Dodger Thoughts

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

Marathon win a well-earned celebration for Chris Hatcher

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By Jon Weisman

Chris Hatcher, man.

Everyone killed Chris Hatcher this year. Practically from the day after his Opening Day save to the days after he came off the disabled list in August, the abuse this guy took. It’s not that he pitched great. But it was the condemnation, the notion that he was hopeless. Forget about the potential. “DFA him!” Or worse.

Then comes a night like tonight, and this is why I love baseball. For the redemption. For the Juan Uribes. For the Chris Hatchers.

It’s why I’m always so shocked that people are so quick to give up on a player. Because the redemption is all around you.

The season wasn’t on the line tonight. But the psyche was. And Chris Hatcher stepped up and threw three shutout innings, the longest outing of his career, and long enough to get the Dodgers to the bottom of the 14th, when Adrian Gonzalez followed a walk and two singles with a game-winning hit to left field, for a 5-4 Dodger victory.

It was a win for Hatcher, but less of a fluke than many fans would realize. Since returning to action August 15, Hatcher has thrown 8 1/3 innings and allowed one run on eight baserunners while striking out 11.

It was a win for the bullpen — admittedly, after Juan Nicasio did surrender a 4-3 lead in the eighth inning. But maybe not so much of a fluke either.

Bullpen 9-1

That’s just a week of work, but what a week: 26 innings with a 0.69 ERA (plus one additional inherited run allowed to score) and 9.35 strikeouts per nine innings. The walks are still too high — and it was a walk that set up Nicasio for the blown save — but if you can’t see the blue sky there, you must live for clouds.

Not for nothing, the maligned Jim Johnson pitched two shutout innings (despite hitting his fourth batter as a Dodger). Fellow former Brave reliever Luis Avilan pitched a perfect inning and has retired 10 batters in a row over his last five games, all in crucial situations. Pedro Baez and Kenley Jansen also had shutout innings.

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Don’t let me leave Gonzalez out of this party. It was the slugging first baseman who, after Marlon Byrd’s unfathomable two-run infield single in the third inning gave the Giants the lead, tied this game in the sixth with a two-run home run, his 25th of the year. (One batter later, Andre Ethier’s home run put the Dodgers ahead.)

And it was Gonzalez who, rather than let the Giants start to think they might sneak out of their bases-loaded, none-out jam in the 15th, delivered the first-pitch, no-doubt game-winner.

Moments like Gonzalez’s are the reasons baseball thrills me. Moments like Hatcher’s are the reasons baseball makes me care.

So much, that I don’t even completely regret missing this …


Justin Ruggiano reacquired by Dodgers


Dodgers reacquire Chris Heisey for outfield depth


  1. I am one sleepy East Coaster this morning.

  2. oldbrooklynfan

    I was debating with myself whether to go to bed or not at 3:00AM ET but I wouldn’t have slept anyway. So for the first time in a while I watched a Dodger game reach 3:41 AM. I have to say it was well worth it.

  3. Jon, Explain to me how Sergio Romo’s balk was missed. Most balks that are called are some minor, nearly unnoticeable twitch. His knee buckled, obviously. Guess Marty Foster and Mike Winters (Milton Bradley’s favorite umpire) will still end up working the post season.

    • Jon Weisman

      You’re asking the wrong guy. I have missed 99.9 percent of balks in 40 years of watching games.

      I do think that most people who are seeing the obvious knee buckle are reacting to what happened after the so-called balk, i.e., after Rollins pointed and after Romo stepped off. The balk before Rollins pointed was, in my minority view, small.

      I also, as much as I wanted the Dodgers to win, am not a fan at all of games ending on runners scoring from third base on balks. That, to me, is not what the rule is there for at all. Certainly didn’t like it with Latos the other night, either.

  4. The thrilling and the caring. Excellently and exactly put Jon. Wonderfully written as always.

    My apologies for being “that guy” who points out the errors but just one small note: Gonzalez followed a walk and 2 singles with his game winning hit. It was a very late night last night I’m sure!

  5. I’ve seen Posey promoted for MVP in ESPN. Why do I see no mention of Gonzalez? The big hits last night; the one rbi tonight against Bumgarner (top of 7 as I write). Harper’s faded. No one has done more to bring his team into first than A-gon. Surely he should be in the top tier of MVP candidates.

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