Dodger Thoughts

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

Category: Uncategorized (Page 4 of 63)

Joc Pederson’s homer off Bumgarner a reward for hard work

[mlbvideo id=”440087983″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

By Jon Weisman

No, it hasn’t been an easy time for Joc Pederson, and no, he probably wouldn’t have started Tuesday against Madison Bumgarner if Kiké Hernandez and/or Yasiel Puig had been healthy.

But Pederson has been putting in the effort toward a difficult midseason adjustment, and tonight he saw some payoff, making solid contact in all three at-bats against Bumgarner …

… culminating in his huge seventh-inning home run, punctuated by a sprint around the bases.

JPed“I thought he had good swings all night tonight,” Don Mattingly said. “Hopefully this continues to build. … He’s tried to make some changes. We’ve talked about how hard that is during the season. You’ve just got to stay with it and keep going. That has to be a confidence booster for him off Madison — obviously a tough, tough matchup.

“You feel good when you see success with a guy that’s been struggling, especially when a guy’s been working on something. When that starts to take hold, when you have a little success, it breeds confidence in what you’re doing. I think the fact that he’s starting to see some results, … that has a chance to put a true belief in what he’s doing.”

Update: Pederson spoke to Steve Bourbon of about his progress. An excerpt:

“I’m just trying to have some more rhythm and stay calm. Just nice and relaxed. See the ball and hit the ball. It sounds so simple but it’s not,” Pederson said. “The adjustment this offseason was to make the barrel more upright to be consistent. At the start of the year it was good. But you lose things, go down some wrong roads, struggle a bit and you adjust. Like I said, it’s a learning process.”

Vin Scully is the sun and the moon

[mlbvideo id=”427390483″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

[mlbvideo id=”427440283″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

Vin Scully indicates 2016 will be final season

Vin Scully Press Conference

By Jon Weisman

Vin Scully apologized, unnecessarily of course, for being two minutes late to his press conference today to discuss his return to the Dodgers in 2016, citing an accident near De Soto Avenue on the Ventura Freeway.

Then came the words that made everyone who adores him slam on their brakes: that 2016 would likely be his last season.

Read More

Kershaw, Dodgers look to cook Cubs, Giants

Clayton Kershaw waits out a stadium lighting delay in Wrigley Field on June 22. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Clayton Kershaw waits out a stadium lighting delay in Wrigley Field on June 22. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

On is the heat.

With temperatures in the 90s as a greeting, the Dodgers are preparing to host playoff contenders from Chicago and San Francisco over the next six games.

Some would call this the Dodgers’ biggest test of the year to date, though Los Angeles already played the Giants and Cubs in back-to-back series in June. The Dodgers went 3-4, which I would call a bogey, though it’s worth noting Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke pitched in only two of those seven affairs.

Here’s a quick recap of how those games went:

  • Giants 9, Dodgers 5 (June 19): Mike Bolsinger allowed a grand slam to Buster Posey in the third inning, while Daniel Coulombe and Josh Ravin combined to give up four more runs in the seventh.
  • Giants 6, Dodgers 2 (June 20): Carlos Frias allowed six runs in 5 1/3 innings.
  • Dodgers 10, Giants 2 (June 21): Yasmani Grandal hit two of the Dodgers’ four homers in support of Brett Anderson.
  • Cubs 4, Dodgers 2 (June 22): The power-outage game, in which Clayton Kershaw allowed a tiebreaking, seventh-inning home run to Matt Szczur.
  • Cubs 1, Dodgers 0 (June 23): Zack Greinke pitched six shutout innings, but in his first game in two months, Joel Peralta took the loss in the 10th.
  • Dodgers 5, Cubs 2 (June 24): Justin Turner hit a three-run home run, and the bullpen pitched 5 1/3 shutout innings in relief of Bolsinger.
  • Dodgers 4, Cubs 0 (June 25): Four more shutout innings from the bullpen after Frias goes five.

It was an unpredictable stretch, to say the least, and you can judge for yourself the good or bad of going 3-4 without getting a victory from Kershaw or Greinke.

In any case, here we are again with the Cubs and Giants, but this time at home, and this time with Kershaw or Greinke pitching half the games.

Kershaw, who pitches tonight and Wednesday, has …

  • a 0.90 ERA with 82 strikeouts and seven walks in 70 innings since July 1.
  • a 1.29 ERA with 149 strikeouts and 16 walks in 118 2/3 innings since May 26.
  • 28 consecutive scoreless innings at home.

And, Kershaw and Greinke currently have two of the top 10 single-season Dodger Stadium ERAs ever.

0.85 Sandy Koufax (1964)
1.08 Orel Hershiser (1985)
1.33 Don Sutton (1971)
1.38 Sandy Koufax (1963)
1.38 Sandy Koufax (1965)
1.39 Don Drysdale (1968)
1.42 Zack Greinke (2015)
1.49 Clayton Kershaw (2015)
1.52 Sandy Koufax (1966)
1.53 Bill Singer (1967)

It’s a scene, man.

After Kershaw pitches tonight, it’s Mat Latos, Alex Wood and Brett Anderson scheduled to go Saturday-Monday, before Greinke and Kershaw finish the homestand off.

Reminder: Sign up for 2016 Adult Baseball Camp

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Fantasy campBy Jon Weisman

The Dodgers’ official Adult Fantasy Baseball Camp will take place at Camelback Ranch (in partnership with the White Sox) from January 18-24, 2016. We told you about it back in May, but that was long enough ago that we thought it was worth this reminder.

Ron Cey and Bill Melton will serve as hosts and co-commissioners of the camp, which offers so much perks and recreation …

  • Opportunity to sign up and play for your favorite team — the Dodgers or the White Sox — each coached by two former players
  • Among those scheduled to appear for the Dodgers: Rick Monday, Eric Karros, Steve Yeager and Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda
  • Your own locker and name plate within a professional locker room
  • Professional clubhouse manager and athletic trainer services
  • One full Major League uniform (Dodgers or White Sox) including pants, personalized jersey and cap
  • 25 personalized baseball cards, complete with your camp statistics on the back
  • Games each day, most being doubleheaders, culminating in a championship game on the main stadium field
  • Single-occupancy hotel room for six nights (two-bedroom suites available upon request)
  • Daily transportation between Camelback Ranch and your camp hotel
  • Breakfast and lunch each camp day
  • Welcome reception
  • Mid-camp Hot Stove dinner
  • Awards luncheon.

For more information or to reserve your roster spot, call (623) 302-5078, e-mail or visit Answers to frequently asked questions can be found at Camelback Ranch’s official camp site.

Mat Latos to be skipped in Dodger rotation

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Don Mattingly told reporters today that Mat Latos would pitch out of the bullpen during this roadtrip, with Alex Wood moving up to start Wednesday at Oakland.

Latos has allowed 21 baserunners while striking out eight in 14 2/3 innings since being acquired by the Dodgers. He pitched six innings of one-run ball in his Dodger debut August 2, but allowed 10 earned runs in 8 2/3 innings over his next two starts.

The move also could help ensure Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw both pitch in the series against the Giants at Dodger Stadium from August 31-September 2, though obviously that is still a couple weeks off.

A welcome ‘Welcome back’ for Kenley Jansen in Dodger victory

Kenley 1

Kenley 2

Kenley 3In a game that featured a three-run homer by Yasiel Puig in the first inning but 12 other runners subsequently left on base, the Dodgers held on for a 4-3 victory over Philadelphia tonight — with Kenley Jansen striking out the side in the ninth to end a streak of three consecutive games allowing runs.

With two months to go in the season, Brett Anderson has tied his career high of 13 quality starts. He pitched six innings of one-run ball, and has held the opposition to two runs or less in 10 of those 13 quality starts.

— Jon Weisman

The long view of Yasiel Puig

[mlbvideo id=”29236055″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

By Jon Weisman

Two years to the day after 22-year-old Yasiel Puig’s thrilling, extra-inning walkoff homer to beat the Reds, it’s fascinating to see how many people are ready to shut the door on 24-year-old Yasiel Puig’s future as a baseball player.

Puig’s in a slump, it’s fair to say. He’s coming off a mixed bag of a week in which his only two hits were home runs, and his OPS has dropped from 1.047 on June 12 to .750 today.

Here’s where I point out what should be obvious:

1) His OPS was 1.047 on June 12. That’s very good.

2) One good week would halt the complaining, and one good month would render it laughable.

It would take a deep level of cynicism to assume Puig wasn’t capable of such a turnaround.

Though they are not the same player, I continue finding it hard to resist comparing Puig with the four other hitters in Los Angeles Dodger history that have made the greatest impact by age 22: Tommy Davis, Willie Davis, Steve Sax and Adrian Beltre.

Beltre PuigSax DavisLook at their adjusted OPS year-by-year, and how inconsistent the path is. (Needless to say, although he isn’t included in this chart, Matt Kemp would fit as well.)

The impatience with Beltre, one of the greatest all-around third basemen baseball has seen, is still a viscerally unpleasant memory for me.

It’s so convenient, even comforting, to think that young players develop in a solidly upward trajectory, but it’s just a fantasy. Kids have growing pains — mental and physical — and adjustments can take weeks, months or even years. Or haven’t you noticed?

What kind of player will Puig ultimately be? I have no idea. But this idea that the clock has run out on him, that if he hasn’t fixed what’s bothering him yet, he won’t fix it at all, is far too reactionary for my tastes.

And not for nothing: Puig at his worst is still a player with value.

Los Angeles Dodgers vs New York Mets

Dodger manager Don Mattingly said that Puig has shown signs of improvement since the All-Star Break.

“I think he’s been better lately,” Mattingly said. “Before the break, he looked a little rough. … I know he’s been working in the cage, doing certain things, trying to keep his lines a little straighter, a little less turned. I think he understands he’s not swinging as well as he’s capable of.

“We’re trying to get him straight, but he’s just got a lot of body turn — stuck in. It’s kind of, ‘Which came first — the chicken or the egg?’ You line up turned in, and you end up having to spin. It creates length, and it creates vision problems and everything else. So we’re just trying to get him straight.”

Needless to say, it would be naive to expect a sudden mellowing of opinions on Puig.

“Yasiel, obviously, is pretty much of a lightning rod in all areas,” Mattingly said. “No matter if he’s doing good or doing bad, or makes a good throw or makes a bad throw, or gets a hit or doesn’t get a hit, he’s pretty much a lightning rod.”

Soon-to-be-a-dad Zack Greinke back in Los Angeles

Los Angeles Dodgers vs Florida Marlns

By Jon Weisman

Originally scheduled to start for the Dodgers on Friday, Zack Greinke left the team early this morning to be with his wife for the imminent birth of their first child, for which we send our very best wishes.

At this particular moment in time, it’s unclear who will be the starting pitcher for the Dodgers in each of their next three games in New York after tonight.

Greinke could conceivably (pun not intended but welcomed) return to the Dodgers before their series against the Mets is over.

Brett Anderson worked out today without his walking boot, throwing and doing agility drills, and is almost certain to avoid the disabled list, but whether he pitches Sunday remains undecided — especially if that’s the day Greinke is able to rejoin the team.

(No one asked me, but with Sunday’s game being the end of a cross-country road trip, the sensible thing might just be to let Greinke rest at home with his newborn and take the mound for the next homestand opener Tuesday against Oakland. Of course, these aren’t necessarily sensible times, and I can understand wanting a guy with 43 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings to get out there as soon as possible.)

Anderson said he will throw a bullpen session Friday that will help determine whether he is able to take his turn Sunday on four days’ rest.

Whatever happens with those two, the Dodgers still need a starter at least for Friday. Ian Thomas, called up to be the long man out of the bullpen, might be one candidate. The Dodgers will also add a pitcher Friday, when Greinke is officially on paternity leave (maximum of three days).

Carlos Frias is scheduled for a rehab start for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga on Sunday, and is not a candidate to start for the Dodgers this weekend. Relief pitcher Chris Hatcher, by the way, will also make a rehab appearance for Rancho on Friday.

This will all sort itself out soon enough, but for now, it’s a whirlwind.

Adrian Gonzalez leaves Dodgers break-dancing

[mlbvideo id=”256199683″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

By Jon Weisman

It’s unlikely Adrian Gonzalez’s eighth-inning at-bat will be remembered in the fall. But heading into summer sabbatical, it sure was welcome.

Following A.J. Ellis’ second homer in as many starts in the fifth inning, and followed by Kenley Jansen’s perfect ninth inning, Gonzalez’s two-run home run off lefty Will Smith on the last day before the All-Star Break made the difference in the Dodgers’ 4-3 victory Sunday over Milwaukee.

Los Angeles enters its four-day vacation with a 4 1/2-game lead in the National League West — tied with Kansas City for the largest divisional lead in the Majors — the fourth-best record in the Major Leagues and a 92-win pace for the regular season.

The Dodgers will open the second half Friday at Washington, baseball’s No. 5 team, with what figure to be some fantastic pitching matchups. The Dodgers haven’t announced their post-break rotation, but the plan to separate Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke could lead to them starting Friday and Sunday, with Max Scherzer and Jordan Zimmermann among those waiting in the wings.

Gonzalez had gone 0 for 11 since his last hit, a two-run homer Thursday against Philadelphia, before hitting his 18th round-tripper of the season, the most for him at the All-Star Break since 2010.

The home run — the 280th of his career — was his first ever off a left-handed reliever on an 0-2 count.

Justin Turner went 3 for 4 and drove in the Dodgers’ first run.

Brett Anderson didn’t get the win — because why would the guy doing most of the pitching in a victory get the win? However, he did complete seven innings of three-run ball, giving him 108 innings on the season with a 3.17 ERA. That’s a career-high innings total for before the All-Star Break, and only 4 1/3 innings shy of the second-highest total of his career.


May 26: The turning point for Ellis and Kershaw

[mlbvideo id=”242234983″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

On May 25, Clayton Kershaw had a 4.32 ERA and 1.23 WHIP, and A.J. Ellis had a .208 on-base percentage and .140 slugging percentage.

Since May 26, Kershaw has a 1.53 ERA and 0.84 WHIP, and Ellis has a .467 on-base percentage and .500 slugging percentage.

— Jon Weisman

In Dad we trust: Clayton Kershaw and Cali Ann


Clayton Kershaw isn’t yet topping the National League All-Star Final Vote — though he’s within 1 percent of the lead — but as future dad Zack Greinke saw on July 4, we know from these Juan Ocampo photos that Kershaw is No. 1 in Cali Ann’s eyes.

As we’ve seen before, Kershaw definitely likes to hold his daughter in his glove arm.

— Jon Weisman


Juan Pierre is the best of sports

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Juan Pierre, who memorably accompanied his retirement announcement with the amusing lament that while he had 18 career home runs, he wished he had 20, was lighthearted Monday responding to my tweet that he had been the only position player in Dodger history to start in the No. 9 slot in the batting order after the pitcher.

— Jon Weisman

Read More

Long wait brings reward for Rollins

[mlbvideo id=”236721683″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

By Jon Weisman

This has certainly not been the easiest of Jimmy Rollins’ 16 Major League seasons, but his perseverance through the Dodgers’ 10-7 victory Monday against his former team, Philadelphia, was a welcome harbinger for the second half of 2015.

Read More

Backstage Baristas: The Dodgers’ annual Wrigley coffee run

[wpvideo zht8BBqc]

Though not strictly a rookie move — Mike Bolsinger is technically a veteran — the Dodgers renewed their tradition of sending a newbie or three out into the streets near Wrigley Field to get coffee and coffee-like drinks. SportsNet LA’s “Backstage Dodgers” shared a clip.

— Jon Weisman

Page 4 of 63

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén