Dodgers Dugout: Dodgers make it hard to stay optimistic

Yasiel Puig wore special "Win for Vin" shoes Sunday.
(Christian Petersen / AFP/Getty Images)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and maybe the Dodgers should hire the Pep Boys to manage this team, because they have problems in the clutch.

Tough weekend

I keep trying to be optimistic about this team. They were 51-40 going into the break and looked like they were in command of at least a wild-card spot. They were opening the second half with three games against Arizona, the worst team in the NL West. So what do they do? Lose two of three. In the two losses, they were four for 26 with runners in scoring position, and stranded 25 runners. They are 10th in the National League in batting with runners in scoring position, and with two out and runners in scoring position, they are 14th, hitting .194.


Of course, if I want to look on the bright side, I can see that the Giants were swept by the San Diego Padres, so the Dodgers actually gained a game in the standings and still lead the wild-card standings. Of course, the more pessimistic side of me wonders a few things:

Why do the Dodgers keep trotting Chris Hatcher out there?

How long does the fact A.J. Ellis is popular with the pitchers outweigh the fact that he is hitting .188 and slugging .248?

How is it that a team with such a deep minor-league system as the Dodgers keeps trotting guys such as Zach Walters (career average: .181) and Will Venable out there?

At what point do we stop hearing about all these great prospects in the minors and start seeing them actually play? Sure, some of them aren’t ready yet, but really, Zach Walters?

Casey Fien has allowed seven home runs in 22 innings. Perhaps it is time to try someone else.

The Dodgers are still in a playoff spot, but does this feel like a team that can win the World Series?

Kershaw update


Clayton Kershaw pitched a four-inning simulated game on Sunday. The big test is how he responds today and tomorrow. If he has no discomfort, he could start for the Dodgers on Thursday or Friday. If not, everything gets pushed back about a week. The big question is how they make room for him in the rotation. If Hyun-jin Ryu has another bad outing on Wednesday, I would expect him to go back on the DL to build up some arm strength.

Win for Vin

Yasiel Puig debuted some special cleats on Sunday. They featured a picture of Vin Scully on the side with the words “Win for Vin.” Why did he do this? “I play baseball, and I like the way that he narrates. After 67 years of work, he deserves his respect.”

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 who wore the number of my favorite players. Then again, I was a strange kid. For “best Dodgers to wear the number,” only the stats a player compiles while he was with the team and wearing that number count.

Next up is:

No. 33 (Scott Van Slyke)

Best Dodgers to wear No. 33: Frenchy Bodagaray (1944-45), Roy Campanella (1948), Eddie Murray (1989-91, 1997).

Others to wear No. 33 with the Dodgers: Ernie Koy (1938), Don Ross (1940), Newt Kimball (1940), Mace Brown (1941), Chet Kehn (1942), Pat Ankenman (1943), Don Padgett (1946), Tommy Brown (1947-48), Willie Ramsdell (1948-50), Jim Romano (1950), Steve Bilko (1958), Ron Hunt (1967), Vic Davalillo (1977-80), Sid Bream (1983-85), Jeff Hamilton (1986-88), Eric Davis (1992-93), Garey Ingram (1994-95), Carlos Perez (1998-2000), Hiram Bocachica (2001), Brian Jordan (2002-03), Jason Grabowski (2004), Ricky Ledee (2005), Ramon Martinez (2006), David Wells (2007), Blake DeWitt (2008-10), Juan Castro (2010), Marcus Thames (2011), Juan Rivera (2011), Bobby Abreu (2012), Ramon Hernandez (2013), Scott Van Slyke (2013-16).

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.

Howard Fischer: When I was about 7 (oh, we’re talking 50-plus years ago), I was the classic transistor-under-the-pillow guy who was supposed to be asleep each night by 10. But Vinny was on the air, so there was no rest to be had. The Voice was fed to my brain constantly, to where it was right behind my parents’ in importance. But one night, it crept ahead in that race.

It was December. My mom took a few siblings and me to a Christmas tree lot in West L.A. We hunted all over the lot for the right tree, and we eventually arrived at exactly the best one. Mom told me, “Wait right here while I go get the guy to sell us the tree. Don’t move. Stay with that tree.” And triumphantly she and my brothers marched off. I was, of course, quite proud of the immense honor bestowed on me: Guardian of Dead Tree.

A minute or two into my shift, I heard The Voice from the forest. “Oh, that’s a mahhhhhrrrvelous tree! Ho, what a great tree!” And The Voice — suddenly attached to a red-haired man I didn’t recognize — appeared with his tribe. They grabbed the tree and walked away with it.

Naturally, Mom and sibs returned and were horrified that I had so spectacularly failed in my assignment. “Who—? What—? Where did it go?!”

“I think Vin Scully took it.” I recall being scolded for creating such an incredible fib, but I don’t think I got spanked. Yet, even if I did, I was delighted that The Voice got such a marvelous tree.

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 ([866] 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.

And finally

You know how everyone seems to rave about Scully’s call of Sandy Koufax’s perfect game, especially the ninth inning? Well, they are right. Listen to 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