Dodger Thoughts

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

Author: Jon Weisman (Page 74 of 363)

Remembering ’65: World Series Game 4


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

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
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


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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Vin Scully ‘resting comfortably’ after medical procedure, will miss postseason

Los Angeles Dodgers vs Arizona Diamondbacks

By Jon Weisman

Vin Scully underwent a recommended medical procedure this morning and is resting comfortably, the Dodgers have announced.

On the advice of his doctors, Scully will miss the Dodgers’ postseason games to rest up. He said he’s looking forward to returning to the Dodgers for the 2016 season, his 67th with the Dodgers.

Everyone in the Dodger organization wishes Scully the speediest of recoveries. Can’t wait to see him back in action next year!

A special first pitch before NLDS Game 1


A really wonderful moment is going to take place before the start of the National League Division Series on Friday. From the Dodgers’ public relations department:

Four-year-old Ella Mason Annear, who has battled cancer for the past two years, and Hall of Fame Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda have been named to throw out the honorary first pitch for games one and two on the National League Division Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets.

Annear, who also goes by “Ella The Great”, is the daughter of the Dodgers’ vice-president of merchandising and retail Allister Annear and his wife, Amanda.  She will do the honors on Friday night prior to the 6:45 p.m. game.

Ella was diagnosed with Heptoblastoma and a lung tumor seven months ago.  After surgery on April 20 and seven rounds of chemotherapy, the youngster was cleared of cancer and pronounced NED (no visible disease).  Ella has a website, where fans can check her journey–

Lasorda will get the call on Saturday prior to the 6:05 p.m. start of game two.  The Hall of Fame skipper, who is the special advisor to the chairman, is baseball’s greatest ambassador.  Lasorda is currently in his 66th season in the Dodger organization.  He managed the club for 20 seasons before retiring to the front office in 1996.  Lasorda won two world championships, four National League pennants and eight division titles.  He recently celebrated his 88th birthday.

— Jon Weisman

How a manager battles the odds

Don Mattingly visits Clayton Kershaw at the mound before leaving him in to finish the Dodgers' September 2 victory over the Giants (Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Don Mattingly visits Clayton Kershaw at the mound before leaving him in to finish the Dodgers’ September 2 victory over the Giants. (Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

The other day on Twitter, I proposed a hypothetical that I think you could call a nice problem to have.

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Ellis on Kershaw: What happened after 2014’s final out

AJ on Clayton

Back in Spring Training, with the scar of the previous October only beginning to heal, I asked A.J. Ellis to join Vin Scully, Rick Honeycutt and Orel Hershiser in a package of bylined stories about Clayton Kershaw for the April edition of Dodger Insider magazine. With a new October upon us, I thought this would be a good time to revisit Ellis’ remarkable insights about Kershaw and his relationship with the Dodger ace. Click the image above to enlarge.

— Jon Weisman

Arrive early for NLDS games — Friday and Saturday


By Jon Weisman

You’re probably expecting rush-hour traffic to be challenging for Friday’s 6:45 p.m. National League Division Series opener. But don’t get lulled into thinking you can waltz to Dodger Stadium at the last minute for Saturday’s 6:07 p.m. game, either.

Because the CONCACAF Cup at the Rose Bowl between Mexico and the U.S. has the same starting time as NLDS Game 2, Los Angeles freeways figure to be jammed. That’s why the Dodgers once again urge fans to arrive as early as possible for both games — and also embrace carpooling and alternate transportation.

To that end, the Dodger Stadium Express, free for everyone with a game ticket, will begin service from Union Station at 4:15 p.m. Friday and 3:37 p.m. Saturday, two hours and 30 minutes before first pitch for each game. 

South Bay Dodger Stadium Express service will also begin earlier, two hours before each game.

Remember, the Dodger Stadium Express takes a dedicated lane along Sunset Boulevard up Elysian Park Avenue to the ballpark, with stops behind the outfield pavilions and at the top of the park.

If you are driving, be sure to purchase your parking in advance to save time and money. Auto gates open three hours before first pitch: 3:45 p.m. Friday and 3:07 p.m. Saturday.

For more information, check out our earlier blog post this week or visit

Vin Scully to be honored twice in November

Sandi and Vin Scully at Dodger Stadium on September 23. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Sandi and Vin Scully at Dodger Stadium on September 23. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

On November 8, Vin Scully will receive the George H.W. Bush Distinguished Alumnus Award from the National College Baseball Hall of Fame at the Bel-Air Country Club.

The award has a nice historical touch, given that Scully was an outfielder at Fordham and played against Bush’s Yale team in April 1947.

“Mr. Scully is representative of what the Bush Award stands for,” National College Baseball Hall of Fame president and CEO Mike Gustafson said. “He is the voice of baseball for so many, and this will be a great evening.”

Three days later, Scully and his wife Sandi will receive the Friends of the Family Award from the Pepperdine Boone Center for the Family at an event at the Beverly Hilton.

Remembering ’65: World Series Game 2


By Jon Weisman

Pummeled mercilessly in Game 1 of the 1965 World Series, the Dodgers could console themselves by handing Game 2 to Sandy Koufax, who had just completed one of the most memorable seasons in baseball history — a 2.04 ERA, a perfect game and a big-league record 382 strikeouts.

Koufax had clinched the National League pennant for the Dodgers with a complete game on two days’ rest, capping a stretch in which he threw 27 innings in only eight days, allowing one run and striking out 38.

The brilliant lefty, whose entire season had seemed in jeopardy back in April, had logged 335 2/3 innings overall, the most by any Major Leaguer in more than a decade and the fourth-highest total since World War II. Seemingly, however, he had gone from brittle to indefatigable, and with a full four days’ rest heading into his Game 2 start, on October 7, 1965, confidence was high.

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For the ace who has it all: Clayton Kershaw’s primo pickoff move

Clayton Kershaw making one of his NL-leading 127 pickoff throws in 2015. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

One of Clayton Kershaw’s MLB-leading 127 pickoff throws. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

As if the guy didn’t have enough weapons …

Clayton Kershaw is baseball’s top pickoff artist, and it isn’t even close.

Kershaw picked off nine baserunners this year, three more than the two next-closest pitchers, teammate Brett Anderson and former teammate Joe Beimel, now with Seattle.

This isn’t a new skill. Kershaw led the National League in pickoffs for three consecutive seasons (2010-12) and has been in the top 10 every year since 2009.

“He’s always had that in the back of his pocket,” said Dodger coach and baserunning guru Davey Lopes. “He’s utilized it quite a bit — guys trying to stretch their leads, and he’s been picking them off.

In the past seven seasons, Kershaw has been credited with 55 pickoffs. Next on the list among big-league pitchers are Mark Buehrle (42) and James Shields (28).

No other MLB pitcher since 2009 has even half as many pickoffs as Kershaw.

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