LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers play their 33rd and final spring game on Tuesday night, finishing out the Freeway Series against the Angels at Dodger Stadium. Here are some thoughts after six weeks of camp.
The blessing in disguise or silver lining if you will for Justin Turner‘s broken wrist is the opportunity it opens up for more playing time for Kiké Hernandez, who will probably see the bulk of the time at second base in the season’s first few weeks. Already a lefty killer, Hernandez made adjustments to his swing and approach this offseason to help improve against righties. So far in spring it has paid off, with all four home runs and seven of his nine extra-base hits against right-handers.
Rich Hill had a 7.30 ERA in his four Cactus League starts — he also pitched twice on the back fields — but most importantly he liked how the ball was coming out of his hand this spring relative to previous camps. Hill never does well in Arizona in the spring, posing a combined 8.36 ERA the last two years, but has been just fine during the regular season. The most telling spring stat for Hill, to me, is that he had no walks to go with his 13 strikeouts, after walking 30 in 28 innings the previous two springs.
I still can’t believe that (a) the Dodgers traded for Matt Kemp; (b) that they didn’t trade him again; and (c) that he will almost certainly be the opening day and regular left fielder to start the season. I feel like Clark Griswold after Cousin Eddie showed up on Christmas Eve:
Don’t read much into spring stats but Kemp’s .255/.311/.509 spring can be split into two parts:
- First 10 games: 11-for-26 (.423), 4 home runs, 2 doubles
- Last 10 games: 3-for-29 (.103), no extra-base hits
Cause of concern? I don’t know, and given that the last four months have played out exactly the opposite of how I thought nothing would really surprise me about Kemp.
J.T. Chargois looks like quite a find. It seems like everyone wants to find the next Brandon Morrow for the Dodgers, and with his fastball and slider Chargois might be best suited to fit the bill. Chargois has an injury history but with his stuff I had to ask him a couple weeks ago just how in the hell did the Twins place him on waivers?
“It was something that happened,” he said. “Those types of things are out of my control. It’s not going to interfere with what I do at the ballpark everyday.”
I have no idea when Walker Buehler will be called up, but given that none of the five Dodgers starters made more than 27 starts last year put me down for sooner rather than later. I think Buehler will make at least 18 major league starts in 2018.
Hyun-jin Ryu starts the spring finale for the Dodgers, with JC Ramirez on the mound for the Angels. The Halos broadcast will be on KCOP 13, their third network in three nights, for those in southern California without SportsNet LA.
Dodgers vs. Angels
Location: Dodger Stadium
Time: 7:10 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA, KCOP 13
Radio: 570 AM