Dodgers News and Notes: Kershaw’s Dominant Outing, ‘Joseph’ Kelly, Seager’s Timetable, More

(Rob Schumacher/The Arizona Republic via USA TODAY NETWORK)

The Los Angeles Dodgers did something Sunday night on national television rarely seen—they absolutely dominated their competition.

Of course I mean that mostly tongue in cheek, but it does seem that the Dodgers rarely do well on the national stage. But over the weekend, they won both nationally televised games. Saturday they beat the Chicago Cubs 3-2, but on Sunday it was all Dodgers, led by a magnificent performance by Clayton Kershaw.

Kershaw has been wobbly this season, including not making it out of the first inning the first time he faced the Cubs. But not on Sunday, Kershaw went eight full innings, allowing only one earned run on a Javier Báez home run, while striking out a season-high 13 batters.

Perhaps that first loss to the Cubs and getting no-hit by them on Thursday added some motivation for Kershaw and the Dodgers. They won three of four in the series, gaining a game in the division in the process.

One of the other shining stars of the weekend was Phil Bickford. He pitched 3.2 innings against the Cubs, allowing no hits, no walks, and striking out five. Most amazing of all, he had a three pitch inning on Saturday.

Joining Bickford in the dominant reliever category was Joe “Joseph” Kelly. Finally healthy and firing on all cylinders, pun intended, Kelly now refers to himself as Joseph on the mound. A triple-digit throwing menace that lives on the edges of the strike zone and has again become a dominant end of the bullpen guy. Joseph Kelly is who the Dodgers envisioned when they signed him, and it seems that he has finally showed up.

There still is no timeline for when Corey Seager will return to the Dodgers lineup. Seager has been with the team in Los Angeles, under the watchful eyes of trainers and coaches. The shortstop is known for trying to push himself too far when it comes to rehabbing injuries, and the Dodgers do not want to take that chance with their World Series MVP. Seager has been running the bases and doing fielding drills, but his batting is not yet at 100 percent.

“We’re just being very mindful of not having any setbacks because until it is completely healed, we’ve learned that you could have a setback,” manager Dave Roberts said this week. “So I think for us, where we’re at in the season, we have time to make sure that he is 100 percent ready.”

The Dodgers now see if their momentum will carry into their two-game series against the NL West leading San Francisco Giants starting Monday evening. Los Angeles will have a chance to gain two games on their rivals if they can get a sweep.

The Dodgers will send Trevor Bauer to the mound on Monday. The Giants will counter with righty Anthony Desclafani, The last time the Dodgers faced the right hander, they tagged him for 10 runs. Overall, DeSclafani is 8-2 with a 2.77 ERA.

Tuesday’s probables will be Walker Buehler and right-hander Kevin Gausman. Gausman is 8-1 on the year with a 1.77 ERA. Both games start at 7:10 PST.

20 thoughts on “Dodgers News and Notes: Kershaw’s Dominant Outing, ‘Joseph’ Kelly, Seager’s Timetable, More

  1. Bickford has been a surprise and Kelly is finally playing up to his contract. In my mind, he owes us a couple of years…
    The original line-up we thought we would have with Betts, Seager, Turner, Muncy, Smith, Bellinger, and then the guys we can mix and match like Pollock, McKinstry, Lux, Beaty, and Taylor is a formidable one. If Gonsolin can work up to 6-7 innings the starting rotation should be fine. Urias may need a break as he has pitched a lot of innings this year without a breather and he has never done that before. I think they will need to platoon Lux he is NOT hitting left-handed pitching.
    The bullpen with Bickford, Gonzalez, Kelly, Cleavinger, Treinen, and Jansen has been very good and the Dodgers have Alexander, Graterol, and Knebel working on coming back.
    Next year the new Labor Agreement will be negotiated and there will probably be a long strike involved as neither side trusts the other.
    The Universal DH should be part of the new deal. With Ruiz having such a good year at OKC do you think the Dodgers might try Smith at 3rd and let Turner bat DH? The Dodgers have the luxury of two dynamic young catchers in the Minors and both are hitting very well at their level. Ruiz will need to be brought up by 2022.
    Will they trade a young catcher for a dynamic young outfielder?

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    1. I think that next year we will need a outfielder, 3rd baseman and shortstop/3rd baseman ( maybeboth if Lux doesn’t get it together) and we always need bullpen help. We don’t really have any untouchables on the farm except maybe on of the catchers mentioned. Now would be a good time to move some prospects. It’s not just that the farm is baren but there’s not too many open spots on the roster in the next few years.

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  2. Regarding your last question TMax, did you have any dynamic young outfielders in mind?
    We also don’t have any “sure thing” third basemen in the system, so maybe a catcher for a dynamic young third baseman.
    Neither of those trades would have to be one for one. We have a large supply of prospects available for inserting into trade packages.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Dodgers have Rios but he is left-handed and who knows if he will be OK next year. There are a couple of clubs that need a talent infusion. The Pirates are one of them. They do not have a solid offensive catcher and have guys like Hayes at 3rd and Reynolds in the OF. If the Dodgers could pick up one of them it might benefit both clubs. I like the idea of trying Smith at 3rd as he hits with power and Ruiz could then fill the spot at catcher next year. I figure we can DH Turner part of the time. I know many are excited about Hoese but I like Vargas although he might be 2 years away. Vargas was just promoted to AA after a 26 game hitting streak. The young man is 6′ 3″ 205 hits right-handed and Makes Contact !!!
      I am not convinced there will be much of a season next year with a strike looming, hoping I am wrong.
      We need someone in the line-up that can hit left-handed pitching consistently and make contact…

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  3. Sounds like you guys have given up on Edwin Rios. I haven’t yet, and I’d like to know the team’s plans for him. He was OPS’n over .900 before the injury. Granted it was in limited at bats. I think Smith could handle third just fine but Turner still has a contract that could keep him two more years. I could see him 2 on 1 off next year in a platoon with Rios or he could start DH’n right away.

    I still believe Lux will figure it out but I don’t believe Beaty will. Pollock will have his moments but I would look to improve left field. Then there is shortstop. That will be interesting to watch.

    For reasons I’ve already stated I believe we will be active in the pitching market. Our closest prospect, Josiah Gray is iffy to me. He shows up on the MLB Top 100 list but not that high, and he’s got shoulder issues. No other young pitcher looks to be knocking the door down so we could trade a catcher or look to the free agent market. AAA pitchers? Beats me.

    Only Busch and Ruiz are also on that Top 100 list. Pages, Diaz, Rodriguez, Miller, Pepiot, Vogel, DeJesus, Cartaya, Vargas, Beeter show up (in that order) on a fantrax Top Fantasy Prospect list I just read. All of them but Miller appear to be a few years out. We could use them at the deadline I suppose. We haven’t replaced May and even when he was here I expected summer starting relief from somewhere.

    Good win last night but it was nerve racking. 5 hits, 10 Ks and 2 walks in 8 innings, 0 for 1 WRISP. We out homered them 3-2. And they were 0-13 WRISP. Gulp.

    The second half, which obviously includes a trade deadline in a month, should be very interesting.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I haven’t given up on Rios but I’m also not counting on him. If I could trade for a “dynamic” third baseman this winter, I’d have to think about it. That, of course, would mean JT moves to DH and maybe a little first base. I don’t expect Albert back next year. It will be interesting to see how Smith, Ruiz and Cartaya all fit into the Dodgers’ future plans. The more positions each of them can play the better, both for keeping them and for their value as trade pieces.

      Totally agree that we have to improve left field, but I’m not opposed to giving ZMac some starts there since his playing time will be reduced now that Belli is back. I think we need to find out of he’s going to be that left handed utility guy we need or if he has enough to become a regular. We could do worse than to have him become the right handed CT3.

      I’m a Beaty fan but I expect him to be traded at some point in the next couple of years. He’s never going to be put into the lineup on a permanent basis and so he’ll never have the confidence to know that he’ll be able to survive a slump. For his sake, he’d be much better off with a different organization where he’d get more playing time.

      Also agree that we need to trade for another starter. Urias has never pitched this many innings and we still don’t know if Catman will continue to improve for the rest of the year. Those are 2 of our starting 5, so it would be a real help to have one more guy to lean on since Price is obviously not being considered for that role.

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  4. A win is a win. Especially when it involves beating the Giants. Deadline is the 30th this season, a day earlier than normal. Word is, Seager will not be back until after the All Star game. Lots of questions going forward. According to Roberts, Alexander will be back before the 4th of July. SO there is another bullpen arm. Beaty is slumping, and they really have not gotten a lot out of Pujols the last week or so. But I think Albert will be here all season. Souza will most likely be the next on the OKC train. Clevenger when Alexander is activated. Gonzalez lack of control is a concern. He is walking way too many. I think many complain about Pollock too much. His slugging is down, but everything else is just about where he was last season, and he has had some big hits. There will be tweaks and valleys, but you can bet this is not the roster that will be around come playoff time.

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    1. Pollock has had some bad at bats. By that I mean looking at strikes and swinging at balls. His OPS is .650 over the last month. That’s not going to cut it. Take a breath and zone in AJ. Beaty is hitting .175 over the last 28 days, McKinstry .265, which would be ok if his OPS was higher than .756. Maybe it will be by the stretch.

      I can’t emphasize enough how odd the stats from yesterday’s game were. We had 5 hits. They had 11. They were 0 for 13 WRISP. Great clutch pitching? Yeah, let’s go with that. But I don’t expect to see that again. Ever.

      I still see another starter by the deadline. I could be wrong about that.

      In Japan and South Korea, players use Mizuno baseballs manufactured with a tacky cover. There’s no reason to use pine tar, sunscreen, or even rosin to get a better grip. “The ball that comes out of the box is ready to use.” Why come we don’t use that technology? What they are doing now is an embarrassment to baseball.

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      1. That a manager can ask for a strip search of a pitcher on the mound is an embarrassment to baseball and as the MLB has attempted to speed up the game a time bandit.
        I was not aware the Japanese League had a sticky baseball what a great idea! Why can’t they do that here?
        Pollock has been very sporadic some times he is hot but most times he is not. At least he hasn’t been on the IL much lately. Hopefully, I haven’t jinxed him!. The Dodgers really have a gap in Outfield talent in the Minors. The Dodgers continue to draft pitchers that are apparently not fit to call up when they are needed even when they are on the 60 man roster.

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      2. MLB has been consistently behind the 8 ball. Pollock will be fine, too good not to be, Lux has let far more strikes just sail on by without moving his damn bat. It is exceedingly frustrating. Beaty was hitting better when he was getting consistent at bats, but that has not been the case lately.

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  5. The Dodgers could use some hitters that can hit left-handed pitching and make contact. This team has HR power against inferior pitching but cannot move a runner over or hit WRISP a critical need against teams that are on the same talent level. As for pitching, I think Miller is closer than some think. He is dominating A+ level and will probably move up to AA Tulsa this year as he has a .85 WHIP and has 28 SO’s over 23.2 innings and a 1.90 ERA. Miller is one of several young pitchers that may be ready by next year especially if there is a delay in the season. Miller has several pitches so he could be a starter and his big frame 6′ 5″ should give him sustainable power.
    I am not sure about Gray either he does not appear to be dominating at his age although he is another player that started pitching late so may have a learning curve.
    The Dodgers have a talent gap in the outfield and should look to find some right-handed contact hitting outfielders. They always have the option to move Bellinger to 1st base and Muncy to 2nd if they had a dynamic player they could slot in CF. The Dodgers have a surplus of young pitching that might allow them to trade for an outfielder. They have young guys like Pages and Vogel but they are reportedly several years away.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I disagree T. I do not think there is a pitcher in the minors, except Quackenbush, who has been outstanding as the closer at OKC, who have any chance of impacting the big league club. That includes guys like White and Uceta who have already gotten a taste this year. I bring up Ruiz before any of those guys. He can rake. They will trade for a pitcher, maybe 2, and just might even go after some RH power hitting outfielder. Remember, they can only call up 2 in September.

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      1. I know Bear but I continue to believe if you have guys on your 60 man squad they should be able to contribute. We have not seen Jackson or Carrillo yet. I believe you are right though the cupboard is bare for a year or so.
        Ruiz is raking at OKC. A young switch-hitting solid catcher that can make contact is incredibly valuable. I would rather they trade Barnes next year and with the DH possibly use Smith at 3rd and DH along with catching. Turner is steady but is not the great defender he has been in the past. Smith has quick reactions and a good arm he could play 3rd I think.
        Cartaya has been promoted he is coming up fast and some scouts think he may the most talented of the 3. It’s a great potential problem for the Dodgers to have.

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      2. The Nats are getting close enough to the top of the division that I’m not sure they’ll be getting rid of anyone, let alone their best pitcher.
        He’s already let teams know that in order to approve a trade he’ll insist on an extension (and it won’t come cheap). If we already have Kershaw, Buehler, Bauer and Urias to start in the playoffs, do we really want to give up Ruiz to get Scherzer? I don’t think I would. I’d rather give up lesser prospects and get an innings eater/5th starter type, just in case we need him.
        I’m not completely opposed to trading Ruiz, but I’d rather do it for a really good outfielder, someone who could ultimately replace Pollock. On the other hand, if Andrew can find a way to play Ruiz on a regular basis starting next year, I’m fine with keeping him because in my mind there is just no way he doesn’t become a very productive major league hitter.

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      3. You’re probably right, but the Nationals current odds to make the playoffs is 20%. Of course it won’t be cheap, but he’s got a long history of taking the ball. I think he might be able to pitch until he’s 40. The question was would you include Ruiz in a trade for him. You wouldn’t. I think I would. Depending on who the left fielder is, I might include him in that trade too. I haven’t given up on Pollock yet. At this point in the season, I want pitching. That might change in a month.

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      4. Sorry but I don’t trade Ruiz for a pitcher as I do not think that is the team’s biggest need. We need an outfielder that can make consistent contact, get on-base and be especially good at hitting left-handed pitching. The Dodgers had hoped Pollock was that guy but he has not stepped up. I still believe as this team gets everyone back they will make the playoffs. Once you are in the playoffs you need at the most 3 dominant pitchers depending on travel. You have your pick of Kershaw, Bauer, Buhler, and Urias. We do not know how Gonsolin will be once he stretches out but he is getting better every start. Gonsolin with his splitter is a perfect guy to help in the bullpen much like Urias last year. Urias can also fill that role.
        The Dodgers have some guys that that may compete for a spot next year in Gray, Nunez, Miller, etc…

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      5. He wouldn’t but I might. Depends on what it is. With Bora$$ as his agent of course they’ll attempt to squeeze somebody. It’s possible Scherzer could be a 4-5 WAR pitcher for 3 more years, so you pay him for 5 and and if you get 12 WAR out of him, then what’s that worth? If he still expects $30m per then f him. $20m per? Maybe.

        All that said I doubt he’s coming here. We got other people to pay. But we don’t have a Buehler/Urias/May in the pipeline at the moment. One might surface but not next year.

        Liked by 2 people

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