Tag: Adrian Gonzalez

Masahiro Tanaka

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights


Blue Jays 6, Yankees 1:Masahiro Tanaka’s lowish velocity and poor results probably have everyone in Gotham clenching their sphincters at the moment because there’s really not a path to the playoffs without their putative ace being healthy and effective. And, in this game, his lack of effectiveness is probably going to make many wonder if he’s healthy. Not that getting shelled by the Blue Jays is going to be an uncommon thing for teams this year. A couple of bombs, a couple of manufactured runs and there’s a six-spot against you. That was plenty for Drew Hutchinson.

Tigers 4, Twins 0: David Price cruised for eight and two-thirds. And, to be honest, totally could’ve finished this shutout off if Brad Ausmus’ Manager3000 software hadn’t beeped upon encountering the “base runner on in the ninth inning” subroutine that mandated the Ausmusbot to bring in the Closer Unit. Didn’t matter, of course. Homers from J.D. Martinez homer and Alex Avila were all the Tigers needed. Oh, and welcome to Detroit Yoenis Cespedes.

Rockies 10, Brewers 0: Getting shut down by Kyle Kendrick while allowing him his damn self to get two hits off of you and having your best player get hurt in the same game is pretty bad. Having the other guys drop a 10-spot on your Opening Day starter in the same game? Even worse. But hey, last year the Brewers started strong and then faded. Maybe they’re gonna do it up different this time.

Red Sox 8, Phillies 0: Cole Hamels wasn’t traded to the Red Sox like so many thought he would be, but that doesn’t mean a deal of some sort wasn’t done. Like, say, Hamels being secretly enlisted as a Red Sox spy. I mean, sure, it’s far-fetched, but it’s way easier to ensure a Red Sox win by serving them up meatballs yourself than it is to play for them and trying to stop the other team from doing the same. Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez each hit two bombs and Clay Buchholz looked like an ace (7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 9K) even if Curt Schilling doesn’t think he does.

Orioles 6, Rays 2: Trvis Snider had three hits, drove in two and flashed some pretty sweet defense as the O’s beat the Rays. Alejandro De Aza, Steve Pearce and Ryan Flaherty all hit homers.

Mets 3, Nationals 1: All that hand-wringing over Matt Harvey not starting the opener and everyone being stuck with old man Bartolo Colon amounts to the old man allowing one run over six while striking out eight. Four relievers held that lead, but one of them was not Jenrry Mejia, who felt stiffness in his right elbow while warming in the bullpen during the game. He’s supposed to be the closer this year so, yeah, yikes.

Royals 10, White Sox 1: If I remember my 2014 narratives correctly, this is more runs than the Royals scored all last year. Alex Rios had a three-run homer and two other hits. The Royals scored five runs in the seventh. Yordano Ventura gave everyone a scare when he crumpled to the ground in pain, but it turns out it was just a cramp. Jesus, dude, don’t freak us out like that.

Mariners 4, Angels 1: Mike Trout got his in the form of a solo homer in the first, but that’s all anyone got off King Felix, who was otherwise untouchable (7IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 10K). Trout struck out his other three times to the plate so I suppose 2015 is picking up where 2015 left off for all of these dudes.

Reds 5, Pirates 2: With Opening Day, the Reds’ opportunity to sign Johnny Cueto to an extension before he hits free agency basically ended, as he is not going to negotiate during the seasons. And with Opening Day, the Reds are reminded that they don’t have a pitcher anywhere as good as Johnny Cueto, who struck out ten in seven shutout innings. He didn’t get the win because of some unholy combination of Kevin Gregg, the Elias Sports Bureau and society, but he’s still the best pitcher they’ve developed and he’s gonna either get dealt or walk away because, I assume, someone decided that Homer Bailey needed to get paid.

Dodgers 6, Padres 3: Clayton Kershaw wasn’t at his best (if you can call striking out nine guys not being at you best) but Adrian Gonzalez was (3-for-5, HR, 2B 2 R) as was Jimmy Rollins, who hit broke a 3-3 tie with a three-run homer in the eighth. I watched this one with my kids because, as I’ve noted recently, they’re Dodgers fans now. They didn’t get my joke about how Craig Kimbrel has gotten to watch all kinds of great moment in Dodger Stadium in recent years without actually getting to participate in them. But Dodgers fans know what I’m talking about. As do Braves fans. Padres fans who had to endure that never-ending eighth inning without the team’s best reliever coming into the game are starting to grok it some too.

Braves 2, Marlins 1: A rain delay in a domed stadium which included the home team’s new star fall on his face because of the slippery track. The Brave may have lost their closer on Sunday, but their pen was just fine yesterday. It escaped a bases loaded no-out jam in the seventh to preserve a one run lead. Nick Markakis drove in both of the Braves’ runs. Julio Tehrean scattered eight hits.

Astros 2, Indians 0: Dallas Keuchel outdueled Cory Kluber, tossing seven shutout innings. The Astros’ runs scored on an RBI single and a sac fly. Not that Kluber was chopped liver. He had a no-hitter into the sixth. His first hit allowed, however, went to Jose Altuve who then stole second and scored on that George Springer single.

Giants 5, Diamondbacks 4: Madison Bumgarner picked up where he left off last year, scattering six hits across seven innings, allowing one run and picking up the win. The top three in the Giants’ order — Nori Aoki, Joe Panik and Angel Pagan — combined to go 8 for 14 with four runs scored and two driven in.

Athletics 8, Rangers 0: Sonny Gray took a no-hitter into the eighth inning. Ben Zobrist had a two-run homer and a double. It was the first time the A’s had won an Opening Day game since 2005, which seems impossible, but it’s true.

2015 Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers

Andrew Friedman, Stan Kasten

Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2015 season. Next up: The Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Big Question: Will the revamped front office put the Dodgers over the top?

After losing in the NLCS in 2013, the Dodgers won their second straight NL West title last season before being ousted by the Cardinals during the NLDS. It was bitterly disappointing, especially to see the division rival Giants go on to win the World Series, but such is life with the randomness of the playoffs. However, rather than stand pat and hope for better luck in 2015, the Dodgers decided to shake things up by reassigning GM Ned Colletti and giving big money to Andrew Friedman to lure him from the Rays. Friedman, who was hired as president of baseball operations, then brought on Farhan Zaidi from the A’s to serve as general manager and made a host of other changes throughout the organization.

Friedman and Zaidi were accustomed to making the most out of limited resources with their former organizations, so being free from these shackles allowed them to not only improve around the margins with their new team but also make some bold moves. After letting free agent Hanley Ramirez walk, the Dodgers remade their middle infield by acquiring Jimmy Rollins and cashing in on Dee Gordon’s big 2014 to get Andrew Heaney as a chip for Howie Kendrick. They flipped Matt Kemp to the Padres and landed a new primary catcher (Yasmani Grandal) in the process. They threw money at risk with the backend of their rotation by signing Brandon McCarthy to a four-year, $48 million contract, Brett Anderson to a one-year, $10 million deal and the rehabbing Brandon Beachy for $2.75 million. The Dodgers will pay $30.5 million (between Kemp, Dan Haren, and Gordon) for players who aren’t playing for them this season. Talk about a different world.

This is a lot of turnover for a roster that already had some great pieces in place. Clayton Kershaw, with three Cy Young Awards in the last four seasons, is the undisputed best pitcher on the planet. Meanwhile, Zack Greinke has been excellent during his first two seasons in Los Angeles and Hyun-Jin Ryu has gone underappreciated since coming stateside. Yasiel Puig is one of the most talented and exciting players in the game today and will likely face more pressure to be the face of this offense with Kemp and Ramirez elsewhere. Fortunately, Adrian Gonzalez is a durable and consistent force in the middle of the lineup.

Barring something unexpected, like an injury to Kershaw, it’s hard to not see the Dodgers as the overwhelming favorite to win their third straight NL West crown. Perhaps the gambles in the backend of the starting rotation won’t work out, but they have the prospect depth and the money to make a trade if an in-season upgrade is necessary. However, the great unknown of October lingers. And no front office change or player acquisition can bring certainty.

What else is going on?

  • The dynamic between Don Mattingly and the new Dodgers’ front office will be fascinating to follow. After Friedman joined the Dodgers and Joe Maddon opted out of his contract with the Rays, many immediately assumed that they would be reunited in Los Angeles. However, the Dodgers stood behind Don Mattingly while Maddon ended up with the Cubs. Still, Mattingly wasn’t chosen by them. He was a holdover. Mattingly has never been vocal about his use of analytics in the past, but he said back in January that “you’re a fool” if you’re not using them as part of your decision making. He’s talking the talk, which is a good idea for a person who wants to keep his job, but we’ll have to see if he meshes with the new regime.
  • Kenley Jansen underwent surgery in mid-February to remove a growth from his left foot and is expected to miss the first month of the season. Some speculated that the Dodgers would throw money at Francisco Rodriguez (who eventually signed with the Brewers) or Rafael Soriano (who is still a free agent), but they appear content to rely on internal options to fill in. Joel Peralta was acquired from the Rays over the winter and figures to be in the mix, but keep an eye on Chris Hatcher. Hatcher, who came over to the Dodgers in the Gordon trade, is another former catcher (like Jansen) and quietly posted a 3.38 ERA and 60/12 K/BB ratio across 56 innings last season. There’s some uncertainty with this situation, but they should be able to get by for a month.
  • Juan Uribe currently projects to be the regular third baseman if he’s healthy, but the Dodgers are one of the teams who have been linked to Cuban free agent infielder Hector Olivera. In fact, they reportedly made a $77 million offer before Olivera switched agents. Who knows if that offer was legitimate — he’d probably already be a Dodger by now if that was true — but clearly they like him. He’s 29 and was one of the best hitters in Cuba, so he could be ready to make an impact in the majors right away.
  • While Andre Ethier is on the outside looking in for playing time, rookie Joc Pederson is penciled in as the Dodgers’ regular center fielder this season. He turns 23 in April and is coming off a monster season in Triple-A where he batted .303/.435/.582 with 33 home runs and 30 stolen bases across 121 games. Baseball America recently ranked him as the No. 8 prospect in the game. He put up those numbers in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League and strikeouts are an issue for him, so expect some growing pains, but he should be exciting to watch.
  • Zack Greinke is guaranteed $71 million from 2016-2018, but he has the ability to opt out of his contract after this season and test the free agent market. He would almost certainly fetch more if his 2015 is anything close to his first two seasons in Los Angeles. From that perspective, the Dodgers likely won’t be upset if it works out that way. And heck, they certainly have the money to bring him back if they want.
  • Vin Scully is back in the booth for his 66th season, which is a treat for all baseball fans. Don’t take him for granted.

Prediction: The Dodgers will win the NL West handily.

Yasiel Puig: walking the walk and listening to the talk

Yasiel Puig

GLENDALE, Ariz. — There are no accidents. For example, when you walk into the Dodgers’ clubhouse here at Camelback Ranch, you note that, high on the wall above a row of lockers is a quote from a Dodgers legend:

“If you rush in and out of the clubhouse, you rush in and out of baseball.” — Pee Wee Reese

Directly beneath that sign is the locker of one Yasiel Puig, himself known for rushing into the clubhouse with little or no time to spare on occasion. Coincidence? I think not.

Also not a coincidence: veteran Adrian Gonzalez’s locker directly next to Puig’s, despite the fact that all of the other big-time veterans — Juan Uribe, Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier — are around the corner from them. Between the Reese quote and the veteran presence, it’s almost as if the Dodgers are making sure that their young superstar is especially well-mentored.

To be fair to Mr. Puig, he was in the clubhouse bright and early today, sitting in front of his locker next to young Alex Guerrero, each having finished a workout already, and each dutifully answering the questions of the Spanish-speaking media. This despite the fact that he’s not in today’s lineup and, if he wanted to, could go hang out in the trainer’s room and be anti-social. We’ve heard tell that Puig wants to make a point to be less of a distraction this year. To just be one guy on the team and carry himself like a quiet professional. I suppose this is as good a start as any.

People who watch him every day are noticing too.

We’ve had two years to watch Yasiel Puig unleash his amazing physical gifts and baseball skills on Major League Baseball. If the appearances and talk around Camelback Ranch about Puig sharpening his focus and putting just as much mental effort into his game as physical effort are accurate, we could see something pretty damn special from the Dodgers right fielder this coming season.

Dodgers acquire Kyle Jensen from Marlins

Kyle Jensen Marlins

Minor league outfielder Kyle Jensen, who smacked 27 homers in 133 games at Triple-A for the Marlins this season, has been traded to the Dodgers for a player to be named later or cash.

It’s an odd move because Jensen isn’t really considered much of a prospect. For one thing he’s 26 years old. For another, except for having 25-homer power he hasn’t shown much promise offensively, posting poor batting averages with lots of strikeouts and sub par plate discipline.

Beyond that, it’s unclear why the Dodgers really need more corner outfield and first base depth considering they’re already trying to trade one of their veteran outfielders and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez almost never misses a game. If anything, you’d think the Marlins might actually have been able to find a spot for Jensen.

Clayton Kershaw wins the National League Most Valuable Player Award

Clayton Kershaw

Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw has been named the National League’s Most Valuable Player, receiving 18 first-place votes. He is the first pitcher to win the NL MVP and the Cy Young award in the same season since Bob Gibson in 1968. He joins Sandy Koufax and Don Newcombe as Dodgers to have won both awards in the same season, and is the first Dodger to win the MVP since Kirk Gibson in 1988.

Kershaw, 26, led the league in ERA for the fourth consecutive season, but his 2014 campaign was arguably the best of his career. He finished with a 1.77 ERA and a 239/31 K/BB ratio in 198 1/3 innings, helping lead the Dodgers to another NL West title.

Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton finished in second place and Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen finished in third place. Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, teammate of Kershaw, finished seventh while Yasiel Puig and Dee Gordon received down-ballot votes.