Dodger Thoughts

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

Month: July 2016 (Page 1 of 5)

Dodgers stamp successful July with 14-3 victory

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Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Throughout July, Dodger bats and relievers had carried Los Angeles through their first full month without Clayton Kershaw. On the final day before August, they summed it up in one rollicking package.

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Dodgers activate Hernandez, option Barnes

Kike Hernandez, Dave Roberts and Luke Walton and son pose prior to Saturday's game.

Kike Hernandez, Dave Roberts and Luke Walton and son pose prior to Saturday’s game.

Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 1:10 p.m.
Howie Kendrick, LF
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Scott Van Slyke, 1B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Yasiel Puig, RF
Kiké Hernandez, CF
Chris Taylor, 2B
Bud Norris, P

By Jon Weisman

One month and four days since his last game for the Dodgers, Kiké Hernandez has been activated from the disabled list, where he has been recovering from left rib cage inflammation.

To make room on the 25-man roster, Austin Barnes has been optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Barnes doubled in four at-bats during his most recent stint with the Dodgers.

Hernandez has a .280 on-base percentage while slugging .346 this season for Los Angeles.

In other recent news for the Dodgers, who scored runs in the seventh and ninth innings Saturday but fell to Arizona, 4-2 …

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Catcher steals make a rare return for Dodger offense

LOS ANGELES DODGERS V ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 6:10 p.m.
Chase Utley, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrián González, 1B
Howie Kendrick, LF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Andrew Toles, RF
Joc Pederson, CF
Scott Kazmir, P

By Jon Weisman

In the very first game after A.J. Ellis stole his first base in the Majors on Wednesday, Yasmani Grandal stole his first base as a Dodger on Friday.

Grandal, whose steal came in his 191st game as a Dodger, did have three thefts with the Padres in 2014. Nevertheless, to say this week’s sequence of events was unusual is an understatement.

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Yasiel Puig remains out of starting lineup

Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks

Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Chase Utley, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrián González, 1B
Howie Kendrick, LF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Andrew Toles, RF
Joc Pederson, CF
Kenta Maeda, P

By Jon Weisman

Yasiel Puig remains listed on the Dodger lineup card as a reserve, but for the seventh straight game, he is not starting.

Puig’s last start came July 20 at Washington. He then had a scheduled off day July 21 but came off the bench and felt tightness in his right hamstring while trying to beat out a hit in his only at-bat of the game.

He has made one pinch-hitting appearance since, on July 22. Counting Thursday’s off day, Puig has been out of action for six days entering tonight’s game.

The 25-year-old has a .384 on-base percentage and .412 slugging percentage in 99 plate appearances since returning June 21 from a stint on the disabled list because of his left hamstring.

Andrew Toles, profiled Thursday by J.P. Hoornstra of the Daily News, is starting for the fifth time in seven games since Puig’s last start. Toles is 9 for 31 with three walks for a .353 on-base percentage in the first 34 plate appearances of his Major League career.

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A landslide of emotion for Vin Scully at LADF gala

By Jon Weisman

Stevie Nicks said she was backstage Thursday during the Los Angeles Dodger Foundation’s Blue Diamond Gala when she began to think about time. Nicks started performing with Mick Fleetwood nearly 50 years ago, and the years were something to contemplate.

And then her thoughts turned to Vin Scully, the night’s honoree whom the members of Fleetwood Mac met before their performance began, and his 67 seasons of service to the Dodgers, and she was blown away.

Nicks then dedicated the ballad “Landslide” to the Dodgers’ Hall of Fame announcer.

Well, I’ve been afraid of changin’
‘Cause I built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
I’m getting older too

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Trivia: 100-inning pitchers and the Dodgers

You just can't have enough Kenta Maedas.

It’s always good to have a Kenta Maeda stunt double on reserve.

By Jon Weisman

Among the rarities of this Dodger season, it’s increasingly likely the 2016 team will have only three pitchers finish the year with at least 100 innings — the lowest number in franchise history.

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Dodger family serves at Downtown Women’s Center

Dodger significant others volunteered for a day of service Wednesday at the Downtown Women’s Center, which aims to combat homelessness with living arrangements, food and job connections. Read more about it in Jack Baer’s story for MLB.com.

— Jon Weisman

Eight shutout innings leave Dodgers one shy

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By Jon Weisman

Brandon McCarthy and the Dodgers had only one bad inning today out of nine, but it counted.

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At age 35, A.J. Ellis steals first MLB base

Ellis SB

Previously on Dodger Insider: A.J. Ellis and the mythical stolen base

By Jon Weisman

Five weeks ago, A.J. Ellis acknowledged, not without some pride, that he knew he was of the all-time leaders in MLB history for most times on base without a steal in his career.

Today, history broke.

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Brett Anderson to begin rehab assignment Thursday

By Jon Weisman

Some quick Dodger injury updates, mostly courtesy of Dave Roberts:

  • Brett Anderson is set to make his first game appearance since back surgery in March with three scheduled innings in a rehab assignment Thursday for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga.
  • Kiké Hernandez went 3 for 8 with two walks and a stolen base Monday and Tuesday for Rancho Cucamonga. He will continue his rehab assignment with Double-A Tulsa.
  • Yasiel Puig is still day-to-day because of his right hamstring, available to pinch-hit but not to start.
  • Adam Liberatore was unavailable Tuesday after tweaking his right knee covering first during Sunday’s game at St. Louis.
  • Chase Utley and Yasmani Grandal are healthy but not starting today, simply to rest at the outset of a day game against a left-hander (Matt Moore) that followed a night game.

Pedro Baez’s practically perfect July

Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals

Rays at Dodgers, 12:10 p.m.
Howie Kendrick, LF
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Scott Van Slyke, RF
Adrián González, 1B
Chris Taylor, 2B
Joc Pederson, CF
A.J. Ellis, C
Brandon McCarthy, P

By Jon Weisman

It might be easier to get a camel through the eye of a needle than to convince a Dodger fan that Pedro Baez is pitching well.

Making the case that Baez has been extraordinary? Oh, dear — heaven forfend.

But the facts speak for themselves. In July, Baez has faced 39 batters. Three have reached base, on a double and two walks. More than 30 percent of the 39 have struck out.

Baez has allowed a .077 on-base percentage and .054 slugging percentage this month. He has stranded all five runners he has inherited. His ERA is 0.00.

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Dodgers hang on after Norris’ 6 1/3 shutout innings

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By Jon Weisman

Bud Norris began his Dodger career July 1 by throwing six innings of two-hit shutout ball. That seemed like a nice thing to do, so why not a sequel?

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Andre Ethier isn’t saving up for a painy day

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By Jon Weisman

Today, Andre Ethier took batting practice on the Dodger Stadium field for the first time in 2016 — about four months after he intended.

As he continues to fight his way toward recovery from a fractured right tibia suffered in Spring Training, Ethier is in a similar situation to what Clayton Kershaw also expressed today — eager to return, making progress toward that return, but ultimately at the mercy of his body’s willingness to return.

“We’re just trying to take — I wouldn’t say steps, I would say we’re trying to take leaps because of how the timetable is,” Ethier said.

“Certain movements or certain things will flare up, but I think the key part of that is how my body reacts afterwards. Before, when I had those little pains or little flareups, they would last a day or last a couple days. Now, they’re lasting maybe minutes, which is a good sign.”

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Still no date for Clayton Kershaw’s return to action

Rays at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Chase Utley, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrián González, 1B
Howie Kendrick, LF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Andrew Toles, RF
Joc Pederson, CF
Bud Norris, P

By Jon Weisman

Clayton Kershaw can’t limbo, so he’s still in limbo.

That’s today’s scoop, or lack thereof, on the injured Dodger ace, who has now gone one full month since he last pitched before landing on the disabled list with a herniated disc.

Kershaw was eyeing a fast return until he had a setback following a bullpen session July 16, when something “didn’t feel quite right.”

“All I can say is I’m doing everything I possibly can to get back, obviously,” Kershaw said. “I trust the trainers and coaches to get me there.”

Kershaw said that he had a personal timetable for his return before he was forced to press pause, but that now his view is more open-ended and centers around checking off recovery milestones when he can, so that he can still have “an impact on this season” for the Dodgers.

“There’s a lot of gray area, I guess would be the right way to say it,” he said. “You just have to go based on your symptoms. I didn’t have any pain leading up to when I pitched. Then I pitched, and I felt pain again, so now I just have to wait until I don’t feel pain again.

“As of today, I did all my core work, and knocked it out today. Today I made it. On to tomorrow.”

The only saving grace for the fiercely competitive Kershaw has been that the Dodgers have gone 15-8 in his absence.

“It has been so fun to watch, man,” he said. “It’s not easy watching the games on TV, but these guys really make me want to be a part of it, just the way these guys are playing. It’s a great team — it really is. One of the closest teams that I’ve been a part of.

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Dodgers, SportsNet LA win five local Emmys

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By Jon Weisman

Five trophies were given to the Dodgers and SportsNet LA at the 68th annual Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards on Saturday.

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