Dodgers can pitch to Paul Goldschmidt — carefully

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Dodgers at Diamondbacks, 6:40 p.m.
Howie Kendrick, LF
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrián González, 1B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Scott Van Slyke, CF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Chris Taylor, 2B
Bud Norris, P

By Jon Weisman

Paul Goldschmidt comes to the plate against the Dodgers, and you can hear the panicked screaming from across the fan base: “Just walk him.”

But following years of Goldschmidt taking a sledgehammer to Los Angeles, the Dodgers have gotten their revenge …

… for the most part.

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After stomping Los Angeles in 2012, 2013 and 2015 (while settling for being merely good in 2014), Goldschmidt has been retired in 20 of 25 plate appearances this season, heading into tonight’s three-game Dodger-Diamondbacks series.

Not that he hasn’t done some damage. In his first game against the Dodgers this year, at the Dodger Stadium home opener April 12, Goldschmidt hit a tiebreaking home run in the eighth inning. He also hit a first-inning homer in the Diamondbacks’ 3-2 win over the Dodgers on June 13.

In fact, Goldschmidt has driven in a run with every hit he’s had against the Dodgers this year, which only bolsters the impression that he’s been as tough on them as ever. But overall, the Dodgers have gotten their revenge.

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Rehab news glowing for Kershaw & Co.

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By Jon Weisman

It was an absolutely lovely day at Dodger Stadium today. Mild warmth. A refreshing breeze.

As the shadows made their way across the field at the 5 o’clock hour, Clayton Kershaw and Brett Anderson emerged from the clubhouse and played catch. And it wasn’t tentative. It was glove-poppin’, “we mean business” catch.

While more Dodgers trickled onto the field for an informal workout tonight, the last night before returning to action with a 10-game road trip that begins Friday at Arizona, Dave Roberts spoke to reporters about the state of several injured players — Kershaw, Anderson, Joc Pederson, Alex Wood, Andre Ethier, Yimi Garcia. And everything was just about as glowing as that magic late-afternoon sunlight.

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Dodger hitting update: Guys are hitting

28 days

By Jon Weisman

You can almost hear those kids in the back of the Dodger van: “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”

From a batting standpoint, they might be.

Over the past four weeks, the Dodgers have starters at 6 1/2 positions OPSing above .800. Los Angeles is 16-7 (.696) in that time, which is tied with the Giants for the best record in the National League.

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Your photos in Dodger Insider, via Instagram

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DIBy Matthew Mesa

There certainly is no shortage of Dodger related photos on Instagram — just take a look at the over 2 million posts under the #Dodgers hashtag. With a haystack that large, we decided to narrow it down and ask for submissions from Dodger fans to feature in an upcoming edition of Dodger Insider magazine.

Click here to see all the submissions, and feel free to add your own for future issues. In the meantime, here are a few of our favorites …

@dodgers #DodgerInsider #dodgerinsidermagazine

A photo posted by Natalie Perez (@kittygirl909) on

Hall of Famer // We Love It: Images From Dodger Stadium

A photo posted by Kyle Ellis (@thisiskyle) on

Church and Congregation. See you tonight. Vegas ➡️ LA.

A photo posted by California ➡️ Dallas ➡️ Vegas (@craig_jacks0n) on

Dodgers’ significant others lead significant fundraiser

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Erin Edwards

If you attended Sunday’s Dodger game and walked by the Vin Scully Press Box, Loge Section 103 or the Left Field Plaza, chances are you heard fans screaming with excitement.

The screaming wasn’t only because the Dodgers were beating the Padres, but also because hundreds of fans were filled with joy thanks to the autographed baseballs they picked from the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation’s second-annual Spouses Mystery Bag Fundraiser.

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How the revitalized bullpen keyed Dodgers’ surge

San Diego Padres vs Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

In the Dodgers’ final inning before the All-Star Break, the best closer in the National League, Kenley Jansen, entered the game to protect a one-run lead against the fourth-place team in the National League West.

At that moment, the Dodger bullpen was several weeks into an extended resurgence that was forcing fans and media alike to unlearn everything it thought it knew about the team’s relievers. It progressed in stages, as if reversing the five stages of grief.

  • Hooray — they actually held a lead for once.
  • All right, I’ve stopped throwing things every time a reliever comes in.
  • I know this won’t last, but thank you for at least being adequate.
  • Hmm. Some of these guys are actually pretty good.
  • I don’t want to jinx this. But … wow.

Dodger bullpen failures have been branded into the collective memory of recent years, the scar tissue making it nearly impossible for most to feel the moments when the relievers were doing well — which, of course, was more often than the distraught and cynical could concede.

But by the time Jansen took the mound Sunday, the bullpen’s growing success was no longer possible to ignore.

Dodger relievers lead the Major Leagues with a 2.83 ERA. They lead the Major Leagues with a 1.02 WHIP.

In fact, as Dodger broadcaster Joe Davis pointed out, the Dodger bullpen’s opponents batting average of .192 is currently the lowest in modern baseball history. The team’s WHIP is the lowest in NL history.

That’s extraordinary. And that’s not wishcasting. That’s something that has been happening. The Dodger bullpen has become the opposite of an albatross. It’s a primary reason that, despite the “I Love Lucy” chocolate conveyor belt of injuries, that Los Angeles (51-40) is on a 91-win pace and once again a team to be reckoned with.

In terms of inherited runners stranded, the Dodgers were seventh among MLB teams at 72 percent — in the upper echelon but with room for improvement. The good news — the great news — is that the improvement is already underway.

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Thinking out loud: If MLB games were seven innings

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Every now and then, your brain takes you to some weird places.

Most of the time, mine thinks about baseball … which can also lead you to some weird places.

For a few years now, I’ve nursed this feeling that sometime in the distant future, Major League Baseball games would be reduced from nine to seven innings. I don’t really think this will ever happen, but there’s a logic to it.

It’s in part because pace-of-play rule changes are fighting an uphill battle against baseball’s evolutionary elongation. (MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on Tuesday compared the challenge of eliminating the issue to “dandelions in your front lawn.”)

A double inning-ectomy would lop a good 40 minutes or so off the average game, taking them back into the sub-2:30 range that seems to have been the sport’s sweet spot. This would be particularly handy in the postseason, helping more fans see a fantastic finish before midnight.

To be sure, not everyone’s in a hurry to leave the ballpark — certainly not my friendly colleagues here at Dodger Stadium trying to sell food, drink and merchandise — which is probably reason enough to end this conversation.

But the best reason for the seven-inning game is that it’s just getting harder and harder to cobble together the pitching to get 27 outs or more each game.

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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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