Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Pedro Baez (Page 1 of 3)

Dodger bullpen runs deep heading into NLDS

Kenley Jansen and Joe Blanton (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Kenley Jansen and Joe Blanton (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Dodgers
Chase Utley, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrián González, 1B
Josh Reddick, RF
Joc Pederson, CF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Andrew Toles, LF
Clayton Kershaw, P
Nationals
Trea Turner, CF
Bryce Harper, RF
Jayson Werth, LF
Daniel Murphy, 2B
Anthony Rendon, 3B
Ryan Zimmerman, 1B
Danny Espinosa, SS
Pedro Severino, C
Max Scherzer P

By Jon Weisman

Any Dodger game that starts with Clayton Kershaw on the mound ideally ends with Clayton Kershaw on the mound.

But with seven relievers who have performed strongly down the stretch, the Dodgers can be as aggressive with their playoff bullpen as they have been in years.

Of the six relievers the Dodgers would use to preserve a lead, none had a September ERA higher than 2.00, and only Joe Blanton had a September WHIP above 1.03.

Kenley Jansen, of course, is the primary candidate for the ninth inning, and if necessary could be drawn into the eighth inning. This year, Jansen entered six games in the eighth and saved five of them.

In the set-up roles, the Dodgers can mix and match righties Joe Blanton, Pedro Báez and Josh Fields with lefties Grant Dayton and Luis Avilán, with Ross Stripling held back for extra innings.

That means even if Kershaw only goes six innings, the Dodgers could go batter-to-batter against a Washington starting lineup that goes R-L-R-L-R at the top.

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Rare start off for Adrian González

LOS ANGELES DODGERS V ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Howie Kendrick, LF
Kiké Hernandez, CF
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Carlos Ruiz, C
Rob Segedin, 1B
Charlie Culberson, 2B
Brock Stewart, P

By Jon Weisman

Adrian González gets a rare break from the starting lineup tonight for the series finale against Arizona.

González had started 33 consecutive games and has played in 84 in a row (starting 80) entering tonight.

In those 84 games, he has an .815 OPS with 12 home runs and 21 doubles. In the past 33, his numbers are even stronger: .927 OPS with eight homers and 10 doubles.

González leads the Major Leagues in games since 2006 with 1,723, which is 31 more than his closest competitor, Robinson Cano. The only games he has missed this year took place May 17-19 against the Angels and June 1 against the Cubs.

Dodgers recall Casey Fien, option Pedro Baez

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS VS LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Dodgers at Rockies, 5:40 p.m.
Kiké Hernandez, LF
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Justin Turner, 3B
Rob Segedin, 1B
Carlos Ruiz, C
Josh Reddick, RF
Charlie Culberson, SS
Andrew Toles, CF
Rich Hill, P

By Jon Weisman

Casey Fien has been recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City by the Dodgers, who have optioned Pedro Baez to Double-A Tulsa.

Baez has been on the Dodger active roster all season — he’s seventh on the team in innings pitched and second behind Joe Blanton among relievers.

He had a superb July, pitching 14 2/3 shutout innings with 14 strikeouts, though he allowed three inherited runs to score July 30. However, though he has maintained his strikeout rate in August, Baez has allowed 23 baserunners in 12 innings with a 7.50 ERA this month.

Fien has a 3.80 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 23 2/3 innings as a Dodger, including 1 2/3 shutout innings this month. The Dodgers expect to add at least one other right-hander later this week with the anticipated return of Louis Coleman from the disabled list.

Pedro Baez’s practically perfect July

Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals

Rays at Dodgers, 12:10 p.m.
Howie Kendrick, LF
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Scott Van Slyke, RF
Adrián González, 1B
Chris Taylor, 2B
Joc Pederson, CF
A.J. Ellis, C
Brandon McCarthy, P

By Jon Weisman

It might be easier to get a camel through the eye of a needle than to convince a Dodger fan that Pedro Baez is pitching well.

Making the case that Baez has been extraordinary? Oh, dear — heaven forfend.

But the facts speak for themselves. In July, Baez has faced 39 batters. Three have reached base, on a double and two walks. More than 30 percent of the 39 have struck out.

Baez has allowed a .077 on-base percentage and .054 slugging percentage this month. He has stranded all five runners he has inherited. His ERA is 0.00.

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Dodgers hang on after Norris’ 6 1/3 shutout innings

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By Jon Weisman

Bud Norris began his Dodger career July 1 by throwing six innings of two-hit shutout ball. That seemed like a nice thing to do, so why not a sequel?

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How the revitalized bullpen keyed Dodgers’ surge

San Diego Padres vs Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

In the Dodgers’ final inning before the All-Star Break, the best closer in the National League, Kenley Jansen, entered the game to protect a one-run lead against the fourth-place team in the National League West.

At that moment, the Dodger bullpen was several weeks into an extended resurgence that was forcing fans and media alike to unlearn everything it thought it knew about the team’s relievers. It progressed in stages, as if reversing the five stages of grief.

  • Hooray — they actually held a lead for once.
  • All right, I’ve stopped throwing things every time a reliever comes in.
  • I know this won’t last, but thank you for at least being adequate.
  • Hmm. Some of these guys are actually pretty good.
  • I don’t want to jinx this. But … wow.

Dodger bullpen failures have been branded into the collective memory of recent years, the scar tissue making it nearly impossible for most to feel the moments when the relievers were doing well — which, of course, was more often than the distraught and cynical could concede.

But by the time Jansen took the mound Sunday, the bullpen’s growing success was no longer possible to ignore.

Dodger relievers lead the Major Leagues with a 2.83 ERA. They lead the Major Leagues with a 1.02 WHIP.

In fact, as Dodger broadcaster Joe Davis pointed out, the Dodger bullpen’s opponents batting average of .192 is currently the lowest in modern baseball history. The team’s WHIP is the lowest in NL history.

That’s extraordinary. And that’s not wishcasting. That’s something that has been happening. The Dodger bullpen has become the opposite of an albatross. It’s a primary reason that, despite the “I Love Lucy” chocolate conveyor belt of injuries, that Los Angeles (51-40) is on a 91-win pace and once again a team to be reckoned with.

In terms of inherited runners stranded, the Dodgers were seventh among MLB teams at 72 percent — in the upper echelon but with room for improvement. The good news — the great news — is that the improvement is already underway.

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Three homers? Yes, many for Yasmani

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By Jon Weisman

There was no grand slam, but three slams that were grand for Yasmani Grandal.

Grandal became the third Dodger catcher ever to hit three homers in a game, joining Roy Campanella (1950) and Mike Piazza (1996), in the Dodgers’ 10-6 victory tonight over San Diego.

Grandal added a bunt single and a line-drive single, finishing the night with five hits and six RBI, becoming the third catcher in MLB history to have at least five hits in a game with three homers. The previous two: Walker Cooper of the Reds in 1940 and Victor Martinez of the Indians in 2004.

For good measure, Grandal also had a great throw to nail Wil Myers attempting to steal second base.

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All this despite taking a foul ball to the jaw midway through the game.

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Dodgers tied trailing trumped in the ninth

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By Jon Weisman

It’s Milwaukee 6, Los Angeles 6 entering the ninth inning. The Dodgers came back from down 3-0 and 6-3 to tie the game. Triumph or tragedy awaits. Who’s to say which?

This game has already had plenty of both. It’s been such a weird night, I’m kind of live-blogging the rest of the way as I recap what’s already come.

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Unlikely comeback meets unhappy ending

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By Jon Weisman

In more than 100 years, no reliever had ever entered the ninth inning of a game against the Dodgers with a four-run lead, blown the lead and won the game.

But that’s what happened when the Mets’ Jeurys Familia gave up a bases-loaded walk to Yasmani Grandal and a three-run double to Chase Utley (the latest memorable moment for Utley) – then emerged the winning pitcher on Curtis Granderson’s home run off Pedro Baez, 6-5.

Via Baseball-Reference.com, the closest equivalent was September 27, 2011, when Arizona’s Micah Owings started the 10th inning of a 1-1 game against the Dodgers and allowed five runs before the Diamondbacks scored six in the bottom of the inning off Blake Hawksworth and Javy Guerra, capped by a Ryan Roberts grand slam.

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Baez recovering, but Coleman bereaving

San Francisco Giants vs Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers at Braves, 9:10 a.m.
Kershaw CCXLVI: Kershawll We Dance?
Chase Utley, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Joc Pederson, CF
Trayce Thompson, RF
Kiké Hernandez, LF
A.J. Ellis, C
Charlie Culberson, 3B
Clayton Kershaw, P

By Jon Weisman

“Right” said Pedro Baez, or something to that effect, the morning after an Adam Liberatore midgame warmup pitch Wednesday accidentally struck the right-handed reliever in the head.

Baez played catch in the outfield today and told reporters today that he feels fine, though Dave Roberts said in his pregame chat that the team hadn’t determined if Better Off Ped is available to pitch today.

However, the Dodgers have called up southpaw Luis Avilan from Triple-A Oklahoma City, because Louis Coleman has been placed on the bereavement list following the passing of his grandfather.

Avilan, who had a rough Spring Training, has thrown six shutout innings so far this season in the minors, allowing three hits and three walks while striking out nine. Left-handed batters are 1 for 9 against him with two walks and three strikeouts.

He’ll boost a Dodger bullpen that has been taxed over the past two nights and that will be hoping for a reprieve today with Clayton Kershaw on the mound. Number of pitches Dodger relievers have thrown since Monday’s off day:

  • 33 J.P. Howell (10 Tuesday, 23 Wednesday)
  • 31 Joe Blanton (12 Tuesday, 19 Wednesday)
  • 24 Yimi Garcia (six Tuesday, 18 Wednesday
  • 16 Chris Hatcher (16 Wednesday)
  • 13 Adam Liberatore (nine Tuesday, four Wednesday)
  • 13 Louis Coleman (13 Tuesday)
  • 13 Kenley Jansen (13 Wednesday)

Pedro Baez, Yimi Garcia clinch spots on 25-man roster

Yimi Garcia and Pedro Baez in October 2015. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Yimi Garcia and Pedro Baez in October 2015. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Angels at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Kiké Hernandez, 2B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Carl Crawford, LF
A.J. Ellis, C
Joc Pederson, CF
Corey Seager, SS
Kenta Maeda, P

By Jon Weisman

Ross Stripling has been named the Dodgers’ No. 5 starter and will take the mound April 8 at San Francisco, Dave Roberts announced, adding that Carlos Frias will be optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

We’ll have more on Stripling shortly in a separate post. In the meantime, here are some more news and notes …

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In case you missed it: Dodgers option Liberatore, hone in on bullpen

Adam Liberatore has struck out 11 in nine Cactus League innings this year.

Adam Liberatore has struck out 11 in nine Cactus League innings this year.

Dodgers at Padres, 1:10 p.m.
Carl Crawford, LF
Yasiel Puig, RF
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Chase Utley, 2B
Kiké Hernandez, SS
Joc Pederson, CF
A.J. Ellis, C
Ross Stripling, P

By Jon Weisman

The Dodgers are down to two left-handers in their Major League bullpen after optioning Adam Liberatore to the minors following the team’s 5-4 victory Monday over Texas.

The question now is, will they go down to one?

Since we last checked in on the bullpen, it has been whittled in predictable fashion, leaving the following:

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In case you missed it: Bolsinger won’t start opening week

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By Jon Weisman

Before tonight’s 3-1 loss to Kansas City, Andrew Friedman confirmed suspicions that Mike Bolsinger’s oblique injury would knock him off track for an opening-week start.

Carlos Frias, Zach Lee and Brandon Beachy are the leading possibilities for making that start on April 8, though Julio Urias conspiracy theorists will note that the teenage lefty threw three “impressive” innings in a minor-league game, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.

What else can I tell you?

  • Pedro Baez struck out all four batters he faced, giving him 11 this spring against three walks. Half of Baez’s 22 outs have been whiffs.
  • Alex Verdugo didn’t enter the game until the bottom of the seventh – and doesn’t turn 20 until May 15 – but still made an impression. In the bottom of the eighth, he made a sliding stop of a double to the gap and threw to second baseman Charlie Culberson, who fired home to catcher Austin Barnes for an out. Verdugo followed that with a double in the top of the ninth.
  • Joc Pederson had a streak of 12 straight plate appearances with a hit or strikeout end when he grounded out to third in the fourth inning. Pederson, who also lost a six-game hitting streak tonight, was 5 for 12 with seven strikeouts in that little run.
  • Louis Coleman allowed his third hit of March but struck out his 10th batter while completing his seventh scoreless inning. He hasn’t walked anyone.
  • Chris Young held the Dodgers hitless for 4 1/3 innings, but was still charged with a run. Young walked his last batter, Rob Segedin, and reliever Scott Alexander gave up an RBI double to his first batter, speedy Rico Noel.
  • Four Dodgers played complete games tonight: Segedin at first, Noel in right, Kiké Hernandez at short and Trayce Thompson in left field.

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  • Alex Wood threw 62 pitches in a four-inning stint. Above, Rick Honeycutt talks about Wood.
  • Clayton Kershaw not only came out of a car accident unscathed, he posed for pictures with the pair who collided with him. Doug Padilla of ESPN.com has more.

Whatever you think of the Dodgers’ luck right now, there’s this: Clayton Kershaw came out of a car accident unscathed.

Heat is on Dodgers after NLDS Game 1 defeat

Kershaw NLDS 1

By Jon Weisman

A scorching, sweating, exhausting night at Dodger Stadium tore open old wounds.

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Taking the panic out of the Dodgers’ improved bullpen

Chris Hatcher (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Chris Hatcher has allowed a .529 OPS since August 31. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Pirates at Dodgers, 6:10 p.m.
Kershaw CCXXXIX: Kershawlk the Line
Justin Ruggiano, LF
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Justin Turner, 3B
Corey Seager, SS
A.J. Ellis, C
Chris Heisey, RF
Joc Pederson, CF
Clayton Kershaw, P

By Jon Weisman

Maybe you groaned when Zack Greinke left Friday’s Dodger game in the eighth inning. Maybe you thought “Here we go again” when Chris Hatcher gave up an RBI single to Pittsburgh left fielder Starling Marte on his very first pitch.

But if you’ve really been paying attention lately, you might have noticed that was an aberration.

And you might not have been surprised that Hatcher came right back, buckled down and got the Pirates’ most dangerous hitter, Andrew McCutchen, to foul out, before Aramis Ramirez grounded modestly to first base.

Since September 1, the Dodger bullpen has the second-lowest WHIP (1.03) in the National League and is first in strikeout-walk ratio. These are among several encouraging signs for a relief staff that was strong in the first third of the 2015 season before slumping terribly in the middle portion.

Though not exactly like the team’s 180-degree basestealing turn (an MLB-best 34 for 43 since August 1), the Dodger bullpen seems to have evolved from a weakness into, if not an out-and-out strength, at least an adequacy.

Understandably, there’s still the fear that this could all blow up again in a minute. But to give credit where credit is due: Since the Dodgers’ disastrous 0-5 roadtrip from August 18-23, they have played 23 games. Here’s how many times the bullpen has hurt the Dodgers …

  • September 3: Dodgers lead 7-4 in sixth inning at San Diego, lose 10-7.
  • September 9: Dodgers tied 2-2 in eighth inning at Anaheim, lose 3-2.
  • September 15: Dodgers trail 3-1 in seventh inning vs. Colorado, lose 5-4 in 16 innings.

I’d argue that the last example shouldn’t even count: Dodger relievers allowed one run in nine innings before erstwhile starting pitcher Mat Latos gave up the 16th-inning homer to Nolan Arenado. But even including that defeat, that’s an encouraging slate.

The Dodgers are 18-5 since August 25, despite only one complete game and 72 1/3 innings from the bullpen.

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