Dodgers Dugout: Splitting with the Cubs

Dodgers Dugout: Splitting with the Cubs
Closer Kenley Jansen and catcher Yasmani Grandal celebrate after getting the final out of a game Wednesday to give the Dodgers a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. (Tannen Maury / EPA)

Hi, welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, reminding you that the Dodgers are still on pace to win 90 games this season and still have the fifth best record in baseball.

Split decision

It looked as though the Dodgers were headed for calamity in Chicago, but they won Wednesday and again Thursday to salvage a split of the four-game series. They won Thursday despite having Joc Pederson and Adrian Gonzalez on the bench, which was strange, because Don Mattingly usually saves his bad lineups for when Clayton Kershaw is pitching.

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Speaking of Mattingly

Some of you thought I was too harsh in the last newsletter, and while I appreciate and respect your opinion, I am still not convinced he is a good game manager at all. So, to show I am an equal-opportunity type of person, send me a paragraph explaining why you think Mattingly is a good manager and I will run it in a future newsletter.

Friedman defends Mattingly

Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers' president of baseball operations, defended Mattingly in light of criticism he has received for the team's recent struggle on offense:

"First and foremost, this mini-funk we're in is all our faults — front office, coaching staff, players," Friedman told Times Dodgers reporter Dylan Hernandez. "But there's no finger pointing. We're all trying to figure out the best way we can get out of this as quickly as we can. There's absolutely no panic in our group because we appreciate how talented our roster is.

"And by our group, I mean everyone — the front office, the coaching staff, the players. Everyone appreciates how much talent is in that room and how much guys care. And by caring, I mean their work ethic and focus on how to improve.

"Again, I think it's all of our faults. I don't think it's fair to put it on any one person."

It's Paddington time!

Paddington Bear threw out the first pitch at Wrigley Field before Thursday's Cubs-Dodgers game. If you watch the video, you will see Paddington's pitch was wild and bounced in the dirt, which makes me think that was Chris Hatcher in the bear suit.

Future tense

The Dodgers said they will not allow Corey Seager to take part in this year's All-Star Futures game, when the best players in the minors get together to show their stuff. No reason was given, but let's hope it means that the Dodgers have decided Seager's future will be in the majors shortly.

Your favorite Dodger

Jason Douglas of Folsom: As a kid growing up in the '70s, my favorite Dodger was always Dusty Baker.  I found out later that he grew up playing baseball in the area.  Over the years I have grown to appreciate players for their attributes and talents, but also for their prominence over the Giants.  I would say my current favorite is Clayton Kershaw, but Zack Greinke is a close second because of the way they both approach the game.  I have also always appreciated Andre Ethier's ability to stay out of the spotlight for negative things, always playing hard and not being a disruption in the clubhouse or outside of the game.

Bert Rosenblum of Anthem, Ariz.: I've been a Dodger fan for 76 years (saw my first Dodger game at Ebbets Field in 1939 at the age of 7) so I've had many "favorites" over the years, but my absolute favorite is Ed Head. One, because I was at Ebbets Field for his no-hitter in April 1945 (yes, a school day -- but that's a long story) and two, because of his amazing personal story. For those who never heard of him, here it is in brief: Ed Head was a left-hander who, as a teenager, was in an auto accident that ruined his left arm. He taught himself to throw with his right arm and made it all the way to the majors, pitching for the Dodgers from 1940 to 1946, interrupted by two years of military service. After pitching his no-hitter in his first start of 1946, he hurt his right arm and within a year was out of baseball for good. Talk about the fickle finger of fate? Think about Ed Head!

And finally

Who do I have to bribe to get Alex Guerrero in the lineup? He has started only nine games in June. Meanwhile, Alberto Callaspo has started 10 games. That doesn't make sense.

Have a comment or something you'd like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me and follow me on Twitter: @latimeshouston