Dodgers Take Freeway Series Opener 4-2

Freeway Series

The Dodgers returned to the familiar confines of Southern California on Sunday evening to open the annual three game Freeway Series against the Angels. The first game was in the unfriendly confines of Anaheim Stadium and the Dodgers have lost 14 of their last 15 exhibition games in Disney according to Joe Davis. The Angels are 18-2-1 at home during their last 21 exhibition games. Of course those numbers mean absolutely nothing within the scope of meaningless spring games.

The Dodgers won a meaningless spring game on Sunday evening, defeating the Angels by a 4-2 score. Kenta Maeda got the start for the Dodgers in his last outing before the regular season. The Angels countered with rookie right hander Parker Bridwell.

The Dodgers scored two runs in the fifth to rally from a 2-0 deficit before scoring an additional two runs in the seventh inning to take the lead. The Dodgers used two solo home runs from Chris Taylor and Yasiel Puig in the seventh inning and two scoring ground balls in the fifth frame.

Maeda looked good as he turned in a quality effort. He wasn’t great but he was effective. The Japanese right hander tossed five innings while allowing two earned runs on four hits and struck out five without a walk. Maeda’s mound opponent Bridwell was effective too as he threw three scoreless innings allowing just two hits and striking out one.

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Maeda made 49 pitches and his only mistakes were a pair of home runs to Zach Cozart (in the second inning) and Mike Trout in the fourth. Cozart’s home run gave the Angels a 1-0 lead. His home run hooked just inside the left field foul pole over the short wall. Trout’s blast was to straight away center field that landed in front of the rocks.

Former Dodger Jim Johnson came in with a gas can in the top of the fifth inning. The Dodgers were able to mount a nifty little rally to tie the score. Enrique Hernandez led off the inning with a walk. Taylor’s ground ball single into right, and Corey Seager’s bloop single into left loaded the bases with nobody out. Consecutive ground-outs from Yasiel Puig and Cody Bellinger brought across both runs. Two innings later dingers from Taylor and Puig put the Dodgers ahead for good. Puig’s blast landed just inches above Mike Trout’s outstretched glove in center right field. Taylor finished the game going 3 for 4 with two runs scored. The rest of the game was pretty routine.

J.T. Chargois, Scott Alexander, Kenley Jansen and Josh Fields all provided scoreless relief for the Dodgers over the final four innings. The Dodger bats were 1 for 14 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men on base.

The roster crunch looms for the Dodgers as they come back to Dodger Stadium for the final two games of the Freeway series versus the Angels. Rich Hill will take the mound for the Dodgers on Monday night. The Angels will counter with Matt Shoemaker. We’re so close to real baseball you can taste it. The flavor is baseball games that count. that’s something we can sink our teeth into.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic Cheap MLB Tickets

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33 thoughts on “Dodgers Take Freeway Series Opener 4-2

  1. Saw the game, you have to conclude that our offense has me seriously concerned. That’s the take away from this game.

    1. True

      They have been mostly hitting HRs to score runs, instead of manufacturing runs, but I don’t know if their hearts are in these last few spring games, because I think they are ready for the season to start, as much as Package is.

      We can start worrying once the season starts, if they are not scoring a lot of runs.

      I sure got sick listening to Orel trying to make Joc’s case to be on the team.

      He even said what Joc did in the post season, and in the World Series should count.

      First Joc didn’t even play in the first series, and he only had a few at bats in the other series.

      And why did they tell these players it was a competition, then after Joc is beat, they stop starting Toles for 7 of 8 games, and give almost all the starts to Joc?

      You can only tell Joc is trying to walk every time he goes up to the plate.

      He did hit a ball hard last night, but so what, the other players, have hit the ball hard too, even though they are being handicapped, and not starring almost every game like Joc is.

      And if everyone needs to practice coming off the bench to pinch hit, it should be Joc, who will be sitting on the bench in the majors.

      And if Orel wanted to make a case, he should have been truthful, and say they want Toles to play everyday and have consistent at bats, instead of trying to make it look like Joc deserves to make this team.

      Because he doesn’t, and everyone knows that!

      1. I can see only one reason behind their thinking of keeping Pederson over Toles. It has to be experience. Joc has more MLB time than Toles, Toles coming off an injury that put him out for most of the year and the desire to get Toles regular at bats. He would not get that in LA. There is no way Joc will see action every day.

        1. Michael

          Exactly!

          That is why Orel was making me sick.

          But I have a feeling that Thompson will be on the team, instead of Farmer.

          1. I think it will be Farmer for the simple reason that the guy can play at least 4 positions. RH hitting outfielders are a dime a dozen and Thompson strikes out too much and really has little to no trade value since he is out of options. Farmer has the steadier bat and probably with a little coaching could play the outfield too. I think I remember him going out to left in the late innings once last year.

  2. Do any hits against Jim Johnson actually count?

    It kinda looks like Kemp has slowed down the last several games. Maybe he’s just on cruise control until the games count. Hope so.

    Looks like Maeda is ready for his 5 innings. Bullpen settling in for their 4. Offense should be ok, but like all offenses there will be off days.

    1. He hit some balls hard, but right at people. It happens and this has been a long spring. I think he will be fine.

      1. 58 PA’s. His OPS is decent, but his .310 OBP is concerning. We all hope he’s fine. Well, ok, maybe not all of us. With Turner out for weeks we could use more RH middle order thunder.

        1. I think all of the players are just ready to start playing the regular season now, especially Kemp.

          Because Kemp didn’t miss any time in spring training, like Corey, Cody, Puig, and other players, so this has been an even longer spring training, for Kemp.

          Once Kemp comes up to bat in Dodger Stadium, his competitive juices, will be flowing, along with the other player’s competitive spirit.

          Heck Package has been ready for the regular season, for sometime!

  3. I’m not sure Kemp can keep it up. But it makes sense for us to give him plenty of chances. Playing Joc at this point makes no sense. But it is what it is and I’ll be happy to be proven wrong.

    Field looks primed for a good year. Please please please pitch him and Baez with fresh innings instead of bringing them in with runners on base.

    1. His track record says other wise Yueh. The guy has produced when he is healthy. I am not concerned at all with spring stats. Gonzo is having the worst spring of his life, but you know when the bell rings he will be ready.

        1. Gonzo is a couple of years older than Matt. Surely not the same type of frame and he has slipped the last couple of years. Matt’s numbers last year were injury related. I expect him to be just fine…

  4. As much as I am a believer in Puig, I don’t think he should bat third. I’d put Kemp there and keep Puig lower in the lineup.

    No more Grandal in the 4th or 5th slots please.

    It’s going to be interesting with Turner out. Our LF and catcher spots in the lineup need to keep rallies alive.

    1. Turner out obviously really changes things. I know metrics might have a different take, but for all the reasons I’ve mentioned many times in the past I prefer a LH contact hitter with speed in the 2 hole and your best average hitter in the 3 hole. At the current time that’s the same guy, so until further notice I’m batting Seager second and third. It’s that or bat Taylor leadoff and third. I’ll await to be schooled on why those decisions won’t work.

      If Bellinger was better at contact he could hit second. But I think his swing and miss rate is wrong for the two hole.

      Remember those players who could deliberately foul off pitches to get one they want? Richie Ashburn could do it. Boggs, Gwynn and Brett did it. Luke Appling was said to have made a career of it. Not sure what metrics has to say about today’s players. If Bellinger could do it I think it would help his OBP and with his speed he could be a two hole hitter.

      1. Badger

        I think Seager should hit third too.

        I don’t prefer Puig at the top of the order, but I think I would hit Puig second, instead of third, if I had a choice.

        He did a pretty good job hitting second, earlier in his career, and he has the wheels, like you like.

        And I think Bellinger is very capable of ruining good pitches like you said, so I hope he starts to catch on, and does that.

        Those two squibilers Cody hit last night, must have been a disappointing night for him, and he could have just wasted those pitches, like you said.

        I rather Puig hit after Kemp, to give Kemp some protection.

        And now we need a hitter to protect Puig, but I haven’t thought which player that should be, maybe you guys, have an idea about that.

        Because Grandal strikes out to much, and is to streaky of a hitter, to protect Puig in the line up.

      2. Badger

        Now they hit the best hitter in the line up second, but they use to hit the best hitter third, so everything you said, seems right.

    2. YF

      Turner was out for a month for a hammy, and we did ok, and we didn’t have Kemp’s bat in the line up.

      I would worry more about what Forsythe is going to do with the bat, then Kemp.

  5. I did get a chuckle before yesterday’s game. On twitter some guy posted a photo of the Dodgers line up card. Venditte’s name was spelled wrong. They had VINDETTE.

  6. I hope some of you are right about it being the end of ST, but most of the at bats that I saw were wrong (see what I did there?) Weak little fly balls that fell in, swinging bunts that scored runs, chasing some bad pitches, it really looked ugly. I think we should really have some concerns at this point. Joc is no bueno, he can’t be allowed to stay, that would be criminal, other guys have performed and had good ST, you can’t basically tell them to eff off, better luck next time, it just sends the wrong message thru out the organization. If you work hard to prove yourself and it earns you nothing, that is a shameful FO, eventually no one will want to even be in your organization.

    Can we get Sister Mary Elephant from Loyola to sit in the Dodgers’ dugout?

    1. Kemp crushed a lot of balls. The last couple of days he has not looked too good, but there can be a lot of reasons for that. I would rather he did it during the season anyway and the guy has not forgot how to hit. He can still drive in runs and slug the ball over the fence.

  7. Batting a left hander second used to be a good idea with a runner on first because a left hander hid the jump and it’s more difficult for a catcher to throw with a left hander in the batters box. It was advantageous for stealing and the hit and run. Metrics values neither play now so sure, put a right hander in the two hole.

    “Spray charts are killing baseball”. Tim Cowlishaw. Man, that guy is old school.

    Looking great in ST means little really. This team only had a couple of positions up for grabs – LF and relief pitching. It means more to look bad in ST as that could cause a player to become invisible. All these guys who have performed well will get a shot soon. We all know it’s likely FO minds were made up on a while ago.

  8. Puig is hitting 3rd because it creates the R-L-R-L-R-L that Roberts loves…..Taylor, Seager, Puig, Bellinger, Kemp, Grandal………not a bad 1st 6 in the order….with Forsythe, Hernandez 7th or 8th

      1. Badger

        The Times did a comparison of all the leftfielders in our division, and only a rookie player on the Padres had a higher OPS+ then Kemp last year, but that rookie didn’t play all season long.

        And that was one of Kemp’s worse offensive seasons, in quite a while, as you know.

        And you know Kemp went out on the DL last year, for a hammy problem, and that was a factor in his offensive numbers being, a little lower last year.

        So I expect Kemp to have a much better offensive season this year, hitting in this line up.

        That weight he lost will not only give him a better chance, of not getting hurt, I bet his defensive numbers, are greatly improved, with less weight , and with the good shifts, the Dodgers have.

  9. Good article by Pedro Moura in The Athletic about Verdugo and his new attitude.
    `
    Sentiment (and this is inferred) is that the club loves Verdugo, but needs to clean out a spot for him.

    1. Clean out a spot. Music to Toles and Pederson.

      Actually I’m for giving Verdugo his shot. Hopefully he will be an every day player by 2020.

      Hill 3 earned in 5, ends ST with a 7.3 ERA. I’m sure it will go down.

        1. Yeah, he’s a slow starter. March/April May last year he only threw 14 innings. 13 year career tOPS+ of 84 in those months. Remember his first 2 months here? 6 games, 34 innings. But once he gets rolling he’s a real innings eater, hey? He’s an animal in post season too. 8 games, 1 win, 2 losses, 33.2 innings.

          Look, I accept Hill for what he is – an aging #5. Every team needs guys like him. He only makes $35 million the next two years, so, he has a decent shot at earning his salary.

  10. Yep ole Rich was in mid season form putting the Dodgers behind the old 8 ball early. One of these seasons his high wire act is going to bite him in the butt and I am betting it is now.

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