Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Jimmy Rollins (Page 2 of 3)

Clayton Kershaw flirts with Perfection, Perfection still won’t commit to a relationship, but Scorelessness remains true

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

That was very real, and nearly spectacular.

You know it had to be, considering that the consolation prize was a 3-0 shutout for Clayton Kershaw, extending this year’s scoreless streak to 29 consecutive innings.

Numerous people joked before tonight’s game that the no-hit watch for Kershaw tonight should begin in the top of the first, considering the offensively challenged Mets lineup he was facing. But pretty soon, it wasn’t any joke at all.

For six spellbinding innings, using only 62 pitches, Kershaw owned New York, setting down the first 18 batters in a row, and the possibility that he would merely retire each remaining Mets batter one more time — for his second year in a row with a no-hitter, this time with a perfect cherry on top — seemed entirely realistic.

In the top of the seventh, the imminent magic moment was popped, when Curtis Granderson lined an 0-2 pitch to right field for the Mets’ first baserunner.

One out later, Wilmer Flores hit a bloop to right for a second hit, and not only was the perfect game gone, but suddenly in jeopardy were Kershaw’s shutout streak and his slim 1-0 lead — provided by Jimmy Rollins’ third-inning, 420-foot homer off Bartolo Colon to right center.

With the pressure on, Kershaw stepped up to strike out John Mayberry Jr. and retire Eric Campbell on a slow grounder to short.

In the eighth, Lucas Duda defied a shift with a leadoff single to right field for the third hit off Kershaw, but was picked off moments later. Then, a bases-loaded walk by pinch-hitter Alberto Callaspo and Yasiel Puig’s sacrifice fly tripled the Dodgers’ lead in the ninth inning and widened Kershaw’s tightrope.

Retiring the side in order in the ninth, Kershaw finished with 11 strikeouts on 104 pitches (79 for strikes). He went to ball 3 twice in the game.

For the first six innings, two plays threatened to disrupt Kershaw’s perfect game. With one out in the bottom of the third inning, Kershaw had his only full count, to Mets catcher Anthony Recker (.279 on-base percentage). Kershaw’s pitch hit the lower border of the strike zone for the whiff.

In the bottom off the fifth, Campbell struck out swinging, but the ball bounced away from Dodger catcher Yasmani Grandal, and it was immediately clear this would be a tough play at first. Grandal raced to retrieve the ball and fire it on one hop to Adrian Gonzalez, who dug it out to record the out by an eyelash.

Days after Zack Greinke had a streak of 28 batters in a row retired, Kershaw retired 25 in a row before Granderson’s hit.

In addition to the scoreless inning streak, we’re left with the following numbers for Kershaw:

  • Kershaw is the first MLB pitcher with three straight games of at least 10 strikeouts and no runs or walks allowed.
  • In 11 starts since May 23, Kershaw has a 1.21 ERA, 0.73 WHIP and 12.3 strikeouts per nine innings.
  • In his past 16 July starts, Kershaw has a 0.89 ERA, 0.63 WHIP and 9.5 K/9.
  • Kershaw has combined with Greinke to pitch 56 innings this month. They have allowed one run, for a 0.16 ERA.

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With Dodger pitchers ailing, Mike Bolsinger brings the medicine

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By Jon Weisman

The Dodgers wished upon their non-star, and Mike Bolsinger came through.

Beginning with his nine-pitch first inning, the undersung Bolsinger was at the top of his game for seven innings and 98 pitches, allowing only three hits and an unearned run in the Dodgers’ 3-1 daytime victory at Atlanta.

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Long wait brings reward for Rollins

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By Jon Weisman

This has certainly not been the easiest of Jimmy Rollins’ 16 Major League seasons, but his perseverance through the Dodgers’ 10-7 victory Monday against his former team, Philadelphia, was a welcome harbinger for the second half of 2015.

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In case you missed it: Grandal denies W for acha

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By Jon Weisman

On Saturday in St. Louis, Michael Wacha carried a shutout (OK, a no-hitter) into the seventh (OK, the sixth) inning, then gave up a couple of hits and a huge home run. Sound familiar, anyone?

Sure, the stakes were different in the Dodgers’ 5-1 victory than Game 4 of the National League Division Series, but otherwise it was something of a mirror image of Clayton Kershaw’s final October downfall.

Judging by what he told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny left Wacha in the game mainly to try to get him the “W” next to his name in the boxscore.

“You’ve got that situation there with an opportunity to pitch (Gonzalez) tough, fouled off a lot of pitches and that did, no question, wear him down pretty good,” Matheny said. “At that point we’ve got to try and keep him in that game. Try and get our offense back out there and get him a win. The ball jumped for Grandal and that was the big game-changer.

“If it’s a 1-1 game, it’s Michael’s game.”

Said Yasmani Grandal, who blasted the three-run shot off Wacha, to David Cobb of “It just so happened that [Wacha] made a mistake, probably the only mistake he made all night, and I was able to capitalize on it.”

MLB’s Statcast took a look at Grandal’s tiebreaking homer Saturday and noted that Grandal “has an average exit velocity of 94.5 mph on balls Statcast™ has tracked, which leads all catchers.”

Grandal’s .492 on-base percentage in May is the second-best mark in the National League this month behind Bryce Harper, according to the Dodgers’ PR department, and he is  third in slugging percentage (.698), behind Harper (.905) and Paul Goldschmidt (.720).

Grandal also provided benefits behind the plate for the Dodgers on Saturday. Grandal told Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles that starting pitcher Carlos Frias was trying to do too much too soon in his fruitless start a week ago against San Diego.

… “He wanted to use all four of his pitches from the beginning for some reason and I thought we could go with one or two pitches for the first three or four innings and all of a sudden mix in those other two,” Grandal said.

Frias talked about his trust with Grandal, saying he never shook him off Saturday. He was perfectly happy to cede the game plan to his catcher.

“If he’s thinking, he’s probably not doing his job right,” Grandal said. …

Despite an error by Howie Kendrick on his first batter and loading the bases before getting an out, Frias went seven innings and allowed only one run, unearned.

“Last time he was all over the place,” Don Mattingly told Cobb. “Tonight, he seemed to be hitting his spots. He used his slider some. As the game went on, he started using his curveball. That’s the key.”

Here are some more notes from the weekend …

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Adrian Gonzalez leads NL All-Star balloting at first — other Dodgers trail

Atlanta Braves vs Los Angeles Dodgers

Tim Wallach, who knows a thing or five (1984, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1990) about All-Star selections, and Joc Pederson celebrate Adrian Gonzalez’s 1000th RBI on Tuesday.

By Jon Weisman

First baseman Adrian Gonzalez is the only member of the National League West-leading Dodgers (and NL’s No. 1 offense) in first place at his position in the initial release of NL All-Star voting numbers.

Gonzalez has nearly twice as many votes as second-palce Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs, but otherwise, the Dodgers need help — especially Joc Pederson, who (as you’ll see detailed later in this post) ranks No. 1 among NL center fielders in Wins Above Replacement.

It’s worth noting that Gonzalez was the NL leader among first basemen at this stage last year, only to eventually lose out to Paul Goldschmidt of Arizona.

Fan voting continues through July 2. You can read more about the selection process here. Click the image below to enlarge the current results.


For some perspective, here’s where the top Dodger All-Star candidates rank in WAR, according to Fangraphs.

  • Gonzalez is first among first basemen, a hair ahead of Goldschmidt and Rizzo. Tuesday’s home run was only Gonzalez’s second of May, but he still has a .411 on-base percentage and .481 slugging percentage this month. Gonzalez has been in four All-Star Games, but none since joining the Dodgers in 2012.
  • Dodger rookie Pederson leads NL center fielders in WAR, not insignificantly: 0.3 ahead of No. 2 A.J. Pollock and 0.7 (50 percent higher) above No. 3 Dexter Fowler. And that’s with Pederson losing a bit of value because of his sub-par baserunning so far this year. Thanks in part to Andrew McCutchen’s slow start, no one is even close to Pederson offensively in center.
  • Overall NL voting leader Bryce Harper and Giancarlo Stanton dominate the national headlines and rightly so, but right behind Stanton in right field WAR is Andre Ethier, whose wRC+ is actually better than Stanton’s. An NL Comeback Player of the Year candidate, Ethier (like Gonzalez) last reached an All-Star Game in 2011, but given that he is fifth among all outfielders in WAR, his chance to make the game as a reserve is fairly strong.

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  • For the record, Yasiel Puig (50 plate appearances) is 16th in WAR in right field, and 13th on the current outfield ballot.
  • Yasmani Grandal is fourth in WAR at catcher, behind Buster Posey, Derek Norris and Miguel Montero. Currently on the seven-day concussion disabled list, Grandal has the fewest game and plate appearances (tied with Brayan Pena) of anyone in the top 10. On the offensive side, Grandal ranks second.
  • Also sitting in the No. 4 spot is Howie Kendrick at second base, behind 2015 ballot leader Dee Gordon, Kolten Wong and Joe Panik. Of note: When Kendrick went 0 for 8 May 22-23 against San Diego, that was the first time all season he hadn’t reached base in consecutive games. Kendrick’s only All-Star appearance came the same year as the most recent one for Ethier and Gonzalez, in 2011.

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  • Justin Turner and Alex Guerrero aren’t on the All-Star ballot, but they sit in fourth and seventh positions at third base. Neither has 100 plate appearances yet this season (Turner is at 99), and Guerrero has actually only played nine games at the hot corner (Fangraphs doesn’t separate players by games played at each position on its rankings). Turner at least has 22 games, but it’s still an uphill battle for him to leapfrog such candidates as Matt Carpenter, Todd Frazier, Nolan Arenado and Cubs rookie Kris Bryant. In case you’re wondering, Juan Uribe is just outside the top 20.
  • You’ll also find Guerrero in fifth place in left field, two spots ahead of Scott Van Slyke. Nori Aoki, Justin Upton, Charlie Blackmon and Matt Holliday lead in left field. Guerrero’s best shot would be if he keeps hitting, and the NL falls in love with a combination left fielder-third baseman from Bruce Bochy’s division rival.
  • Jimmy Rollins is one spot ahead of 2013-14 All-Star Troy Tulowitzki in WAR at shortstop, but unfortunately that’s down at 12th.

Who were the last Dodgers born in each decade?

Mota head shot

Manny Mota

By Jon Weisman

Something in the news today made me notice that Joel Peralta, Jimmy Rollins and Juan Uribe are the only active Dodgers remaining who were born in the 1970s.

Naturally (or, upon reflection, perversely), I became curious about who held that honor in past years. Here’s the honor roll of players who were the last Dodgers born in each previous decade:

  • 1960s: Brad Ausmus, b. 1969 (2010, age 41)
  • 1950s: Rickey Henderson, b. 1958 (2002, age 44)
  • 1940s: Rick Dempsey, b. 1949 (1990, age 41)
  • 1930s: Manny Mota, b. 1938 (1982, age 44)
  • 1920s: Hoyt Wilhelm, b. 1922 (1972, age 49)
  • 1910s: Pee Wee Reese, b. 1918 (1958, age 40)
  • 1900s: Curt Davis, b. 1903 (1946, age 42)
  • 1890s: Kiki Cuyler, b. 1898 (1938, age 40)
  • 1880s: Jack Quinn, b. 1883 (1932, age 49)
  • 1870s: Kid Elberfield, b. 1875 (1914, age 39)
  • 1860s: Patsy Donovan, b. 1865 (1907, age 42)
  • 1850s: George Shoch, b. 1859 (1897, age 38)

Sutton was the last Dodger born before the end of World War II, Reese the last before the end of World War I and Donovan the last born before the end of the Civil War.

The oldest recorded birth year for any player associated with the Dodger franchise is 1851, for outfielder Jack Remsen, who finished his career with the 1884 Brooklyn Atlantics of the American Association. For the National League years, you can go all the way back to infielder Jack Burdock (b. 1852), who got the 1,231st and final hit of his career with the 1891 Brooklyn Grooms.

Jimmy Rollins nominated for Humanitarian Award


Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jimmy Rollins has been nominated for the All-Stars of Giving Humanitarian Award, recognizing the efforts of professional athletes as philanthropists.

Through May 15, fans can vote to choose the organization’s 10 All-Stars of Giving and then for the Humanitarian of the Year Award.

Rollins, who shared baseball’s Roberto Clemente Award last year, has focused on helping children, at-risk youth and families through the Rollins Family Foundation, which is dedicated to providing families-in-need access to fresh food and nutritional education.

— Jon Weisman

In case you missed it: Andre Ethier keeps on truckin’

Los Angeles Dodgers vs San Diego Padres

For more images from Friday, visit LA Photog Blog — here and here.

Dodgers at Padres, 5:40 p.m.
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Andre Ethier, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Carl Crawford, LF
Juan Uribe, 3B
Joc Pederson, CF
Brandon McCarthy, P

By Jon Weisman

So-called reserve outfielder Andre Ethier hasn’t exactly been a wallflower this season.

With Yasiel Puig’s left hamstring again ailing, Ethier is making his eighth start this season. He is also appearing in his 16th game out of the Dodgers’ first 17, more than every other Dodger except Adrian Gonzalez, Howie Kendrick, Jimmy Rollins and Joc Pederson.

So far in 2015, Ethier is 9 for 30 with four walks, two hit-by-pitches and an extra-base hit of each kind, giving the 33-year-old a .405 on-base percentage and .900 slugging percentage. All but five of his plate appearances have come against right-handed pitchers, which is what he’s facing tonight in San Diego’s Ian Kennedy.

Here are some other pregame notes:

  • Both Puig and reliever Joel Peralta are candidates to go on the disabled list, Don Mattingly toward reporters today, but no decision has been made. Peralta told Ken Gurnick of that he has no pain but also no strength in his right arm.
  • Right-handed pitcher Scott Baker has arrived in San Diego with the intent of making the start Sunday for the Dodgers. Baker, who came within one strike of a seven-inning perfect game for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Monday, allowed two runs on 10 hits with one walk while striking out 16 in his three minor-league starts. The 33-year-old had a 5.47 ERA with 55 strikeouts in 80 2/3 innings for Texas last season.
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu is going to throw a bullpen session, possibly as soon as Sunday, Mattingly said.
  • Defensive positioning paid off in two big ways for the Dodgers in Friday’s 3-0 victory over San Diego. In the second inning, Howie Kendrick was standing almost directly behind second base when he caught Wil Myers’ line drive, completing Zack Greinke’s escape from a bases-loaded, none-out jam. And shortstop Jimmy Rollins ended up on the other side of second base when he threw out Yonder Alonso with two on and two out in the bottom of the eight.
  • Rollins went 0 for 4 to lower his on-base percentage to .282, but he really saved the Dodgers in that eighth inning, throwing out Wil Myers from the grass in left field for the first out, then later knocking down a Justin Upton shot to keep Matt Kemp from scoring from second base.
  • With his seven shutout innings, Zack Greinke lowered his ERA to 1.35, fourth in the National League.
  • Yimi Garcia’s perfect ninth inning, leading to his first Major League save, means that he has faced 36 batters this season and allowed only three singles and three walks while striking out 16.
  • Carl Crawford, who hit his first homer of 2015 Friday, did not hit between .200 and .300 in any given month last season. His batting averages the last three months of 2014: .163, .313, .448. Crawford is currently batting .244 with a .262 on-base percentage and .390 slugging percentage.
  • When Yasmani Grandal had to settle for a double after nearly hitting a home run in the second inning Friday, it set the stage for Juan Uribe’s first RBI of the 2015 season. Uribe hasn’t had more steals than homers since 2002, but for now, he’s one up in the stolen-base department.
  • First-base coach Davey Lopes, who turns 70 May 3, “is the oldest person in uniform with a big league team this season,” according to Tracy Ringolsby of

Dodger defense will see better days after 7-3 defeat

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By Jon Weisman

Three sighs, and the Dodgers were out.

Adrian Gonzalez is hitting like a man possessed in his first two games of 2015 and Zack Greinke was practically untouchable in his season debut, but the Dodgers are 1-1, thanks to a three-error performance by their defense tonight that figures to be uncharacteristic.

After a 30-minute rain delay, San Diego topped Los Angeles, 7-3, scoring its first four runs thanks to shortcomings by the Dodger defense.

  • Racing in on a wet outfield, Carl Crawford’s diving attempt failed to corral Justin Upton’s sinking liner in the first inning, allowing it to scoot past for an RBI triple. Padres 1, Dodgers 0.
  • Jimmy Rollins lost his balance while backpedaling for a seventh-inning Yangervis Solarte pop-up, dropping the ball to allow Yonder Alonso to score. Combined with a second-inning miscue on a grounder, it was Rollins’ first two-error game since August 10, 2010. Padres 2, Dodgers 2.
  • With two on and one out and in the top of the eighth, Will Middlebrooks flied to Yasiel Puig, who caught the ball flat-footed. Derek Norris tagged up and went to third base, then scored on an Alonso single. Padres 3, Dodgers 2.
  • In the ninth, after Clint Barmes singled, Cory Spangenberg reached base when Yasmani Grandal bobbled his bunt and then made a desperate throw into Spangenberg’s back. Barmes advanced to third, then scored on a single by Wil Myers. Padres 4, Dodgers 3.

The Padres would tack on three more runs to effectively put the game out of reach. San Diego won by four, scoring three unearned runs, plus the first inning tally that was questionably if officially earned.

“Errors are gonna happen,” Don Mattingly said. “The field – there was a little rain – but I think guys for the most part would say the field didn’t have a lot to do with it. Plays we have chances to make, we don’t make.”

Puig, as he so often does, recovered from his setback in impressive ways, making a difficult catch of a foul by Upton for the second out of the ninth. And the Dodgers were twice resilient, rallying from 1-0 and 3-2 deficits before the dam burst in the ninth.

Leading the way was Gonzalez, who became the first Major League player since Ray Jablonski in 1956 and second ever to have a single, double and home run in each of his first two games of the season. Gonzalez is 6 for 9 with a hard liner to third in his first at-bat of 2015. His sixth-inning double and eighth-inning homer each tied the game.

The Dodgers’ eight doubles in their first two games also ties a Los Angeles record set in 1995.

On the mound, Zack Greinke was fairly mesmerizing. After allowing a two-out hit to Matt Kemp in the first before Upton’s triple, Grienke held the next 18 Padres hitless with one walk. The bullpen didn’t fare nearly as well, with six relievers combining to allow nine hits over the final three innings.

Storytime theater ends happily for Dodgers

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By Jon Weisman

Opening Day at Dodger Stadium usually makes for a good story. But it’s hard to remember one when there was so much story.

Game 1 of 162 wasn’t merely a contest between the two top contenders in the National League West, it was a full-throated battle for narrative.

Matt Kemp took the early lead in the bid for headlines, Clayton Kershaw threatened to sneak his way back in, and Adrian Gonzalez, Howie Kendrick and the Padres’ defense all had their moments in the sun (literally and figuratively). For good measure, you had Hanley Ramirez threatening to show up the Dodgers, hitting two home runs out in a far-off time zone.

But standing large-font triumphant at the end of the day were Jimmy Rollins, the Dodger bullpen and ultimately, the Dodgers themselves.

Los Angeles did its fans the big favor of sending them home with a 6-3 victory over San Diego — and plenty of tales to tell.

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In case you missed it: Kershaw sails, Gaudin ails

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By Jon Weisman

In his first start since his dental denting last week, Clayton Kershaw gave up one run in the first inning today, then delivered five shutout innings, striking out eight, in the Dodgers’ 9-6 victory over the White Sox.

Jose Abreu went 3 for 3 against Kershaw. The rest of the White Sox were 1 for 19 with a walk.

Yasmani Grandal was behind the plate today for Kershaw. “I’ve been watching his games and have a better feel for what he wants to do in certain counts, when to double-up and just see how he’s feeling out there,” Grandal told Ken Gurnick of “The more I catch him, the better I’ll get.”

Said Kershaw: “Better today. We were ahead in the counts more. I didn’t shake him off as much. It’s a learning process.”

Kershaw also sacrificed twice (once with two strikes) and had a two-out single.

After throwing 88 pitches today, Kershaw will scale back for his final Cactus League outing, scheduled on five days’ rest against Kansas City on Wednesday, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Times, before taking his Opening Day start on four days’ rest April 6.

The power-happy Dodgers delivered three more homers, including booming shots by Yasiel Puig and Kiké Hernandez and Jimmy Rollins’ first of the spring. Rollins also doubled and had four RBI, and threw out the quick Emilio Bonifacio today from the outfield grass.

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  • Chad Gaudin, who missed the 2014 season because of neck surgery, has had a recurrence of neck discomfort, according to Gurnick. Gaudin will have an MRI, the latest in a series following Brandon League (who will have a follow-up exam Friday from Dr. Neal ElAttrache), Erik Bedard and Hyun-Jin Ryu.
  • There was some pregame mischief today with Tommy Lasorda and a golf cart, writes Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles.
  • The Dodgers have sold their 3,000,000th ticket on their earliest date ever, the team has announced.
  • Don Mattingly, speaking to’s Tracy Ringolsby about the concerns over low offense in baseball: “The commissioner (Rob Manfred) talked about banning shifts,” Mattingly said. “Why don’t we teach guys to hit? Go back to teaching hitters to use the whole field and keep the ball in the strike zone.”
  • It’s hard not to like Eric Stephen’s bullpen battle flowchart at True Blue L.A.
  • The Dodgers sit fourth in right field and 11th in left field on Fangraph’s positional power rankings.
  • If you can’t get enough overviews of the Dodgers’ top prospects, here’s Jim Callis of with his latest.

In case you missed it: No new Ryu news to rue

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By Jon Weisman

Hyun-Jin Ryu’s MRI on Monday revealed no change from a 2012 MRI, the Dodgers announced today. Ryu is scheduled to rest and rehab for two weeks before being re-evaluated to determine his next steps.

In other news …

  • I hadn’t heard of the Teres Major muscle until 12 months ago when it was discovered injured in the body of Clayton Kershaw, but it turns out everyone’s got one. Erik Bedard is the latest to suffer a strain of said muscle, and is reported to be out for four to six weeks, according to Ken Gurnick of
  • “I have the same injury as [Clayton] Kershaw, and I want the same rehab as Kershaw. And the same fastball.” — Bedard, via Steve Gilbert of
  • Brandon McCarthy threw five scoreless innings Monday in his minor-league game, covered by Gurnick.
  • Monday’s Cactus League game, featuring three hit batters and four ejections (all on Arizona’s side), was certainly a perplexing one, with everyone weighing the Dodger-Diamondback rivalry against the reminder that, you know this is Spring Training right?’s Gilbert and Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. run it down for us.
  • Daniel Coulombe became the latest Dodger to be optioned to the minors. He faced 21 batters and retired 18 this spring with three strikeouts, allowing a single and walking two.
  • Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles has a lengthy feature today talking to pitchers McCarthy, Juan Nicasio and David Huff, all of whom have been hit in the head by line drives.
  • Jimmy Rollins talked candidly with Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal about subjects including his transition to Dodger blue.
  • The Fangraphs positional rankings continue today, with the Dodgers sixth at first base and also at second base.
  • Joc Pederson’s swing is analyzed by Chad Moriyama at Dodgers Digest, with the conclusion being that he is now keeping the barrel of the bat in the strike zone longer, which should lead to better contact.
  • I tweeted this out Monday, so it’s a day late on here, but I still like it …

In case you missed it: Blowin’ in the wind

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Cubs at Dodgers, 1:05 p.m.
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Carl Crawford, LF
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Andre Ethier, DH
Juan Uribe, 3B
Joc Pederson, CF
A.J. Ellis, C
(Brandon McCarthy, P)

By Jon Weisman

How many steps must a man run down
Before he realizes he’s not going to catch that home run by Howie Kendrick?

The answer, my friend, is 11. That’s about how many footprints Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin made before he watched forlornly as Kendrick’s homer sailed about a first down or two beyond the outfield fence.

Here is some postgame reaction, from Pedro Moura of the Register:

It was 11 a.m. Tuesday, two hours before the Dodgers were to play the Texas Rangers here, 20 minutes away from their spring-training home, and Howie Kendrick and Jimmy Rollins had made plans to carpool.

Kendrick was dressed and ready to go; Rollins was still in his workout gear, needing to shower. They chided each other in the clubhouse, Rollins telling Kendrick to slow down, Kendrick telling Rollins to speed up. That’s the relationship the two men have developed in three weeks as teammates after almost a decade of mutual, cross-league admiration.

So, after Kendrick smashed perhaps the longest homer of his pro career Tuesday, at least 440 feet to dead center off Rangers left-hander Joe Beimel, no one in the Dodgers clubhouse was better suited than Rollins to provide perspective.

“Actually, I kind of thought I missed it a little bit,” Kendrick tried to say. “I guess the wind was blowing today.”

Rollins interjected: “In other words, I’ve never hit one that well.” …

Click here to read the entire article.
And now, here are some more morning links …

  • Baseball Prospectus gives the Dodgers an 89.7 percent chance of making the playoffs and 17.6 percent for winning the World Series, significantly higher than the other 29 teams. Will Leitch writes about the playoff odds today at Sports on Earth.
  • offers a sortable Milestone Tracker (link via Openers), putting the spotlight on future achievements great and small. Here are the lists for Dodger hitters and for Dodger pitchers. Now you know when Jimmy Rollins will enter MLB’s all-time top 50 in steals.
  • J.P. Howell warmed up too long during the Dodgers’ seven-run fifth inning, the pitcher and Don Mattingly told Ken Gurnick of On the bright side, Howell a) learned his lesson and b) doesn’t figure to make many appearances after the Dodgers score seven runs in an inning.
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu’s fluctuating velocity (well, the fluctuating velocity of Ryu’s pitches, not Ryu himself) is the subject of this piece by Eric Stephen at True Blue L.A.
  • Andrew Friedman on meeting Sandy Koufax, via J.P. Hoornstra of the Daily News:

    “It’s very rare in life where you have incredibly high expectations for someone and they actually exceed them,” Friedman said. “It’s really all encompassing — the type of person he is, the way he articulates his points, the knowledge he has, the way he’s able to question things in a very thoughtful way. I had so many different conversations over the span of that week that were incredibly thought-provoking and got me thinking.”

  • Today is the 60th anniversary of Koufax’s first game at Spring Training in Vero Beach, we were told by Historic Dodgertown in a press release. At age 19, he faced seven batters, walking two and striking out five. In the same game, 18-year-old Don Drysdale pitched four innings and struck out eight.
  • Brandon Beachy threw off a mound Tuesday for the first time since his second Tommy John operation, reports Gurnick, who adds that Beachy was both excited but keeping his enthusiasm in check.
  • Director of player development Gabe Kapler is a big booster of social media for athletes. At his blog Kaplifestyle, he explains why.
  • No more hanging chads at the ballpark: All-Star Game balloting is going all digital, notes Mike Oz at Big League Stew. End of an era …
  • Finally, we’re looking ahead to today’s biggest contest …


More from Hoornstra here.

Dodgers turning into runway models?

Matthew Mesa/Los Angeles Dodgers

Photos by Matthew Mesa/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Erin Edwards

It’s true: Members of the 2015 Dodgers and their wives will suit up for a cause April 16 at the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation’s Blue Diamond Gala at Dodger Stadium, strutting down the runway in the newest creations of Ted Baker London.

DSC_5016-2This gave Spring Training a new twist last week, when fashion fittings took place in the visitor’s clubhouse at Camelback Ranch for three days prior to the commencement of games. Stylists from Ted Baker, custom tailors and the LADF crew worked with players to find just the right look.

Those on hand witnessed Juan Uribe salsa dancing as he put on his pink shirt. Uribe said he “needed to make sure his outfit was just right,” so he threw on his gold aviators. (The fittings were inside, mind you.)

And who knew new-to-the-blue Jimmy Rollins had such a flare for fashion, helping pick out his looks? Rollins, the Dodgers’ newly anointed leadoff hitter, is set to lead off the fashion show as well. For other athletes out there who want to up their fashion game, a site like the Delta Sigma Theta online store may be incredibly beneficial for you.

DSC_5009One other great highlight was seeing new parents Clayton and Ellen Kershaw take turns holding their sleeping baby Cali, while Mom and Dad took turns getting fitted.

Watching the Dodger players walk down the runway will be just one of the highlights of the Blue Diamond Gala. Tickets are still available. Visit for more information.


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 “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.

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