Dee Gordon took over as the Dodgers’ starting shortstop when Rafael Furcal was traded to the Cardinals, but now the 23-year-old rookie will be sidelined for at least two weeks with a bruised right shoulder.
Don Mattingly described the decision to place Gordon on the disabled list as “precautionary” and an MRI exam revealed no structural damage, so it sounds like the Dodgers are hoping to have him back in the lineup by the end of the month.
In the meantime Jamey Carroll will slide over to shortstop, with Aaron Miles seeing more action at second base.
Gordon has struggled offensively, hitting just .234 with a .518 OPS in 30 games, but he’s shown good range defensively and swiped 12 bases while being caught just three times. Because of his slight frame and grand total of just seven homers in 394 games as a minor leaguer Gordon doesn’t project as an impact hitter, but with the development of any sort of decent on-base skills he has 50-steal potential.
I was curious about which MLB teams changed their fortunes the most this season compared to last year, so I crunched the numbers.
First, here are the biggest win total improvements from 2014 to 2015:
+10 Blue Jays
The top five teams on the biggest-improvement list all had managers in their first season on the job, led by Joe Maddon joining the Cubs after tons of success with the Rays. Also worth noting: Of the nine teams with the biggest win total improvement, eight made the playoffs. Only the Twins improved to double-digit games and still failed to make the playoffs.
Now, here are the biggest win total declines from 2014 to 2015:
Not surprisingly, a whole lot of those teams have changed managers, general managers, or both. And a couple more may still do so before the offseason gets underway. Oakland retained manager Bob Melvin despite an MLB-high 20-win dropoff and just promoted Billy Beane from general manager to vice president of baseball operations.
According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.
The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.
Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.
It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.