April 2016

Dodgers ready for a new week

Rally time at the Ravine. #LetsGoDodgers

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The Dodgers remained stymied on their current homestand, losing tonight to the Padres, 5-2. Ross Stripling had a career-high six strikeouts, but couldn’t stay out of trouble in the third and fifth innings, and the Dodgers didn’t score after Chase Utley’s two-run homer in the bottom of the third.

Clayton Kershaw takes the mound in the homestand finale Sunday. Oddly, to say the least, the Dodgers finished April tied for first place in the National League West, despite a 12-13 record.

— Jon Weisman

Farm Fresh: Sierra and Bellinger make 2016 debuts

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By Cary Osborne

Two of the most prominent Dodger minor leaguers — prized Cuban right-hander Yaisel Sierra and Dodgers No. 5 prospect Cody Bellinger — made their season debuts on Saturday.

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First things first for Stripling; Ryu and McCarthy ramp things up

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Padres at Dodgers, 6:10 p.m.
Chase Utley, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Kiké Hernandez, RF
Carl Crawford, LF
Joc Pederson, CF
Ross Stripling, P

By Cary Osborne

Watch Ross Stripling’s first inning tonight.

Though there’s a very small sample size, Stripling’s ability to avoid a stressful first inning has foretold a strong result.

In his debut on April 8, he threw 11 pitches in the opening frame and no-hit the Giants for 7 1/3 innings. He followed that up with six innings and two earned runs against Arizona on April 14 — 13 first-inning pitches guiding his path.

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Wood finds a fix that he hopes will pay off big

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By Cary Osborne

Every now and again, Alex Wood shows just why the Dodgers traded for him last July. It just seems like those now and agains always seem to happen at Dodger Stadium.

Wood has been magnificent at home in his two starts this season. On Friday, he went seven innings, allowed five hits walked one, allowed one run and struck out nine. It’s the most strikeouts in a game for Wood since September 12, 2014.

But Friday’s start was less about home and more about a quick fix.

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Dodgers hold team meeting before batting practice

Padres at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Chase Utley, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Carl Crawford, LF
Joc Pederson, CF
Alex Wood, P

By Jon Weisman

In the wake of their four-game losing streak, the Dodgers held a closed-door meeting at 3:30 p.m. in the clubhouse that Dave Roberts said essentially addressed the same issues he brought up after Thursday’s game.

“You just got to get back to the fundamentals and trying to play clean, crisp baseball and play every pitch,” Roberts said. “I think that there are signs of that. … Whether we’re winning games or not winning games, I still think there’s a process that needs to be in place, and you just don’t want things to get away from you. So right now, it’s kind of hit the reset button a little bit.”

Among other issues, Roberts has the sense that Dodger batters are pressing at the plate.

“You know, it’s funny — I think it’s just guys are trying too hard,” he said. “And you hear it all the time when guys aren’t swinging well, that guys want to do it so bad, it’s a little bit, ‘Try a little less hard.’ Because guys just start swinging the bat, and you start coming out of the strike zone.”

One thing not addressed in today’s meeting was the 80-game suspension of former Dodger infielder Dee Gordon that was announced late Thursday. Reaction to that news is amply covered at a number of sites, but Roberts echoed the feeling of many.

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From the magazine: Something new, something blue

HC 1 (more…)

Maedameatamegamin

Matthew Mesa/Los Angeles Dodgers

Matthew Mesa/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Two nights ago against Miami, the Dodgers scored two runs in the first inning, saw their starting pitcher take a one-hit shutout into the sixth, and lost. Tonight, the series finale with the Marlins brought an unwelcome repeat.

The magic elixir of Kenta Maeda could only take the Dodgers so far.

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Maeda faces Marlins, Ichiro, Fernandez, history

Kenta Maeda meets Ichiro on Monday. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Kenta Maeda meets Ichiro on Monday. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Marlins at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Chase Utley, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Yasiel Puig, RF
Carl Crawford, LF
Howie Kendrick, 3B
Joc Pederson, CF
Kenta Maeda, P

By Jon Weisman

Kenta Maeda brings his 0.36 ERA to his fifth start of his MLB career, and he’ll face Miami ace Jose Fernandez on the mound and childhood hero Ichiro Susuki in the lineup.

Among pitchers with at least 30 innings before April 30, Fernando Valenzuela holds the top two spots for lowest ERA: 0.20 in 1981 and 0.21 in 1982. The lowest that Maeda’s ERA could get tonight would be 0.26 if he throws a shutout, which would put him fifth all-time in March/April behind Walter Johnson (0.24 in 1913) and Ray Sadecki (0.25 in 1968).

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Steiner-Monday duo coming back for more

Photos: Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Photos: Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Rick Monday and Charley Steiner have signed new multiyear contracts to remain the Dodgers’ radio broadcast team.

“Rick and Charley have been a great team in the broadcast booth,” Dodger executive vice president and chief marketing officer Lon Rosen said. “The combination of the two talents over the past 12 years has provided Dodger fans a thoroughly enjoyable journey through each and every game. We look forward to them continuing for many years to come.”

The pair will continue calling games on the Dodgers’ flagship station AM 570 LA Sports and across the Dodger radio network.

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Dodger record: Three pinch-walks in same inning

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By Jon Weisman

Lost among Wednesday’s weirdness was this: According to my research at Baseball-Reference.com, when Chase Utley, Yasmani Grandal and Joc Pederson each saw ball four in the eighth, it was the first time three pinch-hitters had walked in the same inning in Los Angeles Dodgers history.

Twenty other times since the franchise began play in Brooklyn, the Dodgers had gotten at least three pinch-walks in a game — one time, they had four — but only twice before did they have three in the same inning.

Yeah, I know, how trivial — but what can I tell you? This is the kind of stuff that interests me.

The only other times this happened in franchise history were in Brooklyn, and both times were real doozies.

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