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Dodgers Dugout: Team cancels a game, some fans get angry

Los Angeles Dodgers' Mookie Betts scores against the Seattle Mariners.
Mookie Betts
(Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell and we have to address the big topic of the week. Skip ahead to the next topic if you don’t want to read about it.

The Dodgers decided not to play Wednesday’s game against the San Francisco Giants to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

Mookie Betts had decided not to play that day, but told his teammates he was fine with them playing. The team got together and decided to support Betts by not playing. No matter what you think about the walkout, you have to admit it is an impressive display of team solidarity.

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“I was already tight with everybody in the clubhouse, but now that I know that everybody has my back even more than I already thought, [it] means a lot,” Betts said. “I’ll always remember this day. I’ll always remember this team just having my back.”

“Mookie was great about saying, ‘If you guys want to play, I support that,’” Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw said. “But we made a collective group decision to not play [Wednesday], to let our voices be heard for standing up for what we believe is right. That’s what it comes down to.”

Or, as Dave Roberts put it: “It’s not a political issue. I understand there is an election coming up. But this is a human being issue. We all need to be treated the same way. A Black man being shot seven times in the back, we need to be better. That just can’t happen.”

Many people emailed me to say they will never watch a Dodgers game again because of this. That is certainly your right, just like it is the Dodgers’ right to sit out a game in protest. Yes, I know, that those who wrote in say you can’t do the same because your boss will punish you. Well, the same goes for the Dodgers. MLB could have punished them. They didn’t.

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We can debate all day whether a walkout is an effective means of protest, but there is little to debate on whether they had the right to do so. And if you stopped following the Dodgers because of this, let me remind you that today is Jackie Robinson Day. So maybe you were following the wrong team all along.

With that being said, I want to know what you think. Vote in this poll, and email me your thoughts at houston.mitchell@latimes.com. I will publish some of them in the next newsletter.

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Buehler goes to the IL

The Dodgers put Walker Buehler on the 10-day injured list Thursday because of a blister on his pitching hand. Now, I know what you are thinking: Rich Hill all over again. But no, this blister is apparently mild enough that he should make a start next week. He can come off the IL on Wednesday.

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Pitcher Mitch White was recalled to take Buehler’s place on the roster. Why not Tony Gonsolin? He threw 99 pitches in an intrasquad game on Monday. Whoops.

Trade deadline deal

The trade deadline this season is Monday. Will the Dodgers make a deal? Unlikely.

Remember, this season, teams can only trade players on their 60-man player pool. They can also include a more nebulous “Player to be named,” but there have been no minor league games for scouts to attend, plus, you never know how minor league players will respond to this long, long layoff. It would take a team coming to the Dodgers with an amazing trade for anything to happen.

Keep in mind also that with eight teams making the playoffs, almost every team still has a chance to make the postseason, making them less likely to give up a good starter or reliever.

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Anything is possible, and I wouldn’t put it past Andrew Friedman to put together some sort of intricate eight-team deal. But don’t hold your breath waiting.

Ask Ross Porter

Former Dodgers broadcaster Ross Porter is back for another season of “Ask Ross Porter.” We have a new email address this season for it. Ross will have access to this email address and will get your questions without me having to forward them. So, if you have a message (like thanking him for his years as a broadcaster) and not a question, feel free to let him know. Send your question or comment to rossporterdodgers@gmail.com.

Dan FitzPatrick asks: I’m curious about the average length of games during this COVID-19 season. With no fans in the stands, are the games any shorter? Thank you for all you do for Dodger Nation.

Ross: Thanks, Dan. The numbers are almost identical. Last year’s average of 3 hours, 5 minutes, and 35 seconds set a new record for length. So far this season, the average length is 3 hours, 7 minutes.

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Buddy Lovin of Dallas asks: Ross, give us some facts about what the first half of this odd baseball schedule has produced.

Ross: One thing is evident. Teams are very fearful about pitcher injuries. Emma Baccellieri of SI.com found out there were more pitchers used in the first three weeks of this season than there were in the entire year in 2001. The length of the typical start by a pitcher in 2019 was a record low 5.2 innings. Up to now, the average start in 2020 is 4.7 innings with a record 4.67 pitchers per team used in a game. Starting pitchers have not averaged six innings a game since 2011. As for offense, Bloomberg.com tells us an average 9 1/2 runs are being scored per contest this year--the second highest total in the last decade--and batters are seeing an average of four pitches each at-bat, which would be a record.

Ruben Carrasco asks: I was surprised the Dodgers didn’t keep Russell Martin. Where is he now?

Ross: Out of baseball at 37 after 14 seasons in the majors, making an All-Star team four times and hitting .248.

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Steve Wolin of Henderson, Nev., asks: Mr. Porter, it’s awesome to have you answer baseball questions. You were unfairly criticized for using statistics, and now every announcer uses them. That must make you feel good. My question is how many major leaguers have hit for the cycle--a home run, triple, double and single in the same game?

Ross: I am very grateful for your remarks, Steve. There have been 330 batters hit for the cycle. The Pirates have had the most men accomplish the feat, 24, followed by the Giants and Red Sox with 23. The Dodgers have had 10 players do it, seven in Brooklyn, and Wes Parker, Orlando Hudson, and Cody Bellinger in Los Angeles. In their 27 years, the Marlins have never had anyone connect for the cycle. There have been 24 cycles that included an inside-the-park homer, the last in 1943, and 14 were hit in natural order (single, double, triple and home run.) Six have been completed with a walk-off home run. (Cesar Tovar, George Brett, Dwight Evans, Ken Boyer, Carlos Gonzalez, and Nolan Arenado.

Bob Watchorn of Elmira, New York, asks: Ross, have there been more no-hitters or batters who have hit for the cycle in the majors?

Ross: It’s very close, Bob. When former Studio City Harvard-Westlake standout Lucas Giolito of the White Sox held the Pirates hitless Tuesday, it was number 304, 26 fewer than than the cycle guys. Which team has registered the most no-hitters? If you said the Dodgers, you nailed it. They have 26, 13 in Brooklyn and 13 in Los Angeles. The Padres have never had one of their pitchers toss a no-hitter in their 51 years. For their first 50 years, the Mets did not have one until 2012.

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David Wishinski of Campbell, Calif. asks: Hey, Ross! Under the new rule, does an intentional walk count as one of three hitters a relief pitcher must face?

Ross: Yes, intentional walks do count toward fulfilling the three batter minimum.

Up next

Friday: Dodgers (TBD) at Texas (Jordan Lyles), 5 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570

Saturday: Dodgers (TBD) at Texas (Mike Minor*) 4 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570

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Sunday: Dodgers (TBD) at Texas (Lance Lynn), 11:30 a.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570

*-Left-handed

And finally

Dave Roberts, Clayton Kershaw, Mookie Betts and Kenley Jansen discuss the decision to cancel Wednesday’s game. Watch it here.

Until next time...

Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.

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