The Dodgers On Field Management Should Be Showing As Much Urgency As The D’Backs For The 2014 MLB Opening Series!

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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I started talking about something in my Power Rankings yesterday and it festered with me all day until I decided to expand on the subject a little more today.

As I was listening to XM Radio explain that Kirk Gibson was going to start Patrick Corbin and Trevor Cahill in the 1st 2 games of the MLB Season in Australia, the Dodgers have been quiet to name a starter.

I wrote a few months back, that I would like to have seen them throw Clayton Kershaw for that opener, pitch versus the San Diego Padres a week later, and to conclude with the Dodger Stadium Opener.

We all know now that Zack Greinke won’t even be making the trip due to health concerns. 

I understand that one fully, but don’t sit there and tell me that the 2 time NL Cy Young Winner is now going to throw in either of the 1st 2 games.

Zack Greinke has sustained a calf injury in Spring Training,  He will be not heading to Sydney. Australia for the opening series versus the Diamondbacks.  Greinke had earlier stated that he was not cool with the early schedule for LA.  While I admire his candor, I would like someone on the club to show some fire and urgency towards the March.22nd weekend series.

Zack Greinke has sustained a calf injury in Spring Training, He will be not heading to Sydney. Australia for the opening series versus the Diamondbacks. Greinke had earlier stated that he was not cool with the early schedule for LA. While I admire his candor, I would like someone on the club to show some fire and urgency towards the March.22nd weekend series.  Last year the Dodgers and D’Backs held a massive feud with each other that resulted in a bench clearing brawl after Yasiel Puig was hit.  The LA squad also saw fit to celebrate their NL West Division Title, by jumping into the pool at Chase Field.  Included in the aftermath. was talk of them urinating.  Arizona will be ready for vengeance to kick off the year.

You would think especially with Greinke not chucking, the Dodgers would make sure they throw Kershaw.

I have heard various reasons why the club may not be down for this.  Kershaw has led the whole world in Innings Pitched the last few years, and you are trying to win a World Series this year.

If LA plays all the way through the end of October like planned, this would be 7+ months of putting torque on your new $215 MIL LHP.

I am for resting him at times in the season, but why not pick your spots?  The 1st series is against a division opponent that may challenge you for the NL West in Arizona.

Take advantage of spoiling the Padres home opener in San Diego the following week.

The Dodgers could start the 1st 3 games 3 – 0, before anybody else in that division even puts up a win.  My theory is they should bury the competition early, and then work in several veterans in to rest later in the year.

This franchise went on an incredible run in 2014, but they were 23 – 32 at one point, while the Arizona Diamondbacks held a huge commanding lead on them before collapsing.

This year the whole division has improved (except for San Diego).

The results did speak highly of how talented Los Angeles is last year, with a 42 – 8 run in the middle of the year – and  58 – 23 clip for their final 81 games, but injuries could always ravage this team quickly.

So far in camp, there are minor issues here and there, but they could have the full squad available by the time April rolls around.

Don Mattingly fought tooth and nail to salvage his job last June.  Yasiel Puig put up a monster month in his 1st 27 games in the Majors helped kickstart the club.

Unheralded SS Hanley Ramirez was playing at an MVP caliber level for the time he was in the lineup, and it is no coincidence that when he and Greinke were placed back in the lineup – that the team took off.

May saw Zack Greinke and Ramirez both with long DL stints.  The club struggled despite a steady ace like Kershaw performing at the top of his game.

The point in all of this is that the Dodgers cant and must not take anything for granted.  In many ways they remind me of the 2013 Washington Nationals.

Everybody and their sister had them as the National League favorites, they were coming off a 98 win season, but they kicked off the festivities with a .500 mark all the way until the final 40 game stretch.

Nobody saw that coming, but some of it had to fall on the shoulders of the players not having enough urgency both earlier in the year, and a rash of health problems arose soon thereafter.

I would be gunning all hand on deck out of the gate.  If the Dodgers can play to their ability, they could blow away the Giants, Rockies and D’Backs by the 1st part of July.

Yes the Major League Season is filled with 162 contests played, and it is more like a marathon and not a sprint, however you can certainly lose a division early in the year with a poor start.

This team only needs to look about a 40 minute drive South to see what can transpire as a League favorite, when you don’t start out the campaign well.

Start Kershaw any time you can, play your best lineup available on that day, and go for it all out to start the year.

It is quite weird the Dodgers were scheduled to play the MLB North America Opener – after already flying across the world to play the 1st 2 games in the year.

As for Greinke’s comment on the series before is injury, I agree that the players on the Dodgers team shouldn’t be happy about the schedule makers decision.

I would also love to see someone step up and say the team is going to scrap for those wins in Sydney with the same ferocity they would have if the game was on US soil.

After all, you are playing a team in the opening series that totally despises you right now.

Don’t give me this ‘we are going to hold him out for later in the year crap.’

Clayton Kershaw has been the best Starting Pitcher in the last 3 years.  He has netted 3 straight NL ERA titles, and has compiled a record of 51 - 23 (.716).  Kershaw established a career best ERA in 2013, with a mark of 1.83.  The 25 Year Old has also lugged 697 IP in that time frame.  Yes the franchise has to watch the amount of frames that he throws in 2014, however it should not be at the start of the campaign.  Why not build up a lead in the NL West first, and the sandbag the time between games for the highest paid Starting Pitcher in the history of the MLB later in the year, like at the ALL - Star Break, or Sept callups time?  Arizona will be pitching Patrick Corbin and Trevor Cahill in Sydney.  The LA starter have yet to be named.

Clayton Kershaw has been the best Starting Pitcher in the last 3 years. He has netted 3 straight NL ERA titles, and has compiled a record of 51 – 23 (.716). Kershaw established a career best ERA in 2013, with a mark of 1.83. The 25 Year Old has also lugged 697 IP in that time frame. Yes the franchise has to watch the amount of frames that he throws in 2014, however it should not be at the start of the campaign. Why not build up a lead in the NL West first, and the sandbag the time between games for the highest paid Starting Pitcher in the history of the MLB later in the year, like at the ALL – Star Break, or Sept callups time? Arizona will be pitching Patrick Corbin and Trevor Cahill in Sydney. The LA starter have yet to be named.

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com ***

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A big thank-you goes out to Our ‘Chief WriterHunter Stokes for preparing today’s featured article.  Hunter is a Baseball Writer for MLB reports.

Hunter grew up in Lynchburg, Virginia and played baseball with Sheldon Bream (Sid Bream‘s son) at Liberty University in the NCAA.

His favorite player is Brian Wilson (how could you guess?), and he hates when people can’t think outside the box!

His favorite expression – is ‘ this At Bat is about ten seconds away from a Toe – Tag!

You can reach Hunter on Twitter  

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Posted on March 4, 2014, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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