With the start of the 2015 season looming in a week-and-a half, both the Dodgers and Angels are struggling to to put together five-man starting rotations that can hopefully get each team off to a decent start. Each team has a core of three quality starters at the top of their rotation, each team will be missing one of the three at the start of the season, and each team is closely watching a group of contenders for the remaining spots as the need to
|decide who will round out their rotations gets closer and closer. But, the pool of possibilities is vastly different for the two teams.|
After Clayton Kershaw and Zach Greinke at the top of the Dodgers' rotation, and with number three starter Hyun-Jin Ryu set to miss the start of the season with the same shoulder soreness that he has experienced in each of his first two major league seasons, the Dodgers will have three new faces in the rotation come April 6.
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After Jered Weaver and Matt Shoemaker at the top of the Angels’ rotation, and with the third guy in their top three, Garrett Richards, still recovering from last season’s major knee surgery and expected to be out until at least the end of April, there are currently two open spots in their rotation, after the top two and disappointing former quality starter C.J. Wilson.
|The 2015 Major League Baseball Season opens Sunday, April 5, with the St. Louis Cardinals playing against the Cubs in Chicago. The Dodgers open their season the next day, with a game at Dodgers' Stadium against former Dodgers' star Matt Kemp and the San Diego Padres. The Angels open against division rival Seattle Mariners in Seattle also on Monday, April 6, and they have their home opener against the defending American League champion Kansas City Royals on Friday, April 10. Tickets to all these games and to every other home opener are available Right Here, Right Now, from Razorgator.|
After the horrible experience of 2013, when Mike Scioscia had few able-bodied starters to choose from, the Angels went out and acquired two young talents in Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs to fill out the 2014 rotation. Well, Santiago had a horrendous start to the season and wound up back in the minors, and Skaggs, after an inconsistent but promising start, suffered a season-ending elbow injury, and is still on the mend and not expected back before mid-season. Santiago was eventually recalled, and had a solid second half of 2014, going 5-2 with a 2.98 ERA starting and relieving, after a 1-7 first half.
This off season, the Angels acquired a second set of aspiring, talented young starters in Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano. With one spot open and a fill-in needed for Richards to start the season, it appears that Santiago has one pretty much nailed down, with Heaney and Tropeano fighting for the last opening. These talented, young and healthy guys provide a much more secure outlook for the Angels and Scioscia than does the group of injury-plagued retreads that the empty uniform non-manager don mattingly has available
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|to populate the downward-spiraling Dodgers' rotation. Tropeano was especially impressive yesterday, pitching three shutout innings while retiring nine of the first ten batters he faced, and then giving up three unearned runs in his fourth inning, due in great part to some bad defense. behind him. A day earlier Heaney pitched four impressive innings before getting beat up a bit in his fifth inning.|
For the Dodgers, both McCarthy and Anderson have struggled this spring, but the Dodgers have nowhere else to go. They decided it was better to spend $62 million on Hector Olivera, an unneeded infielder who has missed almost three full seasons due to injury and illness, may miss this coming season as well, and who has never faced a major league pitcher, than to spend $75 million to sign James Shields, who ended up in San Diego, the team that I see as the National League West front runner for 2015.
Similar problems, but two different approaches – my money is on the Angels.