Work in Progress: Dodgers Look to Win Opening Series

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Opening Day was a glorious come-from-behind win behind Clayton Kershaw, but game two was a bundled package of lingering problems and annoying mistakes by the veterans. Poor defense, base running and bullpen woes have all plagued the Dodgers over the last few seasons, and even with the revamped roster those areas remain a concern.

Brandon McCarthy vs. Andrew Cashner

The Good:

Yasiel Puig broke out of his “slump” if you can even call it that with a booming double. He also made a eye-popping throw which is of course my jam. The Dodgers ended up losing 7-3 anyways, but Puig is so fun to watch.

Zack Greinke also pitched very well despite the defensive miscues behind him. Adrian Gonzalez has also been red hot at the plate, and he has already hit two homeruns in the first two games of the season.

The Bad:

Jimmy Rollins, who hit that heroic three-run homerun against the Padres on Opening Day, made three huge mistakes in game 2. Rollins made two errors at shortstop which immediately spurred the “Hanley Ramirez is hitting grand slams in Boston” narrative. Rollins also ran into an embarrassing TOOTBLAN trying to stretch a double into a triple. It is disappointing that a veteran, who was traded for in order to shore up the defense at shortstop after we experienced Hanley’s double clutch defense at the position, erred at the same spot where Hanley made the error which cost Clayton Kershaw a perfect game.

Carl Crawford‘s adventures in left field have also become worrisome. Andre Ethier deserves to start in left field at some point, and I would take Ethier’s defense and arm in left field over Crawford right now.

The Ugly:

Dear Kenley’s foot, get well soon. XOXOXO

The bullpen. While Opening Day went well for the Dodger bullpen, the second game harkened us back to 2014. Chris Hatcher struggled, Paco gave up a hit, J.P. Howell was shaky…Don Mattingly‘s over management of the bullpen didn’t help matters either. He burned through almost the entire bullpen in Tuesday night’s loss.

More from Dodgers Way

Lineup:

Rollins SS

Puig RF

Gonzalez 1B

Kendrick 2B

Grandal C

Crawford LF

Uribe 3B

Pederson CF

McCarthy P

Brandon McCarthy will try to help the Dodger capture their first series win against the all of a sudden relevant Padres. Don Mattingly will be looking for a strong start from his new right-hander. With Hyun-jin Ryu disabled, McCarthy slots in third in the rotation temporarily.

McCarthy has made just one start at Dodger Stadium in May, 2013 when he was with the D-backs. He allowed 3 runs on 8 hits over 6 1/3 innings in the Arizona win. Last season he was a combined 10-15 with a 4.05 ERA in 32 starts between Arizona and New York. Brandon is 4-1 with a 2.43 ERA  in 6 career starts against San Diego.

Andrew Cashner has always given the Dodgers a bad time. Photo: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Cashner is the polar opposite of Brandon McCarthy. The Dodgers are familiar with the flame thrower who used to hit 100-mph coming out the bullpen. Last season the big right-hander went 5-7 with a 2.55 ERA and 93 strikeouts with 29 walks over 19 starts for the Friars. He has a career ERA of just 1.53 against the Dodgers in 17 combined starts and relief appearances. He has struck out 45 Dodgers in 53 innings. He is 1-1 with a 2.41 ERA at Dodger Stadium in 7 games (2 starts).

Adrian Gonzalez is the only current Dodger to have hit a homerun against Cashner. Juan Uribe is hitting .429 with 6 hits in 14 at bats against Cashner.

Game two’s revenge story was twofold with Adrian Gonzalez hitting a homerun against his former team, and Matt Kemp continued to give the Dodgers a rough time as well. The only thing left would have been if Scott Elbert came in and struck out the side while pitching to former Dodger catcher Tim Federowicz (who is recovering from knee surgery). Then Yasmani Grandal would hit a grand slam…

The N.L. West has suddenly become interesting with San Diego’s roster reformulation, and the skeletons in the Dodgers’ closet popped out on Tuesday night with the defensive mistakes, base running guffaws and bullpen issues. The Dodgers have a lot of talent within their lineup, but it doesn’t look as if the team has melded into a cohesive unit yet.

The Dodgers and Padres story will continue through the new season, but the Dodgers should make a statement to their division competitors that they are the reigning N.L. West champions with a series win on Wednesday.

Go Blue!

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