Dodger Thoughts

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

Month: September 2015 (Page 4 of 6)

Dodgers trade Darwin Barney to Blue Jays


By Jon Weisman

Darwin Barney has been traded by the Dodgers to the Blue Jays for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Barney has a .293 on-base percentage in his MLB career but with the Dodgers, it was .429 in 49 plate appearances, all but four of them in 2014. He began 2015 on the Opening Day roster, but was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City April 14 and unlike others, never made a return trip.

The Dodgers designated him for assignment June 12 after acquiring Ronald Torreyes, though Barney cleared waivers and remained  for the remainder of the season in Oklahoma City, where he had a .325 OBP and .380 slugging percentage.

The mindblowing Corey Seager sets Los Angeles Dodger on-base record

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By Jon Weisman

Corey Seager walked, singled twice, hit his fifth double and his first Major League home run in tonight’s 9-5 Dodger victory, extending his streak of consecutive plate appearances on base to nine — a Los Angeles Dodger rookie record.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Seager has surpassed Pedro Guerrero (1980) and Jerry Sands (2011), who each reached base in eight consecutive trips as rookies.

Seager’s homer in the fifth was one of four in the game by the Dodgers, who burst out to a 7-0 lead by the third inning and maintained their 7 1/2-game lead over the Giants in the National League West. The 21-year-old, who drove in runs in his first three at-bats tonight, has an astonishing .568 on-base percentage and .733 slugging percentage in his first 37 MLB plate appearances.

Joc Pederson went 3 for 5 with his 25th homer of the season, tying him with Del Bissonette (1928) and Joe Ferguson (1973) for second in Dodger history for homers by a rookie behind Mike Piazza, who had 33 in 1993. (I’m not convinced Ferguson was a rookie in 1973, but according to he was.)

It wasn’t a free night of bliss for the Dodgers, who saw Carl Crawford become the latest to leave a game with hamstring issues. He is listed as day to day. Crawford hit a leadoff homer for the Dodgers — their third in their last four games, and fourth straight game with a homer from their leadoff batter.

NL ERA race hotter than Southern California

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers at Diamondbacks, 6:40 p.m.
Justin Ruggiano, LF
Jose Peraza, 2B
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Scott Van Slyke, RF
Corey Seager, SS
A.J. Ellis, C
Chris Heisey, CF
Alex Wood, P

By Jon Weisman

A quick note before we get to today’s lengthy health recap: Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta lowered his ERA to 1.99 this afternoon. If he and Zack Greinke stay below 2.00, they’ll be the first duo to do so in the same year since Dwight Gooden (1.53) and John Tudor (1.93) in 1985.

If Clayton Kershaw (2.15) joins them, we would have the first sub-2.00 trio since Luis Tiant (1.91), Gaylord Perry (1.92) and Gary Nolan (1.99) in 1972.

Kershaw, who is next scheduled to start Monday against the Rockies, most likely has four starts left in the 2015 regular season. If he pitched a total of 24 1/3 to 28 1/3 innings, he would need to allow no more than two earned runs (0.64 ERA) to get his ERA below 2.00. If he pitched 28 2/3 to 33 innings, he could allow three runs, and if he pitched at least 33 1/3, he could allow four runs.

And now, to the Web (Gem) MD report, via manager Don Mattingly to reporters:

  • Jose Peraza, who is playing tonight (batting second) for the first time since tweaking a hamstring September 1, is at 100 percent.
  • With Jimmy Rollins still recovering from a finger injury, Corey Seager is making his seventh start since his callup nine days ago. As Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. noted, Peraza and Seager are the youngest starting double-play combo for the Dodgers since 1947.
  • Howie Kendrick had live batting practice and ran the bases. He’s “not there yet but getting closer,” reports Bill Plunkett of the Register.
  • Yasiel Puig is still feeling hamstring tightness and has not been able to resume baseball work.
  • Kiké Hernandez is feeling good, but still has to get over the hump.
  • Yasmani Grandal took live BP today and was hitting home runs, according to Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles.
  • Mat Latos’ stiff neck is improved, but his usage as a starter will depend on matchups.

Video: Dodgers, Giants and Vin being Vin

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Vin Scully’s unparalleled narration from the September 1 Dodger victory over the Giants fit just right for an “THIS” commercial.

— Jon Weisman

Dodger Stadium of yore: Name the game

Name the Game

Here’s a rustic photo from Dodger Stadium’s history. Click to enlarge the picture above or the scoreboard portion below — and for you Internet sleuths, see if you can figure out the date of the game.  I tested it on Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A., and he solved it in under seven minutes.

— Jon Weisman

Name the Game partial


By Jon Weisman 

Normally on this day, I post my Dodger Thoughts rewind of the R.J. Reynolds “Squeeze” game. But I felt it was time to revisit something different.

I wrote the piece below almost 10 years ago. It’s related to this day, not to baseball. If you’re interested, read on.

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Daniel Coulombe traded to A’s

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Lefty reliever Daniel Coulombe has been traded by the Dodgers to the Oakland A’s for cash considerations. Coulombe, who was designated for assignment Sunday, had a 3.27 ERA with 41 strikeouts in 41 1/3 innings for Oklahoma City this season and a 6.39 ERA with 11 strikeouts in 12 2/3 career innings with the Dodgers.

Coulombe’s highlight in a Dodger uniform was probably his shutout 12th inning in a critical September 22 game against the Giants — only his fourth career big-league appearance.

— Jon Weisman

Ruggiano, Schebler, Seager, Utley: Celebrating the September quartet

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Justin Ruggiano (Photos by Jon SooHoo)

Justin Ruggiano (Photos by Jon SooHoo)

By Jon Weisman

Despite my having a little fun on Twitter this morning at the expense of those supporting the hysterical Yoenis Cespedes for MVP campaign, no, I’m not seriously launching a #ruggianomvp crusade.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy what Justin Ruggiano and three other players who also weren’t Dodgers a month ago — Scott Schebler, Corey Seager and Chase Utley — have meant for the Dodgers.

Look at these numbers for September …


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In case you missed it: Vin Scully’s bobblehead says hi

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By Jon Weisman

My wife has been perpetually perplexed that to her ears, I pronounce the word “ketchup” as if it were “catchup.” So with that in mind, let’s ketchup on some Dodger news …

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Joe Wieland to start for Dodgers tonight

Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

Dodgers at Angels, 7:05 p.m.
Scott Schebler, LF
Chase Utley, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, DH
Justin Turner, 3B
Andre Ethier, RF
Corey Seager, SS
Scott Van Slyke, 1B
Joc Pederson, CF
Austin Barnes, C
(Joe Wieland, P)

By Jon Weisman

Shifting gears in their starting rotation, the Dodgers have chosen to have Joe Wieland make his second start of the season tonight against the Angels.

Mat Latos, who had originally been penciled in for the start, has neck stiffness, the Dodgers said.

Wieland led Triple-A Oklahoma City during the regular season with 113 2/3 innings, getting one more out than Zach Lee, who starts Game 1 of the Pacific Coast League American Conference best-of-five finals tonight against Round Rock. Wieland had a 4.59 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in Triple-A, allowing seven homers while striking out 92.

In his only Major League start this season, Wieland allowed two two-run homers before getting an out in the first inning at Milwaukee on May 6. He ultimately lasted 4 2/3 innings, allowing six runs on six hits and four walks while striking out two. Wieland told Ken Gurnick of after the game that he couldn’t locate his fastball and began using his changeup in the second inning.

Traded to the Dodgers in the Yasmani Grandal deal last winter, Wieland had Tommy John surgery in July 2012 and returned to action 368 days ago.

“I was full go the whole time,” he told Dodger Insider in January. “My UCL, the graft they put in, never had any issues. It was the back of the elbow that I was having problems with. Fortunately, we were able to find out what was wrong and take care of that, but I never had any issues of concern, being a little conservative, trying to hold back.”

Also in tonight’s lineup: Scott Schebler (4 for 10 with a homer and two steals) becomes the Dodgers’ 10th leadoff hitter of the season, and Austin Barnes (.350 on-base percentage in 20 plate appearances) is making his sixth start for Los Angeles.

Koufax’s perfect game, from the eyes of his catcher


Today is the 50th anniversary of Sandy Koufax’s perfect game. In this piece for the September issue of Dodger Insider magazine, Cary Osborne listened to Koufax’s catcher, Jeff Torborg, tell the story from his point of view of the historic event. (Click the image below to enlarge.)

— Jon Weisman


Clayton Kershaw pursuing first career innings title

San Francisco Giants vs Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers at Angels, 7:05 p.m.
Kershaw CCXXXVII: Kershawcean’s 11
Justin Ruggiano, LF
Chase Utley, 2B
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Scott Van Slyke, RF
Corey Seager, SS
A.J. Ellis, C
Alex Guerrero, DH
Chris Heisey, CF
(Clayton Kershaw, P)

By Jon Weisman

Given his many accomplishments and reputation as a workhorse, it’s hard to believe that Clayton Kershaw has never led the National League in innings pitched. The 2015 season could change all that.

Entering tonight’s start against the Angels, Kershaw has 194 innings to his name, with a chance to extend his slim lead over teammate Zack Greinke (192 2/3), Chicago’s Jake Arrieta (191), Washington’s Max Scherzer (190) and San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner (188 2/3).

In recent years, Kershaw has lost NL innings-pitched titles to Johnny Cueto (2014), Adam Wainwright (2013), R.A. Dickey (2012) and Chris Carpenter (2011). Kershaw never had a chance in 2014 after missing all of April with an injury, but he fell short the previous three years by six innings or less each time.

Kershaw needs at least seven innings tonight to take over the MLB lead in innings from Houston’s Dallas Keuchel, in what figures to be a game of leapfrog until the end of the season.

* * *

Yasmani Grandal just told reporters that his MRI “showed inflammation and fluid in his left shoulder,” that he would have to play with for the rest of the season, according to Bill Plunkett of the Register.

However, Grandal added that he hoped to return by this weekend’s series at Arizona.

With Angels lefty Andrew Heaney on the mound, the Dodgers are going with a right-handed-hitting outfield of Justin Ruggiano, Chris Heisey and Scott Van Slyke, along with Alex Guerrero at DH. Adrian Gonzalez and Corey Seager are the only lefties in the lineup, as Jimmy Rollins takes another day to nurse an injured knuckle on his right hand. X-rays were negative on the finger.

2016 Dodger schedule: Everything you need to know

2016 schedule

By Jon Weisman

This year isn’t over, but who doesn’t want a peek at next year?

The Dodgers will open their 2016 regular season April 4 in San Diego, with their home opener coming April 12 against Arizona.

Enjoy these notes about the 2016 schedule (and click the image above to enlarge):

Freeway Series: The annual exhibition games against the Angels will take place March 31 and April 1 at Dodger Stadium, followed by an April 2 game at Anaheim.

In the regular season, there are four games against the Angels, at home May 16-17 and immediately followed on the road May 18-19.

More interleague play: In 2016, the National League West is matched up against the American League East. Dodger Stadium will host Baltimore (July 4-6), Tampa Bay (July 26-27) and Boston (August 5-7), while the Dodgers will travel to play Tampa Bay (May 3-4), Toronto (May 6-8) and the New York Yankees (September 12-14).

In 2013, the Dodgers went 10-6 against the AL East.

Jackie Robinson Day: The Dodgers will play the Giants on Jackie Robinson Day, April 15 (a Friday).

Holiday games: Dodger Stadium will be the place to be on Father’s Day (June 19 vs. Milwaukee), Independence Day (July 4 vs. Baltimore) and Labor Day (September 5 vs. Arizona). The Dodgers are on the road for Mother’s Day and Memorial Day.

Longest homestand: July 1-10, leading into the All-Star Break, the Dodgers have a 10-game homestand against the Rockies, Orioles and Padres.

Longest roadtrip: September 9-18, the Dodgers will be winging their way to Miami, Yankee Stadium and Arizona for a 10-game trip.

Colorado or bust: This was weird. Twice in August, the Dodgers have roadtrips that only go to Colorado for three games: August 2-4 and August 29-31. It’s within a July 26-September 7 stretch in which the Dodgers play 26 out of 39 games at home.

Most consecutive games: From May 6-25, the Dodgers play 20 consecutive days. The stretch begins in Toronto, followed by a nine-game homestand against the Mets, Cardinals and Angels, then a short five-game trip to Anaheim and San Diego, before coming home again for a three-game homestand against the Reds.

Los Angeles plays 13 straight days after the May 26 off day, so that means 33 games in 34 days from May 6 through June 8. The Dodgers also close the 2016 season with 23 games in the final 24 days.

Off days: For the most part, breaks are pretty evenly distributed. Three off days in April (including the day before Opening Day), followed by three off days in May, two in June, three in July (in addition to the All-Star Break), three in August and three in September.

In 2015, the Dodgers were scheduled for games 58 out of 61 days in May and June.

Rest and Rays: Oddly, the Dodgers have off days before and after each of their two-game series with Tampa Bay. No games on May 2 or May 5, and again no games on July 25 and July 28.

The only other time the Dodgers have off days on both sides of a series is in August, when they host the Pirates in between off days on August 11 and 15.

After the All-Star Break: The Dodgers begin the second half of the season on the road for the fourth consecutive year and ninth time in the past 12 seasons. Since 2005, the Dodgers are 25-27 in those post-All-Star roadtrips, even including a 6-0 trip in 2013.

Here’s the past 11 years of trips immediately after the All-Star Game (homestands in italics)

  • 2015 — at Nationals (2-1), at Braves (1-2), at Mets (2-2)
  • 2014 – at Cardinals (1-2), at Pirates (1-2), at Giants (3-0)
  • 2013 – at Nationals (3-0), at Blue Jays (3-0)
  • 2012 – vs. Padres (1-2), vs. Phillies (1-2)
  • 2011 – at Diamondbacks (1-2), at Giants (1-2)
  • 2010 – at Cardinals (0-4)
  • 2009 – vs. Astros (2-2), vs. Reds (3-0), vs. Marlins (1-2)
  • 2008 – at Diamondbacks (2-1), at Rockies (1-2)
  • 2007 – at Giants (3-0)
  • 2006 – at Cardinals (0-4), at Diamondbacks (1-3)
  • 2005 – vs. Giants (1-3)

At the finish: The Dodgers close the season with three games against the Giants at AT&T Park from September 30-October 2. Los Angeles’ first set of games against rival San Francisco will be at home April 15-17.

Why Monday’s game took so long

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 8.49.52 AM

By Jon Weisman

Monday was Labor Day, and the Dodgers and Angels did their best to honor the working man through strife instead of taking a holiday.

The two teams spent three hours and 52 minutes playing their nine innings, and quickly, good men fair and true were quick to blame September roster expansion.

If only shortening the game were as simple as keeping September roster limits at 25 players instead of 40.

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So many pitchers, just enough time

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By Jon Weisman

It was nine innings that featured 16 pitchers, 35 baserunners, 232 minutes and 338 pitches. It ended with Kenley Jansen doing what Kenley Jansen needed to do, striking out Mike Trout and Albert Pujols and then getting a fly to right by David DeJesus to preserve a 7-5 victory for the Dodgers at Anaheim.

Scott Van Slyke became the Dodgers’ first No. 8 hitter with four hits and four RBI since James Loney hit a single, double and two grand slams at Colorado in 2006. His two-run hit off the pitcher in the seventh inning provided the Dodgers with the runs they needed to win, one day after Andre Ethier cleared the bases in the seventh inning with a comebacker to the pitcher that was thrown away.

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Justin Ruggiano had another big hit for the Dodgers, a two-run double pinch-hit while pinch-hitting for Ethier in the fifth. Corey Seager and Joc Pederson each reached base three times, including the first two walks of Seager’s career.

The Angels used nine pitchers, tying the most the Dodgers have ever faced in a nine-inning game. The last time it happened was the Loney two-slam game.

Oh, and while he did allow three runs in a game for the sixth time in 29 starts this year, Zack Greinke had his 26th quality start and still has a 1.68 ERA.

Los Angeles now leads the National League West by 8 1/2 games, the Dodgers’ biggest lead since the last day of the 2013 season.

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