The Los Angeles Dodgers have officially completed two-thirds of their Spring Training games, leaving only seven left before they embark on their journey to Australia for the Opening Series. Yesterday, the Dodgers played to an 8-8 tie with the Oakland A’s and they look for the win today against the Kansas City Royals.
The team heads into today’s game with five less players than they did yesterday as the organization went through another round of cuts. In addition to the ten players they cut last week, the Dodgers are left with 43 players as they head into the final week of games. However, for the Australia trip coming up in less than two weeks, the team can only travel with 30 players. These next few games are going to help the organization decide who’ll earn a ticket to Australia.
On the mound today for the Dodgers is right-hander Dan Haren. The 33 year old has made two starts this spring, managing a 1.50 ERA in six innings with three strikeouts and only one walk. Things are looking up for the guy who has certainly locked in his spot as the fourth man in the rotation. Haren’s start today is just another opportunity for him to reassure the Dodgers of the depth toward the back of their rotation. With Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu pitching five complete innings in their latest starts, it’s likely Haren gets extended again today.
Haren faces off against his former teammate Jason Vargas. The 31-year-old left-hander went 9-8 with 4.02 ERA with the Angels last year. His season was condensed to only 24 starts due to a blot clot in his armpit. So far this spring, Vargas has pitched five innings, allowing no runs and striking out two.
The biggest question mark of the off-season involves the starting second baseman job and it looks like the Dodgers are closing in on their decision. With Alex Guerrero participating in a minor league intrasquad game yesterday and Dee Gordon getting the start at second base, this gives fans more of a reason to believe that Gordon will win the starting job. Manager Don Mattingly also commented that he wanted to get the 27-year-old infielder on the field, implying that Guerrero will get the reps he needs in these minor league settings.
Adrian Gonzalez is back in the lineup. Matt Kemp also participated in the same intrasquad game as Guerrero yesterday and is extremely close to being back in action, but that date has yet to be determined. Justin Turner gets the start today at second base while Scott Van Slyke gets the project of playing center field.
All Time Warner Cable subscribers can catch the game on SportsNet LA at 1:05 PM PT. Unfortunately for fans who don’t have Time Warner, today’s game won’t be on AM 570 Radio.
CF: Van Slyke
ICYMI: Clayton Kershaw discussed the honor of pitching Opening Day in Australia