Archive for the ‘ Managing ’ Category

Bullpen usage key in decision to start Kershaw

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

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
Joe Ross, P
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

By Jon Weisman

Two critical factors in favor of Julio Urías starting today’s Game 4 of the National League Division Series fell away Monday.

No. 1 was that the Dodgers lost, making today’s game an elimination game. No. 2 was that the Dodger bullpen, already on its heels after Saturday’s postponement and Sunday’s 3 2/3 innings, was forced to throw 131 pitches Monday after Kenta Maeda’s fourth-inning exit.

Whatever you might speculate about Clayton Kershaw’s durability at this point, his typical outing is longer than a typical outing for the 20-year-old Urías. With that in mind, the Dodgers decided to put their best pitcher out there today.

One whom, it must be added, has actually thrived on three days’ rest, with a 1.89 ERA in 19 such innings over three starts.

“With Clayton, we had complete certainty from the training staff (and) doctors that health wasn’t a factor,” Dave Roberts said. “Obviously, it’s a game we need to win. One, Clayton gives us the best chance to win, and two, he gives us the best chance to go deeper into a game.”

Basically, the Dodgers need to play 18 innings of winning baseball over the next three days. The Dodgers will start attacking those innings with Kershaw, and then use the remaining 10 pitchers on their staff (except, one supposes, for Kenta Maeda) to cover the rest.

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MLB’s Rookie of the Year might be the Dodger manager

Los Angeles Dodgers

Patrick Gee/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Cary Osborne

Both times Dodger president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman used the word optimism when referring to Dave Roberts, he thought it needed a forceful descriptor in front of it.

What Roberts brought to the Dodger organization in 2016, Friedman said, was “relentless optimism.”

And through the countless adversities of a season so unique, there is a direct correlation between the Dodgers reaching the postseason as National League West champions and the manner in which Roberts skippered the ship.

Yes, it was a world-class, top-of-the-line ship. But 2016 was typhoon season for the Dodgers, with an onslaught of injuries (including losing the best pitcher in baseball for two months), first-half offensive woes, balancing playing time, guiding rookies and falling eight games behind the San Francisco Giants in late June.

“Dave has done an incredible job this year,” Friedman said. “Just his ability to communicate. His relentless optimism and his ability to put guys in a position to succeed have been a huge part of our success this year.”

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A Hill of beans in this crazy world

Dodgers at Marlins, 10:10 a.m.
Chase Utley, 2B
Josh Reddick, RF
Corey Seager, SS
Adrián González, 1B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Joc Pederson, CF
Andre Ethier, LF
Howie Kendrick, 3B
Kenta Maeda, P

By Jon Weisman

I guess my wife and I picked the wrong day to take the family to Disneyland.

Exactly 51 years and one day after Sandy Koufax threw the last perfect game by a Dodger pitcher, Rich Hill nearly did the same (in a 5-0 Dodger victory). And in the process, he became the first Dodger pitcher since Hiroki Kuroda in 2008 to throw seven perfect innings — and the first ever to do so without facing another batter.

The controversy arose from the latter fact. In the overnight chatter since Hill was removed, many have had a chance to weigh in, and so with the Dodgers’ next game already about to start, I’m just going to highlight a few points …

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Kendrick, Thompson start in OF corners, Puig rests

Cincinnati Reds vs Los Angeles Dodgers

Reds at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Chase Utley, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Trayce Thompson, RF
Joc Pederson, CF
Howie Kendrick, LF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Scott Kazmir, P

By Jon Weisman

Yasiel Puig isn’t in tonight’s Dodger starting lineup, which isn’t a surprise — least of all to Dave Roberts, who planned to give Puig a night off even before Tuesday’s mid-game benching.

Howie Kendrick is in left field, with Trayce Thompson moving to right. Puig was on the field this afternoon for early batting practice, but not in preparation to start.

“I let all the players know when they’re gonna play, when they’re not gonna play,” Roberts said. “I told Howie (Tuesday afternoon) he was going to be in there with Trayce and Joc. So, tonight is not punitive at all. It was already set.”

Roberts said he had an “extended conversation” with Puig after Tuesday’s game, and now they are moving forward.

“We talked about expectations and a vision and accountability,” Roberts said. “For me, you’ve got to be responsible for your actions.

“He understands, and he wants to be a better teammate. I’m not going to say a mistake like that’s not going to happen with him or any other player, but I think he wants to get better.”

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The Algebra of Yasiel Puig

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

We’re not really the sum of all our parts. We’re more the multiplication of them.

The fractions of ourselves don’t neatly add up in tidy columns. They clash and they explode like calculus.

So just in the past several days, the answer to Yasiel Puig involves finding the product of this:

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Dodgers look to get jump on Angels in Freeway Series

St.Louis Cardinals vs Los Angeles Dodgers

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

By Jon Weisman

Taking the mound tonight against the Dodgers is a pitcher with a 9.12 ERA, which might be enough to make you want to dial 9.11 if you’re an Angels fan.

But Matt Shoemaker is also a pitcher who had a 3.04 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings as recently as 2014. And even last month, he pitched back-to-back games — both on the road — in which he allowed two runs in 12 innings.

It’s almost as if there are two Shoes, and you don’t know which the Angels will put on tonight when they meet the Dodgers in the regular-season kickoff of the Freeway Series.

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Dave Roberts knows .500 isn’t good enough

LOS ANGELES DODGERS V NEW YORK METS

Mets at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Chase Utley, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Joc Pederson, CF
Yasiel Puig, RF
Carl Crawford, LF
Alex Wood, P
Note: Alex Guerrero is beginning a rehab assignment tonight with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga.

By Jon Weisman

If you’re wondering whether the Dodgers are content to be in first place in their division with a .500 record, the answer is no.

“We’re not playing great baseball,” Dave Roberts said this afternoon. “I think for the most part we’re catching the baseball, but for the pitching and hitting to sync up, we’re still waiting for that to happen.”

The debate about the Dodgers that’s happening right now around town and on social media is which of their two seemingly irreconcilable identities is true. Are they a first-place team, or are they a squad that loses at least as much as it wins?

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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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For Dave Roberts, lefty-righty not quite almighty

Left-handed hitters Joc Pederson, Corey Seager and Carl Crawford

Left-handed hitters Joc Pederson, Corey Seager and Carl Crawford

By Jon Weisman

When is a platoon not a platoon? According to Dave Roberts, when it isn’t quite a platoon.

Though the Dodgers have leaned heavily on lefty-righty matchups in constructing their offense this season, Roberts explained today some of the distinctions that he sees.

“Certain guys, their out pitch is a changeup,” Roberts said. “Certain lefties, it’s a breaking ball. So when typically, it’s a breaking ball is their best secondary, then it’s harder for the left-on-left — the visual. Guys that have a changeup as an out pitch, typically the left-handers can handle them more. There are other components to it as well.”

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Don Mattingly and returning to the scene of the climb

LOS ANGELES DODGERS V MIAMI MARLINS

By Jon Weisman

It’s not that you can’t go home again — it’s just so strange to do it.

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