Dodgers Dugout: And now, the Giants

Albert Pujols singles to center field.
Albert Pujols
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and the Dodgers go 13-2, then 5-15, now 8-1. Which probably explains my headache.

When the season started, everyone was anticipating a great division race between the Dodgers and San Diego Padres.

But someone forgot to show the script to the San Francisco Giants, who are leading the NL West, one game ahead of the Padres and two ahead of the Dodgers. The Dodgers have won four in a row, the Padres have won five in a row and the Giants have won six in a row.

And I know some are saying, “Yeah, the Dodgers went 8-1, but look at who they played!” A bit of logic that escapes me because what are they supposed to do, lose? Of course good teams are supposed to beat not-so-good teams, that’s why they are good teams. What the Dodgers have done this homestand is re-affirm that they are a good team. How good? We’ll find out a lot in the next two weeks when they play the Giants, the Astros, the Giants again, the Cardinals and the Braves.

The Giants were supposed to be a year away from being a year away from competing. Instead, they’ve got Buster Posey discovering the Fountain of Youth (.374/.451/.657), Brandon Crawford hitting 11 homers, a pitching staff that is third in the league in ERA (3.16) and a closer with 11 saves who looks a lot like Jake McGee, who pitched for the Dodgers last season.

However, despite the batting of Posey, the Giants are 14th in the 15-team NL in batting average at .226 (the Dodgers are third). They rise up to seventh in OB% (Dodgers are first) and fifth in slugging (Dodgers are fourth). And while they are third in ERA, the Dodgers are second. Of course, they did just destroy the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday, 19-4.


Enjoying this newsletter?

Your support helps us deliver the news that matters most. Become a Los Angeles Times subscriber.

Oh, and who has been the best starting pitcher for the Giants? I don’t have his name in front of me, but he looks an awful lot like Alex Wood, who pitched for the Dodgers last season.

So here we are again, Dodgers-Giants with the division lead on the line, with the Padres looking to surge into first depending on what happens. And really, that’s the way it should be.

The Giants did get some bad news on Thursday when they had to put pitcher Logan Webb, whose last two starts were his best of the season, on the IL because of shoulder inflammation. He was supposed to start Saturday’s game and the Giants had not announced a replacement at the time this was written. Perhaps a bullpen game Saturday for the Giants.

Speaking of the IL, as of Thursday evening, the Dodgers had 13 players on the injured list. Some of you have emailed to ask how that stacks up against other NL teams. So let’s take a look:

Dodgers: 13 (Alexander, Bellinger, Cleavinger, Ferguson, Gonsolin, Graterol, Kahnle, McKinstry, Knebel, May, Pollock, Rios, Seager)

New York: 13 (Almora, Betances, Carrasco, Conforto, Davis, deGrom, Guillorme, Martinez, McNeil, Nimmo, Pillar, Syndergaard, Walker)

San Diego: 13 (Altavilla, Baez, Castillo, Clevinger, Guerra, Kela, Morejon, Myera, Oña, Pomeranz, Strahm, Williams, Wingenter)

Arizona: 10 (Bukauskas, Calhoun, Cabrera, Clippard, Devenski, Gallen, Kelly, Walker, Weaver, Widener)

Milwaukee: 9 (File, Fisher, Lopes, Mathias, Peterson, Robertson, Topa, Wahl, Yardley)

Pittsburgh: 9 (Brault, Cederlind, Crick, Davis, Evans, Hayes, Kuhl, Moran, Soriano)

San Francisco: 9 (Beede, Brebbia, Davis, Flores, La Stella, Moronta, Nuñez, Sanchez, Webb)

Chicago: 8 (Heyward, Holder, Marisnick, Megill, Miller, Mills, Romine, Wick)

Colorado: 8 (Adams, Bowden, Estevez, Freeland, Lambert, Oberg, Owings, Rogers)

St. Louis: 7 (DeJong, Hicks, Hudson, Martinez, Mikolas, Miller, O’Neill)

Atlanta: 6 (d’Arnaud, Jackson, Pache, Soroka, Toussaint, Ynoa)

Miami: 6 (Alfaro, Brigham, Brinson, Guzman, Hernandez, Marte)

Cincinnati: 5 (Aquino, Bailey, Lorenzen, Moustakas, Votto)

Philadelphia: 5 (Dominguez, Gregorius, Joyce, Quinn, Romero)

Washington: 4 (Avilan, Fedde, Rainey, Strasburg)

Other Hall of Famers with the Dodgers

The Dodgers have signed future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols for the remainder of the season, which brings to mind other Hall of Famers since 1901 who spent a brief period of time with the team near the end of their careers. A look:

Dave Bancroft (with Dodgers 1928-29): considered one of the best fielding shortstops of his era, and a good hitter, Bancroft had two subpar seasons with Brooklyn. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1971.

Jim Bunning (1969): He went 3-1 with a 3.36 ERA in nine starts with the team, finished his career with 224 wins and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1996.

Gary Carter (1991): Spent his penultimate season as the backup catcher to Mike Scioscia, hitting .246 with six homers. Elected to the Hall of Fame in 2003.

Kiki Cuyler (1938): Outfielder spent his final season with Brooklyn, hitting .273 with 34 walks in 82 games. Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1968.

Rickey Henderson (2003): Best leadoff hitter of all time spent his final 30 games with L.A., hitting .208 and stealing three bases. Elected to Hall of Fame in 2009.

Waite Hoyt (1937-38): Made his final 20 starts with the Dodgers, going 7-10. Was a stalwart with the great Yankees teams of the 1920s. Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1969.

Hughie Jennings (1903): Shortstop had his best seasons in the 1890s, but did have 17 at-bats with the Dodgers in 1903. Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1945.

George “Highpockets” Kelly (1932): After he spent a season in the minors, the Dodgers acquired Kelly to fill in for their injured first baseman, Del Bissonette. He hit .243 with four homers and then returned to the minors. Finished with a .297 career batting average and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1973.

Tony Lazzeri (1939): Longtime Yankees shortstop spent part of his final season with Brooklyn, hitting .282 in 14 games. Elected to Hall in 1991.

Freddie Lindstrom (1936): Third baseman spent his final season as an outfielder with Brooklyn, playing in 26 games. Elected to Hall in 1976.

Greg Maddux (2006, 2008): Made the final seven starts of his career with the Dodgers. Won 355 games overall and was elected to Hall in 2014.

Heinie Manush (1938): Outfielder spent 17 games with Brooklyn in his next-to-last season. Elected to Hall in 1964.

Juan Marichal (1975): Controversial signing 10 years after he hit Dodgers catcher John Roseboro in the head with a bat. Went 0-1 with a 13.50 ERA and retired. Elected to Hall in 1983.

Eddie Murray (1997): Sounds familiar. Aging first baseman is released by the Angels and signed by the Dodgers to pinch-hit and play first base. Had seven at-bats with the team, getting two hits. Elected to Hall of Fame in 2003.

Frank Robinson (1972): One of the greatest of all-time hit .251 in 103 games. Elected to the Hall in 1982.

Jim Thome (2009): Acquired at the trade deadline to add some power off the bench, he went four for 17 with no extra-base hits. Finished his career with 612 homers and elected to the Hall in 2018.

Lloyd Waner (1944): The .316 lifetime hitter had 14 at-bats with Brooklyn. Elected to Hall in 1967.

Paul Waner (1943-44): Lloyd’s brother spent a bit more time with Brooklyn, hitting .302 in 165 games. A .333 lifetime hitter, he was elected to the Hall in 1952.

Hoyt Wilhelm (1971-72): The knuckleballer was 49 when he finally called it quits after posting a 3.14 ERA and four saves with L.A. Elected to the Hall in 1985.

Special mention

Babe Ruth: Though he never played for the team, Ruth was a coach for the Dodgers in 1938.

Reinforcements on the way

Cody Bellinger and Zach McKinstry begin rehab assignments in the minors this weekend, so both should be back relatively soon, McKinstry will probably be back before Bellinger, since he hasn’t been out as long.

“They’re both ready to go; I think they’re both bored with the rehab and want to get out and play,” Manager Dave Roberts said. “We’ll just kind of see how it goes, taking at-bats, seeing how they recover being on their feet, and we’ll kind of read and react then.”

And, Mike DiGiovanna, when writing about the return, wrote this, which is something to keep in mind:

But Roberts cautioned Dodgers fans that it’s not a given that Bellinger, who hit .305 with a 1.035 OPS, 47 homers and 115 RBIs in 2019 and .239 with a .789 OPS, 12 homers and 30 RBIs in 56 games in 2020, will immediately regain his MVP form.

“That’s something that we as an organization are very mindful of,” Roberts said. “It’s easy to pencil him in and expect a .900 OPS, but it just doesn’t happen like that. Cody needs to go play and feel good and take competitive at-bats and make sure his timing is right, and when that time comes, he’ll be ready to help us.”

Fernandomania @ 40

The next episode of our “Fernandomania @ 40” docu-series is now available. After the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1958, the team spent more than two decades searching for a player to connect with the local Latino community. But until Fernando Valenzuela’s emergence in 1981 Latinos looked to other sports for heroes that looked like them.

You can watch Epsiode 4 by clicking here.

We need your help

The “Fernandomania @ 40” team is seeking images from fans from Dodger Stadium in 1981. If you have pictures from that specific season, please email them to me at Again, they have to be from 1981, and by sending them to us, you agree that they can be published in The Times print edition, in this newsletter and in the docu-series. We will credit you wherever it is published for sending in the picture, of course. Thanks!

These names look familiar

A look at how players from the 2020 Dodgers who are no longer on the team are faring this season (through Thursday):

Pedro Báez, Houston, On the 60-day IL with shoulder soreness

Dylan Floro, Miami: 2-2, 3.32 ERA (19 IP, 18 hits, 5 walks, 17 strikeouts)

Kiké Hernández, Boston: .260/.312/.457 (8 doubles, 1 triple, 5 HRs, 12 RBIs, 110 OPS+)

Adam Kolarek, Oakland: 8.00 ERA (9 IP, 15 hits, 5 walks, 4 strikeouts)

Jake McGee, San Francisco: 1-1, 4.58 ERA, 11 saves (19.2 IP, 18 hits, 4 walks, 26 strikeouts)

Joc Pederson, Chicago Cubs: .267/.345/.356 (2 double, 2 triples, 1 homer, 10 RBIs, 102 OPS+)

Josh Sborz, Texas: 3-2, 3.32 ERA, 1 save (19 IP, 13 hits, 7 walks, 22 strikeouts)

Ross Stripling, Toronto: 0-3, 7.20 ERA (25 IP, 36 hits, 8 walks, 29 strikeouts)

Alex Wood, San Francisco: 5-0, 1.75 ERA (36 IP, 25 hits, 9 walks, 35 strikeouts)

Up next

Tonight, Dodgers (Trevor Bauer, 4-2, 2.20 ERA) at San Francisco (*Alex Wood, 5-0, 1.75 ERA), 6:45 p.m., Sportsnet LA, AM 570

Saturday, Dodgers (Walker Buehler, 2-0, 2.98 ERA) at San Francisco (TBA), 3-2, 2.50 ERA), 4:15 p.m., Fox, AM 570

Sunday, Dodgers (*Julio Urías, 6-1, 3.04 ERA) at San Francisco (Anthony DeSclafani, 4-1, 2.03 ERA), 1 p.m., Sportsnet LA, AM 570


And finally

Vin Scully reads a grocery list. Watch it here.

Until next time...

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