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Dodgers

Dodgers Dugout: Impressive win, Kenta Maeda is for real, and David Letterman?

Chase Utley

Chase Utley

(David Zalubowski / AP)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and I want to thank Flavio Morales for pointing out this great tidbit from the past: Vin Scully appearing on "Late Night with David Letterman".

Dodgers win another series

The Dodgers won two of three from the Colorado Rockies, including rallying from 10-7 to score five runs in the top of the ninth of a 12-10 victory on Sunday. This team has a little something extra last season's team didn't. When they get the 11 players they have on the disabled list back, they could be even better.

Random thoughts from the Rockies series:

--Kenta Maeda is perhaps the biggest story of the season so far. To walk into the thin air of Denver, have a no-hitter going into the sixth inning, end up with the win and actually lower your ERA to 0.36 is amazing. He is going to hit a rough patch at some point, but he has the temperament and skills to ride that out and be a contributor to the team for years.  People keep asking how the Dodgers can possibly replace Zack Greinke. Well, look on the mound when Maeda pitches.

--I haven't said anything about Yasiel Puig until now because I didn't want to jinx him. But he looks a lot like the guy who impressed everyone in his first season. He is hitting .294 with a .368 OB% and three steals (he had three all of last season). I attribute this to two reasons: 1. He came into camp in shape. 2. Dave Roberts seems to know how to motivate him, something Don Mattingly was never able to do.

--I have been watching baseball for more than 40 years, and I have never seen a better throw than the one Puig made Friday night to throw out Trevor Story at third base. Watch it here. And notice the looks Justin Turner and Story give Puig afterward. That is the look of two players who know they just were part of something amazing.

--I was down on the signing of Chase Utley.  So far he has proven me wrong. Utley is hitting .319 and seems to be part of every big rally. He also bring an aggressive attitude this team has been sorely missing the last few seasons. He reminds me of Kirk Gibson out there.

--Don't put too much stock in the poor pitching performances by the bullpen in Denver, where ERA's go to die. 

--Howie Kendrick continues to slump, now hitting just .175. But he has only had 40 at-bats, so don't panic yet. If he went seven for 40 in July, it would blend in a lot better and not be as noticeable.

--Roberts has done a great job of getting playing time for everyone. The Dodgers have played 19 games and every non-pitcher on the active roster has been in at least 10 games.

--Joc Pederson is hitting .278 and slugging .500 (and is second on the team with eight walks). He's always going to be a guy who strikes out a lot, but if he can hit over .250 with walks and power, then he will be valuable because his defense is also terrific.

--Corey Seager is second on the team with 12 RBIs.

--Can enough be said about Adrian Gonzalez? He leads the team in batting average, home runs and RBIs. He reminds me of Steve Garvey, as they are both players you put in the lineup and never have to worry. You know exactly what you are going to get.

--By the way, the Dodgers are now on pace to win 102 games.

Where is he?

A lot of people have emailed me to ask what happened to Jimmy Rollins. Well, the former Dodgers shortstop is hitting .235 in 51 at-bats with the Chicago White Sox.

Three keys

Andrew Friedman talked to Jon Weisman last week about three keys to the Dodgers future: The bullpen, minor league depth and injury reduction. What he has to say is interesting, and I actually agree with a lot of it. These are the types of interviews Friedman should do more of, so he can get his message out there better and let fans see that he does have a plan. You don't have to agree with the plan, but he does have one. I still think he underestimates the frustration Dodgers fans feel with the long World Series drought, but I'm sure he could find a few things about me to complain about too.

I have asked Friedman to answer reader questions here on the Dodgers Dugout, and have been rebuffed. Hopefully at some point he will change his mind and see the advantage of getting his word out to more fans.

You can read Friedman's interview with Weisman if you click here.

The magic number

Each week I will look at a uniform number a current Dodger is wearing and go through the history of that number with the Dodgers. When I was a kid and went to games, I was always curious as to who wore the number of my favorite players. Then again, I was a strange kid.

We will go in numerical order, meaning next up is:

No. 9 (Yasmani Grandal)

Best Dodgers to wear No. 9: Babe Phelps (1937-41), Gino Cimoli (1956-58), Wally Moon (1959-65).

Others to wear No. 9: Danny Taylor (1932-36), Tom Winsett (1936), Billy Sullivan (1942), Bill Hart (1943), Lloyd Waner (1944), Tommy Brown (1944-45), Erv Palica (1945), Barney White (1945), Jack Graham (1946), Arky Vaughn (1947-48), Bob Ramazotti (1949), Rocky Bridges (1951-52), Dick Teed (1953), Dixie Howell (1953), Al Ferrara (1966-68), Andy Kosco (1969-70), Terry McDermott (1972), Leron Lee (1975-76), Gary Thomasson (1979-80), Jerry Grote (1977-78, 1981), Don Crow (1982), Greg Brock (1983-86), Mickey Hatcher (1987-90), Todd Hundley (1999-2000, 2003), Marquis Grissom (2001-02), Jason Phillips (2005), Juan Pierre (2007-09), Russ Mitchell (2010), Garret Anderson (2010), Hector Gimenez (2011), Dee Gordon (2011-14).

What Vin Scully means to me

I asked you to tell me your best Vin Scully memory, and I got a lot of responses. I will respond to selected ones in each newsletter. And keep emailing them to me.Steve Crane: My parents always told this story to me as I was growing up. When I was very young, they thought television would be a bad influence on me, so they never turned our black and white console on while I was awake. 

In 1963 my father got laid off and so was watching the World Series when I woke up from my nap. I walked out of my room and my eyes got as big as saucers. I sat next to the TV set and the first disembodied voice I ever heard was that of Vin Scully. 

That moment began my love affair with the Dodgers that has lasted 53 years. When I hear Vin’s voice it immediately brings me back to being at the Stadium, or listening to him on a transistor radio while playing catch with my Dad in our backyard. Somehow Vin reminds me of the warm sun on my face, the smell of freshly cut grass and laughter. 

Vin Scully is more than a sports announcer to me and to all Dodger fans, he is a part of the social fabric of Los Angeles, whose voice brings joy by reminding us of so many simple moments of happiness throughout our lives. As you get older you really treasure the times when you feel like a kid again, and Vin’s voice never fails for me. 

If we are forced to miss his last season on television I don’t know how I could ever feel the same way about the Dodgers again. That would really be a shame for me and for the Dodgers, because I know there are a lot of people that feel the same way. 

And finally

Bill Shaikin writes a great column asking Vin Scully to call the All-Star game. Read it here.

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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