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The Sports Report: Defense lets Dodgers down again

Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson prepares to bat during a baseball game against the Arizona Diamond
Joc Pederson
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Howdy, my name is Houston Mitchell and can anyone stop by my house and replace a kitchen faucet for me? It turns out I am mechanically challenged.

Dodgers

The Dodgers’ defense is becoming an issue, and that issue was on display Monday when errors, misplayed balls and bad decisions led to a 9-1 loss to the Colorado Rockies.

Let’s get a couple of things straight right way:

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It was a noble experiment, but Joc Pederson should never, ever play first base again.

A.J. Pollock doesn’t make a lot of errors, but he misplays base hits into extra-base hits more than most.

Max Muncy is a natural DH.

I could go on, but that’s enough for now. What did the manager have to say after the game?

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“We pride ourselves on being sure-handed and we’re just not making plays that we’ve shown to make consistently,” Dave Roberts said. “I don’t have an explanation for it.”

Pederson’s frustrations boiled over in the eighth when he didn’t run a grounder to the first baseman. Roberts pulled him from the game.

“It was unprofessional and I let the emotions to get the best of me,” Pederson said. “I’m better than that.”

More baseball:

Angels lose to Orioles, 7-2

Cam Bedrosian is the Angels’ situational lefty even though he is right-handed

Dodgers covet Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez, balk at trading Gavin Lux

USC-UCLA

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It seems that USC and UCLA are losing a lot of good, local football recruits to their Pac-12 rivals. Why is that?

Jermar Jefferson, a senior running back and three-star recruit at Narbonne High, received a scholarship offer from USC. It was the school he grew up idolizing, But the offer had come too late. Weeks earlier, Jefferson had committed to Oregon State. “I was like, I just feel like I need to get out of L.A,” Jefferson told Jack Harris in this story.

Jefferson ran for 1,380 rushing yards (third in the conference), 12 touchdowns (tied for second) and was the Pac-12 freshman offensive player of the year last season.

Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello, a Rancho Santa Margarita native, and Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate, a Gardena Serra product , have become two of the league’s top signal callers after spurning offers from USC and UCLA.

California cornerback Camryn Bynum, a former three-star prospect from Corona Centennial who wasn’t offered by either L.A. school, has become an anchor of a Golden Bears secondary that led the conference in pass defense last season.

What about Arizona State center Cohl Cabral, a preseason all-conference second-team selection and Rancho Cucamonga product?

“Guys are going everywhere,” Cabral said. “They can stay at home, but if they feel more comfortable somewhere else, they can go somewhere else and be comfortable.”

And Washington cornerback Myles Bryant, a graduate of Loyola High in Los Angeles?

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“Growing up, USC and UCLA, those were the top-tier programs,” Bryant said. “They’re still at the top, but I think a lot of guys are seeing what you can do in other places. They’re understanding that they’re trying to get outside of the bubble and get experiences. They’re trying to see what other parts of the country have to offer.”

This year’s signing class saw the conference’s other 10 schools combine to sign more top-20 California recruits (10) than the Trojans and Bruins combined (four) for the first time this decade.

“The world has gotten smaller in general, but certainly in the recruiting world,” Washington coach Chris Petersen said. “It’s not just here, it’s everywhere. You’ve got kids all over the West going different places with the social media and the access.”

Horse racing

If you are a jockey and make a mistake, you will probably have to talk to the stewards at some point, explain what happened and then often get a fine and/or a suspension.

Our horse racing newsletter (cheap plug: sign up at latimes.com/newsletters) writer John Cherwa keeps track of the appearances before the stewards, and they are usually pretty simple. Something like: “Apprentice jockey Jose Leon was fined $100 for striking his mount, Jump the Tracks, more than three times in succession without letting the horse respond in the second race on July 5.”

In Monday’s newsletter, the greatest stewards ruling in history appeared. Here it is, with notes supplied by Cherwa:

“Jockey Norberto Arroyo [Jr.] appeared in the Stewards office to review his ride in the second race [on] July 18. Jockey Arroyo was aboard second-place finisher #7 Boru and lodged a claim of foul in this race against first-place finisher #6 M Town Gem (Drayden Van Dyke). Jockey Arroyo arrived at the hearing wearing only two (2) towels. He was sent back to the jockey’s room in order to change into something just a bit more proper.”

(Note: When we last checked in with Arroyo, it was during the public comment period of a California Horse Racing Board meeting, when he referred to the animal rights’ activists as a bunch of “single women.” Nine of the 11 speakers opposing horse racing were women. Back to the minutes.)

“Film review … shows Jockey Arroyo drifted out significantly in the final furlong of this race. #7 Boru eventually makes significant contact with #6 M Town Gem, bumping this rival and turning his ‘rear end’ outward in a very unsafe fashion. Here are some of the various explanations Jockey Arroyo had for the Stewards.

“1. He was concerned his horse would prop.” (Note: That’s when a horse uses his front legs as brakes and stops running, much like my dog does when he doesn’t want to go a certain direction on his walk.)

“2. He also said he was getting tired.

“3. He told the Stewards he was trying to get his horse closer to #6 M Town Gem in order to get his own mount competitive.

“The Stewards informed Jockey Arroyo in a unanimous decision, he would be receiving a suspension for this ride.... After Jockey Arroyo was informed of our decision, he became highly disagreeable and got personal with the Board of Stewards. He refused to leave the informal hearing and did so only after two (2) other racing officials entered our office to assist with his departure.”

Wearing two towels brings up a host of questions. Were both around his waist? Was one draped over his shoulder? Was hopefully at least one around his waist? Does he have an endorsement contract with a towel manufacturer? And what does the horse think about all this? Is the horse embarrassed? Does he tell the other horses, “Hey, I don’t pick who rides me?” Do the other horses throw towels in his stall as a joke?

Odds and ends

Hunter Henry has healthy approach to fourth season with Chargers…. Harrison ‘Psalm’ Chang earns $1.8 million as Fortnite World Cup runner-up…. Ranking the 2019 NFL sideline hats: Who has the snazziest headgear this season?…. Clay Matthews ready to prove himself ‘all over again’ with Rams

Other newsletters

We also have other newsletters you can subscribe to for free. They are emailed to you and we don’t sell your name to other companies, so no spam from us. They are:

Our Dodgers newsletter, written by me. Subscribe here.

Lakers newsletter, written by Tania Ganguli. Subscribe here.

Horse racing newsletter, written by John Cherwa. Subscribe here.

Soccer newsletter, written by Kevin Baxter. Subscribe here.

Today’s local major sports schedule

Dodgers at Colorado, 5:30 p.m., SportsNet LA, AM 570

Detroit at Angels, 7 p.m., FSW, AM 830

Born on this date

1890: Baseball player/manager Casey Stengel

1928: Baseball player Joe Nuxhall

1934: Baseball commissioner Bud Selig

1957: NBA player Bill Cartwright

1958: Decathlete Daley Thompson

1961: NFL player Reggie Roby

1963: NBA player Chris Mullin

1964: Soccer player/manager Jurgen Klinsmann

1973: NHL player Markus Naslund

1980: Golfer Justin Rose

1981: Soccer player Hope Solo

Died on this date

2007: NFL coach Bill Walsh, 77

And finally

Casey Stengel is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Watch it here.

That concludes the newsletter for today. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, please email us here. If you want to subscribe, click here.


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