… and that’s all you have to do.  If they score zero, all you need is 1.

Haren’s past problems have been stiffness in his back, which can come and go.  That causes his sinker to stay up in the zone. It wasn’t stiff last night and you can see the results.  Whatever he did, let’s hope he keeps it up.

I’m happy for Clint Robinson who got his first hit.  What a great story!

Smell the rare air of first place because if you aren’t the lead dog, the view never changes.

The Dodgers see Darnell Sweeney as a viable option in CF.  He has the speed and athleticism to play the position, but has an average arm, at best!  While not possessing Dee Gordon speed, he is is fast.  He stole 48 bases last year but got caught 20 times and is 9 for 20 this year.  Since he is a switch hitter, he would be ideal behind Dee Gordon.  I think he could get a shot at the spot THIS year (that is, if he can learn the position, which is not a given)!

He’s getting stronger as he matures and could possess 15-20 HR power, even though he has a compact swing.  I hope Joc Pederson makes it, but I have never been a great fan of him.  Sweeney is a ballplayer and his area of biggest improvement is his walk rate.  He walked 43 times all last year and has now walked 45 times this year in half a season.  I have watched him on MiLB TV and am a big fan.

Right now, Matt Kemp is the best CF on the Dodgers and he plays LF (and rightfully so).  It’s asking a lot, but this Sweeney kid could become a factor.  Last night was his first in CF and if he can play it, it just might be a quick ticket to the majors.

Photo credit – Ron Cervenka

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  1. bobbie17 says:

    There is nothing wrong with giving your young system players a shot. Regardless of success, it opens up the system to young players, which has been lacking. The rest of the minor league players should be seeing last night and saying “someday that will be me.” It was great to win the game, too. Last night could have been a let-down after a big series with the Cardinals. It probably was a let down, in fact. But the guys still won. To win on a tough day shows a lot about where this team is right now. It seems like everyone is paying more attention to business right now. Confidence is a great thing, isn’t it? Kemp went wild last night after the big hit–almost like he hit it himself. He seems happier, and I think his recent stats prove it. Power should come back at some point. How about Brian Wilson? A clean inning. I didn’t think he could so that anymore. Seeing the Giants behind us–finally–looks good. Now to get them behind the Rockies.

  2. BOB says:

    At a minimum Sweeney could be a replacement for Figgins before the year is over. Projecting a call up for him by this September.

    Hope reigns supreme as the Dodger blew past my goal for them of being 9 games over .500 by the end of June and at 11 games over .500 have already meet my oal for July! During July they will be facing a difficult schedule against many teams above .500 especially after the All-Star game. Hoping for a continued surge at least through the All-Star game.

    In first place finally. Thanks to the pitching and the defense. Clutch hitting and finally having a winning record at home helps too. June ERA 2.49 best in MLB Run Differential in June +39. Awesome! June BA .258 , 11th in MLB Runs 110, 14th in MLB SB 15, only 15th in MLB. What happened? 6th in MLB in both BA with runners in scoring position and runner in scoring position with 2 outs. Didn’t it seem like they were below average before June started?

    Fielding has improved so much that there were only 3 unearned runs during June compared to 30 during March through May. Fielding and pitching goes a long way. Now if we can just hire the Padres bullpen coach away from them then the Dodgers might have a real bullpen during the second half of the season.

    Masterson is Cold with a bad knee but has a sinkerball that usually kills the pull happy Dodgers. Beckett is Hot. Hoping for a win tonight. Bauer is Cold and Ryu is warm. Hoping for sweep against the Indians, another cold team!

  3. Bill_Russell says:

    I am never going to figure out your dislike for Joc? But I guess I have my short comings also…………………………………. Oh the great feeling of 1st place again.

  4. Campy says:

    “What do you do with a problem like…” center field? Mark, if the orginization really likes/has confidence in, Joc I don’t know why they would put someone else in center to learn the position and then bring him up instead of Joc. If they do that, it tells us what they really think of Joc. It seems like Joc and Sweeney have a lot of similar pluses and are a lot alike, it’s just that Joc has been playing CF a lot longer and, I would think, is going to be more comfortable/better defensively for some time. I just wish we would give him a shot and see what he does.

  5. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Sweeney isn’t on the Dodgers 40 man roster. Neither is Pederson and Zack Lee. Maybe none of them will be brought up this year.

    http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/team/roster_40man.jsp?c_id=la

    I don’t know what the Dodgers policy is regarding this, but I do know that at the very least, adding a player to a 40-man roster that is filled requires also dropping a player at the same time. I for one, am not sure how the Dodgers would approach this. I’m not saying the Dodgers won’t bring up any of these players, but I can imagine that it’s possible they won’t, unless via trades and/or other personnel moves they manage to free up roster space without losing anyone they want to keep control of.

    Even without having seen Sweeney, I can imagine him becoming the primary candidate, at some point, to take over in CF. In fact, my guess is that Pederson is probably more suited to a corner outfield spot. With Puig already entrenched in RF, that means LF, where Kemp is currently residing. And I haven’t even mentioned Ethier and/or Crawford. Things could happen between now and the trading deadline (or even the waiver deadline in August), but it could also be that things will not be fully resolved until after the winter (if even then). In Sweeney’s case, given his relative inexperience, I doubt if the Dodgers would even consider moving to LA this season. Not even a September callup, given his current roster status. Same may hold true for Pederson and Lee.

    • Mark TImmons says:

      If Sweeney can play CF, the fact he is not on the 40-man roster won’t stop the Dodgers. Clint Robinson is not a keeper even if he is a feel good story.

      Pederson OPS’ed .878 at AA last year. Sweeney is at .945 currently!

      Frankly, I see Joc as a 4th outfielder… with Van Slyke.

  6. Michael says:

    Don’t have anything right now but for general info there are software updates for I-phones, I pads and Macs. Go to settings, General, software update. Later

    • Badger says:

      Shot a 94. Hotter than hades out there. Wilted like the lilly I am at the 3 1/2 hour mark.

      I don’t know from Sweeney. Are we talking this year or next year? The guy I want to see brought up is Guerrero. But I don’t know where we play him. The makeup of this team is odd but the talent level is undeniable.

      Happy for Robinson but feel he is a short timer on this team. Van Slyke can rest AGon so we really don’t need the guy.

      Pederson will be given some st bats but probably not for a while.

  7. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    The fact that Sweeney is not on the 40 man roster could very well stop the Dodgers. And if it didn’t, it’s likely that Pederson would be promoted to the 40 man before Sweeney. Pederson has been in the organization since 2010, Sweeney since 2012. In the midst of a pennant race, that experience difference would probably make a large difference in the minds of the decision makers. Also, talented as he may be, it could be that Sweeney isn’t quite ready to be thrust into the fire of a big league pennant race, especially playing a position which he probably still has to grow into. As a team the Dodgers are moving in the right direction with their farm system, and I fully expect over the next several years that we will see management putting more and more trust in players signed or drafted in the last couple of years. For now, however, I don’t expect the Dodgers to try and force feed their top prospects until they’re fully confident in their ability to perform.

  8. Roger Dodger says:

    I see it this way. They have two guy in the minors with similar abilities, and both have a ticket for CF right now. But I know not all hot prospects make it in the show. Some seem like they will — and don’t. That is baseball. Injuries happen as well.

    I can see by this time next season either Ethier or Crawford gone. And the other one about out the door. With Kemp, Pederson, and Puig in the starting lineup as the outfielders. Also, by next season on July 1, Sweeney will have another year of experience and if he is needed — he can fill in for injury to one of the others.

    Then, by the end of 2015, maybe it is time to trade Kemp and go with Sweeney in 2016 — IF he continues to make the progress we think and would like.

    Also, the GM (who ever that is) has to keep building and re-building the pitching staff. That is no easy task.

  9. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Ethier swung at ball four to end the inning. Also swung at another questionable pitch one or two pitches before that. Ethier was well ahead in the count, and should have been looking for a pitch to drive. If you don’t get it, just don’t swing, especially against a pitcher who’s having trouble with his control.

    • Badger says:

      You’re right.

      You don’t like him much do you.

      They just showed a picture of Roy Campanella Night at the Coliseum. I was there with my grandfather. That took me back.

  10. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Badger, Ethier did follow that up with a hit off a lefthander. And by the way, you hit it on the nose when you said “You want to end the inning against the Dodgers just load the bases.” Unless Clint Robinson can do it again. He’s hitting as I write this. And you know the result.

  11. Watford Dodger says:

    Got to write that one off. At least Beckett didn’t throw too many pitches so should be ok for next start. Crawford on the way back which will at least bolster the bench. Agon hit a homer. Trying to take the positives.

  12. Roger Dodger says:

    The triple play —- reminds me of that game against the White Sox (?) a few years back where Kent and another were thrown out at home plate on the same play — bang-bang.

    Beckett can pitch a no-hitter one day and look like a rookie on his next.

    Take it on the chin and move on.

    Puig is still not really getting on the sweet spot that often. Too many bouncers and chips off the bat.

    • Badger says:

      Both Puig and Kemp are swinging at bad pitches. And Puig tries to pull pitches that are on the outer half of the plate. If you are going to offer at those you must drive them the other way. I told my hitters to try to hit a line drive right back at the pitcher. Amazing how often the ball ended up in right center field when you try to do that.

      AGon looks like he is getting it back. Now time for Puig, Kemp and Ramirez.

      Looked to me like Cleave-land was sitting on change ups. Didn’t matter. Not a good night for the pitching staff.

  13. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Roger, that game when Kent and J.D Drew were thrown out at the plate following Russell Martin’s hit to right was against the Mets in the 2006 NLDS. I certainly remember it, because I was at the game.

    http://www.amazinavenue.com/2013/7/6/4461196/mets-gif-paul-lo-duca-video-tags-two-dodgers-playoffs-kent-drew

    You’re absolutely right Badger, both Kemp and Puig are swinging at bad pitches, and should just be trying to hit the ball back through the middle. Hopefully it’s just a temporary regression, and they’ll make the proper adjustments. Still is a long season, and it will occasionally be littered with sloppiness.

    • Badger says:

      True Brooklyn. We have been playing tighter ball of late. First place must have gone to their heads cuz last night was bizarro world.

      Maholm still here?

      Perez dropped his ERA to 5.02 in a meaningless inning. We will have those on occasion, so, do we keep him around for them?

  14. Pete M says:

    Last night would have been a good game to have started my in house auditions for the pen…Sub Yimi G. for Maholm and see what’s cracking… Darn I hope Scott Elbert comes back ready to help…

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