Dodger Thoughts

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

Month: April 2016 (Page 2 of 6)

Don Mattingly and returning to the scene of the climb

LOS ANGELES DODGERS V MIAMI MARLINS

By Jon Weisman

It’s not that you can’t go home again — it’s just so strange to do it.

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Stanton, Marlins top Dodgers


By Jon Weisman

Yasiel Puig and Trayce Thompson homered in the fourth inning for the Dodgers, but it was not enough to withstand single runs by the Marlins in the three middle innings, and the Dodgers fell to Miami on Monday in their series opener, 3-2.

The Dodger bullpen pitched 3 2/3 shutout innings, but the difference-maker was Derek Dietrich’s RBI triple in the sixth inning off Ross Stripling, who lost his first MLB decision. Stripling allowed eight hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings, and his ERA is now 3.22.

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Dodgers exchange Luis for Louis

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Marlins at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Kiké Hernandez, LF
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Justin Turner, 3B
Yasmani Grandal, 1B
Trayce Thompson, CF
A.J. Ellis, C
Charlie Culberson, SS
Ross Stripling, P

By Jon Weisman

Louis Coleman is returning from his bereavement leave to the Dodger bullpen, with Luis Avilan returning to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Coleman, who last pitched April 19, has allowed four runs, four hits and four walks in five innings for the Dodgers, with three strikeouts.

Avilan pitched in all three games the Dodgers just played in Colorado. He struck out the only batter he faced Friday, gave up a hit (and a run) among the two batters he faced Saturday and allowed two hits and two walks (one intentional) against four batters Sunday.

Carl Crawford is expected to be activated from the disabled list Tuesday, Dave Roberts said today.

Guns N’ Roses to play Dodger Stadium on August 18

GunsNRoses_1200x627

Guns N’ Roses will bring its “Not in This Lifetime” tour, produced by Live Nation, to Dodger Stadium for one night, August 18. A 48-hour pre-sale for Citi cardmembers begins Tuesday at 10 a.m., with tickets for the general public going on sale beginning Friday.

The Dodgers will be in the middle of a seven-game road trip to Philadelphia and Cincinnati, returning home to play the Giants from August 23-25, followed by the Cubs from August 26-28.

— Jon Weisman

Never-an-All-Star Kenley Jansen off to dominant start

San Francisco Giants vs Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers at Rockies, 1:10 p.m.
Chase Utley, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Howie Kendrick, 3B
Joc Pederson, CF
Trayce Thompson, LF
Alex Wood, P

By Jon Weisman

Remarkable in one sense — and yet sadly understandable in another, given his relative anonymity outside of Los Angeles — Kenley Jansen has never been to an All-Star Game.

This year — look out.

Not only does Jansen, who celebrated his 150th career save Saturday, lead the Major Leagues in saves with eight, he has done so with authority. He has faced 29 batters and retired 26 of them, allowing two singles and a double while striking out nine and walking none.

No one has scored on his watch. Facing those 29 batters, he has had exactly 29 pitches called balls.

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The legend grows: Kenta Maeda flirts with no-hitter

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

By Jon Weisman

There’s always a thrill whenever any pitcher is working on a no-hitter, that clickety-clack as he takes you up the rise of the roller coaster, each moment of anticipation adding to the whooshing reward.

When it’s your guy, it’s even more of a wild ride. And when your guy is a guy who is now verging on his own kind of Fernando-Hideo frenzy, well, lock down your valuables and keep your hands inside the car.

In his fourth Major League game tonight in Colorado, Kenta Maeda went 5 1/3 innings without allowing a hit, setting the stage for him to duplicate the no-hit effort achieved two decades ago by his countryman Nomo, before finishing with eight strikeouts in 6 1/3 shutout innings.

Maeda, as Cary Osborne presaged in his pregame writeup, is the first starting pitcher in MLB history to allow fewer than two runs across his first four starts. His ERA, with a trip to the Mile High City under his belt, is now an unreal 0.36, with 23 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings against 23 baserunners.

Despite pitching for the first time in his life at the big leagues’ toughest ballpark, Maeda could hardly have been more sharp. In the first four innings, he faced 13 batters and threw first-pitch strikes to all of them, walking one and retiring the other 12, with six strikeouts and only one ball even leaving the infield.

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Yimi Garcia heads to DL, Zach Lee recalled

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Yimi Garcia has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with right biceps soreness by the Dodgers, who have recalled right-hander Zach Lee to take his roster spot.

Garcia, tied with Chris Hatcher for the team lead in games pitched with nine and innings with 8 1/3, has allowed 11 baserunners this season while striking out four. In his big-league career, Garcia has struck out 9.7 per nine innings with a 0.94 WHIP.

Lee has a 1.56 ERA in 17 1/3 innings (three starts) for Triple-A Oklahoma City, allowing 22 hits but walking only one while striking out 14. He was scheduled to start tonight in Iowa, but is with the Dodgers now as a long reliever.

Scott Kazmir said he doesn’t expect to miss his next start despite “minor discomfort where the thumb meets the wrist,” according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. Also, Louis Coleman returns from his bereavement leave Monday.

By the way, Dave Roberts told reporters Friday that Mike Bolsinger, whose bid for the Dodger starting rotation was thwarted by a strained oblique muscle a month ago, has begun throwing off a mound.

Justin Turner has a bruised toe but is available to pinch hit, according to Gurnick.

View from the top: Andrew Friedman analyzes three keys to the Dodgers’ future

Roberts Friedman

Andrew Friedman and Dave Roberts before a rain delay April 9 at San Francisco. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

Taking a break from the standing desk in his office overlooking left field at Dodger Stadium, 18 months into his tenure as Dodger president of baseball operations, Andrew Friedman was asked to reflect.

In the brief pause that followed, you could feel the sheer volume of all the moves and maneuvering roll through his brain like a freight train.

“It’s been such a frenetic pace,” Friedman said, “I feel like I’ve been drinking out of a firehose for the past year and a half.”

But the moment did provide an opportunity for Friedman to assess the state of the squad and look ahead toward a future filled with potential — all in pursuit of the unquestioned grand prize of a World Series title.

What follows are Friedman’s thoughts on three areas critical to that pursuit …

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Injury questions mark Dodger loss in Colorado

Corey Seager is congratulated by third-base coach Chris Woodward. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Corey Seager is congratulated by third-base coach Chris Woodward. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

By Jon Weisman

The injuries woes that have bedeviled the Dodgers at Coors Field returned Friday during a 7-5 loss to the Rockies.

Starting pitcher Scott Kazmir developed an issue with his left thumb, while reliever Yimi Garcia had to leave in the middle of a difficult inning with right bicep soreness, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.

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Yasiel Puig tops himself with unreal throw

[mlbvideo id=”613737383″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]
By Jon Weisman

Yasiel Puig is his own tough act to follow, but in the fifth inning tonight, he done outdone himself with a jaw-dropping missle from right field.

With the Dodgers leading 5-4 over the Rockies in Coors Field and one out, rookie phenom Trevor Story sent a fly ball high off the right-field screen, that Puig leaped for but couldn’t reach.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Puig, who earlier in the game matched his 2015 total with his third stolen base of 2016, raced from the wall to pick up the carom with his bare hand just in front of the warning track, as Story was passing second base and heading for third.

Somehow, Puig ripped a throw well over 300 feet, traveling 93.5 mph, that soared on the fly right to the third-base bag, where Justin Turner laid the tag for the Story-booked ending.

Puig.

When a Coors Field game becomes a ‘Coors Field game’

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers at Rockies, 5:40 p.m.
Chase Utley, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Howie Kendrick, LF
Joc Pederson, CF
Scott Kazmir, P

By Jon Weisman

That chamber of chills and thrills known as Coors Field hosts the Dodgers for three games in the next 48 hours.

Not without good reason, we think of the Colorado Rockies’ home field as the nuclear test site where ERAs go boom. But how common have those explosions been?

Here’s the breakdown of how the Dodgers’ breakdowns in Denver:

Runs scored at Coors Field by the Dodgers and Rockies, 1995-2015
Coors

Basically, the teams each break into double digits once or twice per year, no more than thrice, except in 1996, when the Rockies score 10 or more runs in four different games against Los Angeles. That’s not so extraordinary. It’s about the same as the amount of games in which a team has been held to two runs or fewer.

The thing that makes Coors Field Coors Field is the number of games in the high single digits — somewhere around half of the total for each team. The Dodgers and Rockies have scored at least six runs in more than half the games they have played at Coors.

So, be ready for some scoring — not necessarily an insane amount, but just enough to make you uncomfortable. That’s Coors Field for you.

Dodgers will celebrate Prince at Friday Night Fireworks on April 29

The Dodgers have announced that following the April 29 game against the Padres, Friday Night Fireworks (presented by Denny’s) will be set to Prince music, celebrating the life of the entertainer who died Thursday at age 57.

— Jon Weisman

Justin Turner Weekend Special: Discount tickets for April 30

chia-pet-v2-r0
2016 HS02 Dodger Insider cover imageTickets for the Dodgers’ April 30 game against the Padres will be available this weekend for as low as $10 — a savings of at least 50 percent.

The first 40,000 fans in attendance that night will receive a Justin Turner Chia Pet. But to take advantage of the Justin Turner Weekend Special, you must purchase your tickets by 4 p.m. Pacific on Sunday. (Tickets are subject to availability.)

Click dodgers.com/10 for more information and to purchase tickets.

Turner, by the way, is the cover subject of the second issue of Dodger Insider magazine, coming out next week at Dodger Stadium and to subscribers.

— Jon Weisman

After Kershaw’s double-double, Grandal doubles in game-winner

Clayton Kershaw is called out at home plate in the seventh inning. (Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

Clayton Kershaw is called out at home plate in the seventh. (Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

By Jon Weisman

Like cleaning an old outdoor barbecue on a warm Sunday afternoon, the Dodgers had to cut and scrape more than they would have liked in with Clayton Kershaw on the mound in Atlanta. But in the end, they got the savory meal they came for.

After Kershaw allowed 10 hits with 10 strikeouts in the same game for the first time in his career, the Dodgers scored in the 10th inning for the second time in 18 hours, eking out a 2-1 victory over Atlanta.

The red-hot Yasmani Grandal hit an RBI double to drive home Kiké Hernandez with the winning run. Grandal, who walked as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning, is 7 for 12 with four doubles and six walks in his past five games — a .722 on-base percentage.

Kershaw got a no-decision, which belied what a day of action it was for the lefty ace.

“Weird day,” Kershaw told SportsNet LA’s Alanna Rizzo after the game.

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Baez recovering, but Coleman bereaving

San Francisco Giants vs Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers at Braves, 9:10 a.m.
Kershaw CCXLVI: Kershawll We Dance?
Chase Utley, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Joc Pederson, CF
Trayce Thompson, RF
Kiké Hernandez, LF
A.J. Ellis, C
Charlie Culberson, 3B
Clayton Kershaw, P

By Jon Weisman

“Right” said Pedro Baez, or something to that effect, the morning after an Adam Liberatore midgame warmup pitch Wednesday accidentally struck the right-handed reliever in the head.

Baez played catch in the outfield today and told reporters today that he feels fine, though Dave Roberts said in his pregame chat that the team hadn’t determined if Better Off Ped is available to pitch today.

However, the Dodgers have called up southpaw Luis Avilan from Triple-A Oklahoma City, because Louis Coleman has been placed on the bereavement list following the passing of his grandfather.

Avilan, who had a rough Spring Training, has thrown six shutout innings so far this season in the minors, allowing three hits and three walks while striking out nine. Left-handed batters are 1 for 9 against him with two walks and three strikeouts.

He’ll boost a Dodger bullpen that has been taxed over the past two nights and that will be hoping for a reprieve today with Clayton Kershaw on the mound. Number of pitches Dodger relievers have thrown since Monday’s off day:

  • 33 J.P. Howell (10 Tuesday, 23 Wednesday)
  • 31 Joe Blanton (12 Tuesday, 19 Wednesday)
  • 24 Yimi Garcia (six Tuesday, 18 Wednesday
  • 16 Chris Hatcher (16 Wednesday)
  • 13 Adam Liberatore (nine Tuesday, four Wednesday)
  • 13 Louis Coleman (13 Tuesday)
  • 13 Kenley Jansen (13 Wednesday)

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