Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Juan Uribe (Page 2 of 6)

In case you missed it: Kershaw fires out of February

By Jon Weisman

GLENDALE, Ariz. — No intensity in February? Forget about that.

Clayton Kershaw threw live batting practice today, and though it’s all about getting the work in at this point, he meant business, grunting on his pitches, shouting an exclamation when one missed its target and only grudgingly conceding the fun in Juan Uribe hitting a home run off him.

Uribe’s homer was really the only hard-hit ball off Kershaw in his opening session.

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Elsewhere on a Spring Training day cloudy in the sky but sunny in the spirit …

  • Yasmani Grandal, who was firing rockets off his bat in batting practice today, gets an encouraging first assessment from Steve Yeager in this story by Lyle Spencer of MLB.com.
  • Kershaw finished No. 1 on MLB Network’s Top 100 players of the moment.
  • Non-roster pitcher Erik Bedard will start the Dodgers’ Cactus League opener Wednesday against the White Sox, with Kershaw on tap for Thursday. Neither is expected to go more than two innings. The team will then have a pair of split-squad games Friday. Eric Stephen has more on the starting pitching at True Blue L.A.
  • Stephen also provides this helpful reminder that Spring Training records don’t matter. Since 2008, the Dodgers have played no better than .500 in Spring Training, and no worse than .494 in the regular season.
  • This could hurt my plans for Austin Barnes to make history as the Dodgers’ first true catcher-second baseman. Farhan Zaidi told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com that the team wants Barnes to focus on catching for now.
  • Tampa Bay import Joel Peralta told Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles that he’s looking forward to getting out of the American League East. “I’m not a power pitcher,” Peralta said. “I have to trick guys to get them out and, after facing a guy 50 times, he has a pretty good idea what I’ve got.”

Uribe, Turner could again form nice duo at third

Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers workoutBy Jon Weisman

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Much has been speculated about the upcoming timeshare arrangement for the Dodgers in 2015 at catcher, but third base might not be much different.

After batting .311 with a .337 on-base percentage and sterling defensive work, Juan Uribe is the clear starter at third. Justin Turner is the team’s No. 1 infield utility player, becoming the first Dodger since Jose Hernandez in 2004 and sixth since 1924 to play more than one game at first, second, third and short.

But injuries limited Uribe, who turns 36 in March, to 103 games (98 starts) last year, opening the door for Turner to approach the 59 games (45 starts) he had at third in 2014.

“I think we do give (Uribe) breathers,” Mattingly said. “Definitely, we watch Juan. … and he’s pretty honest with us. Sometimes we get a bad matchup, and J.T. makes it easy to give him some days off.”

While Mattingly is wary of overplaying Uribe, he also finds that Turner wears down if he plays too often. That being said, he raved about Turner’s physical condition heading into camp this year.

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In case you missed it: Farewell, Stan Chambers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWkz9zq9y0A

By Jon Weisman

The only broadcaster with a longer tenure in Los Angeles than Vin Scully was Stan Chambers. Chambers, who joined KTLA in December 1947, mere weeks after the station opened, was a direct connection to the origins of television in this city.

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Dodgers sign Juan Uribe’s nephew, two others

Frank Sanchez, a 16-year-old shortstop from San Cristobal, Dominican Republic and the nephew of Dodger third baseman Juan Uribe, is one of three international signings announced by the Dodgers today.

Patrick Guerrero, Franklin Taveras and Bob Engle were the signing scouts for Sanchez.

The other two signees are also 16: shortstop Edwin Reyes from Azua, Dominican Republic (signing scout: Taveras) and catcher/infielder Jerson Dometilia from Kenley Jansen’s hometown of Willemstad, Curacao (signing scouts: Rolando Chirino, Guerrero).

— Jon Weisman

Gonzalez, Uribe win Wilson Defensive Player of the Year honors

UribeGonzalez copy

By Jon Weisman

You thought Tuesday’s Gold Glove announcement meant that we were done with fielding awards? You thought wrong.

Adrian Gonzalez and Juan Uribe have been named winners at their positions of the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Awards, the defensive award officially recognized by Major League Baseball.

Winners were determined using a formula that combines traditional defensive stats with advanced metrics, as well as data via scouting service Inside Edge.

Unlike Gonzalez, Uribe did not win a Gold Glove, but we talked about his fielding bonafides two weeks ago.

Gold Glove finalist Uribe best pick to win prize

Los Angeles Dodgers vs Arizona DiamondbacksBy Jon Weisman

This should be the year of the Uribear.

Adrian Gonzalez, Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, Juan Uribe and Zack were named finalists for the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards, with winners to be announced November 4.

Each position has three finalists. Greinke and Kershaw are up against Adam Wainwright of St. Louis for the NL pitcher Gold Glove. Gonzalez is against Adam LaRoche of Washington and Justin Morneau of Colorado, while Uribe has competition from Nolan Arenado of the Rockies and Pablo Sandoval of San Francisco.

Going strictly by advanced stats, Uribe would be the Dodgers’ top candidate. Despite a couple of injury issues this year, Uribe dominated NL third basemen statistically. (Click chart to enlarge.)

3B

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Business before pleasure on the season’s final day

Colorado Rockies at Los Angeles Dodgers

For more photos from Saturday, visit LA Photog Blog.

Rockies at Dodgers, 1:10 p.m.
Darwin Barney, 2B
Yasiel Puig, CF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, RF
Carl Crawford, LF
A.J. Ellis, C
Miguel Rojas, 3B
Erisbel Arruebarrena, SS
Zack Greinke, P

By Jon Weisman

Bullet points seem like a nice way to go for Game 162.

  • Don Mattingly said everyone is optimistic that Dee Gordon, who left Saturday’s game with a sore hip and had an MRI, would be ready Friday for Game 1 of the National League Division Series.
  • Hanley Ramirez had no ill effects today after fouling a ball off his knee Saturday.
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu had a successful bullpen session today. Assuming no setbacks Monday, he would be set for a midweek simulated game and on track to start Game 3 of the NLDS on October 6.
  • Mattingly was a bit coy about what manager-for-the-day Juan Uribe would actually do today, but one thing he was clear about was that nothing would be done to embarrass any players or umpires. Any arguments, for example, Mattingly will handle. But while Uribe will be given guidelines about who to play and for how long, it does appear strategic decisions will be left in Uribe’s hands. Uribe himself will not play.
  • Similarly, pitching coach du jour Clayton Kershaw will have a schedule of who is supposed to get work behind Zack Greinke, but he presumably will be the one going to the mound to make any moves or talk shop.
  • Kershaw himself threw about 30-odd pitches in a simulated game to keep himself fresh.
  • Mattingly joked that he was going to check to see if he and Uribe would be switching salaries for the day.
  • Going into play today, Gordon led the MLB stolen-base race by eight and in triples by two. Adrian Gonzalez led Mike Trout in the drive for the big-league RBI crown by two. Stephen Strasburg and Johnny Cueto did end up passing Kershaw on the NL strikeout list.

The Kershaws are in a family way

COLORADO ROCKIES VS LOS ANGELES DODGERS

For more photos from Friday, visit LA Photog Blog.

Rockies at Dodgers, 6:10 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Yasiel Puig, CF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, RF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Andre Ethier, LF
Justin Turner, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Dan Haren, P

By Jon Weisman

After a season of putting opposing hitters to bed, Clayton Kershaw is going to try it with one of his own.

The secret of Clayton and Ellen Kershaw has been passed along by Bill Shaikin of the Times — they’re going to have a baby girl in January.

The due date comes roughly two months before Kershaw’s 27th birthday and about a month before pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training.

In the much nearer future, Kershaw will be the Dodgers’ pitching coach Sunday while Juan Uribe takes on managing duties, as Don Mattingly continues the recent tradition of handing over the reins to players for the last regular-season game of the season.

Uribe was one of those who greeted Dodger minor-league pitcher of the year Julio Urias on Friday. Urias and co-minor-league players of the year Corey Seager and Joc Pederson were honored before Friday’s game.

COLORADO ROCKIES VS LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Ryuribe lives!

DETROIT TIGERS VS LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Dodgers at Padres, 1:10 p.m.
Yasiel Puig, CF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, RF
Scott Van Slyke, LF
Juan Uribe, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Darwin Barney, 2B
Hyun-Jin Ryu, P

By Jon Weisman

Dodger pals Hyun-Jin Ryu and Juan Uribe do so many other things together, they might as well come off the disabled list together.

Ryu (out since August 13) and Uribe (out since August 15) are in the starting lineup for the Dodgers today, with Carlos Frias and Miguel Rojas taking the smallest of detours to the roster of Triple-A Albuquerque. Frias and Rojas can rejoin the Dodgers after the Isotopes’ play their final game of 2014 on Monday.

Other reinforcements from the minors can come as soon as Monday, when rosters expand to up to 40 players.

Before leaving his August 13 start with two outs in the sixth inning, Ryu had made five consecutive quality starts (averaging 6.5 innings with an ERA of 1.91), nine quality starts in his past 10 and 14 out of 16 since his previous DL stint ended May 21. He has a 3.28 ERA and 8.0 strikeouts per nine innings this season.

Uribe is batting .293 this year, albeit with only 12 walks, and is the National League’s top-ranked defensive third baseman, according to Fangraphs.

Uribe becomes seventh Dodger to hit disabled list in August

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Brewers at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Kershaw CCII: Kershawrk Passage
Dee Gordon, 2B
Yasiel Puig, CF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, RF
Carl Crawford, LF
Justin Turner, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Miguel Rojas, SS
Clayton Kershaw, P

By Jon Weisman

The starting left side of the infield is now on the disabled list, alongside five other Dodgers, with Juan Uribe landing there today with a right hamstring strain suffered in Friday’s game.

Dodger manager Don Mattingly told reporters that the team was taking the cautious approach with Uribe, hoping to prevent what happened earlier this season, when he seemed ready to come back within a week but then aggravated the injury and missed more than a month’s worth of games.

Mattingly did say he believe Hanley Ramirez would be ready to come off the disabled list when he’s eligible on August 24. And Adrian Gonzalez, who left Friday’s game with slight back stiffness, was ready to go today.

Carlos Triunfel has been called up to take Uribe’s roster spot. Triunfel has a .568 OPS with Albuquerque this year along with a single, a walk and a home run in 15 plate appearances with the Dodgers this season.

Hungry Man Special: Ellis, Ethier bring Dodgers victory in ninth

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By Jon Weisman

A.J. Ellis and Andre Ethier were a combined 8 for 66 (with eight walks) since the All-Star Break, but they provided the final key at-bats in the Dodgers’ 5-4 walkoff victory Tuesday over the Angels.

After Ellis’ perfectly executed hit-and-run single moved Juan Uribe to third with one out in the bottom of the ninth and the score tied, Ethier hit a chopper to third that Angels third baseman David Freese barehanded but was unable to throw home accurately enough to nab Uribe at the plate, giving the Dodgers their third walkoff victory of the homestand after only two in their previous 49 home games.

Both at-bats culminated on 3-2 pitches.

Uribe was hardly a bit player in this game. His three-run homer in the second inning brought the Dodgers back from an early 2-0 deficit.

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Clayton Kershaw struggled early, allowing eight hits to the first 12 batters he faced and matching his career high for a game with four doubles allowed before he retired a batter in the third inning. But Kershaw flipped the switch, and retired 14 of the final 16 batters he faced, exiting with a 4-3 lead.

Kershaw has 16 quality starts in 18 appearances in 2014 and has allowed more than three runs only once — the seven-run debacle in Arizona in mid-May. He has not allowed more than 10 baserunners in his past 22 starts, dating back to 2013.

Matt Kemp’s hustle brought home the Dodgers fourth run — he reached first and third on an error with a stolen base in between, and scored on a Scott Van Slyke sacrifice fly. But Albert Pujols’ eighth-inning homer — the first allowed by Brian Wilson in the past 106 at-bats against him — tied the game.

Four hits for Puig, four RBI for Kemp, four wins in a row for Dodgers

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By Jon Weisman

Yasiel Puig singled, doubled and tripled in his first three at-bats tonight, setting up Dodger fans, who have already seen two no-hitters this year, for a new piece of history.

Instead, the happy crowd settled for Vin Scully’s 2015 return, the first four-game winning streak of the Dodgers’ season and an expanded lead in the National League West.

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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

Without Puig, Gonzalez, Uribe and Ramirez in lineup, Wednesday becomes the day of rest

Puig slide 070114js256For photo highlights from Tuesday’s action, check out the LA Photog Blog.

Indians at Dodgers, 12:10 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
A.J. Ellis, C
Andre Ethier, CF
Matt Kemp, LF
Clint Robinson, 1B
Scott Van Slyke, RF
Miguel Rojas, 3B
Carlos Triunfel, SS
Hyun-Jin Ryu, P

By Jon Weisman

It’s a long season, and players need their days off. And every once in a while — particularly at a 12:10 p.m. game after a labored loss the night before — more than one player gets one.

That’s the story behind today’s Dodger starting lineup, which does not include Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez or Juan Uribe — nor Hanley Ramirez, who has only started one game since June 23.

Dodger manager Don Mattingly was, you could say, taunted by reporters before today’s game about the lineup, which features three players who until recently were regulars at Albuquerque.

“It’s a winning lineup today,” he responded, though not in a tone that seemed to ignore the potential offensive challenges.

“There were a number of guys that needed a day,” Mattingly added. “We’ve really been going hard. Twelve o’clock game, it’s just hard to keep firing guys out there. I need some energy.

“You see just a difference in at-bats, you see them get impatient. You see guys just get tired, chasing, making mistakes at the plate.”

Uribe had a planned day off, part of the ongoing effort to manage his durability, while Ramirez is getting probably one more day before the Dodgers fish/cut bait on whether to put him on the 15-day disabled list. The Dodgers’ first game after the All-Star Break is July 18, meaning that if they want him activated by then, he would need to go on before Thursday’s game at Colorado. Mattingly recognizes that having him only available in spot duty is far from ideal.

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Dodgers Top 40: The best plays of the first half

By Jon Weisman

How exciting a 2014 has it been for the Dodgers? I started out planning to pick out the top 10 plays of the first half of the season, then (after realizing that Dee Gordon could practically fill that quota by himself) saw that list balloon to 40.

So here, in all their glory (and in an unplanned tribute to Casey Kasem), are the biggest thrills of the first 81 games. Thanks to MLB.com for the videos, as well as pieces of text here and there.

Now, prepare to lose yourself …

* * *

March 30 at San Diego: Hyun-Jin Ryu fields a sharp comebacker and throws to home to start a double play and escape a bases-loaded jam in the first.
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