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Reconstructive UCL Surgery Epidemic?

I am in no way even close to being a medical physician.  I took one Kinesiology class in 1973, but I am in no way even remotely qualified to discuss the source of arm injuries.  After reading the Mike Marshall article that Badger provided, I liked this comment on Kinesiology.

“Kinesiology, I’m convinced, is the secret of pitching,” Dr. Frank Jobe (father of TJ surgery) said. “Marshall calls it kinesiology, which is the scientific term. I call it body mechanics. In pitching, it’s balance, rhythm and alignment. If a pitcher has those three things, the stresses on the arm are at a minimum.

“The arm wasn’t meant to throw a ball that hard in the first place. But since these guys do, body mechanics are crucial…”

So I do what I like to do, and research those who think they know.  I like what Clayton Kershaw recently said in a LA Time interview.

“I’m very wary of people that think they have it all figured out when all of this is still happening,” he said. “If you had it figured out, you would’ve told somebody and made a billion dollars. You know what I mean? Nobody knows.”

 “Everybody has theories,” Kershaw said. “It’s probably a combination of what everybody’s talking about, whether it be added velocity, weighted ball programs too young, all this stuff that people talk about. But at the end of the day, nobody knows. Nobody knows the perfect formula, and if they did, they’d be doing it. So I think the question we need to ask is, how do we fix it? And then somebody has to be brave enough to put their neck out and try something different.”

“Nobody cares about the old guys,” Kershaw quipped, referring to himself along with multiple-time Cy Young Award winners like Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, who each are on the shelf to start the season. Even as Kershaw piled up mileage on his arm through his 20s and early 30s, he said, “I never threw 100 (mph).”

Rather, it’s what’s happening to stars like Gerrit Cole, Spencer Strider, Shane Bieber, Framber Valdez, and Sandy Alcántara that presents the biggest threat to the sport.

In looking at those cases, Kershaw struggles to find real answers. He’s long admired Alcántara, who he said has “perfect pitching mechanics” that seemingly put minimal strain on his arm. Recent TJ surgery patient Spencer Strider’s lower half, he said, theoretically is supposed to help avoid his arm from breaking down again like it did.

The answer might not be in more rest, however. Just ask the Marlins, who handled uber talented 20 year old Eury Pérez with kid gloves and still watched him blow out after 283 professional innings at just 20 years old.

“I try to throw every pitch as hard as I can every time,” Kershaw said. “I’ve always done that. I don’t think the amount of effort you’re putting in — I know old guys will say, ‘I pitched at this speed and then when the game got into the seventh, eighth, is when I really sped up.’ We can’t do that. We’re out of the game in the third inning if that happens.”

“At the end of the day, we just want the best players to be on the field,” Kershaw said. “That’s true of every sport. So if there’s a way to do that better, I hope that MLB, the union, everybody would be all on board to figuring that out. I just haven’t heard somebody tell me definitively what would help.”

Kershaw added that this little dustup between MLB and MLBPA is silly.  Get together and figure it out for the health of the pitchers and the Game.

Of the 26 players to log at least 10 innings pitched for LAD in 2023, 14 (more than half) have had a TJ surgery at some point in their careers. The Dodgers also had Daniel Hudson, Alex Reyes, Jimmy Nelson and Walker Buehler, who didn’t pitch 10 innings last year with TJ surgery.

This year, of the 28 pitchers listed on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster (and 60-day injured list), 13 have already had at least one Tommy John surgery to reconstruct ligaments in their elbow, and four have had some form of major shoulder repair.

  • Ryan Brasier
  • Walker Buehler
  • Nick Frasso
  • Tyler Glasnow
  • Tony Gonsolin
  • Brusdar Graterol
  • Michael Grove
  • Daniel Hudson
  • Dustin May
  • Shohei Ohtani
  • James Paxton
  • Ricky Vanasco
  • Gus Varland

Shoulder surgeries:

  • P. Feyereisen
  • Nick Frasso
  • Clayton Kershaw
  • Blake Treinen

Current shoulder injuries:

  • Bobby Miller
  • Emmet Sheehan

But the Dodgers are not alone with their arm injury problems.  There are so many TJ surgeries now, that they are ranking the top 15 MLB pitchers recovering from the surgery.

  1. Jacob deGrom – Rangers – 06-12-2023
  2. Sandy Alcántara – Marlins – 10-06-23
  3. Félix Bautista – Orioles – 10-09-23
  4. Robby Ray – Giants (from Seattle) – 05-03-23
  5. Shane McLanahan – Rays – 08-21-2023
  6. Liam Hendriks – Red Sox (FA from CWS) – 08-02-23
  7. Walker Buehler – LAD – 08-23-22
  8. Germán Márquez – Rockies – 05-12-23
  9. Tyler Mahle – Rangers (FA from Twins) – 05-22-23
  10. Tony Gonsolin – LAD – 09-01-23
  11. Jeffrey Springs – Rays – 04-24-23
  12. Luis Garcia – Astros – 05-19-23
  13. Dustin May – LAD – 07-18-23
  14. Shane Baz – Rays – 09-28-23
  15. Drey Jameson – Dbacks – 09-27-23

Other noteworthy pitchers not in the Top 15 (in alphabetical order by last name): Ian Anderson, Matthew Boyd, JT Brubaker, Kris Bubic, Cade Cavalli, Scott Effross, Tyler Matzek, Easton McGee, Max Meyer, Casey Mize, Kumar Rocker, Trevor Rosenthal, Antonio Senzatela, Lou Trivino, Justin Wilson.

Interestingly, missing from the above list is Shohei Ohtani.  I did not write the article, so I do not know why Ohtani was left off.  Because he is a regular DH?

Thus far in 2024, significant difference making player elbow surgeries:

  • Eury Pérez
  • Lucas Giolito
  • Spencer Strider
  • Shane Bieber
  • Robert Stephenson

And now Kyle Freeland (Rockies) is shut down due to elbow strain.

What we do know…The average fastball velocity has leaped from 90.5 mph in 2008 to 93.9 mph in 2022 and topped 94 for the first time last year. Glenn Fleisig, head of biomechanics research at American Sports Medicine Institute and part of MLB’s study group on arm injuries, notes that the injury curve is almost in lockstep with the velocity rise.

By the end of last year, 31 of the 64 hardest throwers based on Statcast metrics had undergone Tommy John surgery at some point in their careers.

Guardians starting pitcher, Tristan McKenzie, had an elbow injury.  One doctor advised rest, while another advised TJ surgery.  He initially had “no clue,” but opted for rest.

Eight months later, he feels no pain. He admits he can’t possibly know yet if he made the right decision.

We still do not know about Gerrit Cole or Framber Valdez who are both resting barking elbows.  The hope is that neither will need the surgery, but as McKenzie said, how could they possibly know.

Veteran trainer Stan Conte believes the max-effort fastball places the most stress on the ulnar collateral ligament, which, as future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander notes, doesn’t stop “10-year-olds on my Instagram feed trying to throw as hard as they can.”

Dallas-based orthopedist Keith Meister, who has supplanted the retired James Andrews as the Man No Pitcher Wants to See, cites the prevalence of the sweeper and power changeup as adding stress to UCLs.

Gee, what do the Dodgers look for?  High velocity.  What do the Dodgers try to develop for that little extra edge?  Sweeper and power change.

I would expect more elbow injuries from pitchers this year, and for years to come.  As long as teams are paying out exorbitant salaries for pitchers, there is no incentive to stop throwing hard.  Get signed to a big bonus and then get TJ surgery.  Sign a big multi-year contract and then get TJ surgery and miss a significant part of that contract…but with the $$$.  What are the odds than Yoshinobu Yamamoto will have elbow surgery over the next 12 years?

More throws, less throws, more rest between starts, 6 man rotations…

“All theories, circuitous in their routes, arrive at the same destination: Throwing a baseball at the most hypercompetitive level is incredibly stressful on the arm – the shoulder, the rotator cuff, and most of all, that tiny little ligament whose efficacy means the difference between winning and losing, riches and ruin.

 The verdict: Don’t expect a quick fix – because there may never be one.”

 

 

This is the youtube that tedraymond posted about yesterday.

 

MiLB GAME SUMMARY REPORTS

 

Sacramento River Cats (Giants) 7 – OKC Baseball Club 5

The River Cats jumped out to a 7-0 lead and held on.  Dinelson Lamet gave up the first four runs in the third inning.  Yusniel Diaz hit a solo HR and David Villar hit a 3-run HR for the runs.

Michael Flynn relieved Lamet.  He allowed a double and single in his 2nd inning (5th).

Michael Petersen relieved Flynn.  And in his 2nd inning (7th), after striking out the leadoff hitter, Petersen issued a walk that was followed by three singles and 2 runs.  With 2 in and 2 on base, Gus Varland relieved Petersen and got the final two outs.

In the home 7th, Kevin Padlo led off with a single that was followed by Ryan Ward’s 5th HR.

In the 8th, Drew Avans drew a leadoff BB.  With one out, Trey Sweeney doubled (3) to score Avans, and Kevin Padlo followed with a 2-run HR (3).  That was all OKC could generate in the loss.

  • Kevin Padlo – 2-4, 2 runs, 2 RBI, HR (3)
  • Ryan Ward – 2-4, 1 run, 2 RBI, double (5), HR (5)
  • Trey Sweeney – 1-4, 1 run, 1 RBI. Double (3)

 

Box Score

 

Tulsa Drillers 5 – Wichita Wind Surge (Twins) 0

Orlando Ortiz-Mayr and three relievers tossed a 5 hit shutout.  Ortiz-Mayr went the first 5.2 IP allowing 2 hits, 3 BB, and 2 K.  Sauryn Lao followed Ortiz-Mayr and had his 2nd consecutive scoreless outing with 2 K in 1.2 IP.

A pair of late inning Jack’s (Dreyer and Little) completed the shutout.

In the 5th in a scoreless tie, with one out Griffin Lockwood-Powell singled.  Austin Beck followed with a single of his own.  With a fly ball to CF, GLP moved to 3rd on the out while Beck moved to 2nd on E-8. Both runners scored on an Austin Gauthier single.

The rest of the offense was produced by José Ramos.  He hit a solo HR in the 6th and a 3-run HR in the 8th.

  • Austin Gauthier – 2-5, 1 run, 2 RBI
  • José Ramos – 2-4, 2 runs, 3 RBI, 2 HR (4)
  • Griffin Lockwood-Powell – 2-4, 1 run
  • Austin Beck – 2-4, 1 run

 

Box Score

 

Great Lakes Loons 5 – West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit) 4

Down 4-2, the Loons scored 3 in the 7th for the come from behind win.

Alex Freeland led off for the Loons in the 1st with his 1st HR and a 1-0 lead.

Jared Karros did not pitch as well in this one as he had in his previous two starts. A single and a pair of doubles scored 2 for West Michigan.

Great Lakes tied it in the 3rd with a single by Noah Miller and a triple (1) by Kyle Nevin.

West Michigan retook the lead in the 4th on a pair of doubles and a pair of ground ball outs.

In the home 7th, Yunior Garcia opened the inning with a single.  Nelson Quiroz forced Garcia at 2nd on his ground ball.  Alex Freeland doubled (4) to score Quiroz.  Noah Miller singled home Freeland to tie the score.  Miller scored on a 3 base E-5 throwing error.

  • Alex Freeland – 2-4, 2 runs, 2 RBI, double (4), HR (1)
  • Noah Miller – 2-3, 1 BB, 2 runs, 1 RBI
  • Kyle Nevin – 1-4, 1 RBI, triple (1)
  • Thayron Liranzo – 1-4, double (2)

 

Box Score

 

 

Rancho Cucamonga Quakes – Inland Empire 66ers (LAA)

Game Suspended due to power outage with Rancho ahead 2-0, with Inland Empire runners on first and second with no outs in the bottom of the 1st.

 

 

 

 

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Wally Moonshot

“As long as teams are paying out exorbitant salaries for pitchers, there is no incentive to stop throwing hard. Get signed to a big bonus and then get TJ surgery.” This is what I don’t understand. Since teams are investing big bucks for top line pitchers it makes no sense for them to push pitching techniques that are guaranteed to see their high priced investments go down in a year or two with serious arm injuries that ultimately cut careers short. It’s insane.

Jeff

What’s going on with Freddie Freeman? He is not the same player offensively that we know. His rhythm seems off to me. He’ striking out a lot and swinging too late. His BA is .259. He’s got only 1 HR and a handful of rbi’s. This is not the Freddie we all know and love. His defense seems to be all there, though. The top of the order is losing its rhythm because of him.

On top of this, we have a pitching meltdown and we all know that the FO is out of ammunition in this area. Did they go after the wrong Japanese pitcher? Imanaga looking very solid. Yamamoto, with all his stuff and SO ability, is a very hittable pitcher. Is he another Lance Lynn? Say it ain’t so, Joe. We are sinking faster than anyone cares to admit. Yes, I know, have patience. I do have patience but are the Dodgers as good as they think they are?

Duke Not Snider

I’d come to think Freddie was slump-proof, given his consistency since he joined the Dodgers. This is like a mini-slump.
I think Roberts is doing a lot of player development in these early season games. He has said that the best defense has Rojas at SS, not Mookie. But again he chose to start Mookie at SS with Rojas replacing Max, and Kike at 2B. He did this, it seems, to give Mookie more experience at SS–to help him improve. (We can only hope that he’ll learn from his throwing error.)
After a disappointment like today, I try to look for silver linings. Finally Taylor came through with a big hit, and we can only hope it leads to more.
I was following the game online. When I saw that Outman flew out, I had the impression it was fairly routine. When I saw the highlights, I saw he hit it too the wall. No cigar.
I get the impression that Yamamoto is still adjusting. Dodger pitchers struck out 13 against only 2 walks. Normally excellent. But they gave up 14 hits.
Yoshi had 9 of those Ks in 6 innings of work, but gave up 7 hits.
He threw 99 pitches in all, including 72 strikes. Was he too accurate? Was his approach off?
A commentator said the strike zone is wider in Japan, but higher in the US. Even though he gave up 7 hits, Yoshi struck out 9 and walked only 1. All considered, I think he’s settling in and his performances will improve.

porpoiseboy

Honestly, to me it seems like we’re still in spring training and everybody else is playing for real.

Badger

What is the answer?

Smoltz: “Rule change”

I agree. That is what I suggested a few days ago and nobody commented.

But John doesn’t offer any suggestions.

How to get good hitters out? Throw it by them as often as you can is what organizations are looking for. To this day I still believe what my grandfather taught me when I became a Little League pitcher at age 11 is solid advice. . “High and tight low, away and change of pace”. His exact words. Translation: Keep hitters off balance. Hit your spots in those areas most difficult for them to hit, and change speeds with every pitch. It worked for me once I was able to do it, which took hours of practice in my backyard. I threw hard but not as hard as some of the bigger kids.

There will ALWAYS be big strong kids that throw the ball hard. All the guys going down now are examples of that. Who are the guys that don’t do that and still get hitters out? Greg Maddux and Mike Marshall come to mind. Orel Hershiser mastered the two seamer, which is pitch when thrown properly breaks either direction according to grip. He pitched for 18 years.

Rule changes. Nobody would like it but I think moving the fences back would help. Widen the plate would help. Restricted flight balls help. Raising the mound would make a difference. Expanding the rosters so more pitchers can be added would help.

That said throwing as hard as you can is what scouts are told to look for. Pitching to contact is a lost art and nobody is looking for it anymore. And pitchers with defenses that don’t raise confidence levels (Dodgers) definitely don’t really want to master pitch to contact I learned the following early: “Take the outs they give you and steal one now and then and you shorten the game”. Again, lost art in today’s game.

Baseball is making more money than ever before. The lords of the game don’t want to change anything that has even a remote possibility of disturbing the status quo. Players are commodities that are easily replaced. And who can afford throwing money away on commodities that are likely to crash? We’ll look around. The Dodgers are at the very top of that short list.

Last edited 27 days ago by Badger
tedraymond

Interesting thoughts Badger. The rule changes you suggest are something to consider. I don’t think increasing the number of active pitchers would help much. I still think that reduce emphasis on velocity and stress location. Changing speeds with even with less difference might help as well. According to what was mentioned above going from 98+ to 80 is not good for the arm either. All the above means learning to how to pitch. Not throw the pitch through a brick wall.
A realistic bottom line is MONEY…as it always is.

Badger

My take on more pitchers is starters won’t have to go more than 75 pitches. Theoretically nobody needs to see a third time through the lineup scenario. I don’t know if it would work like that but if there are no rule changes expanding rosters and maybe a service time adjustment on bringing pitchers up and down would help.

Bluto

Great, expansive read!

pitching isn’t natural, but essential.

Badger

More studies on what we already know:

“For each 1-mph increase in fastball velocity, the odds of undergoing UCLR increased 15%. For a 5-mph increase in fastball velocity, the odds of injury increased by 98%. Pitchers with greater changeup velocity also had an increased risk, but their increased risk was 9% per 1-mph increase.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4910396/

So now what?

Throwing underhand, the way the arm is constructed to throw, might somehow be an answer. Anyone here play fastpitch softball? I was in tournaments in Northern California where the best pitchers were throwing rockets, with spin, all weekend. Would that work in MLB? Doubt it.

If pitchers are asked to throw 93+ mph they just can’t be asked to do it 90 times a night, throwing inning after inning.

Another suggestion: re-entry rule. A starting pitcher pitches every other inning. And for the record I don’t buy a pitcher sitting for an extra 20 minutes is a problem for them. As far as I’m concerned, Rest is never a problem.

Badger

Ask her what she thinks of throwing knuckleballs now and then in place of violent spinning pitches. You never know how young kids will answer. She’s your granddaughter so she might have a past life in baseball she can reference. The older they get the more distant those memories become.

Bumsrap

I agree

Dionysus

So does this mean we should never trade a pitching prospect or we should always?

tedraymond

I’m trying to be patient and see how things play out by the end of May. But, it’s getting harder to do so. Yamamoto’s adjustments to the MLB strike zone, ball, mound height, and hitters has lead to some expected inconsistency. His fastball location must improve if he is going to be a 1 or 2 in the rotation. If he is still having issues by the All Star break then he is not the pitcher that the Dodgers thought to justify a $325MM investment. But, I’m optimistic…for now.

I’ve not seen Freddie look so out of sorts since he has been a Dodger. He is heading to CT3 levels of not being able to make contact. That can’t happen to a #3 hitter. I mean one HR and 8 RBIs with an .724 OPS.

Ohtani, also, needs to step up and become more productive with his RISP opportunities.

Speaking of CT3, congrats on a hit to tie the game last night. Let’s hope it’s the beginning of his 3-4, 10 game, super hot, hitting streaks he seems to have a season.

The infield defense is troublingly bad so far this year.

Are you over / under on the number of Dodger starting pitchers needed for 2024 will exceed last year’s 16 total?

Oldbear48

I think one of the major issues Yamamoto is dealing with is the size of the baseball. Think about it, he is just a baby compared to other pitchers who have thrown this ball their entire lives. He has to learn all new grips. That is going to take some time, but the guy is way to talented to not get it. He threw some bad pitches, but he also threw some very good ones. Patience fans, the team will get better, much better. Muncy blows it with men on base again, and this time Taylor comes through. That is baseball for you.

Duke Not Snider

I think the patience with Yamamoto will be rewarded.
Every Japanese pitcher who came to states has had to adjust, and many have done so successfully. I don’t think the size of the ball is appreciably different, but the “feel” in terms of texture and how tight the stitches are. I think learning how to beat ML batters may be more important. He needs that put-away pitch with two strikes.
Today we had another dominant game from Glasnow, with 10 Ks and zero walks. The offense came to life, with Shohei and Pages homering. And kudos also to Will Smith for throwing out two baserunners trying to steal.
Right now, Shohei, Mookie and Will are first, second and fifth in BA in the NL. Mookie and Shohei are 2nd and 3rd in OPS.
But I doubt that I’m the only who thinks that Shohei has put up a quiet 1.094 OPS….
Why would this be so?
First, he has often faltered with runners in scoring position. This should improve.
Second, he has been overshadowed by Mookie’s blazing start.
Third, there are such high expectations for him. He hit his 5th HR today, in the 24th game. He also has five steals and hasn’t been caught.
Come on, Shohei…you need to pick up the pace for a 40-40 season!

Bumsrap

My memory says Freddy has started slowly before and wound up competing for MVP.

Phil Jones

Great stuff today, Jeff.
*The John Smoltz YouTube video on pitchers today, was great. I don’t like his overanalyzes on the air but I like the guy and his insight on velo, in this clip.  
There is no answer, in the near term, to prevent ligament damage to pitching elbows as long as pitchers max out with velo. And there is little incentive to not throw as fast as you can.
it’s very similar to the reasons players resorted to using steroids. Many choose to risk steroid use in order to compete and to make a career. I had a former player tell me in the 90’s that while MLB claimed steroid usage was 7%, he said it was more like 70%. He refused to do it and watched inferior players suddenly pass him by.  
It was a career decision. Like choosing to throw as hard as you can to first draw attention to sign and then move up the ladder. As long as the rewards are so high, the risks will be ignored.  
*I fussed over high school age pitcher’s arm health when I coached. I had the pitchers do everything new, years ago, to prevent arm injuries. We had a daily program based on each kid’s pitching schedule. We did “cords and cans” before ever picking up a baseball. That was surgical tubing work (cords) and tennis ball cans filled with warming track dirt that made 3 lb weights to use (cans)  
Ice. Pitchers iced arms after 75 pitches. It used to be a thing. It was a MUST. Now, it’s found to be more of a detriment.  
Here was the program – Day one, post start, consisted of exercises (cords and cans) and flush running, Day 2 throwing flat ground and long toss, Day three bullpen incline work, Day four light throwing and maybe short flat ground or short pen. Day five – pitch. This was scripted if the kid was healthy. Anything beyond normal muscle soreness changed the script.
*Perhaps some of this is now outdated but the benefit was everyone taking an active interest in arm health, included flush activities and running. It didn’t hurt mentally to be in a process. I never used weighted balls. It was Cords and Cans and a throwing program. We threw a lot and pitched (incline) less.
And we had very few arm injuries. But while having some pitchers sign and others pitch in college, I never had a kid throw above 95.  
Will improved science and new ways to train be a key? Some medical information through a clearinghouse is a must in the future . But you know what they may find out? Arms just can’t sustain 100 mph fastballs and power sliders for a long time.

*When the Dodgers resigned Kike, I thought we had one too many utility guys. But now each are everyday guys with Heyward out, Outman being platooned and Pages trying out. Our best outfielder plays shortstop.  
The starting lineups with CT3 (.053) and Kike (.182) just aren’t cutting it for me.
Joe Davis said CT3 spent time this off season tweaking his swing. Why? What was he attempting to accomplish? After 3000 big league at bats, It’s a little late to be seeking a new a swing. Just do what you do, with what you’ve got. Whatever he tweeted, it hasn’t worked. Bad idea.
Plus, Top 4th, playing left, CT3 overthrows the cutoff to let  Bader advance to 3rd and Randall to 2nd and later hits into a double play. Have a day.
Slider Joe came in and gives up a run choosing to go with one slider after another. What a head case.
Play better.

Badger

Good stuff Phil.

I don’t recall chords as a teenager, and our can drill, if I read you right, was a forearm twist with a short bar with weights on the end, or a bat. After graduation from college, with a graduate degree in Physical Education, I was big on hanging from a high bar, From my time in the Marines I learned basics,a lot of pushups, sit-ups, pull ups (rope climb) and a lot of long distance running, often with backpacks. Some sprints were included, also carrying weights. The point being to be in the best combat condition possible. How does this apply to pitchers conditioning? Not sure. I only know what I know about conditioning and much of that uncludes overload and recovery, which includes proper nutrition.

If everything about rules and the field remains the same, if it were me advising I would recommend less velocity, more command, and rest between starts. Don’t do any throwing during rest days. Stretching and running only.

Last edited 27 days ago by Badger
Badger

Ok. That got a little too personal. I’m trying to do three things at once here.

I believe three finger hanging from the high bar for as long as possible a couple times a week is beneficial for pitchers. Full weight if possible but assistance if necessary. Hitters hang full grip for hand strength. Responses would be appreciated.

Bumsrap

Elgin Baylor had hang time.

Jeff

I’ve been doing full hangs for about a year for 1 minute or more, daily. Pronated grip. Helps grip strength and shoulder alignment if done properly. The next step is one arm hangs. This should build strength and can’t hurt an athlete if done seriously. I have no clue if this will help the pitchers with their throwing but I’m a firm believer in a wholistic approach to the body and doing primal movements on the ground for strength and mobility.

Jeff

Also, kettlebell routines are great for grip strength.

Badger

Good points. Grip strength is very important to pitchers.

Anthony L Hartinger

Thank you Phil. I was feel smarter after reading your detailed and informative posts.

Singing the Blue

Some interesting Yamamoto stats here.
Maybe he needs to change out his 4-seam for a 2-seam.
In any case, if you just look at the numbers here, there seems to be far more positive than negative.

https://twitter.com/BlakeHHarris/status/1781710281540063402/photo/1

Badger

They are sitting on his 4 seam so don’t throw it over the plate. Command it to the edges. And the two seamer is a good idea. I recommend that for every pitcher. Thumb under the forefinger it breaks down and arm side, thumb under the middle finger it breaks down and glove side.

OhioDodger

Rough home stand so far. Too early to panic, but, not too early to be a little concerned. Really need Freddie to get hot.

Jeff

Today’s game could be Freddie’s turnaround.

OhioDodger

Dodgers have not lost all three series in a homestand since 2005.

Oldbear48

Correction, since yesterday

Badger

Frankly our pitching isn’t that good, currently 21st in MLB. They should improve especially when the bullpen gets it together. Defense is currently 18th and I don’t believe it will get much better going forward. If this team doesn’t score big they will have a tough time winning

Jeff

Scoring big is everyone’s dream. No one scores big all the time that’s why the pitching is so important. Our problem is pitching and I doubt it will get much better very soon. That’s wisdom, no? lol

Badger

See? You’re getting there!

OhioDodger

Just saw that Roman Gabriel has passed away at 83. I loved the Rams in the late 60’s.

Bumsrap

Ohtani hitting .444 with bases empty. Two something with a runner on and one something with risp. Sounds like a leadoff hitter.

Shaken and Stirred lineup
Ohtani
Betts
Freeman
Smith
Outman
Muncy
T Hernandez
Lux
Pages

Last edited 27 days ago by Bumsrap
Bisonjones

Anyone else seen enough of Mookie at short?. It ain’t working. A net negative from where I am sitting, especially with our pitching in a slump. I think we need a couple of weeks of Rojas at short and Mookie exclusively at second.

Last edited 27 days ago by Bisonjones
Badger

“Anyone else seen enough of Mookie at short?”

Yeah. Me. Get a real shortstop and get Mookie out of there.

Fred’s lineup: won’t matter much. Bottom of the lineup is averaging Mendoza numbers.

Last edited 27 days ago by Badger
OhioDodger

I would be OK with that.

Bisonjones

Yuck. Teoscar and Muncy back-to-back in the lineup is a nice recipe for (the other team) getting out of jams. I saw it coming and was rooting hard for Freddie to not get walked. I await a future in which our team/organization puts a higher value on bat-to-ball skills, Getting really tired of the strikeouts in situations where just putting the ball in play would get us runs.

OhioDodger

Amen Brother.

Same crap, different day.
Team RISP 2-for-12.
Team LOB 13.
14 SO.

Last edited 27 days ago by OhioDodger
Jeff

Bat to ball skills? The Corporate Dodgers? No way. We’re bigger than that!!! /s

Scott Andes

This may not be a bad idea since it gets Lux out of the lineup.

Bluto

They said today Lux will get at least 150ABs before the team considers (just considers) changing his role

Badger

I’m ok with making that 100.

Zeke

What a mess! Yikes. UGLY.

Starters go less than 5.

Bullpen gives up multiple runs.

Cant get a bit hit with RISP, left runners on bases all day. 3 times with bases loaded. 20+ in last 2 games.

Mets walk 10 batters and we only have 6 hits.

Mets have a leadoff hitter almost every inning.

Mets steal bases at will.

Lux can’t hit a ball out of infield. Almost a weak 4-3 putout every time.

2-6 Homestand. Amazing we are still a game over .500.

Feel free to expand I am sure I missed something.

Bisonjones

This is pretty wild — they are in a pitching, hitting, and fielding slump — not to mention mental errors like Outman’s overslide. It happens. This is baseball. But, boy, this is unwatchably bad, I will do only boxscore reading for a week or so.

Badger

Strike 3 Strike 3 Strike 3 Strike 3 Strike 3 Strike 3.

This is awful to watch. Maybe I’ll wait til they start playing like the $325 million team they are.

Dionysus

Simply not a good team right now.

The smart people need to figure out how to fix it.

OhioDodger

Start by getting a new hitting coach.

Wayne

Right on!

Jeff

Yes, yes, yes.

Wally Moonshot

The “smart people” helped create it.

OhioDodger

Giants acquire Mitch White.

Singing the Blue

Calm down folks. Help is on the way.

Zyhir Hope (one of the players we got for Busch)

– a hit in all 11 Quakes games so far
– an XBH in 9/11 games
– an OPS of 1.158

Only 19 years old.

By May, he’ll be in Great Lakes.
By June, he’ll be in Tulsa
By July, he’ll be in OKC

By August he’ll be here and leading us to the promised land.

EGBOK (Everything’s gonna be OK)

Badger

So, you’re saying there’s Hope?

It’s April. Some things will clear themselves up. Some things won’t. One thing I believe will remain clear all year – this team has to score.

Bumsrap

So, you’re saying there’s Hope? — Well done Badger

Duke Not Snider

It’s just Rancho, but I think there are a few reasons to be Hopeful.
–The Dodgers reportedly were planning to draft him but the Cubs got there first. At any rate, Dodger scouts and brass were high on him out of high school.
–He was a two-way player who is now concentrating on OF. Of course his arm can play anywhere in the OF (while Busch’s arm, alas, is best suited for 1B or DH.)
–He’s athletic but a bit raw, with all five tools. (De Paula, in contrast, has a great reputation as a hitter but not particularly athletic.)
Perhaps Hope is like a younger version of Outman. Scouts saw his athletic ability and figured he could learn. Hope has got some good internal competition at Rancho in De Paula and Kendall George, best know for his speed and contact skills. They know they have to produce to move up.

Dionysus

4/20 gag?

RC Dodger

Well Michael Busch had a game winning hit again today with two more hits. He is hitting 328 with an OPS of 1061. I doubt Hope will have that kind of impact in the MLB anytime soon. I didn’t think the Dodgers gave Busch enough of a chance and the bottom of the order could use his production. With the Dodgers going all in this year, it didn’t make sense to trade the MILB player of the year for two very young prospects. With his $750k contract Busch has been as productive as the $700 million DH so far.

And Imanaga is 3-0 with an ERA of 0.84. He seems to be adjusting well to the MLB, and for a contract of $54 million instead of the $325 million plus a $50 million posting fee for Yamamoto.
The Cubs seem to have made a couple of good moves based on the early returns.

Bumsrap

It’s April. Billy Grabarkewitz had a good April. But yes, Busch is enjoying adding to Friedman’s grief in a delightful way.

Last edited 26 days ago by Bumsrap
Bumsrap

Hope would therefore be the 20 year old that Jeff asked if the Dodgers had a few days ago in reference to the 20 year old SD center fielder Jackson Merrill.

Last edited 26 days ago by Bumsrap
Oldbear48

Hope won’t make it to the majors this year, and Pages isn’t the answer either. He is learning on the fly that MLB pitching is a lot better than AAA.

Bumsrap

I’m with STB on this one and believe Hope will exist in the Dodger lineup this year.

Duke Not Snider

I’d like to see a full-time OF of Pages, Outman and Teoscar…at least until Heyward comes back.
BABIP isn’t just about luck, but it certainly suggests Outman has been unlucky. His BABIP is .238, worst among Dodger regular by a wide margin. Max is next-to-worst at .311.
Last year, Outman proved that he could hit his way out of a slump if given the chance.

porpoiseboy

It seems like the formula to beat us has been established. All you have to do is walk the bases loaded.

Bumsrap

That seemed to work last year as well

Oldbear48

They had a team record 11 grand slams last year. Many of them in April

Wayne

LAST year….

tedraymond

Ownership has to be thinking “we spent over a billion dollars to get worse. AF, can you explain how this can happen?”
I wouldn’t want Guggenheim managing my money.

I know it’s early in the season, but if this doesn’t turn around for some reason then at least Roberts and possibly AF could be gone. I’m getting tired of Roberts lack of fire. Just once I would like to see him come unglued and go after an ump for a bad call. Obviously, there are plenty opportunities to do so. Hell, they Angel Hernandez behind the plate on Sunday. Perfect! So, do it Dave! I dare you!!
Instead of a meek attempt to point out to the ump he missed a call and then go back to the dugout with his tail between his legs, show some fiery, passionate attitude and some F bombs. Go all Tommy Lasorda on them. You’re going to get tossed and fined. Get your monies worth. It’s not he will be missed in the dugout. This Dodger team needs a kick in the ass. They’re sleep walking through these recent games. Too many nice guys.

Sure it’s an usual strategy to get out of an inning by walking the bases loaded with the heart of the order coming up, but damn, it sure works for Dodger opponents so far this season. Lol.

Badger

So getting pissed will jack up a team of veterans? Watching the usually calm Roberts jumping around yelling at people would look ridiculous to me. Not his style. Wouldn’t be believable.

When both Mookie and Freeman were OPS’n over 1.000 the team was rolling. When they don’t hit, just like they didn’t in the playoff series last year, the team stalls. And though Ohtani’s numbers have improved, watching him strike out in clutch situations has been disappointing.

The second half of this lineup has been awful. I believe none of them are consistent hitters. When one or more of them streak, and #s 1 through 4 do what they are paid handsomely to do, the team will score.

Middle relief, which on this team averages from the middle of the 5th on, has been iffy. Brasier has inherited 7 runners and all of them have scored. In yesterday’s game the relief had ERA’s from the middle 5’s to 7. And if Yamamoto doesn’t start pitching like an ace this rotation will remain middle of the pack.

This is a team schneid and hopefully it won’t last long. Nobody in the West is presently hot so we’re ok for now. Tough watching it though.

Last edited 26 days ago by Badger
Therealten

The Dodgers got Ohtani as a player but also an investment. He may be a better investment than player. After all he played with arguably the best player in baseball in Mike Trout and never made the playoffs. Ohtani is certainly a great player when u add the pitcher. U have to have players around him that are top level. We have a couple in Betts, Smith, and Freeman is still quality but aging. The Dodgers need to win now. Yamamoto has to be the biggest disappointment right now on the pitching side and Lux on the offensive side while Brasier has been awful in the pen. Kelly has as well but no surprise there.

Duke Not Snider

Ownership was totally on board with this decision to invest over $1 billion in two Japanese superstars. I doubt they are overreacting to a sluggish start that still has the Dodgers leading the NL West.
The Guggenheim group made a long-term bet on growing the Dodgers business globally in concert with the MLB.
The problem 24 games into the first of this 10-plus season investment really hasn’t been the performance of Shohei or Yoshi.
It’s been the lack of production from the bottom third of the lineup, the defensive lapses and the roster construction.
From a purely baseball perspective, I’d say management’s biggest mistake was their faith in Lux’s ability to play SS. I’m rooting for Mookie to succeed, of course…but this defense is the opposite of bullet-proof.

Bumsrap

Now might be a good time to reconsider whether we enjoy a team that wins 100+ games in the regular and fails to advance in the Playoffs or a team that plays uninspired regular season baseball but advances in the playoffs.

Dionysus

I’ll take it if that’s the plan. Roberts IS a genius!

Oldbear48

Not much one can say about the last week or so. They are not playing well, the defense and the pitching has let them down. They are not scoring runs. And as I have said many times, there is way too much swing and miss on this team. Now Freddie has to feel better after getting a couple of RBI hits yesterday. And they have their ace, Glasnow, who said he is over what ailed him last time out, going today. They still lead the west by a game, and are playing at about the same pace they played at last year. But, if they are going to win, they need the defense, the pen, the starters and the bottom of the lineup to start playing one hell of a lot better.

Phil Jones

I often watch the opponent’s broadcast to get their perspective. I enjoyed Gary Cohen and Ron Darling. They are very good.
Well another team loss. Can’t pitch. Can’t hit. And can’t manage. 10 walks, 14 strikeouts and score 4 runs.
If this game were a horse, they would haver shot it.
Cohen and Darling accurately predicted we would see a lot of pitchers in this game as Butto (95 pitches in 4.1) and Stone (72 in 3.1) were not efficient.
So I have to ask – Why did Doc pop up like a Jack-in-the-Box in the 4th to pull Stone with one out and a runner at 3rd, at 72 pitches? It seems to me this was based on pitch count only and not due to being particularly ineffective. Let him finish the inning.
So Grove comes in for 16 pitches and is done for the day. It’s decisions like this that leads to 8 pitchers used in a loss and an overworked and underachieving bullpen. And it’s so – DOC.
14 pitchers used in a game is ridiculous anyway.  
I almost never even think of the Dodgers using small ball anymore but with a 3 run deficit bottom 6th, with 2 on, why not have Barnes sacrifice bunt, to get to Betts who’s 8 for 15 with risp. I have said before that for Barnes to be a contributor in the 9 hole, he needs to be the best bunter in baseball. Instead, Barnes strikes out. Thankfully, Freddie came through with a 2 run single to save the inning. 
Doc sits on his ass and watches his struggling team just flail away never attempting to help manufacture a run or 2.
Our 7-9 in order, this year are batting .176/478. The 4th lowest in the league. The Mets at .302/802 are the highest.
Do something Doc besides sitting on your ass and dreaming up platoon schemes.
If you didn’t know any better you’d almost think that after Mookie walked in the 8th and they brought in Diaz, That he intentionally pitched around Ohtani and Freeman, walking both to loading the bases, to pitch to Teoscar and Muncy. He struck out both to end the threat.
The cherry on top of this game was the 9th. Outman strikes out looking, Pages strikes out looking and Lux strikes out swing.
Pitiful.

SandyAmoros

The L A Freidmans are reaping what thet sow. Teoscar k’s 3,times with basis loaded with his HR swing he and Taylor etc. are the same never heard of situational hitting. Phil your right pitiful sums it up. Love your summary on Roberts of coutrse we know its not his fault just the players letting him down. Could be a long season.

Fred Vogel

It’s just Dave Robots being Dave Robots.

Badger

So a new manager will help the team win more? And a new hitting philosophy will score more runs? The last three years the team’s winning % is .617, .685, and .654. Do you realize how good that is? That’s an average of .652 which x 162 is 105.6 wins a year. And you guys want to change things?

This schneid will pass. You’ll see.

Fred Vogel

I was referring to his lack of imagination.

porpoiseboy

Well, he “imagined” them to an average of 105 wins the last 3 years. Or if he doesn’t get credit for that, he shouldn’t get credit when they play like crap. I’m not even a huge Roberts fan, but it seems like when they do well it’s because of the team the front office gave him, when they do poorly it’s mostly on him or one of the coaches.

Therealten

I said before the season got underway we would lead the league in ks. It looks like that is in full mode. This won’t prevent LA from getting into the playoffs but will lead to a playoff disaster. How can it change? Different players different hitting coach. Not likely but Friedman knew going in he had k Taylor, Hernandez, Muncy, outman, lux(deer in headlights), Ohtani also strikes out his share. So Betts, Freeman, and Smith can make contact and Ohtani looking better. The Dodgers will get on a streak and hammer mediocre pitching but playoff pitching will chew this lineup. Muncy used to not chase but he gets himself out by chasing. We all wanted Brasier including me. What a disaster so far.outside of Glasnow the pitching is below average. Our best hope is the pitching to recover and a couple of position moves.

Bluto

leaping to conclusions is silly

Bumsrap

I’m still waiting for Muncy to go the other way with a low and outside pitch.

Badger

Interesting observation. If he likes it he yanks it.

Singing the Blue

After his first at bat against the Rays today (in which he struck out), Aaron Judge is hitting .188 on the season.

Yankees have approached the Dodgers about trading him even up for Austin Barnes who is batting .250.

Dodgers are asking for the inclusion of an additional player since Barnes is having a much better season.

Badger

Judge is expensive but he would fit right in here, so, go ahead with that trade. Throw in Vargas just to balance out the net worth.

Bumsrap

But then the Dodgers might want to bid for Soto next year.

Badger

Betts, Ohtani, Freeman, Soto, Judge, Smith. I like it. Make it soto Andrew Bumsrap.

Bumsrap

CF/LF Jung hoo Lee 2024 line: .289.330.398.728 with 2 home runs and 7 RBI. Is he the contact hitters the Dodgers are missing? Chicks are not going to dig that line.

Therealten

I would trade outman for him in a minute. It’s early but he is a quality defender who doesn’t strikeout. That is exactly the type of player we need. Btw Imanaga was a guy we could have gotten cheap relative to the market. Not sure why he didn’t have a robust market.

Singing the Blue

The guy we want is Steven Kwan of the Guardians.

Good OBP and average, strike out percentage about 10%, very good fielder (arm not good enough for right, best position is left but could also play center), steals about 20 bases per year.

Not sure what the Guardians need, but I’d be willing to overpay for this guy.
Still 4 years of control and he’s making MLB minimum as opposed to Lee.

Last edited 26 days ago by Singing the Blue
Badger

Good choice but….

Kwan has 800 more plate appearances than Outman. I predict by the time Outman gets those at bats he will be better than Kwan.

Of course, that is gonna take two years.

Singing the Blue

I view those two as very different players. Outman is always going to have a lot more swing and miss but also a lot more power.

Lets just have an outfield of Kwan, Outman, Pages for 2025.

And by the way, Kwan is about 3 months younger than Outman.

Badger

Yeah, I read that. But he’s got more experience.

I see Outman as a 25 home run .800+ OPS guy once he gets more experience. That’s more Dodger-like than Kwan.

Singing the Blue

I thought we were trying to find someone who isn’t “Dodger-like” to mix in with all the guys who are.

Badger

You are. I’m trying to think like Friedman thinks. He wants OPS.

Bumsrap

I would trade T. Hernandez for him. BTW, Joc is having a good start this year.

Singing the Blue

Joc is doing himself proud. Let’s see what those numbers look like in September but, at least for now, it looks like a good signing.

Jeff

Without Teoscar this season, we would have a losing record and be behind AZ and SD. SOs were the big knock on him and he hasn’t disappointed. Combining him with Muncy/Outman, and we have the SO column locked up. But that boy can hit when he gets going.

Singing the Blue

He’s always been streaky. Earlier in the season he was a major contributor, now he’s an out machine. I’m guessing that by the end of the year, we’ll be glad we had him on the roster.

Dionysus

Good player

Oldbear48

You guys are over reacting way too early. Today was their 24th game. Last year they were 12-12 and not in first place. It has been a bad week. Why in the world would the Guardians want to trade Kwan???? He is their best hitting outfielder and the only player on the team hitting over .300 besides Naylor. Get real. They are also leading their division by three games and are the winningest team in the majors right now with 16 wins. If you are going to suggest trades, try being a lot more realistic. Joc Pederson? He has 3 at bats against LHP. He is 2-3. He is hitting .277 against RHP. He is strictly a DH right now. No way I would trade Outman for Pederson. Besides, AZ is loaded in the outfield, and they have no need for another, and we have our DH, who is a much better hitter than Pederson. They did lose another pitcher; Merrill Kelly is having shoulder issues. I noticed something over this weeks’ worth of games. When Ohtani comes to bat in a clutch situation, the organist, Deiter, plays the theme from the original Godzilla film. Congrats to Ohtani for breaking Matsui’s record and congrats to Pages on his first MLB homer. Freddie is warming up.

Bumsrap

We are entertaining ourselves because the Dodgers have failed to do so lately.

Singing the Blue

Note to Jeff D. Have we discussed Jose Rodriguez previously?
If not, maybe you can provide some further info or add him to your list of prospects you follow and provide updates for.

From Josh Thomas on Twitter today:

Dodger prospect Jose Rodriguez, last two outings for Rancho:

9.2 IP
5 hits
1 run (earned)
2 BBs
19 Ks
50 WHIFFS

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