August 2016

Toles takes Dodgers from milder to wilder

By Jon Weisman

Andrew Toles found the golden ticket.

Impossible to believe even as it was happening right in front of us. Joe Davis making the call into his mic, TV capturing the dramatic picture.

Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The Dodgers, who scored three runs in their first 25 innings at Coors Field this week and trailed 8-2 after seven innings in their series finale with the Rockies, rode the Wonkavator to three runs in the eighth and five in the ninth — capped by Andrew Toles’ everlasting gobstopper of a grand slam — to a 10-8 victory over Colorado.

In a week-long performance that resembled a Broadway show purposefully designed to be the worst it could possibly be, the Dodgers shocked expectations (spookily similar to Alex Guerrero’s ninth-inning grand slam last season) by bringing their fans to their feet.

This Dodger team, a veritable young Frankenstein for all the ways it has been reconstituted during this injury-plagued, transaction-filled season, delivered a “Puttin’ on the Ritz” finish thanks to Toles, whose remarkable rise from Single-A ball now has him batting .397 with a .463 on-base percentage while slugging .690 on the big stage.

Let’s not go stir-crazy: Toles isn’t about to unseat Corey Seager for the National League Rookie of the Year Award. But for all the publicity that Yankees freshman Gary Sanchez is getting in New York, Toles leads Sanchez and all other late arrivals (minimum 50 plate appearances, in other words) in on-base percentage, holds similarly gold-medal status in batting average and is riding a silver streak to second in slugging percentage.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Colorado Rockies - Game TwoFor the Dodgers, it was thievery worthy of Bonnie and Clyde. Major League teams had lost 448 out of 449 games this year when trailing by at least six runs after the seventh inning. According to Elias Sports, this franchise rallied from a similar deficit against the Cleveland Spiders in 1899 — this is only the fourth time they’ve done so in 117 years since.

Did the Dodgers need any help? Oh, all they could get. And they got it, with a string of hits and walks leading up to the opposite-field blast by the Way-to-Go Kid.

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Postgame (revised)

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happy

De Jong named Texas League Pitcher of the Year

Rich Crimi/Tulsa Drillers

Rich Crimi/Tulsa Drillers

By Jon Weisman

Double-A Tulsa right-hander Chase De Jong was named Pitcher of the Year in the Texas League, which also placed second baseman Willie Calhoun and outfielder Alex Verdugo on its All-Star Team.

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Dodgers turn to Bud Norris in Colorado finale

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers at Rockies, 5:10 p.m.
Chase Utley, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrián González, 1B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Josh Reddick, RF
Joc Pederson, CF
Andrew Toles, LF
Bud Norris, P

By Jon Weisman

Bud Norris has officially replaced Rich Hill as the starting pitcher for the Dodgers’ second game at Colorado tonight.

Norris, who allowed two runs in five innings in his last start August 26 against the Cubs, will be pitching on four days’ rest. Dave Roberts told reporters he was viewing this series finale as a bullpen game (the last before Thursday’s off day and ensuing roster expansion).

The hope for Hill is that he slots in this weekend when the Dodgers host San Diego. Julio Urías is currently scheduled to take the mound Friday, but the next two starters haven’t been announced.

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Dodgers can’t escape shutout in Coors Field lidlifter

DJ LeMahieu slides ahead of the tag from catcher Carlos Ruiz on a double off the bat of Nolan Arenado in the first inning at Coors Field. (Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

DJ LeMahieu slides ahead of the tag from catcher Carlos Ruiz on a double off the bat of Nolan Arenado in the first inning at Coors Field. (Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

By Jon Weisman

Someday, we won’t even remember this latest Dodger offensive slump. Someday soon. Maybe even tonight, when the Dodgers play the second game of their doubleheader in Colorado.

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Seager starts at short, but Hill might be delayed

Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers at Rockies, 12:10 p.m.
Howie Kendrick, LF
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrián González, 1B
Rob Segedin, RF
Kiké Hernandez, CF
Carlos Ruiz, C
Charlie Culberson, 2B
Ross Stripling, P

By Jon Weisman

With a rainy day off Tuesday after his scary hit-by-pitch Monday, Corey Seager is back in action and expected to play in both ends of today’s impromptu doubleheader, along with Adrián González and Justin Turner.

The bigger immediate concern for the Dodgers is Rich Hill, who threw about 40 pitches warming up for Tuesday’s non-game. Roberts said Hill is “adamant” about pitching in tonight’s second game, but the coaching and medical staff might call for him to be scratched because of his past blister problems. Bud Norris would likely succeed Hill in that case.

Though playing a doubleheader at toxic-to-pitching Coors Field sounds poisonous on its face, the consolation is that in addition to resting Tuesday, the Dodger bullpen has an off day Thursday.

In addition, per MLB rules for sudden doubleheaders, they’ll have a 26th man on the roster. Luis Avilan is with the club in Colorado and prepared to take that spot.

So basically, today’s lunchtime game is the last the Dodgers will play with only 25 guys. The active roster limit expands to 40 beginning Thursday, and Roberts said the Dodgers will immediately take advantage by adding at least Avilan, Louis Coleman and Josh Ravin, along with catcher-infielder Austin Barnes. Others, including Yasiel Puig, remain under discussion.

Dodgers rained out — doubleheader Wednesday

While we wait, tag your best Dodger photos #Dodger🌧 and we'll 'like' our favorites.

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After a 155-minute delay, the Dodgers and Rockies had their scheduled game of American rounders postponed. The two teams will play a split doubleheader at 12:10 p.m. and 5:10 p.m. Pacific Time, with Ross Stripling taking the day game and Rich Hill the nightcap.

— Jon Weisman

Kershaw, Anderson, Kazmir and McCarthy talk about progress

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

The parallel universe that is the Dodgers’ disabled list came to life at Dodger Stadium today.

As the active roster prepared for its game tonight at Colorado, six Dodger pitchers — Clayton Kershaw, Brett Anderson, Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Alex Wood — strode the field today to continue their rehabilitation from injuries.

Four of them — Kershaw, Anderson, Kazmir and McCarthy — took turns throwing simulated innings off the mound, to a group of imported Dodger minor-leaguers whose seasons have ended.

Kershaw, of course, was the headliner, throwing 35 pitches with high intensity in two innings. He wasn’t ready to pronounce any verdict — “Last time I came out of this OK, got home and felt terrible,” he said — though Andrew Friedman told reporters in Colorado that Kershaw’s next step would be a minor-league rehab game.

“Tomorrow’s probably a better time to answer,” Kershaw said. “As of this second, I feel OK.”

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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.

Vin Scully Commemorative Coin giveaway at Dodger Stadium on September 24

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

The first 50,000 fans in attendance for the Dodgers’ September 24 game against Colorado will receive a Vin Scully limited edition commemorative coin, part of the festivities of Vin Scully Weekend honoring the legendary broadcaster.

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