Dodgers Report: Eric Stults

Rapid Reaction: Padres 4, Dodgers 1

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers had a bad day Wednesday. Even before they lost a game in the standings to the San Francisco Giants by dropping a 4-1 decision to the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium, they found out the Giants won their appeal of Tuesday's rainout.

The Dodgers' lead is now three games, and the Giants have a shot at making up another 1½ games on Thursday when they finish their suspended game and polish off their series at Wrigley Field.

How it happened: Roberto Hernandez, like Kevin Correia the night before, took a small step back after a promising start to his Dodgers tenure. Hernandez was erratic, giving up eight hits over five innings, and the Dodgers fell in an early hole for the third straight game. They were behind 3-0 by the time they batted in the second inning. Scott Van Slyke bobbled a ground ball single, allowing one of those runs to score. The Dodgers made headway against soft-tossing lefty Eric Stults (6-13) but couldn't come up with the key hit and then were faced with the difficult task of rallying against San Diego's solid bullpen.

Hits: There wasn't a lot to celebrate after another listless start by a Dodgers pitcher, but for a team that's always on the lookout for bullpen pieces, there was a bit of good news. Pedro Baez might be a better solution than any of the pitchers the Dodgers could acquire who passed through waivers. He pitched two more scoreless innings, touching 98 mph, and has now thrown seven scoreless innings since the Dodgers brought him back from Triple-A. It looks as if he might stay put this time.

Misses: People tend to think the Dodgers have more power than they do. The reality is they entered Wednesday's game 12th in the National League in home runs. Granted, most of their middle-of-the-order bats have excellent gap power, but they have only three healthy players with double-digit home run totals. It's fair to say the lack of long balls has been a major disappointment. Only three pitchers in the league had given up more home runs than Stults coming into the game, but the Dodgers' power stayed dormant.

Stat of the game: Tuesday night, Dodgers prospect Jose De Leon struck out 14 batters in a Class-A game for Great Lakes. The total broke the franchise record, which was previously held by some guy named Clayton Kershaw, who had 12 in a 2007 game.

Up next: The Dodgers haven't won a home series since July 29-31, so they'd like to take Thursday's game to win this one. The good news is they'll line up behind Kershaw (14-3, 1.86 ERA) Thursday night at 7:10 p.m. The bad news is they'll be facing San Diego's best starter, Tyson Ross (11-11, 2.70).

Matt Kemp just doesn't look right

April, 11, 2013
The San Diego Padres moved in the fences at their spacious ballpark, converting it from cavernous to just big.

Asked about the new, cozier configuration, Matt Kemp told the Los Angeles Times, "When I'm on, can't no ballpark hold me."

This is true. Kemp has prodigious power and is strong enough to hit the ball out of almost any part of almost any stadium. In the parlance of scouts, he has foul pole-to-foul pole power, a rare gift.

But where has it been? Kemp has maintained all through the spring that his left shoulder feels good, that it's not hampering his swing. But the evidence says otherwise.

In the third inning of Wednesday night's game, Kemp got an 89 mph belt-high fastball over the middle of the plate from soft-tossing lefty Eric Stults. He swung through it to strike out. As he walked back to the dugout, the TV cameras zeroed in on Kemp, who had a surprised look on his face.

This is a player who nearly hit for the Triple Crown two seasons ago, who fell one home run shy of 40, has had 82 at-bats in 2013, including spring training, and has hit one home run. Equally troubling, Kemp has managed just five doubles. Since early March, he is hitting .220. He squared up a couple of balls on the last homestand and they didn't reach the warning track in center field.

Wednesday was a nice day for Kemp. He had a couple of solid singles and it appeared to be a step forward as he tries to shake off a sluggish start. Manager Don Mattingly has suggested he simply has been trying too hard.

That might be the case, but people should also remember that Kemp is coming off a substantial surgery. In October, Dr. Neal ElAttrache had to repair the torn labrum cartilage in Kemp's left shoulder. He also removed debris from Kemp's rotator cuff. When Kemp woke up from the surgery, doctors told him the damage he'd sustained from an Aug. 28 collision with the Coors Field wall was worse than they suspected.

The first step for Kemp is to begin to trust his shoulder again, that when he swings as hard as he can, it won't cause him further pain. We don't know what he's feeling when he goes to the plate, but we have a pretty good idea he's not entirely back to his old self yet.
Reliever Steven Rodriguez was packing for a trip to Jackson, Miss., when he got a call from Double-A Chattanooga manager Carlos Subero. While the team was going to Jackson, Rodriguez would be heading a little further west.

“I left so many things,” Rodriguez said. “I just grabbed a bunch of clothes and said, ‘Let’s go.’“

It’s fair to say the timetable has sped up a bit for Rodriguez, whom the Dodgers drafted out of Florida in the second round just three months ago. The Dodgers need a second left-handed reliever to go with Randy Choate now that Scott Elbert is on the disabled list.

Rodriguez, 21, had three saves and a 1.32 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 15 games for Chattanooga.

“I didn’t expect this,” Rodriguez said. “Now, I’ve got to go out and do my job.”

Meanwhile, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly admits he's a bit befuddled at the Dodgers' offensive funk.

He's particularly galled that the Dodgers have struggled so badly against soft-tossing, left-handed pitchers, guys like Mark Buehrle, Jeff Francis, Tyler Skaggs and Eric Stults. They're facing Clayton Richard, a lefty who throws with a bit more velocity, tonight. They'll see another finesse left-hander, Barry Zito, Sunday in San Francisco.

"We're kind of seeing the same guy and not making enough adjustments," Mattingly said.

Here are lineups for Wednesday's game:

San Diego
Everth Cabrera SS
Will Venable RF
Chase Headley 3B
Carlos Quentin LF
Yasmani Grandal C
Yonder Alonso 1B
Logan Forsythe 2B
Cameron Maybin CF
Clayton Richard P

Mark Ellis 2B
Shane Victorino LF
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Matt Kemp CF
Hanley Ramirez SS
Andre Ethier RF
Luis Cruz 3B
A.J. Ellis C
Aaron Harang P


3 up, 3 down: Padres 6, Dodgers 3 (11)

September, 4, 2012

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers continue to endure the tension of a high-wire act caused by their struggling offense.

They lost 6-3 in 11 innings to the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night, a painful loss on a night when the nearest wild-card contender won. Each of the Dodgers' previous six games had been decided by one run or two. Tuesday was their third 11-inning game in five days.

The Dodgers, who blew a 3-1 lead for ace Clayton Kershaw, fell 1 1/2 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the wild-card race. They remained 4 1/2 games behind the San Francisco Giants with three games up north this weekend.

The Good:

Ace caliber. It's a fine line between a Cy Young season and a 12-8 season, it would seem. Kershaw's interior numbers are just a notch worse than last season's -- WHIP, ERA, innings pitched and strikeouts, everything -- but the results have been radically different. Kershaw has continued to do a professional job handling what he can control. He had to work hard to get through seven innings -- needing 116 pitches -- but he minimized damage and struck out nine, giving him three straight seasons breaking the 200-strikeout mark.

Forward movement. The Dodgers have been waiting for Adrian Gonzalez to match the dramatics of his first at-bat in blue. Instead, they got a long stretch of silence. Gonzalez went into Tuesday 8-for-41 with just five RBIs since that first Dodgers home run, but maybe some adjustments are starting to pay off. Gonzalez had a pair of hits and a sacrifice fly. Paired with Sunday's two-run walk-off double, Tuesday might have given Gonzalez a semblance of momentum. They need him to get rolling.

Big stick. Remember when everyone was wondering where Andre Ethier's power went? He's a long way from his 30-home run power of a few years ago, but lately he has been driving the ball with authority, even against left-handed pitchers. Ethier hit a solo shot to right off lefty Eric Stults in the second inning. It was his fifth home run in the past two weeks and third this homestand. He's the streakiest hitter on the team, but lately he also has been the most dangerous.

The Bad:

Scant relief. Kershaw worked too hard to see reliever Matt Guerrier trot in and give up the tying home run. Then again, there was nothing he could do at that point. Guerrier has put up some nice numbers this year when he's been healthy -- holding right-handed hitters to a .077 batting average, for example -- but none of that matters if you can't protect leads. Guerrier took the loss in Friday's game. Don Mattingly might hesitate to use him in high-pressure situations if this keeps happening. The fact he was in the game tells you how much Mattingly trusts Ronald Belisario.

Bermuda Triangle. Other than Ethier jogging over it, the Dodgers couldn't successfully traverse the third-base line for a while. Mark Ellis got picked off at third with one out in the first inning (a brutal mistake), and Gonzalez strayed a bit too far on Hanley Ramirez's sharp grounder to third (a slightly less egregious gaffe). If not for a bit of overeager baserunning so close to home, the Dodgers could have made things easier on themselves.

Main man. Matt Kemp hasn't been right at the plate since a massive collision with the center-field wall in Colorado last week. He had a single but also struck out twice and has gone 3-for-21 this homestand. It might have been the collision. It might have been the disruption from missing a couple of games. Or it might just coincide with a cold stretch. It doesn't really matter, but the Dodgers need more key hits from their biggest bat.



Yasiel Puig
.296 16 69 92
HRA. Gonzalez 27
RBIA. Gonzalez 116
RY. Puig 92
OPSY. Puig .863
WC. Kershaw 21
ERAC. Kershaw 1.77
SOC. Kershaw 239