The season will start just a bit early this year for the Los Angeles Dodgers thanks to Major League Baseball going global. MLB decided to expand the brand and use the Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks to promote the sport in Australia.
The two rival teams will play at Sydney Cricket Ground on March 22-23. The two teams have built a huge rivalry in the last two years, which will make for great competition amongst their Australian fans.
Clayton Kershaw gets the start in the first game, while Hyun Jin Ryu gets the start in the second game. Ryu replaces Zack Greinke who left a Spring Training game last week with a strained right calf. Greinke who was never fully in support of the trip Down Under, and will not travel with the team.
Greinke is scheduled to begin bullpen throwing sessions this week at Camelback Ranch.
The Dodgers are scheduled to depart for Australia next Sunday.
Coming off a phenomenal 2013 season that resulted in the Los Angeles Dodgers appearing the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals, and Clayton Kershaw acquired his second Cy Young award.
Kershaw also made news when he signed his sever year, $215 million deal, he makes his debut today in his Cactus League debut.
“It’s not a normal Spring Training,” Kershaw told MLB.com. “Tomorrow we’re, in a sense, in the middle of things. We’ve got 19 [days of spring training games] before we play a game that counts. We’ve got to feel some sense of urgency.”
The team along with Kershaw have worked out but lacked energy according to manager Don Mattingly. However Mattingly is hopefully that the Dodgers will pick up their intensity as the season gets closer to beginning. Last season the Dodgers played approximately 36 games.
Kershaw is scheduled not to participate in the games in Australia in order to lighten his work load this season. The Dodgers have a less than a month before they face the Arizona Diamondbacks in a early regular season matchup.
“We’ve got to feel some sense of urgency,” said Kershaw regarding the regular season.
The Dodgers also participated in some interleague games on Monday and Tuesday, before today’s Cactus league game in order to get into baseball rhythm.
Along with Kershaw starting on the mound, Alex Guerrero will start at second base and bat second, along with Yasiel Puig batting third. Chone Figgins makes his Dodger debut as the lead off hitter on Wednesday.
Contemplating holding out Clayton Kershaw during the two game trip in Australia, Dan Haren has opportunity to get his first start as a Dodger. With Kershaw and possibly Zack Greinke out, the Dodgers are more likely to start Haren and Hyun Jin Ryu against Arizona.
“Going over there, it’s going to be tough, but we have to think of the games, they’re real regular-season games so we have to turn the switch on,” Haren said. “In regards to the actual trip, it’s going to be a lot to handle, especially for the starting pitchers.”
Haren hasn’t been approached as of yet, but if asked he is looking forward to competing in one of the two regular season games.
With the series being played down under, both the Diamondbacks and Dodgers lose one home game this season.
The Dodgers would have less than a week off before the finish out their Spring Training with a three game series with the Los Angeles Angels on March 27-29.
The Dodgers open up their regular season in San Deigo against the Padres on March 30th.
Dodgers GM Ned Colletti and President Stan Kasten announced the signing of their two time Cy Young award winning pitcher Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw signed a seven year, $215 million deal with an out clause after the fifth year. Kershaw is the highest paid pitcher in baseball.
Kershaw also spoke about his new deal and how he celebrated his new found, yet hard earned wealth.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and two time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw failed to come to a contract agreement, and Kershaw has now filed for salary arbitration.
Kersahw was apart of 146 players that filed for arbitration that include 2013 AL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer, Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price, Arizona’s Mark Trumbo to name a few.
In the last season of his current deal, the 25 year old Kershaw could command big money as a salary arbitration-eligible player. He made $11 million last season, has three straight ERA titles to go along with his two Cy Young awards, and helped his team achieve winning the NL West division.
Dodger closer Kenley Jansen and catcher A.J. Ellis also filed for arbitration, have a strong cases going forth.
Kershaw, Jansen, and Ellis will have an opportunities along with other players to swap proposed salaries with the team on Friday. If deals aren’t reach, then hearings will be scheduled in February in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The Dodgers are currently in the process of working out a max deal, that would keep their ace in Los Angeles for several years and financially compensated.
The Dodgers are in one of the most heated battles since claiming the NL West division last season, in attempting to acquire Masahiro Tanaka from Japan.
The Dodgers are in competition with several other teams, but remain the front runner with the New York Yankees as suitors for Tanaka.
The contract for Tanaka could go as high as $100 million, although the Dodgers remain somewhat tight lipped about the ongoing negotiations, don’t count them out for a moment.
Dodgers GM Ned Colletti said that the two sides speak daily, and are committed to possibly bringing in the Japanese phenom. The Dodgers vowed several weeks ago that they would not be outbid, and even though they aren’t going as heavy for Tanaka like they did with Hyun Jin Ryu, they have their target locked in.
The Dodgers have the money and flexibility to sign Tanaka, however one gem could be in their favor, is Tanaka’s wife who wishes to stay on the West Coast to further her music career.
If Tanaka joined the Dodgers, they would have one of the most feared and solid rotations in baseball. Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Dan Haren, Hyun Jin Ryu, along with a solid relief rotation, could be dominate for years to come.
Whatever team signs Tanaka has to complete his physical by 5PM EST on Jan 25th.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly took no chances on closing out the series on this night. Clayton Kershaw was phenomenal and Juan Uribe sealed the 4-3 Dodgers win over the Atlanta Braves, with a big home run.
The Dodgers won the series 3-1, and advanced to the NLCS for the first time since 2009. They will face the winner of the Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis Cardinals series.
“We’ve moved one step closer, and we don’t have to get back on a plane tomorrow. It’s a good feeling,” said Mattingly.
Carl Crawford made sure Kershaw’s start would not be in vein as he homered twice, once in the first and once in the third inning for the 2-0 lead.
Braves third baseman Chris Johnson connected on an RBI single that scored Freddie Freeman, and later Andrelton Simmons grounded into a fielders choice and Evan Gattis tied the game at 2-2 in the fourth inning.
Kershaw pitched six solid innings where he didn’t give a run, was replaced by Ronald Belisario. Belisario gave up a run to Jose Constanza, and Braves took the lead 3-2 lead in the seventh inning.
Brian Wilson pitched a perfect eight inning and was awarded the victory.
With Yasiel Puig on base after hitting a double, Juan Uribe connected on a two run home run after two failed bunt attempts for the 4-3 lead.
“This moment today, I’ll never forget! I think a lot of people feel like that,” said Uribe.
“The smile on his face when he hit that homer is priceless,” Mattingly said.
Kenley Jansen slammed the door shut with a brilliant ninth inning for the save as Jansen and AJ Ellis celebrated the victory on the field.
“This team has a lot of fun. We don’t think about being the team to beat and all that stuff. We just go out there and play and try to have fun,” Crawford said.
With a sellout crowd, fans celebrated with the Dodgers, Kershaw, Puig, and some other players high fived and talked with fans as they ran across the field.
“They were loud,” Kershaw said. “They want it just as much as we do.” Kershaw continued about what this win meant to the team, “there’s a handful of guys that have never gotten to do that before.”
David Carpenter took the loss after he gave up the two run homer to Uribe.
“To end the way it did tonight, it’s going to hurt. It’s going to be a long way back,” Fredi Gonzalez said. “But tip your hat to the Dodgers and congratulate Donnie and his staff.”