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Dodgers Week 10: The Willenium

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MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Los Angeles Dodgers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Last week saw the Dodgers debut of catcher Will Smith, the former first-round pick who helped the Dodgers run roughshod through the Mets and Phillies, winning six of seven games.

Smith was pressed into his first major league duty when Austin Barnes went on the shelf with a groin strain. Smith doubled in his major league debut on Tuesday, then on Saturday picked an opportune time for his first big league home run.

The Dodgers put some distance between themselves and the rest of the National League, so much so that at the start of the weekend Los Angeles and Philadelphia owned the two best NL records. After the sweep, the Phillies fell to third in the league.

The Dodgers own a seven-game lead over the next-best NL team (Brewers) and a nine-game lead in the division over the surging Rockies, who have won eight straight games.

Only the Twins (40-18) have a better record than the Dodgers. It’s 1965 all over again.

Batter of the week

David Freese has been fantastic in mostly a reserve role all season for the Dodgers, and made the most of his playing time last week. He started three times and was 2-for-2 as a pinch hitter. Freese hit go-ahead home runs on Saturday and Sunday against the Phillies, and added another RBI single on Sunday in a game he didn’t even start. Freese was 8-for-14 with three extra-base hits and a walk, all adding up to a 1.671 OPS.

Freese on the season is hitting .294/.423/.576, and his 166 wRC+ ranks 11th in MLB (minimum 100 PA).

The offense was stellar as a whole all week, slugging nearly .600 as a team. Honorable mention here goes to Joc Pederson (3 home runs, 1.397 OPS), Corey Seager (3 doubles, 2 HR, 1.150 OPS) and Max Muncy (team lead in runs, hits and walks).

Pitcher of the week

This may come as a shock to you, but for the fifth time in 10 weeks Hyun-jin Ryu takes top honors as the best pitcher on the team. Ryu was magnificent yet again with his 7⅔ scoreless innings against the Mets on Thursday, lowering his season ERA to a paltry 1.48.

Ryu leads the majors in ERA, ERA+ (284), walk rate (1.9%) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (13.80), and is second in innings per start (6.64). He leads the National League in both wins (8) and WHIP (0.808).

Rich Hill gets special mention for a spectacular week of his own. He allowed two runs in 13 innings over his two starts, including seven scoreless innings in a win on Sunday.

Week 10 results

6-1 record
41 runs scored (5.86 per game)
26 runs allowed (3.71 per game)
.697 pythagorean record

Season to date

41-19 record
326 runs scored (5.43 per game)
232 runs allowed (3.87 per game)
.651 pythagorean record (39-21)

Miscellany

Rest in peace: Bill Buckner passed away on Monday at age 69. He played 22 years in the big leagues, including his first eight years (1969-76) with the Dodgers, manning the corner outfield spots and some first base with Los Angeles. Buckner was playing left field and tried to scale the fence to nab Hank Aaron’s 715th home run, in 1974, though the ball was secured by the Braves bullpen.

Buckner homered and hit .250 (5-for-20) in the 1974 World Series, starting all five games against Oakland in left field.

Instead of being celebrated for being a league average hitter — his career OPS+ was 100 on the nose — for an incredible 2,517 games and 10,037 plate appearances for more than two decades, including winning a batting title in 1980, Buckner is most known for an error in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, a ball that went through his legs allowing the winning run to score for the Mets. I think the call of that play — “Little roller up along first, behind the bag! It gets through Buckner. Here comes Knight and the Mets win it!” with perfect inflection, followed by nearly two minutes of trademark silence — is the best non-Dodgers call of Vin Scully’s career, and it might even be his best overall. The entire Red Sox collapse in that inning and World Series was laid on Buckner, unfairly, as if his error alone blew a two-run lead just three outs from a championship.

Buckner was drafted in the second round by the Dodgers in 1968, part of undoubtedly the greatest draft year any team has ever had. In addition to Buckner, the Dodgers in 1968 drafted Steve Garvey, Ron Cey, Davey Lopes and Joe Ferguson, laying the foundation for three World Series trips in the 1970s, plus Bobby Valentine, Doyle Alexander and Geoff Zahn, who were later traded.

What a month: Hyun-jin Ryu finished off one of the greatest pitching months in Dodgers history. He pitched 45⅔ frames in May and only allowed runs in two of those innings. He walked three and struck out 36. His 0.59 ERA is tied for the sixth-best ERA in any month by a Dodger in the live ball ERA, and Ryu is only the third Dodger in the last quarter century to pitch at least 40 innings in a month without allowing a home run (the others during that span were Chan Ho Park in Sept. 2000 and Clayton Kershaw in July 2012).

Both sides of the ball: Cody Bellinger on Monday showed off not only his batting prowess with a home run but also his arm, throwing out a runner at the plate and a runner at third base, both preventing a run from scoring.

20/20 vision: Bellinger on Tuesday hit his 20th home run of the season, in the Dodgers’ 55th game. He’s the second-fastest in franchise history to reach 20 home runs, trailing only Gil Hodges, who made it in 53 games in 1951. Bellinger is also the first Dodger ever with three 20-homer seasons before his age-24 season.

Draft season: In the week before the 2019 MLB Draft, the Dodgers trotted out a lineup chock full of draft picks. On Wednesday against the Mets, the Dodgers had seven of their own draft picks in the starting lineup, including first-rounders Corey Seager (2012), Walker Buehler (2015) and Will Smith (2016). The lineup also featured a second-rounder (Alex Verdugo, 2014), a fourth-rounder (Cody Bellinger, 2013), an 11th-rounder (Joc Pederson, 2010) and a 12th rounder (Matt Beaty, 2015).

Old player (pitcher): Orel Hershiser got a package this week.

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Took it straight from the business card.

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Transactions

Monday: Relief pitcher Joe Kelly returned to the bullpen from the bereavement list, and a struggling Caleb Ferguson was optioned to Triple-A.

Monday: Will Smith was called up to the majors for the first time, with Austin Barnes hitting the 10-day injured list with a left groin strain.

Game results

Stats

Week 10 batting

Player AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO HBP SH SF PA BA OBP SLG OPS BABIP Player
Player AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO HBP SH SF PA BA OBP SLG OPS BABIP Player
Pederson 19 6 8 1 0 3 4 0 0 1 5 0 0 0 20 0.421 0.450 0.947 1.397 0.455 Pederson
Seager 22 5 7 3 0 2 5 0 0 3 5 1 0 0 26 0.318 0.423 0.727 1.150 0.333 Seager
Muncy 26 7 10 2 0 2 5 0 0 4 7 0 0 1 31 0.385 0.452 0.692 1.144 0.444 Muncy
Bellinger 26 3 8 1 0 2 4 0 2 4 3 0 0 0 30 0.308 0.400 0.577 0.977 0.286 Bellinger
Taylor 20 3 6 1 1 1 3 1 0 1 6 0 1 0 22 0.300 0.333 0.600 0.933 0.385 Taylor
Hernandez 17 2 5 0 0 2 7 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 18 0.294 0.278 0.647 0.925 0.214 Hernandez
Smith 14 2 4 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 5 0 0 0 15 0.286 0.333 0.571 0.905 0.375 Smith
Turner 15 2 5 2 0 0 2 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 16 0.333 0.375 0.467 0.842 0.385 Turner
Beaty 17 2 6 1 0 0 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 17 0.353 0.353 0.412 0.765 0.375 Beaty
Verdugo 23 1 7 2 0 0 4 1 0 3 2 0 0 2 28 0.304 0.357 0.391 0.748 0.304 Verdugo
Starters 199 33 66 14 1 13 37 3 2 18 38 1 1 4 223 0.332 0.383 0.608 0.991 0.349 Starters
Freese 14 6 8 1 0 2 3 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 15 0.571 0.600 1.071 1.671 0.600 Freese
Martin 15 2 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 0 0 0 16 0.267 0.313 0.267 0.579 0.333 Martin
Bench 29 8 12 1 0 2 3 0 0 2 5 0 0 0 31 0.414 0.452 0.655 1.107 0.455 Bench
Pitchers 12 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 4 0 0 0 15 0.083 0.267 0.083 0.350 0.125 Pitchers
Offense 240 41 79 15 1 15 40 3 2 23 47 1 1 4 269 0.329 0.384 0.588 0.972 0.352 Offense

Week 10 pitching

Pitcher G GS W L Sv IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP ERA WHIP FIP Pitcher
Pitcher G GS W L Sv IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP ERA WHIP FIP Pitcher
Ryu 1 1 1 0 7.7 4 0 0 0 1 0 7 0 0.00 0.652 1.77 Ryu
Hill 2 2 1 0 13.0 9 2 2 1 4 2 15 0 1.38 1.000 2.35 Hill
Kershaw 2 2 1 0 13.0 16 4 4 1 1 0 11 0 2.77 1.308 2.74 Kershaw
Maeda 1 1 1 0 6.0 3 2 2 1 0 0 6 1 3.00 0.500 3.87 Maeda
Buehler 1 1 0 0 5.0 7 5 5 2 1 0 6 0 9.00 1.600 6.60 Buehler
Starters 7 7 4 0 0 44.7 39 13 13 5 7 2 45 1 2.62 1.030 3.04 Starters
Jansen 3 0 0 3 3.3 1 0 0 0 0 0 6 1 0.00 0.300 0.50 Jansen
Baez 4 0 0 4.0 2 1 1 0 2 0 3 0 2.25 1.000 3.20 Baez
Stripling 2 0 0 2.7 3 1 1 0 2 0 2 0 3.38 1.875 3.95 Stripling
Kelly 3 0 0 2.0 3 2 2 1 2 0 3 0 9.00 2.500 9.70 Kelly
Alexander 2 1 0 1.0 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 9.00 2.000 19.20 Alexander
Garcia 2 0 1 1.0 0 1 1 0 2 0 0 0 9.00 2.000 9.20 Garcia
Urias 2 1 0 3.0 5 4 4 3 0 0 2 1 12.00 1.667 15.87 Urias
Floro 3 0 0 1.3 3 3 2 0 1 0 1 0 13.50 3.000 3.95 Floro
Bullpen 21 0 2 1 3 18.3 18 13 12 5 10 0 17 2 5.89 1.527 6.85 Bullpen
Totals 28 7 6 1 3 63.0 57 26 25 10 17 2 62 3 3.57 1.175 4.15 Totals

Previous weeks in review: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9

The week ahead

The Dodgers run the Brandon Medders gauntlet, hitting the road again to visit Arizona and San Francisco for three games each.

Week 11 schedule

Mon, Jun 3 Tue, Jun 4 Wed, Jun 5 Thu, Jun 6 Fri, Jun 7 Sat, Jun 8 Sun, Jun 9
Mon, Jun 3 Tue, Jun 4 Wed, Jun 5 Thu, Jun 6 Fri, Jun 7 Sat, Jun 8 Sun, Jun 9
at D-backs at D-backs at D-backs Off at Giants at Giants at Giants
6:40 p.m. 6:40 p.m. 12:40 p.m. 7:15 p.m. 4:15 p.m. 1:05 p.m.
Buehler v. Ryu v. Maeda v. Kershaw v. Hill v. Buehler v.
Ray (L) Clarke Duplanter Samardzija TBD Bumgarner (L)
SNLA SNLA SNLA SNLA Fox SNLA