Dodger Thoughts

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

Page 156 of 362

Don Mattingly on Matt Kemp: ‘We know it’s gonna get better’

Clayton Kershaw MLB&MTV2 Shoot
Clayton Kershaw appears on MTV’s “Off the Bat” tonight at 11 p.m.

Reds at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Carl Crawford, LF
Yasiel Puig, RF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Andre Ethier, CF
Drew Butera, C
Chone Figgins, 3B
Zack Greinke, P

By Jon Weisman

For a Dodger team whose defense has been maligned much of 2014, Monday brought a welcome reversal.

Not only did Los Angeles benefit from two key errors by the Reds, leading to three unearned runs, but the Dodger defense was airtight in support of Hyun-Jin Ryu’s perfect game bid.

In particular, Juan Uribe’s understudy, Justin Turner, was sparkling at third, and Erisbel Arruebarrena was smooth at shortstop.

Speaking today, Don Mattingly said he didn’t feel that Monday’s game was unique, but that the defense has been coming together for the past few games. That continues to be a priority, even as the defense-first Arruebarrena returns to the bench to make way for Hanley Ramirez, back into the starting lineup following a four-game absence.

But the biggest discussion point on the team this week remains in the outfield. Matt Kemp took fly balls in left field in early workouts today, but still is on the bench. Mattingly, who said Kemp looked “really good” in that workout,  was grilled about Kemp’s fifth straight game on the sidelines.

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No-hit deal: Dodgers offer $11 tickets for Beckett’s next start

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In celebration of Josh Beckett delivering the 11th no-hitter in Los Angeles Dodgers history, the Dodgers are offering a limited number of $11 Infield Reserve, Preferred Reserve and Left Field Pavilion tickets to Josh Beckett’s next start Friday against Pittsburgh.

Click www.dodgers.com/nohitter or call (866) DODGERS to take advantage of this offer.

— Jon Weisman

Josh Beckett shares NL Player of the Week award

Ben Platt/MLB.com

Ben Platt/MLB.com

By Jon Weisman

For the second time in as many weeks, a Dodger shares in National League Player of the Week honors.

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‘Louie’ and ‘The Boys of Summer’

By Jon Weisman

When Monday’s second episode of “Louie” on FX had some black comedy with NBA star LeBron James, it (unintentionally, I’m sure) echoed this sardonic passage from Roger Kahn’s indispensable 1972 book on the Dodgers, “The Boys of Summer.”

Boys of Summer

Video: Dodgers and the wars

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On Memorial Day, the Dodgers premiered this video connecting Gil Hodges, Pee Wee Reese and Roy Gleason with the team and their military service. A day later, it still is worth viewing.

— Jon Weisman

More no-hitters, Ryu-vous-plaît? Nearly …

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By Jon Weisman

I haven’t had my heart beating in the middle innings of a game in May like that since I don’t know when.

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A.J. Ellis heads back to the disabled list

LOS ANGELES DODGERS VS PHILADELPHIA PHILLIESBy Jon Weisman

A.J. Ellis has gone back on the disabled list, this time with a right ankle sprain. Tim Federowicz has been called up from Albuquerque to take his roster spot, while Drew Butera starts tonight’s game.

Ellis was 4 for 23 with two doubles and eight walks (.387 on-base percentage, .261 slugging) since coming off the disabled list May 14 post-knee surgery.

Federowicz has a .345 OBP and .436 slugging for the Isotopes in May, with three walks, four doubles and a home run.

Notebook: More Josh Beckett goodness

LOS ANGELES DODGERS VS PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

Reds at Dodgers, 5:10 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Carl Crawford, LF
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Andre Ethier, CF
Justin Turner, 3B
Drew Butera, C
Erisbel Arruebarrena, SS
Hyun-Jin Ryu, P

By Jon Weisman

Here’s a bunch of news, notes, links and quotes in the afterglow of the past 24 hours:

  • Beckett’s no-hitter, in case you didn’t notice, was the Dodgers’ first complete game of the season and first since Hyun-Jin Ryu threw an eight-inning complete game in a 2-1 loss to Colorado on September 16. The Dodgers hadn’t had an individual shutout since Zack Greinke’s two-hit masterpiece on July 13.
  • At age 34 and 10 days, Beckett is the third-oldest no-hit pitcher in Dodger history, behind Sal Maglie (39) and Dazzy Vance (34 and 193 days).

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Vin Scully to sit out two games with cold

From the Dodgers public relations department:

Vin Scully will miss today’s and tomorrow’s games due to a chest cold. Charley Steiner, Orel Hershiser and Nomar Garciaparra will have the call on SportsNet LA, while Rick Monday and Kevin Kennedy will be heard on AM 570 Fox Sports Los Angeles. Get well soon, Vin!

Our best wishes for a speedy recovery are with you, Vin.

– Jon Weisman

Memorial Day at Dodger Stadium

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By Jon Weisman

Memorial Day comes to Dodger Stadium today and yes, there is a fun giveaway and a great pitching matchup. But the true purpose of the day is also being remembered through several activities and events.

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The time-traveling joy of a no-hitter

LOS ANGELES DODGERS JOSH BECKETT NO HITTER VS PHILADELPHIA PHILLIESBy Jon Weisman

I stopped caring about batting average as a be-all and end-all years ago, but I never stopped caring about no-hitters.

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Video: All 27 outs of Josh Beckett’s no-hitter

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See all of Josh Beckett’s triumph, from its humble beginnings through to its exciting finish.

— Jon Weisman

Josh Beckett no-hits Phillies!

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By Jon Weisman

It’s been nearly 18 years since Dodger fans could exult in a Dodger no-hitter. Thank you, Josh Beckett.

Beckett threw the first Dodger no-hitter in 17 years, eight months and eight days, since Hideo Nomo’s at Colorado on September 17, 1996. The 17 1/2-year gap between no-hitters was the longest in Dodger history, surpassing the 17 years and eight days between Nap Rucker on September 5, 1908 and Dazzy Vance on September 13, 1925.

photoThe right-hander, coming back from an injury-shortened 2013 season, threw 128 pitches. Beckett threw 100 pitches through seven innings, then needed only 16 to get the next five outs. But then we really got down to the nitty gritty.

He was within a strike of completing the no-hitter but lost Jimmy Rollins for a two-out walk in the ninth (Beckett’s third of the game) then fell behind Chase Utley in the count 3-1. But a beautiful 71-mph curveball at 3-1 dipped in for strike two, and then Utley took a strike three on the bottom line of the strike zone for the final out.

Beckett walked Utley in the first inning and Marlon Byrd to lead off the second, but then retired the next 23 batters he faced before the walk to Rollins. Domonic Brown had a hard-hit fly ball to left field in the sixth, but there were no diving plays or near-misses to jeopardize Beckett’s bid for history.

He lowered his ERA for the season to 2.43. Last year, he had a 5.19 ERA in eight starts.

“The surgery’s been a blessing for me,” Beckett said after the game, referring to the operation that ended his 2013 season 10 1/2 months ago.

Beckett surpassed his previous career high in pitches of 126; his high as a Dodger was 113 on May 2. In his most recent start, Tuesday in New York, Beckett threw 99 pitches, his lowest total of the the month.

Beckett’s previous low-hit complete game was a one-hitter for Boston at Tampa Bay on June 15, 2011. Beckett walked none in that game.

Hanley Ramirez could be out a while

LOS ANGELES DODGERS VS PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

Saturday in Jon SooHoo can be found at the LA Photog Blog

Dodgers at Phillies, 10:35 a.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Carl Crawford, LF
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Andre Ethier, CF
Justin Turner, 3B
Drew Butera, C
Erisbel Arruebarrena, SS
Dan Haren, P

By Jon Weisman

Don Mattingly told reporters in Philadelphia today that Hanley Ramirez’s lower calf injury is continuing to receive treatment but that an MRI could be in the future.

Mattingly said he didn’t want to speculate yet on whether Ramirez, who missed Friday’s game and was a late scratch Saturday, would go on the disabled list.

As for Matt Kemp, also out of the starting lineup for the third game in a row (but a pinch-hitter Saturday), Mattingly said he will be worked in left field as well as center. Mattingly said Kemp would participate and that it wouldn’t be an issue, and that Kemp remained a big part of the team, but that Mattingly likes Ethier’s routes in center field, even if Ethier isn’t a prototypical center fielder from a speed standpoint.

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Crawford still not walking, but swinging hot bat

LOS ANGELES DODGERS VS PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

Jon SooHoo’s Friday shoot can be found at the LA Photog Blog.

Dodgers at Phillies, 12:05 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Carl Crawford, LF
Andre Ethier, CF
Justin Turner, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Dan Haren, P

By Jon Weisman

In addition to his key diving catch in the seventh inning Friday, Carl Crawford singled and homered, raising his OPS since May 3 to 1.097.

He is 22 for 53 with a double and four home runs in his past 16 games (13 starts). Crawford has tied Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez with four home runs this month, trailing only Yasiel Puig’s seven, and he is second behind Puig in May OPS (.971).

Crawford is still walking at a low rate – 3.6 percent of his plate appearances – though this isn’t that big a change. His career walk rate is 5.3 percent and his career-high is 7.6 percent in 2009. Puig, by comparison, walked 8.3 percent of the time last year and has done so 11.7 percent this year.

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Page 156 of 362

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