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Dodgers Dugout: Dodgers bounce back nicely; is Yasiel Puig about to be traded?

Yasmani Grandal and Kenley Jansen congratulate each other on a job well done.
(Jayne Kamin-Oncea / AFP/Getty Images)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and it sure was nice to hear all those Cubs fans walk out of Dodger Stadium silently on Saturday and Sunday.

Two of three is pretty good

Some random thoughts after winning two of three from the Cubs.

--Yeah, I know it could have been a sweep if A.J. Ellis was catching the ninth inning Friday instead of Carlos Ruiz, but you can drive yourself crazy doing stuff like that, because Ellis also wouldn’t have gone one for three with a walk and a hit by pitch, so the tone of the Dodger offense would have been different. It’s like people who say, “Look at how good the Dodgers would be this year with Cole Hamels!” Well, if they had Hamels, they wouldn’t have Corey Seager, because that is who the Phillies wanted for him. And who’s to say Hamels wouldn’t have hurt himself in his second game with the Dodgers? Playing “Let’s project” is fun, but doesn’t really work because all people want to do is make positive projections, which is enjoyable but not realistic.

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--Kenley Jansen bounced back to save the wins on Saturday and Sunday. He’s still one of the best closers in baseball. Will the Dodgers re-sign him? I sure hope so, but I have this feeling some team is going to offer him a massive contract that Andrew Friedman won’t want to match.

--The Dodgers showed that they indeed can win games without Ellis cheering them on from the bench. Imagine that.

--It was nice to see a team blow defensive coverage or throw to a wrong base during a shift. This team still reminds me a lot of the 1988 Dodgers. A different star each day, and taking advantage of opponent miscues to get a victory.

--The Dodgers are on pace to win 91 games. And the people who wrote me in the first half convinced that the team would finish fourth or fifth have stopped writing me for some reason.

--Too bad Brock Stewart couldn’t get the win Sunday; he sure deserved it.

--The Dodgers had eight runs, 19 hits and one error in the three games. The Cubs had eight runs, 21 hits and three errors. Seems like a couple of evenly matched teams to me.

--I’d still rather see Andrew Toles or Rob Segedin in right field over Josh Reddick, who looks like he’s trying too hard at the plate.

--If the season ended today, St. Louis would play at San Francisco for the wild-card spot. The winner of that game would play the Cubs in one best-of-five first-round series, with the Dodgers playing Washington in the other. The Dodgers are two games behind Washington, so the Nationals would get home-field advantage.

Puig put on trade waivers

Don’t get overly excited or worried about the news that the Dodgers put Yasiel Puig on trade waivers Sunday. Many teams do things like that in August, just to see who might be interested. Some teams have even put their entire roster on trade waivers in August. If a team claims Puig, the Dodgers would pull him off waivers and could work out a trade with that team.

If Puig is traded, it most likely won’t come until after the season, unless some team knocks the Dodgers’ socks off with an offer.

And for those of you who keep asking me why the Dodgers haven’t brought him back up since he is killing triple-A pitching, keep this in mind: They didn’t send him down because of his bat, they sent him down because of his attitude. Renting that party bus didn’t do him any favors, so the odds are against the team recalling Puig when the rosters can expand on Sept. 1. Or, as Dave Roberts put it when asked why Puig wouldn’t be called up since he is hitting so well and his attitude has improved: “That’s a fair question. Let me think through that one.”

That doesn’t sound like they are in a rush to bring him back up.

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 (19 games): Aug. 29-31 at Colorado, 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.

Trade update

How the players acquired at the trade deadline are doing:

Josh Reddick: .139 (11 for 79), one extra-base hit, 0 RBIs.

Rich Hill: 1-0, 0.00 ERA

Jesse Chavez: 1-0, 3.78 ERA in 13 games

Josh Fields: 1-0, 4.66 ERA in 11 games, currently in the minors

Ruiz steps up

No one felt worse than Carlos Ruiz about the two pitches that got by him that helped the Cubs tie the score in the ninth inning of a game they went on to win Friday. He took full responsibility, which speaks well of his character, and he had a question for Dave Roberts before Saturday’s game: Can I go out to the bullpen and catch all the relievers before they come into the game?

“That was a welcome question,” Roberts said. “For him to do that and want to learn the pitchers and humble himself and educate himself, that’s something A.J. Ellis would do. To acquire a guy like that, who brings similar attributes, it’s not surprising, but definitely pleasant.”

J.P. Howell was also impressed: “It’s unbelievable. That’s something where you don’t see anyone do that. What I think I would usually hear is ‘I got 15 years, I got a World Series ring, whatever.’ Not from him.”

The magic number

Each week I will look at a uniform number a 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. 48 (Brock Stewart)

Best Dodgers to wear No. 48: Andy Pafko (1952), Karl Spooner (1954-55), Dave Stewart (1978, 1981-83), Ramon Martinez (1988-98).

Others to wear No. 48: Ray Moore (1953), Russ Meyer (1953), Carmen Mauro (1953), Doyle Alexander (1971), Danny Walton (1976), Rick Sutcliffe (1976), Mike Ramsey (1985), Dennis Powell (1985-86), Orlando Mercado (1987). Jacob Brumfield (1999), Eric Gagne (1999-2000), Hiram Bocachica (2000-01), Russ Ortiz (2010), John Ely (2010-12), Nick Buss (2013), Zach Walters (2016), Nick Tepesch (2016).

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. Keep emailing them to me.

Randall Bertao: I grew up in a small Central Valley town not far from Fresno, so surrounded by Giants fans. I read a lot about the Brooklyn Dodgers and was 8 when they moved to L.A. I started to play baseball as Koufax, Drysdale, Wills et al. formed the type of team I loved, and I followed them religiously. I was given a small transistor radio, and if I held it to the window, I could hear Vinnie at night announce the games. My magic moment was after I moved to England in my 30s. One night I was driving home and flipping through a cheap car radio around 2 a.m. when I heard Vinnie’s voice. It certainly was one of the last things I expected and was blown away. I found out our Armed Forces Network played games, so I could hear Vin and the Dodgers on occasion. The year was 1988, so it was magical for a lot of reasons. I’ll always remember those moments. Thank you, Vin Scully.

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 whom 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

Cubs Manager Joe Maddon and Cubs (and former Dodgers) catcher David Ross presented Vin Scully with some gifts. And notice how deftly Scully turns the topic from himself to Ross’ tenure with the club. Watch and 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


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