Dodgers 8, D’Backs 6: Getting Late Early For Arizona

haren_2014-04-19

Depending on how you look at it, Dan Haren was great — he pitched into the eighth inning! He’s the first Dodger pitcher to do that this year, and struck out five without walking any — or lousy, because he fell behind 4-0 and gave up five runs, and only Hyun-jin Ryu gave up more in a start this year. I prefer to think of it as “good,” because only two of those runs were earned, thanks to a Hanley Ramirez error. Only twice did Haren even get to a three-ball count; outside of that messy third inning, only one Diamondback even reached second base against him. As we’ve been focusing on pretty much every other area of this team except for him, that probably says a lot: the less you talk about your supposed No. 4 starter, the better. The Dodgers have won each of his four starts. He’s been everything you could have hoped for so far.

It helped, of course, that the Dodgers actually managed to put up some run support for once, scoring three in the fourth when Andre Ethier‘s three-run shot brought home Adrian Gonzalez and Matt Kemp, then five times in the fifth as rookie starter Michael Bolsinger fell apart, allowing three consecutive singles to start the inning. (Not that he was helped; Martin Prado made an error on Ramirez’ grounder, then Oliver Perez came in to allow two-run hits to Gonzalez (single) and Kemp (double).

All of this would have been smooth sailing if not for Brian Wilson, who threw only 11 of his 23 pitches for strikes, allowed two hits and a walk, brought the tying run to the plate, and refused to throw inside. Ever. Fortunately, he got through it and handed it off to Kenley Jansen, who quietly got through the ninth.

The Diamondbacks are 5-15. Six of those losses are to the Dodgers. They’re already seven games out. I cannot say this displeases me.

Diamondbacks @ Dodgers April 19, 2014: Bolsinger?

dodger_stadium_openingday2013Tonight’s game against the Diamondbacks will at least have an interesting start. The Diamondbacks’ starter is Michael Bolsinger, who I’d never heard of before this week. Bolsinger was called up to replace the struggling Trevor Cahill and is being tasked with helping to fix the Diamondbacks’ rotation. So far this season, Diamondbacks starters have a 7.26 ERA, nearly two runs worse than the closest team. That includes Wade Miley‘s one run performance last night.

Bolsinger isn’t really a prospect, but is a 26 year old pitcher making his first career start. In his first career major league game earlier this week, he allowed two runs in three relief innings. The most notable thing about Bolsinger might be that he isn’t top prospect Archie Bradley, which stirred up a bit of controversy earlier this week. From the Diamondbacks’ point of view, calling up Bradley for a season like this (and starting his service time clock) doesn’t make a lot of sense. Nick Piecoro of Azcentral Sports has a good interview with Bolsinger here.

DBacks
Dodgers 
5:10pm PT
Los Angeles, CA
CF
Parra
2B
Gordon
2B
Hill
LF
Crawford
1B
Goldschmidt
SS
Ramirez
C
Montero
1B
Gonzalez
RF
Ross
CF
Kemp
3B
Prado
RF
Ethier
LF
Trumbo
3B
Uribe
SS
Owings
C
Butera
P
Bolsinger (R)
P
Haren (R)

With a rookie starter going, it’s worth looking up how well the Dodgers have done against pitchers as new as Bolsinger. The perception among many fans is that the team generally has trouble hitting brand new pitchers. Since 2010, the Dodgers have faced a starter throwing his first or second career game ten times (the most recent was Mike Kickham last year). In those ten games, the Dodgers have scored 30 runs in 52-2/3 innings. That doesn’t really match the perception, and could be good news for the struggling offense.

Facing Bolsinger is more or less the standard right-handed pitcher lineup (Drew Butera gets the start at catcher), with one notable exception: Yasiel Puig has the night off. With the current outfield rotation, and since Ethier and Crawford have started the last two games on the bench, the choice of who to sit today came down to Puig or Matt Kemp. Of those two, I really think that the playing time is more important for Puig, so Mattingly’s decision is a bit puzzling.

After a busy night for the bullpen (as shown below this post), it’s important that Dan Haren makes it deep into this game. He looked pretty shaky during his last start, which was also against the Diamondbacks. Haren did make it nearly six innings, but it took 110 pitches to get there and he allowed five runs and six extra-base hits.

Tonight’s game will be televised on Fox Sports 1 (in addition to SNLA), which is good news for those of you without Time Warner. I also really enjoy the earlier start times on Saturday, though I’m sure we’ll hear about shadows a few times at the beginning of the game.

According to Eric Stephen, Clayton Kershaw will throw to hitters tomorrow. The team still hasn’t set a timetable for Kershaw’s return or rehab starts, but it seems that he’s progressing nicely.

Sun 4/13Mon 4/14Tues 4/15Wed 4/16Thurs 4/17Fri 4/18Sat 4/19
LJ.P. Howell81319
RK. Jansen13253016
RB. League8917
RC. Perez922326
RB. Wilson2823
RC. Withrow2126
RJ. Wright263216

Catching Nothing But Grief

federowicz_2014-04-17

It’s been a tough few games for Dodger catchers, but then again, it’s been a tough season for Dodger catchers. Tim Federowicz not only went 0-5 in the loss to Arizona, he let the go-ahead run score when he couldn’t handle Chris Withrow‘s wild intentional walk throw (which, to be fair, is largely on Withrow as well), let another Withrow pitch get past him — his second Withrow passed ball in four days — and then ended his night by taking a ball off the groin after committing catcher’s interference against Paul Goldschmidt.

I’m not writing an entire post about Federowicz’ night, because Eric Stephen already did that, and he did it well. But what it does make me need to do is point out just how ineffective the Dodger backstops have been over the first few weeks of the season. Here’s how the three catchers have performed at the plate:

A.J. Ellis: 29 PA, .167/.310/.167 53 wRC+
Federowicz: 29 PA, .074/.107/.111 -42 wRC+ (not a typo!)
Drew Butera: 11 PA, .200/.273/.200 40 wRC+

Immediately, this is unfair, and I know that. Ellis more than likely was affected by his knee before he actually had surgery, and judging the second and third catchers against the first and second catchers of other clubs isn’t really fair, in addition to these being minuscule sample sizes.

But… 

MLB catching stats by team:
1) Reds — .375.438/.643 187 wRC+
2) Brewers — .350/.435/.500 161 wRC+
MLB AVG — .248/.316/.396 99 wRC+
29) Nationals — .161/.224/.258 29 wRC+
30) Dodgers — .131/.221/.148 11 wRC+

Right there, you can see how much losing your starting catcher hurts, because Washington lost Wilson Ramos on Opening Day, forcing them to go with Jose Lobaton and Sandy Leon. And we knew that Butera was never going to hit, and we were pretty certain that Federowicz wouldn’t either. They haven’t, and this team wasn’t built around requiring offense from behind the plate, so it’s just a disappointment, not a surprise.

But what is disappointing is what’s happening on defense. Butera has built an entire career around being a superb defensive catcher, but pitch framing just hates him. Federowicz is here almost entirely because he’s supposedly a solid defensive catcher, but we’ve seen several times in the last week alone where he’s cost the team back there — and framing doesn’t love him either. As catchers across the sport are hitting better than ever, the black hole from behind the plate in Los Angeles looks even worse, and the seeming lack of defensive value isn’t helping.

The good news? Ellis is progressing well in his return from surgery, participating in all baseball activities other than running, and it seems like he may be back on the low end of the original four-to-six week estimate. Based on what we’ve seen so far, it can’t happen soon enough.

Diamondbacks 4, Dodgers 2: A tale of two games, but still a loss

greinke_zack_ST 3.12.14

This game was pretty tame and boring until the ninth inning. The game was tied at one on the strength of solo home runs by Miguel Montero and Scott Van Slyke.

After that, it was like an entirely different game. Chris Withrow did this:

That would have been a hell of a way to lose a game. Luckily, Withrow was bailed out by everyone’s favorite Uribear.

Love you, Juan Uribe.

Unfortunately, temporary closer Chris Perez gave up two runs off the bat of Aaron Hill in the 12th inning to give the Diamondbacks a 4-2 win against the Dodgers.

Zack Greinke pitched well, despite not being terribly efficient with his pitches (105 pitches, 68 strikes in six innings). He gave up three hits, a run, two walks (his first since his season debut) and struck out a season-high eight batters. However, the home run bug bit him again, as he gave up a home run to Miguel Montero in the sixth inning. Thankfully, it was only a solo shot. But it was the fifth homer he’s allowed this season in 22 1/3 innings. Last season, he didn’t give up his fifth home run until June 27. Not sure what it means — other than a higher-than-average FIP — but it’s something to watch going forward.

The Dodgers didn’t do anything to help Greinke out, as they didn’t get their fourth hit off Diamondbacks’ starter Wade Miley until the fourth inning. They did draw five walks against Miley (seven walks total, including three by Yasiel Puig), but they couldn’t cash in any of them. They struck out eight times (11 times total), continuing their trend of not putting the ball in play — they’re seventh in baseball in highest strikeout percentage.

Kirk Gibson let Miley go back out for the seventh inning, and he promptly gave up a then game-tying homer to Van Slyke. Miley was already at 106 pitches through six innings and had his best outing of the season, but Gibson pressed it — and paid the price.

Oh, and this:

So, thanks for that, Gibby, even if it didn’t result in a victory.

Game 2 of the series is Saturday at 5:10 p.m. Pacific time. Mike Bolsinger (I know, who?) faces off against Dan Haren.

Diamondbacks @ Dodgers April 18, 2014: Hanley Lives

dodger_stadium_openingday2013Tonight, Zack Greinke makes his fourth start for the Dodgers this season. So far, he has pitched very well, only allowing five runs in 16-1/3 innings. his peripherals have been very interesting. In his first three starts, he’s struck out 21 batters and walked just two. Both walks came in his first start of the year; he’s faced 50 batters (and struck out 17 of them) since he allowed his last walk.

Greinke’s FIP is higher than you’d expect (4.03, above the league average), since he’s given up four home runs. However, the high home run rate isn’t because Greinke is throwing more pitches in the strike zone. So far this season, he’s thrown 41.2% of his pitches into the Pitch F/X strike zone, almost identical to his 2012 and 2013 rates. The biggest peripheral difference is that Greinke is inducing a lot more swings on pitches outside of the strike zone (38.6%, compared to a career rate of 26.8%), and batters are making contact less often overall (71% contact rate this season, career rate is 79.5%).

DBacks
Dodgers 
7:10pm PT
Los Angeles, CA
RF
Parra
RF
Puig
2B
Hill
2B
Turner
1B
Goldschmidt
SS
Ramirez
C
Montero
1B
Gonzalez
LF
Ross
CF
Kemp
3B
Prado
LF
Van Slyke
SS
Owings
3B
Uribe
CF
Pollock
C
Federowicz
P
Miley (L)
P
Greinke (R)

Greinke’s high home run rate seems a bit like luck, and stats that adjust for it love what he has done so far. xFIP adjusts Greinke’s HR/FB rate from 30.8% down to the league average (around 11%), which results in a stellar value of 1.94. After adjusting for park, his xFIP is third in baseball, behind Masahiro Tanaka and Felix Hernandez. Since his line drive rate is down and his ground ball rate is up, his SIERA (which uses batted ball characteristics to estimate ERA) is 2.02, which is also third best in the majors behind the same pitchers.

In lineup news, Hanley Ramirez is alive! Given how bad the injury looked when it happened, it’s pretty amazing that he missed just one game. Hopefully the medical staff isn’t rushing him back before he’s ready, but for once it feels like the team was lucky on a potential injury. This allows the Dodgers to re-establish the second base platoon, so Dee Gordon gets the night off against lefty Wade Miley. Greinke’s last two games have been caught by Drew Butera, but tonight Tim Federowicz starts in his place.

On the Diamondbacks side, Cody Ross returns from the disabled list and gets the start in left field. Ross dislocated his hip last year. Mark Trumbo gets the night off (and has gone 3-for-36 in the past week).

Below, you’ll notice the return of a feature that was present on Mike’s old site: the bullpen usage chart. You can also find it here. Many thanks to reader/commenter ABSmileBunch for maintaining the chart!

Sun 4/13Mon 4/14Tues 4/15Wed 4/16Thurs 4/17Fri 4/18Sat 4/19
LJ.P. Howell81319
RK. Jansen13253016
RB. League8917
RC. Perez922326
RB. Wilson2823
RC. Withrow2126
RJ. Wright263216

Down On The Farm Update: Games Of 4/8 – 4/14

pederson_joc ST 3.13.14

Sorry for the delay in this update, but basically Joc Pederson hits all of the baseballs.

April 8

Hitter Of The Day: Joc Pederson (AAA) stayed hot going 2-for-3 with a double, a homer, and a walk. Though I guess it’s not technically a hot streak if his entire year is a hot streak.

Pitcher Of The Day: Yimi Garcia (AAA) pitched two innings of one-hit ball and struck out four. I honestly think he’ll prove ready of a shot in the MLB sooner than later.

Notables

Chris Anderson (A+) couldn’t make it five innings, but did look better. Anderson struck out six and allowed just an unearned run on five hits and three walks in 4.2 innings.

Jesmuel Valentin (A) went 1-for-2 with a walk and two stolen bases. Bat is a question, but he’s off to a solid start.

April 9

Hitter Of The Day: Corey Seager (A+) collected four hits in six trips, along with two doubles. Almost three years younger than the league average, and he’s doing well.

Pitcher Of The Day: Victor Arano (A) pitched 2.2 scoreless innings and is showing no signs that this level is too much for him.

Notables

Stephen Fife (AAA) lasted just 3.1 innings and gave up seven runs on nine hits. I understand he looked okay in the MLB during his short stints there, but he looks atrocious right now. Whether that’s the constant shoulder injuries taking a toll or what, I dunno.

Julio Urias (A) gave up two hits, two walks, two wild pitches, and struck out two in just 1.2 innings of one-run ball. Urias was removed for precautionary reasons after being struck in the chest by a liner.

April 10

Hitter Of The Day: Joey Curletta (A) is on fire, going 3-for-4 with a double. The over-the-wall power is there even if it’s not showing right now, and he’s pounding doubles.

Pitcher Of The Day: Pedro Baez (AA) is serving as the closer and thriving so far, posting his second save and striking out one in his flawless inning of work. Baez isn’t far from being ready either.

Notables

Alex Santana (A) went 2-for-4 with two doubles but also struck out twice, and he’s off to a slow start.

Zachary Bird (A) … why? He gave up seven runs (six earned) in 3.1 innings on five hits and two walks. He struck out two but his ERA was over 11 after this start. Sigh.

April 11

Hitter Of The Day: Chris Reed (AA) struck out nine over six innings of work, giving up two runs on two hits and two walks. When he can get ahead with his fastball, he looks like this. It’s a matter of how often he has command.

Pitcher Of The Day: Jacob Scavuzzo (A) goes 2-for-3 with two walks. The more he continues to produce away from Ogden, the more I believe in his tools.

Notables

Zach Lee (AAA) pitched 5.2 innings of one-run ball, striking out three and walking one.

Corey Seager (A+) collected two hits in four trips, including a triple.

Tom Windle (A+) posted another quality start, surrendering just an unearned run in six innings with six strikeouts and no walks. Doesn’t quite have the upside, but he’s polished, and even if he doesn’t make it as a starter, he should have a future in relief.

April 12

Hitter Of The Day: Joc Pederson (AAA) went 2-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base. Of course.

Pitcher Of The Day: Jose Dominguez (AAA) took the loss in his inning, giving up a walk and two hits. But he struck out three, once again showing superior stuff.

Notables

*Yawn*

April 13

Hitter Of The Day: Alex Guerrero (AAA) wanted to remind you that he still exists, and he did so by going 3-for-4 with a double and homer in his season debut in the minors.

Pitcher Of The Day: Red Patterson (AAA) started and went six innings while only giving up a run and striking out four. Patterson may have a future as a reliever, and I liked him in that role during Spring Training.

Notables

Scott Schebler (AA) grabbed another goose egg in four trips, striking out three times. Off to a rough start against advanced pitching.

Chris Anderson (A+) only lasted 3.1 innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on FIVE walks and four hits while striking out four.

Jacob Scavuzzo (A) and Joey Curletta (A) went 3-for-7 and 4-for-7, respectively, in the team’s doubleheader. Both had a double each, and Scavuzzo also had a walk.

April 14

Hitter Of The Day: Alex Guerrero (AAA) struck again, going 3-for-3 with a homer and a walk. However, he also made an error, which I think is the primary worry anyway. Personally, I’m not totally sold on his bat yet, but most think he’ll hit. It’s the glove that’s a question.

Pitcher Of The Day: Julio Urias (A) gave up five runs and eight baserunners in 4.1 innings but struck out six. Hitters are not intimidating him at all, as his strikeout rate is great. It’s just that his command so far has resembled more a typical teenager than what we’ve come to expect from him.

Notables

Joc Pederson (AAA) went 2-for-4. Another day at AAA for him.

Stephen Fife (AAA) lasted just four innings, allowing 12 baserunners, and four runs (three earned). That meant his ERA plummeted to 11.91.

Darnell Sweeney (AA) went 3-for-4 with a homer but is off to a slow start with the bat. That said, he has more walks than strikeouts, and plate discipline was a primary concern, so he should be fine if he keeps this up.

Dodgers’ prospect scouting report April 2014: Chris Anderson

anderson_chris_quakes_4.13.14

While Julio Urias is one of the most prized pitching prospects in the California League, the Dodgers also have the likes of 2013 draftees Tom Windle and Chris Anderson.

I was able to see Anderson’s April 13 outing in Modesto against the Rockies’ High-A affiliate, the Nuts.

The wind was blow out to right field for most of the afternoon, and he might have been aided by the wind. Anderson gave up quite a few hard-hit balls and fly balls, despite having a heavy fastball prime for getting grounders. That surprised me a bit.

Editor’s note: I am not a scout (#notascout). This is an amateur scouting report based on what I know about baseball and from following the sport all my life. I don’t claim to be a pro, I just want to pass along the information to the masses. All ratings in the charts below are on the standard 20-80 scouting scale, where 50 is roughly average, 80 is elite and nearly unattainable (think an Aroldis Chapman fastball), and 20 is unacceptably poor. Enjoy.

How he got here

Anderson, 21, was the Dodgers’ first-round selection (18th overall) in the 2013 MLB Draft out of Jacksonville University. The native Minnesotan signed for the slot-recommended amount of $2,109,900.

Early in the draft season, Anderson was a projected Top-10 pick despite pitching for a relatively small college in Florida. However, overuse caused his performance to suffer, which also caused his draft slot to suffer.

He debuted at Low-A Great Lakes last season, and performed relatively well. He was elevated to High-A Rancho Cucamonga for the 2014 season.

Vitals

B/T: R/R
Height: 6’4
Weight: 215
DOB: 7/29/1992

Repertoire

4-seam fastball
2-seam fastball
Curveball
Slider
Changeup

If you like heat, this was the outing to see. Anderson threw primarily in his 90-pitch outing. He sat at 93-96 MPH, and topped out at 99 MPH. He struck out Rockies’ prospect Trevor Story on a 98 MPH fastball in the first inning that was awfully impressive. He threw only fastballs in the inning.

He didn’t throw the 2-seamer a lot in this outing, as his fastball was up in the zone a lot with just a little arm-side run. But he didn’t get a ton of movement as the Nuts squared up more fastballs than expected for loud contact.

Anderson’s bugaboo is his control and command. It came and went (mostly went) in this outing, as he walked five hitters in his 3 1/3 innings, including three in the fourth inning. Me missed his location a lot — up and away to lefties and outside to righties.

The first breaking pitch he threw was his curveball. It sat at 80-81 MPH and topped out at 83 MPH. He threw a couple of good ones — including one in a 1-1 count that stole him a strike. He threw it sparingly (seven times) and it flashed average potential. It featured a sharp 11-5 break, but it wasn’t to be confused with his slider.

His slider was an 85-87 MPH offering that topped out at 88 MPH. It had some cutter-like action, but the shape of it wasn’t always consistent. He threw one really sharp one, a few flat ones and a few that looked like cutters. On his first slider, his arm slowed noticeably — something he’ll have to improve as he moves up the ranks. It flashed solid-average potential, but it’s also been said it’s his best off-speed pitch. On this day, his curveball was the better of the two breakers.

He didn’t throw his changeup in this outing, which is somewhat surprising to me as it was supposed to be his clear No. 3 pitch. But his fastball was the star of the day — when he threw it well.

Delivery

Like many early-round Dodger draftees of recent years, Anderson’s delivery is clean. When he begins his delivery, his body goes a little off-balance (just slightly) — kind of a rocking motion — before he explodes forward toward the plate. That could be a hindrance when it comes to repeating his delivery and arm slot.

He throws from a high three-quarters arm slot that is almost over-the-top (but not Zachary Bird over-the-top). He’s able to get some good downward plane on his pitches that should lead to a good sinking fastball down the road.

He tended to fly open with his front side, leading to command issues. His arm also dragged a bit, also leading to command issues.

He’s a big guy with a strong base, so having a clean delivery will benefit him greatly throughout his career.

Video

Here’s some video I shot of Anderson’s outing.

Grades

Tools Now Future
Fastball 50 65
Slider 45 50
Curveball 50 55
Changeup 50 55
Cmd/Ctrl 40 50
Delivery 55 60

Here’s how I would grade Anderson, in the table at right. His mullet graded out at plus-plus, as he flashed a 70 on this day.

Conclusion

Anderson impressed with his fastball and his better-than-expected velocity. The radar gun may have been a bit hot, but the Nuts’ starter was working in the mid-80s with his fastball, so it couldn’t have been that hot. His off-speed pitches need some work, and I’d like to see him incorporate his changeup more and either choose his slider or curveball to be his No. 2 pitch. He can be a 4-pitch pitcher, but command/control issues could lead to him scrapping a pitch.

He has the upside of a No. 2 starter, but he’s more likely a No. 3 or No. 4 starter. He reminds me a lot of Chris Withrow, and he could very well follow Withrow’s path if his command doesn’t improve. If he continues to miss his locations on a consistent basis, he could end up in the bullpen. If he does, he profiles as a late-inning, power reliever with the ability to close. Makeup and poise will determine whether he could be a future No. 2 starter or closer. But Anderson definitely has a future in the majors in some capacity.

Dodgers 2, Giants 1: Exhale

gonzalez_hits_bummgarner_2014-04-07

In between Yasiel Puig doing all the things that make him great – and don’t forget the out-of-nowhere catch that may have saved a run in the eighth inning – there was actually a baseball game today. I know! And once again, Hyun-jin Ryu is making people notice that the Dodgers have more than two outstanding starting pitchers. Ryu shut out the Giants on 112 pitches over seven innings, walking one and allowing four singles. That’s it.

If this sounds familiar, well, maybe it should. Ryu has now pitched three times on the road, and he’s allowed exactly zero runs in 26 innings against Arizona, San Diego, Arizona again, and San Francisco. His one game at home? Two innings, eight runs. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? Other than, you know, nothing, probably. (Eric Stephen notes that Ryu is now the second Dodger in the last century with four straight road scoreless starts, joining Orel Hershiser.)

Also as usual: the Dodgers really, really needed Ryu to be good, because the offense was underwhelming. The Dodgers did get 11 men on base, including three doubles, yet somehow managed to get only two runs in, one on a Tim Federowicz single, and one on the Adrian Gonzalez single you see above to plate Scott Van SlykeMatt Kemp, disappointingly, went 0-4, but at least he made a sparkling catch in deep center field; Dee Gordon, getting a shot against lefty Madison Bumgarner because Justin Turner was pressed into service at shortstop to replace Hanley Ramirez, also went hitless. In the three games in San Francisco, the Dodgers scored five runs. It’s hard to win like that, and for the most part, they didn’t.

After Ryu, Brian Wilson came on in the eighth for the first time since returning from the disabled list and proceeded to scare the hell out of all of us, needing 28 pitches to get through the inning, allow a double to Ehire Adrianza and a walk to Hunter Pence. He did, however, touch 97, which is a good sign for a guy who just missed two weeks with elbow trouble, but only 15 of those 28 pitches were strikes.

And I suppose we can’t ignore Kenley Jansen, who also made it interesting by letting a run in, despite allowing just about nothing hard-hit. Jansen started off by striking out Mike Morse, which is great, except Morse still reached when Federowicz couldn’t handle the pitch. Jansen then blew away Hector Sanchez, but walked Gregor Blanco before allowing Adrianza to dink a dink into left field, scoring Morse. Mercifully, pinch-hitter Brandon Crawford flew out to end it. The Dodgers and Giants are now tied for first, with the Dodgers headed back home to welcome the putrid Diamondbacks tomorrow night. It’s fun just to type that.

Oh, and just in case you still think that Puig is the only player in the game who does dumb things: Gonzalez led off the eighth with a double, and after Kemp struck out, Van Slyke grounded to Jeremy Affeldt… who caught Gonzalez inexplicably hung up between second and third. As Gonzalez was being tagged out in the rundown, Van Slyke tried to sneak into second, getting tagged out as well for your traditional 1-6-5-4 double play. Puig absolutely does dumb things, don’t forget. No one’s saying he doesn’t. But so do other players. Lots of them.

Yasiel Puig Just Had The Most Yasiel Puig Inning Ever

We don’t usually do in-game posts, but Yasiel Puig doesn’t usually do, well, this.

In the third inning, with one out and Brandon Belt on first, Brandon Hicks lifted an easy fly ball to right field, where Puig lazily tried to one-hand it and let it drop. But before a million columnists could register a billion articles worth of “HE’S RUINING THE GAME!” outrage, Puig made up for it by firing to second and getting Belt on the force.

But still! The laziness! The insolence! The… very next play!

Good… lord.

I get that Puig is infuriating sometimes. I get that he acts a fool out there, and I get that although his strong arm and talent allowed him to salvage his mistake, it would have been better if he’d just caught the damn ball in the first place. But come on, now. Baseball is a game. It’s supposed to be fun. And is there anyone more fun in the sport than him right now? Is the game not more entertaining and exciting because a guy who can do this on back-to-back plays — sadly, he only singled in the next inning, rather than hitting a nine-run homer — exists?

Register your displeasure, stodgy old columnists. No one cares. This was great. (The Dodgers currently hold a 1-0 lead in the fourth.)

Dodgers @ Giants April 17, 2014: No Hanley, And Bad History For Ryu

attparkThe Dodgers are looking to salvage this series — much like the last series against the Giants — in the final game of a 3-game set. They turn to Hyun-jin Ryu to be the “stopper.”

Normally, I’d feel pretty confident (even going up against Madison Bumgarner), but for whatever reason, Ryu struggles against San Francisco.

In six career outings — including the disastrous April 4 home opener when he gave up six runs on eight hits in two innings — Ryu has been less than stellar against the Giants:

Dodgers
Giants
12:45 pm PT
San Francisco, CA
2B
Gordon
SS
Arias
SS
Turner
RF
Pence
RF
Puig
3B
Sandoval
1B
Gonzalez
C
Posey
CF
Kemp
LF
Morse
LF
Van Slyke
1B
Belt
3B
Uribe
2B
Hicks
C
Federowicz
CF
Blanco
P
Ryu (L)
P
Bumgarner (L)
  • 3.89 ERA
  • 1.58 WHIP
  • 3.4 BB/9
  • 5.2 K/9
  • 1.54 K/BB
  • .300 BAA

If you take out his numbers against the Giants, Ryu looks like an even better pitcher than he already is against the rest of baseball:

  • 2.77 ERA
  • 1.11 WHIP
  • 7.8 H/9
  • 2.2 BB/9
  • 7.9 K/9

The only thing that hasn’t done (knock on wood) is give up a lot of homers to the Giants. Ryu’s biggest problem has been the walks. In fact, 22.8 percent of the walks he’s issued in his career have come against the Giants. The Giants’ plate discipline won’t be confused for the Red Sox or A’s anytime soon, which makes the higher-than-optimal walk rate against SF rather surprising.

The hitters who have given him the biggest problems are Angel Pagan (5-for-8), Andres Torres (5-for-11, 1 2B), Hunter Pence (6-for-15, 2 2B, 2 BB), Marco Scutaro (5-for-12, 1 BB) and Pablo Sandoval (4-for-14, 1 2B, 3 BB)

If there’s any silver lining, it’s that Ryu has fared better in San Francisco against the Giants than he has in Los Angeles.

  • 3 games
  • 3.20 ERA
  • 19 2/3 IP
  • 16 H
  • 7 R
  • 7 ER
  • 1 HR
  • 6 BB
  • 11 K

The Dodgers have struggled against the Giants so far (1-4), and a win on Thursday would do a lot to stop the bleeding. I’ve said it on the podcast, but I think the Dodgers and Giants will be fighting for the majority of the season for first place, with the Dodgers ultimately pulling away in August or September. But, as is always the case, the Giants will be a tough draw for the Dodgers.

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Yet another story detailing Yasiel Puig‘s journey from Cuba to the United States was published. ESPN has it this time with some additional details than the article that came out on Sunday in Los Angeles Magazine.

“Sometime after 1 in the morning, the knock came. Two men dressed in burglar back stood silently at the door. Somehow, there were no guards that night. (Yunior) Despaigne is at a loss to say why. Regardless, Tomasito had chosen an inopportune moment to relax his grip on his captives. Following the two men in black, Despaigne, Puig, his girlfriend and the padrino crept out of the hotel and down a few dark streets and into a marina and onto a waiting boat that ferried them across the water to Cancun. No violence, no Tomasito, no Leo, no guards. The heist had worked. But the Rubio group had also just ripped off a criminal gang whose highly lucrative underworld ventures required the sanction of Los Zetas. They had now motivated some darkly uncompromising individuals. In plotting the heist, they hadn’t really even discussed the dangers; they were just that obvious. But so too were the rewards, and they’d come to an unstated consensus: For a chance to get Yasiel Puig, they were willing to risk their lives.”

So, the next time you run into someone who’s badmouthing Puig for “not playing the game the right (white) way,” show them these articles. It might be a waste of time because there are just some folks with tiny brains and a complete unwillingness to open their minds to the other side.

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Hanley Ramirez is out today after taking a fastball off his hand/wrist last night. X-rays were negative, which is encouraging. Ramirez says he plans to play tomorrow, which is nice, as though we all haven’t heard that one before. But the Dodgers can really ill-afford to lose Ramirez for an extended period of time. Justin Turner gets the nod in his place.