Kuroda to start Dodgers’ season opener, Billingsley to get home opener

Joe Torre told us this morning, just as he headed out the door to play golf on the team’s final off-day of the spring. It wasn’t an off-day for Chad Billingsley, as he pitched five innings in a minor-league intrasquad game. He gave up three runs on five hits, including a two-run homer to Dodgers infield prospect Austin Gallagher, but he threw a spring-high 76 pitches and said afterward he felt great and had a chance to work on a lot of things. He threw a TON of changeups.
As for the rotation, it sounds like Kuroda’s playoff performance, and the fact he really is a veteran even though he technically was a rookie last year, played a big factor here. He’ll start the April 6 opener at San Diego. And Billingsley, who was the regular-season ace and led the team with 16 wins, will start the third game in San Diego on April 8 — and more importantly, he now gets to start the home opener against the Giants on April 13.
Randy Wolf will pitch Game 2 on April 7, Clayton Kershaw Game 4 on April 9, also at San Diego. The fifth starter is yet to be determined.
What this does is allow the club to stagger the rotation right-left-right-left through the first four spots, although there is a good chance the fifth starter also will be a lefty (Eric Milton?).

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  • thinkblue

    The rotation is shaping up nicely, though the bullpen is a more serious concern at this point. Who looks the strongest for the lefty relief position(s)? How are Kuo and Wade doing? Is there any more talk about bringing Beimel back? What about the Pedro rumors? Would he slot into the 5th starter role or push Kershaw back?

    thanks Tony!

  • thinkblue

    The rotation is shaping up nicely, but what’s going on with the ‘pen? How are Kuo and Wade doing? How is the battle for relief positions shaping up? Any more talk of resigning Beimel? Any more support for the Pedro rumors?

    thanks Tony!

  • TeamHasHoles

    Beimel signed today with the Nats for $2 mil.

  • grumpy3b

    Good for Beimel, he just was not worth that much to the Dodgers since they seemed to only want to use him as a situational guy. Plus his track record for allowing inherited runners to score was not that good.

    My real concern is Broxton. It’s why I do not like the WBC. Here is a guy like Broxton who is being handed the closer role on a silver platter and instead of working with the team, he is off doing who knows what elsewhere. Then again maybe he can picked up some good insight into the closer role for the others on the team.

    Anyway, what seems to be up on the Broxton front these days?

    Otherwise not too concerned with the rotation and era numbers for another week or so since it’s the dead arm period of ST as well as pitchers are still going out there to work on specific mechanics, locations or pitches. They usually do not begin throwing more along their in season patterns until the past couple weeks of ST. At least I hope that is the case with Wolf…yikes!! hehehehe…

    Does anyone else have the sense that Torre is none to happy with the 5-hole in the rotation? That he is being the diplomat but would prefer a guy like Pedro in there? And yeah, I bet if they do sign him he would be the #5 simply since he is coming off surgery and is probably not ready to throw more than 150-180 innings max. Then again putting him and Kershaw back to back puts a strain on the pen since neither are likely to go 7+ on a regular basis. Sigh….I miss the 70s & 80s when the whole rotation would eat around 220+ innings on average.

  • cheba63

    In response to Broxton, him being in the WBC has its ups and downs. Plus side, he is working with great pitchers around him and is hopefully learning a thing or two, as well as getting playoff like experience. The downside is he is not working with his team, and might not be on the proper pitching schedule this time of the year.

  • DesertDodger

    Well, you can cross of this potential option — as reported by espn.com, Joe Beimel signed with the Nationals. Wonder what Troy From West Virginia will say?

    Updated: March 18, 2009, 4:23 PM ET
    Nationals, Beimel agree to Deal
    By Jerry Crasnick

    Left-handed reliever Joe Beimel has reached agreement on a one-year contract with the Washington Nationals.

    The deal, which is pending a physical exam, is worth about $2 million, a baseball source said.

    Beimel, 31, has a 21-23 record in eight seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Minnesota Twins, Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers. He’s allowed only one home run in 154 appearances over the last two seasons.

    Beimel is also known for holding Barry Bonds to an .063 career average, with one single and three walks in 19 plate appearances.

    The Nationals had been looking for a veteran arm to add depth to their bullpen and take the pressure off a young starting rotation, which is led by John Lannan, Scott Olsen, Daniel Cabrera, Shairon Martis, Collin Balester and top prospect Jordan Zimmermann.

  • BruinFBBB

    I think that is what TeamHasHoles meant when he said “Beimel signed today with the Nats for $2 mil.”

    The story neglected to mention, however, that opposing batters hit something like .278 off of him last year. Or what percentage of his inherited runners scored.

    I like Joe, but he did not get it done last year.

  • Marcel

    RE: Tony’s report in today’s paper

    I thought it was very misleading to group Kershaw as getting “knocked around” in the latest pitching cycle, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. He actually had a great performance (5 Ks in 3.2 IP) and if it weren’t for a bad scoring decision on a grounder to DeWitt, he would’ve only given up one earned run on three hits. Not to mention that he used his changeup effectively.

  • grumpy3b

    BruinFBBB:

    Here are the splits for Beimel in 2008:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/pi/psplit.cgi?n1=beimejo01&year=2008

    You are right and I agree about him not getting the job done. I like the guy because he is a gamer and looks to give all he has on the field. I wish the Dodgers could have found a way to help him improve. Unfortunately we never know the real reasons a player is not brought back. I have scoured Beimel’s numbers since the end of the season in 2008 and he just is not consistently good when required by the situation.

    I loved the way Vinny described the differences between Manny & Dunn(stick with me here as this pertains to Beimel…eventually). He described Dunn as a guy you can pitch to and get out. Manny is a guy that has any obvious weakness so the only way to pitch to him is the hope you guess right and go with whatever you throw well as a pitcher no matter the situation. I see a parallel with Beimel in that he is a very hittable pitcher in almost any situation. There is nothing he throws that puts a hitter on notice and causes some doubt at the plate. It lets the hitter relax and just stick to their comfort zone knowing something will come along that can be easily handled. No fear in a hitter is not a good sign for a pitcher. I got the sense Beimel gets by on simply being left handed which lets him know eventually he will get enough guys out.

    I do hope he can come up with something nasty and have a huge career. Mainly because I am not sure Honeycutt does anything as a pitching coach. Then this is also a case where we rdo not read or hear of his approach and/or philosophy to developing pitchers.

  • BruinFBBB

    Not sure why Rick gets such a bad rap. Overall team ERA was with the league leaders. Guys like Kuo and Park turned it around last year. Bills took it up a notch. Kershaw is getting there. Etc, etc…

  • Brooklyn Dodger

    Manny does not need to be trying out cricket, not when he has a hamstring problem. Seems to me that he was taking an unnecessary risk, given that his body is not accustomed to cricket moves. Even the slightest misstep could have led to further complications. Totally uncalled for if you ask me.

    http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090318&content_id=4024744&vkey=news_la&fext=.jsp&c_id=la

  • phillydodger

    I heard on espn radio that Team USA contacted about 75 players to get the 25 on the current roster. Does anyone know if that is true? Were there any Dodger’s that were contacted and turned down the offer?

    Also, how will they go about filling the current holes (Chipper Jones, Youkalis, et al)?

  • Dave R.

    Criticizing a guy for playing cricket? Hilarious.

  • Brooklyn Dodger

    Dave R.,

    The only thing hilarious is your remark. Even the slightest move when you have an injury can cause complications, especially when you’re wearing equipment, and making moves that your body is unfamiliar with. You can be in the best condition in the world, but if you play a sport your body is not specifically conditioned for, you’re going to end up sore. In this case, Manny didn’t play a game, but he ran a little with with pads on, and swung the cricket bat. His chances of getting injured may have been remote, but “remote” is not worth the risk.