Pederson impresses again
2015 Rookie of the Year winner Joc Pederson (that's right, I'm calling it early) has hit home runs in five consecutive games and hit two mammoth home runs in Tuesday's doubleheader split against the Rockies. The first one went 467 feet, the fifth-longest home run of the season. Then in the second game he hit one 480 feet, the longest in the majors this season. No one really expected this type of power from Pederson, but he has been the best rookie the Dodgers have had in a long, long time. Let's compare his numbers to the other top rookie-of-the-year candidate, Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant.
Pederson, .267, .393 OB%, .606 SLG%, 17 homers, 32 RBIs, 34 runs scored, 2.4 WAR
Bryant, .270, .382 OB%, .459 SLG%, 7 homers, 33 RBIs, 28 runs scored, 1.5 WAR
The Dodgers took a 6-4 lead into the ninth inning Wednesday against the Rockies. A perfect time for closer Kenley Jansen, who has been lights-out this season. Only Jansen didn't come into the game, Adam Liberatore did. Followed by three other pitchers. Followed by a 7-6 loss. Why didn't Jansen pitch? No one is saying. Don Mattingly was asked if Jansen's absence was health related. "I really can't," he replied. "He was just unavailable tonight." Jansen was at the game, but did not talk to reporters. After the game, former Dodgers pitcher and ESPN analyst Rick Sutcliffe tweeted : "Sending my prayers to #Dodgers and closer @kenleyjansen74." Sutcliffe was in the clubhouse after the game, so that tweet sounds ominous. All we can do is wait and see, but here's hoping Jansen is OK and that his 2012 heart issues have not returned.
Guerrero is a star
Alex Guerrero won Tuesday's second game with a grand slam in the ninth inning, giving him 10 home runs on the season, third on the team behind Pederson (17) and Adrian Gonzalez (11). If he played more, he'd be the leading rookie-of-the-year candidate. He has his 10 homers in 98 at-bats, while Pederson has 17 in 180. If you project Guerrero to 180 at-bats, he would have 18 homers, to go with a .297 batting average and .683 slugging percentage. Which brings up a question: Why isn't he playing more?
Remember the name Hector Olivera, because by the end of the season he will be entrenched at third base for the Dodgers. The Cuban star is currently in extended spring training in Arizona, where he has impressed Dodgers director of player development Gabe Kapler. "He's brought a lot of energy to the camp. He's got a great personality," Kapler told the Orange County Register. "The other players have really enjoyed having him there. … Everyone in the organization already thought very highly of him. But watching him these past few weeks has only added to that respect."
By the end of the season, expect Olivera to be at third and Corey Seager to be at short, giving the Dodgers four solid rookies in Pederson, Guerrero, Olivera and Seager.
So there he was, minding his own business in triple-A Oklahoma City when Josh Ravin, who has spent 10 seasons in the minors without making a pitch in the majors, got the call: The Dodgers need you to travel to Denver for the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader. And there he was, minding his own business in the Dodgers bullpen when he got the call in the bottom of the eighth: We need you to face DJ LeMahieu with two on and two out. Five pitches later, Ravin strikes out LeMahieu. The Dodgers rally in the top of the ninth, giving Ravin the win. Major league debut. Five pitches. One strikeout. First career victory. Great story to tell his family. "I'll sleep with the ball, I know that," Ravin said after the game.
20 greatest Dodgers
Our countdown nears its end, and I'm pretty sure you can figure out the top two.
Your favorite Dodgers
I asked you to send me your favorite Dodger of all time and why, and the responses continue to come in.
Rich Rankin of parts unknown: Jimmy Wynn for two reasons. He had a great nickname (The Toy Cannon) and he was quick thinking enough to let Joe Ferguson cut in front of him in the 1974 Series and throw out Sal Bando at the plate.
Mike Dudnikov of Union, N.J.: Carl Furillo. While the only time I ever saw him play was in the 1959 World Series when I was really young, I came to appreciate Furillo mostly through the book "The Boys of Summer" and from my father's comments. Later I would meet Carl at a baseball card show. I hung around where he had been signing autographs and asked a series of questions, all of which he answered. When we finished talking he asked if I didn't want his autograph, and I told him I did, but didn't have the special extra ticket needed because there had been an extra charge for that which I considered to be excessive. He replied, "Hey that makes no difference to me, I got paid." And then proceeded to sign two pictures for me. That is why I call him my favorite player.
Hey, I went an entire newsletter without talking about Chris Hatcher! Whoops.