Dodgers Dugout: Grandal's slump is over

 

Hi, welcome to another Dodgers’ Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, reminding you that it is impossible to underinflate baseball, so don’t get any smart ideas, Tom Brady. To subscribe to the newsletter and have it emailed to you, click here.

 

That’s more like it

That sound you heard Thursday afternoon was A.J. Ellis' playing time disappearing. Yasmani Grandal is suddenly a hit machine. Since hitting the game-winning home in Sunday’s 1-0 victory over Arizona, he has gone eight for 12 with two homers and 10 RBIs. For the season, he is suddenly hitting .301 with a .414 OB% and .534 SLG%. The Dodgers as a team have been great on offense. Look at these numbers: 2015 Rookie of the Year winner Joc Pederson (yes, I am naming him the winner now), is tied for the N.L. lead with nine homers and is slugging .647. Adrian Gonzalez is also tied for the N.L. lead with nine homes and is hitting .364 with 24 RBIs, Alex Guerrero is hitting .342 and slugging .868, Andre Ethier is slugging .556. Justin Turner is hitting .320 and slugging .640.  The Dodgers are second in the National League in runs scored, first in the majors with 44 homers and first in the majors with a .477 SLG%. 

More on Grandal

With his eight RBIs against the Brewers on Thursday, he joined some elite company. Only three other Dodgers have ever driven in at least eight runs in one game: Gil Hodges drove in nine runs against Boston in a 19-3 victory in 1950, James Loney drove in nine in a 19-11 win over Colorado in 2006, Hodges drove in eight runs in a 20-7 win over Cincinnati in 1949 and Ron Cey drove in eight in a 15-4 win over San Diego in 1974. If you are wondering about Shawn Green's four homer game, he drove in "only" seven runs in that 2002 game. Mike Piazza's high was seven, so Grandal has the record for a Dodgers catcher.

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Did you notice?

Grandal hit a walk-off homer in the Dodgers’ 1-0 victory over Arizona on Sunday, then Pederson led off the next game with a home run against Milwaukee. It’s not often you get to see consecutive home runs come over 24 hours apart.

Poor Clayton

It must be tough in some ways to be Clayton Kershaw. Here’s a guy who had two of the best seasons in baseball history the last two years (No, I’m not counting the playoffs). So when he gets off to a normal start this season, everyone starts gnashing their teeth, wondering what could be wrong with him. He gives up three runs in 7.1 innings against Milwaukee, striking out eight, and fans are in panic mode. If he doesn’t pitch a no-hitter every time out, it’s like he is a big disappointment. Steve Dilbeck has a great take on the subject here.

Revolving door

With Hyun-jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy on the disabled list, the Dodgers continued to play musical chairs with their rotation, this time giving Joe Wieland a shot Wednesday against Milwaukee. Wieland became the ninth starting pitcher the Dodgers have used this season.  They used only 12 all of last season. Wieland was about as effective as  you or I would have been, giving up six runs in 4.2 innings. Don’t look for him to get a start again any time soon. The Dodgers sent him back to the minors on Thursday.

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Scully Stadium

Some of you wrote in and took issue with me wanting to rename Dodger Stadium as Scully Stadium, with most of the complaints being that Vin Scully tells too many boring stories and needs to be in a two- or three-man booth. That is totally wrong. One of the reasons Scully is great is because he works by himself. He tells stories and has conversations with us, the listener. Two-man booths are too busy trying to entertain each other and forget they are talking to people. Scully makes you feel like he is sitting in the den with you. Working solo is one of the secrets to his success.

Why?

Can someone explain to me why Chris Hatcher is still with the team? He comes into Monday’s game with a man on and one out in the eighth, leading 3-2. He promptly gives up a double and a single and the Dodgers lose, 4-3. He is now 0-3 with a 7.20 ERA. In his career, he is 0-7 with a 5.06 ERA. Sure, he throws hard, but his ball doesn’t move. It’s time for him to move, either to the minors or to the waiver wire.

In case you missed it

The Times’ team of Dodgers reporters (Dylan Hernandez, Bill Shaikin, Steve Dilbeck) provide great day-to-day coverage of the team. Make sure to bookmark our Dodgers page, so you can get all the inside info on the team.

Puig, Jansen getting better, Ryu worse

Yasiel Puig (hamstring) ran the bases on Wednesday, and will get a rehab stint at Rancho Cucamonga on Thursday. Look for him to come off the disabled list when the Dodgers return home Monday.  Kenley Jansen (foot) has made three appearances at Rancho and is 0-1 with a 10.12 ERA. Don’t worry too much about that though, because he is there to build up arm strength. He says he will return next week, but Don Mattingly isn’t too sure about that. Ryu (shoulder) threw a bullpen session last Friday, but didn’t reach above 83 mph on the speed gun, well below where he needs to be. He hasn’t thrown since. He is eligible to come off the DL on May 26, but at this rate, don’t look for him to come back until the All-Star break.

And finally

There are still three more days left to vote in our “10 Greatest Dodgers of All Time” balloting. We will start announcing the list on Monday. You have until Sunday night at 11:59 p.m. PT to vote. For details, go here.

 

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