Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Kemp, Ethier watch Dodgers finish win from clubhouse

A nightmare scenario produced a dreamy finish – today, anyway.

Despite losing Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier midway through today’s game, the Dodgers rallied from deficits of 3-0 and 4-2, scoring six in the bottom of the fifth on their way to a 11-5 Mother’s Day victory that improved their MLB-best record to 23-11.

Before I get into the other details, I want to say this about A.J. Ellis, who singled, walked and hit a three-run home run today (capping the fifth-inning onslaught) and now is OPSing .974 this season. I have absolutely believed for a long time that he was capable of delivering high on-base percentage and occasional power. Plate discipline is huge in this game, and Ellis has it by the bushel. What he’s doing in 2012 matches my highest expectations, but it doesn’t exceed them, certainly not for a stretch of this length. I am thrilled, I am elated, but I am not shocked. Not in any way.

As for the rest of the action …

1) No, we’re not getting out of today’s game unscathed. Kemp left today’s game after running out a ground ball in the bottom of the third, engineering new concern over his left hamstring. What this means long-term isn’t clear, though in the short-term, at least, the Dodgers didn’t suffer. Bobby Abreu hit a three-run double in his first at-bat to give the Dodgers their first lead of the day.

2) Ethier left today’s game in the fifth inning on the behest of home-plate umpire Mark Carlson’s right thumb. Ethier argued a borderline called third strike at length, then began to walk away but cursed unmistakably in the process. Carlson had showed patience during the initial argument, but didn’t extend it any further. I sent my daughter to her room for a few minutes in response to her own shouting at around the same time, so I understand the feeling. (Don Mattingly also was sent on his less-than-merry way a minute later.)

3) Scott Van Slyke replaced Ethier in right field and looked great. In his first plate appearance, he drew a walk and stole a base, then scored the Dodgers’ ninth run on a perfectly executed squeeze by Adam Kennedy on a high and outside pitch. In the eighth inning, Van Slyke doubled in two more runs, continuing his perfect start to his career.

4) Tony Gwynn Jr., moments after moving to center field after Kemp left, made a spectacular horizontal catch.

5) James Loney doubled and walked twice.



Happy Mother’s Day


The A.J. Ellis All-Star campaign — taking it national


  1. KT

    Nice sweep of the Rocks
    Now time to repeat against AZ

  2. Anonymous

    I understand the obvious reasoning behind a NPUT immediately after the game ends, but I have always thought that it tends to fragment the post game chatting.

    not a gripe.  an observation.

    • Anonymous

      At this point we are pretty much trained to wait for the NPUT and to reflect on the post. (so, it can be weird when on the rare occasion it doesn’t come)

  3. You need to think of DT as one continuous chat.

    • KT


    • Anonymous

      It’s like the horizon, it goes on forever :)

    • Anonymous

      ah.  of course.  I am doing it wrong ;)

      I’ll get right on that.  heh.

  4. Anonymous

    We still have the best W-L in the league.  And, while there’s a long way to go and I’m not counting any chickens before they’re hatched, it’s also worth noting that under the new playoff structure the best W-L is A BIG DEAL, unlike previous years.  Starting this year, the two wild card teams play each other in a one-game playoff, possibly burning their best starter (and relievers) in the process.  So the winner of that wild-card playoff limps into the playoffs weaker, presumably to play the division leader with the best W-L record in the NLDS.  As a result, that division winner has a big advantage over the other two division leaders, who play each other in the NLDS.

  5. Anonymous

    just logged in at work – Wow, wow and wow (I hope Kemp is OK though). When I left home, we were 0-3 down

  6. Good win, good series. Either had his opportunity to say what he wanted to say and walk away, but he could not resist… He deserved to get tossed, but Don should have gotten out there to get him faster. The manager has to protect his guys from themselves sometimes.

  7. Anonymous

    I like what this game can mean for the Dodgers.  It can mean that AJ Ellis continues to hit well and bat higher in the order.  It can mean that SVS continues to hit (and run!) well and gets some starts.  And it’s one more indication that Belisario may be back to his fine form from 2009. Even Javy looked good today.
    Granted, one game does not foretell the rest of the season. But there was lots to like about this game.

  8. Anonymous

    Seeing the Ethier incident again, I had no problem with him being tossed…hit the showers you bum.  But what I do miss (so much) are those classic confrontations between the manager and umpire….nose to nose barking at each other.  That was part of the fun of baseball.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t have a problem with him being tossed.  But he shouldn’t have said what he did, shouldn’t have done more than a respectful, polite disagreement.  It hurts the team to get tossed from the game, and could have made the difference in the game, for all anyone knew at the time.

  9. As a DC based Dodger fan forced to watch in MLBtv. Am super excited to have Vin broadcasting basically the entire month. That along with new owners and a team playing the best baseball in MLB I am super pumped for this season.

  10. Great win, nice sweep.

    Now then, should I be panicking about the fact that they’re gonna MRI Kemp’s hammy tomorrow, or is that typical with these sorts of things?{cue “Chicken Run” “Nobody panic!” clip}

    • Anonymous

      I don’t think we are supposed to panic until we hear the phrase “day to day”.

    • Anonymous

      Kemp has gone hitless the past four games, and the Dodgers have won all four.

      • Absolutely, and that should not be overlooked. However, can we all agree that a loss of Kemp for awhile would still be pretty harmful to the Dodgers?  I should say, a healthy Kemp, since a hurting Kemp definitely didn’t contribute much to the cause this week.

        • Anonymous

          Yes, of course.

        • Yes, it will hurt, but this may be comforting:

          As usual, the Dodgers have to get through the Cardinals buzzsaw and not be too discouraged if they get chewed (how many times over the last decade has a Dodger slump started with a Cards series? — although it’s usually on the road), but otherwise, having Kemp out for two weeks against the Pads, D-backs and Stros is about the best schedule one could hope for. I would almost vote for putting him on the 15 day DL NOW and giving that hammy all the therapy it needs rather than risk a longer stint down the stretch. 

      • Anonymous

        Kemp is now 0 for what?

        • Anonymous

          In the last four games, he’s 0 for 13, with a walk.  The game prior to that, he walked in his last AB, and was out in his prior at-bat.  So he’s 0 for his last 14 at bats.

          • Anonymous

             However, he barely missed two HRs among those ABs.

    • KT

      love that clip

  11. KT

    Mattingly said he wasn’t really mad when Ethier got ejected…He was just tired of wearing the pink shoes that hurt his feet…Got to love it

  12. Anonymous

    Charlie Steiner thought that Gwynn’s diving catch wouldn’t have been made by a hamstrung Matt Kemp and seemed to fuel the Dodgers 6 run 5th.

    Great day to be Dodger fan. Love you mom.

    • Anonymous

      in a lot of diving catches, the dive itself isn’t really instrumental to making the catch;  the dive is more  for affect than anything else.

      not so this afternoon.  gwynn jr wouldn’t have made the catch without the dive.

    • bcmaiden

      Didn’t Jr. catch that in LF where Abreu should have been? I don’t think a healthy Matty catches that ball. It was so awesome. As a huge fan of Jr’s defense, I feel so confident when he roams the outfield. He’s also giving us some clutch hitting. 

    • Anonymous

       For once, Steiner is correct.

  13. Jon, from the post it’s a little unclear. Was your daughter yelling at the umpire about the strike call just as André was?

    • No, yelling at her littlest brother. And then me. 

      •  Nuts. It would have been an amusing anecdote to tell to her dates in the future. ;)

      • Anonymous

        I thought maybe she got sent to her room for using the same words that Andre did.  :)

  14. Anonymous

    Last year the team lost 5 games in a row from July 2 to July 6. Every lose was taken by our starter. De La Rosa lost to Capuano on the fourth of July, for example. The next game Kershaw shut out the Mets for 8 innings while Jansen and Kuo finished the 9th. July 6 marked the low point of the 2011 season not that I would have believed it at the time. Including the July 7 win, the Dodgers are 68-39 for a .636 percentage since then.
    Imagine if Colletti had matched the Cardinals seemingly ridiculous offer to Furcal of $13 million for 2 years and Furcal had accepted forcing Gordon back to AAA. btw, right now Furcal is the NL all-star ss

    • Anonymous

      I like Furcal but, given his fragility, I won’t second-guess Ned on that one – especially since the Dodgers have the best record in baseball.

      • Anonymous

        wasn’t second-guessing just day-dreaming of how our line-up would look with Furcal getting on base twice a game or more which is what he has been doing.

        • Anonymous

          Hindsight is always 20-20.  At the time Furcal was traded, his injury history – he failed to play in 100 games three of his last four years – made it look unwise to rely on him.  And even if he turned out to be healthy, it would have been impossible to predict that, at age 34, he would OPS more than 100 points higher than in any of his 12 previous big-league seasons except one.  As impossible as predicting that a 31-year-old catcher, in his first full big-league season, would OPS higher than any of his 9 years in the minors.  :)

        •  his ops is like 400 points higher than Gordons!

    • Anonymous

      Does $13 M for Furcal negate signing Capuano, Ellis, or Hairston?

    • Anonymous

      Yes Gordon is struggling and completely overwhelmed sometimes but he is getting valuable playing time and a good dose of Davey Lopes everyday.

      • Anonymous

        Hard to argue with Artie on this point.

  15. Anonymous

    Jon, you might have added that, after the first, Lilly settled down and kept the team in the game. He deserves credit for that.

  16. Anonymous

    Who’s the All-Star here? (update)

                       A.J.    Posey

    G                  26           21 (plus 7 at 1B)
    BA             .317        .282
    OBP          .462        .336
    SLG           .512       .436
    OPS           .974       .772
    HR                  3            4
    RBI               15          12
    BB                21            9
    K                  19           26
    E                    2             4 (plus one at 1B)
    CS           11/23        4/17
                    (.478)       (.235)

    • KT

      so are you stuffing the on-line ballot boxes using all your e-mail addresses?

      • Anonymous

         I only have one email address.

        • KT

          I voted all my 5 e-mails…soon I’ll vote all my in-laws since they all speak arabic and don’t follow MLB..then I’ll go from there ^_^

    • Anonymous

      As surprising as AJ’s hitting has been, his ability to throw out baserunners has been just as surprising.  In previous seasons with the Dodgers, he threw out runners at a 27-28 percent rate, and averaged 35 percent in 9 years in the minors.  Who knew?  :)

  17. This would be odd, if true. Or at least til we know more details.
    (h/t Tony Jackson and Eric Stephen)

    Herrera could replace Dee Gordon if Dee gets sent down to work on stuff.  Or Kemp if he is god forbid DL’d. Could be precautionary, in case of the latter.  Or Sellers sent back down, to get to play everyday (though that seems odd, too). 

    • Anonymous

      To say, as the article linked does, that Herrera’s absence from tonight’s Alb. starting line-up is conspicuous is (possibly) only true in light of the story. They mix and match for seeming, to me, no reason in the Alb. line-ups. Herrera has been in 28 of the team’s 37 games before tonight and I’ll be shocked if he started all of those 28. Of course, it is possible that Herrera has started more often since Castellanos went on the DL but off the top of my head I don’t think so. Luis Cruz, also doing well with the bat but not as good as Herrera, is the usual starting ss, Since IDJ joined that team he has played second a good deal. Herrera, as the article notes, has played 2nd,3rd.short,LF, and CF so he is likely more experienced than Sellers in the OF. If Kemp is not in the OF, and therefore Gwynn is, then perhaps, Herrera would be more valuable to the team than Sellers. I think your last theory is very clever.

      • Anonymous

        Note that the article does not use his absence from the lineup as the primary reason for stating that he’s headed for the show, but rather, that it’s consistent with what an unconfirmed source told Tony Jackson, that he’s getting called up.

        • Anonymous

          that’s what I said or so I thought

    • Anonymous

      I don’t see him intended as a replacement for a DL-ed Kemp.  He’s mostly an infielder.  I think they plan to send either Gordon or Sellers down, or maybe they’re ready to give up on Kennedy.

      • Anonymous

        Also note that the 40-man roster is currently full, and Herrera isn’t on it.  So to call up Herrera, they would have to risk losing someone, either via release or waivers. (Unless they think Rivera’s injury is severe enough to move him to the 60-day DL.) But I’m guessing either the rumor is false, or else they’re going to risk losing Sellers or Kennedy. Either way, it involves trading one replacement-level player for another, so I don’t think it’s anything to get too excited about.

        • Anonymous

          NVM – Alfredo Silverio is on the 40-man, and is missing the entire season due to TJ surgery.  So they could open up a spot by putting him on the 60-day DL.  (Does that mean they need to move him to the Dodgers roster and pay him the MLB minimum?)

          • Anonymous

            That’s one option, if they do give up Kennedy, that would be another.  Rivera to the 60 day is a third.
            That said, if Kemp goes on the DL, I think they’ll be looking at Sands again, even though his Albuquerque time has been less than overwhelming.  Not that he would see playing time ahead of Van Slyke, but Mattingly want RH power off the bench and if Van Slyke is in the lineup, someone needs to fill the bench role.

          • Anonymous

            It’s possible.  Nice to see that Sands is coming around again, after a so-so April.  (April OPS .689, May .967 including two HR last night).

          • Anonymous

            I don’t remember ever seeing this maneuver done; perhaps a player on the DL in the minors cannot be moved to the 25-man which would,thereby, prevent this.

  18. Anonymous

    The last 2 days the Dodgers have faced RH starting pitchers who were doing better this season against RHH than vs LHH. That will continue tomorrow; so why would SVS be in the starting line-up as at least 1 person wished for. From here are Kennedy’s 2012 splits:
    297/351/525/876 or

    • Anonymous

      >> The last 2 days the Dodgers have faced RH starting pitchers who were doing better this season against RHH than vs LHH. That will continue tomorrow; so why would SVS be in the starting line-up as at least 1 person wished for.
      At AAA this year, SVS, who bats right-handed, has been hitting far better against RHP (OPS 1.170) than against LHP (.792).
      On both sides of the coin, lefty-righty matchups can go the opposite way for specific individuals.  And in this case, they do. So go ahead and play the rookie with the hot bat! :)

      • Anonymous

        While your point is well taken, SVS’s vs L-R in 2011 in AA were the other way; 1143 and 976

    • Anonymous

      So it looks like we’ll have a parade of lefties tomorrow:  Loney, Ellis, Gordon, Kennedy, Abreu, Gwynn, Ethier, Kershaw.  All we need now is left handed hitting catcher.  Anyone come to mind?

      • Anonymous

        Wallach is a lefty, and Griff is a switch-hitter. (Fedex is a righty.)

  19. Wow. Watching a replay of the game on the box now that I’ve gotten home, and i must say Gwynn’s catch looks pretty from every angle. That fifth inning was a whole game in and of itself. Go AJ! But with Matt and Andre both out for different reasons, very tough on Moms watching.

    Now we wait for Matt and bite nails. Thank goodness the Dbacks are in next.

    Nevertheless, despite injury concerns, I was feeling more upbeat about the team as a whole at the park today. Uribe is starting to hit, Loney’s got his swing back in patches, AJ is “amazing” as Vin calls him, Gwynn is looking good. It no longer looks like Kemp and Ethier as the offense and everybody else as defense.

  20. Anonymous

    I totally agree with you about AJ Ellis. I feel a bit like a hipster in that I’ve been rooting for AJ to get his chance since he started yo-yoing from the minors to the bigs in 2008 and now that he’s starting and performing like a potential All-Star I get to tell everyone I was big on him before he ever got a chance. 

  21. Anonymous

    According to this article, the Texas Rangers are the most likely team with which Josh Hamilton would sign a mega-contract as a free agent for next season, but look who they’re pegging as the next most likely:–looking-beyond-josh-hamilton-s-legendary-week-to-handicap-his-free-agent-market.html

    • Anonymous

      That should make Bumsrap happy.

    • Anonymous

       An outfield of Kemp, Ethier and Hamilton would be a true powerhouse.

      • Anonymous

        Yep, what would an outfield like that cost?  We would need a cheaper infield and rotation coming up from the farm, no?  Not necssarily impossible as an option.

        • Anonymous

           With new management, cost is no object.

          • Anonymous

            I wouldn’t say cost is no object.  But I think the new management’s business plan probably assumes an increase in the Dodgers payroll from the current $95MM (12th in MLB) at least to around that of the Anaheim team ($154MM, 4th), if not more (but probably not in the Yankees range, $197MM, 1st).
            Incidentally, two former high-payroll big market teams have dropped payroll a lot, with the Mets and Cubs both around $90MM.

          • Anonymous

            I was speaking in hyperbole, but I think we can anticipate a substantially higher payroll as the team competes for elite free agents.

          • Anonymous

            Ethier is going to cost a minimum of 5/75 IMHO. Can you afford to add 200 more for Hamilton, with a long term deal for Kershaw due and still holes at first and 3rd. Also, there is no guarantee that Gordon hits, and there could be a hole at SS as well.

          • Anonymous

            I hope the Kershaw contract would come first.

          • KT

            Pismo….with an outfield of Hamilton, Ethier and Kemp do you really need Gordon to hit or Loney to hit for power

          • Anonymous

            Back of envelope:  Above the current payroll Hamilton will cost you at least $20; Dre would want $5-8 more, Kershaw another $10 more?  SVS at first would save you around the $7 that Loney would have received.  The rest of our starting rotation comes in at around $35.  After 2013 there could be some savings there that you could plow into another 1-2 rated ST and fill in the rest with our low-priced young arms.  That sort of team would cost you around $140 million.

          • Anonymous

            After 2013 you may need 3 more infielders tho Bob. Uribe is gone, Ellis’ contract is up, and who knows if Gordon is the answer. May have an in house answer at second with Castellanos but what’s on the farm at 3rd? I would still be way more interested in Kendrys Morales at first than Hamilton

      • Anonymous

        Just for fun, who plays where? Do you dare move a two time gold glove CF?

        • Anonymous

          Ask the Angels KT. O wait, Albert has as many dingers as Gordon. ;-) If you want a high payroll team relying on a couple of mashersr(read Phillies) that’s 1 way. I would rather have balance throughout the lineup.

  22. ” The Dodgers have the largest division lead. Can anyone catch them?” Yes, maybe, no.

    • Anonymous

      IIRC, last year at this time, the Cleveland Indians had a large division lead.  For them last year, the answer was yes.

    • “Besides, the Dodgers are one Matt Kemp injury away from having one of the worst offenses in the league.”
      I guess they’re ignoring the last couple weeks that the Dodgers have continued to win without a ton of help from Kemp. Yes, losing Kemp is a scary prospect. But does that make the Dodgers the worst offense in the league? I don’t think so.

  23. From MSTI’s recap of yesterday’s game: “A.J. Ellis is hitting .317/.462/.512 on his way to certain enshrinement in Cooperstown.”


  24. Anonymous

    Nice article on Matt from Saturday, don’t know if it’s been mentioned here:–matt-kemp-fighting-through-hamstring-injury-but-still-finding-ways-to-help-dodgers.html

  25. Anonymous

    I don’t know what Ethier was so upset about.  That looked like a strike from where I was sitting in my living room. 

    Kemp’s May cool-down seems to coincide with his hamstring injury.  I wonder, with the team playing so well, whether they might benefit from his taking an extended rest, especially against teams like a struggling Arizona and an always hapless San Diego.  Get the man healthy so he can return to beast mode.  At some point, they’re going to need him to start hitting .400 again.  Plus Gwynn has proven himself a more than capable replacement thus far, both with the glove and the stick.  

    I like the idea of Abreu playing most every day, and I like the idea of him leading off even more.  Move Gordon down to 8th and AJ up to sixth.  

    • Anonymous

       Looked like a strike to me, too, maybe he was really upset he let it go by instead of turning on it.

  26. May 19-20: ‘Sportsageddon’ in Downtown L.A.?

  27. Anonymous

    A 38 year old leadoff hitter? Has he ever been a leadoff hitter?

    • Anonymous

      He started 51 games leading off in ML; 2 this year for the Angels.
      What surprised me the most in finding this is his name. It’s Bob Kelly Abreu.

      • He also stole 21 out of 26 with the Angels last year. Most importantly, he gets on base. He’s the best leadoff hitter on our roster.

  28. Anonymous

    Did Ricky move down??

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