Dodgers Report: All-Star Game

Wainwright defends start after rough outing

July, 15, 2014
Jul 15
7:31
PM PT
MINNEAPOLIS -- So, the evidence would seem to suggest that National League manager Mike Matheny made the wrong call going with Adam Wainwright over Clayton Kershaw to start Tuesday night's All-Star Game.

Wainwright gave up three runs in the first inning. Kershaw breezed through the second inning in 11 pitches.

[+] EnlargeClayton Kershaw
Scott Rovak/USA TODAY SportsClayton Kershaw needed 11 pitches to complete his perfect inning of work for the NL in the All-Star Game.
And, as Kershaw pointed out afterward, "This game means something." Both the Dodgers and Wainwright's St. Louis Cardinals have designs on reaching the World Series, which has home field decided by the All-Star Game.

But it's not quite as black and white as all that. For one thing, Kershaw got to face the Nos. 7, 8 and 9 batters on the American League roster, which means no Mike Trout -- who smacked a triple off the right-field wall -- and no Miguel Cabrera, who yanked a two-run home run over the left-field wall. Those were the top two finishers in back-to-back seasons for AL MVP voting. They might be the best player in the game (Trout) and the best hitter in the game (Cabrera).

Oh, and he also didn't have to face Derek Jeter.

It's not that Jeter, at 40, is such an intimidating at-bat these days, but he is when you've got your best pitch tied behind your back. Wainwright was so respectful of Jeter playing in his final All-Star Game, he said he grooved a couple of "pipe shots," or fastballs right down the middle. Jeter hit one of them for a leadoff double and scored the first run of the game.

"You knew he was going to do the right thing," Kershaw said. "He's a class act."

The best argument for starting Kershaw all along was simply that he's a better pitcher, which is true. But if the players take the game lightly enough that they are willing to give up a hit to honor a great player in his final game, that tells you simply winning the game isn't the primary objective. By the way, Kershaw is a big opponent of awarding home field based on the All-Star Game.

Kershaw has maintained all along that he wasn't upset that Matheny named Wainwright the starter. Someone asked Wainwright about the decision after his rough first inning. He cited his statistics and said, "Come on, guys. You can say whatever you want, but there's nobody that's going to say I didn't deserve to be in this spot. Mike did the right thing, because I would have been glaring at him the rest of the year."

Kershaw's best revenge: Help the Dodgers win the World Series. Then, Don Mattingly could name whomever he wants next year.

Dee's All-Star Journal: Dad takes a turn

July, 15, 2014
Jul 15
12:39
PM PT
Dee GordonAP Photo/Jeff RobersonIt's a thrill for Dee Gordon to be at the All-Star Game, but it may be even more special for his proud father.
Dee Gordon has agreed to offer occasional journal entries detailing his All-Star experience. Today, his father, Tom "Flash" Gordon, takes over the journal, as told to Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

As a parent, you’re more nervous for your kid and what they do than when you were playing. You want them to do well and you’re excited to be with them in such a spectacular setting as this game.

More than that, though, you know Dee’s character, his honesty and decency, and I’m more gratified with that than anything.

When things weren’t going well for Dee about a year ago, the main thing I told him was to remember back how it was when you were taking swings back home in Florida and I was hitting him groundballs on the basketball court. You’ve got to be able to go back to something. My kids are humble kids. They remember what it was like before they got to this level, and that’s very important.

I realize it’s a little strange that, as a 20-year veteran pitcher, I produced two sons who are shortstops. My younger son, Nick, was the first-round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins last month. When Dee was in the 11th grade, I got him on a pitcher’s mound and I thought he had a pretty good curveball, but the minute he stepped off the mound he said, ‘Dad, I’m never going on a pitcher’s mound again in my life.’

I felt like, as the older brother, he had a big influence on Nick. He saw Dee having success as a shortstop and he wanted to follow his path.

They got their speed from me. Go back and look at the tapes. Nobody ever beat me to first. One time I did forget to cover, though, and that didn’t go over well with my manager. I always considered myself an everyday player. Maybe that’s why I did better as a reliever than as a starter, because I got to be involved in more games.

We’ve had a wonderful time here together as a family. Dee has been busy, but we got to all get together at breakfast Monday. No matter how Dee does in the game tonight, I want him to know I’m proud of him.

Mike Trout or Yasiel Puig: Who ya got?

July, 15, 2014
Jul 15
10:02
AM PT
Yasiel Puig and Mike TroutAP Photo/Danny MoloshokCompare Yasiel Puig and Mike Trout all you want, but take a moment to simply enjoy how great both players are.


MINNEAPOLIS -- Back in March, before the Dodgers played the Angels in one of their annual preseason exhibition games, several Dodgers players, including Hanley Ramirez and Juan Uribe, were posing for pictures behind the batting cage with Mike Trout.

When Yasiel Puig tried to jump in the shot, Uribe -- who, when he’s not playing third base volunteers for the chore of keeping Puig humble -- playfully shoved Puig out of the picture, saying in Spanish, "Puros caballos," which roughly translates as, "Studs only."

[+] EnlargeYasiel Puig
AP Photo/Mark J. TerrillYasiel Puig can do it all on the field, much like his Southern California neighbor, Mike Trout.
Eventually, Puig got his picture and, as usual, he posted it to his Instagram account with the caption, "Trout, a good player and a pleasure to meet."

If things keep going as they are, these two young players will meet, and be linked, for many years to come. Trout is 22. Puig is 23. And, as their fortunes ebb and flow as all major league players' do, people will ask the question, "Who would you take?"

If we rewind and freeze the frame on June 3, you could have made a plausible case for Puig over Trout. Less than a year into Puig’s first calendar year in Major League Baseball, he was batting .343 with a 1.042 OPS. He had 11 homers and 40 RBIs after 54 games. He was showing newfound discipline at the plate. For the first time in his career, Trout was beginning to create some doubters. Trout had 64 strikeouts in his first 54 games and his OPS had dipped from Mount Olympus onto the soil where humans live. It was, gasp, .925.

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But even most die-hard Dodgers fans would admit that was simply a moment, fleeting as they all are. Put those fans in a big-money fantasy league and how many Dodgers fans would actually choose Puig over Trout. It’s an unfair comparison, of course, like finding a brilliant young player in 1953 and saying, “Yeah, but is he as good as Mickey Mantle?” As this Jayson Stark piece illustrates so well, at this All-Star Game, Trout likely is taking over for Derek Jeter as the face of baseball. He’s doing that mainly because he is the best player in baseball. If we go by wins above replacement, Trout’s 25.8 through his age-22 season is the best of all time, edging Ty Cobb, Ted Williams, Mel Ott and Alex Rodriguez. That’s pretty good, right?

Puig’s cumulative WAR (remember, he has played less than half as many major league games as Trout) is 8.2. So, yeah, he’s in the discussion, too.

Just as Puig has found himself fascinated by Trout, the feeling is mutual. Trout said that over the past year or so, every time he got back to his home and turned on "SportsCenter" or the MLB Network, it seemed like they were showing Puig’s highlights or breaking down aspects of his game, the good and the bad. Like many other fans, Trout finds Puig fun to watch.

Asked to compare their games, Trout admitted there are similarities, then settled on this fundamental difference: "I'm a little more of a control guy. He pretty much lets it all out -- lets it eat -- and you've got to respect that. He's a great player."

(Read full post)

Prospect Corey Seager gets rave reviews

July, 14, 2014
Jul 14
4:39
PM PT
MINNEAPOLIS – At least two players in Tuesday night’s All-Star Game have a special interest in one of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ top prospects.

First, by a wide margin, is that player’s older brother, Kyle Seager, an All-Star third baseman from the Seattle Mariners, who says that his kid brother, Corey, has big things ahead of him. The Dodgers just promoted Corey Seager, 20, from Class A Rancho Cucamonga, where he batted .352 with 18 home runs, to Double-A Chattanooga, where he will report Thursday after watching his brother play for the American League.

Corey Seager was one of the Dodgers’ two representatives, along with pitcher Julio Urias, in Sunday’s Futures Game. Those two, plus outfielder Joc Pederson, are widely viewed as the organization’s top three prospects.

“He pretty much does everything that I’m doing, but just a little better,” Kyle Seager said. “He’s bigger, stronger, faster, he runs better. He’s good. He’s going to do a lot of really good things in this game.”

When pitcher Zack Greinke visited Dodger Stadium not long before signing his six-year, $147 million contract in December of 2012, he remarked to general manager Ned Colletti that he liked the team’s first-round draft pick from the previous June. That player was Seager.

Greinke, who has said he would like to be a GM one day and comes up with a mock draft every June, reflected on his scouting report at Monday’s media availability.

“I didn’t have him No. 1 on my board or anything, but he probably could have been a top-10 pick and he made it to 19. He couldn’t have been a top-five pick. No one would have taken him in the top five, but he was really good,” Greinke said. “He has a really simple swing. Sometimes, if you have it that simple you lose power, but he still has power even though his approach is so simple. And he’s got the ability to play the infield.

“If you had told me he was going to be a right fielder, no I wouldn’t have taken him at No. 19. But as a third baseman with that hitting ability, that’s a very valuable player.”

Greinke also watched Seager’s two at-bats with the Dodgers in spring training.

“I don’t think he swung one time. He struck out on three pitches and maybe walked one time. That was also a little bit strange, because usually a young guy, if they come up to a big league game, they’re going to want to swing and he was just ‘take, take, take,’ so that’s probably a good thing that you could still stay calm and not change your approach,” Greinke said.

Kershaw understands Wainwright selection

July, 14, 2014
Jul 14
3:40
PM PT
MINNEAPOLIS – A year ago, Clayton Kershaw bristled when Bruce Bochy picked New York Mets ace Matt Harvey to start the All-Star game over him at New York’s Citi Field.

Kershaw said things like, “It hurts,” and, “That’s his opinion.”

He was more conciliatory Monday, speaking about an hour or so after NL Manager Mike Matheny picked his own ace, Adam Wainwright, to start Tuesday night’s game for the National League. In both cases, Kershaw had the best set of statistics in the NL, but the numbers are closer this season than they were in 2013, when Kershaw had a 1.98 ERA and Harvey’s was 2.35.

Kershaw is 11-2 with a 1.78 ERA and Wainwright is 12-4 with a 1.83 ERA. Kershaw has 11 more strikeouts and Wainwright has pitched 41 2/3 more innings.

“I didn’t have a reaction. I kind of assumed. Adam had the best first half and Mike was his manager,” Kershaw said. “You’re going to pick your guy. So, I completely understand.”

Later, Kershaw said, “If they had asked me if I wanted to do it, I would have said, ‘Of course, I want to do it. That’d be awesome.’ But it’s not something that’s on my bucket list. Every year, there’s just been somebody better in the first half, so that’s the way it works.”

Of course, Kershaw could always get his revenge in the off-season by winning another Cy Young. He has won two of the last three. Then again, he said that’s not the goal either.

“I don’t know what Adam would say, but he’s won two World Series. I would trade Cy Youngs for World Series any day of the week,” Kershaw said.

Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke said, “You can’t go wrong with who they picked, I think. I think Kersh is the best pitcher in the world, but I was thinking about this a little bit ago. I think if you had everyone in baseball pick their top five pitchers, him and Wainwright would be in everyone’s top five.”

Dee's All-Star Journal: the Gordon legacy

July, 14, 2014
Jul 14
11:27
AM PT
Dee GordonGary Vasquez/USA TODAY SportsDee Gordon is looking forward to hearing his name at All-Star introductions.
Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon has agreed to offer occasional journal entries about his experiences at his first All-Star Game.

I’ve always wanted to be an All-Star. That’s the highest honor you can have as a professional athlete and just to share that and be part of that is incredible. Now, I have another piece of the legacy to add. My dad, Tom “Flash” Gordon, was an All-Star pitcher and I went with him three times, in Colorado, Houston and Pittsburgh.

I was 10 in Colorado. It was a long time ago. I was sick. I didn’t get to see anything. I went back to the hotel room and didn’t even watch it, I was so sick. In 2004, in Houston, I was 16 and I remember being at the Home Run Derby, just hanging out, trying to steal home runs in the outfield. In 2006, I was 18 and I was too cool to go on the field, so I just sat in the stands.

My dad is coming up from Florida and I hope I get to spend a lot of time with him. I’ve heard it’s pretty jam-packed with activities, so we’ll see. Both my grandmas, my sister, some aunts and uncles and cousins are coming, too. They’re excited.

I’m the most excited about just getting my name called. I don’t know if I’m going to play or not.

It’s going to be cool just to be around those guys and listen. It’s weird because my dad played with Derek Jeter and know I’m playing with him in my first one and it’s going to be his last one. It’s cool.

I knew him when I was younger. I haven’t seen him since. I’m going to go say, ‘Hi.’ I think I was 12 or 13 or something crazy last time I saw him. Even then, I learned something about professionalism. He never got in trouble. His name was never in the paper for the wrong thing. It’s crazy you could play that long and nothing is ever said about him, nothing but good.

I modeled myself after him. My little brother Nick, [the Minnesota Twins’ first-round draft pick] does as well. But I’m a second baseman now. Those dreams died, but I try to model my professionalism after him and stay out of the way, stay out of the papers and things and make sure people respect you.

Kershaw should start All-Star Game

July, 10, 2014
Jul 10
11:13
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers are pretty confident St. Louis manager Mike Matheny will pick his own ace, Adam Wainwright, to start Tuesday night's All-Star Game for the National League.

They understand it even if they know it's an absurd bit of provincialism, one the game of baseball allows to go on year after year.

[+] EnlargeClayton Kershaw
Richard Mackson/USA TODAY SportsAfter his complete game Thursday, Clayton Kershaw is 8-0 in his last eight starts with an ERA of 0.74.
The way Clayton Kershaw is going, to pretend that any pitcher in any league deserves pride of place over him is laughable. So, while the Dodgers won't find it nearly as irritating that Wainwright starts over Kershaw as that Matt Harvey started in the Big Apple last year though Kershaw had a 1.98 ERA and Harvey's was 2.35, they still know where things really stand.

The Dodgers don't have any doubts they have the best pitcher in baseball.

"I don't think Mike Matheny does either," catcher A.J. Ellis said. "I think Adam Wainwright is as tough as they come, but at the end of the day, the run Clayton has been on these past three seasons is undeniable. Justin Verlander had a great run a little bit prior to Clayton's. Justin's fallen off a little bit, Clayton picked it up and he's the top of the mountain right now."

While Kershaw's streak of 41 consecutive scoreless innings came to an end with Chase Headley's sixth-inning home run in the Dodgers' 2-1 win over the San Diego Padres on Thursday night, Kershaw said he couldn't care less about the streak. He pitched like it, too, mowing down the Padres for three more innings to cap off the complete-game three-hitter, adorned with 11 strikeouts. The streak ended. The mastery didn't.

(Read full post)

Dee Gordon's All-Star case

June, 23, 2014
Jun 23
4:29
PM PT
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon isn’t coy about his feelings toward making the National League All-Star team. His whole face lights up when he talks about it.

“I would absolutely love it,” Gordon said. “If I don’t, I don’t. And, honestly, I’m not supposed to be where I am anyway. But that would definitely be something that’s cool. My whole family would be there.”

[+] EnlargeDee Gordon
AP Photo/The Orange County Register, Kyusung GongDee Gordon is arguably the fastest player in baseball. Combine that with his penchant for stealing and hitting triples, and he's an All-Star candidate.
Gordon is on the bubble. Among NL second basemen, Philadelphia’s Chase Utley and Pittsburgh’s Neil Walker have stronger cases based on their offensive numbers, but Walker is on the 15-day disabled list following an appendectomy. Scooter Gennett of the Milwaukee Brewers and Daniel Murphy of the New York Mets also are having strong seasons.

Gordon doesn’t have the power numbers of those players and he’s batting a fairly pedestrian .278, but he leads the majors in stolen bases (39) and is atop the National League in triples (eight). He would give NL All-Star manager Mike Matheny arguably the fastest player in baseball as a weapon off his bench.

He's had an up-and-down season, but he has played borderline Gold Glove defense at a new position, second base, and Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he has rolled through the good times and the bad with his confidence intact.

“Guys are always going to go in and out. That part’s going to be there. But Dee doesn’t seem real bothered by it anymore,” Mattingly said. “You don’t see big changes, new batting stances or whole different routines like you’ll sometimes see with young guys.”

As a baserunner, Gordon has been a disruptive force the game hasn’t seen in generations, particularly lately. He has 39 stolen bases and has been caught just 13 percent of the time. After he stole a base, went to third on a catcher’s throwing error and scored Friday in San Diego, Dodgers coach Davey Lopes pulled him aside in the dugout to point out that he got a bad jump against Ian Kennedy.

“That’s his job -- to teach -- and I always listen,” Gordon said.

In his last six games, Gordon has a .464 on-base percentage and has scored seven runs. He also disrupts the opposing pitcher’s focus and gets more fastballs for Hanley Ramirez, part of the reason Mattingly loves those two batting 1-2 in the Dodgers’ lineup.

The game could see more players like Gordon in coming seasons, Mattingly believes, though it will be difficult to steal 100 bases or more in a season because teams are more focused on stopping others’ running games than they were in the 1980s. The advent of slide steps, new pickoff moves and quicker deliveries mean players must have blinding speed to consistently steal bases. Gordon is one of the few in that category.

“You see so many strikeouts and so few runs; I think there is a place for stolen bases to come back,” Mattingly said.

J.P. Howell: Stealth All-Star candidate?

June, 18, 2014
Jun 18
5:28
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- J.P. Howell, All-Star?

The Los Angeles Dodgers' left-handed reliever might not fit the profile of an All-Star pitcher since he doesn't work in a glamorous role and his fastball, according to Fangraphs, is averaging less than 86 mph this season. But a good few weeks could put him at least in the discussion when Mike Matheny is putting together the National League staff and the Dodgers have started to build a little campaign.

The team's official Twitter account tweets #AllStar whenever it mentions Howell, who has a 0.69 ERA since May 9 and is holding opposing hitters to a .146 average in that time.

Howell, 31, says he's flattered, but he's not canceling his All-Star break plans just yet.

"That would be a shock, an absolute shock," Howell said. "I've never been that guy. I've always been the under-the-radar guy and, to be honest, I like it that way. Don't get it twisted. It would be a huge honor, but I never have that as my goal. My goal is a World Series."

Howell might be right. His chances appear slim as left-handed relievers are thriving in the National League this year. Six -- Tony Watson, Dan Jennings, Will Smith, Zach Duke and Jeremy Affeldt -- have better ERA's than Howell's 1.73 this season.

The Dodgers appear to have a couple of locks -- Yasiel Puig and Zack Greinke -- for the All-Star game in Minnesota, with several other players -- Howell, Josh Beckett, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Clayton Kershaw, Adrian Gonzalez and Dee Gordon -- as possibilities.

Puig still not in the lineup

July, 14, 2013
7/14/13
12:29
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- Yasiel Puig missed his second consecutive start with a strained left hip, and manager Don Mattingly said he would prefer not to use Puig as a pinch hitter or in a double switch so he can give him five days' rest before the Dodgers' next game.

Because of the All-Star break and a travel day Thursday, they don't play after Sunday until Friday in Washington. The story is essentially the same with Carl Crawford, who has a stiff lower back.

Puig's lack of availability here seemed to cast serious doubt on whether he would be available as an injury replacement for Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman in Tuesday's All-Star Game. Mattingly didn't directly oppose the idea of Puig playing in New York, but he made it clear he's not a big fan of the idea.

"I’m staying out of all that stuff, but if a guy’s hurt he usually doesn’t go to the All-Star Game," Mattingly said.

Puig was pulled after two at-bats Friday night and hasn't played since. He injured himself colliding with an outfield wall in Colorado on July 3.

* Mattingly also announced his post-break pitching rotation. Ricky Nolasco will pitch Friday in Washington, followed by Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Chris Capuano.

Kershaw gets extra rest after the All-Star Game and Ryu gets extra rest as he adjusts to pitching on four days' rest. Ryu worked on five days' rest while in Korea and the Dodgers are monitoring his innings to some extent.

Here are lineups for Sunday's first-half finale with Colorado:

Colorado
1. Dexter Fowler CF
2. DJ LeMahieu 2B
3. Carlos Gonzalez LF
4. Troy Tulowitzki SS
5. Michael Cuddyer RF
6. Todd Helton 1B
7. Wilin Rosario C
8. Nolan Arenado 3B
9. Jhoulys Chacin RHP

Dodgers
1. Skip Schumaker RF
2. Nick Punto 2B
3. Adrian Gonzalez 1B
4. Hanley Ramirez SS
5. Andre Ethier CF
6. A.J. Ellis C
7. Scott Van Slyke LF
8. Jerry Hairston Jr 3B
9. Ricky Nolasco RHP

Time grows short for Puig's All-Star chances

July, 10, 2013
7/10/13
6:12
PM PT
It might be about time for Major League Baseball to approach one of the National League's All-Star outfielders and convince him his knee is killing him.

If things don't change in the next 24 hours or so, the nation might miss a chance to watch Yasiel Puig, the most talked-about player in baseball, compete against the best players in the world -- at least the ones who aren't left behind in his native Cuba.

Puig continues to trail Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman in MLB's Final Vote contest, in results announced Wednesday morning. No matter what the Dodgers seem to do -- clever tweets, voting parties, an alliance with the Boston Red Sox, a Puig Power Hour -- nothing has been able to reverse it.

We do have to give the Dodgers' Tweet-master, Josh Tucker, some credit for his efforts, though. His parents can rest assured that all that money they poured into a USC education are paying off. Here are some of the team's tweets just from the past day:

* "Coffee, tea or juice? No matter what you choose, Vote Puig!"

* "West coast, best coast, Puig the vote all night."

* Something in Korean, which we assume implores Hyun-Jin Ryu fans to vote for Puig.

* And, at 1 a.m. PT, this morning, "The south is sleeping. Time to Vote Puig!"

The most exciting part of this whole process, of course, is the build-up.

Even if Puig does make it, he'll probably get one at-bat, maybe two, and an inning or two of defense. Still, who knows? He tends to have a flare for big moments. Maybe he'll break it open with one swing or throw out the go-ahead run at the plate. As another Dodgers tweet pointed out, if the National League wants to gain home-field advantage for the World Series, it's time to get it done.

Why Yasiel Puig must be an All-Star

July, 6, 2013
7/06/13
5:43
PM PT
If Bruce Bochy was so concerned about Yasiel Puig’s short service time when picking All-Star reserves, I wonder whether he looked at these raw numbers:

In 30 games, Puig has six more home runs, one more RBI and just 11 fewer runs scored than Marco Scutaro, who is -- somehow -- an All-Star. So, in 42 percent of the games Scutaro has played in, Puig has done about as much to help his team score as Scutaro has while playing 32 more games than the Los Angeles Dodgers rookie.

[+] EnlargeYasiel Puig
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty ImagesYasiel Puig is among five players -- including Dodgers teammate Adrian Gonzalez -- in the Final Vote competition for selection as the last National League pick for the All-Star Game.
Oh, and by the way, Puig has a 1.155 OPS. Scutaro’s is .776. His defensive impact is comparable, albeit in a smaller sample size. His baserunning is entirely different but probably equally valuable.

Yet that argument probably says less about Puig’s omission and more about Scutaro’s inclusion. Managers have been stuffing All-Star teams with their own guys for as long as the game has been around, so it’s really not much to get worked up over.

I actually thought Bochy had changed his mind earlier this week when he told reporters, “Part of it is, you understand, as a manager, the fans want to see a certain player.”

I still think Puig will be on the team as, I believe, he should be and, in a way, he’ll make it through the appropriate channels. The fans didn’t pick him. Bochy didn’t choose him, and the players didn’t, either. The fans didn’t have enough time, but the fact that his peers omitted him will tell you how this discussion is viewed within the game.

Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon called the idea of Puig making the team an “absolute joke.”

So, now Dodgers fans have no one but themselves to blame if Puig isn’t on the team. He’s among five players in the Final Vote competition, with teammate Adrian Gonzalez, Washington’s Ian Desmond, Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman and San Francisco’s Hunter Pence.

If I’m Gonzalez, by the way, I keep my Legoland plans for All-Star week, because there’s no way he’s getting the vote over Puig, the most talked-about player in baseball. I doubt any of the other guys are, either, unless Gonzalez somehow splits Dodgers’ fans affinities and somebody else squeaks in.

Even if Puig somehow doesn’t win the Final Vote, in the next week or so you’ll be seeing a steady stream of players backing out over nagging aches and pains.

The Dodgers will be represented about as well as they should be, considering they floundered through April, May and most of June. If the New York Mets somehow don’t let Matt Harvey pitch, Clayton Kershaw stands an excellent chance of starting the game.

So, until July 16 rolls around and Puig still isn't on the team, I’ll save my righteous indignation.

The case for Yasiel Puig as an All-Star

June, 25, 2013
6/25/13
6:24
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- Bruce Bochy said he's leaning against considering Yasiel Puig as a reserve for next month's All-Star Game, but acknowledged things might change in the next couple of weeks.

"Since I'm getting so many questions about it, MLB could come up with a new rule that the most intriguing or exciting player should be on the team," Bochy said. "Let's make that another spot."

If Puig plays in every one of the Dodgers' games between now and the All-Star break, he will have played 39 games, well under half the team's total. If Bochy picks him, there could be some negative sentiment among players, particularly those who have produced consistently for more than three months.

There is, however, the sheer entertainment value to consider. ESPN changed its broadcast plans for Monday to get Puig on national TV and he rewarded that decision by homering and later driving in the go-ahead run. He also dropped a fly ball against the wall for what was initially ruled a two-base error, and then changed.

Puig certainly looks like a guy who could help the National League secure home-field advantage for the World Series, batting .442 with seven home runs in 20 games. Not that the Dodgers or Giants look particularly World Series-bound at the moment, but you never know.

Plenty of undeserving big names have been voted onto the team by fans, even some who spent a big chunk of the first half on the disabled list. So, why shouldn't a player who is deserving -- and who had no sway over where he began this season -- make it?

"The more and more that he does, I'm sure they'll talk about it," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "At this pace, he's putting up some pretty good numbers."

Even if Bochy doesn't choose Puig, he could still make it to Citi Field in New York. Each team has 34 players nowadays, one of which is voted in by fans in a final run-off. There also are injury defections every year.

Here are lineups for Tuesday’s game:

San Francisco
1. Gregor Blanco CF
2. Marco Scutaro 2B
3. Buster Posey C
4. Pablo Sandoval 3B
5. Hunter Pence RF
6. Brandon Belt 1B
7. Andres Torres LF
8. Brandon Crawford SS
9. Mike Kickham LHP

Dodgers
1. Mark Ellis 2B
2. Yasiel Puig LF
3. Adrian Gonzalez 1B
4. Hanley Ramirez SS
5. Matt Kemp CF
6. Andre Ethier RF
7. Tim Federowicz C
8. Nick Punto 3B
9. Stephen Fife RHP

Dodger Stadium getting a new look

January, 8, 2013
1/08/13
3:04
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AP Photo/Reed Saxon
Work continues on an estimated $100 million in improvements to Dodger Stadium.

Janet Marie Smith had a bit of a conundrum when she sat down to sketch out some improvements to Dodger Stadium. Smith, who made her name overseeing work at Baltimore's Camden Yards, Boston's Fenway Park and Atlanta's Turner Field, among other places, needed to improve the fan -- and player -- experience while preserving the funky, early 1960s vibe.

"There are some things about its vintage state that aren't good," Smith said.


Courtesy of Los Angeles Dodgers
A rendering of some of the improvements planned for Dodger Stadium.


Tuesday, the Dodgers unveiled their plans for the roughly $100 million in stadium renovations under way at Chavez Ravine. Many of the improvements are subtle and some, such as the larger clubhouse and weight room, will be invisible to the public. They're all aimed at preserving the stadium's history while bringing it into the 21st century.

The highlights:
  • High-definition video boards in left and right field that will return to the original hexagon shape. The first 10-millimeter, 1080p LED scoreboards in baseball will be 22 percent larger than the current screens.
  • A new sound system aimed at cutting down on echoes and controlling the sound that leaves the stadium.
  • Wider concourses and additional accommodations for fans in wheelchairs.
  • New restrooms, some with baby-changing tables. Women's fixtures will increase 62 percent and men's fixtures by 32 percent, with the aim to cut down on long lines.
  • A new home clubhouse, the first major changes to where Dodgers players dress since 1962, along with bigger weight rooms and trainers rooms.
  • Separate batting cages and weight rooms for visiting teams, aimed at eliminating the awkward sharing of such facilities that sometimes led to tension before or after games.
  • Bullpen overlooks, allowing fans to watch pitchers warm up (and heckle opposing relievers).
  • Better cell-phone and wireless Internet access.
  • Playground areas.

The Dodgers are hopeful the upgrades will lead to high-profile events such as a Major League Baseball All-Star game, which last came to Dodger Stadium in 1980 (when the hexagonal scoreboards were replaced with rectangular ones).

Dodgers president Stan Kasten said he has some upcoming meetings with Commissioner Bud Selig and he will mention the Dodgers' interest. They likely are behind Washington and Miami, at least, in the line to host a game.

"The extent that it had to be forestalled because of the facility, that will never be an excuse again," Kasten said. "This facility will be the equal or surpass any other stadium in baseball."

It will be a challenge for the Dodgers simply to complete the construction work by a March 29 exhibition game against the Angels. Kasten acknowledged the team has contingency plans in case the work isn't completed by then, but wouldn't divulge what they were. It's likely they would play any games at the Coliseum or Angel Stadium if necessary.

"I think we're going to get it done by Opening Day," Kasten said, "but the unforeseen is unforeseeable."

The playing dimensions will not be appreciably altered. If anything, it will become slightly more of a pitchers' park. Kasten estimated the renovations will produce about six more feet of foul ground, giving fielders more chances to catch foul pop-ups.
John Kruk and Karl Ravech discuss the National League pitchers and reserves for the All-Star Game.

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WINS LEADER
Clayton Kershaw
WINS ERA SO IP
14 1.86 174 145
OTHER LEADERS
BAY. Puig .312
HRA. Gonzalez 17
RBIA. Gonzalez 83
RY. Puig 69
OPSY. Puig .905
ERAC. Kershaw 1.86
SOC. Kershaw 174