Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Alex Wood (Page 3 of 4)

Urias, De Leon among seven sent to minors

Ross Stripling pitching on March 6.

Ross Stripling pitching on March 6.

By Jon Weisman

Pitching prospects Julio Urias, Jose De Leon and Ross Stripling are among seven players the Dodgers sent to minor-league camp this afternoon.

From the 40-man roster, the Dodgers optioned second baseman Micah Johnson and pitchers Yaisel Sierra, Ian Thomas and Stripling. Non-roster players who were reassigned include De Leon, Urias and catcher Jack Murphy.

Johnson has made no errors despite leading Dodger infielders in playing time so far with 66 defensive innings, and is a likely callup at some point during the regular season.

Urias and De Leon have made the most noise among the pitchers, combining for eight strikeouts in nine innings, though it was actually Stripling who has had the best month. The 26-year-old right-hander, nearly two years removed from Tommy John surgery, pitched two shutout innings with four strikeouts in the Dodgers’ 5-1 loss to Kansas City today, and has six innings with a 0.00 ERA in Cactus League play.

None of the aforementioned pitchers, however, was destined to start the season in the Majors — least of all Sierra, the recent Cuban signee who has yet to appear in a game.

Still alive in the competition for the fifth spot in the Dodger starting rotation (behind Clayton Kershaw, Scott Kazmir, Kenta Maeda and Alex Wood) are Brandon Beachy, Mike Bolsinger and Zach Lee. The Dodgers have only two off days in April after the regular season starts.

Making his first appearance today since March 7, Wood pitched three innings, allowing a run on five baserunners with one strikeout.

“It felt good, it was good,” Wood said, according to MLB.com’s Barry M. Bloom. “I had one goal and that was to be efficient, which was a little different from the last time out. I was happy I was able to do that.”

Another Dodger pitching highlight today came from Kenley Jansen, who struck out the side in his inning.

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Seager to miss up to two weeks with sprained knee

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Cubs at Dodgers, 6:05 p.m.
Carl Crawford, LF
Joc Pederson, CF
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, DH
Chase Utley, 3B
Austin Barnes, C
Cody Bellinger, 1B
Charlie Culberson, SS
Micah Johnson, 2B
(Brandon Beachy, P)
Manager: Dave Roberts
Dodgers at Mariners, 6:40 p.m.
Kiké Hernandez, SS
Trayce Thompson, CF
Andre Ethier, LF
Scott Van Slyke, 1B
A.J. Ellis, C
Shawn Zarraga, DH
Rob Segedin, 3B
Alex Hassan, RF
Elian Herrera, 2B
(Carlos Frias, P)
Manager: Bob Geren

By Jon Weisman

Injury concerns dotted the first night of split-squad games for the Dodgers, with the most serious news appearing to be that Corey Seager will miss at least one week because of a sprained left knee.

Seager had an MRI today, one day after he was hurt rounding first base following a base hit against the Angels, as Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reported. Dodger president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman told reporters late this afternoon that Seager would be out for one to two weeks.

Seager is 23 days away from beginning his first regular season as a Major League starter. Kiké Hernandez is the Dodgers’ primary backup shortstop, with non-roster infielders Charlie Culberson, Elian Herrera among the bench possibilities.

That left-handed pitcher Alex Wood was scratched from a scheduled start tonight because of forearm tightness seems to be of less concern. Reporters were told that Wood would have pitched had this been a regular-season game. Carlos Frias is starting in his place.

Also pulled from scheduled action tonight was Alex Guerrero, who was supposed to return from a week’s absence at designated hitter against the Mariners, only to be replaced by Shawn Zarraga. Guerrero (left knee soreness) hasn’t played since March 4.

In case you missed it: Slyke like an eagle

Chicago White Sox vs Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

As Scott Van Slyke comes in for a landing, here’s a quick scan of some Dodger links around the Internet …

  • Clayton Kershaw can hit several milestones this year, writes Paul Casella of MLB.com. A sample: “Kershaw, who has posted a 0.857 WHIP and a 0.881 WHIP in the past two seasons, respectively, could become the first starter with three sub-0.900 WHIP seasons.”
  • MLB’s Statcast likes the chances for Alex Wood to improve in 2016, writes Mike Petriello for MLB.com. Jeff Sullivan takes his own deep dive on the same subject at Fangraphs.
  • Led by Van Slyke and Kiké Hernandez, the Dodgers have baseball’s best backups, according to August Fagerstrom of Fangraphs.
  • Baseball Prospectus has a detailed rundown of its top 10 Dodger prospects, plus five that just missed, then concludes with this ranking of the top 10 Dodgers at any level, age 25 and under:
    1) Corey Seager
    2) Yasiel Puig
    3) Joc Pederson
    4) Julio Urias
    5) Jose De Leon
    6) Alex Wood
    7) Grant Holmes
    8) Frankie Montas
    9) Yadier Alvarez
    10) Alex Verdugo

In case you missed it: Sandy salute

Los Angeles Dodgers workout

By Jon Weisman

Though the legendary Sandy Koufax no longer has a formal role with the Dodgers, as Ken Gurnick of MLB.com writes, that doesn’t mean he can’t stop by Camelback Ranch for a nice hello.

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In case you missed it: Ryu — and Wood — on recovery path

Ryu s

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

It’s a long season as you know, and the Dodgers can benefit tremendously from the return of Hyun-Jin Ryu, even if he’s not on the active roster Opening Day.

So it’s all good that Ryu had a strong bullpen session today, as Ken Gurnick of MLB.com writes …

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Alex Wood looks ahead after a year that ‘wasn’t up to standards’

Los Angeles Dodgers vs Colorado Rockies

By Jon Weisman

When he got on the phone late last week, Alex Wood was on his way to a wedding, an event that has become as regular as a turn in the starting rotation.

“A lot of teammates and friends are getting married, so on the weekends I have a lot of weddings and different things going on,” Wood said. “I had a bachelor party last week and a wedding this weekend, wedding next weekend, wedding the weekend after. The next three weekends I’ve got weddings.”

Inevitably, baseball players become experts at weddings — especially arranged marriages, like the one Wood found himself in July 30 when Atlanta traded him to the Dodgers. In some ways, the honeymoon is over, but in other ways it hasn’t yet begun.

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Eight storylines for 2016 you can ponder now

Ryu Pederson

By Jon Weisman

It’s no secret that this will be another offseason of change for the Dodgers.

Already, manager Don Mattingly and vice president of medical services Stan Conte have departed. Five days after the World Series ends — sometime before November 10 — free agency begins. And you never know what the trade market will bring or take away.

The winter months will address several issues facing the Dodgers. But whatever happens will still leave several questions that won’t be answered until we’re well into the 2016 season.

Among them, these:

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Alex Wood likes Dodger Stadium

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Alex Wood has turned his new house into a home.

Wood pitched six shutout innings tonight against the Padres before getting touched for two runs in the seventh, giving him a 2.21 ERA and 0.89 WHIP in 40 2/3 innings at Dodger Stadium this year.

In his first 2015 appearance at Chavez Ravine, the 24-year-old lefty allowed one run in seven innings for the Braves on May 27, which matched his totals in his first career start here on July 30, 2014. Since becoming a Dodger at the July 31 trade deadline, Wood’s home ERA is 2.41.

Wood is a candidate to start against the Mets in Game 3 of the National League Division Series, along with Brett Anderson, who has a better ERA on the road (4.29) this year than at home (3.07). Anderson does have nearly identical WHIPs on the road (1.37) vs. at home (1.30).

Wood’n it be nice for Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Alex Wood absolutely sparkled for the Dodgers tonight, using only 78 pitches to complete eight shutout innings and allowing only one baserunner — a two-out, second-inning single by Kyle Parker. Wood struck out five, never needing more than 13 pitches in an inning, and retired the final 19 batters he faced.

In his past three starts, Wood has sandwiched 15 shutout innings around 1 2/3 innings in which he allowed six earned runs.

Wood is the fourth Dodger pitcher to throw eight innings of one-hit ball this year, following Mike Bolsinger (May 23), Clayton Kershaw (June 6) and Zack Greinke (July 9). That ties a 50-year-old franchise record, essentially — the 1965 Dodgers also had four pitchers who threw eight innings and didn’t allow more than one hit, if you include Sandy Koufax’s perfect game.

Kenley Jansen, the only Dodger reliever not used in Monday’s 16-inning game, entered the game at exactly the two-hour mark. Eight minutes and one more hit later, it was over, and the Dodgers had reduced their magic number to clinch the National League West to 10 with a 2-0 victory over the Rockies. A.J. Ellis’ homer and Corey Seager’s single drove in the Dodger runs.

Alex Wood rounding into form for Dodgers

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Trade deadline acquisition Alex Wood has a 1.45 ERA in his past three starts for the Dodgers after throwing seven shutout innings in a 2-0 victory at San Diego tonight.

Overall as a Dodger, Wood has a 3.43 ERA in seven starts, averaging exactly six innings per start.

Andre Ethier doubled twice, singled, walked and scored both Dodger runs this evening. With San Francisco ending its seven-game losing streak earlier, Los Angeles remained 7 1/2 games ahead of the Giants in the National League West.

— Jon Weisman

Nothing is easy unless everything is easy

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Dodgers at Reds, 4:10 p.m.
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Justin Turner, 3B
Scott Van Slyke, LF
Chase Utley, 2B
A.J. Ellis, C
Kiké Hernandez, CF
Brett Anderson, P

By Jon Weisman

As four-run Dodger victories go, Tuesday’s 5-1 win at Cincinnati was a nailbiter.

Los Angeles had a 5-0 lead against the Reds with 10 outs to go in the game. Under normal circumstances, you would recline in your chair a bit.

But there was the hovering drone of the five-game losing streak, with two of those five defeats directly tied to the bullpen. In between was a loss charged to Tuesday’s starting pitcher, Alex Wood, who gave up the go-ahead run August 19 to Oakland … with 10 outs to go in the game.

So here we were at Great American Ball Park.  Ten outs to go. Bases empty. Five runs ahead. Maybe this night would go easier.

Here’s how many pitches it took to get each of the next 10 outs (click to enlarge):

Bullpen August 25

It should jump out at you that of those 10 remaining outs, six came quickly and were quite routine. Yeah, there was a massive foul ball by Brayan Pena off Kenley Jansen, but that was with the bases empty and two out in the ninth.

But the final outs of the sixth and eighth innings … those were the times that try fans’ souls.

In the bottom of the sixth, the tension was underscored by just how far the Dodgers had to go to get to the end of the game, how intimidating those final 10 outs seemed.  If it was going to be so hard to get one — three pitchers, 13 pitches — how would they ever get nine more?

We were 14 pitches and a baserunner into the seventh inning before J.P. Howell got an out, but that turned out to be two-for-Tuesday special, so the jeopardy factor was fairly low.

Then, just when you might have relaxed — three outs on seven pitches after the double play — you were punished. The game crept slowly, from two out/bases empty … to man on first … to men on first and second … to bases loaded, tying run at the plate … to Jay Bruce taking two 93 mph fastballs and fouling off two 94 mph fastballs on his way to a 2-2 count … and seemingly nowhere for Luis Avilan to go.

Seventeen Dodger pitches with two out in the eighth. Seventeen pitches, with only two swing-and-misses. Seventeen pitches, each more agonizing than the last. Seventeen pitches, holding us in suspended aggravation, until Avilan threw that final, liberating curveball for strike three.

After 11 more flings by Jansen, Dodger fans could exhale.

No, you wouldn’t think it should be this hard. Right now, it is. It won’t always be, and man, will we appreciate that.

Shoulder sidelines Yasmani Grandal

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers at Reds, 4:10 p.m.
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Justin Turner, 3B
Scott Van Slyke, LF
Chase Utley, 2B
A.J. Ellis, C
Kiké Hernandez, CF
Alex Wood, P

By Jon Weisman

Yasmani Grandal is not expected to start before Thursday at the earliest because of an ailing left shoulder, Don Mattingly told reporters today.

Grandal is third on the Dodgers with 140 weighted runs created (wRC+), but he is 3 for 30 with five walks and no extra-base hits in his past 35 plate appearances. Mattingly said there is worry the shoulder condition is altering Grandal’s swing.

The 26-year-old catcher isn’t expected to go on the disabled list, especially with rosters expanding one week from today. But it will mean more work than usual for A.J. Ellis, who is quietly posting his best averages at the plate (.356 on-base percentage, .360 slugging percentage) since 2012.

The Dodgers need improvement from several players as they look to win their first game since August 16. During the current five-game losing streak …

  • Justin Turner is 1 for 18 with two walks and two errors.
  • Jimmy Rollins has a single, double and homer in 22 plate appearances.
  • Adrian Gonzalez has four singles and a walk in 20 plate appearances.
  • Scott Van Slyke, Carl Crawford and Alex Guerrero are a combined 1 for 28 with one walk.

Rollins’ third-inning home run six days ago at Oakland is the Dodgers’ most recent four-base hit.

https://twitter.com/DodgerInsider/status/636271626946940928https://twitter.com/DodgerInsider/status/636274568764657664

Alex Wood, who takes the mound today for the Dodgers, has been charged with exactly three runs on five hits with three walks in each of his past three starts.

Mat Latos pitched a five-inning simulated game Monday, and is scheduled to start Saturday against the Cubs, with Brett Anderson, Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw taking the starts between now and then.  Juan Nicasio, as noted Monday, has been activated from the disabled list.

 

Dodger fantasy football breeds strange tweetfellows

The Dodgers held their annual fantasy football draft Monday, an event that seems to beg for wider media coverage, if these tweets above and below are any indication.

— Jon Weisman

https://twitter.com/redturn2/status/633547774693236736

 

Pitch imperfect a sour note for Dodgers

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By Jon Weisman

Alex Wood had a solid Dodger debut for six innings, with eight strikeouts (tying a season high), no walks and one run allowed, when things went in the wrong direction — figuratively with a single by Carlos Ruiz (followed by an intentional walk to Cesar Hernandez), then literally with a still-not-sure-how-that-happened, slipped-pitch balk.

As it turned out, the balk actually had no direct effect on the game’s outcome, but the Dodgers never rediscovered their magnetic north.

Wood left the game after another walk, and reliever Joel Peralta served up a grand slam to Maikel Franco that lifted the Phillies to a 6-2 victory over the Dodgers.

Los Angeles relievers have allowed runs in five straight games and eight of their past nine, though this was only the second of those nine games that led directly to a loss.

Offensively, the Dodgers had 16 baserunners in the game, but it was one of those nights when they couldn’t cash them in. Los Angeles is third in the National League this season in OPS with men on and with runners in scoring position.

Besides Wood’s first six innings, silver linings for the Dodgers included Joc Pederson’s three walks (his first of any kind since July 18) and Jimmy Rollins’ two hits, maintaining his on-base percentage in his past 10 games at .400.

Rollins also received a lovely bit of brotherly love while stepping in for his first at-bat as a visiting player in Philadelphia after 14 seasons there.

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In case you missed it: Walker Buehler to have surgery

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By Jon Weisman

Some pregame news and notes for you …

  • Walker Buehler, the Dodgers’ No. 1 choice in the 2015 draft, will have Tommy John surgery performed Wednesday by Dr. Neal ElAttrache.
  • Justin Turner will spend some time at Camelback Ranch while recovering from his leg infection, Don Mattingly told reporters today. Turner is still not expected to miss more than 15 days.
  • In their past 10 games in Philadelphia, the Dodgers have allowed 13 runs, according to the Dodgers’ public relations department.
  • Same source (with help from Stats, LLC): The Dodgers have an extra-base hit in 95 straight road games, tied for the second-longest streak all-time behind the 2005-07 St. Louis Cardinals (127 games).
  • Tonight’s starting pitcher, newly acquired Alex Wood, has a bit of a decline in strikeouts this year. Daniel Brim of Dodgers Digest did a deep dive and may have connected the dots with some shifts in Wood’s unorthodox delivery.
  • Pedro Moura of the Register has more on Wood, including this:

    Over the weekend, Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt watched Wood’s first bullpen session in awe.

    “Some of his changeups were almost like splits that went almost straight down,” Honeycutt said. “I said to him, ‘Geez, that’s filthy.’”

    “He goes, ‘Yeah.’”

  • New Dodger reliever Jim Johnson, now on his fifth team in the past two seasons, spoke to Arash Markazi of ESPN.com about the travails of changing teams.
  • Despite the presence of Adrian Beltre and, of late, Justin Turner, no MLB team has gone longer without an All-Star third baseman than the Dodgers, writes Miles Wray of the Hardball Times. Pedro Guerrero was the last, in 1983.
  • Newly acquired injured pitcher Bronson Arroyo could play an indirect role in the Dodger postseason, even if he never throws a pitch, as Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. explains.
  • Major League Baseball Advanced Media has make a major deal to run the NHL’s TV and online video operations, as Todd Spangler of Variety notes. How BAM, as it’s known, became such a behemoth is explored by Ben Popper at the Verge.
  • Adrian Gonzalez’s three-homer, 13-base game against the Padres in April is the top offensive performance by a player this year, according to Cliff Corcoran of SI.com.
  • Kiké Hernandez and Yasiel Puig took up this year’s Ice Bucket Challenge on behalf of the Dodgers this year. Don’t worry — they did it over the Dodger Stadium grass, so the water was put to use.
  • Funny stuff from Jason Bateman on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” the other night (via Blue Heaven) — watch below.

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