Dodgers Dugout: Will the real Dodgers please stand up?
Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and why do they call them the stands when we sit in them?
On Sunday, the Dodger offense awoke from hibernation to score 16 runs in a victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.
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I usually write these newsletters the night before you get them, so you can read them bright and early in the morning. Occasionally this leads to problems. Take this edition for example.
After they struggled against the Brewers in the first three games, I was prepared to take a deep dive into the Dodger offense, comparing things to last season, using tons of numbers, etc. Then on Sunday they look like the Dodgers of old, making a “what’s up with the Dodger offense?” newsletter look odd the day after they scored 16 runs.
So we wait. What will happen against the Cubs? Is the offense awake now for good? Will they regress again? Your guess is as good as mine, though I do believe the team is too good to stumble for too long.
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It has been the perfect storm of events this season leading to the 4-10 record over the last 14 games. Tons of injuries. The offense not hitting when the pitching is great, and the pitching faltering when the offense is strong. This happens to every team, but we were spoiled by the short season last year, when the Dodgers dominated and never really faltered. But if they had played a full 162 games, the Dodgers would have played a bad stretch of games at some point. Their 43-17 record translates to 116-46, which has happened a grand total of one time in history.
Which brings me to my next suggestion: Don’t panic. After Saturday’s loss, I had one subscriber email me that they were going to stop being a Dodger fan, that this stretch has been a total embarrassment and after years of supporting the team, they were done. With all due respect, that’s ludicrous. Another reader emailed me convinced that Dave Roberts loses games on purpose. Even more ludicrous. Another fan emailed me to say they were so depressed they couldn’t read the sports section the next day.
Which brings me to the point I bring up every year: If you are down or angry about a regular-season game more than 10 minutes after it ends, you might be better off finding a new hobby. It’s really not worth beating yourself up over a game, or a stretch of bad games. This is supposed to be fun, folks.
Anyway, let’s leave the Dodger offense alone for a moment, keep our fingers crossed about the bullpen and see what happens in the upcoming series against the Cubs, then we can meet here again on Friday and discuss further.
The Dodgers are in the middle of an impressive run in one area: Injuries. Dustin May had to leave his last start with an arm injury (which we will know more about when he has an MRI today in Chicago). At the moment here are the Dodgers who are currently injured:
Let’s take those one at a time:
Bellinger has a hairline fracture in his leg, and won’t return until he can run full speed. That could be next week, it could be three weeks. Just depends on how the leg responds.
Ferguson had Tommy John surgery last year and probably won’t pitch this season.
Gonsolin threw a 20-pitch bullpen session recently and reportedly all went well. They are hoping to stretch him out to 35 pitches this week and have him come back as a starter, hopefully in a couple of weeks. He could replace May depending on the severity of the injury.
Graterol has a tight right forearm and was put on the 10-day IL on April 29. First he had the coronavirus, now this.
Kahnle had Tommy John surgery in August of 2020 and is not expected to pitch this season at all.
We finally found out what exactly was wrong with Joe Kelly, as he told a Boston radio station: “We found some cysts. My shoulder hasn’t been good since the end of 2019. But during my suspension (after throwing at Astros batters last season) my arm was super weak. If I was laying on a table I couldn’t lift my arm past gravity. They asked me how long it was going on for and I told them forever. I couldn’t sleep at night and it felt like fire ants were eating my arm from the inside-out.” Doctors performed surgery in November and put metal clamps on his labrum to decompress the cysts. They also removed loose bodies from the rotator cuff. That does not sound like fun at all. He should be back sometime this month.
Knebel has a strained back muscle and is out at least two months, probably longer. He is on the 60-day IL.
May we talked about above.
McKinstry has a strained rib/abdominal muscle. It looks like he is out until late May.
Morrow has been shut down for weeks because his arm hasn’t responded well to treatment. “I don’t even know if he’s going to play this year,” Dave Roberts said Sunday. “So, obviously, I’m hopeful. I hope it works itself out. But I just don’t know.”
Price has a strained hamstring and is still a few weeks away from returning.
So there you have it. That’s a lot of people out, which will throw off a team’s game plan tremendously. Every team faces injury, so no excuses there. The good teams find ways to win and stay in contention without all their players. The average or bad teams don’t.
AJ Pollock had eight RBIs Sunday (he had seven this season coming into the game), one short of the Dodger record, and Matt Beaty had seven.
Gil Hodges, vs. Boston Braves, Aug. 31, 1950 (5 for 6, four homers)
James Loney, vs. Colorado, Sept. 28, 2006 (4 for 5, two homers)
Gil Hodges, vs. Cincinnati, June 12, 1949 (3 for 4, two homers)
Ron Cey, vs. San Diego, July 31, 1974 (3 for 5, two homers)
Yasmani Grandal, vs. Milwaukee, May 7, 2015 (4 for 4, two homers)
Adrian Gonzalez, vs. Cincinnati, Aug. 22, 2016 (3 for 6, three homers)
AJ Pollock, vs. Milwaukee, May 2, 2021 (3 for 5, two homers)
Including Beaty, seven RBIs has been done 20 times, most recently (before Beaty) by Yasiel Puig on Sept. 15, 2018 against St. Louis (3 for 6, three homers).
Players who combined for the most RBIs in one game:
April 30, 1944, New York Giants (Phil Weintraub 11, Ernie Lombardi 7) vs. Brooklyn
July 6, 1949, Cincinnati (Walker Cooper 10, Ted Kluszewski 5) vs. Chicago
Jun 8, 1950, Boston Red Sox (Bobby Doerr 8, Walt Dropo 7) vs St. Louis Browns
Aug. 19, 1962, New York Yankees (Elston Howard 8, Mickey Mantle 7) vs. Kansas City A’s
Sept. 9, 2020, Atlanta (Adam Duvall 9, Freddie Freeman 6) vs. Miami
May 2, 2021, Dodgers (AJ Pollock 8, Matt Beaty 7) vs. Milwaukee
Most missed food: The Cool-a-Coo
We talked about Farmer John no longer making Dodger Dogs for the Dodgers in the last newsletter, and I asked you to send in what food you miss most at Dodger Stadium. The winner, by far: the Cool-a-Coo.
The Cool-a-Coo was vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two oatmeal cookie. You could get that dipped in chocolate or plain. They were sold at Dodger Stadium until 1998, when Peter O’Malley sold the team. When the Guggenheim Group bought the Dodgers, the Dodgers asked for suggestions on how to improve things. Hundreds of fans suggested the return of the Cool-a-Coo, and they returned to Dodger Stadium in 2012. However, the company that made them discontinued production in 2016 and they aren’t available anywhere now.
Where’s Joc Pederson?
Pederson signed with the Chicago Cubs in the offseason, but you might not see him in this upcoming three-game set. He has been on the IL with a wrist injury. He took live batting practice Sunday, and the Cubs will wait to see how he responds before deciding whether to activate him or not.
Your first Dodger memory
“Your first Dodgers memory” returns this season. If you haven’t already, I’d still love for you to send me your first Dodgers memory, and it might run in an upcoming Dodgers Dugout. Include your name and where you live. And don’t send only a sentence. Tell why that memory sticks out in your mind. You can email me your memory at email@example.com. Thanks.
Paul Strassman of Marriottsville, Mary.: My first general memory of the Dodgers was of the 1953 team when I was 7-years-old living in Passaic, N.J.. My dad was first and foremost a NY Yankees fan, and also liked the NY Giants, so naturally I rooted for the other team in NYC, the Brooklyn Dodgers and have been a huge fan ever since, even after they abandoned NYC and moved to L.A.
Anyway, my first specific memory of the Dodgers and one specific Dodger was from the final day of the following season—1954. Duke Snider, my all-time Dodgers favorite, was essentially tied with two players—Willie Mays and Don Mueller—of the rival NY Giants for the NL batting average title. But the Duke of Flatbush went 0-for-3 that day, while Mueller was 2-for-6, and the Say Hey Kid (Mays) went 3-for-4. Mays finished at .345, Mueller .342, and poor Duke .341. Was a sad day.
I now reside in Maryland, am lots of years older, and am thankful to have attended Dodgers home games in both Ebbets Field -- in Brooklyn before it was later demolished -- and Dodger Stadium.
Eric Scholnick: In the late 50s and early 60s, living in Louisville, I was a huge Yankees fan. I followed the 1961 Mantle-Maris home run race avidly (I rooted for Maris). In 1962, we moved to New York. I celebrated the Yankees’ 1962 World Series conquest of the Giants on my second-grade school bus, when Willie McCovey lined out to Bobby Richardson to end it. My dad, not a baseball fan, despite having grown up in Flatbush, repeatedly promised to take me to a Yankee game. He never did.
In 1963, we moved to Long Beach. On our second day there, July 6, 1963, my dad’s brother, my Uncle Fred, along with my cousin Randy, took us to a Dodger game. As we drove up to Dodger Stadium, cousin Randy told me over and over that I would be a Dodger fan, and I told him over and over that I was a Yankee fan, and would not become a Dodger fan.
Then, we got to the stadium, and to our seats. I had never seen anything so beautiful or exciting in my 8-year-old life. The Dodgers lost to the Reds, 3-1, but by the third inning, I was a Dodger fan, and especially a Maury Wills fan (Maury got three hits that day).
David Fox of Melbourne, Australia: My first Dodger memory may be a little more recent than most. My wife and I visited L.A. on vacation a few years ago. We decided on a whim to go to a game at Dodger Stadium and bought tickets at the gate. We knew next to nothing about baseball, but we sat next to a guy and his wife who made the game come alive. His name was Harry and he ran a limo hire company. He pointed out players and explained the various plays in a way that captivated us. It was a day game on July 2, 2014, ,,, The Dodgers lost to the Indians 5-4, but we left that game hooked!
Since that day I have read as many books on baseball and the Dodgers as I could find and we have been to as many Dodger games as we could, considering we live on the other side of the world! We have now been lucky enough to see 13 Dodger games and eight of those have been wins... unfortunately one of the losses was Game 5 of the 2018 World Series against the Red Sox!
My entire family are now Dodger fans!
When we won the World Series last year, my family, was watching live in Australia, I’m sure made as much noise as any in L.A.
Today, Dodgers (Walker Buehler, 1-0, 3.16 ERA) at Chicago Cubs (Kyle Hendricks, 1-3, 7.54 ERA), 4:30 p.m., Sportsnet LA, AM 570
Tuesday, Dodgers (*Clayton Kershaw, 4-2, 2.09 ERA) at Chicago Cubs (Adbert Alzolay, 1-2, 4.71 ERA), 4:30 p.m., Sportsnet LA, AM 570
Wednesday, Dodgers (Trevor Bauer, 3-1, 2.48 ERA) at Chicago Cubs (Jake Arrieta, 3-3, 4.31 ERA), 4:30 p.m., Sportsnet LA, AM 570
Highlights of Sunday’s 16-4 drubbing of the Milwaukee Brewers. Watch it here.
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