Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, bidding a sad farewell to Gene Wilder. “We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of the dreams.”
Some late-breaking news: KTLA (Channel 5) will air Vin Scully’s final six regular-season games, the station announced Friday. We will have more on this in the next newsletter.
--I was all prepared to criticize the Dodgers for being swept by the lowly Colorado Rockies, but then Game 2 on Wednesday happened.
--There are 29 games left in the season. Every game has added importance now, so it’s time for Andrew Toles to get more playing time. He’s hitting .397 and slugging .690. Meanwhile, Josh Reddick and Kiké Hernandez are both hitting below .200. Hernandez is obviously not breaking out of his season-long slump, and you can’t wait forever for Reddick to hit how he is capable. Let’s take a chance that Toles in the Bob “Hurricane” Hazle of this century.
--Toles has appeared in 25 games this season. The Dodgers are 17-8 in those games.
--A lot of talk the last couple of days that the Dodgers and Arizona were involved in a discussion about trading Zack Greinke back to the Dodgers. One thing to keep in mind when you read about trade rumors. “Discussion” doesn’t mean as much as many think. Let’s say I want to buy your house. You don’t want to sell it. But I call you and say “Hey, can I buy your house?” You say “No, it’s not for sale.” I can then honestly say to my friends, "Yeah, I’ve had a discussion with them about buying their house.” The Dodgers are not going to be acquiring Greinke this season. Anything is possible after the season.
--It looks like the Dodgers are going to bring Yasiel Puig back from the minors, possibly as soon as today. He has been getting positive reviews for his attitude from Oklahoma City Manager Bill Haselman, plus he is hitting .348 and slugging .594 in 19 games there. So, with Reddick slumping, the Dodgers are willing to give Puig another chance. Let’s hope Puig arrives focused and wanting to prove something to the team, because he has the capability of carrying a team when he is playing at his full potential. And it’s amazing how attitude problems can be overlooked when you play to your full potential.
--Rich Hill was scratched from his start Wednesday because of blisters. Again. Hill said he could pitch, but the Dodgers preferred to be cautious.
--For those of you hoping the Dodgers can bolster their rotation in the off-season by signing a free agent or two, keep in mind that Hill will be one of the top starting pitchers on the market. So it’s going to be a weak market for starting pitchers. It’s unlikely the Dodgers will get a difference maker unless they make a trade, or unless they think Julio Urias and Jose De Leon are ready to start every fifth day.
--In the last newsletter, I wrote that Texas wanted Corey Seager in exchange for Cole Hamels. I meant Philadelphia of course. Texas is the team that ended up trading for Hamels. I messed that up because I’m just stupid sometimes.
The rest of the schedule
HOME (13 games): Sept. 2-4 vs. San Diego, Sept. 5-7 vs. Arizona, Sept. 19-21 vs. San Francisco, Sept. 22-25 vs. Colorado
ROAD (16 games): Sept. 9-11 at Miami, Sept. 12-14 at New York Yankees, Sept. 15-18 at Arizona, Sept. 27-29 at San Diego, Sept 30-Oct. 2 at San Francisco.
How the players acquired at the trade deadline are doing:
Josh Reddick: .161 (14 for 87), one extra-base hit, one RBI
Rich Hill: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, sidelined again by blister
Jesse Chavez: 1-0, 3.57 ERA in 14 games
Josh Fields: 1-0, 4.66 ERA in 11 games, currently in the minors
Ask Ross Porter
Former Dodgers announcer Ross Porter will be answering select reader questions for the rest of the season. Email me a question for Ross, and I will pass it on. His latest response:
Tom Duchene asks: How come there is so much emphasis on the end of July trade deadline and then the Dodgers trade A. J. Ellis for Ruiz after the deadline with no problem. How does that system work?
Ross: Good question, Tom. It can be confusing. Trades do not stop on July 31, the non-waiver trade deadline. However, to deal a player on its 40-man roster after that date, a team has to go through the waiver system. Clubs don’t get hurt when they put players-- except those on the disabled list-- on revocable waivers at the beginning of August. They can pull the man back and keep him if he’s on waivers and other teams claim him.
There can be a trade with the claiming franchise, but a 48-hour deadline is imposed. The player can also be released. If no one claims a player for two days, he passes through waivers, and his team can trade him to any club, provided he does not have a no-trade clause or a limited no-trade provision for 10-year major leaguers who played five straight seasons with his current team. A team can pull a player back from waivers just once. Then if he is put on waivers a second time and claimed, his rights go to the organization awarded the claim. If more than one team places a claim, the one with the worst record in that player’s league gets him. If no one in that league claims the player, the process is the same for the other circuit with the team with the most losses getting first refusal.
All players traded after August 31 cannot play in the postseason. If you are a contender, it is hard to acquire good players in August because the other playoff hopefuls will make it difficult.
Because they are by far the worst hitting team in baseball against left-handed pitchers this season (.219 average) the Dodgers on August 25 acquired catcher Carlos Ruiz, who was hitting .261 for the Phillies, in exchange for Ellis who was batting .194 for the Dodgers.
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 publish selected ones in each newsletter. And keep emailing them to me.
Jerry Braden: Growing up in Texas in the 1950s, with no MLB teams in the state at that time, my family became Dodger fans. We did not have the advantage of hearing Vin Scully on a daily basis, although he was on major national telecasts of baseball, golf, and football, and we knew and loved him as “our broadcaster”. With the advent of satellite telecasts and baseball packages, I was finally able to enjoy the daily class that only Vin Scully brings to the booth.
In spring 2000 I participated in the Dodger Fantasy Camp in Vero Beach. Part of the package included transportation from the airport to Dodgertown. The driver, Joe, who later became a close friend, told me that he was driving Duke Snider in for the camp the next day. I asked “How do you get a job like that?” A couple of years later after early retirement, my wife and I went back to Vero Beach for spring training. The first person I saw in Holman Stadium was Joe, the driver. I repeated my question, “How do you get a job like that?” Shortly thereafter, my wife and I bought a second home in Vero Beach, and with Joe’s help, landed my retirement dream job, driving Dodger players, coaches, and staff throughout Florida.
The list of Dodgers I had the privilege to drive is like a Who’s Who of Dodgers stars, but the highlight was when I received the call to pick up Mr. and Mrs. Scully at the Orlando airport. Imagine standing there in your Dodger blue polo shirt and L.A. cap, seeing Vin Scully descend down the escalator, spot you, and flash a beaming smile, as if you were a long lost friend. He introduced me to his lovely wife, Sandi. His genuine warmth erased any trace of nervousness that I felt. During the 90-minute trip to Vero it was surreal, hearing his voice as he discussed his 50+ years visiting Dodgertown.
A few days later, I received the call to drive Mr. Scully back to Orlando for his return flight. I couldn’t believe my good fortune, and then the dispatcher said, “He asked for you specifically.” To have the incredibly iconic voice of the Dodgers request that I drive him back, added to the great memory.
The TV situation
If you would like to complain about the Dodgers’ TV situation, you have three options: The Dodgers, Time Warner Cable and whatever local cable or satellite provider you have that doesn’t carry the Dodgers. Here’s who to contact:
For the Dodgers, click here or call (866) DODGERS ( 363-4377). (I hope you like form letters.)
For Time Warner, click here.
For DirecTV, call (800) 531-5000 or click here.
For your local cable or satellite provider, consult your bill for the customer service number and for the website.
Cal Ripken Jr. interviews Vin Scully before Game 3 of the recent Dodgers-Cubs series. Watch and listen here.