On Thursday, the Los Angeles Dodgers will face the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, their third AL West opponent through nine games. It’s also the start of a stretch in the schedule that has the Dodgers playing an AL West team in five of their next six games.
The Dodgers put an end to their two-game losing streak with a 10-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night. In the big win, the competition at second base may have become a bit more muddled. Dee Gordon, who was reported as the front runner, started in center field, which opened the door for Alex Guerrero. The young Cuban infielder took advantage of the opportunity by hitting a grand slam in the top of the fifth inning to give the Dodgers a 4-2 lead.
In preparation for Opening Day, which is just over two weeks away, Thursday should mark the second consecutive game where Dodgers starters play six innings; instead of what’s been the typical five innings. Yasiel Puig only managed to play four innings on Wednesday however, leaving the game early with back soreness. Puig is back in the lineup on Thursday and starting in center field.
Dan Haren will face his former team and make his second start this spring and the first since it became evident he’s a realistic option to start one of the two games in Australia. Zack Greinke suffered a calf strain in the first inning of his start on Feb. 27 and was all but officially declared out for the Opening Series. However, with the way the Dodgers are setting their rotational schedule, it lines up for Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu to start Down Under.
Haren made his first start this spring against the Milwaukee Brewers on March 1. He pitched just two innings and gave up three hits and one run in the 6-5 loss. Albert Pujols isn’t in Thursday’s lineup, but Haren will still face the a challenge in the form of Mike Trout, who has five RBI in eight at-bats.
Taking the mound for the Angels will be left-hander C.J. Wilson, who’s entering his third season with the team. Wilson had a 17-7 record last season and like Haren, has made one spring training start. He also pitched two innings, giving up three hits and three runs and was charged with the loss. Thursday is the only Cactus League meeting between the two southern California teams, but they’ll play a three-game exhibition series March 27-29.
The Dodgers got more good news with Greinke this afternoon as he threw another bullpen session while Matt Kemp, who started turning and running down fly balls in the outfield, continues to make progress after his ankle surgery.
Thursday will be the first game the Dodgers have participated in with the new instant replay rules in effect. As has been the case with all previous Spring Training games, Time Warner Cable subscribers can catch the 12:05 p.m. start on SportsNet LA. For fans with other cable providers, the game will be broadcasted on Dodgers radio, AM 570. Another option for fans who live in the Los Angeles area is watching the game via the Angels television broadcast on Fox Sports Prime Ticket.
LF: Van Slyke
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