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Dare I say it?
OK, so the
It seems every year the Dodgers have one bench player who doesn't get a lot of playing time but is loved by fans. Be it Tripp Cromer, Matt Luke, Chad Fonville or Olmedo Saenz, there's always a guy who becomes a fan favorite and receives a nice ovation whenever he enters the game. This year it is Kike Hernandez.
Hernandez can play multiple positions and always seems to have a smile on his face when they show him on TV or on DiamondVision at the stadium. And when he gets in the game, he produces, as evidenced in Wednesday's 4-3 win over Arizona in which he went three for five with a double, triple and two runs scored. It was the first time he had played in four days. He organizes lip-sync contests among teammates and also carries a banana suit with him everywhere he goes, just in case. Mark Saxon of ESPN.com wrote a nice profile of him here.
After Wednesday's win, Hernandez told reporters, "I play once a week, maybe twice sometimes on a good week, so whatever I can do to help my team win, that's all I care about."
I've been critical of the Dodgers this season for having robot-like passion on the field, but I can't make that claim about Hernandez.
The Dodgers went 15-15 in June, which is not good, but it worked out OK because that was still the best June record in the NL West. Arizona was 13-14, San Francisco and San Diego went 12-14 and Colorado went 12-17. Here's a look at how various Dodgers performed in June:
Howie Kendrick, .311, three homers, 15 RBIs
Yasiel Puig, .303, one homer, six RBIs
Kike Hernandez, .260, two homers, five RBIs
Yasmani Grandal, .250, seven homers, 11 RBIs (Grandal led the team in homers)
Adrian Gonzalez, .248, three homers, 13 RBIs
Joc Pederson, .222, seven homers, 14 RBIs (Note: Pederson had a .379 OB%)
Alex Guerrero, .220, one homers, nine RBIs
Jimmy Rollins, .219, two homers, nine RBIs
Andre Ethier, .214, four homers, nine RBIs
J.P. Howell, 1-0, 0.00 ERA
Kenley Jansen, 2-0, eight saves, 1.54 ERA
Zack Greinke, 1-1, 1.74 ERA
Clayton Kershaw, 2-3, 2.16 ERA
Brett Anderson, 2-1. 2.67 ERA
Juan Nicasio, 0-1, 3.75 ERA
Yimi Garcia, 1-1, 4.26 ERA
Mike Bolsinger, 1-1, 4.40 ERA
Carlos Frias, 1-3, 4.50 ERA
Adam Liberatore, 1-0, 5.19 ERA
Overall in June, the Dodgers outscored their opponents, 121-109, outhomered them, 38-24, but there was one troubling trend: The Dodgers stole two bases while their opponents stole 21. Team speed continues to be an issue, and, before you say it, Dee Gordon alone would not have solved that problem. The Dodgers are filled with base cloggers and rely on extra-base hits for runs. They don't even have fast guys to pinch-run with. They can still win it all with a team this slow, it just makes things a lot tougher.
A lot of people were unhappy with the Matt Kemp trade in the off-season, but it has turned out to be a good one for the Dodgers. Not only has Grandal been solid for L.A., Kemp is playing poorly for San Diego, hitting .244 with six homers and 41 RBIs. His OB% is just .279 and he is slugging .365.
Your favorite Dodger
Rene Ponce of Ventura: "My favorite Dodger was
Toyo Kimura of Redondo Beach: "My favorite Dodger would have to be Hideo Nomo. He was like the second coming of Fernandomania and brought with him Nomomania. With his unorthodox delivery and unhittable fork ball, he helped pave the way for other Japanese and Asian pitchers to join the
Times columnist Bill Plaschke writes about Dodger Stadium chef Dave Pearson, who is battling Stage 4