Dodgers Dugout: How ‘Let It Go’ from ‘Frozen’ saved Craig Kimbrel’s season
Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell and the Dodgers’ magic number to clinch the division is six, so they could clinch it as soon as Sunday against the Padres.
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On the morning of Aug. 21, Craig Kimbrel was 3-5 with a 4.46 ERA, giving up 47 hits in 42.1 innings, to go with 19 walks and 56 strikeouts. Opponents were hitting .272 against him.
The evening of Aug. 21 was Women’s Day at Dodger Stadium. For fun, the Dodgers asked the wives/girlfriends of the players to pick their walk-up music for that evening’s game. Kimbrel usually came into the game to “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns ‘N Roses. Kimbrel’s wife, Ashley, decided her husband should come into the game to “Let It Go,” from the movie “Frozen.”
I’m sure you’re all familiar with the song, as it was played ad infinitum on the radio when the movie was released and won the Academy Award for original song. And it is sung beautifully by Idina Menzel, or, if you are John Travolta, Adele Dazeem.
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It’s not a song that would strike fear into opponents if you are a closer trying to protect a one-run lead though.
Turns out, Kimbrel was needed on Aug. 21. The Dodgers had a big lead over the Marlins, Kimbrel hadn’t pitched since Aug. 17, so Dave Roberts brought him in to get a little work.
For the first time since July 13, Kimbrel did not allow a baserunner, pitching a 1-2-3 inning. Kimbrel decided to stick with “Let It Go” as his entrance music.
Kimbrel pitched again on Aug. 26. He did not allow a baserunner.
Since using “Let It Go” as his entrance music, Kimbrel has pitched 5.1 innings, giving up no hits and walking two, while striking out six. He is 1-0 with a save in that span.
Now, some people will tell you it is mere coincidence. That Kimbrel has really pitched in only one high pressure situation since Aug. 21. But I have three daughters. I know the power of “Frozen” and “Let It Go.” Do not mock it. In fact, when is “Frozen” night at Dodger Stadium? And when is Idina Menzel going to sing the national anthem? Dodgers, get to work and keep this momentum going.
Speaking of turning it around
On June 17, it looked as if we were probably witnessing Justin Turner‘s final season as a Dodger, and it wasn’t a good one. He was hitting .206/.276/.335 and it seemed unlikely his $16-million team option for next season would be picked up.
Since then, Turner is hitting .368/.439/.571. That doesn’t guarantee his option will be picked up. There will be a lot of decisions to make in the offseason. But it does show that while everyone talks about Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts and Trea Turner (and rightfully so), Justin Turner is hitting as well as any of them.
The Dodgers have outscored their opponents by 298 runs this season (the next best team, the Yankees, are at +196) and could become only the 10th team since 1901 to score 300 or more runs than their opponent. Here’s the list, with year, team, run differential, and how they finished.
1939 Yankees, +411, 106-45, won World Series
1927 Yankees, +371, 110-44, won World Series
1902 Pirates, +334, 103-36, first place, no World Series that year
1936 Yankees, +334, 102-51, won World Series
1906 Cubs, +323, 116-36, won World Series
1998 Yankees, +309, 114-48, won World Series
1937 Yankees, +308, 102-52, won World Series
1931 Yankees, +307, 94-59, finished second
2001 Mariners, +300, 116-46, lost in ALCS
Best vs. best
How potential NL playoff teams have done against teams with a winning record this season:
Dodgers, 33-20, .623
New York Mets, 39-30, .565
Milwaukee Brewers, 30-28, .517
Atlanta Braves, 27-30, .474
St. Louis Cardinals, 26-29, .473
Philadelphia Phillies, 29-34, .460
San Diego Padres, 21-31, .404
What Vin Scully meant to me
Jeff Tos: My story is like so many others, listening to countless hours on the radio to Vin. He had the amazing ability to paint memories of the batter in your brain and at the same time come up with some backstory. I can remember going to the stadium and just listening to Vin through all the radios in the stands, that sweet slow cadence of his voice telling me everything is all right in this world for at least until the game ended.
Theo Moreno: Just a vignette, split seconds of an image: I’m a little kid growing up in the San Gabriel Valley, my dad is washing the car. I look down at the hose spooling on the driveway, and notice the smell of garden hose water on the hot driveway. At that very instant, in my memory, is the sound of Vinny’s voice. Summer in late 1950s Southern California and Vinny, thankfully, was with me, with us, on that long ago day. As Dave Roberts said, Vinny was “a gentleman.” RIP Vin Scully.
Bob Korda: My family were Holocaust survivors. They lost half their families. Parents , siblings and children. My father lost a son. He couldn’t talk about it to his dying day. Every night they all listened to Vin. I think they learned much of their English from his broadcasts. I don’t know if they knew the rules of baseball but they listened. When Sandy Koufax didn’t pitch on Yom Kippur it was a proud moment for all of us. What a fantastic country we all lived in. My father died 29 years ago and my mother continued to listen to every Dodger game until she passed away six years ago. To say the least, I have been a lifelong Dodger fan as are my three boys.
Bruce Ash of Tucson: One Sunday during a drubbing we were taking from a lackluster team, I was doing work in my yard while I listened to Vin reliving better Dodger days. He talked about shaking hands with Sandy Koufax for the first time and how long Sandy’s fingers were and how they wrapped completely around his hand, explaining it was one of the secrets to throwing his famous curveball. As I listened I looked up and said out loud, “Right on Vin! I shook his hand also. Yes, his hands are huge. Of course that’s why his curveball was so great.”
I met him twice. Our sons and I spent an inning with him in the broadcast booth during a game at the stadium. I was worried he might not live up to his “on air” persona. I was wrong. He was so thoughtful and friendly to us. I told him I had built a home office for myself honoring the Dodgers called “The Shrine” and had a special exhibit inside honoring he and Red Barber. He sort of cocked his head to the side, as I had seen so many times before, and replied , “Oh.” He must have thought I was nuts.
The second time we met was at a small breakfast reception at Camelback Ranch. Our son and I took a picture together with Vin. It has been my Facebook profile picture ever since. Our son texted that picture 10 minutes after hearing news of Vin’s passing.
I loved the guy and cried like a baby during the ceremony at Dodger Stadium, his last home broadcast.
Tonight: Dodgers (Dustin May, 1-2, 3.94 ERA) at San Diego (Mike Clevinger, 5-6, 3.96 ERA), 6:30 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020
Saturday: Dodgers (*Julio Urías, 15-7, 2.29 ERA) at San Diego (*Blake Snell, 6-8, 3.73 ERA), 5:30 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020
Sunday: Dodgers (*Andrew Heaney, 2-2, 2.94 ERA) at San Diego (Joe Musgrove, 9-6, 3.16 ERA), 1 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570, KTNQ 1020
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Vin Scully throws out the first pitch of Game 2 of the 2017 World Series. Watch and listen here.
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