Tuesday, September 02, 2014

The Chronicles of Joc - It's Happening

It was announced earlier today that Joc Pederson would get his very first start for the Dodgers this afternoon.  He would take over for a slumping Yasiel Puig in centerfield, and would bat seventh in the lineup.

And with that, the only way to appropriatey describe how excited the Dodger fanbase became is to show the below GIF.

Oh, yeah!  IT'S HAPPENING!

So in honor of the explosion of joy that can only come from extreme optimism, I shall record Joc's day for posterity.  Stay tuned for the "Chronicles of Joc."

First, during batting practice Joc met another former rookie phenom, via a tweet from the @Dodgers.

Fast forward to the game and we get Joc's very first at-bat of the evening.  While facing Doug Fister with two out in the second inning, Joc worked the count to 2-2 and fisted a high-'n-tight fastball for a bloop single to centerfield.  He ably muscled the ball and records his very first Major League hit.  Watch it here.  To the right is a GIF via the Dodgers on tumblr.

Woo Hoo!

In the fourth inning Joc came up to the plate for his second at-bat of the day.  With Juan Uribe on first base and two outs in the inning, he worked the count full and struck out swinging on a slow dropping breaking ball.  Whiff!

In the sixth inning, Joc came up with to the plate after Juan Uribe whacked a two-run home run to left centerfield and walked.  He was eventually forced out at home on Dee Gordon's soft grounder to the pitcher.  Joc is now 1 for 2 with a single and a walk.

Joc then opened up the eighth inning to lead off against reliever Xavier Cedeno.  He swung at the very first pitch and grounded meekly to the second baseman.  And with that he finishes up going 1 for 3, with a single and a walk.

Oh, well.  Joc's evening wasn't quite the thing of legends, but at least the Dodgers won and he was able to knock out his very first hit.  Hopefully, there'll be more fruitful returns in the future.

Now, listen to him speak a bit before the game about his first at-bat on Monday and about joining a tight-knit clubhouse.

Video Link:

Pic at the very top via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014.

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

A Belated Welcome to the Blue for Alexander Guerrero

It dawned on me last night that I had neglected to properly welcome Alexander Guerrero to the Dodgers.  I had originally reasoned that since he played for the club during the season opening series against the Diamondbacks in Australia, there was no need to welcome him to the Blue like I normally want to do.  Then it dawned on me, Guerrero had yet to really play in front of True Blue Dodger fans (with all due respect for Dodger fans down under), so his recent promotion is his real homecoming.

With that in mind, I would like to extend a Blue Heaven welcome to Alexander Guerrero.

Alex Guerrero's path to the Majors has been fraught with peril, intrigue and violence.  Like Puig he was a Cuban defector, so we may never truly know what he had to go through to escape.  Then, rumors swirled that he had signed with the Dodgers in early September 2013, but that was delayed.  His agents at the time were not licensed and authorized by MLB, so he switched agents to Scott Boras and eventually signed with the Dodgers in late October.

He soon started his professional career in the Dominican Winter League, but was hampered a bit by hamstring issues.  Still, he showed some skill with the bat, and quickly rose up the Dodger ranks throughout 2014.  In late May something crazy happened.  A scuffle with teammate Miguel Olivo in Albuquerque resulted in Guerrero losing a piece of his ear.  To put it bluntly, Olivo Tyson'd Guerrero!  I kid you not.  Check out my original story about that here

Guerrero had to have surgery to salvage his ear, went through a long recovery and returned to the Isotopes roster on July 10th.  He has since been impressive at the plate.

As you know, he was called up to the Dodgers as a part of the first wave of September call ups yesterday, and got into the game as a pinch-hitter against Gio Gonzalez in the fifth inning.  Guerrero struck out swinging.  I'm certain he'll get plenty of at-bats like that for the remainder of the season, and might get a spot start to provide some rest for the starters.

In celebration of Alex Guerrero's promotion to the Dodgers I made the above fantasy cards for him.  I used photographs grabbed from Jon SooHoo's photog blog and the 1959 Topps Baseball card designs.

Below are the career Minor League statistics for him, via Baseball Reference:

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

2014 Topps Chrome - The Dodger Insert Cards

Following up on yesterdays post, here are all of the Dodger insert cards that can be found in packs of 2014 Topps Chrome Baseball card packs.  I'll have photos of the autographed & relic cards tomorrow.

1989 Topps Chrome Set Checklist

#89TC-CK Clayton Kershaw                               #89TC-YP Yasiel Puig

Blog Kiosk: 9/2/2014 - Dodger Links - Pederson's Debut and an Interview with Urias

Roberto Hernandez took the mound for the Dodgers yesterday, but labored as he surrendered four home runs on five hits.  The ball was jumping and carrying off the National bats like they were hitting beach balls in the stands at Dodger Stadium.  Just about any ball hit in the air looked dangerous, and unfortunately for the Dodgers they hit less of them then their counterparts.

The Dodgers offense was anemic once again.  After Kemp's two-run home run in the first inning they didn't record another hit until Kemp singled in the seventh inning.  They did attempt a rally thereafter, but it just wasn't enough.

Of note, the two Dodger newbies came into the game with differing results.  Yimi Garcia pitched two innings in relief, and gave up just a single and struck out one.  He was fantastic.  The photo above is of Yimi, via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014Go here to check out a bunch of pics from yesterday.  Joc Pederson had an exciting pinch-hit at-bat in the ninth inning.  There were two runners on base with the Dodgers down two, so he had an opportunity to be a difference maker.  Unfortunately, after working the count full, he struck out looking on an off-speed hanging slider out-and-away.  On this holiday afternoon, mighty Casey struck out.

The Dodgers lost 6 to 4, and maintain 2.0 game lead over the Giants.  Oy Vey!  I feel like I'm having a heart attack.  Now, below are some links to check out.
"I'm excited," Pederson said. "It's a dream come true. But it's now time to help the team win."
After last nights game he shared his thoughts about his game ending at-bat.  Via Eric Stephen at True Blue LA, " Joc Pederson on his first AB: 'It was pretty special.'"
"That's a thing as a little kid you're chasing in a game, and it came in my first at-bat, so I thought it was pretty special," Pederson said. "Unfortunately it didn't go the way I want."
  • I'm super envious.  The Albuquerque Isotopes gave away this cool hat (as seen on the right) to fans during yesterday's last game of the season, pic via Isotopes on twitter.  The Dodgers need to give something like this away.
  • Peter Gammons notes that if Hanley doesn't sign with the Dodgers then he'll likely be best suited for the American League.  He can be an occasional DH.  It's also less likely that Matt Kemp gets traded if Hanley leaves the Dodgers.
  • Via Eric Stephen at True Blue LA, "Dodgers extend affiliation with Ogden through 2016."
  • Via David Brim at Dodgers Digest, "Investigating The Hyun-Jin Ryu Rest Effect."
One thing that is said often about Ryu, especially during broadcasts, is that he pitches better with long rest than he does with four days of rest. It makes intuitive sense, since the pitching schedule in Korea involves longer gaps between starts. His W-L record is usually the first thing cited, which we know is irrelevant. But looking beyond that, Ryu has a 3.52 ERA while pitching with four days of rest and 2.71 ERA while pitching with five or more days of rest through his young career. There’s some truth to this. Pitching well on regular rest is especially important since Ryu will need to do so during the playoffs.
  • Check out this great interview with Julio Urias by Brian Tabije of http://www.ieprosports.com/ about his season with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and what helped him to accelerate his strikeout count.  This is from just a few days ago.

Video Link:

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *