Spring Training Review: Opening Day Roster Taking Shape in Week 4
The Dodgers went 3-4 in Spring Training this past week with Carl Crawford and Chad Billingsley making strides and appearing ready for opening day.
Yasiel Puig continued his amazing spring, making the Dodgers think long and hard about what their plans for him are. Stephen Fife continued to impress in and Andre Ethier hit his first home run.
The biggest question mark for the Dodgers now is who will play shortstop with Hanley Ramirez out for two months due to thumb surgery.
After missing most of the week with a sprained ankle, it appears more and more likely that Dee Gordon will start the season in the minors, and Don Mattingly will platoon Nick Punto, Juan Uribe, and Jerry Hairston at third base. Luis Cruz is expected to move over to short.
Monday, March 18 – Diamondbacks 5, Dodgers 3
After making his Dodgers debut Sunday, Carl Crawford got his first hits of the spring Monday, going 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs from the lead-off spot.
Josh Beckett was scratched from his scheduled start with the flu, so six Dodgers relievers took the mound against the Diamondbacks. Adrian Gonzalez went 2-for-3 with a double, and A.J. Ellis went 1-for-3 with a run scored.
Tony Gwynn, Jr. was sent down to the minors after the game. It appears Alex Castellanos and perhaps even Yasiel Puig have passed up Gwynn on the depth chart.
Tuesday, March 19 – Dodgers 7, A’s 1
Yasiel Puig continued his unbelievable spring, going 4-for-4 with a home run, a triple, a pair of RBIs and two runs scored. Don Mattingly and Ned Colletti remained mum on whether or not Puig will be on the opening day roster, but there is now no doubt of the talent Puig possesses.
Jerry Hairston, Jr. also homered and drove in a pair of runs, and Juan Uribe went 2-for-4 with an RBI as well.
It’s been a rough spring for Chris Capuano, but he had his best start of the preseason pitching 5-2/3 innings of one run ball, striking out four, and walking one. His spring ERA now sits at 7.20 and Cap appears to be on the outside looking in at a rotation spot, but this was a big step.
Justin Sellers, Shawn Tolleson, and Jesus Flores were all reassigned to the minors.
Wednesday, March 20 – Royals 7, Dodgers 2
If Capuano is on the outside looking in, then Aaron Harang isn’t even part of the viewing party. Harang pitched 4-1/3 innings, gave up four runs (two earned), seven hits, but struck out four with no walks. Harang also committed an error en route to the two unearned runs being scored. Harang’s spring ERA now sits at 8.10.
The Dodgers’ offense was led by, you guessed it, Yasiel Puig, who went 2-for-2 with a triple and an RBI, raising his average above .500.
Matt Kemp also went 1-for-3 with a run scored and a stolen base.
Ronald Belisario and Kenley Jansen each pitched a scoreless inning.
Kansas City’s 21-6 record is the best in Spring Training.
Thursday, March 21 – Dodgers 5, Cubs 4
Alex Castellanos hit a three-run home run and Stephen Fife continued to have an impressive spring, throwing six innings, allowing three runs (two earned), striking out three with no walks. He is 2-0 with a 3.45 ERA, and could be a nice asset for the Dodgers to tuck away should they need some extra pitching or a trading chip down the line.
Castellanos’s four homers are tied for the club lead with Luis Cruz, and he looks like he might be the power bat off the bench the Dodgers need.
Friday, March 22 – Reds 6, Dodgers 5
It was business as usual for Clayton Kershaw, who appears ready to start the season. He threw six innings, allowing three runs (two earned), while striking out eight and walking three.
Cruz slugged two home runs and drove in four, crediting the World Baseball Classic for getting him into game mode.
Josh Wall blew the lead in the ninth inning, yielding three runs while recording only one out.
Saturday, March 23 – Dodgers 10, White Sox 4
It was a big day for the Dodgers, Carl Crawford played his first game in left field, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier each doubled and had multi-RBI games, Yasiel Puig continued to destroy lives, going 3-for-3 with a double, and Hyun-Jin Ryu appears ready for the regular season.
Ryu pitched seven innings, giving up two earned runs and retired 11 straight batters to end his day. He struck out five and walked two. Other than Alfredo Amezaga getting the start at third base, Saturday’s game essentially featured the Dodgers’ projected everyday lineup.
Crawford, Mark Ellis, Kemp, Gonzalez, Ethier, Cruz, third base, A.J. Ellis. The Dodgers and Sox also hosted a Cactus League-record crowd of 13,721 at Camelback Ranch.
Sunday, March 24 – A’s 7, Dodgers 4
Carl Crawford is leaving little doubt he will be ready for Opening Day. Crawford hit his first home run of the spring and made several solid throws from the outfield.
Andre Ethier hit his first homer of the spring, as well.
Josh Beckett had his worst start of the spring, giving up seven runs in only four innings of work. He struck out only one batter, and walked three. Attribute Beckett’s rough outing to his just getting over the flu — he’d given up only run in his previous three spring starts.
The Dodgers got four innings of scoreless relief from Kevin Gregg, Ronald Belisario, Josh Wall, and Paco Rodriguez. The team released non-roster invitee Mark Lowe after the game.
There’s less than one week until the season starts. The Dodgers will leave Arizona Wednesday night and return to Southern California and play three final exhibition games against the Angels, including a matchup at Dodger Stadium on Friday night.
The game on Tuesday against the Colorado Rockies will be broadcast on KCAL 9 as well as Friday night’s Freeway Series game.
Fox Sports Prime Ticket will carry the game Thursday night from Angel Stadium in Anaheim.