Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Kevin Correia

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.


Starting pitching becomes startling pitching

ColoBy Jon Weisman

Ten games to go. Ten games to find starting pitchers for.

That’s the puzzle I imagine most Dodger fans are trying to solve after Carlos Frias managed the near unthinkable – a game score of 0 – in today’s 16-2 loss at Colorado.

In allowing eight runs on 10 hits in two-thirds of an inning, Frias produced the lowest game score by a Dodger starting pitcher in 28 years, since Jerry Reuss allowed nine earned runs and 15 baserunners in four innings against the Phillies. Frias also recorded the fewest outs by any Major League starting pitcher who allowed at least 10 hits since at least 1901.

And Frias might have been lucky to get those two outs. One was an inexplicable caught stealing on a 2-0 pitch after the first five Rockies had combined for three singles, a double and a home run, the other an equally inexplicable squeeze bunt attempt when the team was 7 for 7 off Frias.

Asked to mop up, Kevin Correia fared well only by comparison, allowing five earned runs on seven hits and a walk in three innings without a strikeout.

The Dodgers have allowed at least 10 runs in three of their past six games, a disturbing ratio to be sure, though I would argue that in defeat, it doesn’t matter whether you lose by one run or 10.

Milwaukee lost its game to St. Louis tonight, lowering the Dodgers’ magic number to clinch a playoff spot to four. But San Francisco cut the Dodgers’ National League West lead to two games by scoring two in the ninth to defeat Arizona, and with the divisional magic number at 9, it’s natural to wonder how the Dodgers will play out the final 10 games of the season.

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Dodgers double up on triple plays in 2014

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By Jon Weisman

The good news for Dodger fans: The last time the franchise hit into two triple plays in the same season, it was 1955.

The bad news is that it’s a rough way for this year’s team to connect with the franchise’s first World Series winner.

Today against the Mets, the Dodgers were down, 7-1, in the bottom of the sixth inning but had the makings of a rally. With none out, Dee Gordon singled, Yasiel Puig walked and Adrian Gonzalez singled to score a run and bring up Matt Kemp, who had doubled in their previous run in the first inning.

But Kemp hit a hard grounder to Mets third baseman Eric Campbell, who threw to second baseman Daniel Murphy to begin a tailor-made 5-4-3 double play … that became a 5-4-3-2 triple play when Puig kept running around third and was easily thrown out at home, Lucas Duda to Travis d’Arnaud.

Puig had previously made the final out of a triple play by the Indians on July 1.

Back in 1955, the Dodgers had actually hit into two triple plays in a two-week stretch, and they were by no slouches: May 28 by Jackie Robinson and June 12 by Roy Campanella.

Brooklyn actually hit into three triple plays in 1925, so the 2014 Dodgers might be wise to quit now.

The Dodgers were reeling earlier from a triptych of home runs allowed by starting pitcher Kevin Correia in the first three innings to put the Dodgers in their six-run hole. Then, Carlos Frias was perfect in three innings of relief before surrendering three runs in the seventh, leaving the Dodgers down, 10-2.

Update: The first time the Dodgers hit into a triple play this year, they lost that game, 10-3. They almost repeated that unlikely score today, before Duda’s second homer of the game stamped the contest with an 11-3 label. Duda had a career-high five RBI.

Gonzalez finished 3 for 3 with two doubles, making him 5 for 6 in his past two games with three extra-base hits. Andre Ethier and Gordon each had two hits, the latter adding his 12th triple of the season.

Newest Dodger turns Atlanta into Correia Town

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Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 8.38.23 PMBy Jon Weisman

Even though one start is only one start, it’s hard not to feel good about this afternoon’s post. Atlanta could hardly touch Kevin Correia in tonight’s 6-2 Dodger victory, one that moved them five games up on San Francisco in the National League West.

That’s one victory in the books for the Dodgers from their new No. 6 starter, setting up some nice dominoes for the rest of the Dodgers’ week.

See the spray chart at right? Only two balls hit by the Braves went beyond medium left field, and one of those was Evan Gattis’ inconsequential double off Carlos Frias in the ninth.

Correia faced 23 batters, striking out five and getting 10 groundouts. He allowed a walk, three singles and a double. There were two lineouts, one on a sweet, skyscraping catch by Miguel Rojas. Atlanta reached ball three in the count only three times the entire night.

Maybe sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, but tonight, Correia was plenty good.

Oh, and Correia went 2 for 2 at the plate, scoring the Dodgers’ first run after they trailed 1-0 through five innings. Dodger pitchers have reached base seven of their past 14 trips to the plate.

Despite seeing two of their first three baserunners get picked off, the Dodgers plenty whelmed Atlanta, reaching base 15 times (that’s 33 in their past two games) against Atlanta’s top pitcher, Julio Teheran, and looking sharper than their opponents defensively. Special mention to Carl Crawford, who is 5 for 8 in his past two games.

On Kevin Correia and the upside of inconsistency

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Dodgers at Braves, 4:10 p.m.
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
Kevin Correia, P
Note: Pedro Baez has been optioned to Albuquerque to make room for Correia on the roster.

By Jon Weisman

Kevin Correia takes the mound tonight, in his first start for the Dodgers, with the lowest strikeout rate (4.24 per nine innings) of any Major League starting pitcher since 2013.

Correia has faced an average of 25 batters per start this year, striking out 11 percent of them. Approximately nine out of every 10 batters against Correia either walks or puts the bat on the ball.

Perhaps you’re wondering how this ends well for the Dodgers.

One thing to consider is the value of inconsistency. In 13 of his 23 starts this season, Correia has held the opposition to three runs or less. That doesn’t speak well of the other 10 appearances, and five of them, in which he allowed more runs than innings pitched, are best not spoken of at all.

The point here isn’t to try to spin Correia into the second coming of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke or Hyun-Jin Ryu. He’s a clear tier below. But the goal is to offer a little perspective, and I can’t think of a more artful way to say it than this: Below average is not the same as hopeless, and a below-average acquisition is not the same as a pointless one.

If I told you, without naming names, that the Dodgers had a 57 percent chance of a quality start tonight, you wouldn’t despair that the game was lost, nor should you. And that’s from a spot starter whose assignment is to give the other five starting pitchers a breather.

There’s an argument that the Dodgers could have turned to Carlos Frias or a current minor-leaguer to fill that role, an argument that I’m sympathetic to (mainly because I’m reflexively eager to see a kid thrust onstage), but whether that’s the right argument isn’t clear. If the goal for this pitcher is to eat up innings and keep the Dodgers in the game, and we assume that the cost of acquiring Correia is low, it’s not obvious that an in-house candidate is a better choice than Correia right now.

Correia generally keeps the ball in the park, allowing home runs in nine of his 23 games this year. He generally puts the ball over the plate, walking two or fewer in 20 of 23 games. The rest he mostly leaves up to giving his defense a chance at the ball. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. But he gives you that chance.

If it doesn’t work out with Correia or Roberto Hernandez, the Dodgers can then theoretically turn to Frias, Red Patterson, Zack Lee or Chris Reed if they need to. The reverse isn’t necessarily true. Given that other teams need rotation help as well, it’s not obvious that Correia and Hernandez would have been around in a week or two. Some of you might be laughing at that, but ask the Angels, for example, whom they can turn to for depth now that Tyler Skaggs is having Tommy John surgery.

Every little bit can help, even if it doesn’t help every single time.

Hanley Ramirez placed on disabled list, Darwin Barney recalled

Dodgers at Brewers, 11:10 a.m.
Kershaw CCI: The Kershawering Inferno
Dee Gordon, 2B
Carl Crawford, LF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, RF
Andre Ethier, CF
Juan Uribe, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Miguel Rojas, SS
Clayton Kershaw, P

By Jon Weisman

Reality asserted itself upon Hanley Ramirez, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to Saturday) with a right oblique strain.

Darwin Barney, recently acquired from the Cubs, was brought up from Triple-A Albuquerque to take Ramirez’s roster spot.

Ramirez is the eighth Dodger currently on the 15- or 60-day disabled lists, but the only non-pitcher after Josh Beckett, Chad Billingsley, Onelki Garcia, Paul Maholm, Chris Perez, Paco Rodriguez and Chris Withrow.

Barney was 9 for 35 with three walks and a double with the Isotopes.

The Dodgers also designated relief pitcher Colt Hynes for assignment. Acquired from the Indians in April, Hynes had a 4.08 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 53 innings with Albuquerque.

Meanwhile, Yasiel Puig gets a rest after starting 15 consecutive games. Puig has a .381 on-base percentage and .586 slugging percentage in that period, but is 0 for 8 with a walk in the two previous Milwaukee games.

Update: A note from Don Mattingly’s media session today was that newly acquired Kevin Correia could start for the Dodgers as soon as Monday in Atlanta, to give an extra day of rest to rest of the rotation.

Dodgers acquire Kevin Correia

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By Jon Weisman

For the second time this week, the Dodgers have acquired a veteran pitcher, tonight picking up Kevin Correia from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for a player to be named or cash considerations.

Correia, who turns 34 on August 24, provides another starting pitching or long relief option. This season, he has a 4.94 ERA with 61 strikeouts in 23 starts covering 129 1/3 innings, including a 4.03 ERA since May 20.

His best year might have been as a reliever in 2007, when he had a 3.45 ERA in 59 games (51 in relief) with 7.1 strikeouts per nine innings.

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