With exactly two weeks until Opening Day, Spring Training is beginning to be more about getting players that are going to be on the big league team to start the season as many at-bats and innings as possible.
On Monday, the Los Angeles Dodgers make the short trip to Goodyear Ballpark to take on the Cleveland Indians. The matchup features a pair of right-handers in Brandon McCarthy and Trevor Bauer.
The start is McCarthy’s fourth of the spring, and he is expected to throw five innings after going 3.2 innings in his previous start. McCarthy has seen mixed results so far this spring as he has been a victim of the long ball.
In 8.2 innings pitched he has given up eight hits and five runs while striking out five and walking one. He’s allowed three home runs, including two in his last outing against the Seattle Mariners.
In 10 games (nine starts) last season after returning from Tommy John surgery, McCarthy went 2-3 with a 4.95 ERA, 3.70 FIP and 1.38 WHIP. He will likely be the fourth or fifth starter in the Dodgers rotation to begin the 2017 season.
Bauer, who is a Santa Clarita native, is making his fifth start this spring. In 14.2 innings of work this year, he has a 4.30 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. Baur has struck out seven and walked just one.
The 26-year-old pitched a career-high 190 innings for the American League champions in 2016, going 12-8 with a 4.26 ERA, 3.99 FIP, 1.31 WHIP, 168 strikeouts and 70 walks.
Baur faces a Dodgers lineup with several regulars, including Joc Pederson, Justin Turner, Yasmani Grandal and Andrew Toles. Charlie Culberson, competing for a spot on the Opening Day roster, starts at shortstop.
He’s batting .250/.333/.350 with two doubles, one triple, two home RBI and four walks in 16 Cactus League games. Corey Seager, recovering from an oblique injury, may return to action this week.
With Andre Ethier still affected by back tightness and set for an MRI, Trayce Thompson earns the start in right field. Thompson was slow out of the gate this spring as he recovered from multiple fractured vertebrae in his back. Thompson has four hits, including a home run, in 15 at-bats this spring.
Thompson was originally slated to start in left field, but starting right fielder Yasiel Puig was scratched from the lineup with calf soreness, so Thompson moves to right and O’Koyea Dickson gets the start in left.
For the Indians, Michael Brantley makes his Cactus League debut after playing in Minor League games last week. Brantley is working his way back from last August’s right biceps tenodesis surgery. Right shoulder and biceps trouble limited him to 11 games last season.
CF: Joc Pederson
2B: Chase Utley
3B: Justin Turner
C: Yasmani Grandal
1B: Ike Davis
RF: Trayce Thompson
DH: Andrew Toles
LF: O’Koyea Dickson
SS: Charlie Culberson
RF: Brandon Guyer
LF: Michael Brantley
CF: Lonnie Chisenhall
3B: Yandy Diaz
1B: Chris Colabello
DH: Richie Shaffer
C: Erik Kratz
2B: Michael Martinez
SS: Erik Gonzalez