NL cham­pion Dodgers get­ting started again with fa­mil­iar 5

Imperial Valley Press - - SPORTS - The

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — All-Star closer Ken­ley Jansen likes the way the de­fend­ing Na­tional League cham­pion Los An­ge­les Dodgers are get­ting started again — with a very fa­mil­iar ro­ta­tion.

Even with Yu Darvish al­ready in a dif­fer­ent NL blue after his short stint as a mid­sea­son ac­qui­si­tion, the Dodgers re­turn five pitch­ers who made at least 24 starts last sea­son. That quin­tet com­bined to start 126 of the 162 reg­u­lar-sea­son games.

“Some­times peo­ple say, ‘Oh, the Dodgers didn’t make no moves.’ That’s why, be­cause we don’t need to make moves,” Jansen said. “You see the ro­ta­tion that we have, it’s go­ing to help us tremen­dously again.”

Three-time NL Cy Young Award win­ner and seven-time All-Star Clay­ton Ker­shaw had a teamhigh 27 starts plus five more in the post­sea­son. Rich Hill, Alex Wood and Kenta Maeda each had 25 starts, and Hyun-Jin Ryu 24.

Ex­actly 15 weeks after the Game 7 loss to Hous­ton in the World Se­ries, Dodgers pitch­ers and catch­ers held their first spring train­ing work­out in Ari­zona on Wed­nes­day.

“I’m sure ev­ery­body took a week or how­ever long they needed to kind of process ev­ery­thing,” Hill said. “If you can’t do that, you’re go­ing to be kind of spin­ning your wheels . ... Ev­ery­body is ready to get on with 2018 and un­der­stand that last year was a good year but ob­vi­ously the ul­ti­mate goal was failed, and learn from that, and con­tinue to keep mov­ing for­ward.”

Man­ager Dave Roberts spoke about a good nu­cleus of pitch­ers and catch­ers that have been part of the Dodgers have done and are try­ing to do.

His open­ing mes­sage to them was wel­com­ing them back and re­mind­ing them that spring train­ing is a long time.

“You have five guys com­ing back that re­ally have that con­ti­nu­ity with the catch­ers, with Rick — It’s huge for us,” Roberts said. “To have those guys that re­ally we know them, they know us.”

The five key starters were among 26 pitch­ers used by pitch­ing coach Rick Hon­ey­cutt for a team that won 104 games.

“We can draw from where we were last year and the year prior to that mov­ing into the 2018 sea­son,” Hill said. “With these five guys that are in the ro­ta­tion, I think ev­ery­body does an un­be­liev­able job of staying in the mo­ment and un­der­stand­ing what that means.”

Darvish made nine starts for the Dodgers the last two months of the reg­u­lar sea­son after be­ing traded from Texas on July 31.

He won his NL Di­vi­sion Se­ries and Cham­pi­onship Se­ries starts but lost two short World Se­ries starts, in­clud­ing the fi­nale.

Darvish agreed to a $126 mil­lion, six-year deal with the Chicago Cubs this week.

Even be­fore his bullpen ses­sion on the first of­fi­cial day of work­outs, Ker­shaw had al­ready been tabbed to make his Dodgers-record eighth start on open­ing day.

Ker­shaw, who turns 30 dur­ing spring train­ing, went 18-4 in the reg­u­lar sea­son and then 3-1 in his five post­sea­son starts.

He was the Game 1 win­ner in the World Se­ries, but blew a four-run lead and didn’t make it out of the fifth in­ning of Game 5 — which the Astros won 13-12 in 10 in­nings.

Los An­ge­les Dodgers pitcher Kenta Maeda stretches with team­mates at team’s spring train­ing base­ball fa­cil­ity Wed­nes­day in Glendale, Ariz. AP PHOTO/ CAR­LOS OS­O­RIO

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