Dodger Thoughts

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

Month: April 2015 (Page 2 of 6)

Dodgers add Sergio Santos to bullpen

Los Angeles Dodgers vs San Francisco Giants

For more images from Thursday, visit LA Photog Blog — here and here.

Dodgers at Padres, 7:10 p.m.
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Carl Crawford, LF
Juan Uribe, 3B
Joc Pederson, CF
Zack Greinke, P

By Jon Weisman

The Dodgers’ latest roster move is to add righty Sergio Santos to the bullpen, while sending Mike Bolsinger back to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

A veteran of 180 Major League games as a reliever, Santos began the 2015 season in Triple-A with eight strikeouts against eight baserunners in 4 2/3 innings.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Santos, the Dodgers designated newly acquired Xavier Cedeno for assignment. Santos is the fifth player to fill the 40th spot on the 40-man roster since David Huff came up to start April 14 against Seattle. One of those players, Daniel Corcino, was outrighted to Double-A Tulsa.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers’ starting pitcher for Sunday’s series finale against the Padres is still officially listed as “TBD.”

Howie Kendrick is the man

Los Angeles Dodgers vs San Francisco Giants

By Jon Weisman

Jon SooHoo’s brief abdication of his job to Jimmy Rollins (note the photo credit above) allows me to pass along this Howie Kendrick note: Kendrick is not only OPSing .968, he has played every one of the Dodgers 134 1/3 innings this season, starting every game as the cleanup hitter and staying in until the final out each time.

Oh, and occasionally coming up with, you know, kind of a dazzling play.

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In case you missed it: Baseball and ‘Fantasy Life’

Unique Tintype 16659 (8x10 inches): Sandy Koufax, Brooklyn Dodgers, by Tabitha Soren

Unique Tintype 16659 (8×10 inches): Sandy Koufax, Brooklyn Dodgers, by Tabitha Soren

By Jon Weisman

“Fantasy Life,” an exhibition by photographer Tabitha Soren (the former MTV journalist for people of my generation) that opens Saturday and runs through June 6 at the Kopeikin Gallery on La Cienega Boulevard, explores the fantasies that define America through the lens of baseball.

“In a nutshell, my artwork visualizes psychological states, and ‘Fantasy Life’ is what it looks like to  try to touch greatness,” Soren said of the exhibition, which was 12 years in the making. “I’m using baseball as a metaphor to explore the American Dream.”

Images of Clayton Kershaw, Sandy Koufax and Yasiel Puig are among the 92 in the exhibition, for which an opening reception is being held Saturday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Here’s more …

This series explores the fantasies that define America: Manifest Destiny, the romantic idea of the restless wanderer, the hopeful idea that failure is just a step on the road to greatness, the notion that the pursuit of fame and fortune is also the pursuit of happiness, the belief that to secure one’s identity, one must seek to stand apart from the community. Fantasy Life expands upon these beliefs thought to be truths through a captivating series of portraits that engage the audience and shift their perspective of baseball.

Soren’s use of baseball is ingenious in its familiarity. In spite of the growing diversity and the ever-changing landscape of America’s demographics, the national pastime is relatable to everyone. The mystical nature of Soren’s work adds to its nostalgic appeal and to its representation of the myths and fantasies of a nation. This exhibit includes 92 images, including gelatin silver and C-print, plus 26 tintypes and 3 installations – one involving human bones.

For more information, visit Soren’s website.

Now, let’s take a trip around the web …

  • Since giving up the first two of Adrian Gonzalez’s three homers on April 8, San Diego’s Andrew Cashner has thrown 12 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run, notes Alex Espinoza of Cashner, whom the Dodgers face tonight in San Diego, has allowed six unearned runs in that span, however.
  • Fun story: Yasiel Puig gets his bats from Dove Tail Bat Co. in smalltown Maine, writes Mike Lange in the Piscataquis Observer (link via Sons of Steve Garvey).
  • Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs has an interesting look at Dodger pitching and rising fastballs. Almost tangential to the story: Clayton Kershaw, despite his supposed rocky start to 2015, has a 1.93 xFIP.
  • If you made up an All-Star team from each of the six MLB divisions, the National League West would come out on top, concludes David Schoenfield at’s Sweet Spot.
  • “Branch Rickey’s Residual Legacy” is the subject of this thoughtful piece by Bill Felber at the National Pastime Museum (via Baseball Think Factory).
  • Tommy John’s elbow and ticket stubs from two Dodger-Giant games are part of Josh Leventhal’s “A History of Baseball in 100 Objects,” reviewed by Tom Hoffarth at the Daily News’ Farther Off the Wall.
  • Hoffarth also writes about “Gil Hodges: A Hall of Fame Life,” while Bruce Markusen had an interview with writer Mort Zachter at the Hardball Times.
  • The New Yorker has a baseball-themed cover this week (but no, I’m not suggesting there are Dodgers on it).
  • A history of the color line and the Pacific Coast League is authored by Ronald Auther at Our Game.
  • Why are baseball games nine innings long? Mental Floss provides the answer (link via Hardball Talk).



Alex Guerrero and ‘Awakenings’

Los Angeles Dodgers vs San Francisco Giants

By Jon Weisman

Three kids and nearly 13 years into being a dad, my belief in my kids’ athletic skills is about what most people had in Alex Guerrero in January, or Dee Gordon the previous January, or Marlon Anderson and Ronnie Belliard immediately after their “Why bother?” acquisitions in the summers of recent pasts.

Which is to say, practically hopeless.

A couple of months ago, during my 7-year-old’s basketball season, there was what I call an “Awakenings” moment.

Youngest Master Weisman can string some baskets together from about five feet out in the driveway, but that’s been about it. In his league games at our local rec center, games he enjoyed mainly for being with the other kids, little was happening aside from his amusing clown-car dashes from one end of the court to another.

Then, on consecutive Saturdays, he went nuts. One of the parents tallies rebounds, assists and steals (not points, because of course, we’re not those kind of parents), and my kid had 14 rebounds. And I knew he had scored three or four baskets. It was unprecedented.

The next week, I decided to keep track myself, and my son had his first double-double, on a basketball court or at In ‘N Out or anywhere. This kid had 10 points and 15 rebounds. It was unbelievable.

And as cynical as I can be about my children and sports, I thought there might have been an actual breakthrough.

There wasn’t. The next week, the scoring disappeared, the rebounding almost entirely disappeared. He was the player he had been before those two crazy weeks when everything fell into place.

That doesn’t say anything about what his future will bring, and it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have celebrated the Awakening while it happened. But it is a reminder that what’s right in front of your face isn’t necessarily reality.

Alex Guerrero is having a wondrous month, and I’m certainly more inclined to believe in his athletic skills than I was in those of my youngest boy. In February, I watched Guerrero field (which has been considered his missing link since nearly the day he joined the Dodgers) and hit, and wondered what deficiencies I wasn’t seeing. March came, and nothing changed, even as the talk continued to be that he was being handed a roster spot out of obligation rather than reward. Now it’s April, and he’s the Cuban Yasiel Puig.

Or he’s this:


Of course, Guerrero is younger (28) than Anderson or Belliard were. I’m definitely sympathetic to the idea that Guerrero should be given a chance to show how much of this breakout performance is real. No one’s going to be happier if he’s Roy Hobbs than me.

But I also feel that the Dodgers are thoroughly justified in any skepticism they’ve built in more than a year of close observation. Even after four homers in 19 at-bats, it’s not clear that Guerrero is a better all-around player than the defensively dependable Juan Uribe (the fifth-best third baseman in the National League last year), or Justin Turner, whom Don Mattingly justifiably pointed out was basically Alex Guerrero at the plate last year and who had three doubles in a game only five days ago.

The question with Guerrero, as is the case with every Major League player, will be whether he can make the adjustments once the opposition adjusts to him. The best you can confirm for Guerrero us that he has earned the opportunity to try. Good for him, and good for the Dodgers.

But it’s naive to believe that Guerrero has proven himself beyond doubt, arrogant to suggest that the answer is obvious, and unfair to pronounce death sentences on any other players based on 15 games. Maybe Uribe is nearing the end of the line, but the perils of counting him out prematurely are underscored by how valuable he was in 2013-14.

I’m eager to see what happens next for Guerrero, with my heart wide open, but my eyes as well.

Join this year’s 5K, 10K and Kids Fun Run at Dodger Stadium

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Dodgers at Giants, 12:45 p.m.
Justin Turner, SS
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Carl Crawford, LF
Alex Guerrero, 3B
Joc Pederson, CF
Mike Bolsinger, P

By Jon Weisman

We haven’t yet mentioned this year’s New Balance Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation 5K, 10K and Kids Fun Run ((presented by your SoCal Honda Dealers), scheduled for September 13 at Dodger Stadium.

Registration is open at $40 for the 5K or 10K and $25 for the Kids Fun Run. The first 2,000 to register for the 5K or 10K will get a voucher for a free Dodger game ticket.

All proceeds benefit the LADF, and there are incentives for those who join in the fundraising. For more information, visit the official site.

Reflections on a rough loss

Mattingly l9999980

For more images from Wednesday, visit LA Photog Blog – here and here.

By Jon Weisman

Disappointment infused with a sense of injustice? That’s not an easy way for Dodger fans to go to bed. Here’s a look at Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to San Francisco after a cleansing view of “The Americans” season finale and a night’s sleep …

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Kershaw vs. Bumgarner tonight … and then comes tomorrow

Los Angeles Dodgers vs Colorado Rockies

Dodgers at Giants, 7:15 p.m.
Kershaw CCXIII: Kershaw vs. the Volcano
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Justin Turner, 1B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Scott Van Slyke, LF
Chris Heisey, CF
Juan Uribe, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Clayton Kershaw, P

By Jon Weisman

Tonight’s Giants-Dodgers game brings the marquee pitching matchup of the young 2015 baseball season in Clayton Kershaw vs. Madison Bumgarner, and the potential for grand irritation among the Los Angeles fanbase if the Dodgers lose.

It’s funny — I’m absolutely looking forward to the game and confident in the Dodgers’ chances. Bumgarner has been good against the Dodgers, but no one dominates an opponent like Kershaw has with the Giants. And while Kershaw has had a few rocky moments in 2015, Bumgarner (5.29 ERA) has been worse.

But the potential of a loss to a rival tonight, of putting another feather in the World Series MVP’s cap and trying to avoid a sweep Thursday afternoon with a minor-league callup (signs pointing to Mike Bolsinger) on the hill, would be plenty to turn the Dodger dial to grrrrr.

Why am I trafficking in these negative thoughts? Isn’t that part of the game, really? If there were no consequences to a loss, we wouldn’t care that much in the first place.

The challenge is not to avoid fear, but to face it … and then never invest too much importance to it.

You can almost see the Dodgers synthesizing these strands in tonight’s lineup.  They’re taking the Bumgarner challenge seriously enough to call up Chris Heisey and start eight right-handed position players, including Justin Turner making his third start as a Dodger at first base (he got plenty of work there in March). Yet if the worst happens, they’ll have given Adrian Gonzalez and Joc Pederson a night off so that they can be fresh for Thursday’s sunshine affair. Face the fear, and look beyond.

And by all means, enjoy this fantastic early season event.

The simple truth about the ’25’-man roster

Los Angeles Dodgers vs San Francisco Giants

By Jon Weisman

If you think the Dodgers’ 25-man roster only has 25 men, I’ve got some bad news to break to you about the Big Ten Conference.

Because the Dodgers have multiple useful players with options — enough so that they can afford to be without any one of them for the minimum 10 days they need to remain in the minor leagues after being sent down — their 25-man cap is about as meaningful as a speed limit.

Sure, for a given game it’s 25 men, but from day to day, it’s something else.

To call up an outfielder like Chris Heisey for perhaps no more than one day — nothing’s been finalized, but indications are that the Dodgers will need his roster spot for Thursday’s starting pitcher — tells you all you need to know about how seriously the Dodgers are taking roster flexibility and how much they intend to exploit match-ups whenever possible.

This also would appear to include Sunday’s game, for which the Dodgers’ starting pitcher against the Padres is listed in today’s press notes as TBD. Don’t ask me the rationale — maybe it’s as simple as Brett Anderson getting an extra day of rest, or a plan not to waste a groundball pitcher in a San Diego ballpark where a flyball pitcher can thrive. Suffice it to say, this big blue ship is being steered very carefully.

If you’re a minor-leaguer who came up to the Dodgers only to leave days later, you may be gone, but very much not forgotten.

Dodgers rotate 40th man again: Hello to Xavier Cedeno, so long to Daniel Corcino

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By Jon Weisman

Faster than Murphy Brown with her secretaries (if you’re under 30, ask your parents), the Dodgers have rotated the final spot on their 40-man roster yet again.

Designated for assignment is Daniel Corcino (who replaced Ryan Dennick, who replaced David Huff), and arriving from the Washington Nationals in exchange for cash considerations is left-handed reliever Xavier Cedeno.

The 28-year-old Cedeno has a lifetime 4.30 FIP with 54 strikeouts against 93 baserunners in 55 Major League innings. In Triple-A last season, Cedeno had a 0.864 WHIP and 13.0 K/9.

Cedeno struck out Adrian Gonzalez with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th inning of the Dodgers’ marathon 8-5 loss September 3 to the Nationals.

Note: The Dodgers have also released pitcher Freddy Garcia from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

The ‘not-their-night’ game

Los Angeles Dodgers vs San Francisco Giants

For more photos from Tuesday, visit LA Photog Blog.

By Jon Weisman

There’s no honor in blaming luck for a loss, and in fact, the San Francisco Giants displayed a surfeit of skill in their 6-2 victory Tuesday over the Dodgers.

San Francisco shortstop Brandon Crawford’s RBI bunt single in the third and acrobatic double-play launch in the sixth, followed by rightfielder Justin Maxwell’s diving catch into the wall in foul territory and two-run homer in the eighth — when stuff like that happens, victory often follows.

At the same time, I don’t think it’s shameful to point out that this wasn’t the Dodgers’ luckiest night. Adrian Gonzalez lined into an unassisted double play (one of four twin-killings the Dodgers hit into). Yasiel Puig might have been robbed of an at-bat by a catcher’s interference non-call.  And above all, there was this:

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A cute start

Los Angeles Dodgers vs Colorado Rockies

Dodgers at Giants, 7:15 p.m.
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Carl Crawford, LF
Juan Uribe, 3B
Joc Pederson, CF
Brett Anderson, P

By Jon Weisman

The 2015 Dodgers are the 14th team in franchise history to start the season with a 9-3 record. Oddly, none of those teams have won a World Series.

  • Won National League: 1947, 1952, 1974, 1977
  • Won NL West: 1983, 2004, 2009
  • Second in NL: 1942
  • Third in NL: 1943, 1957
  • Second in NL West: 1972, 2012
  • Fourth in NL West: 1969

On the other hand, the 2015 Giants are the eighth team in franchise history to start the season with a 4-10 record. None of those teams won a World Series, either. (The 1951 Giants, who started 2-12, reached the World Series — the details escape me — but lost.)

A few pregame notes:

  • Today, as the Dodgers’ public relations department noted in the press notes, is the 125th anniversary of the Dodgers’ first NL victory, 7-6 over the Boston Braves.
  • Dodger minor-league teams lead all of baseball with a collective .705 winning percentage (31-13) entering today’s action.
  • Adrian Gonzalez hasn’t struck out in his past 36 plate appearances, the longest current streak without a strikeout in the Majors, according to MLB Network. Gonzalez still has more homers (five) than strikeouts (three) this season.
  • San Francisco starting pitcher Tim Lincecum pitched seven shutout innings at San Diego in his 2015 debut April 10, then allowed three runs in five innings at home against Colorado on April 15.
  • Chris Heisey joined the Dodgers in San Francisco today, but was not activated for tonight’s game. Yasiel Puig has been declared healthy enough to start in the Giants series. It’s possible, as Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. speculated, that Heisey could be activated to face Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner on Wednesday.
  • One flaw for the Dodgers in the young season has been the stolen base. Los Angeles has been thrown out on seven of 13 attempts.

Remembering ’65: An April time capsule


By Jon Weisman

Moving past their big preseason scare regarding Sandy Koufax’s elbow, the Dodgers’ found some rhythm in April. Los Angeles spent most of the month in first place, going 10-5.

Here are some tidbits of the times — a really fun time capsule, if you ask me.

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Stat-ic electricity: Changing how we look at defense with Statcast

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The wonders of Statcast will be on greater display in MLB video from this point forward. Paul Cassella writes about it at, but in the current edition of Dodger Insider magazine, Mike Petriello provided this introduction. Click the images below to enlarge.

— Jon Weisman

Static 1
Static 2

Special $22 tickets to celebrate No. 22’s Fleece Blanket Night

LAD 2015 Fleece BlanketBy Jon Weisman

Because No. 22 is so special to us, here’s a $22 special for you.

The Dodgers will offer a limited number of $22 Reserve Level tickets to the April 29 Clayton Kershaw Fleece Blanket night (presented by Security Benefit), featuring the Dodgers against the rival Giants.

Those $22 tickets will be on sale from 10 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday, while the Dodgers take on the Giants in San Francisco. This ticket special offers savings of up to 54 percent.

Get your $22 tickets at (or by calling 866-DODGERS) beginning at 10 a.m. Tuesday. This offer will also be available at the Dodger Stadium Lot P Advance Ticket Office.

The first 40,000 fans in attendance April 29 will receive the Kershaw fleece blanket.

P.S.: Stay tuned for this:

You’ll flip for this Yasiel Puig kids’ replica jersey

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Don’t miss the Kids’ Yasiel Puig Replica Jersey (presented by Kellogg’s Rice Krispie Treats) that will be handed out to the first 15,000 ticketed children 14-and-under at the Dodgers-Diamondbacks game May 3 — the same day as Viva Los Dodgers and Kids Run the Bases.

I’ll admit to a particular affinity to the star of the promo video above and his deskmate.

— Jon Weisman

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