Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and it has been so hot lately I am convinced that the Earth has been ripped from its orbit and is hurtling toward the sun.
Everybody loves Chris
Chris Taylor has seemingly come out of nowhere to become one of the better hitters in the National League this season. He was so obscure that the last time the Dodgers were on national television, Joe Buck referred to him as a rookie. But he’s not.
Here are 10 things you need to know about him:
1. He was drafted by Seattle in the fifth round of the 2012 draft out of the University of Virginia. That’s the same year the Dodgers drafted Corey Seager in the first round. Also in 2012, the Dodgers chose Ross Stripling in the fifth round, 15 picks after Seattle chose Taylor.
2. In 2011, Taylor drove in the winning runs to lift Virginia over UC Irvine and into the College World Series.
3. He was named Seattle’s minor league player of the year for the 2013 season after he hit .314 with 108 runs scored and 38 stolen bases for High Desert of the California League and Jackson of the Southern League.
4. The Mariners promoted him to the majors on July 24, 2014. He hit .287 with eight doubles and nine RBIs in 47 games for Seattle and was expected to be a solid player for the Mariners for years to come.
5. Taylor was hit by a pitch and broke his wrist during spring training in 2015. When he came off the DL, he hit only .170 in 102 plate appearances and the Mariners quickly soured on him.
6. On June 19, 2016, the Dodgers sent Zach Lee to Seattle in exchange for Taylor, who hit .207 in 62 plate appearances with L.A.
7. In 318 plate appearances before this season, Taylor had hit only one home run. He already has seven homers in 150 plate appearances this season.
8. He changed his swing before this season, adding a leg kick and adjusting the position of his hands.
9. He was one of the Dodgers’ best hitters in spring training, hitting .354/.483/.500, but was sent to triple-A to start the season. He was recalled on April 19 when Logan Forsythe went on the DL with a broken right big toe.
10. His walk-up music when he comes to the plate at Dodger Stadium: “Copperhead Road” by Steve Earle.
Kenta on the bubble
The Dodgers have been very supportive of Kenta Maeda and his early-season struggles, but that may have changed after Maeda lasted only four innings against the Milwaukee Brewers in the Dodgers’ 3-0 loss on Sunday.
After the game, Dave Roberts said, “I want him to understand that I have confidence in him. But there’s got to be something that he’s got to give me, and the team — a reason to keep sending him out there.”
Roberts said Maeda has been pitching as though he is afraid of the hitters. “When you get ahead of hitters like he does, you’ve got to be able to put them away. I think he starts to be a little too afraid of contact. There’s a lot of noncompetitive pitchers once he gets ahead, and we’ve got to clean that up. ... We can’t have the shorter outings. We’ve got to find some length.”
Maeda is set to start again this weekend against the Reds.
The obscure Dodgers record of the week
Which relief pitcher appeared in the most career games with the Dodgers?
Jim Brewer and Ron Perranoski are tied for the lead with 456 games each. Kenley Jansen is third with 431. Rounding out the top 10: Clem Labine (388), Jonathon Broxton (386), Charlie Hough (385), Ed Roebuck (321), Tom Niedenfuer (310), Tim Crews (277) and Ronald Bellisario (273).
All these numbers, and more, can be found at baseball-reference.com.
Monday, 7 p.m. PDT, Washington (Gio Gonzalez, 4-1, 3.03) at Dodgers (Hyun-jin Ryu, 2-5, 3.91)
Tuesday, 7 p.m. PDT, Washington (Max Scherzer, 6-3, 2.56) at Dodgers (Brandon McCarthy, 5-2, 3.38)
Wednesday, Noon PDT, Washington (Stephen Strasburg, 7-1, 2.91) at Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw, 7-2, 2.28)
Note: Pitchers are subject to change.
Brandon McCarthy hopes his blister is a one-time-only incident. Read it here.