Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Kenta Maeda (Page 1 of 4)

Best of the 2010s:
The All-Decade Dodgers

Raymond Gorospe/

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 … 

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Who pitched the Dodgers’ top games each year in the 2000s? Some names will surprise you

Clayton Kershaw is by far the most dominant pitcher for the Dodgers — if not all of Major League Baseball — in the 21st century. Not surprisingly, he has pitched the game of the year for the Dodgers more times than anyone else.

But using the tried and true Game Score formula as a barometer, Kershaw has topped the charts in only four of his 11 big-league seasons. During the Kershaw era, some unexpected names have stolen the spotlight from Kershaw, if only for a moment.

In fact, in the 13 seasons from 2001 through 2013, 13 different pitchers had the top Game Score for the Dodgers.

Here’s a year-by-year rundown of the Dodgers’ best Game Score performances each year, dating back to 2000.

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The Dodgers might not have a 10-game winner this year

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Pitcher wins are a nuisance as a measure of success and basically only qualify as trivia, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be interesting or deeply weird trivia.

And it’s interesting and deeply weird that for the first time in franchise history, the Dodgers might not have a single pitcher win 10 games this season.

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Which starting pitchers should move into the bullpen for the Dodgers?

Kenley Jansen’s absence puts more pressure on the rest of the Dodger pitching staff to step up.
(Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

All summer long, the big question for the Dodger pitching staff has been which relievers would serve as the bridge to Kenley Jansen.

But with the distressing news that Jansen will be sidelined at least into September with an irregular heartbeat, we now have to ponder not only the bridge, but the destination.

You can read all the options the Dodgers have available in my recent review of the Dodger pitching staff, and Dustin Nosler of Dodgers Digest has a post up today looking specifically at who might close in Jansen’s absence.

My focus today is on the fact that it’s obvious that the Dodgers, who will soon have seven starting pitchers available with the impending returns of Alex Wood and Hyun-Jin Ryu from the disabled list, will need to move at least one starting pitcher to the bullpen — two if they don’t go with a six-man rotation.

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Seager, Roberts, Maeda finalists for top MLB awards

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Corey Seager is a finalist for both the National League Rookie of the Year Award and the NL Most Valuable Player Award, MLB and the Baseball Writers Association of America have announced.

Kenta Maeda is also one of the three NL Rookie of the Year finalists, while Dave Roberts is in the final countdown for NL Manager of the Year.

With Max Scherzer of the Nationals and Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester of the Cubs announced as finalists for the NL Cy Young, Clayton Kershaw’s streak of five consecutive top-three finishes has ended — though Kershaw still led NL pitchers in WAR despite being limited to 149 innings.

The winner of the NL Rookie of the Year Award will be announced November 14, followed by NL Manager of the Year on November 15, NL Cy Young on November 16 and NL MVP on November 17.

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As Dodgers enter offseason, young starters provide foundation for rotation

NLDS-Game 5-Los Angeles Dodgers vs Washington Nationals

By Jon Weisman

In 2015, the combined total of big-league starts by Jose De León, Brock Stewart, Ross Stripling and Julio Urías — not to mention Kenta Maeda — was zero.

This year, the four traditional rookies amassed 38, with Maeda good for another 32. Nearly half the starts for the 2016 National League West champions came from brand new Major Leaguers, with the team going 40-30 (.571) in those games, compared with 51-41 (.554) in games started by veterans.

Just to clarify for the paranoid: Over the coming offseason, the Dodgers will scour the trade and free-agent markets (which includes midseason acquisition Rich Hill) for starting pitchers that might bolster the 2017 rotation.

At the same time, this year’s rookie quintet already puts Los Angeles a step closer to alleviating the reliance on quantity in recent seasons (16 starters in 2015, 15 in 2016).

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After NLCS Game 5 defeat, it’s Kershaw and Hill again and pray for reign


By Jon Weisman

The earth spins, seven days of suns rise and set, and here we are once more.

Two wins needed for land. Two games to do it, with two prime captains in Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill.

That’s the map of the world for the Dodgers, who find themselves back in the strait between exhilaration and elimination after losing Game 5 of the National League Championship Series tonight to the Cubs, 8-4.

Barely a week ago, Kershaw and Hill (with a large dose of Kenley Jansen and others) rescued the Dodgers’ title raft in the National League Division Series against Washington. Following two more victories in NLCS Games 2 and 3 against the Cubs, the Dodgers will look to circumvent their Game 4-5 losses and complete a happy repeat.

To continue scavenging sea and sky for good omens, know that those two wins followed an 8-4 Game 1 loss that played out similarly to Game 5, even to the final score. Tonight, the Dodgers fell behind early, tied the game — then watched that tie broken thanks to a home run off the previously stalwart Joe Blanton. There was even another late five-run eighth inning to ride out, and an even later short-lived comeback attempt.

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Dodgers shuffle batting order against Jon Lester


Dexter Fowler, CF
Kris Bryant, 3B
Anthony Rizzo, 1B
Ben Zobrist, LF
Javy Baez, 2B
Jason Heyward, RF
Addison Russell, SS
David Ross, C
Jon Lester, P
Kiké Hernández, 2B
Justin Turner, 3B
Corey Seager, SS
Carlos Ruiz, C
Howie Kendrick, LF
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrián González, 1B
Joc Pederson, CF
Kenta Maeda, P

By Jon Weisman

It’s a small change in the batting order, but at the same time, the Dodgers’ most significant of the postseason.

Against Cubs lefty Jon Lester tonight, Dave Roberts has moved Kiké Hernández to the leadoff spot, with Carlos Ruiz batting fourth, Howie Kendrick fifth, Yasiel Puig sixth and Adrián González seventh.

In his first postseason appearance of 2016, Hernández walked twice and lined out against Lester in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, and Roberts said he liked the quality of his at-bats.

“And I think that since he’s come back for this series, his pitch recognition is much better,” Roberts added. “I feel comfortable with him trying to get on base instead of worrying about trying to drive runs in — and also to put Howie in the middle of things. I think that to be able to get a hit with guys on base, I feel very comfortable with that.”

Ruiz is starting at cleanup for the first time as a Dodger and the first time at all since May 16 with Philadelphia. Ruiz is 2 for 7 with a homer in the playoffs, including an 0-for-2 start against Lester.

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Dodgers facts and figures after four NLCS games


By Jon Weisman

With the National League Championship Series between the Cubs and Dodgers now tied at 2-2, let’s do what we did after it was tied 1-1 and reset the scene …

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Taking a heavy club away from the Cubs

By Cary Osborne

Three of the most important numbers in the National League Championship Series have been three, four and five. Those numbers represent the three spots in the Chicago order that Dodger pitchers have dominated.

Chicago’s 3-4-5 hitters are 2 for 32 in this series.

In Game 1, Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell went 1 for 12 at the plate with a walk.

That same trio went 0 for 9 with a walk in Game 2.

The Cubs changed things up in Game 3 and went Zobrist, Rizzo and the hot Javier Baez and still managed to only go 1 for 11 with a walk.

The lone hits were a Zobrist double in the five-run Cubs eighth inning in Game 1 and a broken-bat infield single from Rizzo in the ninth inning in Game 3.

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Dodger rally capped by Cub slam in NLCS opener


Photos: Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

This game was nothing like it should have been, and everything it shouldn’t have been.

Bloops fell daintily for doubles. Liners zipped into gloves like magnets. Busted squeezes became steals of home.

The Dodgers should have been buried, but weren’t. Then they could have won going away, but didn’t.

Trailing for seven innings, then tying the game in the top of the eighth with Adrián González’s two-run single off human sonic boom Aroldis Chapman, the Dodgers fell to the Chicago Cubs in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, 8-4, after a pinch-hit grand slam by Miguel Montero off Joe Blanton.

Still hoping for a road split, Los Angeles will send Clayton Kershaw to the Wrigley Field mound Sunday for Game 2, following a night of contemplating how nearly they stole their pennant series opener.

“It stings a little bit,” Dave Roberts said. “But just the way that we kept fighting and we kept playing … I felt that our at-bats all night long were quality. I thought we were gonna win it, but we’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”

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Maeda to start NLCS Game 1, Kershaw for Game 2?

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Photos: Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Kenta Maeda will start Game 1 of the National League Championship Series on Saturday, Dave Roberts confirmed, with Clayton Kershaw looking likely to make Sunday’s Game 2 start.

Kershaw was in good shape after Thursday’s late-night bullpen session that climaxed with the final seven pitches of the Dodgers’ National League Division Series clincher over Washington.

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Pinch-hit homer can’t save Dodgers in NLDS Game 3

Patrick Gee/Los Angeles Dodgers

Patrick Gee/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

In the ninth inning today, the Dodgers trailed 4-3, the exact deficit they faced in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.

But this time, they had already used their pinch-hit, two-run home run. And this time, the ninth-inning home run was hit by the visitors. And that wasn’t all.

Putting its foot down with a four-run top of the ninth, Washington won, 8-3, leaving the Dodgers with no choice to save their season but to win Game 4 of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday and then Game 5 at Washington on Thursday.

Despite Carlos Ruiz hitting the first pinch-hit playoff homer by the home team in Los Angeles since Kirk Gibson, the Dodgers lost the first home playoff game since the retirement of the man who called Gibson’s homer, Vin Scully.

The Dodgers used 21 players — tying the team record for a playoff game and setting the team record for a nine-inning game —  in the longest nine-inning playoff game in franchise history (4:12).

Game 4 of the NLDS will take place at 2:05 p.m. Tuesday if the Giants defeat the Cubs in San Francisco tonight, or at 5:08 p.m. if the Cubs eliminate the Giants.

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Homer-happy Dodgers make it rain against Greinke


Adrián González, Corey Seager and Yasmani Grandal hit three of the Dodgers’ five homers. (Photos: Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Image-1-2By Jon Weisman

In distance, they measured 2,025 feet. On the Richter scale, they might as well have been a 10.

Zack Greinke, the darling of Dodger Stadium for three seasons, was punished in his former home like a Rock’Em Sock’Em Robot.

Five home runs off Greinke — a career-high, including four in the fifth inning — shook Chavez Ravine and sent the Dodgers to a 10-2 victory over Arizona tonight.

With San Francisco shut out in Colorado today, Los Angeles leads the National League West by a season-high four games.

The Dodgers’ five leaders in home runs each took Greinke deep — Adrián González (17) with a man on base in the fourth inning, followed by Joc Pederson (20), Corey Seager (24, with two aboard), Justin Turner (25) and feature creature Yasmani Grandal (24).

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Dodgers plunked at Coors Field, 8-1

Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

By Jon Weisman

The best part of tonight’s game at Colorado for the Dodgers is that Corey Seager didn’t appear to be seriously hurt by either of the two pitches that hit him.

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