The Los Angeles Dodgers will be taking the field to play against the Oakland Athletics this afternoon, and right-hander Kenta Maeda will be on the mound and the team will be looking to support him with as many runs as possible after they scored 13 yesterday in a tie game.
The offense will feature a mix of interesting players, including four that are possibly vying for the every day left field job this spring. We’ll see how they all do this afternoon, but the lineup for today has been released and it’s time to break it down.
From the Los Angeles Dodgers’ official Twitter account:
Today’s Dodger lineup vs. A’s:
Van Slyke 1B
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) March 10, 2016
Leading off for the Dodgers this afternoon is veteran Carl Crawford. He’s 3-for-9 with 2 runs batted in this spring, and he generally looks like he’s moving well and has recovered some of that speed he may have lost due to injuries over the last several seasons. Been a good sign.
Kike Hernandez is just 2-for-10, but both hits have gone for extra bases as he has a double and a triple. He’s going to easily make the team, obviously, as a utility player since he can play second, shortstop, third, and even the occasional outfield spot. Still, you’d like to see him hit a little more.
Batting third and playing second base will be Chase Utley. The veteran found out recently that he won’t be suspended for his slide in the NLDS, so that’s good news. This spring he’s just 2-for-9 with one run batted in so far. Hopefully he can pick up the pace.
Scott Van Slyke hit a towering home run off of the Angels’ Jered Weaver yesterday, and he’s batting in the cleanup spot and playing first base today. Van Slyke is 6-for-14 this spring with 2 home runs, 4 runs batted in, 2 walks, and a stolen base. He’s been one of their better players at the plate.
Andre Ethier is the fifth hitter today, and he’s 5-for-10 with a walk this spring. Like Van Slyke and Crawford, Ethier is also playing for the full-time spot in left field so they’re all competing against each other and all of them have generally looked good. So this is a healthy competition.
Behind the plate and batting sixth will be A.J. Ellis. He’s just 2-for-10 with 2 strikeouts thus far in Spring Training, but we all know he’s going to do yeoman’s work behind the plate and when he comes up to bat. He’s a pro’s pro who can be counted on when it matters.
Batting seventh and in center field will be the other candidate, albeit a longshot, for the left field job, Trayce Thompson. He’s 4-for-18 right now, but he does have a double, a triple, and has yet to strikeout once so far. He leads the team in spring at-bats, so that’s impressive that he hasn’t whiffed yet.
Charlie Culberson, the greatest player in baseball history, will be batting eighth and playing third base. Culberson still leads the Dodgers in OPS this spring with a 2.000 mark. He’s 7-for-10 with a home run, 7 runs batted in, a double, a triple, and zero strikeouts. He’s a boss. #Culberson2016
Rounding out the order and playing right field will be Rico Noel. The speedster is just 1-for-6 this spring, but he has scored 2 runs and he does have 3 stolen bases which happens to lead the team. Noel could conceivably crack the roster as a potential pinch-runner in crucial spots this season. We’ll see.
On the mound and starting is Kenta Maeda. The Japanese import will be making his second start this spring, and he went 2 innings in his first outing and gave up just one hit while allowing 0 runs and striking out 2 batters. He looks composed, controlled, and in command out there. What you’d expect.
Following Maeda on the mound today will be a combination of Jose De Leon, Matt West, Adam Liberatore, Yimi Garcia, and Chris Anderson. No word on the official order, but the big time names here are De Leon, Liberatore, Garcia, and Anderson. That’s not to short change West, though.
De Leon fanned 4 batters in his 2 innings of work this spring, Liberatore has punched out 3 in his 2 innings, Garcia has pitched 2 scoreless innings while whiffing 2 batters, and Anderson has fanned 3 batters in 2 scoreless innings. They’ve all been good. And all could have roles on the squad this year.
So, there you have it. That’s your Dodgers lineup and pitching staff for today. Let’s hope it’s not another tie!