Tag: Los Angeles Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers secure Easter Sunday Win at Colorado Rockies

Los Angeles Dodgers secure Easter Sunday Win at Colorado Rockies

It was not the start to his Colorado Rockies career that Austin Gomber had envisioned, opening the game with a walk, E1, walk, then allowing Mookie Betts to score on a wild pitch that really should have been an out at the plate had Gomber held onto the ball. His first inning wound up with a stat line of three runs on zero hits that ended with a cannon of a throw from Charlie Blackmon to double up Max Muncy at third base on a sac fly from Gavin Lux.

The second inning didn’t start out much better as Gomber gave up a leadoff double followed by a sac bund before walking Betts a second time. Betts proceeded to be thrown out attempting to steal second and Gomber escaped the second without any damage. He got out of the third unscathed despite walking the leadoff hitter, then got the Rockies first hit of the game in the bottom of the third and was replaced on the mound by Chi Chi Gonzalez in the fourth.

That was one of only three hits Julio Urias gave up in his season debut, the last coming in the eight inning on an infield single by Ryan McMahon who eventually came around to score on a double by Garrett Hampson off Jimmy Nelson.

The first run of the game to come off a base hit was a solo home run by Will Smith to lead off the top of that eighth against Robert Stephenson.

In the end, it was a quickly played game, nine minutes shy of three hours that saw eight total hits and the Dodgers coming out on top 4-2 despite on the back of that three run, no hit first inning. Gomber loses his Rockies debut while Julio Urias picks up his first win of the season and Cory Knebel his first save.

Predicting the 2021 MLB Season

Predicting the 2021 MLB Season

World Series ChampionsToronto Blue Jays
AL PennantToronto Blue Jays
NL PennantLos Angeles Dodgers
AL EastNew York Yankees
AL CentralChicago White Sox
AL WestOakland Athletics
AL Wild CardToronto Blue Jays
AL Wild CardMinnesota Twins
NL EastAtlanta Braves
NL CentralMilwaukee Brewers
NL WestLos Angeles Dodgers
NL Wild CardSan Diego Padres
NL Wild CardNew York Mets
AL MVPMatt Chapman 
AL Cy YoungLucas Giolito
AL ROYBobby Dalbec
NL MVPFernando Tatis Jr.
NL Cy YoungJacob deGrom
NL ROYKe’Bryan Hayes

Predicting the 2018 MLB Season

Courtesy of Aaron Whelan

AL East

New York Yankees – The Yankees have the potential to put out the most impressive lineup we have seen in years, focused mainly around Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge. That said, Stanton is always an injury risk and Judge is a strikeout risk every trip to the plate. Gary Sanchez is as good an offensive catcher as there is in baseball, and may have the strongest arm too, but his receiving ability it downright poor. Drury is a good addition, but Tyler Wade is not a long-term answer at second and Greg Bird is out nearly two months. Having Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar ready to come up and contribute will be huge, but they are 21 and 23 respectively, so they are no sure thing to they will be reliable from the start. The bullpen might be the best in baseball, but the starting rotation is overrated. In the end, the hype train that is the Yankees will still win the division, but I don’t see a deep run in October and I think there will be a real race with the Red Sox for the division title.

AL Central

Cleveland Indians – Francisco Lindor is a legitimate super star quality player at short and they brought in power hitting Edwin Encarnacion to add pop to the lineup. Yonder Alonso is currently tabbed to play first which is a downgrade from Carlos Santana somewhat similar to the upgrade at DH with Encarnacion. They have a strong rotation and really good bullpen, but the loss of Bryan Shaw may hurt. In the end, I just don’t feel the Twins have quite enough to knock off the Indians at the top of the division.

AL West

Houston Astros – The defending World Series champions have only gotten better, if for no other reason than their incredibly young nucleus is a year older. George Springer-Alex Bregman-Jose Altuve-Carlos Correa is as good a top four as any lineup in baseball, and they all play solid to better defense to go with it. They also get a full year of Justin Verlander and have added Gerrit Cole who is currently slated to be their fourth starter, yes, fourth starter. They have a strong bullpen but another arm or two at the deadline wouldn’t hurt. The big thing that stood out this Spring was how long Kyle Tucker stuck around with the big league club. It looks like the 21-year old will start in AA, but he could be up late in the year and be a difference maker in left field.

AL Wild Card

Boston Red Sox – The Red Sox will come up just shy in the division but will win the Wild Card game. J.D. Martinez brings much needed pop to a lineup that simply couldn’t hit home runs last year. The outfield is as athletic as any in baseball, and Mookie Betts is a real MVP candidate. Blake Swihart looks to be an unusual super utility man that can also catch, which will be an interesting dynamic. They still have Kimbrel at the back of the bullpen and have Carson Smith to start the season this year. The top of the rotation is as good as any in baseball with Chris Sale and David Price to go with a solid number three in Rick Porcello. Opening Day will be a question for Drew Pomeranz and Eduardo Rodgriquez, while Steven Wright opens the year on the DL before serving a 15 game domestic violence suspension. There is not a real need in the lineup for the Red Sox despite Dustin Pedroia opening the year on the DL, and Michael Chavis just may be able to provide the team with a big boost late in the year.

Los Angeles Angels – They have the best player in baseball in Mike Trout, and they brought in the most talked about player this off-season, Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani will be interesting to see how he works out as people may forget he is only 23 and is trying to be the first full time pitcher and position player in decades. He struggled this Spring, and anything he does with the bat is a bonus, but they really need his arm in the rotation. Garrett Richards and Tyler Skaggs at the top of the rotation is not exactly the best 1-2 punch in baseball, so the Angels still need starters and their bullpen isn’t great. In fact, a Rule 5 pick just may end being the closer at some point this season (check out more on Luke Bard on my post at Minor League Ball today). The lineup is much improved around Trout, bringing in Ian Kinsler and Justin Upton along with Zach Cozart. They still feel like they are a few players shy from being real contenders, and their farm system is improved but not enough to make a blockbuster deal, but there really isn’t a good fifth team in the American League.

NL East

Washington Nationals – The East is a much-improved division this year which may be the only reason the Nationals don’t end up with the best record in the NL, but Max Scherzer and Bryce Harper are big enough pieces in themselves to make the Nats a contender. They still have Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez, and a full season of Sean Doolittle as their closer. Adam Eaton is back after tearing his ACL early in 2017 and the rest of the team is largely intact. The Nationals will simply be a force to be reckoned with this season.

NL Central

Chicago Cubs – No Jake Arrieta, add Yu Darvish, no Wade Davis, ok that may hurt. Ian Happ led baseball this Spring in leadoff home runs earning him the nod at the top of the lineup with Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo being massive bats behind him. Kyle Schwarber is looking to bounce back from a rough 2017, and Albert Almora Jr. will try to earn a starter’s volume of playing time while splitting time in the OF with Schwarber, Jason Heyward, and Ben Zobrist. Unlike years past, the Cubs don’t have the options in the minors to make the big impact like Schwarber, Addison Russell, and Happ did, Mark Zagunis is a decent bat should the outfield not produce, but there isn’t much depth in the pitching pipeline. The gap between them and the Brewers will shrink, but not enough to knock the Cubs off the top.

NL West

Los Angeles Dodgers – Yeah, the division winners is pretty much stock, but that is because the top teams in each division is pretty clear. The Dodgers lose Yu Darvish, but he lost most faith from the Dodger fans in the World Series, and Hyun-Jin Ryu is far from the worst fifth starter in baseball. Clayton Kershaw is still as good as anyone to ever toe the rubber and Kenley Jansen is one of the top closers in baseball. The broken wrist for Justin Turner will hurt to start the year, forcing Logan Forsythe into a starting role, but there is depth on the team with Kyle Farmer being and Austin Barnes both being rare catchers that can also play infield. Alex Verdugo will be an interesting prospect to keep an eye on as he will likely find himself in LA at some point this season, but will the power play enough in the big leagues? Walker Beuhler is as good a power arm as there is in the minors, but does his pitch mix work best as a starter or reliver? The Dodgers have all the pieces to make another deep run.

NL Wild Card

Milwaukee Brewers – Unlike the American League, the National League has plenty of good teams that will battle for the Wild Card. I had the New York Mets here at one point, I gave the Philadelphia Phillies a look, the San Francisco Giants are improved, can you really sleep on the St. Louis Cardinals? In the end I give the Brewers the nod not only as a Wild Card team, but I think they win the Wild Card Game. Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain are fantastic additions, and Yelich plays a fantastic Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez.

 

 

Orlando Arcia is an underrated shortstop while the additions of Yelich and Cain have made Eric Thames and Domingo Santana one of the best platoons in baseball. I have long been a fan of Jimmy Nelson, and if he returns to full health around the mid-point of the season, that could be a great addition while Chase Anderson has turned into a solid pitcher at the top of their rotation. Corey Knebel was once a guy I had tabbed as a fantasy monster about a year too early, but he has become an incredibly reliable closer for the Brew Crew. Brett Phillips is a solid outfield prospect, but with the depth already at the position at the big league level, don’t be surprised to see him moved for pitching help during the season.

Arizona Diamondbacks – The Zach Grienke velocity concerns are troubling, but the team is very good. The loss of J.D. Martinez will hurt, and there are few higher on Brandon Drury than me, who is now wearing pinstripes. They have shown faith in the man stepping in for Drury, giving Ketel Marte a 5-year extension, and they also brought in Jarrod Dyson and Alex Avila. None of those moves will make up for the power lost when J.D. moved to Boston, but they are solid pieces. Patrick Corbin is rounding back to form for at the top of the rotation, Robbie Ray is solid, and Taijuan Walker is still one of the more intriguing starters for me. Add that to new closer Brad Boxberger and Archie Bradley settling in as a high leverage reliever, and the pitching staff should be able to overcome the regression from Grienke.

World Series

Houston Astros over the Washington Nationals – The Astros repeat as they are one of the more improved teams despite being defending champions. They get past the Yankees in the ALCS as the Yankees just don’t have the starting pitching to keep up. The Nationals get payback on the Dodgers in the NLCS, but still fall short in six games against the Astros.

MLB 2015 National League West Preview

Well, this division certainly made a lot of noise in the offseason, didn’t it? San Diego acquired seemingly every available slugging outfielder not named Cespedes. The Dodgers retooled the front office and subsequently, a large chunk of the roster. The overachieving Giants and their best-in-the-game manager Bruce Bochy are coming off yet another surprising World Series championship.

But let’s start with the bottom. The Diamondbacks and Rockies were terrible last year, and that doesn’t figure to change. For the 20 something year in a row the Rockies still don’t have any pitching, and even if Jon Gray and Eddie Butler break out, it’s not enough. The D Backs are now led by Chip Hale, and have added Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas, and while some of their young guys (see: Enciarte, Ender; Peralta, David; Owings, Chris) look like future studs, they’re still a couple of years away. Neither of these teams will factor.

With only a hint of sarcasm, the poor Giants. They lose the Panda to free agency, Hunter Pence to a broken arm for a while, Angel Pagan’s back is reportedly a concern, and their rotation is counting heavily on Tim Hudson and Jake Peavy, combined age over 70. Bochy can work magic, but look for a big step back this year. The Padres were serious about improving their putrid offense. Enter Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, and Derek Norris, and to a lesser degree, Will Middlebrooks. Their starting pitching remains a strength, if on potential alone. They might very well miss Huston Street, however, at the back end of ballgames. Very quietly, he has been baseball’s most effective closer for the last three years.

Projected Winner: The Dodgers. They just have a spectacularly good starting rotation, even if the criminally underrated Hyun Jin Ryu’s barking shoulder keeps him out the first month. There are very few lineup questions, if any, (the Pads still don’t know if Yonder Alonso, Tommy Medica, Carlos Quentin, or a Partridge in a Pear Tree will be starting at first base, or whether its Middlebrooks or Yangervis Solarte at third) and the departures of Brian Wilson and Chris Perez give Don Mattingly fewer catastrophic options to insist on using in high leverage situations out of the pen – even if closer Kenley Jansen misses the first 4-6 weeks after foot surgery. The Padres will keep it interesting, but probably finish four or five games back at the end of the season.

Is there a Wild Card, perhaps?: It’s not outside the realm of imagination, that’s for sure. The Padres have a good shot. Here’s why: The NL Central has the Cardinals, Pirates, and an improved Cubbies team that figure to contend. The Reds are still potent enough to play some spoiler, and the Brewers, while probably ticketed for a last place finish, shouldn’t be walkovers. That division could beat up on itself and struggle record-wise. Meanwhile, teams like the Padres and, perhaps, the Marlins in the NL East can fatten up against legitimate bottom dwellers in their divisions and lock down one of the two wild cards. Will they? The magic eight ball says check back with us in July for a clearer picture.

It’s a Bird, It’s A Plane, It’s…Carlos Perez?

Hey, Dodger fans? Guess who just retired 4 straight big leaguers in 1.1 perfect innings in the Dominican Winter League Final? If you said Carlos Perez, you’re two things. Right, and probably a heavy drinker.

For those of you who don’t remember, Perez was a Dominican lefty on the Expos, known for being a promising young pitcher and infuriatingly animated on the mound. His career started brightly, and in 1998, the Dodgers traded for him to supplement their pitching down the stretch. And supplement it he did. 4 wins, including a couple of complete game shut outs, led to a lucrative contract extension and boundless optimism among fans (yours truly included) about the future.

And then…well, nobody really knows what happened. Never overpowering to begin with, Perez lost about 8 miles per hour off of his fastball. No longer able to keep hitters honest, his once formidable breaking stuff was getting teed off on, and that was the beginning of the end.

Some guys age gracefully and decline slowly. For others, the end comes rapidly, and it’s often ugly. After a particularly ugly outing in 2000, Perez went ape…uh…poop on a Gatorade cooler, nearly braining teammate Darren Dreifort who was minding his own business nearby. 

2000 was Perez’ last year in the big leagues. For years and years, he was a punch line, as well as a cautionary tale to GM’s looking to reward promising young pitchers with lucrative contract extensions. And then, the memories started to fade. Other pitchers with seemingly bright futures faded away. Rick Ankiel, though to be fair, he did one of the more remarkable things in baseball history, transforming himself from a failed pitcher to a semi-successful big league outfielder. Dontrelle Willis… I’m sure there are others.

Let’s fast forward to today, January 21, 2014. If someone with a cruel sense of humor decided to create a baseball Trivial Pursuit game with a bit of a dark side, one of the questions may be, what do major leaguers Emilio Bonifacio, Engel Beltre, Erick Aybar, and Juan Francisco have in common? The answer would be, they were retired in order by the 42-year-old Carlos Perez. Yes, that Carlos Perez. Bonifacio and Francisco…they went down on strikes.

Baseball is a weird, yet fascinating game. But if Perez somehow parlays this into a minor league invite, I’m not watching it anymore.