett (R)

In important injury news that’s probably more important than the game, Clayton Kershaw faced hitters today in a simulated game to test his upper back injury further.

Apparently it’s still too early for a timetable, so all we can do is hope for is no major news, because major news would likely mean a setback of some sort.

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In unfortunate minor league news, the Dodgers released Angelo Songco, who some of you may remember was once a decently promising prospect.

Songco broke out in 2011, putting up a .313/.367/.581/.948 line with 29 homers in high-A during his age 22 season. Songco was a bit older and lacked the impact tools to be a regular, but a continuation of his performance at AA could have continued his ascent in the system, so I was looking forward to his 2012 season against advanced pitching. However, he unfortunately needed a rod inserted into his leg in 2012 and never could get his stroke back.

Mon 4/14Tues 4/15Wed 4/16Thurs 4/17Fri 4/18Sat 4/19Sun 4/20
LJ.P. Howell131917
RK. Jansen25301611
RB. League8917
RC. Perez2232618
RB. Wilson2823
RC. Withrow2126
RJ. Wright321618

Diamondbacks @ Dodgers April 19, 2014: Bolsinger?

dodger_stadium_openingday2013Tonight’s game against the Diamondbacks will at least have an interesting start. The Diamondbacks’ starter is Michael Bolsinger, who I’d never heard of before this week. Bolsinger was called up to replace the struggling Trevor Cahill and is being tasked with helping to fix the Diamondbacks’ rotation. So far this season, Diamondbacks starters have a 7.26 ERA, nearly two runs worse than the closest team. That includes Wade Miley‘s one run performance last night.

Bolsinger isn’t really a prospect, but is a 26 year old pitcher making his first career start. In his first career major league game earlier this week, he allowed two runs in three relief innings. The most notable thing about Bolsinger might be that he isn’t top prospect Archie Bradley, which stirred up a bit of controversy earlier this week. From the Diamondbacks’ point of view, calling up Bradley for a season like this (and starting his service time clock) doesn’t make a lot of sense. Nick Piecoro of Azcentral Sports has a good interview with Bolsinger here.

DBacks
Dodgers 
5:10pm PT
Los Angeles, CA
CF
Parra
2B
Gordon
2B
Hill
LF
Crawford
1B
Goldschmidt
SS
Ramirez
C
Montero
1B
Gonzalez
RF
Ross
CF
Kemp
3B
Prado
RF
Ethier
LF
Trumbo
3B
Uribe
SS
Owings
C
Butera
P
Bolsinger (R)
P
Haren (R)

With a rookie starter going, it’s worth looking up how well the Dodgers have done against pitchers as new as Bolsinger. The perception among many fans is that the team generally has trouble hitting brand new pitchers. Since 2010, the Dodgers have faced a starter throwing his first or second career game ten times (the most recent was Mike Kickham last year). In those ten games, the Dodgers have scored 30 runs in 52-2/3 innings. That doesn’t really match the perception, and could be good news for the struggling offense.

Facing Bolsinger is more or less the standard right-handed pitcher lineup (Drew Butera gets the start at catcher), with one notable exception: Yasiel Puig has the night off. With the current outfield rotation, and since Ethier and Crawford have started the last two games on the bench, the choice of who to sit today came down to Puig or Matt Kemp. Of those two, I really think that the playing time is more important for Puig, so Mattingly’s decision is a bit puzzling.

After a busy night for the bullpen (as shown below this post), it’s important that Dan Haren makes it deep into this game. He looked pretty shaky during his last start, which was also against the Diamondbacks. Haren did make it nearly six innings, but it took 110 pitches to get there and he allowed five runs and six extra-base hits.

Tonight’s game will be televised on Fox Sports 1 (in addition to SNLA), which is good news for those of you without Time Warner. I also really enjoy the earlier start times on Saturday, though I’m sure we’ll hear about shadows a few times at the beginning of the game.

According to Eric Stephen, Clayton Kershaw will throw to hitters tomorrow. The team still hasn’t set a timetable for Kershaw’s return or rehab starts, but it seems that he’s progressing nicely.

Mon 4/14Tues 4/15Wed 4/16Thurs 4/17Fri 4/18Sat 4/19Sun 4/20
LJ.P. Howell131917
RK. Jansen25301611
RB. League8917
RC. Perez2232618
RB. Wilson2823
RC. Withrow2126
RJ. Wright321618

Diamondbacks @ Dodgers April 18, 2014: Hanley Lives

dodger_stadium_openingday2013Tonight, Zack Greinke makes his fourth start for the Dodgers this season. So far, he has pitched very well, only allowing five runs in 16-1/3 innings. his peripherals have been very interesting. In his first three starts, he’s struck out 21 batters and walked just two. Both walks came in his first start of the year; he’s faced 50 batters (and struck out 17 of them) since he allowed his last walk.

Greinke’s FIP is higher than you’d expect (4.03, above the league average), since he’s given up four home runs. However, the high home run rate isn’t because Greinke is throwing more pitches in the strike zone. So far this season, he’s thrown 41.2% of his pitches into the Pitch F/X strike zone, almost identical to his 2012 and 2013 rates. The biggest peripheral difference is that Greinke is inducing a lot more swings on pitches outside of the strike zone (38.6%, compared to a career rate of 26.8%), and batters are making contact less often overall (71% contact rate this season, career rate is 79.5%).

DBacks
Dodgers 
7:10pm PT
Los Angeles, CA
RF
Parra
RF
Puig
2B
Hill
2B
Turner
1B
Goldschmidt
SS
Ramirez
C
Montero
1B
Gonzalez
LF
Ross
CF
Kemp
3B
Prado
LF
Van Slyke
SS
Owings
3B
Uribe
CF
Pollock
C
Federowicz
P
Miley (L)
P
Greinke (R)

Greinke’s high home run rate seems a bit like luck, and stats that adjust for it love what he has done so far. xFIP adjusts Greinke’s HR/FB rate from 30.8% down to the league average (around 11%), which results in a stellar value of 1.94. After adjusting for park, his xFIP is third in baseball, behind Masahiro Tanaka and Felix Hernandez. Since his line drive rate is down and his ground ball rate is up, his SIERA (which uses batted ball characteristics to estimate ERA) is 2.02, which is also third best in the majors behind the same pitchers.

In lineup news, Hanley Ramirez is alive! Given how bad the injury looked when it happened, it’s pretty amazing that he missed just one game. Hopefully the medical staff isn’t rushing him back before he’s ready, but for once it feels like the team was lucky on a potential injury. This allows the Dodgers to re-establish the second base platoon, so Dee Gordon gets the night off against lefty Wade Miley. Greinke’s last two games have been caught by Drew Butera, but tonight Tim Federowicz starts in his place.

On the Diamondbacks side, Cody Ross returns from the disabled list and gets the start in left field. Ross dislocated his hip last year. Mark Trumbo gets the night off (and has gone 3-for-36 in the past week).

Below, you’ll notice the return of a feature that was present on Mike’s old site: the bullpen usage chart. You can also find it here. Many thanks to reader/commenter ABSmileBunch for maintaining the chart!

Mon 4/14Tues 4/15Wed 4/16Thurs 4/17Fri 4/18Sat 4/19Sun 4/20
LJ.P. Howell131917
RK. Jansen25301611
RB. League8917
RC. Perez2232618
RB. Wilson2823
RC. Withrow2126
RJ. Wright321618

Dodgers @ Giants April 17, 2014: No Hanley, And Bad History For Ryu

attparkThe Dodgers are looking to salvage this series — much like the last series against the Giants — in the final game of a 3-game set. They turn to Hyun-jin Ryu to be the “stopper.”

Normally, I’d feel pretty confident (even going up against Madison Bumgarner), but for whatever reason, Ryu struggles against San Francisco.

In six career outings — including the disastrous April 4 home opener when he gave up six runs on eight hits in two innings — Ryu has been less than stellar against the Giants:

Dodgers
Giants
12:45 pm PT
San Francisco, CA
2B
Gordon
SS
Arias
SS
Turner
RF
Pence
RF
Puig
3B
Sandoval
1B
Gonzalez
C
Posey
CF
Kemp
LF
Morse
LF
Van Slyke
1B
Belt
3B
Uribe
2B
Hicks
C
Federowicz
CF
Blanco
P
Ryu (L)
P
Bumgarner (L)
  • 3.89 ERA
  • 1.58 WHIP
  • 3.4 BB/9
  • 5.2 K/9
  • 1.54 K/BB
  • .300 BAA

If you take out his numbers against the Giants, Ryu looks like an even better pitcher than he already is against the rest of baseball:

  • 2.77 ERA
  • 1.11 WHIP
  • 7.8 H/9
  • 2.2 BB/9
  • 7.9 K/9

The only thing that hasn’t done (knock on wood) is give up a lot of homers to the Giants. Ryu’s biggest problem has been the walks. In fact, 22.8 percent of the walks he’s issued in his career have come against the Giants. The Giants’ plate discipline won’t be confused for the Red Sox or A’s anytime soon, which makes the higher-than-optimal walk rate against SF rather surprising.

The hitters who have given him the biggest problems are Angel Pagan (5-for-8), Andres Torres (5-for-11, 1 2B), Hunter Pence (6-for-15, 2 2B, 2 BB), Marco Scutaro (5-for-12, 1 BB) and Pablo Sandoval (4-for-14, 1 2B, 3 BB)

If there’s any silver lining, it’s that Ryu has fared better in San Francisco against the Giants than he has in Los Angeles.

  • 3 games
  • 3.20 ERA
  • 19 2/3 IP
  • 16 H
  • 7 R
  • 7 ER
  • 1 HR
  • 6 BB
  • 11 K

The Dodgers have struggled against the Giants so far (1-4), and a win on Thursday would do a lot to stop the bleeding. I’ve said it on the podcast, but I think the Dodgers and Giants will be fighting for the majority of the season for first place, with the Dodgers ultimately pulling away in August or September. But, as is always the case, the Giants will be a tough draw for the Dodgers.

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Yet another story detailing Yasiel Puig‘s journey from Cuba to the United States was published. ESPN has it this time with some additional details than the article that came out on Sunday in Los Angeles Magazine.

“Sometime after 1 in the morning, the knock came. Two men dressed in burglar back stood silently at the door. Somehow, there were no guards that night. (Yunior) Despaigne is at a loss to say why. Regardless, Tomasito had chosen an inopportune moment to relax his grip on his captives. Following the two men in black, Despaigne, Puig, his girlfriend and the padrino crept out of the hotel and down a few dark streets and into a marina and onto a waiting boat that ferried them across the water to Cancun. No violence, no Tomasito, no Leo, no guards. The heist had worked. But the Rubio group had also just ripped off a criminal gang whose highly lucrative underworld ventures required the sanction of Los Zetas. They had now motivated some darkly uncompromising individuals. In plotting the heist, they hadn’t really even discussed the dangers; they were just that obvious. But so too were the rewards, and they’d come to an unstated consensus: For a chance to get Yasiel Puig, they were willing to risk their lives.”

So, the next time you run into someone who’s badmouthing Puig for “not playing the game the right (white) way,” show them these articles. It might be a waste of time because there are just some folks with tiny brains and a complete unwillingness to open their minds to the other side.

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Hanley Ramirez is out today after taking a fastball off his hand/wrist last night. X-rays were negative, which is encouraging. Ramirez says he plans to play tomorrow, which is nice, as though we all haven’t heard that one before. But the Dodgers can really ill-afford to lose Ramirez for an extended period of time. Justin Turner gets the nod in his place.

Dodgers @ Giants April 16, 2014: The Problem With Juan Uribe’s Offense

attparkJuan Uribe has been getting a lot of praise for his offense so far this year. And rightfully so: Uribe currently leads the Dodgers’ batters in wRC+. However, he’s taken an unusual path to get there. So far this season, Uribe has not drawn a single walk. Including last year’s postseason (when he didn’t draw any walks either), Uribe has gone 101 plate appearances since his last free pass.

Walk rate takes about 120 plate appearances to stabilize, and so far this season Uribe has 58. It’s too early to declare this as a big problem; so far it’s a statistical curiosity. At this point last year, Uribe’s walk rate was 23.9% and he finished the season at 7.0%. When Uribe’s .476 BABIP inevitably regresses, he’ll need the walks to keep his offensive contribution at a respectable level. Luckily, he still has his defense, which will help maintain his value.

Dodgers
Giants
7:15 pm PT
San Francisco, CA
2B
Gordon
CF
Pagan
LF
Crawford
RF
Pence
SS
Ramirez
3B
Sandoval
1B
Gonzalez
C
Posey
CF
Kemp
LF
Morse
RF
Ethier
1B
Belt
3B
Uribe
2B
Hicks
C
Butera
SS
Arias
P
Maholm (L)
P
Vogelsong (R)

Paul Maholm gets his second start for the Dodgers tonight. His first start was, well, bad. He gave up five runs in 4-1/3 innings, striking out one and walking two. Given how hard the bullpen worked during yesterday’s marathon, Maholm will need to last longer than that tonight.

Maholm’s season has been rocky so far. He gave up a run in relief on Saturday, so his ERA is currently 8.10 (and his FIP is 7.78). He’s only struck out two batters as a Dodger. Despite the rough start, it’s too early to bury him. Maholm has been a league average starter for most of his career, and less than seven innings isn’t enough to outweigh that. If he’s as good as his career numbers, or even slightly worse, he’ll be good enough for a back of the rotation starter.

Since the Dodgers need Maholm to start right now, that means that without him they’d be relying on Stephen Fife or Matt Magill. So far this season, Fife has allowed 16 runs (15 earned) in 11-1/3 Albuquerque innings, so he isn’t doing much to shake off his late-season slide. Magill is doing a bit better, allowing 8 runs (6 earned) in 14 innings.

While Fife and Magill’s samples are small (and in Albuquerque), they don’t currently seem like pitchers who should be in the majors over Maholm, or at the very least it doesn’t make a very big difference. You could probably make a valid argument for Zach Lee, but the Dodgers don’t seem interested in starting his service time clock. With Clayton Kershaw on the mend, we might see Maholm out of the rotation sooner rather than later, anyhow.

In other starting pitcher news, the results of Chad Billingsley‘s MRI are back and aren’t as bad as they could have been. Elbow tendinitis isn’t great, but it’s better than “needs Tommy John surgery.” There’s still a chance that we’ll see him this year.

The lineup is more or less the standard one for right-handed pitching, though Puig is getting the day off because he has never faced Vogelsong. The reasoning isn’t the best, but at this point it probably doesn’t have to be.

Dodgers 2, Giants 3: Baseball Is Dumb

BrandonLeagueSad

Baseball is a dumb, dumb sport.

Kenley Jansen blew a save on two hits that went 10 feet in the air and now his BABIP is .556. He is the worst and grab the pitchforks or something. Whatever, no energy to deal with dumbasses.

The Dodgers kept Brandon League over Paco Rodriguez because … who cares? So of course it comes back to matter in the end and League loses.

I didn’t know I had the game recap today, so this is what happens.

Baseball. I slept two hours last night. What is life?

Dodgers @ Giants April 15, 2014: Jackie Robinson Day

attpark

First, the good news: Brian Wilson is back! That really shouldn’t be understated. When he first came up complaining of elbow soreness two weeks ago after looking terrible in blowing a game against San Diego, I think we all thought the worst for the two-time Tommy John survivor. Had you told me on that day that we wouldn’t see him again for the remainder of the season, I wouldn’t have found it all that surprising. Now, after only two rehab games and the minimum time needed on the disabled list, he’s back. Assuming he’s healthy, that’s very, very good.

But of course, nothing good comes without a price, and that price is being paid by Paco Rodriguez, who was optioned back to Triple-A to make room for Wilson. Though disappointing, it’s not all that surprising, since the team wasn’t going to jettison Brandon League — sorry — and Chris Withrow has been so good that it would have been extremely difficult to let him go. Since only Withrow and Rodriguez have options, it had to be one or the other.

Dodgers
Giants
10:15 pm PT
San Francisco, CA
2B
Gordon
CF
Pagan
LF
Crawford
1B
Belt
SS
Ramirez
3B
Sandoval
1B
Gonzalez
C
Posey
RF
Puig
RF
Pence
LF
Ethier
LF
Morse
3B
Uribe
SS
Crawford
C
Federowicz
2B
Hicks
P
Beckett (R)
P
Lincecum (R)

Rodriguez has actually never pitched in Triple-A, having gone straight from Double-A to the Dodgers in 2012 and spending all season with the big club in 2013. He had, however, pitched in eight of the team’s first 13 games, and while he was fine, he wasn’t dominant. (Eight baserunners allowed in 5.2 innings.) Since he’ll so obviously be back as soon as another reliever is injured, which should be, oh, any second now, being without him for a few days or weeks isn’t really as concerning to me as I imagine it may be to many.

Of course, this does leave the Dodgers with just one lefty in the pen, J.P. Howell. I can’t say I love that. But that’s how it’s going to be for now.

***

In other news: Carl Crawford is back, having missed the final two games of the Arizona series with minor right side tightness and “facing a lefty-itis.” That gives Matt Kemp the honor of being the extra man tonight against Tim Lincecum, and I don’t exactly hate the idea of having one of these four guys on the bench in the late innings every night.

***

In news that’s less good: Chad Billingsley didn’t make it through his scheduled bullpen appearance, and is headed back to Los Angeles for an MRI after “tightness and discomfort.” We once thought his rehab was going so well that we might have seen him by early May. Now, I don’t think there’s any realistic ETA for his return. Discouraging, to say the least.

***

But to end on a good note: Joc Pederson hit another homer tonight! That’s his fourth of the season, coming off Keyvius Sampson in the third inning. As I type, the Isotopes are in the middle of putting up a six-spot in the third against El Paso — they’re still batting — with Matt Magill on the mound.

Dodgers @ Diamondbacks April 13, 2014: Haren returns to Arizona in Dodger Blue

haren_dan_4.2.14

Dan Haren starts for the Dodgers today against his former team with which he spent 2008-10. He was a two-time All-Star and put up a 3.56 ERA with the D-Backs until he was traded to the Angels at the deadline along with Tyler Skaggs for Patrick Corbin, Rafael Rodriguez, and Joe Saunders.

Haren faces off against Trevor Cahill, who has followed up an atrocious spring (6.95 ERA) with a worse start (7.90 ERA) to the 2014 season. The Dodgers also previously beat Corbin down in Australia, chasing him after four innings. Additionally, the D-Backs are the worst team in baseball by both record and run differential so far this year. All of that means Cahill probably throws a complete game shutout or something. Cause baseball.

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Dodgers
Diamondbacks
1:10 pm PT
Phoenix, AZ
2B
Gordon
RF
Parra
RF
Puig
2B
Hill
SS
Ramirez
1B
Goldschmidt
1B
Gonzalez
3B
Chavez
CF
Kemp
LF
Trumbo
LF
Ethier
CF
Pollock
3B
Uribe
SS
Owings
C
Federowicz
C
Gosewisch
P
Haren (R)
P
Cahill (R)

Clayton Kershaw took a step forward to returning on Saturday, as he threw off the bullpen mound. However, there is still no timetable.

Kershaw, disabled with a strained teres major muscle in his back after winning his Opening Night start in Australia, was not throwing full speed, but wasn’t lobbing either.

Manager Don Mattingly said Kershaw remains under orders to hold back on velocity and is monitored by trainers using an app that calculates pitch speed.

“They only allow him to throw so hard,” said Mattingly. “Stan [Conte, trainer] has been educating me about the velocity injury. He has to keep it below that so he won’t injure it.”

Given the location of the muscle and that it affects velocity, the team should take as much time as necessary. That should go without saying, but a lot of fans and even media can get very restless when they’re constantly told “no timetable” for a guy that just signed a gigantic contract.

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-Brian Wilson is eligible to be activated Tuesday and he’s having no troubles in the minors thus far. Chris Withrow has options, but he basically shares setup duties with Chris Perez at this point, so sending him down to keep Brandon League to “retain depth” seems more like a move to “retain crappy pitchers for no reason” to me.

-Alex Guerrero and Erisbel Arruebarrena are alive. Guerrero has recovered from an oblique injury and will be in AAA, as the team released Brendan Harris to clear room. Arruebarrena was assigned to AA.

-Scott Elbert threw a bullpen session on Saturday and wants to be ready for a rehab stint in June. Couldn’t hurt to have a third capable lefty in the wings, especially since he thrived in the pen when he has been healthy.

Dodgers @ Diamondbacks April 11, 2014: The Return of the Puig

puig_yasiel_st 3.13.14

Puig will start for the first time since April 2. (By: Dustin Nosler)

After splitting a 2-game series with the Tigers, the Dodgers (6-4) travel to Arizona to take on the Diamondbacks (4–8). We all know what happened last time these two teams met in Arizona — the Dodgers clinched the National League West title for the first time since 2009.

Yes, the Dodgers, behind a strong bullpen performance and home runs from Hanley Ramirez (two) and A.J. Ellis helped to clinch. The Dodgers then celebrated in the Chase Field swimming pool — something that pissed off seemingly everyone in Arizona. Oh, then they allegedly peed in said pool.

Chase Field - Flickr Ryan Leighty

Hope that pool is clean. (via)

Much was made about this situation (which I refuse to call “poolg–e,” mostly because the term is idiotic), but the fact of the matter is: if the D-Backs didn’t want the Dodgers celebrating in their pool, they should have played better baseball. For everyone’s sake, I hope there’s no retaliation tonight for the Dodgers, because the Dodgers will likely have to retaliate, leading to a surefire brawl — something neither team needs right now.

The two clubs met in Sydney in the last couple weeks of March to play the opening series. The Dodgers won both games, but lost Clayton Kershaw for at least a few weeks, but more likely a month or two. There’s no definitive proof the trip played into his injury, but it’s hard to deny it had an adverse affect on him.

Dodgers
Diamondbacks
6:40 pm PT
Phoenix, AZ
LF
Crawford
CF
Pollock
RF
Puig
2B
Hill
SS
Ramirez
1B
Goldschmidt
1B
Gonzalez
3B
Prado
CF
Ethier
C
Montero
3B
Uribe
LF
Trumbo
C
Federowicz
SS
Owings
2B
Gordon
RF
Parra
P
Ryu (L)
P
McCarthy (R)

Hyun-Jin Ryu is making his first start in a week after getting shelled against the Giants in the Dodgers’ home opener on April 4. Yasiel Puig returns from a strained/sprained thumb he suffered by foolishly sliding head-first into first base. He pinch hit on Wednesday night (and struck out), but this is his first start since the injury. Ken Gurnick reported Puig might actually have more issues fielding rather than hitting. We’ll see if it’s a factor tonight.

With Puig back in the lineup and the Dodgers facing a right-hander, Matt Kemp is getting his first night off since returning from injury. He hit two home runs on Sunday night, but he’s 0-for-7 with two walks and five strikeouts. His swing looks like it once did, but he didn’t have much of a spring training, so some ups and downs are to be expected from him early on.

Oh, then there’s this:

Awesome.