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Dodgers Week 16: Back at full strength

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3 players return from the DL over the break

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Boston Red Sox Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers got their cavalry back, and it showed with the offense scoring 19 runs in three games against the Red Sox, three more runs than they scored in the five-game World Series last fall.

A.J. Pollock, Corey Seager and David Freese were all activated from the injured list over the All-Star break, giving the Dodgers back a full position player set, their planned 12 hitters all active for the first time since April.

The series at Fenway Park was interesting, especially with Pantone 294 bringing Dodgers fans in drove to Boston and spurring loud MVP chants for Cody Bellinger among other things. But the Dodgers facing the Red Sox over the weekend wasn’t all too important.

Losing Friday night didn’t make Los Angeles frauds as some clowns might have you believe, nor did the two wins that followed make the Dodgers any more than they are, which is a championship-caliber team that oh by the way happens to still have the best record in baseball despite a pedestrian 8-8 stretch over their last 16 games.

The weekend wasn’t a glorious return for all the returners, with Seager going 0-for-11 in Boston. There’s no real worry of what Seager will do long term, but because the baseball season is a long and winding road a single snapshot in time can provide a skewed look. Chris Taylor was hit by a pitch on his left wrist Sunday night, and while the Dodgers await his diagnosis on Monday the wonder now is if Seager can match Taylor’s production — .345/.429/.575 over the last 26 games — in a complete reversal of a month ago when Seager hurt his hamstring.

Three games in an American League park gave the Dodgers a designated hitter to help briefly allay any concerns over divvying up playing time. The real test starts Monday when the Dodgers are back playing National League baseball and more decisions will need to be made. We’ll find out soon if Taylor will be a part of those decisions or if he’ll be on the shelf for a while.

Batter of the week

Welcome back, A.J. Pollock. The Dodgers outfielder homered twice and drove in a team-high six runs while hitting .429 (6-for-14). Pollock started the weekend with a .617 OPS and ended it at .701. It was a hell of a three days.

Second on the team in OPS was a player quite likely to have his playing time affected with Pollock’s return, with Alex Verdugo 4-for-9 (.444) with a home run and a walk.

Pitcher of the week

Ross Stripling had his longest outing since returning to the rotation, tossing five innings to beat the Red Sox on Saturday and snap a four-game losing streak by the Dodgers. Stripling struck out seven and walked nobody.

Honorable mention goes to the nearly equally-deserving Hyun-jin Ryu, who overcame five singles in a defensively challenged first inning on Sunday night, but then settled down to retire 18 of his final 22 batters to complete seven innings for the 10th time in 18 starts.

Week 16 results

2-1 record
19 runs scored (6.33 per game)
14 runs allowed (4.67 per game)
.636 pythagorean record

Season to date

62-33 record
499 runs scored (5.25 per game)
365 runs allowed (3.84 per game)
.639 pythagorean record (61-34)

Miscellany

Defensive play of the week: A clean, sharply hit single to Alex Verdugo in short left field was about the most stop sign-inducing ball there is, but Red Sox third base coach Carlos Febles sent Rafael Devers home anyway. It was a mercy killing.

It was Verdugo’s fifth outfield assist of the season, tied for seventh in the National League. Verdugo, who was a two-way player in high school and was viewed by several teams in the draft more for his pitching than hitting, compared quite well in velocity with the Dodgers’ actual pitcher on Sunday night.

Derby days: Joc Pederson didn’t win the Home Run Derby, and didn’t even reach the final round, but he and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. provided a round to remember on Monday night in Cleveland. Before this year the record for any round in the derby was 28 home runs, by Josh Hamilton in 2008. Guerrero topped that with 29 in the first round this year, then did it again to start his second-round match against Pederson. Needing a record just to stay alive, Pederson did equal Guerrero, then the two provided instruction on derby rules, first guiding us through a one-minute extra round (8 more homers each), then not one but two swing-offs of three swings each.

In the end Guerrero prevailed, 40 home runs to 39, in a round so impressive that it overshadowed even Pete Alonso’s actual derby win, besting Guerrero in the final round, much like Hamilton lost to Justin Morneau 11 years earlier. It was a fun round. Pederson’s two rounds (21 in the first round, 29 in regulation then ultimately 39 total in the second round) are the two best rounds by a Dodger in Home Run Derby history.

All-Star notes: For the first five innings of the midsummer classic on Tuesday, the only runs scored were off Dodgers pitching, with Clayton Kershaw surrendering a run in the second inning and Walker Buehler doing the same in the fifth. Cody Bellinger, who started in right field, and Max Muncy, who played four innings at second base, were both 0-for-2. Hyun-jin Ryu, the first Korean-born pitcher to start an All-Star Game, escaped unscathed in the first inning, allowing only a single to George Springer. Kershaw was tagged with the loss, a decision he also received in 2015, making him one of eight pitchers to lose two All-Star Games.

Most Dodgers HR before 24

Player Years HR
Player Years HR
Cody Bellinger 2017-19 94
Adrian Beltre 1998-2003 76
Duke Snider 1947-50 55
Tommy Davis 1959-62 53
Corey Seager 2015-18 53
Most home runs hit by a Dodger before their 24th birthday Source: Baseball-Reference

I’m gonna need a hacksaw: Cody Bellinger turned 24 on Saturday. He homered once over the weekend and batted cleanup in the All-Star Game (the first Dodger to do so since Mike Piazza in 1997), and with the milestone day let’s take time to reflect. Bellinger hit 94 career home runs before Saturday, the most in Dodgers history before turning 24, and by a wide margin.

Bellinger is off to such a prolific start to his career that, after his home run Saturday, he only needs five more home runs to top Beltre for the most by a Dodger before turning 25. His 94 home runs before his 24th birthday ranks 25th in baseball history, directly behind Bob Horner (95 home runs) and just head of Cesar Cedeño (90).

Transactions

Sunday (July 7): Missed this one in the last review, but Will Smith was activated from the injured list and optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Monday: David Freese was activated from the injured list, while rookies Kyle Garlick and Edwin Rios were optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Wednesday: Corey Seager was activated from the injured list after missing 24 games with a hamstring strain. The Dodgers were 15-9 with Seager on the shelf, with his fill-ins at shortstop — mostly Chris Taylor (20 starts, 88 PA), and a dash of Kike Hernandez (4 starts, 15 PA) — were outstanding, hitting .356/.408/.578 with 11 doubles, 3 HR, and 17 RBI. Matt Beaty was optioned to Triple-A.

Friday: A.J. Pollock completed the reinforcements parade, getting activated from the 60-day injured list before the Dodgers’ series in Boston, after missing 62 games. The Dodgers needed to make room on the 40-man roster, so they traded pitcher Adam McCreery and minor league catcher Josh Thole to the Angels for cash.

McCreery, who was acquired from Atlanta in November, did not pitch in the majors with the Dodgers but posted a 4.04 ERA in 30 relief appearances with Triple-A Oklahoma City and Double-A Tulsa. The left-hander struck out 39 and walked 23 in 35⅔ innings in the Dodgers minors.

Sunday: This trade didn’t involve any Dodgers, but old friend Homer Bailey was dealt from Kansas City to Oakland. I wanted to include this transaction here because Bailey, acquired from Cincinnati in the Yasiel Puig, et al trade in December, is the second-highest paid Dodger this season at just shy of $28 million.

Game results

Stats

Week 16 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
Pollock 14 3 6 0 0 2 6 0 0 0 5 1 0 0 15 0.429 0.467 0.857 1.324 0.571 Pollock
Verdugo 9 1 4 0 0 1 2 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 10 0.444 0.500 0.778 1.278 0.429 Verdugo
Turner 15 4 5 3 0 1 2 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 15 0.333 0.333 0.733 1.067 0.444 Turner
Bellinger 11 2 3 0 0 1 2 0 0 3 1 0 0 1 15 0.273 0.400 0.545 0.945 0.200 Bellinger
Muncy 13 2 3 0 0 1 2 0 0 1 6 1 0 0 15 0.231 0.333 0.462 0.795 0.333 Muncy
Freese 11 1 3 2 0 0 2 0 0 1 5 0 0 0 12 0.273 0.333 0.455 0.788 0.500 Freese
Hernandez 10 2 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 0 0 0 12 0.300 0.417 0.300 0.717 0.429 Hernandez
Barnes 8 1 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 6 1 0 0 9 0.125 0.222 0.375 0.597 0.500 Barnes
Taylor 8 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 3 1 0 0 12 0.000 0.333 0.000 0.333 0.000 Taylor
Seager 11 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 11 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 Seager
Starters 110 18 28 5 1 6 17 0 0 11 37 4 0 1 126 0.255 0.341 0.482 0.823 0.324 Starters
Pederson 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 3 0.000 0.333 0.000 0.333 0.000 Pederson
Martin 5 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 6 0.000 0.167 0.000 0.167 0.000 Martin
Bench 7 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 2 0 0 0 9 0.000 0.222 0.000 0.222 0.000 Bench
Offense 117 19 28 5 1 6 18 0 0 13 39 4 0 1 135 0.239 0.333 0.453 0.786 0.301 Offense

Week 16 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
Stripling 1 1 1 0 5.0 4 1 1 1 0 0 7 0 1.80 0.800 3.00 Stripling
Ryu 1 1 0 0 7.0 8 2 2 0 1 0 6 0 2.57 1.286 1.91 Ryu
Maeda 1 1 0 1 5.7 4 3 3 2 1 0 7 0 4.76 0.882 5.85 Maeda
Starters 3 3 1 1 0 17.7 16 6 6 3 2 0 20 0 3.06 1.019 3.48 Starters
Urias 1 0 0 2.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.00 0.000 1.20 Urias
Jansen 1 0 0 1.7 0 0 0 0 1 0 3 0 0.00 0.600 1.40 Jansen
Floro 1 1 0 1.3 2 0 0 0 2 1 1 0 0.00 3.000 3.95 Floro
Rosscup 2 0 0 1.0 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0.00 3.000 9.20 Rosscup
Garcia 1 0 0 0.3 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0.00 3.000 3.20 Garcia
Kelly 2 0 0 1 1.7 2 1 1 0 1 0 3 0 5.40 1.800 1.40 Kelly
Chargois 2 0 0 1.7 1 2 2 1 1 1 1 0 10.80 1.200 9.80 Chargois
Baez 2 0 0 1.7 4 5 5 2 0 0 3 0 27.00 2.400 15.20 Baez
Bullpen 12 0 1 0 1 11.3 10 8 8 3 8 3 13 0 6.35 1.588 5.67 Bullpen
Totals 15 3 2 1 1 29.0 26 14 14 6 10 3 33 0 4.34 1.241 4.34 Totals

Previous weeks in review: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10 | Week 11 | Week 12 | Week 13 | Week 14 | Week 15

The week ahead

The Dodgers are back with a full schedule again, running the Greg Dobbs gauntlet with four games in Philadelphia followed by old friend Don Mattingly bringing the Marlins to Dodger Stadium for the weekend. That series finale against the Phillies is a day game — a 9:35 a.m. PT start! — and will be broadcast exclusively on YouTube, with no TV. Scott Braun has the play-by-play duties for this game, joined by an analyst from each team — Orel Hershiser and John Kruk.

Week 17 schedule

Mon, Jul 15 Tue, Jul 16 Wed, Jul 17 Thu, Jul 18 Fri, Jul 19 Sat, Jul 20 Sun, Jul 21
Mon, Jul 15 Tue, Jul 16 Wed, Jul 17 Thu, Jul 18 Fri, Jul 19 Sat, Jul 20 Sun, Jul 21
at Phillies at Phillies at Phillies at Phillies vs. Marlins vs. Marlins vs. Marlins
4:05 p.m. 4:05 p.m. 4:05 p.m. 9:35 a.m. 7:10 p.m. 6:10 p.m. 1:10 p.m.
Kershaw v. Buehler v. Maeda v. Stripling v. Ryu v. Kershaw v. Buehler v.
Eflin Velasquez Pivetta Nola Gallen Alcantara Yamamoto
SNLA/ESPN SNLA/MLB SNLA YouTube SNLA SNLA SNLA