Dodgers Report: Philadelphia Phillies

Don Mattingly rolling with the changes

December, 10, 2014
Dec 10
SAN DIEGO -- Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he had been in touch with president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman at various times throughout a topsy-turvy Tuesday at the winter meetings, a day in which the Dodgers reportedly consummated two impact trades, acquiring a former MVP (Jimmy Rollins) and four prospects while dealing their everyday second baseman (Dee Gordon) and a starting pitcher ( Dan Haren).

Mattingly, who is not in San Diego due to the recent birth of his son, would not confirm or deny the reported trades, which have not been officially announced by any of the teams.

He did, however, talk about rolling with some serious changes under the new front office. The Dodgers won 94 games last year, but Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi certainly aren’t letting that stop them from reimagining the ball club.

“It’s a situation where we’ve got to continue to get better, continue to get younger,” Mattingly said. “The club was built in a way that was thrown together, which is exactly what the owners said they wanted to do, to put the club together to win now, not wait five years and let the kids develop. The club was built with that in mind. But once you get to that part, you go through the process and you’ve got to move to the next step. We know we have to be able to do it year in and year out, and that’s sustaining it with youth.”

Not that the transition figures to be entirely smooth for Mattingly and the coaching staff. Mattingly used the word “love” to describe his feelings toward both Gordon and Haren. Gordon blossomed into an All-Star following two trying years after he switched from shortstop to second base. Haren persevered through a brutal midseason slump and gave the Dodgers valuable starts at the beginning and end of the season.

Friedman certainly isn’t done with his makeover of the roster. He’ll still likely add at least one more starting pitcher and, at some point, he will move one of the excess outfielders, either Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford or Matt Kemp.

Mattingly will welcome that personnel change when it happens.

“You want to have guys who are starters starting and guys off the bench to be bench guys,” Mattingly said. “I think it’s fairly clear it was a tough situation. Andre was a total professional at the end of the year, which made our team work, I felt like. Again, I don’t really know exactly what it’s going to look like. There are a lot of things going on right now. There are going to be some possibly big changes.”

Beckett adds to Dodgers' no-no history

May, 25, 2014
May 25
The Los Angeles Dodgers entered Sunday with 20 no-hitters, the most for any team in major league history.

But it had been awhile since they threw one and since the team they faced Sunday, the Philadelphia Phillies, had been no-hit.

Josh Beckett added another to the Dodgers’ ledger, as he no-hit the Phillies on Sunday.

The Dodgers not only have the most no-hitters all time, but the Phillies also have been no-hit the most: 19 times.

The history
Beckett became the first Dodgers pitcher to throw a no-hitter since Hideo Nomo no-hit the Colorado Rockies in 1996.

Beckett is the first pitcher to no-hit the Phillies since Bob Forsch threw one for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1978.

The Phillies had gone the second-longest without being no-hit. The team with the current longest streak of not being no-hit is the Cubs, who were last no-hit by Sandy Koufax in 1965 (a perfect game).

The Dodgers have thrown five no-hitters against the Phillies (including Koufax in 1964). The Elias Sports Bureau notes that only one franchise has thrown more no-hitters against an opponent than that: The Dodgers hold that distinction with six no-hitters against the Giants.

It was the second no-hitter to be thrown in Citizens Bank Park, joining Roy Halladay, who threw one against the Reds in the 2010 National League Division Series.

How Beckett won
Beckett threw a career-high 128 pitches. His previous longest no-hit bid was 6 2/3 innings in 2009 against the Detroit Tigers. Beckett had previously thrown a one-hitter in 2011 against the Tampa Bay Rays, the last time he threw a shutout.

He won with a combination of an effective fastball and good secondary stuff. He threw 68 fastballs and cutters, which accounted for 18 outs. Beckett got nine outs on the 60 off-speed pitches he threw (40 curveballs and 20 changeups).

Beckett succeeded at keeping the ball down, throwing 52 percent of his pitches in the lower third of the strike zone or below, his highest rate throwing to that location in any start in the last three seasons.

He averaged 91.6 mph with his fastball for the game but threw a little harder as the game went on. He averaged 92 mph with the fastball in the last three innings.

Beckett succeeded against a lefty-heavy lineup. Phillies lefties were 0-for-20 against him, one start after Mets lefties went 5-for-13 with two home runs against him.

Did you know?
The last five no-hitters have been thrown by National League teams.

The last time the NL threw the five most recent no-hitters in the major leagues was from 1978 to 1981 (also five straight). The pitchers were Bob Forsch (1978), Tom Seaver (1978), Ken Forsch (1979), Jerry Reuss (1980) and Charlie Lea (1981).

Elias Sports Bureau Stat of the Day
Josh Beckett has a no-hitter with the Dodgers and World Series wins with the Marlins and Red Sox.

The only other pitcher in major league history to win World Series games with multiple franchises and throw a no-hitter with another franchise is Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven.

Unlikely backstory of Beckett's no-hitter

May, 25, 2014
May 25

Every time Josh Beckett has had success this season -- and Sunday’s no-hitter in Philadelphia was hardly his first positive stride in what’s been a remarkable two months for the veteran -- I think back to a conversation Feb. 19 in a quiet corner of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ spring training clubhouse.

Nobody was really paying much attention to Beckett back then.

He was an aging, rehabbing pitcher who had been, frankly, pretty awful the last time anyone had seen him on a major league mound, back in the early months of 2013. The team had insured itself heavily in case things didn’t work out. It had signed Paul Maholm the day pitchers and catchers reported, giving the Dodgers five starters even without Beckett, largely because Beckett was such an iffy proposition.

And that wasn’t just the Dodgers’ view. It was Beckett’s, too.

The previous July, a surgeon had removed a small rib near Beckett’s right shoulder, alleviating a condition known as thoracic outlet syndrome, the same ailment that ended Chris Carpenter's career. In April and May of that year, Beckett had pitched despite numbness in his fingers, a result of the rib impinging a nerve.

So, back on that February afternoon, after an encouraging early bullpen session, Beckett was still waiting for bad things to happen.

“I don’t think you can help but to expect it to come back,” he said. “Basically, I’ve got to keep riding it out, ride it until it’s not good anymore.”

(Read full post)

Series preview: Dodgers at Phillies

May, 23, 2014
May 23
It’s all about Clayton Kershaw for now as the Dodgers try to finally get on a roll in Philadelphia this weekend.

The Dodgers’ rotation, generally viewed as the backbone of the team, is intact (pending Chad Billingsley's slow rehab) now that Hyun-Jin Ryu has returned and Kershaw has been healthy for a few weeks.

Now, the question is whether Kershaw’s last start -- in which he lasted 1 2/3 innings at Arizona and allowed seven runs -- was just a bad day or signaled a mechanical issue. Kershaw, who has perhaps the best curveball in baseball, has been hanging breaking balls in his past two starts, giving up three extra base hits on curveballs alone. In the two previous seasons combined, Kershaw had given up two extra-base hits on curveballs.

Justin Turner lined a ball off Kershaw’s shin during batting practice Wednesday, but Kershaw has told reporters traveling with the team that he’s OK.

The last time the Dodgers played the Philadelphia Phillies, they lost three of four, but maybe they’ve got them right where they want them this time. The Phillies, like the Dodgers, have not played well at home, going 8-12 at Citizens Bank Park. Both teams are within five games of first place in their division, which is widely considered good news for the aging Phillies and bad news for the Dodgers, who have the highest payroll in baseball.

The Dodgers have been hitting balls hard lately, particularly on the road. Adrian Gonzalez is batting .474 with three home runs and six RBIs in his last five games, Matt Kemp is hitting .344 since May 3 and Yasiel Puig has a 1.252 OPS in May. Puig has also been as exciting as always on the bases and in the field, both for good and bad. The Dodgers admit they’re concerned about Kemp’s fielding in center field.

For the first time in a while, the Dodgers are facing a bit of uncertainty at the top of the lineup, as manager Don Mattingly gave slumping Dee Gordon Thursday’s game off. Gordon was batting .336 on May 10, but since then he has hit .154 and his average has dipped under .300 for the first time all year. Veteran utility man Chone Figgins led off Thursday and got on base twice. With Gordon, Figgins, Puig and Carl Crawford in the lineup, the Dodgers have one of the fastest teams in the league. They have 52 stolen bases, easily the most in baseball.

Friday the Dodgers face Roberto Hernandez, the pitcher who once worked under the assumed name of Fausto Carmona. Because he pitched most of his career in the American League, the Dodgers haven’t faced his hard sinker often. They fared well against him last August, scoring five runs on eight hits in four innings.

Even Dodgers unsure if Wilson is healthy

April, 24, 2014
Apr 24
LOS ANGELES -- As Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was trying to grapple with reporters’ questions about whether the team’s highest-paid reliever is healthy, Brian Wilson was slipping out of the clubhouse without having to answer any of their questions.

Even Mattingly admitted neither he nor pitching coach Rick Honeycutt knows for sure whether Wilson is feeling anything in his twice-rebuilt right elbow. Wilson has already been on the disabled list once for some elbow discomfort, and his command and velocity issues surfaced again as he was giving up four ninth-inning runs in Thursday night’s 7-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.

[+] EnlargeBrian Wilson
Richard Mackson/USA TODAY SportsBrian Wilson gave up four runs on three hits and a walk in a third of an inning to take the loss.
“All we can do is ask,” Mattingly said.

Which was more than could be said for the members of the media. Wilson was dressed and gone by the time most reporters had left the interview room where Mattingly was talking.

Wilson doesn’t look anything like the pitcher who relaunched his career from the brink of extinction with the Dodgers last September and October. Wilson, as he had while coughing up a late lead in San Diego in the third game this season, struggled to crack 91 mph, about six miles per hour off what he once worked at routinely and well down from the 93-to-96 mph range he dominated with for the Dodgers late last season.

Even more alarming has been Wilson’s lack of command, but the two issues often are related. Wilson admitted when he went on the disabled list in San Diego that he had concealed some tingling sensations in his elbow from Mattingly and the trainers since spring training. Now, Mattingly said he’ll ask Wilson again whether he’s healthy.

Mattingly also said he’s contemplating slipping Wilson out of the setup role so he can work out whatever’s troubling him -- which seems like a fairly obvious move since Wilson now has a 15.75 ERA and Chris Perez has a 1.69 mark.

“We’ll look at it. I don’t have to make that decision tonight. First, we’ll make sure he’s OK physically and then you maybe give him a chance to work on some things in those other innings, because we’ve got some other guys throwing the ball well,” Mattingly said. “I don’t think we need to make a huge decision, but if Brian throws the ball the way he’s capable of, that makes us pretty strong.”

If Wilson is headed in the direction Brandon League went a year ago, it could spell both short- and long-term trouble once again. Wilson, 32, is making $10 million this season and has a player option for next year for between $8.5 and $10 million, depending on incentives reached.

Rapid Reaction: Phillies 7, Dodgers 3

April, 24, 2014
Apr 24

LOS ANGELES -- One of the least-heralded aspects of the Dodgers' turnaround in 2013 was the two-man tandem of Brian Wilson and Kenley Jansen shutting down the last two innings for opposing teams in those final months.

Now, the Dodgers are having to scramble to keep from burning their closer out before the calendar turns to May, and they’re wondering how much they’re going to get from their $10 million setup man. Jansen, who leads the major leagues in appearances, got the night off and Wilson had another meltdown to cost the Dodgers a 7-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday night.

How it happened: The Phillies kept pecking at Dan Haren throughout the evening, but in the one inning they actually got to him, the fifth, it was thanks to another Dodgers error, the bane of this young season. The Dodgers had a frustrating evening at the plate, stranding runners all over the place, but Adrian Gonzalez homered deep to center to tie it in the seventh. Then, Wilson gave up four ninth-inning runs to spoil the little comeback.

Hits: Juan Uribe came off a hot road trip and hit the skids in L.A., going 2-for-20 on the homestand heading into Thursday. Then, his bat erupted again. He was 3-for-4 and launched his fourth home run, a two-run shot, the only time the Dodgers could cash in against Kyle Kendrick, though they managed 10 hits off the Philadelphia right-hander. Uribe’s bat has been a big, pleasant surprise this month.

Misses: The Dodgers’ bad fielding has become their biggest problem. One of the least likely players to make an error, Gonzalez, helped usher in two unearned runs in the fifth inning with his misplay of a Chase Utley grounder.

Stat of the game: Andre Ethier has built himself a nice little niche as the only Dodger capable of playing all three outfield spots well, but he'll have to hit soon to keep getting this much playing time. Ethier went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, and his batting average slipped under the .200 mark to .194.

Up next: The Dodgers play the Colorado Rockies for the first time this season, with Josh Beckett pitching for the Dodgers and Jordan Lyles going for Colorado. The game is scheduled for 7:10 p.m.

Rapid Reaction: Dodgers 5, Phillies 2

April, 23, 2014
Apr 23

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers had hit a little patch of listlessness, their offense in a funk and their fielding borderline embarrassing.

But you don’t count out a team with Clayton Kershaw, who could be back on a major league mound within two weeks. Not when he’s backed up like this. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Zack Greinke and Dan Haren have all pitched like aces in Kershaw’s absence, allowing the Dodgers to power on through choppy water.

The three veterans have given the Dodgers everything Kershaw would have, with the key exception of length.

How it happened: The Dodgers had played three extra-inning games in eight days and their bullpen was as taxed as any in baseball. Closer Kenley Jansen, for example, leads the majors with 15 appearances.

Greinke did what you want your de-facto ace to do, he restored order in a 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies at Dodger Stadium. Using his usual palette of different speeds and locations, he had the Phillies guessing and off-balance all night.

Greinke (4-0) struck out 11 batters over seven innings, holding the Phillies to five hits. He took the mound in the eighth inning, but didn't stay there long, chased by a home run from pinch hitter Jayson Nix.

Hits: It seems only fair to grant Matt Kemp a little leeway to get his timing down after missing so many games the past couple of seasons. But now would be a good time for him to get in gear if he wants to establish himself as the everyday player he says he is. Kemp entered the game batting .196, but was the only early signs of offense against Cole Hamels, smacking doubles in his first two at-bats and scoring the Dodgers’ first run.

Misses: It seemed as though Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was talking about Hanley Ramirez when he said of the team's overall weak fielding before the game, “Your range is your range, but you can always be in the right spot. To be a solid defensive player, all you have to do is want to be that.” It continues to be a struggle at shortstop for Ramirez. He contributed to the Phillies’ run in the fourth inning. He had a clear shot at Jimmy Rollins at third base after fielding Chase Utley's grounder, but elected to take the easy out at first. Rollins scored seconds later on Ryan Howard's single into left field. On the other hand, Ramirez's bat finally got going. He doubled and homered (deep to center) in his last two at-bats.

Stat of the game: Greinke has worked five innings or more and allowed two runs or fewer in 17 consecutive starts. He's the first to have done that since modern record-keeping began in 1914.

Up next: The Dodgers complete the four-game series with the Phillies on Thursday night at 7:10 p.m., Dan Haren (3-2, 2.16 ERA) pitching for the Dodgers opposite Kyle Kendrick (0-2, 3.60).

Rapid Reaction: Phillies 3, Dodgers 2 (10)

April, 22, 2014
Apr 22

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers ended a 15-inning scoreless streak Tuesday night against the visiting Philadelphia Phillies, but they couldn’t accomplish much else.

The Dodgers played their fifth extra-inning game in the last two weeks and lost their fourth straight, this time on an unearned run in the 10th that resulted in a 3-2 victory by the Phillies at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers entered the day leading the majors in strikeouts and 25th in both hitting (.236) and on-base percentage (.303). Now they have scored two runs or less in six of the last eight games.

How it happened: Carlos Ruiz’s high pop fly into shallow left field in the 10th dropped to the grass after shortstop Hanley Ramirez and left-fielder Carl Crawford failed to communicate and collided. Crawford, who had mistimed his leap at the wall earlier in the game (resulting in a triple for Ruiz), was credited with the error because the ball caromed off his chest. Domonic Brown then came up off left-hander J.P. Howell and lined a double into the gap in left-center, driving in the go-head run.

Hits: Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon, who has emerged as the team’s most productive hitter this month, collected his second hit of the game in the seventh. It was a routine one-out single up the middle for most players, but Gordon went into overdrive right out of the box and beat Marlon Byrd’s off-balance throw into second base. Gordon then stole third with another head-first slide. Philadelphia pitcher A.J. Burnett looked like he might get out of the jam when he struck out catcher Tim Federowicz. With the pitcher’s spot coming up in the batting order and no available left-handed hitters on the bench, the Dodgers were forced to go with utility infielder Justin Turner, who spotted a Burnett curveball left over the plate and rolled it into left field to tie the score at 2-2.

Stat of the game: Burnett did more than just flummox the Dodgers for 6 2/3 innings on the mound; he had a career-high three base hits.

Up next: The Dodgers and Phillies will meet for the third time in their four-game series Wednesday night as three-time All Star left-hander Cole Hamels of the Phillies will make his season debut against unbeaten right-hander Zack Greinke of the Dodgers, the 2009 Cy Young Award winner.

Young trade has to do with intangibles

August, 31, 2013
LOS ANGELES -- The minute he walked out of the Dodgers' interview room, where he discussed the trade for veteran infielder Michael Young on Saturday night, general manager Ned Colletti reached Young on his cellphone.

Colletti said Young understood he won't be walking into the kind of role he had in Philadelphia, where he has had more than 500 plate appearances, or that he had in Texas, where he was the face of the franchise.

Colletti said Young was willing to accept a lesser role for a third crack at a World Series title.

[+] EnlargeMichael Young
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty ImagesMichael Young's trade to the Dodgers brings L.A. another veteran presence with playoff experience and leadership skills in the clubhouse.
"He could have vetoed the whole thing," Colletti said.

The Dodgers aren't interested in a move that could risk changing their direction. When you're coming off the best calendar month (23-6) in Los Angeles franchise history, when you have made up 20 games in the standings in less than 10 weeks, radical change really doesn't jump out as a good idea.

For a team that almost never loses, the Dodgers have been pretty busy making changes. They've added relievers Brian Wilson and Carlos Marmol, and starting pitcher Edinson Volquez. Now they add Young despite the fact that Young's .722 OPS is identical to that of their starting third baseman, Juan Uribe, and that Young isn't nearly the defender Uribe is.

It wasn't Colletti's intention to upset the apple cart, just to add a little more sustenance to the Dodgers' moveable feast. It's about depth. It's about competition. It's about experience.

"I kept it in the back of my mind for a while, because I didn't want to disrupt what we have going on here," Colletti said. "I think the room is great."

Of course, you could argue, then why do it?

(Read full post)

Venue changes but not the results

August, 16, 2013

The Dodgers win at home. They win on the road.

They beat Cy Young winners, up-and-coming aces and back-of-the-rotation starters. They beat National League teams and American League teams, contenders and teams playing out the string.

They beat veteran managers and guys making their debuts (in this case, Ryne Sandberg managing his first game in place of fired Charlie Manuel).

Zack Greinke
AP Photo/Christopher SzagolaZack Greinke gave up only three hits in beating the Phillies, and is looking like one of the best No. 2 starters around.
They just keep winning, at a ridiculous rate. After Friday's 4-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies -- spearheaded by Zack Greinke and Hanley Ramirez and at the expense of Cliff Lee -- at Citizens Bank Park, they have gone 24-3 since the All-Star break, 41-8 since June 22 and have won nine straight games. Pick a sample size. They're all impressive.

Since 1900, only one other team -- the 1944 St. Louis Cardinals -- has played this well for this long. The Dodgers have been the best team in baseball for nearly one-third of the season. Unless the Dodgers have a dramatic change of course, their October trajectory is looking surer and surer. They gained a game from the Arizona Diamondbacks and now lead the NL West by a commanding 8½ games.

Greinke hasn't reached the heights of Clayton Kershaw, but he's looking like one of the best No. 2 starters in baseball. He gave up only three hits in a game that suggested his stuff was far from dominant -- he walked four batters and had only three strikeouts. Greinke is 8-1 since June 16.

No matter how many times his season is disrupted, Ramirez just keeps on putting up monster numbers. Manager Don Mattingly has marveled at Ramirez's ability to return from a lengthy layoff and still hit major league pitching with such authority.

Of course, there's major league pitching and then there's Lee. Ramirez has consistently gotten the better of the Phillies' ace. His two-run home run in the fourth inning made him 8-for-15 with three home runs against Lee.

As good as the Dodgers' pitching has been, it could get even better with the addition of veteran reliever Brian Wilson, who threw a simulated game in Philadelphia and could come off the disabled list as soon as Sunday. It certainly will get more colorful.

Wilson plans to wear No. 00. That will be a Dodgers first.

"Every other number was taken," Wilson told reporters.

Dodgers could use more pitching

June, 28, 2013
LOS ANGELES -- If you've found yourself underwhelmed by the names being bandied about in the early days of baseball's trading season, if Matt Garza and Ricky Nolasco and Joe Saunders don't get you fired up, consider Friday night instructive.

Pitching hasn't been the Los Angeles Dodgers' downfall this season, but it could be.

The Dodgers went into Friday with the eighth-best ERA in baseball, their starters with the fifth-best ERA. Those ranks are perhaps a bit disappointing given what they thought they had, but far from the reason they're stuck in last place.

What has doomed them, of course, aside from the injury-a-day plan, are underperforming hitters. Matt Kemp hasn't been Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier hasn't been Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford, Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig haven't been around enough.

But that doesn't figure to continue and neither, perhaps, does the good pitching. If you looked at the Dodgers' Nos. 2 through 6 hitters Friday night, you'd see the potential for one of the deepest, most dangerous lineups in baseball. It has begun to poke through in recent games.

Puig is sparking it, of course, but Kemp and Ethier have looked revitalized, Ramirez looks lethal and Adrian Gonzalez just keeps on trucking.

The Dodgers rank 27th in the majors in runs scored on June 28, but if they can keep their guys on the field (OK, use your imagination), they won't be ranked 27th on Aug. 28.

On the other hand, if Chris Capuano and Stephen Fife (or Ted Lilly) are in their rotation and Matt Magill is the backup plan, things could get a little dicey. If they have to rely on Brandon League, Peter Moylan or Matt Guerrier in tight games, they could get dicier.

Capuano can be forgiven for an occasional clunker like Friday night's, in which he couldn't get out of the fourth inning and gave up seven runs and 10 hits. He had pitched well in his past two starts and five of his past six. Fife has been perfectly serviceable as a No. 5 starter. But the Dodgers' depth has been tested all year and their Triple-A options are not good.

The Dodgers, if they are in contention, will look to add one starter and one reliever between now and the July 31 trade deadline. Assuming the selling teams really are open for business, there's no time like the present.

Now that's how you end a winning streak

June, 28, 2013

LOS ANGELES -- If momentum is only as good as the next day's starting pitcher, Chris Capuano pretty much blew up a week of good vibes in about 10 minutes Friday.

The first three batters reached base safely. Rockets were flying low for a while, finding holes, then they started flying a little higher and going a little deeper. The Dodgers were in a 6-0 hole by the time many fans had settled into their seats in the second inning and they wound up losing 16-1 to the Philadelphia Phillies.

It was the worst Dodgers home loss since 1947, three years before Vin Scully walked into the Brooklyn Dodgers' broadcast booth for the first time. It was their worst loss anywhere since 2001.

Remarkably, most of the 48,828 fans stuck around inning by miserable inning, but then again they were shooting off fireworks afterward and it came with the price of admission, so why not?

Friday's meltdown definitively ended the Dodgers' six-game winning streak and denied them a chance to get as close to the division lead, five games, as they have been since May 4.

Oh well. It happens, right? Pitchers have bad days and Capuano had done the Dodgers a big favor by pitching well on three days' rest last weekend in San Diego. The more troubling pattern was more bad relief, with the fringes of the Dodgers' bullpen entering the game and doing little to staunch the flow of Phillies offense.

The Dodgers, facing a highly hittable pitcher, John Lannan, looked flat after that. But if you knew within 30 minutes of the start of your workday that your efforts would have no impact on the result, you might not be all that excited either.

If nothing else, Yasiel Puig continued to entertain. He hit another opposite-field drive off the right-field wall, then flipped his bat as if he thought it would go out. He dove for a ball he had no chance of catching, but got to his feet so fast it hardly mattered. He made some massive throws from right field.

Plus, utility guy Skip Schumaker pitched again. That's always fun. He still has a 0.00 ERA in two outings. In fact, he was the only Dodgers pitcher who didn't give up a run Friday.

And that, folks, was your Dodgers highlight show for tonight.

Luis Cruz finally loses his roster spot

June, 28, 2013
LOS ANGELES -- It's not as if no one could see this one coming.

Luis Cruz's roster spot was getting more and more tenuous as the Dodgers got healthier and healthier. On Friday, he finally lost it. The Dodgers designated the popular infielder for assignment to make room for Scott Van Slyke to come off the disabled list.

Cruz was out of options, so he must now clear waivers and accept the assignment to Triple-A Albuquerque to remain in the Dodgers' organization.

In 2012, Cruz, a native of Mexico nicknamed "Cochito," was among the Dodgers' most pleasant surprises, taking advantage of injuries to seize the third-base job. He batted .297 with 20 doubles in 78 games.

It was a different story this season. Cruz began the season in a deep batting slump and never emerged. He was batting .127 with just three extra-base hits in 45 games.

"I'd like to see him in the big leagues more than anywhere," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "If he doesn't end up in the big leagues, then you hope he'll end up in Albuquerque where he has a chance to get some swings and then you never know what happens at that point. He could get a chance to come back again and play."

Cruz was not in the clubhouse during the period in which the media is allowed.

Here are lineups for Friday's game, with the Dodgers trying for a seventh straight win:

1. Michael Young 3B
2. Chase Utley 2B
3. Jimmy Rollins SS
4. Domonic Brown LF
5. Delmon Young RF
6. John Mayberry Jr. 1B
7. Ben Revere CF
8. Carlos Ruiz C
9. John Lannan LHP

1. Mark Ellis 2B
2. Yasiel Puig RF
3. Adrian Gonzalez 1B
4. Hanley Ramirez SS
5. Matt Kemp CF
6. Andre Ethier LF
7. Jerry Hairston Jr. 3B
8. Tim Federowicz C
9. Chris Capuano LHP

Catch the latest Puig moment?

June, 27, 2013

LOS ANGELES -- On any given night, you can come to the ballpark with a reasonable expectation you'll see something on the field you've never seen. If Yasiel Puig is playing, you can practically count on it.

The Los Angeles Dodgers' phenom slammed full-speed into an outfield wall and, 15 minutes later, had a freakish seventh-inning single to drive in the tying and go-ahead runs in a 6-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday night at Dodger Stadium. It was the Dodgers' sixth straight win.

Facing reliever Justin De Fratus with the bases loaded and two outs, Puig fell into an 0-and-2 hole and De Fratus made another good pitch, a slider several inches outside and low to try to strike him out. Puig not only made contact, he somehow pulled it through the hole into left field to drive in A.J. Ellis and Juan Uribe with the pivotal runs.

Puig rarely slows down, not when a throw from the outfield has him beat by 20 feet and not when he is about to run full-sprint into a highly immovable object. He collided hard with a sign that said, "Pacific Rim," on the right-field wall chasing down Chase Utley's line-drive home run in the seventh inning.

If you recall, that's virtually the same place Bryce Harper hit on May 13, causing a knee injury that still hasn't healed. Puig, like Harper, stayed in the game. The Dodgers can only hope Puig doesn't eventually prove to be injured. Harper played for nearly two weeks before the Washington Nationals had to put him on the 15-day disabled list.

The Dodgers looked as if they might knock rookie Jonathan Pettibone out of the game in the first inning, after they bunched three straight hits to take a 3-0 lead. But Delmon Young made a nice running catch to take a double away from A.J. Ellis.

After Nick Punto's leadoff hit in the second, Pettibone got 15 straight outs. Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier each had RBI doubles in the three-run first and Kemp had two eighth-inning stolen bases to help the Dodgers add a key insurance run.

Zack Greinke wasn’t particularly sharp. He had to pitch around trouble all evening, allowing 12 hits through seven innings.

Andre Ethier moves to left field

June, 27, 2013
LOS ANGELES -- Andre Ethier is in his eighth major-league season. Two years ago, he won a Gold Glove.

Yet Ethier has taken it in stride when the Dodgers switched his position twice in a month. Ethier moved to center field after Matt Kemp injured his hamstring at the end of May and now he is being moved to left field to get Yasiel Puig's strong right arm back where it belongs, in right field.

"I just want to be in the lineup. I'll get in where I fit in," Ethier said.

The previous two games, Ethier had played right and Puig moved to left, but that was just to give Ethier time to adjust, manager Don Mattingly said. Until Carl Crawford comes back, probably in a couple of weeks, Ethier will be the Dodgers' left fielder. He played there in 2006 and 2007 when the Dodgers still had J.D. Drew.

"I think Dre's showing us true versatility," Mattingly said.

That could come in handy when Crawford returns, because Ethier figures to play all over the outfield as the fourth guy, coming off the bench.

It pained him to do so, but Mattingly wrote out his lineup card without his hottest hitter in it. Hanley Ramirez is batting .485 during his nine-game hitting streak, but he's not playing tonight after playing nine games in eight days shortly after coming off the disabled list because of a strained hamstring.

It's a precautionary day off and Ramirez is available for late-inning duty.

Here are the lineups for Thursday's game, with the Dodgers trying to win their sixth straight:

1. Ben Revere CF
2. Chase Utley 2B
3. Jimmy Rollins SS
4. Ryan Howard 1B
5. Domonic Brown LF
6. Delmon Young RF
7. Kevin Frandsen 3B
8. Humberto Quintero C
9. Jonathan Pettibone RHP

1. Skip Schumaker 2B
2. Yasiel Puig RF
3. Adrian Gonzalez 1B
4. Matt Kemp CF
5. Andre Ethier LF
6. A.J. Ellis C
7. Juan Uribe 3B
8. Nick Punto SS
9. Zack Greinke RHP



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