Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Chris Perez

Hyun-Jin Ryu cleared to start NLDS Game 3


By Jon Weisman

Hyun-Jin Ryu reported no ill effects from his simulated game Wednesday, and Don Mattingly today announced him as the starting pitcher for National League Division Series Game 3 in St. Louis on Monday.

Mattingly said that there would be no pitch limit beyond the usual “100-110” for Ryu, who came back from a similar shoulder issue in May and threw 89 pitches over six innings in New York.

Ryu himself told reporters today that he feels better now than he did for that New York start.

Mattingly also confirmed that Dan Haren is scheduled to start Game 4, though the rest of the world is mindful that Clayton Kershaw pitched the first and fourth games of the 2013 NLDS. Neither Mattingly nor Kershaw, of course, would engage in any discussion that he might step in this year, but Kershaw did acknowledge that “last year I was fine with it” physically.

In addition, Mattingly said that the Dodgers are “98-99 percent” done determining their NLDS roster, but discussions were not finished. He did say that pitchers Kevin Correia and Chris Perez have been told they won’t be on it.


So many runs, so little time: Division title in sight for high-scoring Dodgers

[mlbvideo id=”36470447″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

By Jon Weisman

Is this what life is like as a Colorado Rockies fan?

The average score of the 10 games on the Dodgers’ last regular-season roadtrip of 2014 was 7-6.

Despite beginning their travels with a shutout loss at San Francisco, the Dodgers scored 75 runs in the 10 games, averaging an ungodly 8.3 runs per game over their past nine, culminating in today’s 8-5 victory at Chicago.

The Dodgers, who reduced their magic number for clinching the National League West to four, went 6-4 on the trip and ended up gaining ground over the 10 games on San Francisco, which trailed San Diego, 1-0 3-0 5-0, in the sixth inning today.

If the Giants can’t rally, the Dodgers could clinch a tie for the NL West title as soon as Monday.

Dodger pitching allowed 62 runs on the trip and struggled almost the entire past week. In today’s game, Jamey Wright and Carlos Frias combined to allow four runs in their five innings, before some stability was brought in by a largely marginalized source: Chris Perez retired all four batters he faced and was rewarded with his first victory of 2014. Perez has pitched seven innings in September and allowed no runs on two hits while walking four and striking out nine with a 0.00 ERA.

Paco Rodriguez followed by retiring both batters he faced to bridge the Dodgers to Pedro Baez (who allowed a solo home run) and Kenley Jansen, who allowed a walk and a double but then set down the Cubs’ No. 2-4 hitters.

But again, the Dodger bats carried the day. Matt Kemp went 4 for 5 with four RBI and his 15th home run since the All-Star Break — that’s one every four games. Yasiel Puig went 2 for 5 with four runs and managed to avoid breaking his ankle on an aborted slide into second base midgame.

Pederson, Guerrero among initial roster expandees

Nationals at Dodgers, 5:10 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, RF
Scott Van Slyke, LF
Yasiel Puig, CF
Juan Uribe, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Roberto Hernandez, P

By Jon Weisman

Joc is in the house.

In addition to Alex Guerrero, Tim Federowicz and Yimi Garcia, highly touted prospect Joc Pederson, fresh off his mega-season at Triple A, has joined the Dodgers on the first day of expanded rosters.

Pederson and Garcia, who had a 3.10 ERA with 69 strikeouts against 81 baserunners in 61 innings, will be making their Major League debuts if and when they enter a game.

Guerrero played in both Australia games for the Dodgers, striking out in his only at-bat. He ended his first Triple-A season with a .364 on-base percentage, .613 slugging percentage and 15 home runs.

Federowicz, 8 for 61 with three doubles, three walks and a homer as a Dodger earlier this season, OPSed .938 for Albuquerque.

The Dodgers also activated reliever Chris Perez from the disabled list.

Update: The Dodgers designated Carlos Triunfel for assignment to make room for Pederson on the 40-man roster.

Dodgers place Chris Perez on disabled list, bring up Carlos Frias

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Angels at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Yasiel Puig, CF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Matt Kemp, RF
Carl Crawford, LF
Juan Uribe, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Zack Greinke, P

By Jon Weisman

Righty reliever Chris Perez has been placed on the 15-day disabled list by the Dodgers, who have called up Carlos Frias from Triple-A Albuquerque.

Frias is a starting pitcher for the Isotopes who at a minimum would seem in position to take the long relief role of Paul Maholm, who today was transferred from the 15-day DL to the 60-day. The 6-foot-4 24-year-old is in line to make his MLB debut.

Frias had a 3.05 ERA and 1.31 WHIP for Albuquerque in June but finished July with a 6.05 ERA and 1.50 WHIP.

The Dodger bullpen has thrown 163 pitches in its past two games, though it will hopefully get a lighter load with Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw pitching the next two nights.

In case you missed it: Some scoop on Perez, Van Slyke, Guerrero and more


Catching up on some news and notes from recent days …

  • Chris Perez discussed his mechanics issues with Pedro Moura of the Register. It’s worth it to read the whole piece to better understand Perez’s journey.
  • Scott Van Slyke’s performance this season gets an in-depth analysis from Stuart Wallace at Gammons Daily.
  • Alex Guerrero spoke in Albuquerque last week with Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. about how he’s doing and what he’s thinking.
  • Erisbel Arruebarrena is now with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga after a tumultuous weekend. On a rehab assignment with Triple-A Albuquerque, Arruebarrena was a central figure in a 10-ejection brawl Saturday between the Isotopes and Reno, as Ken Gurnick of notes. Arruebarrena was officially activated from the disabled list and optioned to Rancho the next day.
  • has updated its overall Top 100 Prospects list and its top 20 for the Dodgers. Recent draftees Grant Holmes and Alex Verdugo debuted at No. 4 and No. 10 with the Dodgers.
  • Here’s an updated review of Dodger Stadium from Stadium Journeys. Food and beverage gets an improved score, and overall, writes Andrei Ojeda, “I really cannot say enough great things about the changes that have taken place the last couple of seasons, from the ownership to the amenities, all the way to the overall staff.”
  • Clayton Kershaw joined Sandy Koufax as a winner of the Hickock Belt. For the backstory on what this is and what it means, go to Ernest Reyes at Blue Heaven.
  • Kershaw will also be a guest on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” tonight. Here’s a clip from his appearance there a year ago.
  • Former Dodger outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. has been released by the Phillies.

Morning thoughts on Beckett, Gonzalez, Perez, League, Puig, Kemp and Uribe

Los Angeles Dodgers at Pittsburgh Pirates

For more Tuesday highlights from Jon SooHoo, visit LA Photog Blog.

By Jon Weisman

Man, the Dodgers have packed a lot of wild baseball into this week, and we’re still two days away from this weekend’s series at San Francisco. Here are some off-the-cuff thoughts about the past three nights.

* * *

Los Angeles Dodgers at Pittsburgh PiratesJosh Beckett had a rough return from the disabled list in Tuesday’s 12-7 loss at Pittsburgh, allowing four runs in 3 2/3 innings, including three doubles and two home runs. He hasn’t had this rough an outing since … the last time he came off the disabled list, on April 9, when he allowed four earned runs in four innings, including two doubles and one home run.

Beckett then went on to have a 1.99 ERA in his next 99 2/3 innings. So maybe let’s give him a bit longer before we raise the white flag on his season.

I’m not much on treating correlation as causation, and I’m 100 percent against the designated hitter. But in Beckett’s case, he might be getting on base too much for his own good. So far in July, Beckett has come to the plate seven times. He has three doubles, a walk and reached second base on an error, and by his own admission seemed to aggravate his hip condition running to third base in his last game before the All-Star Break.

* * *

Los Angeles Dodgers at Pittsburgh PiratesAdrian Gonzalez hit his 250th career homer Tuesday, as Lee Sinins notes at Gammons Daily, and his first since July 1. Gonzalez has been one of the victims of an increased use of defensive shifts by MLB teams in 2014, a trend so dramatic that Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci is proposing rules to ban them. He makes a lengthy case, but I disagree strongly with the idea that teams should be penalized for innovation.

The response, essentially, should be for batters to counter-innovate.We’ve seen Gonzalez do that a bit in recent weeks, by trying to go the other way, though it’s reasonable to wonder whether the challenge of the shift has affected Gonzalez’s power production. That being said, Gonzalez has been strong overall since the All-Star Game, going 8 for 19 with two doubles, the home run, three walks and a sacrifice fly, for a 1.162 OPS.

* * *

Los Angeles Dodgers at Pittsburgh PiratesThe Gonzalez homer, later followed by a Scott Van Slyke pinch-hit blast, was the Dodgers’ eighth of the month and first since July 9, ending a streak of 317 plate appearances without one.

The Dodgers hadn’t had a two-homer game since Independence Day, and haven’t hit three homers in a game since June 17.

Still, they managed to go 5-3 in their recent eight homerless games.

* * *

So, Chris Perez. No one would deny that was a brutal outing Tuesday, when Perez became the first Dodger reliever since 1988 to walk four consecutive batters, as Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. notes. It ended — with a thud — a stretch in which Perez had faced 37 batters over eight games and allowed only 10 to reach base, for a .496 opponents’ OPS, while stranding one of six inherited baserunners.

Few probably remember now that Perez began the year even hotter, facing 45 batters in his first 14 games and allowing only nine to reach base, for a .380 opponents’ OPS. Perez has been having some extreme fluctuations in batting average on balls in play this season:

.161 March 22-May 1
.444 May 2-June 15
.179 June 16-July 21

Perez walked more batters in the eighth inning Tuesday than he had in his previous eight games.

* * *

Brandon League has been the best reliever in the National League most of this year in inducing double-play grounders. When he relieved Perez with the bases loaded and the Dodgers down by two, he got two grounders — the difference being, these found holes.

Russell Martin hit a dirt-skipper to the left of an over-shifted Dee Gordon, and Ike Davis followed with a bouncer that also went between Gordon and Gonzalez. Live by the sword metaphor, die by the sword metaphor.

* * *

Los Angeles Dodgers at Pittsburgh PiratesThough I’m not as breathless as others seem to be about it, I’m curious to see how the Dodgers align their outfield once Yasiel Puig returns from his hit-by-pitch injury.

There was a lot of talk about how Matt Kemp hadn’t played right field in five years, but people were treating the position as if it were as alien to him as left field was, which wasn’t the case.

Kemp had started 131 games in right field before this season. He had started eight games in left before this season. The clamor to move Kemp to center field began largely as a consequence of Andruw Jones’ struggles there in 2008, and the appearance that Kemp, who looked natural in right, could adapt to center. It doesn’t surprise me that Kemp’s appearances in right field have seemingly had a homecoming aspect to them.

Puig’s arm still probably plays best in right field, though it might make sense for the Dodgers in the short term to move him to center and just warn the corner outfielders to stay out of his way.  The answer isn’t obvious.

* * *

Los Angeles Dodgers at Pittsburgh PiratesHave people even noticed that Juan Uribe has hit .295 in the 78 at-bats he’s had since his return from the disabled list four weeks ago? It has been a quiet .295, with two doubles, a home run and four walks, but that’s been alongside his fine fielding, with 50 assists compared with two errors in nearly 180 innings.

For the year, Uribe has what we’ll call a 26.2 assist-to-turnover ratio, topped in the National League by only Atlanta’s Chris Johnson (31.5) and San Francisco’s Pablo Sandoval (30.3).

In terms of advanced measurements of overall defensive performance, with Chase Headley gone from San Diego to the Bronx, Uribe is now the No. 1 defensive third baseman in the National League, according to Fangraphs, and it’s not that close. And thanks to Justin Turner, the Dodgers are the best as a team defensively at third base.

* * *

Slugfest update: Tuesday’s game was the seventh of the year for the Dodgers in which they scored and allowed at least six runs. The Dodgers are 3-4 in those games, and as you can see, seven has not been particularly lucky for them.

6-7 April 9 vs. Detroit
8-6 April 13 at Arizona
8-6 April 19 vs. Arizona
9-7 May 3 at Miami
7-18 May 17 at Arizona
7-8 July 5 at Colorado
7-12 July 22 at Pittsburgh

From the magazine: ‘Father’s Daze’

Ahead of Father’s Day, I talked to several Dodgers about how they remained connected with their families when they spend so much of their lives away from home.  Below, the reprint from this month’s Dodger Insider magazine (click each page to enlarge):

— Jon Weisman

Father's Daze 1

Read More

May 1 pregame, the sequel: Chris Perez nearly flawless in 2014


Dodgers at Twins, 4:10 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Hanley Ramirez, DH
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, CF
Scott Van Slyke, LF
Juan Uribe, 3B
Justin Turner, SS
Drew Butera, C
(Red Patterson, P)

By Jon Weisman

It’s been a near-perfect start to the season for Chris Perez, the righthanded reliever the Dodgers signed this past offseason.

With his five-out save today, Perez has pitched scoreless baseball in 13 of his 14 outings in 2014, while stranding 11 of 12 inherited runners. Of the 45 batters he has faced, only nine have reached base, on two doubles, three singles, three walks and a hit batter.

Really the only blemish against Perez this season was the two runs he allowed in the top of the 12th inning against Arizona, in his second inning of work that night.

Perez used 22 pitches to retire the final five batters of the first game of today’s doubleheader, striking out two. He now has nine strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings to go with his 1.35 ERA and 0.60 WHIP this season.

Previously on Dodger Insider: Chris Perez hopes health is on his side in 2014

Photo: Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

April 25 pregame: Something to talk about

Philadelphia Phillies at Los Angeles Dodgers

Rockies at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, CF
Carl Crawford, LF
Juan Uribe, 3B
Tim Federowicz, C
Josh Beckett, P

By Jon Weisman

Well, it got a little cloudy today, but looks like no rain, which is a fine thing.

After all, the Dodgers have important efforts in two parks tonight. There’s Clayton Kershaw’s rehabilitation start at Rancho Cucamonga, and the small matter of the Major League club trying to snap out of its Phillies phunk against the up-and-coming Colorado Rockies, who arrive in town only one game out of first place (with San Francisco in between both teams by a half-game).

“We want to get back on track,” Dodger manager Don Mattingly said today. “Philadelphia came in and kicked us around a little bit.”

Mattingly spoke to reporters on a variety of topics, such as:

  • getting Brian Wilson on track (it’s believed to be execution, not health, that’s the issue)
  • the ongoing efforts to not to overwork relievers (which explained why Chris Perez didn’t stay in for a second inning of work)
  • why Zack Greinke didn’t pinch-hit if a pitcher needed to bat (didn’t want to risk injury with Kershaw already on the sidelines)
  • Thursday’s instant replay non-reversal of Carlos Ruiz tagging out Hanley Ramirez in front of home plate. (“I looked at it last night again (after the game),” Mattingly said, “and I think they got the call right, honestly.”)
  • how instant replay is working in general (“It seems good to me. I’ve heard a lot of complaints, but it seems to be working” and should continue to improve)
  • whether pitchers are bothered by the delays (“I haven’t heard any complaints.”)
  • and what’s up with Carl Crawford, who is in a 3-for-27 slump with no walks and is batting sixth tonight. (“I feel Carl is swinging the bat really well, honestly. He’s hitting the ball on the nose, but he’s not getting a lot for it.”)

Tonight marks Crawford’s first start in a position lower than second in the batting order as a Dodger.

Chris Perez hopes health is on his side in 2014

Chris Perez will be at the center of the Dodger bullpen mix in 2014. ( Jon SooHoo/© Los Angeles Dodgers, LLC 2014)

Chris Perez will be at the center of the Dodger bullpen mix in 2014. (Jon SooHoo/© Los Angeles Dodgers, LLC 2014)

By Jon Weisman

GLENDALE, Ariz – From virtually the beginning of Spring Training a year ago, Chris Perez wasn’t 100 percent physically.

The way he feels now is a bigger change than switching uniforms from Cleveland to Los Angeles.

“I feel great this year,” Perez said today at Camelback Ranch. “This time last year I was already hurt. It’s a lot better being healthy and being able to get my work in and work on stuff, instead of just going into the training room to get ready to go on the field. Compared to last year, I feel a night-and-day difference. It’s encouraging and it’s exciting.”

Perez struggled in 2013 with a strained lat muscle that emerged after only his second bullpen session of the spring. That cascaded into a mixed bag of a year – while his strikeout rate remained strong (54 in 54 innings), his WHIP rose from 1.127 in 2012 to 1.426 in 2013.

Jon SooHoo/© Los Angeles Dodgers, LLC 2014

Jon SooHoo/© Los Angeles Dodgers, LLC 2014

“It’s like racing against the clock – you don’t want to miss any time,” Perez said of dealing with the early injury. “You always seem like you’re behind the 8 ball. You’re trying to get there for your teammates and get there for Opening Day, but at the same itme, you’re not getting all your work in.

“Those bullpens are important, especially for bullpen guys, because during the season, you don’t really get to work on stuff that much, because you have to be ready for the game.”

Perez, who is still only 28 despite being a six-year MLB veteran, added that his mechanics never quite recovered in 2013. But an offseason that allowed him to “rest some aching muscles and reboot mentally” has cleansed the palate, he hopes.

“Once I got healthy in the second half of the year, I went back to my normal arm slot,” he said. “But I had been pitching three of four months from different arm slots. I was in between arm slots, which is tough to do, especially in my role last year as a closer. … This year, coming in healthy, I’m back to my normal arm slot and hopefully it stays there all year.”

In addition to changing jerseys and ideally medical records, Perez’s function is changing as well. Given the presence of Kenley Jansen and Brian Wilson, the Dodgers’ plan for Perez involves a great deal of work before the ninth inning or even the eighth. Not that Perez minds.

“I think the fans and the media blow it a little more out of proportion than we do,” he said. “We’re all professionals here. Maybe four or five years ago, when I was a young guy, I kind of paid attention to it a little bit, because you’re trying to make a name for yourself. You’re trying to get to that role. But now it’s just about winning.

“We know who are closer is – it’s Kenley. We know Wilson’s going to be throwing the eighth. So now it’s just me trying to fit in any way I can and help the team. If that’s to come in and get a couple outs in the sixth, so be it. I’ve done that closing role; I’ve done that set-up role. It’s fun – don’t get me wrong – but it’s a lot better when the team’s winning and you can contribute to that.”

Perez also isn’t stressing over being asked to enter a game in the middle of an inning and get the Dodgers out of a jam.

“You have to just be aware of a couple more things – (the) bunt game, steals and stuff like that,” Perez said. “But honestly, early in my career, that’s how I came in, with guys on base. You try to get ahead of the batter early, and you try to get a ground ball. It’s not easy, but if you get a ground ball, you get two outs right away.

“It’s not like I never pitched with men on base before. Last year I had guys on base all the time,” he added with a laugh.

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