Tag Archives: Kenley Jansen

Los Angeles Dodgers 2014 Team Preview

Yasiel Puig is the Dodgers Straw that Stirs the Drink.
Yasiel Puig is the Dodgers Straw that Stirs the Drink.

It was last season in late June and early July, and we were in Las Vegas sitting in a sportsbook at the Belagio when it hit us: why don’t we take some money out of our emergency savings, and plunk it down on the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the whole damn thing? It almost seemed too easy. The Dodgers were just starting to get on a roll but the oddsmakers really weren’t onto them just yet. A lot stood to be made if someone had the gusto to plunk down the bet.

And as a wise gambler once told us; this is exactly why you do not bet. Luckily, we talked ourselves out of it and stayed away from it. But it was maybe only because we had a marriage to worry about if things didn’t work out for the Dodgers in the postseason.

Los Angeles would soon thereafter go on a 46-10 roll. National League pitchers seemed to figure out Yasiel Puig, but not entirely. The Dodgers ran into a buzzsaw of a team in St. Louis whose rotation got hot at just the right time, and looking back that St. Louis team excelled at all the small things that the star-power Dodgers did not. Small execution, great defense, and exceptional pitching helped the Cardinals prevail.

We were happy to see the legendary Dodgers succeed. We would have been fine with them taking the title last year. It’s good for baseball when the Dodgers are good. In our opinion, they play in America’s most enchanting city, in a gem of a stadium in the sunshine, with the grandfather of baseball calling their games late-night in the Midwest all by himself.

They have an eclectic roster and a charismatic ownership group. Their GM looks like a guy who could have you whacked. There are a lot of things to love about this team heading into 2014.

Major Off-season Moves:

  • Signed Clayton Kershaw to a 7-year, $215 million dollar contract.
  • Michael Young retired.
  • Signed  Don Mattingly to an extension through 2016.
  • Signed Jamey Wright.
  • Signed Chris Perez.
  • Re-signed Juan Uribe to a 2-year, $15 million dollar contract.
  • Signed Alexander Guerrero to a 4-year, $28 million dollar contract.

And you’re damn right we’re bullish on the Dodgers. Did 2013 scare us off a little bit with the way they eroded in the NLCS? Absolutely not. We started with this team because we’re picking them to win the whole damn thing in 2014. As we have been so often in life (and sometimes not enough), we were just a year early on the Dodgers. They’re a year better, a year wiser, and they’re going to still come into your town and stomp your team and probably drink all the tequila your city has to offer this season. Click through the jump to learn more about our projected 2014 champions.

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The Dodgers Cowboy Up, Force Game Six in St. Louis

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[Box Score]
[Los Angeles Times]

You have to give the Dodgers some credit. I truly thought they were done, and when Zack Greinke loaded the bases in the first inning of NLCS game five today, I was sure they were done. Then I had a prophetic feeling about things:

Greinke was able to get Yadier Molina to hit into a double play, and the Dodgers seemed to gain momentum from it all. From there they scratched across two runs, with Adrian Gonzalez starting the rally and Yasiel Puig keeping it going. Greinke singled in Puig. But the Cardinals would not go down quietly.

A Carlos Beltran triple and Matt Holliday double evened scoring at 2-2. Then the Dodgers got the lift they needed.

Gonzalez homered deep into the pavilion in right field to give the Dodgers the lead. They wouldn’t trail again in the game. He would add a second home run later in the game, and the Dodgers that had failed to homer for the entire series ended up with four on the day (Carl Crawford and A.J. Ellis got in on the act).

Greinke bridged the gap nicely over to Brian Wilson and Kenley Jansen, and the Dodgers held on for a 6-4 victory. They might lose this series, but they got it to Clayton Kershaw. They might lose this series, but they defended their home field in a noble manner and refused to have their season end on their field.

All the while, Don Mattingly seems to keep things cool in his meetings with the press. After a tough loss last night he said that he knew that they were going to come out and play hard, and that seemed good enough for him to resign to for the evening. After the game today he remarked that the Dodgers have become ‘America’s Team’ because the country wants to see a game seven. At this point, they’re a flashy team playing with house money. That’s somewhat dangerous.

On Friday night – they’ll have Clayton Kershaw going on five day’s rest. And we’ll all get another night of entertainment out of this team. That’s really what it’s all about this time of year if your team is out of it. They’ll get a chance to give Michael Wacha all he can handle and get a little redemption. And although they’ve shown some of their makeup with a win like today, we’ll see just exactly what this Dodger team is made of on Friday night. It would be an incredible feat to force a game seven against this seemingly unstoppable rebel force Cardinal team.

Juan Uribe hits a legendary home run to win the Dodgers an unbelievable game

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[ESPN Los Angeles]

They don’t get much bigger then the two-run shot that Juan Uribe hit in Los Angeles to send the Braves home and send the Dodgers to a 4-3 victory and the NLCS. I’ve seen enough. It’s the Dodgers year.

It wasn’t like they drew it up. Freddie Garcia matched Clayton Kershaw for six innings. The Dodgers gave up the lead in the 7th inning, and trailed by that score until the bottom of the 8th when Yasiel Puig came to face David Carpenter. Carpenter got a couple great pitches by Puig for strikes and in a two-strike count, Puig energized the Dodgers as he’s done time and again this year.

Freddie Freeman was not guarding the foul line in a no-doubles defense, and Puig laced a double down the line that was cut off by Jordan Schafer – and Puig’s incredible speed was evidenced by legging out the double. Uribe failed to get down a couple of bunts and reminded the world that he could be the worst bunter among regulars in the big leagues.

A few seconds later, Uribe caught a letter-high fastball from Carpenter that landed in the Dodgers bullpen. If you’ve been watching baseball for any amount of time, you knew that was a crushing blow. The Braves were broken with that moment.

Kenley Jansen came on in the ninth, blew away Schafer, Heyward, and Justin Upton and the Braves season was over.

There is a magic surrounding the Dodgers. Carl Crawford hit two home runs in this game to put the Dodgers ahead 2-0 early, but the Braves battled back opportunistically when the Dodgers made mistakes in the field, namely by Adrian Gonzalez.

This loss is not an indictment of the Braves honey bear manager, Fredi Gonzalez. He’s definitely horrific, and it’s not surprising that his teams seem to always face this collapsing fate. But the Braves and Gonzalez couldn’t have managed this much differently. Carpenter was throwing gas. Sometimes, Juan Uribe just homers.

The Dodgers await the opponent they will devour, either the Cardinals or the Pirates. Whoever it is will be next to be fed to the monster that is the LA Dodgers.

Uribe-HR

Yasiel Puig Kicks off the Weekend Early in Chicago with a Wrigley Bomb

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We kind of had the feeling Yasiel Puig would do this last night in his first game in Chicago. He seems like the kind of guy who likes to start a weekend early – and start the weekend early he did.

The ball was flying out of Wrigley last night like crazy. The Dodgers won the game 6-4, their 12th straight road win. The highlight was clearly Puig catching this low breaking ball and hitting it deep into the Chicago night. Look where this damn shot lands.

The thing is, Puig looked so terrible on a few swings early on in this at bat. Then he adjusted and crushed it. And that is the quality that reminds me of Manny Ramirez in young Puig.

We’re not going to blog about all his bombs, but we saw this one live; and it put the stamp on another Dodger win. This was just before Kenley Jansen entered in the ninth and blew away the Cubs for his 15th save. Right now this Dodgers team is easily the most dangerous team in baseball. I have no problem attaching my name to that statement.

Los Angeles Dodgers 2013 Team Preview

Clayton Kershaw

Flat nasty.

That’s what I think of the 2013 Los Angeles Dodgers as things begin. It’s not a bad thing for baseball if these guys are restored to relevancy.

It would be unrealistic to think that all of these former superstars will put together superstar seasons at the same time. However, if just a few of them manage it while the others become solid contributors, the Dodgers are going to be one tough out in the National League.

Major offseason moves:

  • Signed SP Hyun-Jin Ryu
  • Signed SP Zach Greinke to a 6-year, $147 million contract
  • Traded minor leaguer Jake Lemmerman to St. Louis for Skip Schumaker
  • Signed RP JP Howell
  • Signed RP Brandon League to a 3-year, $22 million contract

Of course, let’s not forget all the damn moves they made at the end of last season. They acquired a small army of misfit toys in getting Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett for basically nothing.

After the jump, we’ll take a look at the Dodgers from top to bottom.

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Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus on Harper’s Best AB’s

My buddy M.J. Lloyd and I were talking one day about some of our favorite baseball writers. He tossed out a name about one of the guys who was ‘the next big thing’ in his mind, Sam Miller formerly of the OC Register Angels blog. I am starting to become a believer.

Miller produced one of my favorite posts of the year thus far at Baseball Prospectus yesterday. It’s called ‘Pebble Hunting’ and it details Bryce Harper’s toughest at-bats. Miller takes us through five at-bats that Harper has had against the five pitchers with the highest K-rates: Aroldis Chapman, Jason Grilli, Craig Kimbrel, Kenley Jansen, and Johnny Venters.

It’s all about young power vs. power match-ups. Miller gets creative with gifs and screen shots and all the fixings. Please check it out.