Good afternoon, Dodger fans. We’re celebrating a 4-2 Dodger victory from last night to open the annual close-of-preseason Freeway Series, and Dodger Stadium gets its “soft opening” tonight at 7:10 p.m. when the Dodgers host the Angels for the second of the three games.
A look at some of the news and views around the Dodgers today.
Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times talks about the meaning of the upcoming season for Clayton Kershaw and discusses the opt-out clause in his contract that could make Kershaw a free agent at season’s end. While the team’s principle owner, Mark Walter, seems to have a desire to make Kershaw a “Dodger for life,” and the health of Kershaw’s back could come in to factor in determining his open market value, there is a chance that one of the best pitchers of this generation, if not all-time, could find himself with a reach deal and a different uniform next year. The best answer we have right now? “The process is ongoing.”
MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick looks at five questions facing the Dodgers as they enter the 2018 season. This article was actually from January 1st, and one particular question has been answered (at the time there was speculation that Lorenzo Cain or Andrew McCutcheon might be on their way to Los Angeles, but instead Matt Kemp has stayed.) However, the remaining four questions still need answers, amongst them: who will set up for closer Kenley Jansen? There are still more questions than answers about the Dodgers 2018 season.
Benjamin Chase of Call to the Pen looks at the Dodgers’ Top 10 prospects. He gives an overview of the team’s farm system and then breaks down his prospect list. Chase believes that, even with the recent call-ups of players such as Joc Pederson, Julio Urias, Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger that have taken them off the prospect list and turned them into legitimate big league ballplayers, the Dodger system should still rank “in the Top 10” with Walker Buehler and Alex Verdugo leading the way as they do on many lists.
Allan Yamaghigi of Dodgers Digest discusses Alex Wood’s preparation for the 2018 season. Wood, who stands 6’4″, has opted to eliminate his windup and pitch primarily out of the stretch, an idea he got by watching Stephen Strasburg late last season. Yamaghigi talks about how a switch to a stretch-only method has helped several other tall pitchers with long deliveries and how Wood has one of the more unorthodox deliveries in baseball. A switch to the stretch could help Wood simplify his delivery to the plate and help him repeat his arm slots and release points, something he has struggled with at times during his career.
Dodgers Way has been counting down the Top 10 Dodgers of all time, and since Clayton Kershaw seems to be a popular topic, we’ll come back to him one more time. Mario Phillips takes a look at Kershaw’s career and writes this piece, ranking Kershaw at number 3 all time.
Finally, Gail Johnson of Dodgers Nation writes a piece that pulls at the heart strings. In a Dodgers Nation “fan feature,” Johnson writes a touching story about a fan, Lauren Mora-Pyska, and her father’s battle with cancer. The article focuses in on his diagnosis, the family making efforts to spend as much time at the ballpark with their father as they could in his final two years, and his final game: Clayton Kershaw’s no-hitter on June 18th, 2014. The family watched the game with their father that night, and he passed away shortly thereafter. A reminder of how precious life is, and how the Dodgers bring people together.
That’s all for right now. First pitch of the year at Chavez Ravine tonight as the Dodgers take on the Angels. If you’re going to the ballpark, enjoy the game!