The Dodgers were dealt two big blows to their roster on Tuesday. First they lost top infield prospect Alex Guerrero for an unknown length of time, perhaps as long as five weeks, after his ear was partially bitten off by veteran and raging catcher Miguel Olivo during their triple-A game in Salt Lake City. Olivo was reportedly upset at Guerrero for not covering the bases and he took it out on the Cuban infielder by first punching him in the dugout then viciously attacking him by biting his left ear. Guerrero had to undergo plastic surgery, and he is currently seeking legal representation in the matter. The Dodgers have yet to make a decision on the fate of Olivo, but I sincerely hope we do not ever see him again within the Dodgers’ organization or in professional baseball for that matter.
The Dodgers had seemingly been contemplating bringing up Guerrero for a utility role, and they had been playing Guerrero at short and planned to start him at third base as well. Even though I constantly hear about Guerrero’s subpar defense, I have yet to actually see that he in fact isn’t up to snuff. In fact I personally watched Guerrero and Dee Gordon practicing at second base side-by-side during Spring Training, and even back then he was no slouch.
The second wrench in the gear came during the ninth inning of the Dodgers-Mets game on Tuesday night when Juan Uribe had to exit the game after straining his right hamstring while running out of the box on a double. I’m not sure Uribe’s hamstring was completely healed in the first place, but now it is reportedly strained worse than the first time and a disabled stint seems imminent.
With Hyun-jin Ryu set to be activated on Wednesday, the Dodgers will need to make some roster decisions, but with the two new injuries it spins a different scenario. Chone Figgins will likely stay since the Dodgers have little infield depth in the farm system aside from Erisbel Arruebarrena who is sharp defensively but clearly needs more seasoning. Corey Seager is still not close, and I don’t see him coming up until 2016 or the tail end of 2015. That leaves Carlos Triunfel who is on the 40-man roster and who has played 27 Major League games for Seattle from 2012-2013. If Uribe is disabled, say hello to Justin Turner, starting third baseman.
The Dodgers will need to forge on even with the infield conundrum, and Hyun-jin Ryu will be making his first start since April 27th versus the Rockies before he was disabled with shoulder inflammation. In that last outing, Ryu did not look like himself and allowed 6 runs on 9 hits over 5 innings. He has made 2 previous starts against the Mets and has a career record of 1-0 with an ERA of 1.29 against them. He has made one prior start at Citi Field but wasn’t involved in the decision after allowing 1 run on 3 hits over 7 innings. The only current Mets who have a hit against Ryu are Daniel Murphy, Juan Lugares, and Lucas Duda. Granderson, Flores, Abreu, and Young have never faced Ryu.
Jacob deGrom will be making his second Major League start in place of the injured Dillon Gee who has a strained lat muscle. The 25-year old right-
hander had a great debut against the Yankees. He picked up the loss but only allowed 1 run on 4 hits with 6 strikeouts and 2 walks over 7 innings. This season with the Las Vegas 51s, deGrom is 4-0 with a 2.58 ERA in 7 starts.
With infield issues and the loss of Uribe, the middle of the order will need to continue to produce. Adrian Gonzalez has seemed to have snapped out of his slump, and Hanley is slowly coming around. With Ryu shoring up the rotation, the bullpen will be looked to shut down the opposition in the late innings like they were able to do in Tuesday’s win in New York. The Dodgers could really use a series win against both the Mets and the Phillies before heading home to play the Reds and Pirates.
Prediction: A.J. Ellis gets back into the swing of things with a couple of hits.
Game time is at 4:10 p.m. PT as the Dodgers look to take the Empire State by storm.