Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Scott Elbert (Page 1 of 3)

What if the Dodgers had traded a 19-year-old Clayton Kershaw?

By Jon Weisman

Pitching prospect Julio Urias turned 19 today, 19 and still a Dodger, 12 days after the MLB non-waiver trade deadline.

Among other things, the occasion made me wonder whom a 19-year-old Clayton Kershaw might have been traded for, back in 2007.

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Dodger comings and goings: Ramirez, Wilson, Elbert

Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs

By Jon Weisman

The Dodgers have made a qualifying offer to Hanley Ramirez for the 2015 season, which he has until November 10 to accept.

If Ramirez declines the one-year deal, as every other player has since MLB instituted since this process began two seasons ago, he will remain a free agent. The Dodgers can continue to negotiate with him if they choose, but will receive draft-pick compensation (between the first and second rounds in 2015) if he signs with another team.

Meanwhile, Brian Wilson has exercised his option to return to the Dodgers for 2015, but Scott Elbert — designated for assignment in July before returning to the organization and ending up on the 2014 playoff roster — has become a free agent.

Dodgers must return from infinity and beyond

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By Jon Weisman

Right now, it feels like it’s the uniform. I’m not sure Mariano Rivera wouldn’t give up a home run coming out of the Dodger bullpen right now.

I don’t really believe slumps are contagious, but right now, Dodger relievers are spreading illness like a certain disease the world is beginning to reckon with. Even by the most negative appraisal of their performance in the regular season, the bullpen has been unreal in how fast it has allowed critical runs this postseason.


In all three games of the National League Division Series, the bullpen has given up a homer before getting an out. That’s not normal, for anyone.

Tonight, in the seventh inning of Game 3, Scott Elbert used three pitches against his first three batters. Yadier Molina doubled on the first. John Jay sacrificed on the second. And Kolten Wong, while not exactly auditioning for the role of Ozzie Smith, hit his fourth career home run off a left-handed pitcher, putting St. Louis ahead to stay in a 3-1 victory.

I find my comfort in how ridiculous this has all been. Dodger relievers have allowed six runs on three home runs in 4 1/3 innings, a 12.47 ERA and 6.5 homers per nine innings which, I don’t think I’m wrong to say, is atypical. It’s not unlike Yasiel Puig’s stunning streak of seven straight strikeouts, followed by his booming triple to right that helped tie the game for the Dodgers in the sixth. Players performing at their worst don’t figure to stay at their worst.

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Romper room: Dodgers are the answer men with 17-0 rout

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By Jon Weisman

Tonight’s combination of Augustus Gloop, Mr. Creosote, Charles Bronson and Ed Grimley is brought to you by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In a dish of revenge as cold and overflowing as a jammed frozen yogurt machine, the Dodgers avenged Friday’s 9-0 loss to the Giants with a record-shattering 17-0 victory over San Francisco.

The Dodgers scored the most runs ever by an opponent at San Francisco’s AT&T Park and shattered the record for the biggest shutout in the history of the Dodgers-Giants series — by either team. Los Angeles came within two of its franchise record for largest shutout victory, a 19-0 defeat of the Padres on June 28, 1969.

For the Dodgers, their biggest shutout ever of the Giants was 12-0 on April 19, 1940. For the Giants, it was 16-0 over the Dodgers on July 3, 1949. Tonight’s game also happened to come 40 years and one day after an 11-0 Dodger victory at Candlestick Park.

The last time San Francisco lost, 17-0, the winning points came on November 19, 1950 on a George Blanda field goal.

The Dodgers scored four runs apiece in the first and second innings to knock out Giants starter Tim Hudson before he recorded his fourth out, the shortest start of his career, an event eerily similar to Hyun-Jin Ryu’s the night before. In their first two trips through the lineup, the Dodgers were 11 for 16 with a walk, a sacrifice fly and four doubles — two by Matt Kemp, who had three hits and three RBI in the first three innings, while also throwing out Angel Pagan at the plate (mid-bubble!) in the first inning to stop the Giants’ most significant scoring threat.

And that’s where the difference from Friday was. As bad as the San Francisco rout was, the Dodgers nearly doubled it, like a sudden shift in a backgammon game.

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 9.37.36 PMYasiel Puig, who ignited the Dodgers with the first hit of the game, stretching an apparent single into a leg double (pictured), had three hits and was hit by a pitch. Hanley Ramirez had three singles and a double. Juan Uribe had a single and a home run. Dee Gordon had two singles and his 60th stolen base of the season while becoming the first player in Los Angeles Dodger history to record seven at-bats in a nine-inning game.

And Zack Greinke was more than the beneficiary. In addition to six shutout innings on 84 pitches, Greinke walked, doubled off the top of the wall and hit his fourth career home run, his first as a Dodger.

Don’t expect Greinke (.204/.271/.352) to catch Madison Bumgarner (.242/.273/.419) in the Silver Slugger race, but he made up a chunk of ground tonight. Greinke is 5 for 10 with a walk and a .900 slugging percentage in his past five games.

Off the bench, Scott Van Slyke hit the Dodgers’ other home run, Alex Guerrero played left field and got his first Major League hit, and Roger Bernadina became the third Dodger to be hit by two pitches in his only two plate appearances of the game.

With 24 hits, the Dodgers were one away from the Los Angeles record for a nine-inning game. The Dodgers went 11 for 19 with runners in scoring position.

Oh — and not to be forgotten, Scott Elbert pitched a shutout inning in his first Major League game in 25 months. So very happy for him.

The More You Know …

The educational moment from tonight’s game is that while they don’t often come back from an in-game deficit, you can hardly do better after a defeat than the Dodgers. Tonight, the Dodgers improved their record to 43-21 after a loss.

It’s not as dramatic as coming back in a game, but it’s more meaningful.

… The More You Know

Dodgers bring back Scott Elbert

By Jon Weisman

Designated for assignment in late July, lefty reliever Scott Elbert has made his way back to the Dodgers, who selected his contract from Triple-A Albuquerque.

To make room for Elbert on the 40-man roster, pitcher Red Patterson was designated for assignment.

Since clearing waivers and accepting an assignment to the Isotopes in August, Elbert allowed seven runs, 14 hits and three walks in 7 1/3 innings while striking out six, but that was skewed when he gave up five runs while getting one out at Las Vegas on August 8. From August 14 to the end of the season, Elbert pitched 4 2/3 shutout innings with five strikeouts.

Looking to make his first big-league appearance since August 26, 2002, Elbert gives the Dodgers a second left-handed reliever while they await possible returns by Paco Rodriguez and Onelki Garcia, both of whom are already on the 40-man roster. Rodriguez threw a simulated game today.

In his previous two seasons with the Dodgers, Elbert had a 2.32 ERA from 2011-12 with 63 strikeouts in 66 innings against 54 hits and 27 walks.

Patterson pitched in one game for the Dodgers, going 4 2/3 innings in the second game of a May Day doubleheader victory at Minnesota and allowing one run. At Albuquerque, the 27-year-old had a 5.79 ERA with 104 strikeouts in 121 1/3 innings.

Update: Ken Gurnick of has more on Elbert and Rodriguez.

… “Paco was good,” said manager Don Mattingly. “The way he’s been throwing, bouncing back continues to be the concern. If he’s good after today, we’ll make a decision possible tomorrow.”

Elbert hasn’t pitched in a Major League game in two years. Since then, he has had three elbow operations, including Tommy John reconstruction.

“I’m pain free. I feel like a normal player,” said Elbert. “Obviously, my velocity is not where it once was. I’m able to compete. I’m around 90, 91 mph. If I’m 90 percent of what I was, it’s still pretty good.”

Elbert said the final hurdle in his rehab was trusting that everything was fixed. He thanked the Dodgers for being patient and said being taken off the roster was “a blessing in disguise,” because it allowed him to regain his form without a deadline. He said there were times he wondered if he’d ever get back. …

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.

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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.

In case you missed it: Dodgers designate Scott Elbert for assignment

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Scott Elbert will be 29 next month, and he has spent the past 10 years in the Dodger organization since being drafted in the first round in 2004. On Tuesday, the Dodgers designated Elbert for assignment, temporarily halting his bid to come back from multiple surgeries since his last Major League appearance in August 2012.

Elbert’s rehab this summer has taken him to Ogden, Rancho Cucamonga and Albuquerque, together adding up to 12 2/3 innings with 13 strikeouts while allowing nine hits and seven walks. In his final two Major League seasons with the Dodgers, Elbert had a 2.32 ERA from 2011-12 with 63 strikeouts in 66 innings against 54 hits and 27 walks.

Elbert could return to the Dodger organization if he isn’t traded, clears waivers and accepts a minor-league assignment.

Dodgers closing in on Brewers for NL best record — and other notes

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Dodgers at Rockies, 1:10 p.m.
Yasiel Puig, RF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, LF
Juan Uribe, 3B
Andre Ethier, CF
A.J. Ellis, C
Miguel Rojas, 2B
Dan Haren, P

By Jon Weisman

Heading into today’s game, the 50-39 Dodgers are two games (.024) behind Milwaukee for the best record in the National League, their closest point since they were 12-7 on April 20.

Atlanta, winner of eight straight, is a half-game behind the Dodgers.

Let’s do this pregame notebook-style …

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In case you missed it: Scott Elbert coming back from appendectomy

By Jon Weisman

Excuse Scott Elbert if he thinks the knives are out for him …

  • Elbert had an appendectomy January 28, putting a pause in his recovery from Tommy John surgery, but he is expected to resume throwing this week, according to Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. Ken Gurnick of has more. Elbert was placed on the 60-day disabled list Saturday after Paul Maholm was signed but still hopes for a midseason return.
  • The Dodgers got “great value” in Maholm, compared with other recent free-agent signings, writes Justin Millar of MLB Daily Dish.
  • Sons of Steve Garvey passes along screen captures of Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett from the 1961 movie “Bachelor in Paradise.” A year ago, Emma Amaya of Crazy Blue World catalogued several Scully film appearances.
  • World Series hero Kirk Gibson thought he was destined for the NFL while he was at Michigan State, writes Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic  (via Baseball Think Factory).

    “I would’ve been a top-five pick,” said Gibson, an All-American wide receiver at Michigan State. “I was big, fast and I caught everything.”

In case you missed it: Chad Billingsley progressing

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By Jon Weisman

Above, video from day three (Wednesday) of the Dodgers’ community caravan. Below, well, see for yourself …

  • Chad Billingsley has thrown four bullpen sessions as he makes his way back from Tommy John surgery, reports Ken Gurnick of Scott Elbert is expected to throw his first bullpen this week, writes Gurnick, who also discusses other pitchers appearing at the Dodgers’ “Young Guns” pitching minicamp at Camelback Ranch last week.
  • Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten spent seven minutes talking about the franchise with the guys on MLB Network’s Hot Stove Live.
  • Opening Day Countdown Down Under is an excitingly new and self-explanatory blog from Follow it as we count down the days to the Dodgers and Diamondbacks at Sydney.
  • Keith Law of discusses his list of the top 10 prospects in the Dodger organization. I neglected to mention the other day that Chris Anderson came in at No. 96 in Law’s top 100. Law said Anderson had a higher ceiling than Zack Lee “as a potential No. 2 starter if he can locate better and maintains his composure when something goes wrong behind him.”
  • When Hanley Ramirez increased his adjusted OPS from 105 in 2012 to 190 in 2013, it was the second-biggest increase in baseball of all-time, writes Andrew Grant of True Blue L.A.
  • Scott Lindholm of Beyond the Box Score compares Yasiel Puig’s first season to others with similar career starts.

Notes: Miguel Rojas to contend for playing time at second base

By Jon Weisman

In addition to discussing Don Mattingly and Yasiel Puig, Ned Colletti touched upon several other aspects of the Dodgers in his conversation with reporters today.

  • Colletti’s priorities now for 2014 are to fine-tune the club, including another infielder off the bench that would give the club more versatility, and making sure the team is healthy. “I talk to our medical people every other day to see where we are at,” he said.
  • Miguel Rojas will get “a good look” during Spring Training for playing time at second base, thanks to his defensive wizardry. Rojas had a .303 on-base percentage and .307 slugging with Double-A Chattanooga last year, but Colletti calls him an “excellent defensive player.”
  • Alexander Guerrero is still leading the pack of contenders at second base, but Colletti said “we still have questions.” The Dodgers are taking a conservative approach with Guerrero and the hamstring issues he dealt with this winter.
  • Caution is also the byword with Matt Kemp, but the outfielder has had his walking boot off for the better part of four weeks now and is beginning to hit.
  • Josh Beckett should be ready to go for Spring Training, but Scott Elbert and Chad Billingsley remain targeted for midseason. Elbert could come sooner than Billingsley, thanks to being a reliever.
  • Andre Ethier and Hanley Ramirez have generated nothing but positive medical reports. No lingering issues.
  • Colletti is eager to see what Rule 5 draft-day acquisition Seth Rosin can bring. “Again, some of what we do is to continue to build the depth you need for a season.”
  • Preliminary conversations with the agent of Japanese pitching star Masahiro Tanaka have taken place. Colletti described it as a “feeling-out process.”
  • Infielder-turned-reliever Pedro Baez, essentially following the path of Kenley Jansen, “still has some things he’s got to learn, but he’s a very interesting talent.”

Greinke to make rehab start Friday

Rushed, or just in the nick of time?

Zack Greinke is expected to make his first rehab start Friday for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga at Lake Elsinore, with Scott Elbert also expected to pitch an inning of relief in his first rehab appearance, the Dodgers announced.

By the way, Carlos Quentin is 7 for 47 with a .574 OPS — including 2 HBP — since the Greinke incident.

Elbert returns to DL

Dodgers at Rockies, 12:10 p.m.
Mark Ellis, 2B
Shane Victorino, CF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Luis Cruz, 3B
Andre Ethier, RF
Juan Rivera, LF
A.J. Ellis, C
Joe Blanton, P

Scott Elbert is following Chad Billingsley back to the disabled list. Shawn Tolleson will rejoin the bullpen.

Matt Kemp is day to day but not expected to hit the DL.

Elbert pitching well prior to disabled list delegation

Dodgers at Giants, 7:15 p.m.
Jerry Hairston Jr., LF
Mark Ellis, 2B
Matt Kemp, CF
Andre Ethier, RF
Hanley Ramirez, 3B
James Loney, 1B
Luis Cruz, SS
A.J. Ellis, C
Stephen Fife, P

The Dodgers placed Scott Elbert on the disabled list with left elbow inflammation, and used the vacated roster spot to recall Stephen Fife for tonight’s start against Matt Cain in San Francisco.

Ken Gurnick of reported that Elbert “has been dealing with discomfort for several weeks,” which is itself discomforting to hear. Interestingly, however, Elbert has been pretty strong in over the past two months. Since May 23, he has a 0.98 ERA in 18 1/3 innings over 22 games, allowing 18 baserunners while striking out 17 — and stranding all 22 inherited runners.

Elbert has also been more effective against right-handed hitters (.584 OPS) than lefty (.733) this season.

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From the Wish I’d Thought of That Dept., Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus discusses the prospects of introducing a deep pit into a baseball field.

Remembering 2011: Scott Elbert

Scott Rovak/US PresswireScott Elbert (14)

The setup: A year ago, it wasn’t clear whether Elbert would pitch in the majors again. In 2010, he appeared in one game for the Dodgers, on May 29, faced six batters, walked three and allowed a hit and a run. Two days later, he was sent back to Albuquerque. In June, he left the Isotopes for undisclosed personal reasons and ended up not pitching in a professional game again until the Arizona Fall League in October.  “I obviously have to earn my stay (in Los Angeles),” he told Tony Jackson of “I know where I stand. I have to fight and earn that respect back.”

As one of the final roster cuts before Opening Day, Elbert was sent to Albuquerque, where he struck out 16 in 14 1/3 innings but allowed 23 baserunners. However, with the Dodgers’ bullpen depleted, he was recalled May 11.

The closeup: Very quietly, Elbert turned over a new leaf and then some. In his season debut with the Dodgers, Elbert pitched one inning against Arizona and struck out the side. He pitched 7 2/3 innings over 11 games, striking out eight, before he gave up his first run of the season, while stranding six of eight inherited runners. A rough two-game stretch followed in which he allowed five runs, representing more than half of his 2011 total. By the time the season ended, Elbert had made 47 appearances and was unscored upon in 42 of them. He had a 2.43 ERA in 33 1/3 innings with 34 strikeouts against 42 baserunners. Problems flared slightly in September, when he walked six (compared with eight in the previous 3 1/2 months combined) and allowed five of 10 inherited runners to score (compared with seven of his previous 23). But overall, Elbert’s season was an unexpected pleasure, one of the undertold great stories hidden in the Dodgers’ strange 2011 season.

It is true that Elbert pitched better against lefties (.267 on-base percentage, .250 slugging percentage) than righties (.344/.382), facing almost equal amounts of both.

Coming attractions: For the first time, Elbert, 26, will arrive at Spring Training with a major-league job waiting for him, a chance to build upon the progress he showed this past season.

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