Moving day brings major additions to Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

It’s a massive move that puts five established pitchers in the Dodger starting rotation from now through October.

It’s a win-now, win-later maneuver that deepens the franchise for years to come.

In a three-team deal with Atlanta and Miami, the Dodgers have acquired left-handed pitchers Alex Wood and Luis Avilan, right-handers Mat Latos, Jim Johnson and Bronson Arroyo, second baseman-shortstop Jose Peraza and outfielder-first baseman Michael Morse.

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Dodger minor league report No. 15: The Tulsa treasure chest and the trade deadline

By Cary Osborne

You think the trade deadline makes Los Angeles spin? Consider Tulsa.

The Dodgers’ Double-A partner, the Tulsa Drillers, has a treasure chest of pitching.

Three of the Dodgers top seven prospects — Julio Urias (No. 2), Jose De Leon (No. 3) and Chris Anderson (No. 7) — are in the Drillers starting rotation. So is No. 16 prospect Jharel Cotton and No. 23 Ross Stripling. Any of those pitchers could be a trade chip, and because of that, the Tulsa clubhouse has been understandably uneasy lately.

“It’s what they all talk about,” said Tulsa pitching coach Matt Herges. “Everybody has friends who are locked into the rumor mills and they call them.”

Herges said the scouts and the radar guns have been constants in the stands at Drillers games. The former Dodger and 11-season big league pitcher said he’s done his best to keep his guys in the right frame of mind, but said the talk has the potential to affect them.

“It does because the way information is so readily available they hear everything. They see everything. They see their name,” Herges said. “I’ve had 10 different conversations with 10 different guys about this. (I told them), ‘Just know that if your name is involved that’s a good thing. It means you’re good. Sure we want you to play in L.A. I want to see you play more in L.A. than anybody. But it doesn’t work out that way all the time. And you can’t control it.’”

Herges’ best advice for the guys: Ignore it.

Now to the rest of the report:

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Kershaw start delayed until Friday — Bolsinger to start tonight

Los Angeles Dodgers vs Atlanta Braves

A’s at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Andre Ethier, LF
Yasiel Puig, RF
Joc Pederson, CF
Alex Guerrero, 3B
Mike Bolsinger, P

By Jon Weisman

Clayton Kershaw’s scheduled start tonight has been moved to Friday by the Dodgers, amid reports of a sore left hip or glute muscle.

Mike Bolsinger, who threw seven innings and allowed no earned runs seven days ago in Atlanta, will start in Kershaw’s place. Bolsinger has a 2.79 ERA this season — 1.59 in his past three starts.

Kershaw will bring his 29-inning scoreless inning streak up against the Angels on Friday.

Justin Turner, who is suffering from a leg infection, remains sidelined. Alex Guerrero is scheduled to make his first start at third base since May 19.

Joc Pederson is batting seventh, his lowest spot in the order since July 5. Pederson has a .239 on-base percentage and .271 slugging percentage in July, with one homer and four walks against 28 strikeouts.

“He’s working on different things,” Don Mattingly said after Tuesday’s 2-0 loss to Oakland, according to Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. “It’s not like he’s just going up there, I know it looks like he’s swinging for the fences all the time. That’s not what he’s trying to do. … He’s trying to get inside the ball a little bit using his bottom hand. He’s frustrated.

“At some point Joc’s going to get that front side thing, and he’s going to be a monster. He’s going to be tough to get out.”

The long view of Yasiel Puig

By Jon Weisman

Two years to the day after 22-year-old Yasiel Puig’s thrilling, extra-inning walkoff homer to beat the Reds, it’s fascinating to see how many people are ready to shut the door on 24-year-old Yasiel Puig’s future as a baseball player.

Puig’s in a slump, it’s fair to say. He’s coming off a mixed bag of a week in which his only two hits were home runs, and his OPS has dropped from 1.047 on June 12 to .750 today.

Here’s where I point out what should be obvious:

1) His OPS was 1.047 on June 12. That’s very good.

2) One good week would halt the complaining, and one good month would render it laughable.

It would take a deep level of cynicism to assume Puig wasn’t capable of such a turnaround.

Though they are not the same player, I continue finding it hard to resist comparing Puig with the four other hitters in Los Angeles Dodger history that have made the greatest impact by age 22: Tommy Davis, Willie Davis, Steve Sax and Adrian Beltre.

Beltre PuigSax DavisLook at their adjusted OPS year-by-year, and how inconsistent the path is. (Needless to say, although he isn’t included in this chart, Matt Kemp would fit as well.)

The impatience with Beltre, one of the greatest all-around third basemen baseball has seen, is still a viscerally unpleasant memory for me.

It’s so convenient, even comforting, to think that young players develop in a solidly upward trajectory, but it’s just a fantasy. Kids have growing pains — mental and physical — and adjustments can take weeks, months or even years. Or haven’t you noticed?

What kind of player will Puig ultimately be? I have no idea. But this idea that the clock has run out on him, that if he hasn’t fixed what’s bothering him yet, he won’t fix it at all, is far too reactionary for my tastes.

And not for nothing: Puig at his worst is still a player with value.

Los Angeles Dodgers vs New York Mets

Dodger manager Don Mattingly said that Puig has shown signs of improvement since the All-Star Break.

“I think he’s been better lately,” Mattingly said. “Before the break, he looked a little rough. … I know he’s been working in the cage, doing certain things, trying to keep his lines a little straighter, a little less turned. I think he understands he’s not swinging as well as he’s capable of.

“We’re trying to get him straight, but he’s just got a lot of body turn — stuck in. It’s kind of, ‘Which came first — the chicken or the egg?’ You line up turned in, and you end up having to spin. It creates length, and it creates vision problems and everything else. So we’re just trying to get him straight.”

Needless to say, it would be naive to expect a sudden mellowing of opinions on Puig.

“Yasiel, obviously, is pretty much of a lightning rod in all areas,” Mattingly said. “No matter if he’s doing good or doing bad, or makes a good throw or makes a bad throw, or gets a hit or doesn’t get a hit, he’s pretty much a lightning rod.”

Leg infection slows Justin Turner

Los Angeles Dodgers vs New York Mets

A’s at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Joc Pederson, CF
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Yasiel Puig, RF
Andre Ethier, LF
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Brett Anderson, P

By Jon Weisman

Justin Turner is out of tonight’s starting lineup after having to go to the emergency room today to address a worsening infection in his leg.

The problem began with something “like a pimple” while Turner was in New York, according to Dodger manager Don Mattingly. He was given antibiotics, but the condition continued to worsen over Monday’s off day.

“He came in today, and it was a lot worse,” Mattingly said. “We should know more by the end of the night. It had kind of blown up — it wasn’t very pretty.”

Turner hit .424/.457/.727 with four doubles and two homers on the recently completed road trip, capped by his two-base hit in the Dodgers’ ninth-inning rally Sunday in New York. Turner went out for a pinch-runner after that double, but that was not health-related.

Among all Major Leaguers with at least 250 plate appearances, Turner is fifth in weighted runs created, behind only Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Paul Goldschmidt and Miguel Cabrera. He is 16th among big-leaguers in Wins Above Replacement.

Dodgers open Kosher food stand tonight, Jewish Community Night coming August 30

LAD_15-Jewish-Comm-Night-T-Shirt-R1By Jon Weisman

Beginning tonight, the Dodgers are opening a Kosher stand that will begin service by offering three types of Kosher hot dogs.

Located at the grill adjacent to Tommy Lasorda’s Trattoria in the right-field plaza, the stand will offer a Kosher Dog and a Jalapeno Kosher Dog for $9 each and a Kosher Italian Sausage for $10.

The stand will be open at Dodger home games except Friday and Saturdays and Jewish holidays. Additional food items will be added in the future.

In addition, the Dodgers will celebrate their 16th annual Jewish Community Night on August 30 when they host the Chicago Cubs at 5:08 p.m.

The Dodgers are offering a special ticket package, which includes a voucher for a Dodgers-in-Hebrew T-shirt and a ticket to the game in the Reserve MVP or Preferred Reserve sections. An additional Kosher food stand will be available in the Left Field Reserve section. In addition, the first 40,000 fans in attendance August 30 will also receive Dodger headphones.

A limited number of tickets for Jewish Community Day are still available and can be purchased at dodgers.com/jewish. In order to receive the commemorative item, fans must purchase the ticket package through the website. The commemorative item is available while supplies last. Anyone interested in groups of 20 or more should call (323) 224-2642.

Remembering ’65: When Koufax hit

remembering-65-wide-v1-grass

By Jon Weisman

Sandy Koufax wasn’t much of a hitter in his career, but in July 1965, he arguably had the greatest clutch at-bat by a starting pitcher in Los Angeles Dodger history.

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Assemblymembers Jimmy Gomez and David Chu swap districts — but not allegiances

Baseball Card - Together

By Yvonne Carrasco

Starting today, two members of the California State Assembly — each from one side of one of the biggest rivalries in baseball, Los Angeles and San Francisco — will swap districts.

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In case you missed it: On the off day

By Jon Weisman

Good day, everyone. I’ve got a long buildup of links to share, and today’s off day provides the opportunity.

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Zack Greinke’s streak ends at 45 2/3 innings

By Jon Weisman

It was more death by paper cuts than a single crushing blow, but sadly for fans of the Dodgers and history, Zack Greinke’s consecutive scoreless inning streak ended in the third inning against the Mets today at 45 2/3 innings.

After retiring the first six hitters of the game, Greinke hit Kirk Nieuwenheis with an 0-1 fastball to start the bottom of the third. Catcher and No. 8 hitter Kevin Plawecki then lined a 1-1 fastball to center field, which — in a key moment — Joc Pederson bobbled trying to backhand for an error that allowed Nieuwenheis to reach third base with nobody out.

That was the first baserunner in scoring position against Greinke since the fourth inning July 4 (21 innings) and the first to reach third base since the first inning June 23 (37 2/3 innings)

The Dodgers played the infield in at the corners, and pitcher Jacob deGrom hit a chopper to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. Gonalez fired home, but Yasmani Grandal’s tag on Nieuwenheis was a hair late.

At first, it looked like this might invite the classic umpire reversal that benefited both Don Drysdale and Orel Hershiser in their streaks. But there was no doubt looking at a replay about the call.

Despite the error, the run was earned. Assuming that Nieuwenheis would have remained at second on the Plawecki single, you also have to assume he’d go to third base on deGrom’s grounder. Subsequent fly balls by Curtis Granderson and Ruben Tejada could have scored him. Of course, we’ll never really know what happened, but that’s how it goes down officially.

Some might blame Pederson, but my guess is that Greinke blames himself for hitting Nieuwenheis with the pitch — a mistake for a pitcher who had avoided them for so long.

Nevertheless, Greinke finishes with the sixth-longest scoreless streak of all-time:

  • 59 Orel Hershiser (1988)
  • 58 Don Drysdale (1968)
  • 55 2/3 Walter Johnson (1913)
  • 53 Jack Coombs (1910)
  • 47 Bob Gibson (1968)
  • 45 2/3 Zack Greinke (2015)

During Greinke’s streak, opponents had a .124 batting average, .152 on-base percentage and .144 slugging percentage — while Greinke, who singled in his first at-bat today — hit .188/.188/.188.

Soon, the spotlight will turn back to Clayton Kershaw, who now has the longest active scoreless streak in baseball at 29 innings.

As we tip our hat to Greinke, here’s a final look at the wondrous run.

Screen Shot 2015-07-26 at 11.09.52 AM

A second hit-by-pitch, this striking Michael Conforto with the bases loaded, led to a second run off Greinke, who finished his day with seven innings and a 1.37 ERA on the season.

Doubles by Adrian Gonzalez and Justin Turner and a single by Yasmani Grandal tied the game for the Dodgers in the ninth, but Juan Uribe — facing the Dodgers with his second team this week — drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the 10th.

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