This too shall pass. I promise you. But … wow.
Dating back to August 27 …
Though Corey Seager is still sidelined for weeks thanks to the hand that rocked the baseball, within a week the Dodgers are expecting to get a major reinforcement with the return of Cody Bellinger, not to mention a key boost from Zack McKinstry.
For a team that has struggled to get production from the back end of its roster, these infusions will have a major impact. Bellinger has played in only four of the team’s 45 games this season, and even while establishing himself as an early season sensation (142 OPS+), McKinstry has only appeared in 17.
Always a streaky hitter, Bellinger might require time to get back into the groove, while the promising McKinstry still needs to prove how productive he can be over the long term. Nevertheless, here’s a quick look at how this revival of the Suite Life of Zach and Cody will transform the Dodger squad we’ve been watching the past month.
Hey there! Since I haven’t actually written much on the defending World Series champions this year, I thought I’d throw down some of the stuff that’s been percolating inside my head about the 2021 Dodgers ahead of Thursday’s Opening Day. Let’s start with the position players. (Note: Some of these thoughts materialized during the chats we’ve had on Clubhouse.)
We have nearly reached the end of the ’10s, and though selections of the Dodgers’ all-decade team should probably wait until after the 2019 World Series, these few days of relative calm before the storm of the postseason seemed like a good time to reveal them. Nothing is likely to affect these choices between now and then (although I’m fascinated by the idea that something could).
Most challenging was having to deal with five legitimate candidates for the four openings at outfield/first base. Catcher was nearly a toss-up, and second base yielded its own surprise.
Here we go …
If you have any sense of Los Angeles Dodger history (and if you don’t, click here!), you know about the iron man.
Steve Garvey played in every game the Dodgers had from 1976 through 1982 — 1,083 in all, and except for eight pinch-hitting appearances, all at his favored position of first base. At his durability peak in 1976, Garvey played in 1,464 2/3 innings, or all but six innings the Dodgers played that year.
Surprisingly, that 1976 season didn’t make Garvey the Dodgers’ all-time single-season innings leader. In a largely forgotten but rather astonishing 1973 season, Bill Russell was on the field at shortstop for every single out the Dodgers made except for four of them.
Playing at fair territory’s most challenging defensive position, Russell logged 1,489 2/3 innings and 160 complete games, both franchise records. He left only two games early:
That was it. Russell, who racked up 163 hits but only had a .301 on-base percentage in 1973, played in 99.9 percent of the Dodgers’ innings at short that year.
If those are the iron men, let me introduce you to (pause to Google most flexible metals in the world) the graphene men.
This year, the Dodgers are heading for a couple of unprecedented fielding events that underscores the team’s unusual versatility. For the first time in a 162-game season, there might not be a single Dodger to play even 1,000 innings at a single position — remarkable considering that the team will play close to 1,500. And, their leader in innings at one position — also for the first time since at least 1962 — might be a catcher.
When you’re out of the blogging groove but the ideas keep coming, the easy thing to do is just dish them off on Twitter. But tweets are like shooting stars, and sometimes you want a constellation. So here I am back at Dodger Thoughts to try to collect some thoughts.
Also, I’m convinced that tons of people bypass the intro to a column and to get straight at the meat, so let’s get right to it.
By Jon Weisman
Chris Taylor has been recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City, bringing the Dodgers’ active roster to 39 players with the activation of tonight’s starter, Scott Kazmir, from the disabled list.
Dave Roberts also said today that Brandon McCarthy would be activated from the disabled list before the season ends, perhaps as soon as this weekend — at which point the Dodgers will have an unprecedented 40 actually active players.
Taylor has a .271 on-base percentage and .382 slugging percentage in 59 plate appearances for the Dodgers this year, highlighted by the July 15 game in which he doubled, tripled, hit a grand slam and drove in six runs.
In Triple-A this year, Taylor had a .397 OBP while slugging .474 for Tacoma in the Mariners organization and the Dodgers’ team in Oklahoma City.
We will take it! 3-2 OKC on a Will Venable single! ⬇️7️⃣#ITFDBOKC pic.twitter.com/6ETaAY9q1s
— OKC Dodgers (@okc_dodgers) September 17, 2016
By Jon Weisman
After Brett Anderson pitched five strong innings, Triple-A Oklahoma City scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh to rally for a 4-2 victory over El Paso in Game 3 of the Pacific Coast League finals.
By Jon Weisman
The Dodgers shifted one of their bench spots from right to left, calling up left-handed outfielder Andrew Toles from Triple-A Oklahoma City and optioning right-handed infielder Chris Taylor.
Toles, who will allow Howie Kendrick a rest today in left field, has a .395 on-base percentage and the same slugging percentage in 43 plate appearances for the Dodgers this year. Since he was most recently optioned August 3, he was producing at a .348/.565 rate in Triple-A.
Taylor has a .271 OBP and .382 slugging in 59 plate appearances for the Dodgers this year, including the July 15 game when he doubled, tripled and hit a grand slam. He went 0 for 3 Saturday in his first start since July 31,
The Dodgers didn’t make any moves on the pitching side today. despite back-to-back 3 2/3-inning starts from Bud Norris and Brett Anderson to start the series in Cincinnati. At right, the chart shows the recent pitch counts of Dodger relievers.
Kenley Jansen had the rare event of appearing in a game without throwing a pitch. He was officially entered into Saturday’s seventh inning when the rain delay arrived, but replaced by Joe Blanton when play resumed.
Dave Roberts gave a quick update on Andre Ethier, telling reporters that Ethier is hitting off live pitching while on rehab in Arizona and taking balls off the bat in the outfield. Roberts still didn’t have a date for the start of an official rehab assignment, saying that Ethier’s running is at about 75 percent.
By Jon Weisman
Scott Van Slyke is making a second trip to the disabled list this season, this time with right wrist irritation.
Chris Taylor, who had been optioned Sunday to make room for Rob Segedin’s promotion, is reversing field and returning to the active roster.
A lower back irritation previously put Van Slyke on the disabled list from April 12 to June 3. He has a .292 on-base percentage and .314 slugging percentage this year for the Dodgers.
By Jon Weisman
Not only has Rob Segedin has been called up to the Dodgers, he is making his Major League debut tonight in left field against Boston lefty David Price.
To make room for Segedin on the 25-man roster, Chris Taylor has been optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Trayce Thompson has been shifted to the 60-day disabled list.
The 27-year-old Segedin has been pounding the ball all year — first when we learned all about him during Spring Training, and then with Oklahoma City, for whom he has a .392 on-base percentage, .598 slugging percentage, 23 doubles, nine triples and 21 home runs.
Segedin has played mostly first and third base this season and in his pro career, but he has does have 75 games in left field and 66 in right.
By Jon Weisman
In his 97th Major League game and 11th as a Dodger, Chris Taylor had a night to remember.
Taylor tripled, doubled and hit a grand slam home run, driving in six runs in a 13-7 Dodger slugfest victory at Arizona, a game that saw every Dodger starter score by the sixth inning.
The 25-year-old, who was acquired June 19 in exchange for Zach Lee, had a chance for the cycle in the eighth inning and tried to sneak a bunt to get the necessary single, but reliever Josh Collmenter was able to lunge and backhand the ball to throw him out.
[milbvideo id=”812831483″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]
By Jon Weisman
Nick Tepesch, who went four innings in the Dodgers’ 8-6 loss Friday to Pittsburgh, has been designated for assignment.
In three games with Oklahoma City since the trade, Taylor has gone 6 for 12 with three doubles, three RBI and a stolen base, along with four strikeouts.
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What happens when three old friends in crisis fall into an unexpected love triangle? In The Catch, Maya, Henry and Daniel embark upon an emotional journey that forces them to confront unresolved pain, present-day traumas and powerful desires, leading them to question the very meaning of love and fulfillment. The Catch tells a tale of ordinary people seeking the extraordinary – or, if that’s asking too much, some damn peace of mind.
Catch ‘The Catch,’ the new novel by Jon Weisman!
November 1, 2023
A new beginning with the Dodgers
August 31, 2023
Fernando Valenzuela: Ranking the games that defined the legend
August 7, 2023
Interview: Ken Gurnick
on Ron Cey and writing
about the Dodgers
June 25, 2023
Interview: Ron Cey talks about the experiences that led to his new memoir, Penguin Power
June 22, 2023
Thank You For Not ...
1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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5) discussing politics
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Dodgers at home: 1,028-812 (.558695)
When Jon attended: 338-267 (.558677)*
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* includes road games attended
Dodgers at home: 51-35 (.593)
When Jon attended: 5-2 (.714)
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Note: I got so busy working for the Dodgers that in 2014, I stopped keeping track, much to my regret.