Dodger Thoughts

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

Dowdgers make Harvey invisible, 4-2

Matt Harvey is the biggest legitimate rival to Clayton Kershaw’s Cy Young candidacy and the toughest pitcher Los Angeles has faced in its race from the bottom to the top of the baseball world. Only seven times in 23 outings had he allowed more than two runs all year; only three times had he allowed more than three runs.

But after toying with Harvey and being toyed with right back – three times in the first four innings the Dodgers hit into double plays – Los Angeles treated Harvey like almost every other pitcher in this historic run. They bashed him.

With a two-run double from Nick Punto in the fifth inning and a two-run single by A.J. Ellis in the sixth, the Dodger backed the standout pitching from Hyun-Jin Ryu and beat the Mets tonight, 4-2.

Let’s run the numbers, like we do almost every night now.

• It was the Dodgers’ seventh-straight win, a season high.

• They are 22-3 (.880) since the All-Star Break.

• They are 39-8 in their past 47 games, the best mark over such a period since the 1951 New York Giants.

• As Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. notes, they have a chance to become the first team to go 42-8 in a 50-game stretch since the 1942 St. Louis Cardinals.

• Arizona’s comeback win against Baltimore prevented the Dodgers from increasing their 7 1/2-game lead in the National League West, but Los Angeles did leapfrog another team, Texas, in the quest for the best record in baseball. The Dodgers remain 3 1/2 games behind Atlanta.

Despite allowing a home run to the second batter of the game, Ryu was fairly magnificent, scattering four singles and a walk over seven innings without another run scoring. Ronald Belisario and Kenley Jansen finished the game, the latter allowing his first run in 11 innings since July 23 while being aided by a diving catch in the gap by Carl Crawford.

Amid reports that Hanley Ramirez might start as soon as Wednesday, Punto continues to have a torrid August, with a 1.283 OPS in 30 plate appearances. Ellis, meanwhile, moved past Andre Ethier (sidelined with left calf tightness) into second place on the Dodgers in RBI in 2013.


August 13 game chat


From 0-8 to 39-8: Dodgers have every reason to appreciate success


  1. KT

    Dodgers in 3rd place in the NL standings.

    2.5 games behind the Bucs.

    3.5 games behind the Barves….very obtainable…Go BLUE!!!!

  2. Bob_Hendley

    The Li’l Pony has really been something.

  3. KT

    AJ giving a good post game interview…as usual

    • ASW1

      Class act all the way – clutch 2 rbi hit the game winner!

  4. Bob_Hendley

    Harvey has great stuff, but only managed to K 3 batters, including Ryu.

  5. SteelMohawk

    If this were not the team we are all rooting for, this would be boring by now.

  6. ASW1

    Wow, just realized Bucs and Redbirds all tied up in the 14th on MLB Network – big series for these two.

  7. KT

    Cards Win!!

    • ASW1

      If that throw was another foot to Russell’s left he’s out at the plate

  8. Casey Barker

    I didn’t think we’d see Jansen tonight.

  9. KT

    Dodgers in 3rd place in the NL standings.

    1.5 games behind the Bucs.

    3.5 games behind the Barves….very obtainable…Go BLUE!!!!

    • John_from_Aus

      wise to not bother saying ‘I know some of you don’t care about the #1 seed’ etc, etc.
      I think we all just about care now :)

  10. KT

    Los Angeles Dodgers ‏@Dodgers3m
    RECAP: @HyunJinRyu99 hurls 7 dominant frames in 4-2 win over Mets:

  11. John_from_Aus

    that was weird, on espn game HQ it said for a while we won 4-1 in 7 innings. I thought surely not, it never rains in LA :)

  12. WinnipegDave

    I wonder when the last time was the Dodgers started a month with a 12-1 record?

  13. John_from_Aus

    Jon, your first paragraph text reminded me of an old post of yours this year, I think called ‘race to the bottom’ or something like that.
    I think from memory it showed we had about the 5th worst record in baseball, now we are 3rd best and that is quite surreal

    • Bob_in_Vegas

      “Surreal” is as good a description of this season as any.

  14. The Dodgers are still sub-.500 (23-27, .460) against NL West. They are 46-23, .667 against everyone else.

  15. KT

    Oh and nice write up Jon…love how it’s a nice community and getting slightly stronger everyday

    • John_from_Aus

      Yea, it’s been great to have a few new names popping up from time to time

  16. I admit I had to look it up at IMDB to confirm that Jimmy Stewart’s character was named Elwood P. Dowd in the movie. Nicely done, Jon.

  17. TAFKA_Gagne55

    I doubt anyone here is old enough to remember them but the 1914 Braved went from 15 games back and last place on July 4 to winning the NL by 10.5 game

  18. WBBsAs

    I posed this question elsewhere but will repeat here: When Punto hits a walkoff, who will assume responsibility for shredding his jersey?

  19. dalegribel

    Epic title for this column.

  20. James O

    Great article title, Jon. Always enjoy reading your stuff. Keep it up. Go Blue!

  21. SaMoDodger

    What has impressed me most about this run are the two-out hits. AJ Ellis’ clutch hit last night was just the latest example. The first three runs in Friday’s comeback were a result of two-out hits as well. The first six runs in Sunday’s rout all came courtesy of two-out hits.

    In the early part of the season, the lack of clutchiness meant those two-out hits were line drives into a fielder’s glove somewhere, or worse, a strikeout. Glad to see things turning around for the better.

  22. KT

    Dodgers record verses the current playoff teams

  23. KT

    MLB ‏@MLB1m
    The @Dodgers were 30-42 on June 21. How did they turn things around?

    • SaMoDodger

      Small things can sometimes make big differences. Like Punto.

  24. KT

    Dodgers PR ‏@DodgersPR5m
    Last night, Ryu became the 4th #Dodgers rookie to win 5 consecutive starts since the team moved to LA, joining Valenzuela, Nomo and Ishii.

  25. SaMoDodger

    Vin mentioned something on the broadcast last night about players with the most at-bats per lack of home runs. Coming into Monday’s action, Punto had more at-bats per homer than any other player in baseball (minimum 1,000 ABs). the next three guys on the list were also Ned Colletti specials: Juan Pierre, Ryan Theriot, and Jamey Carroll.

  26. ASW1

    And the Good Capuano is due up for tonight’s game…

  27. KT

    DodgersBeat ‏@DodgersBeat3m
    Come on Dodger fans, don’t be this guy. Help him recover stolen art : The Search is on for a Stolen Dodger Painting.!/on-air/as-seen-on/Search-Is-On-For-Stolen-Dodger-Painting/219516001

  28. KT

    Los Angeles Dodgers ‏@Dodgers2m
    #Dodgers starters have a 13-1 record with a 1.72 ERA (22 ER/115 IP) in their last 18 games. LA starters lead @MLB with a 3.20 combined ERA.

  29. KT

    ESPN Stats & Info ‏@ESPNStatsInfo6m
    The Dodgers are 40-10 in their last 50 games. Last NL team with a 50-game stretch as good? The 1975 Reds, who went on to win World Series.

  30. mike_tink

    have you seen this tweet the Dodgers sent?
    Los Angeles Dodgers ✔
    If you are thinking to yourself, “I have never seen the #Dodgers play this well.” You’re probably right…
    1:08 AM – 14 Aug 2013

    • Yes, but the following tweet was the best part:

      Los Angeles Dodgers ‏@Dodgers14h

      …Unless you are Japanese supercentenarian, 115-year-old, Misao Okawa, the world’s oldest person.

      • KT

        I met a guy in the elevator today who celebrated his 101st birthday yesterday…He looked good

  31. foul tip

    OK, question time. Wilson will have to be added to the 40-man. What’s the corresponding move if someone is cut loose?

    Up until his last time or two out–especially last–Marmol would have been a strong bet. But the team may still be intrigued with that experiment. Plus, he looked really good last time out.

    Would they consider cutting League loose just one year into that goshawful contract?

    Don’t know which of the two has more upside. Or which has the better track record. Do know who has the bigger contract.

    Which would have made the answer obvious up until now. Never thought they’d cut Lilly, and they may not have except that his physical decline forced the reckoning he’d be no more than dead weight.

    There are a couple players who can be sent down. But If it comes to a choice between the two, which is the better baseball decision?

    • Wilson is already on the 40-man roster. When he is ready to join the big league club I’m guessing they just send down Dee. They may have to decide about one of those pitchers if Kemp returns before September 1st.

    • WBBsAs

      I fear they will send down Withrow because he has options, and bring him back up when rosters expand.

  32. foul tip

    Link is to a Yankee game story, mostly about old friend Hiroki. Thought the mentions of his going into shutdown mode with runners on and of the rotation on his offspeed stuff being hard to pick up, making his FB more effective, were good inside stuff.

    From story: “His ongoing saga was just a footnote on a night that Kuroda improved to
    4-1 with a tiny 0.94 ERA over his last seven starts, walking just one. It was Kuroda’s ninth scoreless outing of the season, and his fifth in his last seven starts.”

    • ASW1

      Yes, I’ve daydreamed recently if the Dodgers could have kept Kuroda – imagine a Kershaw, Kuroda, Greinke 1,2,3 heading into a playoff series… wow.

      • ASW1

        Although, come to think of it, a Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu 1,2,3 is almost just as impressive.

        • TAFKA_Gagne55

          The Kuroda money went to Harang and Capuano. There’s no reason they couldn’t have had both Kuroda and Ryu.

  33. Go_Bears

    This has been a remarkable run, and my attitude is to enjoy it while it lasts. I’m not sure if anything like it is sustainable. SaMo is exactly right that a lot of the difference between the worst-ever May and the best-ever July/Aug is good fortune. The Dodgers were unusually horrible with RISP early on, and now it seems that they don’t miss a chance. For the most part, they didn’t really get better in that situation, just luckier (balls dropping in).

    The other big change has been that the bullpen went from scary bad to scary good. Demoting League and releasing Guerrier helped, as did the promotion of Withrow. Belisario has shifted, for now, from Hyde to Jeckyll.

    Of course, the elevation of Puig has worked wonders, as has, at least until a week ago, the return of Hanley Ramirez in place of Luis Cruz. Those two have been more than outstanding at the plate, which has made up for the fact that Kemp has been largely absent, Ethier is having his worst season since he became a regular, MEllis and Uribe have been mediocre to bad, and Gonzales, while solid, has seen his home run power mostly turn into doubles. Crawford has been up and down and up. AJ has been just fine.

    That’s the other part of the “good fortune.” The Dodgers really lack power. AGon leads the team with 16 HRs. That’s absurd. Puig is 2nd with 11. That means, to score, they must string together long sequences of singles and walks and the occasional double. That would be fine if this were a team of .300 hitters or .400 OBPers, like at least one of those Angels teams that won it all a decade ago. But it isn’t. AGon is right at .300, and now Crawford too, but both have OPSs right around .800 and .760 respectively – not good for a 1bman and LFer. Ramirez and Puig are OPSing over 1.000, but the rest of the lineup is unimpressive. What has happened is that hitters who are, on average, pretty bad (Schumaker, Punto, Uribe, AJ Ellis, Mark Ellis for a while) have had hot streaks that have helped the team convert scoring opportunities that were, in expectation, low-probability. Let’s face it: any run that scores due to three consecutive hits by those guys is an unexpected run.

    So I’m not saying that the Dodgers are not for real, especially their season record. But this has been a season where everything went wrong for a couple of months, and now everything is going right. The one constant has been starting pitching. Kershaw, Grienke, and Ryu have been the best 1-2-3 in baseball, and once we realized how good Ryu is, that was in fact not surprising, and as long as they stay healthy, should be sustainable. Fife, when healthy, has been a pleasant surprise. We’ve seen more good Cappy than bad Cappy, but I would expect some evening out from now on. Nolasco is certainly a fine #4 or #5 starter, but I hold my breath when he’s pitching.

    The current team has both upside and downside. On the downside, one of the top 3 starters could get hurt. The bullpen could go south due to injury or just reversion to the mean. Ramirez and Puig could lose 50 pts off their BAs (and still be great). Crawford could get hurt again.

    On the upside, of course, Kemp could return. Ethier could at least perk up to career averages. Someone could find a power stroke. Puig could lay off a pitch (he’s been a little better lately) and hit a cutoff man once in a while. Ramirez could pick up where he left off, or at least split the difference between out-of-this-world Hanley and Little Nicky Punto.

    I wish I had time to document all of the above with quantitative data, but I’m sure others will correct me if I’m way off on any of the above.

    • dalegribel

      Certainly merit in what you say, but I believe your downside is too dark. Any team, above or below the Dodgers can have their team leaders get hot or cold, any team could suffer injuries to key players, and any team can experience a short turn benefit of bleeders dropping in at just the opportune time. I do agree with you that It is obviously unsustainable in the long run; but, this is a short term aberration.
      If we looked at the Dodgers on paper in March, it would not be have been unreasonable to associate them with a 69-50 record and among the top 4 teams in baseball. It was also not unfathomable to peg them for a 90 win team. (To get to 90, they would only have to go 21-22 down the stretch). Plus or minus a few games, teams play towards reasonable expectations and the 2013 Dodgers are really no exception. The eye opening part is how they got there. That is the part we fans loathed in April and May and have been so enjoying since June 22.
      The hitters you describe as pretty bad are all near their career norms. Certainly they have experienced the ups and downs of a full season (See Uribear Unstuffed). Punto has been hot, cold, and now back to hot and Schumaker was playing his way off the roster early on, but now they are playing back to the middle. It’s a team game. Hot hitters help to carry cold hitters, pitchers carry a sagging offense, and vice versa. I’ll leave it to someone else to find Jon’s old articles on team chemistry, but suffice it to say that winning begets winning. 162 games is a lot of baseball.

      • mike_tink

        well done

      • Go_Bears

        I agree with you completely. The offensive players have been, on average, what you’d expect. Hanley and Puig better than expected, Ethier, Kemp, and even Gonzo probably below what we expected. The rest about right. But the severe streakiness, and in some case compound streakiness has led to a roller-coaster season with an overall record only a little better than expected.

        To me, the starting pitching has been just outstanding. They could decline and still be very good. And the bullpen went from awful to untouchable. That can’t last.

        Over the post June 22 stretch, I’d be surprised if the Dodgers didn’t have the best pitching and close to the best offense in the NL. Best at everything except hitting the cutoff man. If the pitching stays this great through October, no doubt they can win it all. But they don’t have much room for error (c.f. Jon’s articles about the number of consecutive wins in 1-run games).

        • dalegribel

          Agreed. I think we are pretty much saying the same thing.

  34. NoahUCLA

    I’ve seen a lot of talk, for good reason, that Puig should be ROY, but my personal vote would be for Ryu over Puig. Puig is otherworldly (or Hanley-like) when he’s on his game, but Ryu has been solid from the start, has a below 3 ERA, has eaten up a lot of innings, and has a 12-3 record (if you believe record matters at all with pitching). I’m surprised the LA media and knowledgeable fans haven’t been talking up Ryu more for ROY.

    • ASW1

      There was a fan in the stands at DS last night holding a home-made ” Ryuookie of the Year” sign.

    • Go_Bears

      I agree. I don’t really know the rookie landscape across the league this year, but Ryu has been the most valuable Dodger rookie, I think.

  35. thescrounger

    Interesting! I just read that Ethier has the use of the Dodger’s Luxury Box for 8 games each year. Wonder if he can sublet it to make a few extra bucks?

  36. mike_tink

    There are a few posts below on possible upcoming roster decisions.
    First a question, when can SVS come back? He was optioned on the 4th; 10 days later is yesterday so can he come up today? The question is due to the fact that he did not play at AAA until the 8th; does that make a difference? If Hanley plays today then Gordon should go back to Alb. with SVS brought up. When Wilson is activated I guess Withrow should be optioned as WBB says below or the team should cut Marmol if I am right in assuming that the Dodgers are paying him at such a level that no other team would want him then send him to AAA and, like Withrow, bring him back in Sept. since there are players who could be put on the 60-day DL. As for Kemp if he comes back before Sept. then SVS goes back to AAA if the Dodgers have the same thoughts I have.

    • Bob_Hendley

      I would guess that Withrow and his .982 WHIP stays. Hard to imagine that the Dodgers would have League, Marmol and Wilson in the pen.

      • NoahUCLA

        I’m sure Gordon will stay until they know that Hanley can play without too much discomfort or setbacks the next day. That means on the off-day Thursday at the soonest, or Friday. As for Withrow and Wilson, I would wait to pitch Wilson back to back Friday and Saturday and avoid sending Withrow down for as long as possible, then send him down for a few weeks until he can come back up. He’s important, but we’re going to give Wilson a chance anyway in that 7th inning or Withrow type situation, so it’s not as big a loss for now until we see how Wilson does.

  37. ASW1

    It’s only the bottom of the 7th and the O’s bullpen collars already tightening up.

  38. mike_tink

    I found this article on who should be the NL MVP. It’s worth reading

    but not why I’m putting this up. After the article I saw: Longform: The death of a ballplayer. Call me stupid but I thought Longform was the author. The title got me so I started reading and could not stop. It’s long (Longform). I you can start but not finish it you are a worse man than I am.

  39. ASW1

    That Baltimore bullpen is atrocious.

    • Despite Jim Johnson having 39 saves, he has now blown 9 saves. Today was his third blown save in as many appearances, hopefully the O’s offense get him an undeserved win.

      • ASW1

        In all 3 against the Snakes, Baltimore has gone into the 7th with a multi-run lead – blew all 3 and in danger of being swept if they can’t rally in extras.

  40. KT

    Dodgers lineup:
    Crawford LF
    Puig RF
    Gonzalez 1B
    Ramirez SS
    Schumaker CF
    M Ellis 2B
    Hairston 3B
    Federowicz C
    Capuano P

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