Dodgers gain early edge on Giants with costly Evan Longoria injury
Though the Los Angeles Dodgers are not without their problems heading into the 2022 season, they’re arguably the best positioned to make a World Series run at this very moment.
But how will everything shake out after the 2021 gauntlet that saw the San Francisco Giants capture the NL West by one game thanks to their franchise record 107 wins? The Dodgers’ division rival also dealt with loss of talent, but they made proper additions to cope.
That said, any loss for either of these teams represents a major setback given how intense and on-par the competition is — and it’s pretty much a gain for the other team.
The Dodgers will benefit in the early going of the 2022 season after the Giants learned starting third baseman Evan Longoria would need surgery on his finger and miss Opening Day and “beyond.”
The Giants losing Evan Longoria is the Dodgers’ gain
Longoria underwent the procedure on Tuesday after Monday’s injury revelation and has to keep his finger “immobilized for at least 10 days” before being reevaluated. Though the Giants have proven they can get by without him (he played in only 81 games last year), Longoria’s resurgence (.261 average, .833 OPS, 45 runs scored, 13 homers and 46 RBI) certainly played a big role in San Fran’s 107-win season in 2021.
Wilmer Flores will likely be Longoria’s replacement until the veteran can return, which is a familiar role for him. Flores played in 58 games at third base last year while Longoria was out and hit .262 with a .782 OPS, 18 homers and 53 RBI across 139 games.
Not bad! But not as impactful as Longoria and not as good defensively, either.
Additionally, the Giants will be without LaMonte Wade Jr., who was among the league’s surprise breakout players last season, for Opening Day. In his first full career MLB campaign, the outfielder logged 109 games while hitting .253. with an .808 OPS, 52 runs scored, 18 homers and 56 RBI (and sterling defense at the corner outfield spots as well as first base). But inflammation and bruising in his left knee also has him on the shelf for 10 days before being reevaluated.
Meanwhile, outside of Clayton Kershaw easing back into action and Dustin May working on his return from Tommy John surgery, the Dodgers don’t have any major injury concerns with just over a week until their first game of the year.