Monday, March 9, 2020
Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2020
Monday, with Opening Day less than two weeks away, manager Dave Roberts announced the Dodger starting rotation.
As expected, Clayton Kershaw will start on March 26, Opening Day, at Dodger Stadium. During his 13-year Major-League career, Kershaw has dominated the San Francisco Giants, and the Dodgers expect him to do the same on Opening Day. This spring, he has felt magnificent and performed fantastically. His breaking balls have been sharp. If Kershaw can remain healthy, he can have another memorable season in his Hall-of-Fame-caliber career.
Walker Buehler, the lone right-hander in the Dodger starting rotation, will start the second game of the season. For the last two years, at 25, he has taken over the ace destination in the rotation. Every time he takes the mound, there is a possibility of Buehler throwing a no-hitter. Last season he struck out fifteen Colorado Rockies while walking none, becoming the first Dodger to accomplish this feat.
This spring, Buehler has performed fantastically. His fastball has looked like a mid-season form. Although most pitchers have difficulty with throwing breaking balls in the dry air in Arizona, Buehler’s breaking balls have been incredible. Buehler is poised to have a big year.
Coming off a trying season with the Boston Red Sox, David Price, 34, has been thrilled to be a Dodger. In October, he had a cyst removed from his left wrist, which caused numbness in his pitching hand, making it difficult to control his pitches. This spring, he is healthy. Whereas in his spring training appearance, Price was erratic since his knees were shaking from nervousness, he had a stellar performance on Saturday. With his experience in the American League, Price will be an asset as the third starter in the rotation.
For the first time since his shoulder surgery in June 2017, Urias will be a member of the Dodger rotation. This spring, he has performed well. After hitting Willie Calhoun and breaking his jaw, which required surgery Monday, Urias pitched Sunday magnificently, showing much maturity.
Coming into this spring, most baseball-knowledgeable people anticipated a fierce competition among Alex Wood, Ross Stripling, Jimmy Nelson, Tony Gonsolin, and Dustin May for the desired fifth spot in the rotation. The competition has never surfaced.
Wood, who did not pitch much because of a back injury while with the Cincinnati Reds in 2019, has surprised many people in the Dodger spring training camp. He had regained his 2017 form when he earned an All-Star selection. Monday, Wood performed splendidly in his three-inning performance. It was no surprise that Wood earned the fifth spot in the Dodger starting rotation.
Although Gonsolin did not earn a spot in Dodger starting rotation, he has had a spectacular spring training. Monday, he performed brilliantly for 2.2 innings. He has demonstrated marvelous control, and the advancement on his breaking pitches from last September to now has been eye-popping. Gonsolin’s spring performance will make it difficult for the Dodger management to decide what to do with him. Whereas the organization wants Gonsolin to be a starter, he has had experience as a reliever and would be an asset in Dodger bullpen.