Diving into the depths: Los Angeles Dodgers

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This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Rotation
1. Hiroki Kuroda
2. Clayton Kershaw
3. Chad Billingsley
4. Vicente Padilla
5. James McDonald
6. Eric Stults
7. Scott Elbert
8. Russ Ortiz
9. Charlie Haeger
9. Josh Lindblom
10. Josh Towers
11. John Ely
12. Chris Withrow
13. James Adkins
It was a certainty that the Dodgers would add a fourth starter, and they got that done by re-signing Padilla. Now it just remains to be seen whether they’ll also pick up a No. 5. I think McDonald would be just fine in that role, but he could be as valuable while spending another year in the pen. The alternatives are plentiful, but there aren’t really any standouts. I prefer Elbert in the pen.
Bullpen
1. Jonathan Broxton
2. George Sherrill
3. Ramon Troncoso
4. Hong-Chih Kuo
5. Ronald Belisario
6. James McDonald
7. Scott Elbert
8. Cory Wade
9. Justin Miller
10. Eric Stults
11. Brent Leach
12. Luis Ayala
13. Scott Dohmann
14. Carlos Monaterios
15. Josh Lindblom
16. Juan Perez
17. Travis Schlichting
18. Javy Guerra
19. Armando Zerpa
20. Kenley Jansen
The bullpen will be deep regardless, but extremely so if the Dodgers do ink a fifth starter and let McDonald and Elbert battle it out for relief spots. Broxton, Sherrill, Troncoso, Kuo, Belisario and McDonald all had ERAs of 3.00 or better last year (McDonald was at 4.00 overall, but he came in at 2.72 in his 49 2/3 innings out of the pen).


Catcher
1. Russell Martin
2. A.J. Ellis
3. Lucas May
First base
1. James Loney
2. Casey Blake
3. Doug Mientkiewicz
4. John Lindsey
Second base
1. Blake DeWitt
2. Jamey Carroll
3. Nick Green
4. Argenis Reyes
Third base
1. Casey Blake
2. Blake DeWitt
3. Jamey Carroll
4. Nick Green
5. Angel Berroa
Shortstop
1. Rafael Furcal
2. Ivan DeJesus
3. Nick Green
4. Chin-Lung Hu
DeWitt is supposed to get a chance to be the full-time second baseman, but it’d make sense to have Carroll start over him against lefties. Green will probably have the edge on the other utility slot, given that the Dodgers don’t seem to be as high on Hu as they once were. DeJesus won’t be a candidate for a utility role, but he just might take over as the starting shortstop if anything happens to Furcal.
Left field
1. Manny Ramirez
2. Xavier Paul
3. Jason Repko
4. Michael Restovich
Center field
1. Matt Kemp
2. Jason Repko
3. Xavier Paul
4. Brian Barton
Right field
1. Andre Ethier
2. Xavier Paul
3. Jason Repko
4. Michael Restovich
If the Dodgers add another bat, it will probably be a veteran fourth outfielder. They’d be OK with Repko and Paul in reserve, but odds are that someone will fall into their price range. That’d set it up so that Repko and Paul would battle for one spot. Paul is the fantasy sleeper of the two, but the Dodgers won’t want to keep him in the majors unless they know they’ll be able to find him at-bats.

The Cubs live for another day, but death will come soon

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The Cubs had a nice night last night. Javier Baez finally broke his hitless streak with not one but two homers. Willson Contreras hit a nearly 500-foot homer. Jake Arrieta, possibly pitching for the last time as a Cub, dug down for a gutsy performance, pitching into the seventh inning, working around some walks to allow only one run while striking out nine.

After the game, Cubs players sounded hopeful notes about believing in themselves, taking them one game at a time, getting the series back to L.A. for a Game 6 and Game 7. They’re professional athletes who know better than any of us that to achieve a thing you have to believe you can achieve that thing, so it’d be dumb to expect anything else from them in this situation. Ballplayers, quite admirably, don’t sound a note of defeat until they are actually defeated.

But let’s be realistic there: they’re still a dead team walking.

  • They’re dead because, as we have been reminded oh so many times, only once in 35 tries has a team come back to win a seven game series in which they’ve found themselves down 0-3. That team did so because Dave Roberts worked some magic. Dave Roberts is working for the other team now.
  • They’re dead because their biggest weakness this postseason — their bullpen — is not going to have its best pitcher, Wade Davis, available today in Game 5 after throwing 48 pitches in Game 4.
  • They’re dead because while the Dodgers used five relievers last night, none of them were worked particularly hard and neither Brandon Morrow nor Kenley Jansen were used at all, allowing them to come in and work hard and heavy tonight if need be.
  • They’re dead because the man on the mound to start tonight’s game is Clayton Edward Kershaw. Yes, he has had some less-than-glory-filled moments in the postseason in recent years, but all of those have come at the tail end of starts, when his managers have left him in perhaps an inning too long. See the above bullet point — and Dave Roberts’ early hook in Game 1 — if you think that’ll be a problem tonight.

The Dodgers lost last night, yes, but it was their first loss in the postseason. All teams have lost at least one postseason game since it went to the three-round format, so it was likely inevitable that L.A. would drop one. Heck, maybe they’ll drop two before the NLCS is over, but they’re not going to drop the next three in a row.

Last night’s Cubs win was nice for them, but it only delayed the inevitable.