Dodger Thoughts

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

Author: Jon Weisman (Page 73 of 362)

Off-day report: Mattingly addresses Utley-Tejada

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By Jon Weisman

Speaking to reporters tonight after the Dodgers’ arrival in New York, manager Don Mattingly backed Chase Utley a day after his hard slide into Ruben Tejada.

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Chase Utley slide joins most controversial plays in Dodger playoff history

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By Jon Weisman

Jackie Robinson safe at home in 1949. Davey Lopes safe at first in 1977. The heat of Hanley Ramirez’s rib fractured by a pitch — two years ago this very day — still simmers. And above all, Reggie Jackson’s hip.

Nothing tops their notoriety in Dodger postseason history, but entering that pantheon is Chase Utley’s slide, a play we will be talking about for years.

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Remembering ’65: World Series Game 5

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By Jon Weisman

Pretty much the only drama in Game 5 of the 1965 World Series was whether Sandy Koufax would throw another perfect game or no-hitter.

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Beyond the slide — how the Dodgers came back

Howie Kendrick slides safely into home ahead of the tag by the Mets' Travis d'Arnaud.

Howie Kendrick slides safely into home ahead of the tag by the Mets’ Travis d’Arnaud.

By Jon Weisman

The Dodgers went nearly 16 innings without the lead in their National League Division Series showdown with the Mets, and though their deficit was only a run entering the bottom of the seventh inning tonight, that run seemed like a mountain to climb.

After allowing solo home runs to Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto in the second inning, Zack Greinke did wonder if the Dodgers would scale the summit, as they ultimately did in a 5-2 victory.

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Dodgers rally in controversial seventh to even NLDS

ZG G2

By Jon Weisman

For nearly seven innings, it was another nail-biting pitchers’ duel, a rush of speed chess with the Dodgers again one move behind.

And then, the Dodgers flipped the board, suddenly and violently.

A four-run inning, lit aflame by Chase Utley’s takeout slide of Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada at second base, lifted the Dodgers to a 5-2 victory in Game 2 of the National League Division Series, evening the matchup at one win apiece.

Tejada suffered a broken right fibula on the play, which we discuss at length in a separate story.

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NLDS Game 2 lineups: Kendrick moves to leadoff

Dodgers
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Justin Turner, 3B
Andre Ethier, RF
Carl Crawford, LF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Kiké Hernandez, CF
Zack Greinke, P
Mets
Curtis Granderson, RF
David Wright, 3B
Yoenis Cespedes, CF
Daniel Murphy, 2B
Travis d’Arnaud, C
Lucas Duda, 1B
Michael Conforto, LF
Ruben Tejada, SS
Noah Syndergaard, P

Screen Shot 2015-10-10 at 12.59.14 PMBy Jon Weisman

Juggling their batting order for Game 2 of the National League Division Series tonight, the Dodgers have moved Howie Kendrick to the leadoff spot.

Kendrick did not make a start in the No. 1 slot in the order at all in 2005. His last start as a leadoff hitter was June 11, 2014 with the Angels.

The 32-year-old second baseman started as a leadoff hitter 14 times in 2014 and 11 times in 2010, and not once in any other year. He had a .336 on-base percentage this year.

Corey Seager, Adrian Gonzalez, Justin Turner and Andre Ethier are each moving up a spot in the order from Friday’s Game 1, with Carl Crawford dropping down to sixth.

Yamani Grandal, who has caught Zack Greinke most of the season, is in at catcher, while Kiké Hernandez is replacing Joc Pederson in center field.

If you’re coming to tonight’s game, remember to give yourself plenty of time. Auto gates open at 3:07 p.m.

Emotional reward: Ella Annear’s first pitch

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The video speaks for itself. In a world that always needs a dose of good news, we got some in the moments before Friday’s playoff opener. There’s no cheering in the press box, but last night I wondered if there could be crying. We’re so very happy for the Annear family.

— Jon Weisman

Meet frontier doctor Walter O’Malley

Walter_OMalley BrandedBy Jon Weisman

Fifty years ago today, in an episode that aired October 10, 1965, — yes, just hours after the Dodgers won Game 4 of the World Series — Dodger owner Walter O’Malley played a frontier doctor in the NBC TV western “Branded,” opposite series star Chuck Connors.

Connors was a former Brooklyn farmhand who had one at-bat with Brooklyn in 1949 and half a season with the Cubs in 1951, before embarking upon his acting career.

O’Malley was recruited to do the episode by Connors, after the Dodger chief asked him to entertain guests earlier that year, according to Times columnist Sid Ziff, who wrote about the filming of the episode in August 1965:

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Remembering ’65: World Series Game 4

remembering-65-wide-v1-jersey

By Jon Weisman

After lasting only 2 2/3 innings in Game 1 of the 1965 World Series, Don Drysdale was his old self in Game 4.

Even better, the Dodger offense was a punishing crew, too.

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Heat is on Dodgers after NLDS Game 1 defeat

Kershaw NLDS 1

By Jon Weisman

A scorching, sweating, exhausting night at Dodger Stadium tore open old wounds.

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Corey Seager batting third in playoff debut

Dodgers
Carl Crawford, LF
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Justin Turner, 3B
Andre Ethier, RF
A.J. Ellis, C
Joc Pederson, CF
Clayton Kershaw, P
Mets
Curtis Granderson, RF
David Wright, 3B
Yoenis Cespedes, CF
Daniel Murphy, 2B
Travis d’Arnaud, C
Lucas Duda, 1B
Michael Cuddyer, LF
Ruben Tejada, SS
Jacob deGrom, P

By Jon Weisman

Corey Seager will not only be the youngest Dodger position player to start a postseason game, he will bat third for Los Angeles in the National League Division Series opener against the Mets tonight.

Seager, who has the highest OPS+ in Dodger history for a rookie, hit in the No. 3 slot twice in his 27-game Major League debut, on September 20 and 30.

One advantage with Seager is that because of his prowess against left-handed pitching, the Dodgers don’t have to worry much about batting him and Adrian Gonzalez back-to-back in the lineup.

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

At 21 years and 165 days old, Seager surpasses James Loney (22/153) by nearly a year to become the Dodgers’ youngest playoff starter among non-pitchers.  Fernando Valenzuela’s NLDS appearance at 20 years, 339 days makes him the least aged among pitchers. Johnny Podres, Clayton Kershaw, Ralph Branca and Ismael Valdez were also younger than Seager.

Joc Pederson, at 23 years and 171 days, just missed making the Dodgers’ all-time playoff youth team:

P – Fernando Valenzuela (20/339)
SS – Corey Seager (21/165)
1B – James Loney (22/153)
OF – Pete Reiser (22/198)
OF – Yasiel Puig (22/300)
C – Mike Scioscia (22/313)
OF – Duke Snider (23/16)
3B – Eddie Miksis (23/26)
2B – Blake DeWitt (23/42)

Will playoffs take Dodgers over the moon?

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

And now, it’s time to come out of our safe place.

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Dodgers announce NLDS roster

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By Jon Weisman

Without further ado — that is, no more ado of any kind whatsoever — here is the Dodgers’ official 2015 National League Division Series roster.

Starting pitchers (4): Brett Anderson, Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood

Relief pitchers (7): Luis Avilan, Pedro Baez, Yimi Garcia, Chris Hatcher, J.P. Howell, Kenley Jansen, Joel Peralta

Catchers (2): A.J. Ellis, Yasmani Grandal

Infielders (6): Adrian Gonzalez, Howie Kendrick, Jimmy Rollins, Corey Seager, Justin Turner, Chase Utley

Outfielders (6): Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, Kiké Hernandez, Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig, Justin Ruggiano

Alex Guerrero, Juan Nicasio and the injured Scott Van Slyke are Dodgers who spent the entire season in the Majors but did not make it to the NLDS.

If a player is injured during the NLDS, he may be replaced, but the injured player would be ineligible to play in the NLCS should the Dodgers advance.

Dodgers-Mets NLDS remaining game times

NLDSYou already know that National League Division Series Game 1 starts at 6:45 p.m. Friday, and Game 2 starts at 6:07 p.m. Saturday.

Today, MLB revealed the schedule for the rest of the series (all times Pacific):

  • Game 3 at New York: Monday at 5:07 p.m. (if there are four MLB playoff games that day) or 5:37 p.m.
  • Game 4 at New York (if necessary): Tuesday at 5:07 p.m.
  • Game 5 at Los Angeles (if necessary): October 15 at 5:07 p.m.

Remember, plan to arrive early for any playoff game you attend!

— Jon Weisman

Traveling through time with Vin Scully

VinEditor’s note: To say the least, Vin Scully comes by his gift for language honestly. In September 1965, while on a Dodger road trip, Scully wrote a guest column for the Times, excerpted below.  He was a master of word and thought then, just as he is now. So pull up a chair … 

By Vin Scully

PITTSBURGH — It came up rain, a gray somber rain that put a frown on the careworn face of Pittsburgh. My window was streaked with erratic wet lines that made me think of a small child crying. Rain meant disappointment to thousands of fans — and a doubleheader to broadcast — and it meant that on that wet afternoon, I was face to face with the biggest enemy on the road … TIME …

The radio hummed softly in the background and I began to pick out a few lyrics … “Lost out here in the stars … little stars … big stars …” I began to hold memories up to the light like color slides: New York — I could smell the cigaret smoke in the old Polo Grounds. I was 10 and in the bleachers and I first realized that I could see the bat hit the ball before I could hear it.

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