Hi, welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, wishing all the armed forces veterans out there a Happy Memorial Day.
The Dodgers won two of three from the San Diego Padres, but still can't get it going on offense. They won by scores of 2-1 and 2-0, then lost, 11-3. In their last eight games, they have scored nine runs. Amazingly, they have won three of those games thanks to some excellent pitching. In that time, they are hitting .213 with a .298 slugging percentage. What's the answer? Patience. They weren't as good offensively as their hot start indicated, and they aren't as bad offensively as they seem now. They are still running patchwork lineups out there, and are missing three starters: Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford and Yasmani Grandal.
It has its a-peel
Remember last season's bubble machine that the Dodgers activated when they hit a home run? It's gone this year, replaced by the rally banana. Kike Hernandez waved a banana during the fifth inning of Friday's game and the Dodgers scored, ending a 35-inning scoreless drought. Then he waved it again in the eighth inning. The Dodgers scored again. Later that night, Hernandez tweeted: "Hey guys, make sure to bring your #RallyBanana to the game tonight!!" But what happens when the Dodgers play the Angels? Will the Rally Banana distract the Rally Monkey, or will the Rally Monkey simply eat it?
The Dodgers currently have 10 players on the disabled list: Puig, Crawford, Grandal and pitchers Joel Peralta, Brandon League, Brandon Beachy, Brandon McCarthy, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Chris Withrow, Pedro Baez. That is one-fourth of their 40-man roster. For comparison, the Padres have seven players on the DL, the San Francisco Giants have three, the Colorado Rockies have seven, the Arizona Diamondbacks have seven and the Angels have two.
Look out, Brandon
If your name is Brandon and you weren't paying attention earlier, make sure you don't sign with the Dodgers. If you want to know why, ask Brandon League, Brandon Beachy and Brandon McCarthy.
Joc Pederson led off Saturday night's game with a home run for the third time this season. That ties him with Johnny Frederick for the Dodgers' rookie record. Frederick did it with Brooklyn in 1929. Who has the overall Dodgers record for homers leading off a game? Answer below.
Dodgers historian Mark Langill used the struggles on offense as a nice way to pay tribute to an old math teacher of his. It's also a nice look at the 1962 Dodgers. You can read it here.
A good cause
Want to have some fun at Dodger Stadium and see the players without baseball being involved? Tickets are on sale now to join Clayton Kershaw and his wife, Ellen, as they host their third annual Ping Pong 4 Purpose charity event on Thursday, July 30 on the field at Dodger Stadium. The event will feature celebrities and some Dodgers in a single-elimination table tennis tournament. Event proceeds will go to Kershaw's Challenge in Los Angeles. More information: www.kershawschallenge.com/pp4p/.
The Dodgers have invested $62 million in Hyun-Jin Ryu. And it turns out they knew all along he had a torn labrum when they gave him all that money. It turns out that the torn labrum showed up in the first MRI exam the team ordered for him, before they signed him. Now, I like Ryu. He has been a good pitcher for the Dodgers. But who gives a guy $62 million when you know he has a torn labrum? That is simply a mind-boggling thing to do. Of course, that did come under the previous ownership regime, so there's no one left to really complain to now. Former GM Ned Colletti signed him, proving that there isn't an injured pitcher out there who scares Ned Colletti. By the way Ned, Jason Schmidt says hi.
The record is seven, set by Davey Lopes in 1979.
The season was barely two weeks old when fans started calling for the benching of Juan Uribe at third base in order to get Alex Guerrero or Justin Turner in the lineup. Manager Don Mattingly was noncommittal, but it appears he has quietly made a commitment. Uribe has started only two games since May 8.
This week in Dodgers history
May 25, 2002: Shawn Green homers twice against Arizona to become the first player in history to hit seven home runs in three games. He had hit four homers against Milwaukee on May 23, then one against Arizona on May 24.
May 28, 1957: National League owners grant permission to the Dodgers and Giants to move their clubs to the West Coast.
May 29, 1979: Dusty Baker, Rick Sutcliffe, Steve Garvey, Gary Thomasson, Derrel Thomas, Joe Ferguson and Davey Lopes set a team record by hitting seven home runs at Dodger Stadium in a 17-6 win over Cincinnati.
May 31, 1965: The Dodgers start the first all switch-hitting infield in baseball history, with Wes Parker at first, Jim Lefebvre at second, Maury Wills at short and Jim Gilliam at third, in a 6-1 loss to Cincinnati at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers conclude their homestand with three games with the Atlanta Braves, then play three at St. Louis against the Cardinals, who have the best record in the NL. That's when we will see what this team is made of.