Don Mattingly, the Los Angeles Dodgers Manager, is Newman from Seinfeld. Just know that every time I’m upset about a decision he makes or doesn’t make this season I’m going to be yelling “Mattingly” as if I was Jerry Seinfeld yelling “Newman”.
OK, now to dealing with the issue at hand. The Dodgers regular season opener is less than a month away and Mattingly and the front office hasn’t named it’s starting pitchers for the games in Australia. I’m going to go out of a limb here and say that you should probably figure that out very soon. As in, last week.
It was thought that this would be a non-story as the Dodgers two best starters, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, would be slotted to pitch those first two games against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Sydney. However, when asked this morning if he was ready to name a starter Mattingly said the following:
“We’re not going there. We haven’t announced a starter yet. We haven’t been close to being clear with that yet,” Mattingly said. “We have four guys getting ready for Australia.”
Those four guys, in case you were wondering, are the Dodgers first four starters: Kershaw, Greinke, Hyun-jin Ryu and Dan Haren. Not coincidentally, those same four will pitch the first four Cactus League games, in that order. The Dodgers have stated that they will prepare all four to pitch in Australia, just in case anything went wrong. It seems like Greinke is SUPER excited to go to the land down under.
“I would say there is absolutely zero excitement for it,” Greinke told ESPNLosAngeles.com. “There just isn’t any excitement to it. I can’t think of one reason to be excited for it.”
Oh, you thought there was only one bitter pitcher? We would expect this kind of talk from the very direct Greinke; however, when you hear it from Clayton Kershaw it means something else.
“I don’t really want to go pitch there, but that’s what we’re signed up to do so we’re going to have to get ready to do it,” Kershaw said on February 8th.
So apparently the Dodgers don’t want to go to Australia? Maybe I made a mistake. Maybe this isn’t on Mattingly. Maybe the Dodgers shouldn’t start Greinke or Kershaw. The Dodgers and Mattingly have been open about wanting to limit the amount of innings Kershaw works this season. If Kershaw pitched on opening day it is likely that he would pitch in three of the teams first six games, including the March 30th regular season opener on U.S. soil and the April 4th home opener. Greinke, who was fantastic in his first season as a Dodger, clearly isn’t into the idea of pitching in Australia. If Kershaw doesn’t pitch I don’t think Greinke will either.
However, it would be a real shame if Kershaw and Greinke didn’t start the first two games of the Dodgers season. They both understand this is a showcase for baseball and they would be doing a disservice to the game by not participating.
The question remains: Would the Dodgers go without their two best pitchers for the first two games of the season? The answer is beginning to look more like a Yes than a No. The Dodgers only focus this season is finishing the year with their two best pitchers on the mound.