Even though Clayton Kershaw‘s early season troubles continued on Mother’s Day in Denver, the Dodger offense fueled by Adrian Gonzalez and Justin Turner overcome the ace’s shortcomings. Kershaw allowed an uncharacteristic five runs to the Rockies, and he had two tough innings leaving the game with the bases loaded. The Dodgers have been fortunate to have a dynamic bench and dominating bullpen which has overshadowed the starting rotation that is in shambles.
Pedro Baez and Yimi Garcia both have electric fastballs, and the bullpen has been able to take over when the starters have faltered many times this season. Kershaw didn’t even make it to the sixth inning in Sunday’s snowy series finale against the Rockies. The bench has also been outstanding in the later innings, and Justin Turner’s pinch-hit two-run homerun was the tie breaking blast which broke the ice on Sunday.
The Dodgers were sure lucky to pick up Turner after the Mets let him go.
Van Slyke LF
The Dodgers have the most pinch-hit homeruns in the National League (4), and they only had one pinch-hit homerun in all of 2014 (Scott Van Slyke hit that one). Alex Guerrero and Justin Turner each have 2 pinch-hit homeruns.
While the starting rotation has been a merry-go-round of arms, there has been one constant pitcher who has become the ace for the Dodgers so far this season. Zack Greinke will be looking to go 6-0 to start the season with a fifth consecutive victory should he defeat the Miami Marlins on Monday evening.
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Greinke was keeping warm in his Dodger snow hat in the dugout on Sunday, and the dimpled right-hander is fresh off a win against his former Milwaukee team. Greinke pitched 7 2/3 innings (his longest start so far this season) and allowed 7 strikeouts, 2 walks and 1 run on just 2 hits against the Brewers. Zack is also undefeated against the Marlins in his career (3-0 with a 3.97 ERA in 6 games). Most of the current Miami team has not faced Greinke before. Mat Latos is the only Marlin to have a hit against Greinke in the past.
The 2013 Silver Slugger also has 2 hits this season including a bat flip double versus the Brewers.
I’m always excited to watch Greinke pitch, but I’m also concerned that his monetary value is skyrocketing after this stellar start to the season. It would be unwise for the Dodgers to let Greinke walk after the season concludes, and I really feel as though they should do everything they can to retain him.
It will be a bittersweet reunion between the now Marlin Dee Gordon and his former team at Dodger Stadium on Monday. It is the first match up between the Fish and the Dodgers since the blockbuster trade between the teams this offseason. The Dodgers acquired Austin Barnes, Chris Hatcher, Andrew Heaney and Enrique Hernandez in exchange for Gordon, Miguel Rojas and Dan Haren. The Dodgers subsequently flipped Heaney to the Angels for Howie Kendrick, and as of right now it looks as if it was a very successful trade for the Dodgers.
Gordon has had a tremendous start to the season, and the second baseman is hitting .437/.461/.521 with 52 hits and 12 stolen bases in 129 plate appearances. I’m happy for Dee that he is doing well for his home state team, but we have seen him start off strong and fade away later in the season during his time with the Dodgers. Either way, the Dodger pitching staff and Yasmani Grandal and A.J. Ellis will be tested by his speed in the series. Gordon has been nursing a strained hamstring, but he played on Sunday for Miami.
28-year old Tom Koehler will try to keep the Dodgers in the park on Monday. The right-hander has already allowed 7 homeruns this season to the opposition, and the Dodgers have already hit a major league-leading 48 homeruns. Koehler lost his last time out against the Washington Nationals when he allowed 5 runs on 7 hits with 5 strikeouts and a walk through 6 innings.
Koehler is 1-2 with a 3.45 ERA in 3 career starts against the Dodgers. He is 0-2 with a 6.23 ERA in 2 starts at Dodger Stadium. Scott Van Slyke has hit a homerun against Koehler, and Justin Turner has 2 hits against him in 4 at bats.
The Dodgers are now 10 games above .500 and handily in first place in the N.L. West. Miami is behind Washington and the first-place Mets in the East. The Dodgers will be going for their fourth win in a row after they finished the road trip going 4-2 with the one rainout.
The Dodgers are surely glad to return to Los Angeles where they do not have to worry about shoveling snow and keeping hand warmers in their back pockets like Adrian Gonzalez did on Sunday. The Dodgers are 13-2 at home.