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.

Braves sweep Mets, take 2-game lead in East with 3 remaining

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ATLANTA — Matt Olson knew the Atlanta Braves were too talented to stay in a season-long slump.

That’s why no one panicked when the New York Mets’ division lead swelled to double digits in May. Now the Braves are on the cusp of another NL East title.

“It’s a clubhouse full of guys who want to win,” Olson said. “That’s all it’s been since the moment I walked in. That’s No. 1 on the program.”

Dansby Swanson and Olson homered for the third straight game, Travis d'Arnaud hit a go-ahead two-run single in the third inning, and Braves beat New York 5-3 on Sunday night, completing a three-game sweep of their NL East rival and taking a two-game lead in the division with three games to play.

The defending World Series champion Braves have been chasing the Mets the entire season. In the final series of the season, any combination of one Atlanta win or one Mets loss would give the Braves their fifth straight division title.

New York plays its final three games of the season against worst-in-the-majors Washington. Atlanta closes out the regular season with a three-game set in Miami. Should the season end Wednesday in a tie, Atlanta would win the division after claiming the season series 10-9 with Sunday’s victory.

“We’ve felt this confidence since the beginning of the year,” d’Arnaud said. “It just didn’t go our way early in the year, but pulling on the same rope, having each others’ backs, not trying to do too much. We’re just trying to play the game of baseball and have fun with it.”

The Braves won five of the last six games in the series, outscoring the Mets 42-19 over that stretch. New York had a 10 1/2-game lead on June 1 but now is the lower in the standings than at any point this season.

It was a lost weekend for New York, which came to Atlanta hoping to clinch its first division title since 2015. Instead, aces Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer lost Friday and Saturday before Chris Bassitt lasted just 2 2/3 innings on Sunday.

“We still have three games left in the regular season, we’re still going to the postseason, that doesn’t change, but there’s a lot of learning points that we can take from this series moving forward,” Mets slugger Pete Alonso said. “I thought we played well, but the Braves played better. They played excellent baseball this entire weekend.”

Swanson took Bassitt deep to right-center in the first with his 25th homer, and Atlanta took charge with a three-run third. Bassitt (15-9) issued a bases-loaded walk to Olson before d’Arnaud delivered a single up the middle to score Ronald Acuna Jr. and Austin Riley for a 4-3 lead. That chased Bassitt, who was charged with four runs, three hits and three walks.

Olson connected for his 33rd homer to make it 5-3 leading off the sixth, his 410-foot shot landing in the seats in right-center. Olson, in his first year with Atlanta, surpassed 100 RBIs for the second straight season.

“Everyone knew we were underperforming when we were flirting around that .500 range,” Olson said. “It was one of those things where it was trusting the talent we have and the guys in the clubhouse. Everybody was solid, head down, do your work, it’ll turn around and you wind up winning.”

Charlie Morton stranded runners on first and second in the first, but he gave up Daniel Vogelbach‘s 18th homer that tied it at 1 in the second. The righty struck out Francisco Lindor with runners on first and second to end the threat.

Jeff McNeil went deep off Morton in the third and Vogelbach followed with an RBI single to put the Mets up 3-1. Morton entered the game having allowed 28 homers, sixth-most in the NL.

Morton scuffled throughout his start, giving up three runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings as the 38-year-old made his first start since signing a $20 million, one-year contract to remain with Atlanta next season.

Dylan Lee (5-1) relieved Morton and pitched 1 1/3 innings, leaving after a walk to Brandon Nimmo with two outs in the sixth. Collin McHugh entered and struck out Francisco Lindor.

Raisel Iglesias faced four batters in the seventh, A.J. Minter faced the minimum in the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen converted his third save of the series with a clean ninth.

Jansen leads the NL with 40 saves in 47 chances.

The Braves’ bullpen, which posted a 1.70 ERA last month, pitched 8 2/3 scoreless innings the last two nights.

BIG NUMBERS

Atlanta leads the NL with 241 homers. And the Braves have their first 100-victory season since 2003.

TWO, DARN HOT

McNeil went 3 for 5 and has multiple hits in five straight games. His average is .326, one point behind the Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman for the NL batting title. In 23 career games at Truist Park, McNeil is hitting .395 with 12 runs, nine doubles, two homers, seven RBIs and four walks. … Jansen tied Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley for eighth place on the career list with 389. He’s also is the 10th closer to have four different seasons with at least 40 saves.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets All-Star RF Starling Marte (right middle finger fracture) has yet to begin swinging or throwing. … Braves 2B Ozzie Albies (broken right pinky finger) is still wearing a cast. … Braves RHP Spencer Strider still has not thrown as he gets treatment on a sore left oblique.

ATTENDANCE

The Braves drew 42,713 in their regular season finale, the club’s 42nd sellout of the season. Overall. that’s 3,129,931 for the season – and the most tickets sold since 2000. In 2019, the team’s last full season before the COVID-19 pandemic, Atlanta drew 2,655,100.

UP NEXT

Mets: RHP Carlos Carrasco (15-7, 3.95 ERA) will face Nationals RHP Cory Abbott (0-4, 5.11).

Braves: RHP Bryce Elder (2-3, 2.76 ERA) will face Marlins LHP Jesus Luzardo (3-7, 3.53).