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Dodgers

Dodgers Dugout: Dodgers are looking more like last year’s team

Cody Bellinger
Cody Bellinger
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press )

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell. After all the gnashing of teeth after the bad start to the season, the Dodgers now have a better record than they did at this point last season.

Back in the saddle again?

—OK, it may be too soon to say the Dodgers are back, but they have won six of seven and look a lot more like the team that won the NL pennant last season.

—I could point out that this string of good games and the resurgent offense coincides with the team putting Logan Forsythe on the disabled list, but that would be mean, so I won’t do it.

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—In those seven games, Corey Seager hit .321/.429/.464 and Chris Taylor hit .281/.343/.541. It’s amazing how the offense works better when the first two guys in the lineup hit better.

—How does Cody Bellinger look so bad on one swing and then hit a drive off the wall on the next swing?

—That slide by Bellinger on Sunday was brilliant. Pulling his hand back to avoid the tag while sliding into second is a lot harder than he made it look.

—Hey ESPN, if you are going to basically ignore two or three Dodger at-bats to interview someone, at least interview a Dodger, OK?

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Alex Rodriguez makes some great points during the games. We live in a world now where Rodriguez is a respected baseball commentator and Derek Jeter is a reviled team owner. How did that happen?

—Watching Hyun-Jin Ryu dominate the Nationals on Saturday makes it all the more frustrating when he goes out there and gives up six runs in three innings.

—With the way the Arizona Diamondbacks are playing, the Dodgers may need to win 104 games again this season just to make the playoffs.

Tony Cingrani has a new nickname: “Savage.”

—Did you see how mad Kenley Jansen got when he gave up that second hit Sunday in the ninth inning? And then his velocity went back up to normal on the next batter? I think that may be the turning point to his season.

Buehler … Buehler …

Walker Buehler makes his starting debut for the Dodgers tonight against the Marlins. He was pitching very well in the minors, striking out 16 batters in 13 innings with a 2.08 ERA. And pitching against the Marlins is very much like facing a minor-league team, so he shouldn’t notice much of a difference. The Dodgers still want him pitching no more than 150 innings or so this season, so don’t expect him to stick around even if he pitches really well.

Cy who?

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Before Friday’s Dodger game, Jerry Hairston Jr. was on the pre-game show talking about how he always hit Cy Young winners well. I was listening to this and thought, “Is that really true? Did a guy with a .257 career batting average really hit Cy Young winners well?”

Thanks to baseball-reference.com, we can check. Here’s how he did against Cy Young winners:

Barry Zito: 10 for 29, 4 doubles, 1 homer, 9 walks, .345

Roy Halladay: 3 for 31, .097

Pedro Martinez: 11 for 30, 2 doubles, 1 triple, .367

Chris Carpenter: 7 for 30, 1 double, .233

CC Sabathia: 10 for 31, 2 doubles, 1 homer, .323

Roger Clemens: 6 for 26, 1 double, .231

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Cliff Lee: 3 for 27, 1 homer, .111

Bartolo Colon: 4 for 20, .200

Johan Santana: 2 for 20, .100

David Cone: 2 for 12, 1 double, .167

Zack Greinke: 7 for 13, 5 doubles, .538

Randy Johnson: 1 for 10, .100

Jake Peavy: 1 for 9, .111

R.A. Dickey: 2 for 7, .286

Clayton Kershaw: 3 for 8, 2 doubles, .375

David Price: 0 for 7, .000

Jake Arrieta: 1 for 6, 1 double, .167

Tom Glavine: 1 for 5, 1 double, .200

Felix Hernandez: 2 for 5, 1 double, .400

Tim Lincecum: 2 for 4, .500

Brandon Webb: 0 for 5, .000

Bret Saberhagen: 0 for 4, .000

Eric Gagne: 1 for 3, 1 double, .333

Dwight Gooden: 0 for 3, .000

Greg Maddux: 1 for 3, .333

Pat Hentgen: 2 for 2, 1 double, 1.000

John Smoltz: 0 for 1, .000

Justin Verlander: 0 for 1, .000

Total: 82 for 352, 23 doubles, 1 triple, 3 homers, .233

Overall, Hairston hit .233 against Cy Young Award winners, including .367 against Pedro Martinez and .375 against Clayton Kershaw. So while he didn’t exactly own Cy Young winners, you can see why he remembers it that way.

Comparison

2018 Dodgers: 10-10, third place in NL West, 4.5 games behind Arizona, +14 run differential

2017 Dodgers: 9-11, third place in NL West, 5 games behind Colorado, +11 run differential

These names seem familiar

What recently departed Dodgers are doing around the league (through Saturday):

Adrian Gonzalez, Mets: .229/.345/.391, 2 HRs, 11 RBIs, 107 OPS+

Charlie Culberson, Braves, .125/.250/.167, 20 OPS+

Brandon McCarthy, Braves, 3-0, 2.91 ERA, 134 ERA+

Yu Darvish, Cubs, 0-2, 6.86 ERA, 59 ERA+

Curtis Granderson, Blue Jays, .319/.439/.532, 164 OPS+

Brandon Morrow, Cubs, 0-0, 3 saves, 0.00 ERA

Tony Watson, Giants, 1-1, 1.04 ERA, 382 ERA+

Chris Hatcher, A’s, 2-0, 11.12 ERA, 39 ERA+

Luis Avilan, White Sox, 0-0, 6.35 ERA, 68 ERA+

Trayce Thompson, traded to White Sox from A’s, .167/.167/.417, 58 OPS+

Andre Ethier, still unsigned

Up next

Monday, 7 p.m.: Miami (Jarlin Garcia, 1-0, 0.86 ERA) at Dodgers (Walker Buehler, first appearance this season)

Tuesday, 7 p.m.: Miami (Dillon Peters, 2-2, 6.98 ERA) at Dodgers (Kenta Maeda, 2-1. 3.77 ERA)

Wednesday, 4:30 p.m.: Miami (Trevor Richards, 0-2, 6.16 ERA) at Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw, 1-3, 2.45 ERA)

And finally

Justin Turner takes swings off tee. Read all about it here. And if you want to read more about the 25 greatest Dodgers list, check out this conversation I had with Howard Cole at Forbes.com.

Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me and follow me on Twitter: @latimeshouston.


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