The Los Angeles Dodgers have close to one week left of spring ball before they shift their focus towards the Opening Series in Australia. Yesterday, the team played in split-squad games taking a 8-5 loss against the Seattle Mariners and finishing in a tie against the Texas Rangers. It was their third tie already this spring and today, the squad looks for a win against their NL West rivals, the San Francisco Giants.
Whether they manage a win today or not, the organization will be focusing on ace Clayton Kershaw. He takes the mound for the third time this spring, but his first two starts weren’t exactly up to his standards. In his first start, Kershaw was greatly disappointed as he pitched two innings giving up five hits and three runs. Against the Oakland Athletics in his second start, the 25-year-old lefty breezed through the first two innings before only getting one out in the third inning before being pulled. While spring stats don’t matter to many, Kershaw said they matter to him.
In the 4.1 innings he’s pitched so far, Kershaw currently has a 18.00 ERA. Despite these unusually discouraging outings, Dodger fans should not be all too concerned. During yesterday’s radio broadcast, GM Ned Colletti said it was “likely” that Kershaw would pitch in Australia, something he said he’s willing to do. Following him today will be relievers Red Patterson and Javy Guerra.
On the mound for the Giants is lefty Edwin Escobar. The highly-regarded 21-year-old prospect has only pitched three innings this spring allowing no runs and one walk with one strikeout in the mix. He spent all of 2013 in the minors, going 8-8 with a 2.80 ERA including an impressive 146 strikeouts in 128.2 innings pitched. Despite having yet to see a game in the majors, he’s the Giants number two rated prospect by Baseball America.
The Dodgers will have Yasiel Puig back in the lineup today after the Cuban outfielder was excused from both games yesterday due to a personal matter. Alex Guerrero will be in the lineup at second base after DHing last night while Chone Figgins will play center field as he continues to show the coaching staff his versatility.
Pinch hit extraordinaire Mike Baxter will get the start in left field while Justin Turner, who’s arguably been the Dodgers most consistent hitter all spring, starts at third base. Joc Pederson, who hit a towering home run yesterday, Dee Gordon, Drew Butera, Scott Van Slyke and Brendan Harris will be the reserves this afternoon.
Due to daylight savings, today’s game will be at 1:05 PM PT instead of the usual 12:05 PM PT. For all Time Warner Cable subscribers, the game can be caught on SportsNet LA. For fans who don’t have Time Warner, today’s matchup can be heard to on Dodgers radio AM570.
ICYMI: Here’s our Dodgers Nation Week In Review Video