Archive for the ‘ All-Star Game ’ Category

All-Star moment almost came for Seager, and Jansen made the most of his

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By Cary Osborne

Corey Seager almost had an opportunity to show the baseball world what he has shown Los Angeles, and thus help give the National League home-field advantage in the World Series.

His heart wasn’t beating quickly, he said. He was poised and collected, his mind focused on his game plan against New York Yankees relief pitcher Andrew Miller.

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All-Star pregame words from Jansen and Seager

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Cary Osborne

Two hours before the 87th All-Star Game’s first pitch tonight, Kenley Jansen and Corey Seager made their way onto the field at Petco Park for batting practice. Six-time All-Star Clayton Kershaw is in the building as well.

Jansen and Seager shared some last-minute excitement for their first All-Star Game …

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Pitching history for Dodger All-Stars

My beautiful picture

By Jon Weisman

Six years have passed since a Dodger closer pitched in the All-Star Game. Kenley Jansen gets to end that streak tonight.

Jansen, overdue for his first All-Star Game, might not get to pitch the final inning, so it’s more likely than not that Jonathan Broxton’s save in 2010 remains the most recent in the Midsummer Classic by a Dodger. Nevertheless, Jansen should get a chance to etch his name among the team’s 76 previous All-Star appearances.

Of course, Jansen could also become the first Dodger pitcher credited with an All-Star victory since Jerry Reuss in front of the 1980 hometown crowd in Los Angeles. Since then, three Dodgers have been the losing All-Star pitcher: Chan Ho Park (2001), Eric Gagne (2003) and Clayton Kershaw (2015). Dodger pitchers have a 6-6 record in 12 All-Star decisions.

Certainly, it was nowhere to go but up for the franchise after its ignominious All-Star debut via Van Lingle Mungo, who allowed four runs plus two inherited runs in a six-run fifth inning by the American League in 1934. Not that Mungo had it easy: He entered the game with Babe Ruth on second base, Lou Gehrig on first and Jimmie Foxx at the plate. Two walks, three singles and a double later, the AL had gone from trailing 4-2 to leading 8-4.

The most famous Dodger All-Star pitching performance belongs to Fernando Valenzuela, who from the fourth through sixth innings in 1986 faced 10 batters, retired nine and struck out the first five — Don Mattingly, Cal Ripken Jr., Jesse Barfield, Lou Whitaker and Teddy Higuera — all in a row. Kirby Puckett’s groundout was the first ball in play against Valenzuela, whose outing was marred only by a pop-fly Wade Boggs single in the sixth.

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Hitting history for Dodger All-Stars

Andre Ethier is introduced before the 2011 All-Star Game. ()Barry Gossage/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Andre Ethier before the 2011 All-Star Game. (Barry Gossage/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

By Jon Weisman

No Dodger has had a hit in an All-Star Game in five years, and so it’s up to Corey Seager to change that tonight — unless you’re looking for Kenley Jansen to grab a bat and come through.

Yasiel Puig, Dee Gordon, Joc Pederson, Yasmani Grandal and Adrian Gonzalez have combined to go 0 for 8 since Ethier’s pinch-hit, RBI single in fifth inning of the July 12, 2011 All-Star Game. Gordon did come around to score as a pinch-runner in the 2014 contest.

The greatest single All-Star batting performances by a Dodger belong to Duke Snider (two singles, a double and a walk in 1954) and Mike Piazza (double and home run in 1996).

Here are some firsts and lasts among all Dodger All-Star batters since 1933, when Tony Cuccinello became the franchise’s first All-Star hitter — striking out to end the 1933 All-Star Game …
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Seager’s 15 first-round homers in Home Run Derby are a Dodger best

Corey Seager shakes opponent Mark Trumbo's hand during Monday's All-Star Home Run Derby. Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Corey Seager shakes opponent Mark Trumbo’s hand during Monday’s All-Star Home Run Derby.
Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Cary Osborne

For the second consecutive season, a Dodger rookie — not too far out of his teen years — reached the teens in the first round of the All-Star Game Home Run Derby.

Corey Seager consistently hit balls on a line to right field and finished with 15 home runs in the first round, one year after Joc Pederson represented the Dodgers with 13 homers.

The 15 homers passed Pederson for the most by a Dodger in the first round of a Home Run Derby.

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Does Collins go familiar with Familia or genuine with Jansen?

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Cary Osborne

He didn’t say it, but it’s got to be pretty obvious that if the National League has a lead going into the ninth inning in the 87th Major League Baseball All-Star Game on Tuesday in San Diego, NL and New York Mets manager Terry Collins is going with his guy to close it out — Jeurys Familia.

But Kenley Jansen has a pretty strong argument to be the guy who gets the ball as well. Jansen is second in the NL to Familia in saves (31 to 27) and Familia is perfect on save opportunities, while the Dodger closer has three blown saves. But Jansen has him on ERA (1.16 to 2.55) and leads all MLB relievers with a 0.65 WHIP.

Jansen, perpetually humble, didn’t want to argue his case on Monday during the NL All-Star press conference in San Diego. But the guy who came into this season with the label of best closer in baseball to have not appeared in an All-Star Game is eager to have his moment on the big stage.

“I always want to be the guy,” Jansen said. “But I’m here to enjoy this moment and at the same time win the ballgame. To me, it doesn’t matter right now. I know I can do it. I know (Familia) can do it also. It’s up to the manager, what his decision is. At the end of the day, I want to help the Dodgers win a championship. I’m just down here enjoying the moment and trying to win that home-field advantage, and hopefully it will be us in the World Series.”

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Corey Seager — the surprise home run hitter

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By Cary Osborne

Of all the incredible numbers that Corey Seager put up before the All-Star Break, there’s one number that surprises him the most.

Seventeen — as in the 17 home runs he hit.

“No I didn’t. I really didn’t. I never expected it,” Seager said on Monday in San Diego, a couple of hours before he would take part in MLB’s annual Home Run Derby. “I’ve always been more of a doubles than home runs guy. I never really had that extra juice to get it out.”

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Failure is no option for both Willie Calhouns

Willie Calhoun

Willie Calhoun

By Cary Osborne

Since June 18, 2015, the date of his professional debut, Dodgers No. 11 prospect Willie Calhoun is tied with Cody Bellinger for the most home runs in the Dodger minor league system with 28. He leads the Dodger chain with 17 homers this year.

The 5-foot-7-inch second baseman, who represented the Dodgers in the 2016 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at San Diego’s Petco Park on Sunday, isn’t close to reaching his power potential either.

So said Willie Calhoun — the 21-year-old’s father, Willie Calhoun Sr., that is.

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While others get the call, Futures Gamer Jharel Cotton keeps it cool

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By Cary Osborne

A couple of weeks ago, Dodger pitching prospect Jharel Cotton was lying in bed when he received a text message from his pitching coach at Triple-A Oklahoma City, Matt Herges, asking if he was awake.

The thought crossed Cotton’s mind that something bad had happened — like he had been traded.

So the right-hander from the Virgin Islands called Herges, who then informed him that he had been selected to play for the World Team in the 2016 All-Star Futures Game.

“Throughout the day I was like, ‘Wow! This is really happening,’” Cotton recalled on Sunday at the All-Star Futures Game at Petco Park in San Diego.

It was a well-deserving honor for one of the organization’s top pitchers over the last three years.

The Dodgers’ No. 9 prospect, according to MLB.com, has had a roller-coaster 2016. He began the season in Oklahoma City’s starting rotation, then had a three-week stint in the bullpen and has been back in the rotation since May 23. In those past nine starts, he has a 3.60 ERA, has held opposing batters to a .169/.244/.292 line and has struck out 61 batters in 50 innings.

But there’s still one call he hasn’t received — the one to the Major Leagues.

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Corey Seager to slug away in Home Run Derby

Baltimore Orioles vs Los Angeles DodgersBy Jon Weisman

Corey Seager has officially been named a participant in the 2016 MLB Home Run Derby, beginning at 5 p.m. Monday in San Diego.

The 22-year-old rookie All-Star shortstop is tied for 15th in the National League in home runs, though he has 15 in his past 54 games, equivalent to a 45-homer pace.

Only six rookies before this year had been in the Home Run Derby, including Dodger teammate Joc Pederson in 2015. Narrowly missing out as champion to Todd Frazier, Pederson upended the previous Home Run Derby shortcomings of Mike Piazza (1993, 1994), Raul Mondesi (1995), Hee-Seop Choi (2005), Matt Kemp (2011) and Yasiel Puig (2014).

Many have attributed Pederson’s struggles after a hot start last year to the Derby, though his statistical slide began more than a month before the Derby took place. From June 4 last year until the 2015 All-Star Break, Pederson hit .175/.322/.308 with three homers in 146 plate appearances.

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