Fife, Dominguez glow amid Puig spotlight

That there is any other Dodger to write about besides the one who got his 44th hit in his 100th at-bat would be remarkable in any year, much less one that still features a last-place team in Los Angeles.

But here we are on the final day of June with not only the remarkable Yasiel Puig to talk about, or even the sizzling Hanley Ramirez, but two others who are turning heads.

You’ve met Stephen Fife – but have you met Stephen Fife? The 26-year-old, whose 2011 acquisition was derided in most quarters (including this one), not only threw seven shutout innings today, he lowered his June ERA to 2.21 – the best of anyone this month in the Dodger starting rotation.

Yes, the rotation. I mean, do you realize that Fife is in the rotation now? He’s not some stopgap spot starter. He’s in. He’s taken a regular turn for six straight starts now, striking out 30 in 36 2/3 innings. It’s hardly too late for his chariot to turn into a pumpkin, that he’s John Ely in disguise, but 12 starts into his major-league career, he has a 2.78 ERA.

In his own small way, far from the Puig spotlight, he has helped the Dodgers win eight games in their past nine and pull within four games of first place in the National League West, which has generated its own level of skepticism but for now remains the third-best division in baseball.

Games over .500
33 AL East
22 NL Central
-8 NL West
-11 AL West
-12 AL Central
-24 NL East

Even at 38-43, the Dodgers are in a much more enviable position at the halfway point of their season than seemed fathomable just last weekend. The future looks brighter than any point since Opening Day. And again, that’s not just thanks to Puig. The Dodgers’ newest freshman, Jose Dominguez, exactly four months older than Puig, delivered the most electric debut this side of their precocious rightfielder.

Hitting 101 on the radar gun, Dominguez relieved Fife in a perfect eighth inning, striking out his first major-league batter and displaying a tantalizing change to go with that fastball. Making it clear that he wasn’t equating Dominguez with Pedro Martinez, Vin Scully nevertheless said you couldn’t help thinking of the future Hall of Famer while watching the baby San Pedro de Macoris native. I can hardly wait to see him again, and I’m sure the Dodgers feel the same way.

We’ll wait to see how Dominguez’ control plays out, but it’s easy to draw renewed bullpen hope in a potential lead trio of Dominguez, Paco Rodriguez and Kenley Jansen, with J.P Howell and Ronald Belisario in secondary roles. And that’s no small reason why there’s renewed hope in the Dodgers as well.

  • Anonymous

    I’m finally done with work. Can’t wait to watch this game. 101 on the radar? Wow. And Fife! I feel like Puig looks, in KT’s posted picture below.

  • Anonymous

    Waffles anyone?

  • Anonymous

    “It’s easy to draw renewed bullpen hope in a potential lead trio of Dominguez, Paco Rodriguez and Kenley Jansen, with J.P Howell and Ronald Belisario in secondary roles. ”

    . . . and with Guerrier playing no role whatsoever. Now if only League could find a way to hurt an oblique.

    Big young strong arms at the back of games seems to make a whole lot more sense than the conventional wisdom on bullpen construction and management. The Giants proved that last year, as did the Cardinals the year before. And Jansen would seem to be a good guy to act as dean of a kiddie corps, don’t you think?

    • Anonymous

      League won’t have his oblique problem until Crawford is ready.

    • Anonymous

      Let’s hope that DM starts to give Paco his due. Sample size issues, but Paco has a better WHIP that even Jansen (0.882 versus 0.951 and a better OPS against RHP at 0.507 to 0.585.

  • Anonymous

    NL West, June 22-June 30
    Dodgers 8-1
    Rockies 4-4
    Diamondbacks 2-6
    Giants 2-6
    Padres 2-6
    (Nine days that shook the West)

  • Anonymous

    Explaining the past and portending the future: PAs for the Dodgers this year, Sellers 77, Ramirez 82.

  • Mike

    Made an awesome Shirt for this beast, check it out!

    http://www.teespring.com/ThatlldoPuig

    • Anonymous

      Love it, though I’m not sure Yasiel will like being compared to a herding pig.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

      Nice shirt! But shouldn’t it read “That’ll do Puig, That’ll do”?

  • Anonymous

    After sweeping the Giants, I thought 3 out of 4 from the Phils would be awesome – and the Boys delivered. Strange series as the Dodgers only out-hit the Phils ONCE (yesterday) and still took 3 out of 4. If I had been told before the series that the Phils would have 52 hits and 24 runs to the Dodgers 42 hits and 17 runs I certainly would not have envisioned them winning 3 of the 4 – would have sounded like they were headed to losing 3 of the 4. Love how the Dodgers were able to shake off that lopsided rout on Friday night and go on to take Sat and Sun games to win the series.

    • Anonymous

      See the 1960 World Series, where the Yankees outscored the Pirates by a 2-1 margin, (55-27), yet lost the series. Runs are great, but wins are better.

  • Anonymous

    It’s not all wins for Puig. At Wimbledon today, Sloane Stephens of the US defeated Monica Puig of Puerto Rico, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1.

    • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

      “Those are the Puerto Rican Puigs. They’re distant cousins, moved away a long time ago. My family always wondered about them.’

  • Anonymous

    This is probably the first off-day this season that I’m disappointed the Dodgers aren’t playing . . . previously, it was relief that at least they wouldn’t lose!

    • Anonymous

      I feel (and previously felt) the same way – Oh well at 4 pm on ESPN later today we can get a look at SF’s new lefty Kickham (0-2, 10.57 ERA) going up against Arroyo and the Reds for some laughs…

      • Anonymous

        Yep, just be cheering for the Reds, the Mets and Miami respectively

  • Anonymous

    Hey Fellas….
    ….
    I know we’re all Dodger fans, so probably a safe bet we’re with Yassy on this one….
    ….
    However, as sick as I am of hearing this question asked of the various sports casters, is there anybody on DT who DOESN’T think he should get the All Star nod?

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

      I’ll say it’s definitely the least of my worries, that I can certainly see the argument against it, and that all things being equal, I’d be fine for him to spend the three days just chillin’.

      • Anonymous

        Yep.
        I can see that…. as… chillin’ = not getting injured = ready for 2nd half !!! :-)

  • Anonymous

    MLB trade rumors reporting the Dodgers are finalizing a deal for Carlos Marmol. Doesn’t sound like it will be straight up for League either.

    • DXMachina

      I just saw that rumor over at Hardball Talk, and couldn’t believe it. In god’s name, why?!?

      • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

        Did we not just DFA Guerrier, the Dodgers’ equivalent of Marmol?

        • https://www.facebook.com/kmt59 KT

          They might try to fix Marmol and have Cruz, Guerrier or maybe Moylan to offer the cubs…Cubs pay Marmol we pay our guy’s salary

    • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

      He’s like a Belisario but has been much better in the past. Hard to believe adding more control problems to the bull pen is a good idea. But if the Dodgers don’t give up much and he can turn it around he has some nasty stuff.

      • john galt

        Ned always brought home birds with broken wings when he was a kid…(If he ever was) What happened with Nolasco or Garza?

        • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

          As Eric Stephen suggested at True Blue LA, maybe the Marmol deal is part of a larger deal for Garza. Would surely make more sense.

          • john galt

            Trading Withrow for Marmol is Ned’s quid-pro-quo for allowing them to DFA Cruz or Guerierre (sp).

          • https://www.facebook.com/kmt59 KT

            not going to happen

  • https://www.facebook.com/kmt59 KT

    My son saw the banner of Dodger Stadium on top of DT and said to me “play baseball dad”

  • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

    Giants down 7-0 in Cinci. Dbacks unfortunately lead the Mets 3-0.

    • https://www.facebook.com/kmt59 KT

      Come on Amazings

      • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

        Padres also down 4-0 now.

        • Anonymous

          The meatloaf song ’2 out of 3 ain’t bad’ springs to mind!

  • https://www.facebook.com/kmt59 KT

    Dodgers day off…chillin
    pic.twitter.com/R1jpXLU3f2
    pic.twitter.com/eQ3oLS1Aqz
    pic.twitter.com/tGvaPiULzK

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    NPUT

  • Anonymous

    I see now that Capuano is listed as the probable starter in Thursday’s game. With the day off today, could someone tell me why we would not flip Cap and Ryu, so that Ryu could go Thursday. This would also allow us to throw Kershaw, Greinke, and Ryu on the last three days before the All-Star Break (as well as in the first three after the break).

    While it certainly is nice to give Ryu a fifth day of rest, how is it not serious rotation mismanagement to not flip them in this case?

    This is even putting aside Capuano’s disaster on Friday (which certainly had an element of bad luck, with two balls through his legs in the first inning, and three potential double-play balls that were not turned, and that the piling on came at the expense of two guys who are no longer on the roster). THe fact is Ryu is just much better.

    Whomever is in that fourth position (be it Cap, Ryu, or who knows–Lilly?) would last start on July 10 and then not again until July 22. That’s a long break. If it is Capuano, he would be available in a long or swing role out of the bullpen in the last weekend before the All-Star game, but I just don’t see Ryu as working out of the bullpen.

  • Anonymous

    I hadn’t realized what an afterthought Fife was in the Fedex/Fife for Robinson deal. Can’t believe the values involved for the Red Sox, Mariners and Dodgers.