Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Chase Utley (Page 1 of 3)

Possible NLCS roster changes for the Dodgers

Ross Stripling (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

While Los Angeles will mostly dance with the Dodgers who brought them to the National League Championship Series, there is talk of change near the edge of their postseason roster.

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After wielding attire iron at Dodgers, it’s Joe Simpson who should be embarrassed

I’m not nearly the first tonight to weigh in on the bizarre, absolutely out-of-nowhere manufactured controversy in which Braves announcer and one-time Dodger outfielder Joe Simpson ripped his original team for their non-uniform batting practice attire tonight, but I want to make a few particular points about it.

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At 39, Chase Utley can still be more than an on-field coach

Dave Roberts and Chase Utley in April 2017 (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Here’s something that might surprise you, because it surprised me — Chase Utley actually hit the ball well for the better part of 2017.

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Andrew Toles is the eye in the hurricane

scene

By Jon Weisman

Chicago is giddy with enough excitement and anticipation to spread all over the city’s famous hot dogs, if they weren’t so particular about what you put on their hot dogs.

Wrigley Field is jumping. The streets around the old ballpark are rollicking. At once confident and paranoid, Chicago is a quaking nerve brought to life, and the roar at Game 6 of the National League Championship Series will be deafening beginning with tonight’s very first pitch.

And stepping into the batters’ box for that very first pitch will be none other than Andrew Toles.

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Dodgers got a way with the Giants, 9-5

Seager slide

By Jon Weisman

Early in tonight’s Dodgers-Giants showdown, Dodger Stadium organist Dieter Ruehle played Billy Joel’s “Pressure.”

Funnily enough, the Dodgers played as if they felt no pressure at all.

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Chase Utley has unforgettable return to Philadelphia

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By Jon Weisman

Fairy tales might or might not come true, unless you’re Chase Utley, in which case they certainly do.

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Injury wave has spared Dodger infield (knock on wood)

BOSTON RED SOX VS LOS ANGELES DODGERS

By Jon Weisman

In addition to completing their 110th game Sunday, the Dodgers also played their 1,000th inning.

With 49 players appearing in a game this season and 26 spending time on the disabled list, there’s been quite a diverse distribution of those 9,000 defensive frames.

But there has also been an interesting pocket of stability — in the infield.

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Dodgers activate Hernandez, option Barnes

Kike Hernandez, Dave Roberts and Luke Walton and son pose prior to Saturday's game.

Kike Hernandez, Dave Roberts and Luke Walton and son pose prior to Saturday’s game.

Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 1:10 p.m.
Howie Kendrick, LF
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Scott Van Slyke, 1B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Yasiel Puig, RF
Kiké Hernandez, CF
Chris Taylor, 2B
Bud Norris, P

By Jon Weisman

One month and four days since his last game for the Dodgers, Kiké Hernandez has been activated from the disabled list, where he has been recovering from left rib cage inflammation.

To make room on the 25-man roster, Austin Barnes has been optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Barnes doubled in four at-bats during his most recent stint with the Dodgers.

Hernandez has a .280 on-base percentage while slugging .346 this season for Los Angeles.

In other recent news for the Dodgers, who scored runs in the seventh and ninth innings Saturday but fell to Arizona, 4-2 …

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Dodger hitting update: Guys are hitting

28 days

By Jon Weisman

You can almost hear those kids in the back of the Dodger van: “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”

From a batting standpoint, they might be.

Over the past four weeks, the Dodgers have starters at 6 1/2 positions OPSing above .800. Los Angeles is 16-7 (.696) in that time, which is tied with the Giants for the best record in the National League.

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Dodger bullpen, brilliant for so long, succumbs in 14th

Matthew Mesa/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

As this sentence was being written, the Dodgers and Orioles were tied, 4-4, in the ninth inning. At that moment, two things were certain:

If there were going to be a Dodger hero today, a fine young man carried off the field, it would be a hitter.

And some Dodger reliever would either be a goat, or lost in the shuffle.

So what happened?

In the Dodgers’ longest game since they played 17 innings at San Diego on May 22 — on a day that Chase Utley became the first Dodger to have six hits since Shawn Green’s memorable day in Milwaukee on May 23, 2002 — Jonathan Schoop hit a two-out, sinking line drive in the 14th inning that barely eluded Trayce Thompson’s glove, driving in two runs for a 6-4 Baltimore win.

Chris Hatcher, who had thrown 31 pitches the previous night, took the loss. He also had the burden of making the final out, with the bases loaded, long after the Dodgers ran out of pinch-hitters.

Painful as that is for Dodger fans to process, the Dodger bullpen deserves a collective bow. In the six games of this homestand — in the midst of what has really become a rebirth for the relief core — Dodger relievers have done the following.

Through 14

The bullpen has averaged approximately five innings and 80 pitches per game for the past six games, yet had a 0.94 ERA on the homestand before the game-winning hit.

Dodger relievers are on pace to throw 524 innings this year, which believe it or not, would not be a record. In 2009, a National League Championship Series season, the Dodger bullpen racked up 553 innings.

Footnote: The Dodgers and Orioles combined to set a Dodger Stadium single-game strikeout record with 36. The previous Dodger Stadium strikeout record of 32 was originally set by the Padres and Dodgers in a 17-inning game June 27, 1989, and matched in an 18-inning Braves-Dodgers game August 3, 1996.

Also, Adam Liberatore, who pitched a scoreless seventh inning of relief, has made 23 consecutive scoreless appearances, tying the franchise record set by John Candelaria in 1991.

Reminder: All-Star voting ends Thursday

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

SS

By Jon Weisman

With the fan vote ending at 8:59 p.m. Thursday, Corey Seager remains approximately 700,000 votes removed from the starting shortstop spot for the National League All-Star team.

Seager has picked up 300,000 votes in the past six days, but needs a lot more to get himself over the Addison Russell hump.

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Weird, Wild Horse stuff: Puig’s Little League homer lifts Dodgers

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By Jon Weisman

So, you’re about to hit publish on a story that says the Dodgers’ eighth-inning magic has disappeared. And then, at the last moment, you look up — and in comes the magic, nearly past deadline but better late than never for Los Angeles.

With the Dodgers trailing by a run and two outs remaining, pinch-hitter Howie Kendrick reached first on a single. Yasiel Puig came up and lined a single to left field that — absolutely stunningly — went past Washington center fielder Michael Taylor, for a two-run Little League home run that gave the Dodgers a 4-3 victory over the Nationals.

Technically, it was a single plus a three-base error — plus that irresistible dash of Puig — that extended the Dodgers’ winning streak to six games.

It’s the fourth time the Dodgers have come from behind in the eighth inning or later during the streak. And it was the fourth completely bizarre play to take place at Dodger Stadium tonight.

Washington had taken the lead an inning earlier — but first, some context.

In the top of the eighth Tuesday, in pursuit of the Nationals’ third run of the game, catcher Wilson Ramos was thrown out at home by the Dodger left fielder.

In the top of the eighth inning tonight, in pursuit of the Nationals’ third run of the game, Ramos made it much easier on himself, launching a 421-foot homer over the Dodger left fielder and taking his time to circle the bases.

That shot broke a 2-2 tie that had lingered since the third inning and put the Dodgers in jeopardy, until Kendrick and Puig turned things around with the help of Taylor, whose night was a complete nightmare. In the top of the ninth, Taylor became the sixth player ever to earn a platinum sombrero against the Dodgers by striking out five times in a game.

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Grandal Rally: Dodgers come back again

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By Jon Weisman

If nothing else, it’s been a tough week to be cynical about the Dodgers.

Two days removed from his walkoff walk, Yasmani Grandal hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth, rallying the Dodgers to a 3-2 victory over National League East-leading Washington.

In the Dodgers’ five-game winning streak, this was the fourth time the Dodgers had come from behind, and the third time in the eighth inning.

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Pederson’s two blasts lead Dodger homer parade

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By Jon Weisman

After stoking more fears about the offense with four no-hit innings to start the game, the Dodgers traded that quartet for four home runs — two by Joc Pederson — ending their three-game losing streak with a 7-4 win at Arizona.

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Dodgers play righty vs. righty card against Chatwood

Atlanta Braves vs Los Angeles Dodgers

Rockies at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Justin Turner, 3B
Corey Seager, SS
Trayce Thompson, RF
Adrian González, 1B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Kiké Hernandez, LF
Scott Van Slyke, RF
A.J. Ellis, C
Mike Bolsinger, P

By Jon Weisman

If you’re wondering why Dave Roberts chose to rest left-handed hitters Chase Utley and Joc Pederson against right-handed Rockies pitcher Tyler Chatwood, it’s mainly because right-handed batters have had more success against him.

This year, righties have an .788 OPS against Chatwood, while lefties are at .579. The split was even more pronounced in 2014, before Chatwood had the Tommy John surgery that forced him out of action in 2016. Chatwood has returned this year to lead Colorado starters with a 2.99 ERA.

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