Results tagged ‘ Brian Wilson ’

Gonzalez looks ahead to helping his team, community

Adrian Gonzalez and Eva Longoria on Saturday at Dodger Stadium. Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Adrian Gonzalez and Eva Longoria on Saturday at Dodger Stadium. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Cary Osborne

The offseason brings uncertainty for the Dodgers — a new manager is on the horizon, Zack Greinke, Howie Kendrick and Brett Anderson among those hitting the open market, and who knows what other changes are ahead.

Adrian Gonzalez said he doesn’t feel the same uncertainty that others do.

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Brian Wilson released as turnover continues

By Jon Weisman

With the official release of Brian Wilson today, preceded by recent acquisition Ryan Lavarnway being claimed on waivers by the Cubs and Kyle (that’s Kyle) Jensen being designated for assignment, the Dodger 40-man roster is back at, well, 40. But it’s not your slightly older sibling’s 40.

Let’s catch up on who’s new:

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Dodgers designate Brian Wilson for assignment

Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

To make room for Brandon McCarthy on the 40-man roster, the Dodgers have designated reliever Brian Wilson for assignment.

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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 aim to end roadtrip the Wright way

Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs

For more photos from Saturday, visit LA Photog Blog.

Dodgers at Cubs, 11:20 a.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Yasiel Puig, CF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, RF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Carl Crawford, LF
Juan Uribe, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Jamey Wright, P

By Jon Weisman

Since becoming a full-time relief pitcher, Jamey Wright has made one start, with the Rays on September 1, 2013. As Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. noted, the start came in part because of concern over Wright’s current Dodger teammate, Roberto Hernandez.

Today, Wright will start the Dodgers’ 2014 regular-season road finale at Wrigley Field, the capper of a week of extraordinary reliance on the bullpen.

Wright, who started 246 games from 1996-2007, has had three short outings this week of 16 pitches Monday, 10 pitches Tuesday and 12 pitches Friday. He has had two three-inning outings with the Dodgers this year, both in May and peaking when he won the second game of the Minnesota doubleheader that went extra innings on May 1. That game, which featured Red Patterson’s only big-league appearance, was about as close to a bullpen game as the Dodgers have come until this week’s non-stop reliever parade.

Dodger relievers, not unexpectedly, threw four more innings in Saturday’s bummer of an 8-7 loss to Chicago, giving them 29 2/3 in six days. Kenley Jansen and Yimi Garcia are the freshest heading into today’s game, though the only pitcher who might be unavailable after pitching two days in a row is J.P. Howell.

The home run that Howell allowed Saturday was his first in more than a year, since September 6, 2013, and third as a Dodger. Even after that blast, Howell has allowed only a .249 slugging percentage in his two years with Los Angeles.

Brian Wilson, who gave up the game-winning home run in the eighth inning, had pitched shutout ball without allowing an inherited runner to score in nine consecutive appearances dating back a month. Since the All-Star Break, Wilson hadn’t allowed a run or an inherited runner to score in 17 of 19 appearances, striking out 19 while allowing 16 baserunners in 15 1/3 innings.  I won’t pretend that Wilson has looked like a shutdown reliever in that stretch, but he hasn’t been a gascan either.

The difference Saturday, as Ken Gurnick of MLB.com noted, was that Dodger manager Don Mattingly hasn’t let Wilson face many lefties with power potential. Chris Coghlan had already homered once Saturday when he came up against Wilson.

(Mattingly) said he knows Wilson didn’t hit 90 mph with a pitch in this game, but Wilson indicated that he’s been a cutter pitcher all season after being unsuccessful early in the year when he occasionally amped up to the mid-90s. He said he didn’t locate the home run pitch, he’s not hurting and that velocity is not a correct barometer for his season.

“It’s what he’s been doing all year,” Mattingly said. “Nothing different than all year. Not trying to change anything, this is what we’ve been doing to get us here. Today it didn’t work out.”

Except that by the time Wilson had come in, Mattingly had used lefties Howell, Paco Rodriguez and Daniel Coulombe. Scott Elbert and his delicate arm were used Friday, so Wilson faced the left-handed-hitting Coghlan. Lefties are hitting 52 points higher than righties against Wilson, which is why Mattingly has been setting up with both when possible to avoid these kinds of vulnerable matchups.

Fun before the game with Hanley Ramirez, Yasiel Puig and Jessica Alba

By Jon Weisman

Admittedly, the start of today’s Dodgers-Brewers game wasn’t pretty for the hometown fans, not with Jonathan Lucroy driving in five runs in the first two innings to power Milwaukee to a 7-0 lead over the Dodgers after four. But it was plenty festive inside Dodger Stadium and at Viva Los Dodgers at the historic 76 station beyond center field.

Hanley Ramirez, Yasiel Puig and first-pitch tosser Jessica Alba were among those who put on a show before the show …

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Brian Wilson still sees a knuckleball in his future

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Brian Wilson has been pretty strong for the Dodgers for some time now, as Mike Petriello underscores at Dodgers Digest today. Since May 14, Wilson has a 2.05 ERA with 34 strikeouts in 26 1/3 innings and an opponents’ OPS of only .570.

Both Petriello in his piece and Orel Hershiser on television have commented on Wilson’s increased use of the curveball, with Hershiser saying at first he thought Wilson might be mixing in the knuckleball he showed in Spring Training. Hershiser later said he was mistaken, but in a conversation I had with Wilson in the Dodger clubhouse July 31, the 32-year-old reliever said he still thinks about reinventing himself as a knuckleballer someday. (more…)

Play fantasy football with Dodgers

By Cary Osborne

This sort of brings the word “fantasy” to a new level.

Fans have the opportunity to play in a fantasy football league with Clayton Kershaw, Brian Wilson, A.J. Ellis, Chris Perez and Paul Maholm.

Those Dodgers are taking on fans in the inaugural Big Blue Fantasy Football League, with great prizes to the victors and proceeds benefitting a variety of charities.

Kershaw is hosting the league.

Unknown Interested players will make a one-time donation ranging from $3,000 to $5,000 to join the league and will enjoy a live, moderated draft with the players at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 4 at 10:00 a.m. in the Stadium Club at Dodger Stadium, facilitated by Real Time Fantasy Sports.

The draft day experience also includes special guest appearances, a behind-the-scenes stadium tour, special batting practice access, tickets to that night’s game against the Angels, goodie bags and more. Dodger broadcaster Jerry Hairston Jr. will emcee the event.

The Big Blue Fantasy Football League is operated through a partnership with Big League Impact, which has brought together baseball stars from teams in 10 cities around the country for charity fantasy football leagues. League winners will receive sponsor-donated prizes in order to maximize the proceeds to the charities, which include the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, the Orthopaedic Institute for Children and the Big League Impact Basic Needs Initiative, a non-profit organization with a mission to support essential needs causes (e.g. food, water, shelter and other basic needs) domestically and abroad.

More information on the league can be found online at BigLeagueImpact.com, where fans can also register their team to take on Dodger players on the fantasy gridiron.

“We’re all excited to share our passion of fantasy football to raise money for some great causes,” said Dodger catcher A.J. Ellis. “I’m looking forward to some good competition and a little trash talk in the Big Blue Fantasy Football League, but like all things I do, I’m playing to win, so bring your “A” game!”

In case you missed it: Things are looking up for Corey Seager

Ben Platt/MLB.com

Corey Seager at today’s Futures Game. (Ben Platt/MLB.com)

By Jon Weisman

A big moment for Corey Seager — his appearance at this year’s MLB Futures Game today — grew bigger with the news that he has been promoted to Double-A Chatanooga.

Bill Shaikin of the Times has more in an interview with Seager, who lined out to right and was hit by a pitch in the game. Seager is sticking around Minnesota to watch his brother Kyle, the Seattle infielder, play in Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game.

Seager had a .411 on-base percentage and .633 slugging percentage with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, after going .246/.320 in a late-season debut there last year. This year, he has 34 doubles and 18 homers in 80 games.

Meanwhile, Rancho teammate Julio Urias at 17 became the youngest player in Futures Game history. He pitched a perfect inning on 14 pitches, striking out one.

“The Dodgers’ lefty was 92 to 95 with an above-average curveball and great rhythm to his delivery,” wrote Keith Law of ESPN.com. “He rotates his hips well, both to hide the ball and to generate arm speed the safer way by using his lower half.”

Elsewhere … (more…)

Ryu steady, but old issues return for Dodgers in 5-4 loss

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

By Jon Weisman

Gonna get the positive out of the way first, if you don’t mind.

Does Hyun-Jin Ryu get enough appreciation? He is just so solid and, it appears, almost completely unflappable.

After a first-inning double and a Carlos Triunfel error that put runners at the corners today, Ryu struck out Cleveland’s No. 4 and No. 5 hitters.

After a fourth-inning home run by Ryan Raburn gave the Indians a 2-0 lead that some fans no doubt thought was insurmountable, Ryu stranded runners in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.

Ryu doesn’t always threaten to throw a perfect game the way he did on Memorial Day, but let’s talk consistency and minimizing damage. Since April 27, Ryu’s ERA has not gone below 3.00 or above 3.33.

Thanks largely to Ryu, the Dodgers were able to stay in today’s game long enough for a three-run rally in the bottom of the fifth to take the lead — a rally that was keyed by Ryu’s RBI double, the fourth straight hit by Dodger pitchers in the past 24 hours. Andre Ethier then had a clutch, 2-2 count, two-out, two-run single, Ethier’s third big hit in the past four games.

The Dodgers took that 3-2 lead into the eighth inning, after Ryu called it a day, having allowed seven hits and no walks in seven innings while striking out eight. Ryu helped the Dodgers tie the modern Major League mark of 36 consecutive games with two or fewer walks by their starting pitchers.

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Unfortunately for Ryu and the Dodgers, Brian Wilson’s extended run of recently effective relief hit a speed bump — with the Indians tying the game in the eighth on two walks and a pinch-hit RBI single by David Murphy, then taking the lead on a two-run single by Mike Aviles — and the Dodgers lost their second straight game for the first time in three weeks, 5-4.

Wilson had been unscored upon in 18 of his past 19 apperances, with 13 hits and seven walks in 16 2/3 innings against 18 strikeouts and two inherited runners stranded. But he got in trouble with an early season bugaboo — walking the first two batters he faced.

Similarly, while Miguel Rojas had a dazzling spear of a line drive at third base (above) and right fielder Scott Van Slyke threw out a runner at home, this was more of an April game defensively for the Dodgers than what they’ve been producing lately. In addition to the aforementioned errors, Triunfel had a dropped throw on a stolen-base attempt and didn’t turn to catch a throw by Matt Kemp to third base in that troublesome top of the eighth (a throw that Kemp said afterward was his responsibility).

And still, the Dodgers nearly did pull this one out.

In the bottom of the eighth, Scott Van Slyke hit his seventh homer of the year — his first against a right-handed pitcher — to pull the Dodgers within a run. And then in the ninth, after pinch-hitter Hanley Ramirez walked with two out, Ethier worked the count from 0-2 to 3-2 before slicing another big hit, a double to left, sending Ramirez to third. (Note: The Dodgers were out of pinch-runners at this point, except for pitchers.)

Needing a single to tie or perhaps win the game, Kemp hit the ball hard, but it was flagged down on the warning track in right-center, and that was that.

“Obviously, you don’t want to not win,” Dodger manager Don Mattingly said, “but I’m not frustrated with our effort at all, and our energy.”