Wilson made 61 appearances in 2014, all but six of which came in the eighth inning or later. He began the season as the primary set-up man to Kenley Jansen, but finished the season as more of a situational eighth-inning reliever. Wilson struggled to retire left-handed hitters all season (.914 OPS) and blew four of the five save opportunities he was given.
The Dodgers will carry 12 pitchers and 13 position players on their roster for the National League Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Here is the complete roster:
Call it rational thought, but when Carlos Frias arrived in the Dodgers’ clubhouse in August, the tendency was to force the rookie pitcher into a limited array of roles.
Emergency spot starter.
Long reliever, preferably during an inconsequential blowout.
That’s what happens to 24-year-old rookies who had never pitched above Double-A baseball prior to the current year, who had an ERA in the fives during his first Triple-A season, right?
The decision of who would pitch the ninth inning literally came down to the final moment. Had Adrian Gonzalez delivered an RBI in the final at-bat of the inning, Perez would have gotten the ninth. Instead, Gonzalez flied out to deep center field and Jansen got the ball. He pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his eighth save.
It was Jansen’s 15th appearance of the season, which leads the major leagues.
When League’s name was brought up in Don Mattingly‘s postgame press conference, the reaction was different: “We feel like he’s been pretty good.”
It’s time to call BS on someone here.
A quick look at League’s 2014 resume:
That’s not terribly difficult to defend as “pretty good.” By comparison, this poor chap faced nine more batters and got two more outs, and doesn’t get booed by his fans:
The second gamelog belongs to Jamey Wright, in case you were wondering. We’re dealing with small sample sizes, but here goes: Wright has the superior ERA (3.38 compared to League’s 3.60). League has the better FIP (2.84 compared to 4.35), but FIP doesn’t show up on the Dodger Stadium display boards. Maybe that explains the boos?
Here’s Mattingly, continued: “I know he got the loss in that game in San Francisco. He’s been throwing the ball pretty good. It’s been negative since last year because he has a little bit of a rough spring. It’s been negative but he’s thrown the ball well. We want to stay realistic. He’s thrown the ball good. He’s given us some good innings. He’s kept games where they should be, given us chances, so he’s doing his job.”
What Mattingly didn’t mention is that League’s $22.5 million, three-year contract makes League the Dodgers’ best-paid relief pitcher. That’s closer money for a sixth-inning reliever. League is certainly paid better than Wright’s $1.8 million deal, which is why Wright (or a young pitcher with contract options like Chris Withrow, Jose Dominguez or Paco Rodriguez) will hardly ever get booed. Their contracts are more readily expendable. League’s contract, a seagull bordering on an albatross, is not. For fans, that comes with certain expectations.
Ever since League lost the closer’s job and finished the 2013 season with a 5.30 ERA, it seems like there’s been no turning back. He is the whipping boy. Juan Uribe was in a similar position in 2011 and 2012, but was able to turn it around.
Maybe League can turn his reputation around too. Apparently it’ll take more than seven “pretty good” appearances.
Speaking of which, Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area had a pretty good take on the Giants’ “whipping boys.” Does race have something to do with it?
The right-hander allowed all six Angels runs in a 6-2 Dodgers loss before an announced crowd of 43,553 at Angel Stadium on Saturday.
The Dodgers resume regular-season play tomorrow in San Diego. It’s the Padres’ first game of the season. Opening Day for most major-league teams is Monday.
Last weekend, the Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks twice in Sydney, Australia and have a regular-season record of 2-0. They came back and lost two of three to the Angels, officially finishing spring training with a 7-12-5 record.
Haren didn’t go to Australia. Since the Dodgers only needed two starting pitchers (and kept Paul Maholm for insurance), Haren stayed behind and pitched minor-league spring training games in Arizona.
The playing environment changed dramatically Saturday. Haren went from games with no official statistics and no names on the back of players’ jerseys to a sold-out stadium. The change seemed to have caught him by surprise.
Trout’s home run came on a hanging split-fingered fastball, Haren said, while almost all of the Angels’ other hard hits came off his cut fastball. Haren allowed six hits in two innings.
“It was just kind of getting it a little bit flat,” Haren said of his cutter. “I have to have the mindset of driving it down and away to a righty rather than just leaving it out there.
“I’m going to throw quite a few of them in the bullpen. I need to get that sharpened up. My other pitches were actually OK. I struggled with it last start too in the minor leagues. I threw a bunch in the last inning of that game.”
Haren starts Wednesday in San Diego, the finale of the three-game series with the Padres. His final major-league spring training ERA: 6.00.
“It’s the last one that doesn’t count,” Haren said. “No use thinking about it too much. I got some work in. It’s been a while since I felt like I’ve been on a mound, it seems like, at least in a real game. It didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to. I feel OK. Just flush it down and move on to the next one.”
Said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly: “I’m glad it’s tonight and not Wednesday.”
The Dodgers scored both of their runs in the third inning on a two-run double by Chone Figgins. Most of the starters played only two defensive innings.
It was a good day for the Dodgers’ bullpen. Against almost entirely major-league competition, they combined for six scoreless innings: One by Brandon League, three by Matt Magill and two by Red Patterson.
The box score is here.
A few more notes:
Because Sunday’s game is just down the Interstate 5, the Dodgers’ starters will catch a bus in the middle of the game to the team hotel in San Diego. The rest of the team will depart after the game. We already have a firm idea of who will be on the 25-man roster that is due to the league tomorrow.
Several minor-league players are uniform for the Dodgers today: RHP Matt Magill (#36), OF Jamie Romak (#95), OF Scott Schebler (#92), INF Clint Robinson (#73), INF Brendan Harris (#35), RHP Pedro Baez (#62), C Tim Federowicz (#26), RHP Sam Demel (#38), RHP Zach Lee (#64), RHP Red Patterson (#78), C Jose Capellan (96), INF Miguel Rojas (#72), INF Corey Seager (#94), INF Darnell Sweeney (#87), OF Joc Pederson (#65), OF Trayvon Robinson (#90) and LHP Tom Windle (#97).
Magill will pitch after starter Dan Haren, who isn’t expected to throw more than an inning or two. Brandon League will also throw an inning in relief, his first against a major-league team after some occasionally rocky minor-league outings in spring training. League also pitched in a Dodgers intrasquad game Wednesday.
Here are the lineups for both teams:
The right-hander allowed six hits and one earned run, walked one and struck out four. He threw 52 pitches, 39 for strikes. Beckett was said to have used his curveball well, a pitch that gave him trouble in his last start because of the thumb injury.
Playing in the same game, Matt Kemp continued his struggles at the plate as he returns from off-season ankle surgery. Kemp went 0-for-5 with 3 strikeouts. Dodgers left fielder Carl Crawford was 3-for-3 with a home run and two hard singles to left field. He played five innings in left field and was caught stealing.
Brandon League pitched in a Double-A game at home against Cincinnati and allowed one home run in 1 ⅓ innings. League threw 18 pitches, 12 for strikes, walked none and struck out none.
GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Dodgers have about 12 hours before their plane departs for Sydney, Australia and their 30-man travel roster is mostly set. Here’s the latest on a few players who were on the bubble going into today’s final Cactus League game against the Colorado Rockies at Camelback Ranch.
Still in limbo:
Brandon League. “The biggest thing for us with Brandon is it’s the best thing for him to pitch over on that (minor-league) side,” manager Don Mattingly said, but he wouldn’t confirm that League is staying behind. Sounds like League is an insurance policy in case any pitchers (particularly right-handed relievers) sustain an injury today.
On the plane:
Chone Figgins. The Dodgers haven’t made a formal decision about Figgins, who is not on the 40-man roster and has hit poorly in camp. “We feel like his bat’s been OK. He hasn’t necessarily had that many hits but he’s gotten some walks to and had the kind of at-bats we like,” Mattingly said. “We feel the at-bats will get better and better. Not playing a year, he’s getting back to that.”
Justin Turner and Mike Baxter. Their numbers (Turner is batting .333/.432/.467, Baxter .286/.316/.343) and versatility left little doubt that they would make the trip. I thought I’d throw them on the list in case there was any confusion.
Chris Withrow. He wasn’t really in danger of being left off the plane either, despite walking seven batters and allowing four runs in five Cactus League appearances. Withrow’s value as a right-handed set-up man goes up if League finds himself working minor-league games the next 10 days. Since he has two options left on his contract, the Dodgers could have optioned Withrow to their minor-league camp. They might still do that after they land in Sydney, but by bringing Withrow the Dodgers have some additional bullpen flexibility for their first two games.
Not on the plane:
Carl Crawford. His fiancee didn’t give birth last night, so Crawford will not be on the plane. Mattingly said that the team will be able to place Crawford on the paternity leave list, so the Dodgers won’t have to burn a 25-man roster spot, or one of their three “exempt” roster spots, while Crawford plays minor-league games in Phoenix.
Matt Kemp, Zack Greinke, Dan Haren, Josh Beckett. We knew that already. Mattingly talked about the plan for Kemp this morning; he and Crawford will form a mini minor-league Murderer’s Row while their teammates play overseas. Greinke, Haren and Beckett will pitch some minor-league games in Arizona too.
Miguel Olivo. The catcher confirmed an MLB.com report that he asked for his release yesterday after being told that he won’t make the Sydney trip. The Dodgers had three healthy catchers on their 40-man roster in A.J. Ellis, Tim Federowicz and Drew Butera. They’re apparently comfortable with that trio, even if one of them gets injured in the final Cactus League game today. Ellis is starting and all four catchers in camp — including Olivo — are listed on the active roster for the 1 p.m. game against the Colorado Rockies.
Here are the lineups for both teams:
When Albert Einstein was 17 years old, he was studying math and physics in a teaching diploma program in Zurich. Mozart was working as a court musician in Salzburg at 17.
Left-hander Julio Urias is starting for the Dodgers against the San Diego Padres today, and that might not be too big a leap for the 17-year-old prodigy. The Dodgers signed him as a free agent in August 2012, when he was 16. By the end of last season, he was pitching in low-A Great Lakes.
Urias was dominant. In 18 starts, he allowed 44 hits, walked 16 and struck out 67 batters in 54 ⅓ innings. His 2.48 earned-run average and 1.104 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitch) are the signs of a pitcher who won’t be in the Midwest League long.
Today, Urias was originally scheduled to pitch an inning out of the bullpen. Club officials decided it would be better for Urias to start and pitch a full pregame bullpen session as he’s accustomed to doing, rather than possibly warm up on short notice if scheduled starter Sam Demel encountered trouble in the middle of an inning.
A scout recently clocked Urias’ fastball at 98 mph in a minor-league game. We’ll see how he fares against the San Diego Padres.
There was discussion yesterday about Brandon League possibly pitching an inning out of the bullpen one day after he threw in a minor-league game. Instead League will pitch in a minor-league game tomorrow. He seems unlikely to make the trip to Sydney, Australia, but the Dodgers haven’t made that announcement yet. Here’s what Don Mattingly did announce this morning.
The lineups for both teams for the 1 p.m. game: