Spring Training Preview: Clayton Kershaw Makes His Fifth Start
As Spring Training comes to a close, it is time for managers to begin to set their Opening Day lineups, and it appears that Don Mattingly is doing just that.
With Clayton Kershaw making his fifth start of the season today, the Los Angeles Dodgers will be taking on the Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona. While this is the Dodgers home field, the share it with the White Sox so the Dodgers will be the away team.
Kershaw carries a record of 2-0 this spring, with an ERA of 2.03. The left-hander’s curveball, or “Public Enemy No. 1,” as it is referred to by announcer Vin Scully, has been working well thus far, and has helped him earn 12 strikeouts through 13.1 innings. However, he will be limited to 90-95 pitches.
This will be Kershaw’s second-to-last start of the spring, according to Eric Stephen of True Blue LA:
After today, Clayton Kershaw pitches Wed. in shortened final spring tuneup, leaving Freeway Series starts for Greinke, McCarthy, Anderson
— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) March 26, 2015
Opposing Kershaw is familiar face, Brad Penny. The right-hander pitched for the Dodgers from 2004-2008, winning 46 games. Since then, he has played for six different teams in six years, including one year in Japan in 2013.
Penny has made two starts and two relief appearances this spring, going 2-1 with a 4.63 ERA.
The Dodgers will be playing with what looks like their Opening Day lineup, although there are still questions surrounding center field with Joc Pederson and Andre Ethier.
SS: Jimmy Rollins
RF: Yasiel Puig
1B: Adrian Gonzalez
C: Yasmani Grandal
2B: Howie kendrick
LF: Carl Crawford
3B: Juan Uribe
CF: Andre Ethier
P: Clayton Kershaw
White Sox Lineup
2B: Micah Johnson
SS: Alexei Ramirez
1B: Jose Abreu
DH: Adam LaRoche
RF: Avisail Garcia
3B: Conor Gillaspie
C: Tyler Flowers
LF: J.B. Shuck
CF: Emilio Bonifacio
P: Brad Penny
Dodgers 2015 Spring Training – Clayton Kershaw after his first start
Why exactly does Crawford get the automatic position? He has decent range with 0 arm strength and isn’t that much better of a hitter than Dre.
Well, it’s not that Crawford automatically has the starting spot. Ethier has only played 24 games in left since 2008. The splits come into play here as well. While Crawford has hit .261 vs lefties and .305 vs righties in his career, Ethier hits .235 vs lefties and .304 vs righties. Yes, their BA vs righties is nearly identical, but Crawford can consistently hit against lefties. He hit .321 against them last year, which was actually better than his BA against righties. Ethier’s K% vs. lefties was nearing 30% last season, which is much too high.