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Category: Matt Guerrier

Really, it's OK: Dodgers re-sign reliever Mike MacDougal

Mike-macdougal_300The Dodgers have re-signed reliever Mike MacDougal to a one-year deal for $650,000 with an option for 2013, and don’t go and get your I-just-sucked-a-lemon face on.

MacDougal proved a very useful, mostly reliable setup man in 2011. And that rare Dodgers veteran who remained healthy all season.

The popular refrain about MacDougal from last season is how horribly deceptive his 2.04 ERA was because he was truly so abysmal in preventing inherited runners from scoring. Which isn’t completely true, at least in terms of inherited runners.

Which is not to say it was sterling, but neither was it as horrific as memory tries to serve. MacDougal allowed 33.3% of his inherited runners to score, slightly above the 30.0% league average.

Few relievers, however, inherited more runners – 51, sixth highest in the National League – so when 17 came home, it still seemed like a lot. On the season with runners in scoring position, batters hit just .157 against MacDougal.

And since the Dodgers’ bullpen is loaded with youth – Kenley Jansen, Javy Guerra, Scott Elbert, Josh Lindblom – they could use another veteran along with Matt Guerrier and Blake Hawksworth.

MacDougal was a non-roster invitee last season, so anything positive the team received from him was something of a bonus. He came relatively cheaply at $500,000.

Having somewhat rebuilt his career, he no doubt was looking for a bump. The club opiton for next season is $2.35 million with a $350,000 buyout, meaning his one-year deal will really earn him $1 million next season, which sadly seems the norm these days. It at least beats the two-year deals being thrown around this winter. And right now it's hard to believe the Dodgers would pick up the option at that price.

MacDougal is mostly a middle-innings eater, who despite that glossy ERA still had a fairly fat 1.46 WHIP. He’ll turn 35 in two months and his best days clearly are behind him, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a role for him in 2012. Sure beats Ramon Troncosco.

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Photo: Dodgers reliever Mike MacDougal is congratulated by catcher Dioner Navarro after a victory over the White Sox in an interleague game last season. Credit: Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press

Matt Guerrier in the middle: There needs to be more there

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In some areas, right-hander Matt Guerrier was exactly what the Dodgers thought they had bought over the winter. In other areas, not so much.

And because they went three years and $12 million for the reliever, people tend to notice the not so much.

On the season, Guerrier went 4-3 with a 4.07 ERA, a 1.27 WHIP and one save. It was the sixth consecutive season Guerrier saved exactly one game. He is also the only reliever to have appeared in 70 games in each of the last five seasons. There is certainly consistency there.

But the ERA was significantly higher than the 3.17 and 2.36 he had posted the previous two seasons with the Twins. And also less than impressive was allowing 19 of 41 inherited runners to score.

Middle relievers got expensive in the past offseason, and it’s safe to say the Dodgers were expecting more from their investment. And apparently both Guerrier and Manager Don Mattingly believe there’s more there for the 33-year-old.

Said Mattingly to reporters the day after the season ended: "He told me he didn't throw the way he thinks he's capable. I told him in spring, 'Don't come here thinking you've got anything to prove to anybody,' but in Minnesota everybody knew him and what he could do. He comes here and he's trying to prove to us and the fans.

"He said he felt like he wasn't himself. He expects to be more consistent, better with runners on base. He said he's better than this, and I think he'll be better next year."

Better would be a good thing. A little "wow" factor would be nice too, but right now, the Dodgers would happily settle for consistency.

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Photo: Dodgers reliever Matt Guerrier works against the Rockies in Colorado. Credit: Justin Edmonds / Getty Images

Kuroda shines, but Roberts' slam wins it in 10th for Arizona

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If that was goodbye, Hiroki Kuroda made it memorable. Then Ryan Roberts added his own memory.

Kuroda will become a free agent at the end of the season, and at age 36, has said he’s uncertain whether he wants to pitch in the majors again next year or return for a final season to Japan.

When Kuroda took the mound Tuesday against the Diamondbacks, everyone knew it might be his final performance as a Dodger. So all he did was go out and throw six scoreless innings, holding Arizona to five hits. While not walking a batter and striking out five. It was Kuroda at his best.

Just so the humble Kuroda didn’t think anything had changed, the Dodgers typically offered modest support, scoring  only one run for him. They finally pushed five across in the 10th, only to see the Diamondbacks come back with six of their own in the bottom of the inning, Roberts' walk-off grand slam leaving Arizona with a stunning 7-6 victory.

Kuroda completed his fourth season with a 13-16 record and a 3.07 earned-run average -– ninth lowest in the National League.

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Dodgers burn out against Diamondbacks, fall 7-2

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Hot met hotter, which for the Dodgers, was bad news.

There is only one team that has been on more of a tear recently than the Dodgers, if slightly, and that is the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Diamondbacks have been baseball’s surprise team this year, and they gave the Dodgers a first-hand look at why Monday night in their 7-2 victory before an announced crowd of 30,616 at Dodger Stadium.

The Diamondbacks used a five-run sixth inning to overcome the early dominance of Ted Lilly and maintain their 8½-game lead over the Giants in the National League West.

The Dodgers entered the three-game series having won 15 of their last 19 games. All while losing a game in the standings to Kirk Gibson’s Diamondbacks, who had won 16 of 19.

And it started promisingly enough Monday for the Dodgers when Matt Kemp hit a solo homer off Joe Saunders in the first inning and then Lilly held the Diamondbacks without a hit through four innings. The home run was No.33 for Kemp this season.

But the Dodgers never could get anything else going against Saunders (11-12), whom they had already beaten three times this season. Saunders retired 13 consecutive Dodgers at one point.

Meanwhile, Lilly was cruising along with his 1-0 lead until seeming to hit a wall in the sixth inning. Willie Bloomquist blooped a single and scored on an Aaron Hill double that was bobbled by left fielder Jerry Sands. After an intentional walk to Justin Upton, Miguel Montero fouled out.

Hill stole third, and with a 1-1 count on Paul Goldschmidt, Manager Don Mattingly had apparently seen enough, removed Lilly (9-14) and called on reliever Matt Guerrier. Lilly had thrown 101 pitches.

Goldschmidt lined Guerrier’s first pitch for a single to score Hill. A walk to Chris Young loaded the bases and a Ryan Roberts hit scored one more and brought the call to left-hander Scott Elbert, who was greeted by a two-run single from Gerardo Parra.

The Diamondbacks were up, 5-1, which was all the lead they were going to need.

The Dodgers got one back in the seventh inning on a walk to Aaron Miles, a wild pitch and a Sands single, but Arizona scored two more in the eighth inning on a double by Para.

The Diamondbacks’ record went to a stunning 86-62 with the victory, the Dodgers falling to 72-74 with the loss.

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Photo: Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp watches his 33rd home run of the season during the first inning of a game against the Diamondbacks on Monday night at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Chris Carlson / Associated Press

Dodgers start doubleheader with win behind Tony Gwynn Jr.

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Tony Gwynn Jr., the forgotten Dodger?

The glamour guys in the outfield are Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. The surprising run-producing addition is Juan Rivera. The hot prospect is Jerry Sands.

And Gwynn?

He’s given the Dodgers just about all they hoped for when he signed a one-year contract in the off-season: great outfield defense, speed on the bases, a respectable .257 batting average, and on a damp Thursday as a bonus, a game-winning double.

In the first game of a doubleheader, Gwynn lined his ninth-inning double into the right-center gap to drive in two, break up a tie game and lead the Dodgers to a 7-4 victory over the Nationals in Washington.

Rain had started to fall when the Dodgers started their one-out rally against Washington reliever Drew Storen after he hit Sands with a pitch and Rod Barajas singled.

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Dodgers stun Cardinals with rare ninth-inning rally, 2-1

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All the stars seemed aligned against the Dodgers on Monday.

They were playing at Busch Stadium, where they had gone 3-15 since it opened in 2006. They were up against Chris Carpenter, who was 6-0 lifetime against the Dodgers. And they trailed, 1-0, heading into the ninth inning, an obstacle they had overcome once in 63 previous games.

And they won, with an improbable ninth-inning rally after former Cardinal Aaron Miles tripled in the tying run and Rod Barajas drove him home with the wining score when his grounder bounced off the glove of ex-Dodger Rafael Furcal, who threw wide of the plate.

Rookie Javy Guerra came on to close it, and the Dodgers had escaped with a 2-1 victory no one saw coming.

St. Louis’ Tony La Russa gave the Dodgers a nice assist with come curious overmanaging. Carpenter took a 1-0 lead into the ninth, having held the Dodgers to five singles -- three by James Loney.

But after he hit Juan Rivera to open the bottom of the ninth, La Russa went to the bullpen, and Carpenter did not look happy. He’s a little less happy now.

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When the numbers look bad for the Dodgers

Lpn9o0nc The Dodgers didn't get to 52-62 by a twist of fate. First, a scroll through some bad numbers:

-- The Dodgers are 14-43 when the opposing team scores first.

-- They are 4-50 when they trail after six innings, 2-53 when they trail after seven and 1-57 when they trail after eight.

-- They are 14-50 when they score three or fewer runs.

-- They are 5-46 when they have fewer hits than their opponent.

-- In 22 games, Hong-Chih Kuo has a 12.46 ERA, and opponents are batting .296 against him.

-- Eugenio Velez is 0-for-19.

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Nathan Eovaldi makes it a debut to remember in 5-3 Dodgers win

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Nothing like a first time. First time driving a car, first kiss, first game in the majors.

OK, so most will never step on a major league field. For a precious chosen few, though, it’s the memory of a lifetime.

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi, all of 21 and fresh up from double-A Chattanooga, made his debut Saturday night against Arizona.

And if it wasn’t completely perfect, it was close enough, with Eovaldi going five innings to pick up the victory in the Dodgers’ 5-3 win over the Diamondbacks.

A night that gave the Dodgers another scare when rookie shortstop Dee Gordon left the game with an injured shoulder (it is not serious) and saw catcher Rod Barajas collect three hits and drive in two runs, it was the fresh-faced Eovaldi who created the buzz.

Eovaldi was rushed to the majors when another prized right-hander from Chattanooga, Rubby De La Rosa, was lost to the Dodgers for the season with an elbow injury.

So the call went to the young Eovaldi, and he responded. He overcame one shaky inning to hold the Diamondbacks to two runs. For one night, he looked a lot like a pitcher who belonged.

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Dodgers use six-run third to down Arizona, 7-4

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Welcome to the Dodgers' new world -- spoilers.

It appears to be their road for the next two months, and they at least looked up to the challenge Friday in a 7-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The surprising Diamondbacks came into the game trailing the division-leading Giants in the National League West by only a half a game; the Dodgers were 11 back.

But the Dodgers exploded for a six-run third inning and received six-plus solid innings from right-hander Chad Billingsley to frustrate the Diamondbacks.

The first time the Dodgers faced Arizona right-hander Josh Collmenter, they didn’t have a chance. He shut them out for six innings, allowing only two hits, in an eventual 1-0 victory for the Diamondbacks.

Safe to say, they’ve figured him out in the two games they’ve seen him since.

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This time Dodgers can't muster a run in loss to Padres

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Come on, that’s only fair.

One night after beating the Padres, 1-0, the Dodgers experienced the wrong kind of 180.

Wednesday night the Padres returned the favor with a 3-0 victory that ended a losing streak against the Dodgers at five games. It was the 11th time the Dodgers have been shut out this season.

Left-hander Ted Lilly, who had been fairly awful in his last eight starts (7.02 earned-run average), was pretty darn good against the Padres, and lost. He gave up one run in his six innings.

Ten guesses how Lilly gave up the run. OK, one guess.

Yep, a home run. A shot by Jason Bartlett to lead off the sixth inning.

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