The Los Angeles Dodgers dropped the first of the three-game exhibition freeway series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Thursday, but managed to get through it relatively unscathed. Adrian Gonzalez was hit by a pitch on his elbow and left the game early, but there doesn’t appear to be reason for concern. Zack Greinke pitched six innings in his first start since suffering a calf strain without issue and the Dodgers now look to get through another game that won’t show up in the record book without further injury.
Clayton Kershaw getting scratched from his scheduled start on Sunday set off somewhat of a domino effect that impacts Friday’s game. Heading into the three-game set, manager Don Mattingly named Greinke and Dan Haren as the starters for the first two games of the series. However, with Kershaw unable to pitch on Sunday, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Haren are the potential replacements. Ryu will get the nod so long as he can get through a bullpen session on Friday but if not, Haren will take the mound in San Diego.
Thus, following Thursday’s loss, Mattingly named Stephen Fife as Friday night’s starter. However, the Dodgers then announced on Friday afternoon Fife would not make the start due to illness. In steps pitching prospect Zach Lee. The young right-hander appeared in two Spring Training games, starting one of them. Lee pitched a combined 4.2 innings in those games and was hit particularly hard by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Lee was one of 14 Dodger pitchers who were on the travel roster for the Opening Series in Australia and he started the exhibition game against Team Australia.
Third-year pitcher Garrett Richards gets the start for the Angels. Richards appeared in 47 games last season, starting 17 of them and going 7-8. The right-hander finished 2-1 with a 3.50 ERA in four spring starts. During Richards’ time as a reliever for the Angels in 2013, he had one blown save, one save and five holds.
In six at-bats against Richards, Dee Gordon is hitting .667 and Andre Ethier is batting .400 in five at-bats. Hanley Ramirez broke out of a mini slump Thursday night with two home runs, one of which nearly cleared the Dodger Stadium left field pavilion. Meanwhile Yasiel Puig continued to have mixed results in the leadoff spot of the order. Both will be instrumental in any success the Dodgers will have this season and Friday could serve as an opportunity for each of them to generate momentum at the plate with the regular season two days away.
The game is a 7:10 start at Dodger Stadium and can be seen on the Dodgers’ network, SportsNet LA and on Fox Sports West via the Angels’ broadcast.
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