Hi, welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, worried about the end of the world, because I believe the Dodgers’ giving Zack Greinke enough support to get him a victory is one of the signs to watch for.
Greinke on top
Poor Zack Greinke. He has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season, though you'd never know it by looking at his record. He started the season 5-0 and then went 10 starts (with a 1.79 earned-run average) before finally winning his sixth during Sunday's 2-0 win over the Miami Marlins. As Times Dodgers blogger Steve Dilbeck points out, in Greinke’s previous nine starts the Dodgers scored only 10 runs while he was actually in the game. Only once in those nine starts had he allowed more than two runs, yet all he had to show for it was an 0-2 record.
Voting for the All-Star game ends July 2 and reserves will be announced shortly after that. Which Dodgers will make the team? It appears none of them will be voted in as starters (if only we lived in Kansas City), but a few could make it as a reserve. However, because of the ridiculous rule that there must be one player from each team, some of the following Dodgers may get left off. With that in mind, here are my picks for Dodgers who deserve an All-Star spot:
Greinke. He is 6-2 with an ERA below 2.00, so he should make it easily. With a little run support, he could easily be 11-2.
J.P. Howell. Yes, J.P. Howell. Set-up men are now chosen to be part of the game, ever since former Commissioner Bud Selig decided home-field advantage in the World Series would go the team from the league that wins the All-Star game. Howell is 3-1 with an 0.40 ERA and has allowed only two extra-base hits, both doubles. He may be a key guy to have on the team.
Justin Turner. Somehow, Turner has become the best hitter on the Dodgers. He leads the team in hitting (.320), on-base percentage (.392) and slugging (.584). He can play second, short or third, which would be useful on an All-Star team.
Yasmani Grandal. He is second among NL catchers in slugging (.459) and OPS (.829). Buster Posey of the Giants should start, but you can make a case for Grandal and Yadier Molina of the Cardinals as his backups.
Adrian Gonzalez. His selection isn't the lock it once appeared to be, but Gonzalez might squeeze on to the team ahead of Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs, Freddie Freeman of the Braves and Joey Votto of the Reds, assuming the fans are smart enough to name Paul Goldschmidt of Arizona the starter.
Joc Pederson. Sure, his batting average isn't great, but he still leads all NL center fielders in on-base percentage (.383) and slugging (.522), plus his 3.2 WAR is the highest, and he is still the leading candidate to win rookie of the year.
Those are the six Dodgers I would consider. What about you?
The fans defend Mattingly
I asked you to write in with your defense of Don Mattingly, and some of you responded. A sampling:
Jennifer Schlickbernd: It's not really a matter of how good Mattingly is, it's more a matter of who's out there that's better.... Smart teams don't just fire people and then look around, smart teams keep who they have until they can find someone better. There's no one better out there right now better than Mattingly, unless you know something I don't.
Patti Higginbotham: My cup is still half full on the Dodgers and Mattingly and half empty on those guys upstairs trying to be managers from their computers. No one enjoys the constant shuffle but who's giving the orders, sometimes I sense it's not Donny Baseball.
Fortunato Gutierrez: I used to criticize Mattingly. I used to coach my son's little league team and it was very frustrating. Parents always tend to blame the coaches but I couldn't field for the players, pitch, swing the bat, squeeze home the run, hit and run, etc. The players have to step up the plate and come through in clutch situations. I honestly don't think Mattingly has a lot of control and decision making of the team. I feel Farhan Zaidi and Andrew Friedman pretty much run the show and tell him what to do and who to play.
Lou Brown of East Brunswick, N.J.: I like Don Mattingly for several reasons: He knows how to manage players who have super-inflated egos and who earn more money than they probably deserve; faces the press on a nightly basis and never loses control; and who is as nice a guy off the field as he is on it. Unlike Lasorda, who when he is in the public, I find to be a disingenuous blowhard, Mattingly will talk baseball for hours on end, always with a smile, and obey the rules of politeness. This is I why his players like and respect him. Ownership supports Mattingly because even with all the injuries we are experiencing of late, the ship of state runs smoothly. We are still in first. I back Don Mattingly to the hilt.
Chuck Culpepper of the Washington Post has a nice article on Vin Scully and how few people seem to realize how amazing it is that he is in his 66th season with the Dodgers. Read it here.
This week in Dodgers history
June 30, 1962: Sandy Koufax no-hits the Mets in a 5-0 victory to become the first left-hander to throw a no-hitter for the Dodgers since Nap Rucker in 1908.
June 30, 1985: Pedro Guerrero homers off Atlanta's Bruce Sutter to tie a major league record by hitting 15 home runs in June.
July 5, 2004: Eric Gagne's streak of 84 consecutive saves comes to an end when Arizona's Chad Tracy hits a run-scoring single.
A few newsletters ago, I wrote that I'd still rather have Howie Kendrick over Dee Gordon despite Gordon's fast start. Well, Gordon is still hitting over .350 and playing great defense, so, I may have been wrong. We'll see how it looks at the end of the season.