Monday, September 2, 2013
Colletti has Dodgers on track
By Buster Olney
Ned Colletti's moves have positioned the Dodgers as a contender this season.
WASHINGTON -- The postseason often comes down to bullpen and bench, as some managers will argue, so in that context, think about what Dodgers GM Ned Colletti has done in recent weeks:
1. Added Carlos Marmol, a plus arm with a wipeout slider, in a salary dump by the Cubs. Look, Cubs fans may never forgive him for all of his blown saves, but while with the Dodgers, he’s thrived pitching in low-leverage spots. He hasn’t allowed a run in his past 11 outings for L.A., allowing just five hits in 11 innings. He costs the Dodgers $500,000 for this year. (In that deal, the Dodgers also acquired $200,000 in international-signing cap space.)
3. Signed Edinson Volquez. For $82,000, the Dodgers have somebody to compete with Chris Capuano for the No. 5 spot in the rotation who also gives them some fall-back in case they're hit by a series of injuries.
4. Traded for Michael Young. The Dodgers really didn’t have anybody to step in at first base in the event that Adrian Gonzalez went down. Now they add a proven veteran hitter who can not only play first base, if needed, but could also play third or the two middle-infield positions, or pinch-hit. He’ll cost the Dodgers $810,000.
Are you looking for experienced depth? Well, Young has played in the World Series twice, Schumaker has won two championship rings, Hairston was part of the Yankees’ championship team in 2009, Punto has played in the postseason three times and Wilson got the final out of the 2010 World Series.
The Dodgers can do a lot of stuff because they have a big payroll, but a lot of these moves were done on the cheap -- Marmol, Young, Wilson and Volquez cost L.A. about $2.4 million altogether.
The Dodgers won again Sunday, with a lot of help from Zack Greinke. From ESPN Stats & Info, how Greinke won:
A. Greinke used his curveball to put Padres hitters away. He threw 10 two-strike curveballs and got eight outs, including four via strikeout. His four curveball strikeouts were his most in the past four seasons.
B. Greinke changed speeds on his curveball, as it ranged from 65 to 78 mph. He had two strikeouts on curveballs as slow as 70 mph for the first time in the past five seasons.
C. Greinke got Padres hitters to expand their strike zone with two strikes. Padres hitters chased only 18 percent of Greinke’s pitches before two strikes but upped that to 62 percent with strikes, Greinke’s second-highest percentage this season.
ERA by season since 2010
* 8-1, 1.47 ERA in past 11 starts
Greinke also stole his second base of the season Sunday. He had one on July 13 against the Rockies. Before that, he had just one in his entire career (which started in 2004), although much of it was spent in the American League.
The last pitcher for any team to have two stolen bases in a season was "El Duque," Orlando Hernandez, for the Mets in 2007. The last pitcher to do it for the Dodgers was our own Orel Hershiser in 1987.
Puig is hitting .596 on the first pitch this season, and this is what he did when he got a first-pitch hanger on Sunday.
Thus far, he's 3-3, with a walk in one September game.
• From Home Run Tracker, some data for August:
Longest home run of the month: Hunter Pence’s 476-foot home run at Coors Field on Aug. 27 was the longest home run in MLB this season. It was a career-long for Pence and the longest by a Giant in the eight-year history of ESPN Home Run Tracker.
This season, no one hits homers harder or longer than Pence. He has the highest average home run distance (422.6 feet) in the majors, the fastest average speed off the bat (108 mph) and the longest homer of the year (476 feet).
Longest average home run distance this season Hunter Pence, 422.6
Eric Hosmer, 419.9
Justin Upton, 419.0
Mike Trout, 417.4
Mike Napoli, 415.6
Note: min. 10 homers
Pence hit two of the four longest home runs in August, including a 459-foot blast at Marlins Park on Aug. 18. He is tied for the MLB lead this season with three home runs of at least 450 feet.
Moves, deals and decisions
1. Sources say it would be a complete surprise if the Mets don’t retain manager Terry Collins; they have no plans to make a change.
• Andrew McCutchen is one of the most talented people you’ll meet in your lifetime, and you will see that on the "E:60" profile Tuesday night.
He has a good shot to be the NL MVP. His August numbers:
McCutchen hit .384 (38-for-99) with five doubles, two triples, two home runs and 15 RBIs along with a .483 on-base percentage, .535 slugging percentage and 1.019 OPS.
McCutchen’s .384 average last month was the highest by a Pirate in August since Jason Kendall hit .413 in 1996. McCutchen finished the month with a league-leading .483 OBP, ranked second in batting average and third in hits (39).
The 26-year-old enters Monday ranked sixth in the National League in batting average (.317), tied for first in multihit games (51), third in total bases (250) and hits (158), fifth in OBP (.394), tied for fifth in doubles (33), sixth in stolen bases (27) and 10th in RBIs (74).
Since the All-Star break, he ranks fifth among National League hitters in batting average (.351), fourth in OBP (.433) and total bases (88) and seventh in slugging percentage (.571).