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Dodgers

Dodgers Dugout: Kenley Jansen loves his cutter

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Kenley Jansen
(Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell and it’s amazing to think that Hyun-Jin Ryu has pitched an impressive 31 straight scoreless innings and is barely halfway to Orel Hershiser’s record.

Getting on the same page

An interesting possibility for Kenley Jansen’s occasional struggles came up recently. First, Pedro Moura of The Athletic wrote about Jansen and the Dodger catchers perhaps not being on the same page. Then The Times’ Jorge Castillo followed up with this excellent story. Go read those stories, then meet me back here in the next paragraph.

Are you back? Good. It appears that Jansen is going to live or die with his cutter. Austin Barnes and Russell Martin would love for him to mix in his other pitches and not rely so heavily on the cutter, which doesn’t appear to have the same velocity or movement as it did two years ago.

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Rick Honeycutt put it this way: “Truth of the matter [is] we want Kenley to pitch more. We want him to use his two-seam. We want him to use his slider. He throws the cutter to both sides so ... everybody says, ‘What’s the big deal? You only got two pitches. Your cutter, slider.’ Well, he doesn’t. He’s got more than that.”

Jansen throws his cutter 85% of the time. This season, hitters are batting .254 against Jansen’s cutter. Last season, they hit .185.

So, on one side, you have those who wish Jansen would use all his pitches, and on the other side you have Jansen, who owes his success to his cutter and is not willing to give up on it so quickly.

“It’s no big deal,” Jansen said. “Trust me, man. I know how to pitch. I’m not going to change anything. I’m going to mix in my sliders, that’s something I always mix.”

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Well, Jansen has thrown 370 pitches this season, and only 22 sliders, so I’m thinking that’s more of a sprinkle than a mix. But it will be interesting to keep an eye on how many times Jansen shakes off his catcher in his next few outings.

Julio Urias

Julio Urias is expected to be reinstated from paid administrative leave and activated today, eight days after he was arrested on suspicion of domestic battery. At the time I write this on Monday evening,the MLB investigation is ongoing, but it is unclear if the LAPD investigation is complete. Urias and his girlfriend insisted the incident was only a verbal altercation, according to law enforcement officials, but the video indicated the woman was pushed, according to a person familiar with the police probe. The league has been unable to obtain the video. The commissioner’s office could have requested another seven-day leave, suspended Urias or deferred discipline to a later date. Once Urias is reinstated, the Dodgers must put him on the active major league roster. They can’t option him to the minors.

Streaking

Hyun-Jin Ryu extended his scoreless innings streak to 31 in the Dodgers’ 8-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday. A look at the top scoreless streaks in Dodger history:

59-Orel Hershiser (1988)

58-Don Drysdale (1968)

45-Zack Greinke (2015)

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41-Clayton Kershaw (2014)

37-Clayton Kershaw (2015)

35-Fernando Valenzuela (1981)

35-Don Sutton (1972)

33-Orel Hershiser (1984)

33-Sandy Koufax (1963)

31-Fernando Valenzuela (1980-81)

31-Bob Miller (1964)

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31-Hyun-Jin Ryu (2019)

All-time teams

If you wanted to pit an all-time L.A. Dodgers team against an all-time Angels team, how would you pick the players? One way is by using the Wins Above Replacement stat, or WAR. This stat attempts to answer the question, “If this player got injured and their team had to replace them with a freely available minor leaguer, how much value would the team be losing?” That value is expressed in a numerical format, with a WAR of 6.0 or higher in a season being an MVP caliber player and anything between 0-2 being a role player. If we add up a player’s WAR each season, we get their career WAR. We can use this to determine who had this highest career WAR at each position while playing for the Dodgers and Angels. To level the playing field a bit, we will limit the Dodgers to their time in L.A. Here is a potential 25-man roster for each team. Players are listed where they played the most games for the team.

Catcher

Dodgers: Mike Piazza (32.0), Mike Scioscia (26.1)

Angels: Bob Boone (12.1), Mike Napoli (11.1)

First base

Dodgers: Steve Garvey (36.7), Wes Parker (22.9)

Angels: Darin Erstad (32.7), Wally Joyner (18.9)

Second base

Dodgers: Davey Lopes (32.3), Jim Lefebvre (17.2)

Angels: Bobby Grich (35.1), Howie Kendrick (27.6)

Third base

Dodgers: Ron Cey (47.7), Pedro Guerrero (32.7)

Angels: Troy Glaus (22.6), Chone Figgins (22.4)

Shortstop

Dodgers: Maury Wills (32.1), Bill Russell (31.3)

Angels: Jim Fregosi (45.9), Erick Aybar (23.8)

Left field

Dodgers: Dusty Baker (20.0), Gary Sheffield (17.0)

Angels: Brian Downing (38.0), Garret Anderson (28.1)

Center field

Dodgers: Willie Davis (54.6), Matt Kemp (22.8)

Angels: Mike Trout (67.1), Torii Hunter (20.7)

Right field

Dodgers: Raul Mondesi (21.6), Andre Ethier (21.2)

Angels: Tim Salmon (40.6), Vladimir Guerrero (22.8)

Starting pitchers

Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw (62.3), Don Drysdale (53.5), Sandy Koufax (51.2), Don Sutton (50.4), Orel Hershiser (39.6)

Angels: Chuck Finley (52.0), Nolan Ryan (40.0), Jered Weaver (35.8), Frank Tanana (34.2), Mark Langston (26.0)

Relievers

Dodgers: Jim Brewer (15.7), Kenley Jansen (15.3), Ron Perranoski (14.8), Alejandro Pena (12.8).

Angels: Troy Percival (16.8), Francisco Rodriguez (16.0), Scot Shields (12.2), Don Aase (10.4)

NL West standings (through Sunday)

A look at the NL West standings after Monday’s games:

Dodgers, 31-17, ---

Arizona, 25-22, 5.5 GB

San Diego, 23-24, 7.5 GB

Colorado, 20-25, 9.5 GB

San Francisco, 20-25, 9.5 GB

If the season had ended Sunday, Pittsburgh would play at Milwaukee in the wild-card game, with the winner taking on the Dodgers in one NLDS. The other NLDS would feature Philadelphia at Chicago.

In the AL, Cleveland would play at Tampa Bay in the wild-card game, with the winner taking on Houston in one ALDS. The other ALDS would feature New York at Minnesota.

These names seem familiar

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

Brian Dozier, Nationals, .207/.307/.352, 73 OPS+

Kyle Farmer, Reds, .241/.286/.534, 109 OPS+

Logan Forsythe, Rangers, .318/.420/.518, 142 OPS+

Yasmani Grandal, Brewers, .265/.358/.463, 116 OPS+

Daniel Hudson, Blue Jays, 3-1, 3.32 ERA

Tim Locastro, Diamondbacks, .235/.435/.235, 85 OPS+. Back in minors.

Matt Kemp, Reds, .200/.210/.283, 28 OPS+. Released by the Reds.

Manny Machado, Padres, .262/.340/.453, 117 OPS+

Yasiel Puig, Reds, .206/.253/.358, 58 OPS+

Zac Rosscup, Mariners, 2-0, 3.21 ERA. Designated for assignment.

Alex Wood, Reds, on IL with sore back

TV schedule

KTLA will televise four more Dodger games during the season. They are:

Monday vs. New York Mets, 5 p.m.

Thursday, May 30, vs. New York Mets, 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, June 1, vs. Philadelphia, 7 p.m.

Saturday, June 15, vs. Chicago Cubs, 6 p.m.

Up next

Today: Dodgers (*Clayton Kershaw) at Tampa Bay (TBA), 4 p.m.

Wednesday: Dodgers (*Rich Hill) at Tampa Bay (TBA), 4 p.m.

*-left-handed

And finally

The Dodgers hit four straight homers in the ninth to tie it, then another in the 10th to win. Watch 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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