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.
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.
Zack Greinke is not exactly enthusiastic about pitching down under this coming March.
“I would say there is absolutely zero excitement for it,” Greinke told ESPNLA.com. “There just isn’t any excitement to it. I can’t think of one reason to be excited for it.”
With the team already focused on shortening Clayton Kershaw’s workload, now they must also focus on lightening up the load for Greinke. He is their number two starting pitcher, and the season beginning early could throw off his rhythm slightly.
The Australian games are to be played on March 22 and 23, and the Dodgers leave camp approximately a week early from the Camelback Ranch facility.
Greinke is not stubborn enough to rule out the possibility that he’ll play in the two games, “it’s a baseball thing. It’s an ownership thing, spreading stuff around.”
With Kershaw pitchng 259 innings last season including the playoff, the team can’t afford to burn out their number starter either. Which leaves the opportunity for starters Dan Haren, Hyun Jin Ryu and whoever the Dodgers select as their fifth starter to showcase their work.
With the new schedule the Dodgers now play approximately 15 less games in the Spring, which allows 2 starts less for pitchers to fine tune and get ready for the coming season.
“Zack has this endearing, contrarian quality to him that we all know and love about him,” Dodgers president Stan Kasten told ESPN.com. “He’s famously focused and meticulous about his training regimen. It’s what makes him so good and such a great teammate. This is clearly going to alter his routine. I understand that aspect of it.”
Hyun Jin Ryu out pitched Adam Wainwright in a pitchers duel, along with Yasiel Puig breaking out of his slump with a huge hit that aided the Dodgers over the St Louis Cardinals 3-0.
The Dodgers still trail the Cards 2-1 in the NLCS series, and still have games four and five at Dodger Stadium.
“The playoffs are one-day momentum swings,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “Right now I feel like we’ve kind of grabbed it.”
The Dodgers jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the fourth inning thanks to an RBI double to right that scored Mark Ellis.
Yasiel Puig connected on a pitch he thought would leave the Ravine, watched it sail into right raising his hands in excitement. Puig later saw it bounce off the wall and began to run the bases and ended up at third while clapping his hands igniting the sellout crowd. Carlos Beltran misplayed the ball that bounced off the wall and afforded Puig the triple.
Beltran spoke about the celebration of Puig during that play, “I’m in the outfield,” he said. “I mean, it’s not great. To me, I don’t like it. But what can I say? I don’t play for them. I just play over here. I just need to do my job. It is what it is. As a player, I just think he doesn’t know about how to act.”
Hanley Ramirez obviously felt differently about his fellow teammate, “he brings unbelievable energy every day. When we spoke to him, he told me, ‘I got it today,’ and he did. He’s a great player.”
With Puig stepping out of his slump, the Dodgers got another boost with Andre Ethier and Hanley Ramirez returned to the line up, which provided them an added boost of momentum and offense.
Ramirez connected on a hit off Wainwright, Carl Crawford burned the bases as he barely beat a tag from Cards catcher Yadier Molina that extended the Dodgers lead in the eight inning 3-0.
“What can I say? It couldn’t be better,” Ramirez said. “Really happy we got the first win. Just come back tomorrow and even up the series.”
Kanley Jansen pitched a perfect inning and picked up the save for the victory.
Adam Wainwright began the game 4-0, picked up the loss. He pitched seven innings and gave up two runs, six hits and seven strike outs on the night.
“I felt like tonight if I had got a couple of balls in there, we win the game. I think you just have to tip your hat and move on,” said Wainwright. “I hate to lose like this!”
Ryu was successful in not giving up any runs in the first inning, and picked up his first postseason win as a rookie.
He looked healthier as he sat down 12 out 13 batters on the night. He went seven great innings, gave up three hits along with capturing four strikeouts.
“It’s definitely a big motivation when you see your star players go out there hurt,” Ryu said through a translator. “It really inspires you and motivates you to go out there and do the best you can.”
The Cards didn’t get their first hit until the fifth inning when David Freese got a base hit to right.
“We just had a lot of balls in the air tonight that hit the ground that normally don’t,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “We’re a better club than this.”
The Los Angeles Dodgers capitalized on a pivotal Game 3, with a blowout 13-6 win over the Atlanta Braves on Sunday night. The Dodgers took a 2-1 series lead in the best of five series at Dodger Stadium.
After starter Hyun Jin Ryu gave up two runs in the first inning, Ryu connected on sacrifice fly that scored Yasiel Puig. Later in the inning, Carl Crawford crushed a three run homer that scored AJ Ellis and Juan Uribe as the Dodgers led 4-2.
“Guys were unhappy with the way they played, so we wanted to get back to playing the way we did the first game,” Crawford said. “We knew it was going to be at home in front of our home crowd, and we were going to have some extra energy for that.”
The Braves fought back with two runs in the third inning capped off by Chris Johnson who grounded into a fielder choice play that allowed Freddie Freeman to score.
With back to back singles by Adrian Gonzalez and Skip Schumaker the Dodger regained the lead 6-4.
After Ryu was pulled by manager Don Mattingly in favor of lefty Chris Capuano (1-0), the Dodgers exploded offensively in the fourth and eight innings and jumped out to a 13-4 lead.
Crawford made the defensive play of the game in the eight inning when dove over the left field wall and caught a foul ball for the out.
“I’m fine. I landed in a way it didn’t hurt. I didn’t think the ball was going to go into the stands. It kept floating and I didn’t see the wall coming. I felt myself flipping over. Good thing is I held onto the ball, so that’s all that matters,” said Crawford.
Reliever Paco Rodriguez struggled to get the final out in the ninth inning, and allowed a two run home run by Jason Heyward, the Braves still trailed 13-6.
Mattingly made another chance and allowed Kenley Jansen to finish the job for the victory.
The electric sellout Dodger crowd was loud and in full force with the blue rally towels that were handed out.
Braves starter Julio Teheran gave up six runs and eight hits in 2 2/23 innings of work for the loss.
“I didn’t have my best, and I tried my best. It was just one of those games that you do everything, and the things don’t go as you expect,” said Teheran.
Ryu also had a terrible outing in his rookie playoff debut and gave up four runs on six hits in three innings of work.
“I felt a little more anxious than compared to those games,” Ryu said through a translator.
Los Angeles Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu will forego his Friday night start against the Cincinnati Reds, with severe back stiffness.
Chris Capuano is expected to start in Ryu‘s place according Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.
Ryu slid into home plate last Friday night against the Padres while scoring a run. He threw in a bullpen session before Tuesday’s game, and still experienced tightness along with limited use of motion.
“We’re just being cautious, but no matter what the separation was in the standings right now, he wouldn’t be pitching Friday. We would make sure he was right before he went out there,” said Mattingly.
Ryu currently has a 3.02 ERA with a 13-5 record. The injury is not deemed to be serious nor long term, and expects Ryu to pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday.
Dodgers’ starter Hyun Jin Ryu had another impressive start for a rookie against New York Mets starter Matt Harvey for his sixth straight win. The Dodgers were able to capture the 4-2 win over the Mets.
Ryu (12-3) struck out three, allowed one run and five hits in seven innings of work.
An impressed Dodger manager Don Mattingly talked the success of Ryu, “Hyun-Jin was obviously up to the challenge. I was looking to see how he was going to respond to this little matchup against Harvey. In the games they’ve made a big deal of, he’s responded really well.”
Ryu didn’t start off solid as he gave up a solo home run to Juan Lagares in the first inning for the 1-0 lead. However Ryu maintained his poise and remained focused the rest of the game.
Coming off an impressive game on Monday night, Nick Punto delivered a double deep to left field that scored AJ Ellis and Juan Uribe for the 2-1 lead in the fifth inning.
The Dodgers increased their lead in the sixth inning, when Ellis connected on a sharp single that scored Yasiel Puig and Mark Ellis for the 4-1 advantage.
Matt Harvey (9-4) gave up eight hits, four runs and grabbed three strike outs in the loss to the Dodgers. In his past four starts Harvey hadn’t allowed a run with a 2-1 record and 0.94 ERA.
“I was pretty inconsistent all night. I just couldn’t locate anything,” Harvey said.
Even though he gave up a run in the ninth inning, Kenley Jansen completed his 19th save on the season.
The Dodgers go for the sweep on Wednesday night against the Mets at Dodger Stadium.