Remember: The first annual Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation 5K Run and Kids Fun Run at Dodger Stadium. is rapidly approaching, on September 21. Signups are moving toward maximum capacity. Find out all the details and register at dodgers.com/5K.
– Jon Weisman
By Jon Weisman
Joc Pederson is being celebrated for becoming the first Pacific Coast League player in 80 years and first Dodger farmhand since Chin-Feng Chen in 1999 to reach 30 homers and 30 steals in the same season. But wait, there’s more.
Pederson, who was named a PCL All-Star today, is close to wrapping up another statistical feat: the 1.000-OPS season.
It’s not as rare as 30-30, though it’s still fairly uncommon. It has happened only 20 times among Dodger Triple-A players since 1988, and only once in that period with a player who came to the plate more than 500 times.
That player was Paul Konerko, who is also the only one on the list to have had a significant Major League career. It is the PCL’s cross to bear that its gaudy offensive statistics hold up like fool’s gold.
And yet, Dodger Rookie of the Year award-winners Eric Karros (.943), Mike Piazza (.969), Raul Mondesi (.758) and Todd Hollandsworth (.822) never made it to 1.000 in the PCL.
Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West fell short against South Korea in the Little League World Series championship game Sunday, but that doesn’t take away from what the U.S. champions achieved. Above, Carl Crawford talks about his support of the young standouts.
Crawford will have a chance to meet the kids when the Dodgers go to Wrigley Field in mid-September.
— Jon Weisman
By Jon Weisman
The good news for Dodger fans: The last time the franchise hit into two triple plays in the same season, it was 1955.
The bad news is that it’s a rough way for this year’s team to connect with the franchise’s first World Series winner.
Today against the Mets, the Dodgers were down, 7-1, in the bottom of the sixth inning but had the makings of a rally. With none out, Dee Gordon singled, Yasiel Puig walked and Adrian Gonzalez singled to score a run and bring up Matt Kemp, who had doubled in their previous run in the first inning.
But Kemp hit a hard grounder to Mets third baseman Eric Campbell, who threw to second baseman Daniel Murphy to begin a tailor-made 5-4-3 double play … that became a 5-4-3-2 triple play when Puig kept running around third and was easily thrown out at home, Lucas Duda to Travis d’Arnaud.
Puig had previously made the final out of a triple play by the Indians on July 1.
Brooklyn actually hit into three triple plays in 1925, so the 2014 Dodgers might be wise to quit now.
The Dodgers were reeling earlier from a triptych of home runs allowed by starting pitcher Kevin Correia in the first three innings to put the Dodgers in their six-run hole. Then, Carlos Frias was perfect in three innings of relief before surrendering three runs in the seventh, leaving the Dodgers down, 10-2.
Update: The first time the Dodgers hit into a triple play this year, they lost that game, 10-3. They almost repeated that unlikely score today, before Duda’s second homer of the game stamped the contest with an 11-3 label. Duda had a career-high five RBI.
Gonzalez finished 3 for 3 with two doubles, making him 5 for 6 in his past two games with three extra-base hits. Andre Ethier and Gordon each had two hits, the latter adding his 12th triple of the season.
For photo highlights from Saturday, visit LA Photog Blog.
By Jon Weisman
Yep, it’s consecutive days of players getting healthier.
The Dodgers follow Zack Greinke’s return to the mound in Saturday’s 7-4 victory over the Mets with Hanley Ramirez’s departure from the disabled list to the starting lineup today. Erisbel Arruebarrena has been optioned to Single-A Rancho Cucamonga.
When he has played, Ramirez has been a consistent hitter for some time now. Since going 4 for 4 with two home runs on May 31, Ramirez has had a .415 on-base percentage and .474 slugging percentage (.889 OPS) in 183 plate appearances.
Ramirez is the No. 2 offensive shortstop in baseball this season behind injured Troy Tulowitzki of Colorado, according to Fangraphs.
Mattingly said Greinke felt good this morning – came out of Saturday’s start “pretty well.”
— Dodger Insider (@DodgerInsider) August 24, 2014
For his part, Greinke gave a positive report to Dodger manager Don Mattingly this morning. He told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com he would tell the Dodgers if he were worried about his physical condition — but at this point he wasn’t.
“Weird circumstances gave me extra time, but I’ve been pretty good,” he said. “Between starts it hasn’t bothered me. I felt great again today. I hope that’s how it stays.
“You’re not going to believe me, but it really hasn’t bothered me when the game’s on the line. It didn’t affect any of my pitches. It really isn’t a big issue.”
He said he’d be honest with manager Don Mattingly if he didn’t feel physically able to help the team or if he thought he was putting himself at risk of serious injury.
“I have no desire to go out there and give up 10 runs or hurt myself more,” he said.
Arruebarrena figures to return to the Dodgers when rosters expand September 1. Miguel Rojas’ greater experience at third base was a main reason he was retained on the roster in the short term over Arruebarrena.
By Mark Langill
Clayton Kershaw has a chance at his third Cy Young Award in four years, which technically would match the feat of Hall of Fame left-hander Sandy Koufax, who won his awards in 1963, 1965 and 1966. But in Koufax’s day, there was only one Cy Young Award for both leagues. The award began in 1956 and was separated by leagues in 1967, the year after Koufax’s retirement.
In 1964, Los Angeles Angels right-hander Dean Chance won the award with a 20-9 record and 1.65 ERA. Chance received 17 of the 20 votes to finish ahead of the Chicago Cubs’ Larry Jackson (2 votes) and Koufax (1 vote).
So in a potential election among 20 voters, would Koufax have won the 1964 National League Cy Young Award over Jackson?
Jackson: 24-11, 3.14 ERA, 40 games, 38 starts, 19 complete games, three shutouts, 297.2 innings, 148 strikeouts, 58 walks.
Koufax: 19-5, 1.74 ERA, 29 games, 28 starts, 15 complete games, seven shutouts, 223 innings, 223 strikeouts, 53 walks.
Jackson led the league in victories; Koufax was first in ERA, strikeouts and shutouts. Neither pitched for a contender: the 1964 Dodgers (80-82) finished in a sixth-place tie among the 10 National League teams, 13 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs placed eighth at 76-86.
Koufax’s season had ended with a 13-strikeout shutout of St. Louis on August 16 with an arm problem.
By Jon Weisman
Dan Haren’s third pitch was a microcosm of the fears of Dodger fans. His next 86 pitches summed up all their dreams.
Haren quickly bounced back after a leadoff home run by Curtis Granderson to retire 21 of his final 23 batters, allowing two hits, walking none and striking out six, in the Dodgers’ 6-2 victory over the New York Mets tonight.
With his third strong start in his past four, Haren lowered his ERA over his past 23 1/3 innings to 2.70, with 20 strikeouts and only four walks.
Haren also had a night of extremes at the plate. He bunted into a double play with two on in the third inning, ahead of Dee Gordon’s game-tying RBI, then missed a suicide squeeze in the fifth, before singling home the go-ahead run. Haren leads Dodger pitchers with five RBI in 2014.
Two innings later, the Dodgers took advantage of a key Mets error (sandwiched by Dee Gordon’s MLB-leading 11th triple of 2014 and Matt Kemp’s two-run double for three unearned runs to bust the game open. Gordon was 3 for 5 tonight. A.J. Ellis added an RBI double down the right-field line in the eighth for the Dodgers’ final run.
By Jon Weisman
For a while now, Dodger manager Don Mattingly has made no secret of the fact that Scott Van Slyke is a regular starter against left-handed pitching. But the opportunities have been harder to come by in August.
Van Slyke made only four starts in the first 19 days of August, before getting the call Wednesday against San Diego and now tonight against the Mets. Combined with four appearances off the bench, that has left Van Slyke 5 for 19 in August with two walks, two doubles and a sacrifice fly, for a .716 OPS.
By comparison, Van Slyke averaged 50 plate appearances in June and July, with a .394 on-base percentage, .488 slugging percentage and .882 OPS.
Tonight marks one month since Van Slyke’s last home run, as he waits to become the fifth Dodger this year with 10 home runs. It appears unlikely that the Dodgers will end up with more than five players in double digits on the long ball, given that Juan Uribe is next on the team with six. From 2010-12, the Dodgers had four players with at least 10 homers each year, then had six such players in 2013.
By Cary Osborne
There has been a lot of excitement at the lower levels over the last week — from a record breaker to promotions and2014 draft picks producing impressive results. Here’s the report (and a fulfilled request for one of our readers):
Great Lakes Loons (Low-A)
Thus far: 62-67 overall; 28-31, nine games out of first place in the Midwest League’s Eastern Division second-half standings
Move over Clayton Kershaw. Jose De Leon, a 24th-round pick last year, struck out a Loons record 14 batters on Tuesday vs. Fort Wayne, breaking the record of 12 that was held by Kershaw and two others.
It was only De Leon’s second start since being called up from Ogden. The 22-year-old averaged 12.8 Ks per nine innings there, and has averaged 11.4 for his pro career.
De Leon struck out the 14 batters in only six innings of work. He allowed four hits and walked none. On the season, he has a 2.31 ERA and 1.06 WHIP while striking out 98 batters and walking 19 in 66 1/3 innings.