Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Andre Ethier (Page 4 of 12)

In case you missed it: Dodgers make a trade

San Diego Padres vs Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Today, the Dodgers acquired a Rule 4 competitive balance round B draft pick (No. 74 overall this June), right-handed reliever Ryan Webb and minor league catcher Brian Ward from the Orioles in exchange for catcher Chris O’Brien and pitcher Ben Rowen.

Ken Gurnick of MLB.com has more on the deal. The 29-year-old Webb had a 2.95 FIP with Baltimore last year and 37 strikeouts in 49 1/3 innings against 63 baserunners. Ward had a .641 OPS in a season spent mostly at Triple-A Norfolk.

And now, to fill the rest of your off day, more notes …

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In case you missed it: Able was Ethier ere he saw elbow

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By Jon Weisman

Andre Ethier, who found a groove at the plate during Spring Training, appears to have avoided serious injury after being hit by a Carlos Rodon pitch in the second inning of the Dodgers’ 2-1 loss to the White Sox today.

X-rays on Ethier’s right elbow were negative, and he is day to day, as Ken Gurnick writes at MLB.com.

Coincidentally, a player who is fighting for an outfield roster spot, Chris Heisey, took over for Ethier and hit his second home run of Spring Training in his next at-bat, off Rodon.

Elsewhere in and around today’s action …

  • The Dodgers set a Camelback Ranch attendance record by averaging 9,804 fans per game, for total attendance of 147,066. By comparison, in their last non-Australia Spring Training, the Dodgers drew 127,876 fans in 16 games (7,992 per game).
  • Los Angeles led the National League in financial pledges to the Baseball Assistance Team (B.A.T.) during the organization’s 13th annual Spring Training fundraising tour to raise money for members of the baseball family in need, “including former Major League players, managers, coaches, scouts, umpires, athletic trainers, Major & Minor League front office personnel as well as Minor League players, Negro League players, players from the Women’s Professional Baseball League and widows, spouses and children, ages 23 and under.”
  • After getting thrown out in seven of his first 14 stolen-base attempts in 2014 — including three in a four-game stretch from June 12-15 — Yasiel Puig didn’t make another steal attempt for more than two months. He was successful on his final four tries last season, and in his first of Cactus League play this year, he was safe as well, thanks to a fancy slide.
  • Puig also made the White Sox’ Conor Gillaspie look silly for trying to go from first to third on a single to right in the fourth inning today, throwing him out with ease.
  • Joe Wieland allowed two runs in five innings, facing 22 batters. He allowed six singles and three doubles, striking out one and walking none.
  • Jose Abreu went 4 for 4 today, making him 10 for 12 against the Dodgers this month. That’s right: 10 for 12. In Cactus League play, Abreu is 27 for 52 (.519).
  • Dodger relievers David Aardsma, Juan Nicasio, Yimi Garcia and Sergio Santos each pitched a shutout inning. Garcia struck out all three batters he faced: Alexei Ramirez, Avisail Garcia and Micah Johnson.
  • Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles has a rich bit of family history on Santos.
  • How Yasmani Grandal and A.J. Ellis are working together is the subject of Dylan Hernandez’s latest piece for the Times. “Much like how Grandal is attempting to learn from Ellis on how to manage a pitching staff, Ellis is trying to pick up Grandal’s pitch-framing techniques — the subtle art of turning borderline pitches into called strikes,” Hernandez writes.
  • Sean Dolinar at Fangraphs posted an interactive graphic comparison of MLB pitching staffs, with the Dodgers second behind the Nationals.

Dodgers find Solis in sixth tie

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By Jon Weisman

With the Dodgers about to play four games in the next two days in two different states, the team emptied its bench and then some today, with a number of minor-leaguers receiving their first (or nearly first) action ever playing for the big-league Dodgers.

Lars Anderson, Ali Solis and Dillon Moyer were among the position players coming off the bench, while Jharel Cotton and Michael Johnson pitched the final two innings. Solis had a seventh-inning sacrifice fly for the Dodgers’ final run of the day and a 7-5 lead.

The 23-year-old Cotton, who had 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings and a 1.16 WHIP for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga last year, pitched a shutout eighth but got in trouble in the ninth, and Johnson couldn’t bail him out.

The result: Two ninth-inning runs by the Angels, a 7-7 final score, and the Dodgers’ improbable, record-setting sixth tie of Spring Training. Los Angeles is 8-3-6.

It was an odd game that saw starting pitcher Brett Anderson allow seven hits to the 12 batters he faced over 1 2/3 innings, only for the Dodgers to quickly rally for five runs in the bottom of the second. Alex Guerrero continued his efforts to make his contract status a moot point, starting a double play from shortstop in the first inning and hitting a three-run homer in the second.
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Andre Ethier, meanwhile, had a single and a double. Joc Pederson and Matt Carson had the Dodgers’ other extra-base hits.

The good, the bad and the unusual in a 7-5 loss

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By Jon Weisman

There was plenty of action in today’s 7-5 Dodger loss to the Cubs, but the marquee attraction in the “Have You Seen This Before?” Department was … no, not Sergio Santos’ four-strikeout inning, but the fact that he had a 1-3 strikeout on a pitch that caromed back to him before he threw the batter/runner out at first.

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Outfield competition front in center as Cactus League opens

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Chicago White Sox v Los Angeles DodgersBy Jon Weisman

On the first day of Cactus League play, Joc Pederson had two hits while playing designated hitter. Andre Ethier struck out twice while playing center field, but he probably wouldn’t have minded that much if he had made a diving catch at the warning track.

Well, there’s always the next game.

“Just a tough play,” Ethier told Phil Rogers of MLB.com. “It’s one where you have to make a break on it, try to keep an eye on the ball the best you can, not lose it. I got there, just didn’t bring it in.”

Said Don Mattingly: “As we get into spring, he catches that ball all day long.”

Despite losing to the White Sox, 6-4, it was a pretty eventful day in general for the Dodgers. Most of the action came after the starters were pulled …

  • O’Koyea Dickson hit the Dodgers’ first homer of the exhibition season, turning on a ball at his knees and pulling it over the wall in left.
  • Alex Guerrero had two hits off the bench, playing third base.
  • Corey Seager and Darnell Sweeney each singled and walked.
  • Jimmy Rollins went 1 for 2, but fellow newcomers Howie Kendrick, Yasmani Grandal and Austin Barnes each went 0 for 2.
  • Juan Nicasio was the domino that fell over after Ethier’s near-miss, allowing three runs in the third inning.
  • Carlos Frias allowed two runs on three hits and two walks, but struck out five. Batting average on balls in play: .750.
  • Sergio Santos, Adam Liberatore and Josh Ravin each pitched a perfect inning. Liberatore struck out two.
  • The Dodgers had the tying runs on base with none out in the ninth after singles by Sweeney, Guerrero and Seager scored their fourth run, but Kyle Jensen flied out, Kiké Hernandez struck out and Scott Schebler grounded out.

In case you missed it: Brandon Beachy, shadow-pitching

Brandon Beachy, shadow-pitching (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

For more photos from today, visit LA Photog Blog.

By Jon Weisman

All my bags aren’t packed, I’m not ready to go. (Reference lost on anyone under 40 …)

Today’s short stack:

  • Andre Ethier talked to reporters today after meeting with Andrew Friedman, Farhan Zaidi and Don Mattingly about his prospects for 2015 in the Dodger outfield. Ken Gurnick has more at MLB.com, while Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports adds his own perspective.
  • Zack Greinke had his first 2015 Spring Training bullpen session, which Gurnick covers here.
  • Mike Petriello of Dodgers Digest uses Julio Urias as a launching pad to look back at Adrian Beltre’s Dodger career and the implications of calling a player up in his teens. (Side note: As big a booster as I always was of Beltre, not even I realized his 2004 season might have been the greatest combination of offense and defense in Dodger history.)
  • We touched on this subject recently, but Historic Dodgertown posted a piece on “Dodgertown and the Integration of Major League Baseball Spring Training” by Jerald Podair. Some great history within.

The Dodgers’ biggest December deals of the 2000s

Magic Johnson welcomes Zack Greinke to the Dodgers on December 11, 2012. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Magic Johnson welcomes Zack Greinke to the Dodgers in December 2012. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

Numerous Dodger fans are on the edge of their seats waiting for the team’s next big move. That might or might not come in December, a month that has brought huge transactions in some years but relative tranquility in others. Here’s a look at the biggest Dodger transactions of December that have taken place in the 21st century:

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Andre Ethier and the 1988 draft

Ethier Grantland

By Jon Weisman

And with the 1,390th pick in the 1988 amateur draft, the Dodgers select 6-year-old outfielder Andre Ethier …

Well, not exactly, but over at Grantland, Ben Lindbergh did something I’ve always wanted to do but never attempted — see how far back you can trace the acquisition of a given player.

Amazingly, he’s done it for all 30 MLB teams, and as you can see above, he routes Andre Ethier all the way back to the 1988 draft, when the outfielder wasn’t quite two months past his sixth birthday. (Click the image to enlarge.)

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Davises, Strawberry to enter City Section Hall of Fame — Ethiers honored at Arizona State

Davis and Strawberry

By Jon Weisman

Several former Dodgers will be inducted into the Los Angeles City Section Hall of Fame, honoring the best in athletics from Los Angeles Unified School District schools.

Willie Davis (Roosevelt ’58), Darryl Strawberry (Crenshaw ’78) and Eric Davis (Fremont ’80) have been selected, reports Eric Sondheimer of the Times, as has longtime Major League manager Gene Mauch (Fremont ’43), whose playing debut came with Brooklyn at age 18 in 1944.

The most long-ago inductee is former New York Yankees outfielder Bob Meusel, who graduated from Manual Arts exactly 100 years ago.

If you’re wondering why it took some of these names so long to make it, the City Section Hall of Fame is only in its third year of existence. Don Drysdale and Eddie Murray are among the previous inductees.

Speaking of Halls of Fame, Andre Ethier and his wife Maggie were both inducted Saturday into the Arizona State Sports Hall of Fame. Maggie Germaine Ethier had nine perfect 10.0 scores, the most in ASU gymnastics history, according to Jeff Metcalfe of AZCentral.com. The pair met at freshman orientation and began dating as juniors, Metcalfe wrote.

Union Rescue Mission’s Ethier Learning Center nears completion

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Erin Edwards

In addition to scholarship funds and educational support, the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) and Andre Ethier granted $100,000 to the Union Rescue Mission toward the renovation of URM’s Learning Center — soon to be the Andre and Maggie Ethier Learning Center.

Teamwork and collaboration led to the reality of URM now having a functional, comfortable and inviting space that will provide inspiration to hundreds of homeless men and women.

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Andre Ethier’s acting gig on ‘Lab Rats’ comes with a Don Newcombe connection

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Tony Rivetti/Disney XD

Tony Rivetti/DisneyXD

By Jon Weisman

Andre Ethier, Alien Hunter. Don Newcombe, proud stepfather.

Back in April, we told you that Ethier would be a guest star on the DisneyXD series “Lab Rats.” That episode airs Monday at 6:15 p.m., and Dodger legend Don Newcombe, whose stepson Chris Peterson is the co-creator and executive producer of the show, was on set the day it was filmed.

“Don is an amazing man and he has taught me so much,” Peterson said. “Every time he comes on set, he beams with pride. To think about all the amazing things he has done in his own career, to think of what this legend means to the institution of Major League Baseball — and here he is on the ‘Lab Rats’ set, prouder than ever.

“We’re extremely close, and because of that he feels close to the show. He has known the cast from day one, and he loves interacting with all of them. At home, he never misses an episode of “Lab Rats,” and I often get a call right after we air to hear how much he enjoyed it.

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Andre Ethier starts ahead of Yasiel Puig in NLDS Game 4

NLDS-Game Three-Los Angeles Dodgers against the St.Louis Cardinals

For more photos from Monday, visit LA Photog Blog.

Dodgers at Cardinals, 2:07 p.m.
Dodgers
Dee Gordon, 2B
Carl Crawford, LF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, RF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Andre Ethier, CF
Juan Uribe, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Clayton Kershaw, P

Cardinals
Matt Carpenter, 3B
Randal Grichuk, RF
Matt Holliday, LF
Jhonny Peralta, SS
Matt Adams, 1B
Yadier Molina, C
Jon Jay, CF
Kolten Wong, 2B
Shelby Miller, P

By Jon Weisman

Yasiel Puig, who has a .774 OPS in the National League Division Series but has struck out in eight of his past nine at-bats, has been replaced in the Dodger starting lineup by Andre Ethier.

Ethier will bat sixth, while left fielder Carl Crawford moves up to the No. 2 spot behind Dee Gordon.

Since August 29, Ethier has made one start in a game that had meaning for the Dodgers, going 0 for 2 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch September 7 against Arizona. In his final 46 plate appearances of the regular season, Ethier went 12 for 39 with a .413 on-base percentage and .436 slugging percentage, then went 1 for 2 in Game 1 of the NLDS.

* * *

A few pieces related to starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw to pass along.

While A.J. Cassavell breaks down the risks of pitching on three days’ rest at MLB.com, Russell A. Carleton at Baseball Prospectus notes that the Cardinals do not own Clayton Kershaw.

… When we look at Kershaw’s performance against the Cardinals, we see that his BABIP is quite high at .343. I know that during the postseason everyone likes to pretend that games are won and lost based on magical fairy dust, grit, and character. But frankly, a lot of what drives a baseball game is dumb luck. That’s not comfortable for people to hear, but the sooner that you accept that, the sooner we can have a real conversation about baseball. …

Clayton Kershaw has gotten very unlucky over the last four years against the St. Louis Cardinals, and luck is not a character trait. Luck just kinda happens. If you made bets on a series of coin flips and won seven in a row, that would be an unlikely event (though possible). Yes, you still have the money you just won in your pocket, but it’s not because you have a special skill for calling coin flips or because you are a morally righteous person. You caught a run of good luck. Congrats. Don’t expect it to last. …

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On switching outfielders

Los Angeles Dodgers vs San Diego Padres

For more photo highlights from Wednesday, visit LA Photog Blog.

By Jon Weisman

I remember thinking in 2008, when Andruw Jones was in an ugly slump, that the Dodgers had no choice but to stick with him, because they weren’t going to win anything if he didn’t right himself. And then, as it turned out, the Dodgers created another choice, named Manny Ramirez.

LOS ANGELES DODGERS V SAN DIEGO PADRESBut I also remember, in 2014, calls to bench Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp when they were struggling.

On June 4, a week after Crawford had gone on the disabled list, Kemp had a .291 on-base percentage and .398 slugging percentage. The cries for Joc Pederson were probably never louder. Since that time, Kemp has a .380 on-base percentage and .535 slugging percentage (a .915 OPS) while finding a home in right field.

It was even worse in Crawford’s case. On May 2, Crawford had a .212 on-base percentage and .259 slugging percentage. He then started 17 of the Dodgers’ next 23 games — playing nearly every day against righties — and had a .389 OBP while slugging .565.

Crawford went on the disabled list for six weeks, and when he came back, the stats would indicate he was lost. On August 9, he was down to .268/.333 on the season — a .601 OPS. And people wondered aloud why Andre Ethier wasn’t playing.

But Don Mattingly saw good at-bats amid those struggles, and committed to Crawford. The reward: the hottest hitter in the majors, a .478 OBP and .614 slugging percentage, including an astonishing 9-for-12 with a walk, four doubles (three in Wednesday’s 4-0 victory) and home run in this week’s Padres series. On the just-concluded homestand, Crawford had a .533 OBP and slugged .897.

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People will criticize Mattingly for this and that, but rarely does he get credit for what turned out to be something quite savvy — recognizing that it was too soon to forsake Crawford and Kemp, even when others would have.

It’s hard to watch someone who has been as important to the Dodgers over the past decade as Andre Ethier languish on the bench. It’s natural to wonder what would happen if he received the everyday opportunities that Crawford, Kemp and Yasiel Puig have since the All-Star Break, and whether that would have made a difference in a season that has stuck him with a sub-.700 OPS. (As it happens, Ethier is 9 for 25 with a .448 on-base percentage off the bench since August 17, evidence that he has made the best of a reserve role and/or an argument that he should play more.)

I would only say that it’s also natural to wonder what Puig is capable of when he comes out of his own long slump, and based on what happened with Crawford and Kemp, it would be odd to assume he won’t. In other words, unless you think 2014 Puig is 2008 Jones, it might be worth waiting this one out.

Gone Guys: Gonzalez, Dodgers blast their way to victory

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By Jon Weisman

For the first five innings, the Dodgers were being no-hit. Before the next two innings were over, Oliver Perez was throwing at Andre Ethier (one might have concluded) because the Dodgers were hitting too many home runs.

There were three homers in all, two of them three-run blasts in back-to-back innings by Adrian Gonzalez, who became the first Dodger since Eric Karros in 1993 to hit two trifecta round-trippers.  (Cody Ross, a Dodger opponent today, had a three-run home run and a grand slam for Los Angeles in 2006, in his final start with the team).

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Fortunes change, don’t ya know? It’s all about piling up more good than bad. And that is what the Dodgers have done in 2014.

Saturday, I interviewed Dodger general manager Ned Colletti for the print edition of Dodger Insider, and I asked him if there had been a defining moment for the 2014 Dodgers. He didn’t immediately see one, acknowledging at least so far that this year, the team was more methodical than dramatic. That lack of drama has come to be considered a strike against the Dodgers, as if the pennant race were a beauty contest rather than a measurement of which team has the most victories at the end of season.

Today, the Dodgers moved 19 games about .500, tied with Washington for the best in the National League.

But those insisting on an observable spark certainly have to like what they saw from the Dodgers this afternoon, when, after waiting until the sixth inning to gather kindling, they lit a fire. Dee Gordon broke up Trevor Cahill’s no-hitter with a one-out double, Hanley Ramirez walked, and Gonzalez absolutely smashed a ball over the fence in to dead center.

Though this won’t qualify as a late-inning clutch hit, it was a huge one, and comes a day after Gordon’s tiebreaking RBI single in the bottom of the eighth Saturday. Yes, Virginia, this team does come through.

An inning later, it was the same trio. Perez walked Gordon, then Ramirez reached base on an error by shortstop Cliff Pennington. Gonzalez hit his third home run of the past 21 hours and second homer of the year off a lefty, giving him his seventh 100-RBI season of his career and matching his 2013 total as a Dodger. And then for good measure, Matt Kemp hit his 19th of the year. (This article seems timely.)

Perez then smacked Ethier in the back (making him the Dodgers’ all-time leader in HBPs with 53), and when umpire Laz Diaz warned both benches, that didn’t sit well with Don Mattingly and Monday’s starting pitcher, Clayton Kershaw, both of whom were ejected. Thankfully, Kershaw isn’t pitching against Arizona again this year, which saves us the worry about him retaliating and getting thrown out himself.

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Since August 29, San Francisco has won six of its past eight games. If the Giants don’t win tonight in Detroit, they’ll have gained no ground on the Dodgers in that stretch.

Dodgers add speedy outfielder Bernadina to bench

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Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 6:10 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, RF
Carl Crawford, LF
Juan Uribe 3B
Joc Pederson, CF
A.J. Ellis, C
Hyun-Jin Ryu, P

By Jon Weisman

The Dodgers added an extra outfielder and perhaps more importantly, a pinch-runner, in bringing up Roger Bernadina from Triple-A Albuquerque.

The 34th player on the active roster, the 30-year-old Bernadina has stolen 59 out of 71 bases (83.1 percent) in a 539-game Major League career, as well 204 out of 261 (78.2 percent) in the minors. A reserve with the Isotopes this year who started the year with Cincinnati, Bernadina had a .380 on-base percentage and .351 slugging percentage in 71 plate appearances.

Bernadina has also played more than 1,000 innings in center field in his career. He was signed to a minor-league deal in July.

Speaking of center field, Yasiel Puig is suffering from a stomach ailment, according to manager Don Mattingly, who moved Joc Pederson back into the starting lineup. Mattingly said that the Dodgers would learn later today whether Puig would be available off the bench.

Mattingly said he chose Pederson over Andre Ethier for defensive reasons, adding that he loves Ethier and knows that being relegated to the bench is not a great situation for him, but that there are only so many spots available.

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