Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Matt Kemp (Page 3 of 15)

Nearly-an-iron man Matt Kemp gets rare rest day


For more Tuesday photo highlights, visit LA Photog Blog.

Nationals at Dodgers, 12:10 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Carl Crawford, LF
Justin Turner, 3B
Joc Pederson, CF
Tim Federowicz, C
Carlos Frias, P

By Jon Weisman

Matt Kemp, who leads Dodger outfielders in games played despite not leading at any of the three positions, ends a streak of 40 consecutive games in the starting lineup today.

It’s getting harder to remember when there was active concern about Kemp’s fragility. During that 40-game run, Kemp has had a .380 on-base percentage and .580 slugging percentage.

He has actually played in 50 consecutive games and started 83 of the Dodgers’ past 86 games, since Carl Crawford went on the disabled list May 28, with an .842 OPS in that time.

And Dodger manager Don Mattingly indicated that he is counting on Kemp for the pennant drive.

“I think today for me is an energy day,” Mattingly said. “He kind of looked a little heavy-legged in Sunday’s day game. He’s been going hard for us, and honestly hasn’t played this many games in a couple of years. I feel like this is kind of his last chance to get a breather.”

Kemp has played 128 games this season, after playing 106 and 73 the previous two seasons.

* * *

Making his debut as a Major-League starter today, Carlos Frias isn’t on a specific pitch limit, but Mattingly said that the team’s goal is to get five innings from the 24-year-old righty and then evaluate from there.

Mattingly said he doesn’t manage differently or make changes more aggressively with the post-September 1 expanded bullpen, and that the extra men mainly function as a way to avoid using primary relievers in a blowout.

At the same time, it’s not clear that Pedro Baez qualifies as an “extra” anymore, given his baptism to date (1.84 ERA in 14 2/3 innings), and Yimi Garcia pitched two shutout innings Monday in a game the Dodgers nearly tied in the ninth.

Mattingly also said that Paco Rodriguez had an encouraging bullpen session Tuesday and might be close to a simulated game, and that signs are more encouraging that he’s closer to a return. However, though Josh Beckett played catch Tuesday, signs for his return were no more encouraging than they have been.

Tim Federowicz makes his first start for the Dodgers since June 12, and Mattingly confirmed that Federowicz’s familiarity catching Frias in Albuquerque this summer played a role in the decision.

Outfield nomad Matt Kemp nears Dodger lead in home runs

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Dodgers at Padres, 7:10 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, RF
Carl Crawford, LF
Andre Ethier, CF
Justin Turner, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Dan Haren, P

By Jon Weisman

Matt Kemp, who had eight home runs for the season one month ago, has moved in position to lead the Dodgers in circuit clouts.

Kemp has doubled his 2014 homer total since July 29, moving past Scott Van Slyke, Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez to within two of Adrian Gonzalez. He has a .584 slugging percentage and .923 OPS in that time.

What’s weird about the potential of Kemp leading the Dodgers in home runs is that he won’t lead them in innings played at any position. He is all but guaranteed to finish behind Carl Crawford in left field, Yasiel Puig in right field and either Puig or Andre Ethier in center.

(That’s right: Puig could lead the Dodgers in time served in both center and right field, though Ethier is likely to prevail in center by at least a few innings. Puig, 0 for his last 18 with six walks, is not in tonight’s starting lineup. )

While Kemp has certainly been a regular in the outfield, his season will be split fairly neatly among the three positions. So far, Kemp has played 369 1/3 innings in left, 326 in center and 287 1/3 in right.

The last Dodger to lead the team in home runs without a regular position was Al Ferrara, who hit 16 homers in 1967 while playing fewer innings in right field than Ron Fairly and fewer in left than three other players.  Ferrara led the Dodgers in home runs despite only starting 87 games that year.

Meanwhile, Van Slyke, who hit his 10th home run and first since July 22 on Wednesday, appears to have escaped serious injury after rolling his ankle. He told Ken Gurnick of today that he was fine and ready to play.

Dee Gordon, Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp pour themselves into ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Dee bucket

By Jon Weisman

Some Dodgers have taken on the ALS Ice Bucket challenge, to fight what’s commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Having donated money and my 1985 Scirocco to the ALS Association myself in the past, I’m happy to see it.

Above: Dee Gordon. Below: Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp.

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Kemp bucket

The Bison and the Cupboard

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Matt Kemp gives a winning performance in this promo spot (modeled after “The Indian and the Cupboard”) for the Matt Kemp Figurine giveaway, August 24 when the Dodgers host the Mets. The first 40,000 ticketed fans in attendance will receive the item.

— Jon Weisman

NL Player of the Week: Matt Kemp


By Jon Weisman

Matt Kemp made a powerful, powerful impression last week, going 9 for 22 with five home runs and nine RBI in six games, along with two walks and a steal. He had a .458 on-base percentage, 1.091 slugging percentage and 1.549 OPS. So, yeah, that was enough to make him National League Player of the Week.

Kemp is no stranger to the award, having become the only player ever to win it three times in a row (the final week of the 2011 season and the first two weeks of 2012). He also won April 28-May 4, 2008.

Over his past two months, Kemp has a .397 on-base percentage, .530 slugging percentage and .927 OPS.

Will Kershaw repeat as NL Pitcher of the Month?

ATLANTA BRAVES VS LOS ANGELES DODGERSFor more highlights from Thursday’s game, visit LA Photog Blog.

Cubs at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Yasiel Puig, CF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Carl Crawford, LF
Matt Kemp, RF
Justin Turner, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Dan Haren, P

By Jon Weisman

Clayton Kershaw was as unsurprising a winner as they come of National League’s Pitcher of the Month honors in June. And in July, he hardly declined.

Thanks to a 1.07 ERA last month, Kershaw is the first pitcher to have an ERA under 2.00 through the end of July in back to back seasons since Greg Maddux in 1994-95, notes Lee Sinins at Gammons Daily.

The lefty’s current 2014 ERA is better than Sandy Koufax’s best (1.73) and coming within range of the 98-year-old franchise record, 1.58 by Rube Marquard in 1916.

To be clear, Kershaw already set the Dodger record for adjusted ERA in a season last year, a record he is on pace to smash this year.

Kershaw’s July ERA was somehow only fourth in Major League Baseball but first in the NL.  Interestingly, Kershaw also has a close match in the American League with the same initials, as Carson Cistulli of Fangraphs notes.


So, what about July in the NL?

  • Kershaw led the league in ERA (1.07), just ahead of San Diego’s Tyson Ross (1.10) and the Mets’ Jacob deGrom (1.39).
  • He was tops in WAR (1.4), followed closely by deGrom, Ross and Zack Greinke.
  • He was first in innings (42), edging Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels (41 2/3) and Ross (41).
  • Things shift a bit when you look at FIP (fielding-independent pitching). Kershaw (2.06) is fourth, fairly far behind deGrom (1.43), Greinke and Ross.
  • And how about this? July’s NL leader in xFIP is none other than Hyun-Jin Ryu (2.19), with Greinke second and Kershaw sixth (2.52). Ross, deGrom and Washington’s Stephen Strasburg occupy the spots in between.
  • Strikeouts per nine innings? Kershaw (9.21) was seventh, with Greinke (10.60) just ahead of deGrom (10.58) and Ross (10.54), followed by Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto, Ryu and Strasburg.

ATLANTA BRAVES VS LOS ANGELES DODGERSAs you can see, it’s a tight race. There’s a statistical case for deGrom, except for the fact that he threw 32 1/3 innings, 23 percent fewer than Kershaw. (Note that this same argument was used in reverse against Kershaw when it came time to pick the NL’s All-Star Game starting pitcher.) Ryu only pitched 28 1/3 innings in July.

The top challenger to Kershaw for July NL Player of the Month honors is Ross. I would pick Kershaw, by a nose, but in my mind, it’s enough of a tossup that it really comes down to whether the powers that be want to spread the wealth around. For those curious about NFL drafts, can a player refuse a draft pick nfl? Visit to find out.

No matter what happens this month, Kershaw has bigger fish to fry, individually (Cy Young race, anyone?) as well as his drive to lead the Dodgers to a title.

* * *

Other news and notes …

  • Scott Elbert remained in the Dodger organization after clearing waivers and accepting an assignment to Albuquerque. In addition, Erisbel Arruebarrena was returned from Rancho Cucamonga to Albuquerque, and is serving a five-game suspension for his role in the recent brawl there. Brian Cavazos-Galvez, a 12th-round draft pick in 2009, was released, according to the report.
  • At Gammons Daily, Alec Dopp takes an analytics look at Matt Kemp’s two-month surge.

    “Perhaps the main reason behind Kemp’s lofty in-play average since the beginning of June has been his ability to generate ideal trajectories at a higher frequency, increasing his 25.6% line-drive rate from April-May to 29.6% from June to July (third-highest in baseball in that span). …

    For Kemp, whose line-drive rate has improved some despite actually hitting pitches ‘hard’ less frequently since the beginning of June, this fact bodes well for his current production moving forward if he continues to produce line drive trajectories, coupled with his ability to decipher between balls and strikes on the inner-half of the plate.”

  • Don Sutton told a Vin Scully story to Ron Cervenka of Think Blue L.A.
  • USA Today ranked Dodger Stadium No. 2 in Major League Baseball for food options.

Matt Kemp has been building to his moment for a long time

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Braves at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Kershaw CXCIX: Kershawr Town
Dee Gordon, 2B
Yasiel Puig, CF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Carl Crawford, LF
Matt Kemp, RF
Juan Uribe, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Clayton Kershaw, P

By Jon Weisman

No silver bullet explains why Matt Kemp has started to look more and more like the elite player of his peak.

He’s feeling healthier, but not the way he was in his near-MVP 2011 season. He’s in a good place at the plate, but he still feels he needs to get better.

By now, Kemp knows too well the ups and downs of baseball, so he’s hardly kicking back and saying his comeback is complete.

“Baseball’s not easy,” Kemp said today. “It’s been a rough couple of years. I’m still trying to get all the way back. I’m not done. Still got lots of work to do.”

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Take it to the 10th: Dodgers win in extra-ordinary circumstances

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By Jon Weisman

Matt Kemp is having a week.

With a game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the 10th tonight, Kemp drove the Dodgers to their fifth victory in a row, 3-2 over Atlanta, and extended his recent dominance.

Kemp is 6 for 8 with three home runs, four runs and six RBI in his past two games. He now has a .353 on-base percentage and .465 slugging percentage this season.

Following a best-in-his-Dodger career 13 strikeouts in eight innings from Zack Greinke and two runs from Kemp — one in the second inning on his latest homer, the other by racing from second to home on a Juan Uribe infield single to break a 1-1 tie in the eighth, the Dodgers were within three outs of a tidy 2-1 win.

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But then Kenley Jansen allowed his first run in 14 games to start the bottom of the ninth, a home run by Justin Upton. Consequently, the Dodgers found themselves playing their first extra-inning game at Dodger Stadium since May 11.

Atlanta threatened in the 10th, but shot itself in the foot when J.P. Howell picked Jordan Schafer off second base with one out.

And then came Kemp. Again.

Victory march: What comes after four?

Braves at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Yasiel Puig, CF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Matt Kemp, RF
Scott Van Slyke, LF
Juan Uribe, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Zack Greinke, P

By Jon Weisman

So now that the Dodgers have won four games in a row, I’m guessing the next thing you want is five. You fans, you’re so incorrigible.

Well, the last time the Dodgers won five games in a row, they won six. That was from August 28 to September 3, completing the team’s bold 53-13 run from 30-42 (and 9 1/2 games out of first place in the National League West) to 83-55.

This year’s Dodgers — whom, it should be noted, haven’t been below .500 all season — are 28-16 (.636) since falling 9 1/2 games behind San Francisco. Earlier today, the Giants ended their six-game losing streak by rallying to defeat Pittsburgh, 7-5.

Elsewhere …

  • Trivia: Who are the three Dodgers this year with more triples than home runs? Answer below.
  • Don Mattingly told reporters today that after Zack Greinke pitches today and Clayton Kershaw on Thursday, he plans to start Dan Haren on Friday — Haren’s first start since July 23. Hyun-Jin Ryu on Saturday will pitch on five days’ rest.
  • A well-timed article by Daniel Brim of Dodgers Digest before Tuesday’s game: “Matt Kemp’s Offense Is Not the Problem.”
  • Brim also looked at Kenley Jansen’s increased and effective use of the slider.
  • How dominant is Clayton Kershaw? Answer No. 4,123,259: Kershaw has a higher on-base percentage while batting than he has allowed while pitching.
  • Answer No. 4,123,260: “I’ve never been around anyone who is as consistent as Clayton,” A.J. Ellis told John Perrotto of Sports on Earth. “He would be a great character actor, because he would never come out of character.”
  • Here’s a close inspection of Yasiel Puig’s three triples Friday, from Steven Silverman at Beyond the Box Score.
  • Trivia answer: Dee Gordon (10 triples, two homers), Andre Ethier (five triples, four homers), Miguel Olivo (one triple, zero homers).

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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Triple the joy: Puig, Dodgers make three-bag history, with innings to spare

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By Jon Weisman

It took only two batters for the Dodgers to get their first triple of the night in San Francisco. Most games, that would be more than you’d expect.

Puig 3bFor Yasiel Puig and his teammates, it was only the beginning of many happy handshakes with third-base coach Lorenzo Bundy.

The Dodgers hit five triples in the first six innings at AT&T Park — three by Puig himself — shocking and knocking out Tim Lincecum on their way to a 7-0 lead with three innings to go.

The incredible night began with Puig’s first-inning triple, which nearly became a home run after an official review studied whether fan interference had prevented it from going out of the park. Puig later scored on an Adrian Gonzalez single to take a 1-0 lead.

The game was a pitchers’ duel through the fourth, with Lincecum matching Dodger starter Zack Greinke by striking out six batters on 67 pitches. (Greinke, in an event I’m embarrassed to make parenthetical, had a four-strikeout fourth third inning.) Puig had the Dodgers’ only other hit, a third-inning double.

Then, after A.J. Ellis popped out to start the top of the fifth, things got wild.

Greinke singled, and then Dee Gordon blasted one to the gap in right-center. Greinke, running with better wheels than Josh Beckett did the last time Gordon had an extra-base hit with a pitcher on base, scored easily, and Gordon cruised into third. It was Gordon’s 10th triple of the year, making him the first Dodger to hit double digits on triples since Kenny Lofton had 12 in 2006.

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Then Puig followed with his second triple of the game, making him the first Los Angeles Dodger ever to have two triples and a double in a game. No Dodger had done this since Sandy Amoros in 1956.

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If Puig’s triple in the first had been ruled a home run, he’d have had four innings left with only a single needed for a cycle.

Another RBI single by Gonzalez — who now leads the National League in RBI with 67 — scored Puig to make it 4-0, and an ensuing single by Hanley Ramirez ended Lincecum’s night on the mound …

… if not in the box score. Because after Carl Crawford lined out to first, Matt Kemp got in on the act, tripling to right center to score Gonzalez and Ramirez.

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Psychologically, the Dodgers avenged the three triples they allowed in the second inning of Clayton Kershaw’s nadir start on May 17.

Are we done yet? Not quite, because after Gordon beat out a grounder to third for a hit and stole second, Puig, unbelievably, hit his triple trifecta, his third of the game and the Dodgers’ fifth. Puig’s three triples are the most by a Dodger in 113 years, since Jimmy Sheckard of Brooklyn in 1901.

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The five triples are the most by the Dodgers in a game since the team record was set on July 7, 1921 — against the Giants — if they don’t hit any more tonight. And Puig’s 11 total bases are also the most by a Dodger in a game without a home run ever — if he doesn’t hit a home run before the night’s over. He’s the 50th Dodger since 1901 with at least 11 total bases in a game.

No Major League player has had more than three triples in a game since before 1901. The Major League record for a team is the eight by Pittsburgh at St. Louis on May 30, 1925. No Los Angeles Dodger team had ever had more than three triples in a game.

Players with at least three triples and a double in an MLB game (since 1914) Les Bell (1926), Herm Winningham (1990), Yasiel Puig (2014).

With 31 triples now in 2014, the Dodgers already had their most as a team for a full season since 2009. Gordon’s 10 triples and Puig’s eight this year give the Dodgers a shot at having a pair of 10-triplers for the first time since Maury Wills and Willie Davis in 1962.

Puig, Ramirez lead Dodgers into San Francisco

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Dodgers at Giants, 7:15 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Yasiel Puig, CF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Carl Crawford, LF
Matt Kemp, RF
Juan Uribe, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Zack Greinke, P

By Jon Weisman

Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez are in the lineup together for the first time since July 19, batting second and fourth as the Dodgers open their much-anticipated series with San Francisco.

Puig is now the Dodgers’ center fielder, with manager Don Mattingly essentially becoming comfortable with Matt Kemp’s presence in right field.

If Puig, who has made 88 starts as the mainstay in right field so far in 2014, remains in center for the bulk of the remaining season, that would leave the Dodgers without anyone playing 100 games at a single outfield position for the second consecutive year. In 2013, Carl Crawford led Dodger outfielders with 96 starts in left field, followed by Yasiel Puig’s 89 starts in right and Andre Ethier’s 70 starts in center.

* * *

Zack Greinke has pitched fewer innings at San Francisco’s AT&T Park than any other in the National League. He has never pitched there in a Dodger uniform. In his only previous appearance there, on May 4, 2012, Greinke went 5 1/3 innings, allowing three earned runs on eight baserunners and 96 pitches while striking out five in a 6-4 Brewers victory.

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

What to know about Yasiel Puig and the Home Run Derby

By Jon Weisman

Above is a chart from ESPN Stats & Information that gives you a flavor of what this year’s Home Run Derby — co-starring Yasiel Puig, we learned today — would look like, if this year’s Home Run Derby were the first 3 1/2 months of the baseball season compressed into one night.

But not only does this year’s Home Run Derby not resemble that, it doesn’t even resemble last year’s Home Run Derby. Anthony Castrovince of summarizes the key differences:

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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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