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Dodgers notes: Trayce Thompson’s hitless skid, stolen bases, reliever usage

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Los Angeles Dodgers v Chicago Cubs Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Starts for Trayce Thompson have been few and far between this season, as the Dodgers outfielder is in the worst slump of his career.

Thompson started the last two games of the series against the Brewers, against left-handed starting pitchers Eric Lauer and Wade Miley. That’s the role for Thompson now, with 11 of his 14 starts coming against southpaws.

Longest Dodgers hitless streaks since 2000

Player Dates AB BB/K
Player Dates AB BB/K
Eugenio Velez 2011 season 37 2/11
Yasmani Grandal Aug 19-Sep 14, 2015 37 8/17
Edwin Ríos Apr 14-May 12, 2021 31 4/12
A.J. Ellis Sep 11-23, 2012 30 0/10
Joc Pederson Jun 4-17, 2019 29 2/7
Ryan Theriot Sep 5-16, 2010 28 3/4
James Loney Jun 16-Jul 1, 2012 28 1/3
Chase Utley Apr 6-26, 2017 28 4/4
Trayce Thompson Apr 17-May 10, 2023 28 5/17

But after homering off Madison Bumgarner in his first at-bat of the season on April 1 — one of three home runs that night for Thompson, the other two coming against right-handed pitchers — Thompson has just one hit 30 at-bats against left-handers, with 18 strikeouts.

Last year, the right-handed-hitting Thompson was a revelation, returning to the Dodgers with his best season, hitting .268/.364/.537 with 13 home runs and a 153 wRC+ in just over three months. But even then, Thompson had reverse splits, hitting only .174/.260/.361 against lefties. It’s something Thompson talked about fixing this offseason and into spring training.

Thompson hasn’t really hit pitchers from either side yet this year, with just seven hits in 54 at-bats. But his last hit came on April 17, a single off lefty David Peterson of the Mets at Dodger Stadium. Since then, Thompson has no hits in his last 28 at-bats, with 17 strikeouts and five walks.

Only nine Dodgers this century have had hitless streaks at least that long, a list topped by Eugenio Velez’s infamous 2011 campaign that saw him go 0-for-37 all season in the majors, and by Yasmani Grandal, who matched that hitless streak in September 2015.

As for Thompson, he’s tried to keep a positive attitude about it, though it’s been difficult at times, he told Bill Plunkett at the Orange County Register:

“It’s coming. I know it is. I feel like you can be two ways about it. You can be pouty about it – ‘Woe is me.’ Or you can be, ‘You know what? I’m due.’ I feel like I have to choose the latter. I’ve served my time. Now it’s time to get hot.”

The Dodgers face another left-hander on Friday night in Blake Snell of the Padres. Perhaps Thompson will get another crack at snapping the skid.


Teams try to steal bases on the Dodgers much more often than any against other MLB team this season. Mike Axisa at CBS Sports looks at how the Dodgers compare with other teams this year and historically.

Russell Carleton at Baseball Prospectus dug deep into the sheer volume of relievers being used in close and late situations, and how it’s allowed teams to lessen the frequency of the best pitchers in the bullpen pitching on back-to-back days. Relatedly, Evan Phillips has pitched on zero days rest twice this season, Brusdar Graterol three times for the Dodgers.

After unveiling an updated top-100 prospects list earlier in the week, Baseball America on Wednesday revealed 15 more prospects on the cusp of potentially joining the top 100. Included is Dodgers pitcher Emmet Sheehan, who has struck out 45 percent of his batters faced in Double-A Tulsa.

“Sheehan’s fastball has sat 95-96 mph with an outlier vertical approach angle of 3.8 degrees, generating over 19 inches on average of induced vertical break and nearly a foot of arm-side run. Sheehan may have a true plus-plus fastball, not that dissimilar from Mariners rookie Bryce Miller.,” wrote Geoff Pontes.

Former Dodgers minor leaguer and first-round pick Preston Mattingly, now the farm director of the Phillies, shared the story of his mother Kim — ex-wife of Don Mattingly — and her years-long battle with alcoholism with Alex Coffey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Preston said of his mother, who is now five years sober, “She’s so happy every day. That’s probably what I’m most proud of — how great a life she has. She’s had to overcome more than most people I’ve seen.”