"Third Time's the Charm!" -- The 2019 Los Angeles Dodgers Season Thread

Raptor Dodger

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Bryce Harper hitting .235 with 9 HR's and 31 RBI to go with 62 K's.

JT Realmuto hitting .273 with 5 HR's and 27 RBI to go with 35 K's.

That's not a great return when you consider the costs.
And to think the Marlins were reportedly demanding Bellinger for two years of Realmuto.

Trades are always tricky, as in for now, it appears the best thing the Reds got in the Puig trade was Kyle Farmer.
 

BLUEFAN

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Does anyone know what happened to Tony Gonsolin? He hasn’t pitched since early April?
It was initially reported as a minor injury to his side during a bullpen session.

He was slated to miss only a start or two.

Possible it was an oblique injury, which can linger.

Most take 4 - 6 weeks to heal, then he'd need to rehab to be able to stretch back out to a starters workload.
 
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Multiple reports that Urías will be reinstated today. What’s next?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

beefchopper

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Kiss of death from the Wall Street Journal?

The Slugger Who Is Conjuring Ted Williams
Dodgers star Cody Bellinger used to only hit home runs. Now he is hitting over .400.

By
Jared Diamond
May 20, 2019 8:29 a.m. ET

LOS ANGELES—The last seven-plus decades of baseball’s history suggest that Cody Bellinger probably won’t hit .400 this year. Since the legendary Ted Williams last accomplished the feat in 1941, only two players have managed to even reach .390: George Brett for the Kansas City Royals in 1980 and Tony Gwynn for the San Diego Padres in the strike-shortened 1994 campaign. Since then, nobody has posted a batting average better than .379.

But with the schedule almost a third of the way through, Bellinger has conjured up memories of the Splendid Splinter himself. The Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder is currently hitting .405, third-best for any player this century through 48 team games. He entered Monday’s action leading the majors in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, hits, runs scored and RBIs, while ranking second in home runs.

It puts Bellinger on a pace for an all-time elite season. And it’s largely because he made a counterintuitive change at the plate that defies modern conventional wisdom: He stopped trying to hit so many home runs.

“I wanted to hit the shit out of the ball every single time,” Bellinger said at a recent interview by his locker at Dodger Stadium. “It’s hard to hit like that in the big leagues. It’s learning when to have your A-swing.”

Bellinger didn’t always approach his at-bats that way. “In the past,” he said, “I was just, ‘Home run, home run, home run, home run, home run.’”
In fairness, that mind-set led to a lot of balls soaring into the bleachers. Bellinger debuted in 2017 at age 21 and immediately emerged as a sensation, winning the Rookie of the Year award unanimously after he bashed 39 homers in 480 at-bats. His performance dipped somewhat in 2018, but he still finished with 25 homers.

But even with all that thump, Bellinger struggled in other ways, rendering him one-dimensional. He struck out in more than 25% of his plate appearances in his first two seasons with the Dodgers. He whiffed on nearly 30% of his swings, leaving him with a batting average of .263. That looked like Bellinger’s path: an all-or-nothing slugger who relied on power to derive value, an increasingly common profile in 2019.

Over the last two months, Bellinger has started to establish himself as all-around offensive superstar. He has struck out in just 14% of his plate appearances, the fourth-lowest rate among National League players with at least 190 plate appearances. His contact rate has climbed to close to 81%, a stunning improvement in one winter. And while Bellinger says he no longer tries for homers like he once did, he has sacrificed nothing in that department.

“He’s maturing as a hitter overall,” Dodgers hitting strategist Brant Brown said. “It has to do with his willingness to adapt to game-planning and understanding how he’s going to be attacked.”

Though Bellinger now stands as one of the sport’s most fearsome mashers, he entered professional baseball with a skill set geared toward contact. In his first two minor-league seasons, he hit four total home runs in 377 at-bats, with most of his hard contact resulting in grounders and low line drives. He struck out just 20% of the time.

Before 2015, with the help of a couple Dodgers minor-league coaches, Bellinger joined the growing ranks of batters who changed their swings in order to elevate more pitches. The adjustments unlocked Bellinger’s untapped potential, and he blasted 30 home runs that year. He also struck out 150 times.

“The power came, and I was like, ‘Ooh, I love homers, I’m going to try to hit homers,’” Bellinger said.

Bellinger’s new swing, a thunderous left-handed uppercut, resulted in monumental power, but it also left him vulnerable, especially on breaking balls down and in. Pitchers fed Bellinger a steady diet of those pitches, and he couldn’t stop taking the bait.

With Bellinger’s production sagging, Brown recommended that he spend part of this past off-season visiting with Robert Van Scoyoc, the renowned hitting instructor who helped transform J.D. Martinez from an outcast into a monster. Bellinger agreed, but after Thanksgiving, the Dodgers added further incentive: They hired Van Scoyoc, a 32-year-old whose playing career consisted of a couple so-so years at a community college, as their hitting coach.

Bellinger traveled to Los Angeles in December to work with Van Scoyoc. They focused first on mechanics, eliminating much of Bellinger’s load-up before swinging, which created unnecessary movement. Bellinger said the tweaks simplify his swing and allow him to see the ball better, improving his pitch recognition.

More important, however, Van Scoyoc and Bellinger talked about mind-set. Van Scoyoc reassured Bellinger that he would hit plenty of home runs naturally, even without actively bidding for them. He could help the Dodgers even more by having more competitive at-bats. The message was simple: “There’s a happy medium you have to find” between power and contact, Bellinger said, and perhaps he had slid too far in one direction.

“We talked about not being upset when you foul pitches off, especially with two strikes,” Van Scoyoc said. “It’s actually a win.”

Those discussions created Cody Bellinger 2.0, an updated version with all of the power and fewer of the punch-outs. He has been the best player in baseball so far and is the early favorite to earn National League MVP honors.

In a game against the San Diego Padres last week, Bellinger demonstrated his newfound abilities. On a 2-2 count, heralded rookie Chris Paddack threw him a changeup that broke sharply down and in—Bellinger’s blind spot. Instead of swinging over it, as he did constantly a year ago, Bellinger shortened his swing and connected, grounding it foul down the first-base line to stay alive.

On the next pitch, Paddack tried another change—but left it out and over the plate. Bellinger launched it over the fence.

“He’s fouling off pitches he used to swing through,” Padres manager Andy Green said. “He’s closed up his holes.”
 

beefchopper

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Julio Urías ‘grateful’ to return to Dodgers after reinstated by MLB
By Pedro Moura
May 21, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Julio Urías rejoined the Dodgers on Tuesday. He flew in from Los Angeles and addressed his teammates for a few minutes before their 7-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

On May 13, Urías was arrested on suspicion of domestic battery after police responded to calls of an altercation at a Beverly Center parking lot. Major League Baseball placed him on a renewable seven-day paid administrative leavewhile investigating the arrest. As the initial leave neared expiration with insufficient evidence accumulated, MLB opted against extending that period and reinstated him.

That forced the Dodgers to put Urías back on their active roster, though they planned to have him throw a bullpen session before returning to game action. Manager Dave Roberts said the 22-year-old left-hander will figure prominently into his pitching plan this weekend in Pittsburgh.
Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations, called the league-run investigation process “extremely thorough.” He emphasized the decision to reinstate Urías without extending his leave.

“It’s tough for us to elaborate much right now, but one thing we do know is that it is not standard for them to reinstate after just the seven days,” he said. “That says something to us. But we can’t really elaborate further. We hopefully will know more in the next couple weeks.”

Friedman later added: “In every other case that I know of, that administrative leave has been extended, and/or a suspension has been levied.”

While that is true, administrative leave only applies during the season. And since the league’s 2015 implementation of the domestic violence policy, it to date has only placed three players on administrative leave, and two during the regular season: Roberto Osuna and Addison Russell. Both Osuna and Russell had their leaves extended, Osuna several times. And both were suspended.

The league’s investigation into Urías continues, and, if more evidence emerges, he could still be suspended or ordered to undergo treatment or counseling. Urías could also still be charged with a crime. His return Tuesday was not connected to any potential criminal aspect of the case. It was a product of the leave period and a lack of evidence that has emerged thus far.

“Because that timing is pre-set, it doesn’t necessarily line up with the city attorney’s timing, or other people involved,” Friedman said. “It’s one of those things where things are happening at different paces, so they decided that reinstatement was the right thing to do.”

Friedman was in contact with the league “a decent amount” during the preceding week. He said he expects much more to come out about Urías’ arrest, but he hesitated to reveal any of it.

“Until we know all the facts, I think it’s hard for us to speak to anything,” Friedman said. “All we have done is comply with the rules and regulations put in place. Ultimately, as we learn more and as more time passes, we will gain the flexibility to also have a say in it.”

Urías spent his week in limbo in L.A. He threw one bullpen session over the weekend. On Tuesday, he declined to talk about the night of the arrest or his response to it, other than to say that he has fully complied with the league’s requests.

“They’re the ones in charge of the investigation,” Urías said through interpreter Jesús Quiñonez. “I’m just happy to be back in here and grateful my teammates welcomed me back in the clubhouse.”

Before the arrest, Urías was one of the organization’s most prized assets, a pitching prodigy who had returned from a serious shoulder injury to star again this season. The arrest, a potential conviction and the prospect of suspension thrust that into doubt. But he is already back, sooner than is typical in these cases, and the Dodgers will not wait much longer to call him back on the mound.

He is, once again, a high-leverage reliever in their bullpen. Come September or October, he could be one of the starters they turn to for an all-important game.

“The game will dictate how I use him,” Roberts said Tuesday. “But as far as my confidence in him, that hasn’t changed.”
 

Norm

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Another big game today from Lux. I don't see how they can go much longer without moving him up to AAA. I hope they'll move him permanently to 2b when they do.
 

NewportDodger

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Will Roberts ever learn to stop pulling Hill out of the game when he's cruising?
I don’t think Roberts has that gear. He appears to always be overthinking the BP and when to pull the trigger. It may not be reality but it appears that he gets nervous and is impulsive with the hook.