Hi, welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, with some advice: If they ever really open up a dinosaur theme park, don't go, because things will probably go wrong.
First things first
Don't look now, but the Dodgers are 37-26 and lead the NL West by 3 ½ games over San Francisco. If the playoffs started today, they would open against the New York Mets. They are on pace to finish with 95 wins, all for a team that often seems to be spinning its wheels. And even better: Since June 2, Chris Hatcher has an ERA of 0.00! Of course, he has pitched only 1 2/3 innings in that time, but it's a start!
Joc Pederson showed why he will be the 2015 Rookie of the Year winner with an amazing game-saving catch against San Diego on Sunday. What are you waiting for? Go watch it here.
You know one of those things in baseball that can drive me crazy is how they determine winning pitchers. Take Friday night, for example. Clayton Kershaw pitches 6 2/3 innings, giving up one run and striking out 11, and leaves the game with a 2-1 lead. Yimi Garcia replaces him, and one error and one home run later, the Padres lead, 3-2. The Dodgers score twice in the top of the eighth and win, 4-3. So who is the winning pitcher? Garcia, because he was the pitcher of record when the Dodgers retook the lead. By all rights, Kershaw should have gotten the victory.
Don Mattingly said what was becoming obvious: Justin Turner is the team's starting third baseman. "It's pretty much Justin," Mattingly told Times Dodgers reporter Dylan Hernandez. Why Turner? "Just kind of the whole package — defensively, offensively." That means Alex Guerrero will have trouble finding playing time. He last started at third on May 24, and has struggled defensively at left field. This is why, even though Guerrero has a clause in his contract that will allow him to become a free agent the off-season after he is traded, I think the Dodgers would love to trade him for a pitcher. And teams have already expressed interest this season, including the Brewers and the Mets.
Time for Seager
Jimmy Rollins is hitting .199 and doesn't have the range at short he once had. In the last 10 days in triple-A, Corey Seager was hitting over .300, had an on-base percentage over .400 and was slugging over .500. (By the way, Rollins was hitting .094 over the same time). It's time to make the switch and give Seager the job.
Several Dodgers on the disabled list could be returning soon. Scott Van Slyke, Brandon Beachy, Brandon League, Carl Crawford, Paco Rodriguez and Pedro Baez are all getting closer to returning, though of that list, I'm only looking forward to Van Slyke. When Crawford comes back, it will be interesting to see what the Dodgers do with Andre Ethier. Keep him in the lineup? Put him in a package with Guerrero for a front-line starter? Bench him and make him unhappy?
This week in Dodgers history
June 18, 1938: Babe Ruth becomes the first-base coach for the Dodgers.
June 18, 2014: Clayton Kershaw pitches a no-hitter against the Colorado Rockies, striking out 15 in the win. It would have been a perfect game if not for shortstop Hanley Ramirez's error in the seventh inning.
June 19, 1952: Carl Erskine throws a no-hitter against the Chicago Cubs in a 5-0 victory in Brooklyn.
June 21, 1998: The Dodgers fire Bill Russell as manager and Fred Claire as general manager, replacing them with Glenn Hoffman and Tommy Lasorda.
Speaking of Kershaw's no-hitter
Why is Vin Scully the best in the business? Listen to highlights of his call of Kershaw's no-hitter here.
Who has the majors' highest batting average over the last two seasons (minimum 350 at-bats)? Justin Turner, who is hitting .333 since joining the Dodgers before the 2014 season.