No, the Dodgers do not need to rebuild after their loss today, but it was a harsh but necessary reminder that they cannot just walk into the World Series. At least, not while Kole Calhoun is on the Diamondbacks.
The Dodgers' offense in the four Spring Training games so has been inconsistent, but their pitching has been very good. Putting up 3.50 ERA, much of that work having been done by minor leaguers, the Dodgers have demonstrated the depth of their pitching throughout their organization through these first few contests. Hardly any major-league caliber pitchers have given up any runs, and while they haven't pitching much, it is still nice to see. Alex Wood, Ross Stripling, Kenley Jansen, Tony Gonsolin, Adam Kolarek, Dylan Floro, Caleb Ferguson, Josh Sborz, and Dennis Santana have all head very successful outings, with Wood, Stripling, Gonsolin, and Santana looking particularly sharp. It would be great to see Santana reach his full potential as a pitcher ready for the major leagues, as he had short stints that were mired in injuries and inconsistency in 2018 and 2019.
The offense has been producing inconsistently, but the main hitters on the roster have all done fairly well, with the exception of Will Smith and Gavin Lux, who are likely just taking a little longer than usual to get going due to their age and lack of major league experience. Turner has not played a ton; the Dodgers are likely being careful with him due to his age and injury history. Joc Pederson, dealing with a side issue, has not done anything more than stand in on a Kershaw bullpen session but the Dodgers indicate that he will be ready to show off his bleached hair on opening day. Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager Mookie Betts, Chris Taylor, Kiké Hernandez, A.J. Pollock, and Max Muncy have all reached base multiple times and/or had an extra base hit this spring, with the latter four each owning a home run. Betts is still looking for his first extra base hit as a Dodger.
The starters for the next four games are projected to be Josiah Gray, Tony Gonsolin, presumably built up for two innings, Driveline-improved Clayton Kershaw, and ascending ace Walker Buehler, who will throw two innings in his spring debut. I would expect to see Pedro Baez, Joe Kelly, and Brusdar Graterol in at least one of those games, but as far as I know there has been no official announcement of that. Dustin May, presumably back after a side issue, might not appear in one of those games as a reliever as management seems to want him to be a starter at AAA to begin the season, and Jimmy Nelson, also dealing with an minor injury, may not appear until next week, but it's certainly possible he finds his way into a game in the next few days. I imagine that David Price will start sometime next week as well. As we progress toward Opening Day, the Dodgers will send more of their regulars into the game and keep the starters in for longer.
Cover Photo: Kent Nishimura