Los Angeles Dodgers roster and schedule for 2020 season

Dodgers roster and schedule
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The 2020 MLB season is now a 60-game dash, starting on July 23 and ending, hopefully, with a full-size postseason in October. Between now and the start of the season, we’ll be giving quick capsule previews of each team, reminding you of where things stood back in Spring Training and where they stand now as we embark on what is sure to be the strangest season in baseball history. First up: The Los Angeles Dodgers roster and schedule:

DODGERS ROSTER (projected)

When the season opens on July 23-24, teams can sport rosters of up to 30 players, with a minimum of 25. Two weeks later, rosters must be reduced to 28 and then, two weeks after that, they must be reduced to 26. Teams will be permitted to add a 27th player for doubleheaders.

RELATED: Mookie Betts to sign ‘massive’ extension

In light of that, there is a great degree of latitude for which specific players will break summer camp. For now, though, here are who we expect to be on the Dodgers roster to begin the season:

Catchers:

Will Smith
Austin Barnes

Infielders:

Max Muncy
Kiké Hernández
Corey Seager
Justin Turner
Matt Beaty
Edwin Rios

Outfielders:

Cody Bellinger
Mookie Betts
Joc Pederson
AJ Pollock
Chris Taylor

Starters:

Clayton Kershaw
Walker Buehler
Julio Urías
Alex Wood
Ross Stripling

Relievers:

Kenley Jansen
Blake Treinen
Pedro Báez
Joe Kelly
Brusdar Graterol
Dustin May
Scott Alexander
Caleb Ferguson
Adam Kolarek


BREAKDOWN:

The Dodgers are expected to be the class of the National League, if not all of baseball, and seem like a lock to reach the postseason for an eighth consecutive season. The club had very little roster turnover and added perennial MVP candidate Mookie Betts to the mix. Last season, the Dodgers ranked fifth in batting average, second in on-base percentage, and first in slugging percentage and OPS. Adding Betts to a cast that includes reigning NL MVP Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner, Joc Pederson, Max Muncy, and Corey Seager is just ridiculous.

Clayton Kershaw, entering his 13th season, will lead the rotation and get the Opening Day nod against Johnny Cueto and the Giants. Kershaw has been mostly healthy, but hasn’t crossed the 30-start threshold since 2015. He obviously won’t this year, either. When he has been on the mound, he has been effective. In 2019, Kershaw went 16-5 with a 3.03 ERA, 189 strikeouts, and 41 walks over 178 1/3 innings. Walker Buehler, in the No. 2 spot, has quickly established himself as one of the game’s best starters and has the potential to challenge the likes of Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom for the NL Cy Young Award.

The Nos. 3-5 spots in the rotation are a little more iffy for the Dodgers and represents the club’s biggest weakness, which is not to say it’s that much of a weakness. Julio Urías will move to the middle of the rotation. He was quite good last year, finishing with a 2.49 ERA over 79 2/3 innings split across eight starts and 31 relief appearances. Alex Wood, who missed most of 2019 with the Reds due to back problems, returned to the Dodgers. When he’s healthy, he can be great, such as 2017 when he went 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA in 152 1/3 innings. The “when he’s healthy” clause is big, though. Ross Stripling will handle the No. 5 spot and could be bandied back and forth between there and the bullpen as needed.

Kenley Jansen will once again handle the ninth inning for the Dodgers. Despite a recent uptick in ERA, no doubt due to his heart ailment, he remains one of the game’s better closers. Last season, Jansen closed out 31 games with a 3.71 ERA and an 80/16 K/BB ratio in 63 innings. He’ll be backed up by Blake Treinen, Pedro Báez, and Joe Kelly. And don’t forget about Brusdar Graterol. In 9 2/3 innings in the majors after debuting with the Twins last season, the right-hander struck out 10 and walked two.

DODGERS SCHEDULE:

Every team will play 60 games. Teams will be playing 40 games against their own division rivals and 20 interleague games against the corresponding geographic division from the other league. Six of the 20 interleague games will be “rivalry” games.

  • July 23-26: vs. Giants
  • July 28-29: @ Astros
  • July 30-August 2: @ Diamondbacks
  • August 3-5: @ Padres
  • August 7-9: vs. Giants
  • August 10-13: vs. Padres
  • August 14-16: @ Angels
  • August 17-18: vs. Mariners
  • August 19-20: @ Mariners
  • August 21-23: vs. Rockies
  • August 25-27: @ Giants
  • August 28-30: @ Rangers
  • September 1-3: vs. Diamondbacks
  • September 4-6: vs. Rockies
  • September 8-10: @ Diamondbacks
  • September 12-13: vs. Astros
  • September 14-16: @ Padres
  • September 17-20: @ Rockies
  • September 22-24: vs. Athletics
  • September 25-27: vs. Angels

The entire Dodgers schedule can be seen here.

La Russa steps down as White Sox manager over heart issue

tony la russa
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CHICAGO — Tony La Russa stepped down as manager of the Chicago White Sox on Monday because of a heart issue, ending a disappointing two-year run in the same spot where the Hall of Famer got his first job as a big league skipper.

La Russa, a three-time World Series champion who turns 78 on Tuesday, missed the final 34 games with the underachieving White Sox. He left the team on Aug. 30 and doctors ultimately told him to stay out of the dugout.

La Russa has a pacemaker implanted in February and doctors later found another heart problem that he has not detailed.

“It has become obvious that the length of the treatment and recovery process for this second health issue makes it impossible for me to be the White Sox manager in 2023,” he said in a statement. “The timing of this announcement now enables the front office to include filling the manager position with their other offseason priorities.”

Chicago began the season with World Series aspirations but was plagued by injuries and inconsistent play. It was 79-80 heading into Monday night’s game against Minnesota.

“Our team’s record this season is the final reality. It is an unacceptable disappointment. There were some pluses, but too many minuses,” La Russa said. “I was hired to provide positive, difference-making leadership and support. Our record is proof. I did not do my job.”

Bench coach Miguel Cairo took over after La Russa stepped away. The White Sox showed a spark right after the change, winning 10 of 14. But they dropped eight straight in late September, dashing their playoff hopes.

La Russa, who is close friends with White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, was a surprise hire in October 2020, and he directed the team to the AL Central title last year.

But the White Sox sputtered throughout much of 2022, and there were chants of “Fire Tony! Fire Tony!” at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“At no time have I been disappointed or upset with White Sox fans, including those who at times chanted `Fire Tony,”‘ La Russa said. “They come to games with passion for our team and a strong desire to win. Loud and excited when we win, they rightly are upset when we play poorly.”

All-Star shortstop Tim Anderson and sluggers Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert missed significant time because of injuries. Catcher Yasmani Grandal and third baseman Yoan Moncada also had health issues, and they underperformed when they were on the field.

There were embarrassing breakdowns, too, like when the White Sox ran themselves into the first 8-5 triple play in major league history during a loss to Minnesota on July 4.

La Russa continued to be a lightning rod for fans who weren’t thrilled with his hiring in the first place. His lineups came under question as did his decisions in games.

Some fans chanted for La Russa’s dismissal following a strange call for an intentional walk to to the Dodgers’ Trea Turner despite a 1-2 count on June 9. Bennett Sousa had just bounced an 0-2 slider, allowing the runner to advance from first to second.

With the base open, La Russa chose to walk Turner even though there were two strikes. It backfired when Max Muncy smacked a three-run homer, propelling Los Angeles to an 11-9 victory.

Another moment that raised eyebrows happened early in the 2021 season.

During a 1-0 loss to Cincinnati, La Russa was unaware of a rule that would have allowed him to use Jose Abreu as the automatic runner at second base rather than closer Liam Hendriks in the 10th inning.

With a 2,900-2,514 record over 35 years with Chicago, Oakland and St. Louis, La Russa trails only Connie Mack on baseball’s career wins list. He moved past John McGraw last season.

But there were big questions about whether La Russa was the right person for the job when the White Sox hired him to replace Rick Renteria. He hadn’t filled out a lineup card since 2011, when St. Louis beat Texas in the World Series. There were doubts about how someone known more for his scowl than smile would mesh with a fun-loving team that had just delivered the White Sox’s first playoff appearance since 2008.

Then, shortly after his hiring, news surfaced of an arrest on misdemeanor DUI charges.

La Russa blew out a tire on the Lexus he was driving in a collision with a curb that February in Arizona, after going to dinner with friends. The case was filed on Oct. 28, one day before the White Sox announced La Russa’s hiring.

He ended up pleading guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving and was sentenced to one day of home detention, a fine of nearly $1,400 and 20 hours of community service.

La Russa also pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in Florida in 2007 after police found him asleep and smelling of alcohol inside his running sport-utility vehicle at a stoplight.

La Russa captured championships with Oakland in 1989 and the Cardinals in 2006 and 2011. The former big league infielder and Sparky Anderson are the only managers to win the World Series in the American and National leagues.

He got his first major league managing job at age 34 when the White Sox promoted him from Triple-A to replace the fired Don Kessinger during the 1979 season. He took over that August and led them to a 522-510 record over parts of eight seasons.

The 1983 team won 99 games on the way to the AL West championship – Chicago’s first playoff appearance since the 1959 Go-Go White Sox won the pennant. But La Russa was fired in 1986 by then-general manager Ken Harrelson after the White Sox got off to a 26-38 start, a move Reinsdorf long regretted.