Dave Roberts: Hustle By Cody Bellinger & Matt Beaty In 9th Inning ‘Epitomizes’ Dodgers

When the Los Angeles Dodgers hired Dave Roberts as manager prior to the 2016 season, he vowed to lead a team that would be blue-collar with their approach on a daily basis. That mindset, coupled with the Dodgers’ talent, has been a recipe for success.

Roberts earned National League Manager of the Year honors as a rookie, has overseen a stretch of the club’s consecutive NL West titles, and guided the Dodgers to back-to-back appearances in the World Series.

This season closely mirrors that of 2017 for the Dodgers, when they boat-raced the division and finished with the best record in baseball. For all the flash surrounding the team, it can be overlooked how diligently the Dodgers approach each game.

It was that aspect Roberts highlighted after the Dodgers completed an 18-2 rout of the Philadelphia Phillies, as seen on SportsNet LA:

“The at-bats, grinding, finishing at-bats, taking walks, it was really fun to watch. A team that’s playing like we’re playing, to see Cody leg out an infield single when you’re up 14 runs against a position player (pitching), that stuff for me epitomizes our club. And Matt Beaty going for a foul ball, sliding into the dugout. Those are things that I think are just really special.”

Cody Bellinger’s infield single Roberts mentioned came in the ninth inning, when the Dodgers were leading 14-2. Bellinger’s speed and hustle led to the second of the final two runs L.A. scored in the frame.

The hit was Bellinger’s fourth of the game and came after he’d already surpassed Milwaukee Brewers right fielder Christian Yelich for the MLB lead in home runs. Bellinger hit a pair of solo shots to run his season total to 33. The multi-home run game was Bellinger’s 11th of his career and fourth this year.

Like Bellinger, Matt Beaty took nothing for granted. He gave chase to a pop-up in foul territory when the game was already well in hand. Beaty slid into the dugout fencing and immediately popped to his feet despite the collision.

Beaty was in his first game back with the Dodgers, taking the place of Chris Taylor after he was put on the 10-day injured list with a fractured left forearm.

Just as much as Roberts deserves credit for the culture he has instilled in the clubhouse, so too do the players, particularly veterans, for standing behind their manager and carrying it out on a daily basis.

Dodgers News: Cody Bellinger Relied On Red Bull, ‘A Lot Of Advil’ Before Hitting 2 Home Runs Against Phillies

The Los Angeles Dodgers earned a series win by outlasting the Boston Red Sox on Sunday, but the finale at Fenway Park took its toll. Chris Taylor suffered a fracture in his left forearm, and for the Dodgers tasked with moving on, they faced the challenge of doing so on little rest.

With Sunday’s game running 5 hours and 40 minutes, the Dodgers did not arrive at their Philadelphia hotel until after 4:30 a.m. local time Monday morning. First pitch at Citizens Bank Park loomed.

Nevertheless, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts voiced confidence his club would not fall victim to any sort of drop off because of fatigue. Sure enough, the Dodgers went on for a 16-2 blowout of the Phillies, overcoming a bit of a sluggish start.

Cody Bellinger helped lead the way with two home runs, and afterward was candid in explaining how he attempted to combat any potential weariness, as seen on SportsNet LA:

“I think it was more just kind of like a ‘Whatever’ attitude. I don’t know, it was different. You’re not hyped up. I mean, I drank two Red Bulls and took a lot of Advil, so I was feeling alright. But, I mean, I don’t know. I think it was just one of those days where you’re more relaxed.”

Bellinger’s first home run came in the fifth inning, giving the Dodgers a 7-1 lead. His second solo shot extended that to 8-1 in the seventh. The multi-home run game was Bellinger’s 11th of his career and fourth this season.

With the Dodgers facing a right-handed Phillies starter throughout the entire series, Bellinger figures to be in the lineup for at least two of the remaining three games. Entering play Tuesday, he has started in each of the past 15 contests.

While there was the All-Star break in between, Bellinger didn’t exactly get off his feet as he attended the Home Run Derby to support Joc Pederson and followed that up by starting in the 90th Midsummer Classic the following night.

Like he does throughout the course of the season, Roberts will be mindful of the lengthy game his club just played and find time to give his regular starters an opportunity for rest.

Dodgers News: Joc Pederson Argues Lack Of Consistent Starts Affects Swing More Than Participating In Home Run Derby

Fresh off a memorable performance in the 2019 Home Run Derby, Joc Pederson entered the second half of the 2019 regular season as a bit of a wild card for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The 27-year-old received the bulk of his playing time against right-handed pitching during the first half and especially thrived in the power department, compiling 30 extra-base hits and a .517 slugging percentage over 300 plate appearances.

While Pederson has proven to be a force in the Dodgers lineup against the opposite split, there will continue to be stretches in the second half where he doesn’t play for an extended period of time.

That was evident during the Dodgers’ three-game series against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Pederson did not make a single start due to a left-handed starting pitcher being on the mound in each game.

Somewhat frustrated with the circumstances, Pederson opined that not playing consistently can be more detrimental to one’s swing than participating in the Home Run Derby, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:

“It is what it is,” he said of the familiar platoon frustrations. “When somebody asked if the HR Derby affects your swing. I said I think not playing for seven days probably affects your swing more.”

The notion among many fans is that participating in the Home Run Derby will more often than not negatively affect a player’s swing and production in the second half of play.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts previously voiced confidence that Pederson’s production won’t decrease as a result of taking part in the Derby, citing his similar approach at the plate in regular-season games.

Though Pederson did not start in any of the three games against the Red Sox last weekend, he still appeared in Saturday and Sunday’s respective contests as a pinch-hitter. He went 0-for-2 with a walk and RBI in three opportunities.

Pederson was in the lineup for Monday’s series opener against the Philadelphia Phillies, batting leadoff. It likely marked the start of a string of starts as the Phillies are due to throw a right-hander in each of the next three games as well.

While it must be frustrating for Pederson to occasionally sit out in the midst of successful stretches, he has shown a willingness to expand his versatility.

With a crowded outfield now that A.J. Pollock has returned from the injured list, Pederson is receiving more opportunities at first base as a solution to keep Alex Verdugo in the lineup.

Pederson made 11 starts at the position over his final 15 games played before the All-Star break and experienced growing pains, committing three errors in 90 innings. Despite some of the shaky play, the Dodgers are determined to continue affording Pederson opportunities at first base.

Max Muncy Voted Dodgers’ Winner For 2019 Heart & Hustle Award

Max Muncy was named the Los Angeles Dodgers’ recipient of the 2019 Heart & Hustle Award, which is presented annually by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association (MLBPAA) to one player on each team who “best embodies the values, spirits and traditions of baseball,” along with factoring in on-field performance.

It’s the only MLB award that is voted on by former players, with balloting conducted prior to the All-Star break. Recent Dodgers winners include Matt Kemp (2018), Justin Turner (2017), Chase Utley (2016) and Joc Pederson (2015).

The MLBPAA began presenting the Heart & Hustle Award in 2005. While each club has a preliminary winner who is recognized, an overall winner will be announced Nov. 7, 2019, at the 20th annual Legends for Youth Dinner in New York.

The event is the primary fundraiser for the MLBPAA’s series of free Legends for Youth Baseball Clinics. The clinics impact more than 19,000 children each year, allowing them the unique opportunity to interact with and learn from players who have left a lasting impact.

Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts took home the Heart & Hustle Award at last year’s dinner.

Muncy is in the midst of another impressive season after enjoying a breakout campaign with the Dodgers in 2018. Injuries led to his call-up last year, and Muncy took full advantage of the opportunity.

He and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts maintained confidence the success would not be a flash in the pan, and Muncy thus far has held up his end of the bargain. In addition to maintaining his production at the plate, Muncy’s selflessness has allowed the Dodgers to play him at second base.

The 28-year-old was named to the National League roster an an All-Star Game injury replacement for the Washington Nationals’ Anthony Rendon. “Tt’s a dream come true,” Muncy said of earning his first All-Star Game selection.

“It’s something that I wouldn’t have thought would happen but here we are. It’s something me and my family are incredibly excited about.”

Roberts added: “I think in this day of self-promotion and a lot of things that lead to the fans, it’s not always about who’s having the best first half. Looking at all these statistics, WAR or OPS and all that stuff, he deserves it. With his production, to get acknowledged, I think is fantastic.”

The Dodgers’ complete list of Heart & Hustle Award nominees is comprised of Muncy (2019), Kemp (2018), Turner (2017), Utley (2016), Pederson (2015), Dee Gordon (2014), Nick Punto (2013), Jerry Hairston Jr. (2012), Jamey Carroll (2011), Matt Kemp (2010), Russell Martin (2007-09) and Eric Gagne (2006).

A Dodgers player has never won the overall Heart & Hustle Award.

Dodgers Highlights: Cody Bellinger Takes MLB Lead In Home Runs, Max Muncy & Alex Verdugo Also Go Deep In Rout Of Phillies

After taking two out of three from the Boston Red Sox to begin the second half of the season, the Los Angeles Dodgers continued their strong play as they slugged 19 hits in the series opener against the Philadelphia Phillies to cruise to a 16-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

All eight Dodgers position players that started the game had at least one hit, one run scored and one RBI. And as usual, it was the leading National League MVP candidate, Cody Bellinger, who led the way.

Bellinger earned the fourth multi-home run game of the season and 11th of his career, finishing 4-for-6 with four runs scored and a pair of RBI. The two home runs, one of which went to right and the other to center field, gives Bellinger 33 on the season.

That moved him past Milwaukee Brewers star Christian Yelich for the Major League lead.

As has been the case a lot this season, Max Muncy also had a strong showing at the plate. He went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI. Muncy hit a solo home run in the seventh inning to go back-to-back with Bellinger and give him 24 on the year.

The final home run of the night for the Dodgers came in the top of the eighth inning and off the bat of Alex Verdugo. The rookie is not known to be a power hitter, but he now has 11 homers to go along with a .311 batting average after a 3-for-6 performance.

Clayton Kershaw took the mound in his first start out of the All-Star break and tossed six innings of one-run ball to earn his eighth victory of the season. He struck out seven while walking two and allowing just four hits.

Kershaw has now gone six or more innings and allowed four or fewer earned runs in all 16 of his starts this season.

NHL Rumors: Brock Boeser, Mikko Rantanen, Patrik Laine, and Kyle Connor

A few more dollars for Brock Boeser

Jared Clinton of The Hockey News:  It’s all about term and money for the Vancouver Canucks and Brock Boeser. The intriguing part is the cap comparables that Boeser draws himself to — Johnny Gaudreau. Gaudreau, similar production, received a deal with an AAV of $7.5 million. That may be the range Vancouver looks for in a six, maybe seven-year pact.

Brock Boeser scores at a rate of 0.42 goals per game and 0.85 points per contest. Only 13 other players have done that in this timeframe. An expected range of dollars is anywhere from $6.5 to $8.25 million — it all depends on the term.

So about Mikko Rantanen‘s next deal…

Ryan S. Clark of The Athletic:  A little insight into the Mikko Rantanen negotiations yields this tidbit of a quote.

“But with the (Timo) Meier signing and obviously you saw the offer sheet with (Sebastian) Aho. So there’s some comparable numbers that are starting to come in,” Sakic said. “I think the more guys that get signed — and you see the comparable numbers — the easier it’s going to be at some point.”

Again, this is the starting point of the process and there are other variables and players to consider. On the other hand, Rantanen presents as an elite talent. This crop of RFA’s is plentiful. Unlike Toronto and Tampa Bay, Colorado has no cap concerns to afford Mikko Rantanen.

Say, Mike Liut pushes for a cap hit similar to the Vladimir Tarasenko deal (8 years, $7.5 million AAV). In present dollars, that could mean a $9.5-$10 million AAV for Rantanen. Expect a range between $8-$10 million.

Then there’s Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor

Murat Ates of The Athletic:  Winnipeg possesses $20.4 million in cap space to sign the two mentioned above plus Pionk and Copp. Those two filed for salary arbitration.

If you trust Evolving Wild’s contract projections, there’s plenty of room:

  • Laine at seven years and $7.1 million AAV
  • Connor at six years and $6.8 million AAV
  • Copp at two years at $2.2 million AAV
  • Pionk at two years at $2.9 million AAV

All this totals $19 million of Winnipeg’s $20.4 million remaining cap space. That means some wiggle room exists. Mike Liut is also the agent of Patrik Laine. Would a $9 million AAV offer sheet cause Winnipeg to walk? It could with Laine but not with Connor (see Brock Boeser).

If Patrik Laine signs an offer sheet somewhere then things get interesting quick.

NHL Rumors: McKenzie On RFAs And Marner … A Hall Decision Likely Isn’t Coming Anytime Soon

McKenzie on RFAs and Marner

Bob McKenzie: Believe that the majority of the main unsigned restricted free agents will still be unsigned come the start of September.

Bob McKenzie: “As for Marner, my view from afar is that it’s probably close to or at the point where TOR hopes an offer sheet is tendered. That would allow/force closure, one way or the other. Match the offer sheet or take the compensation, but it would be done.

Because, unless I’m reading this wrong, there exists a fundamental difference in the perception of value/term between the two sides and it’s going to make getting a negotiated settlement very difficult. ”

A Hall decision likely isn’t coming anytime soon

Sportsnet: There is still no rush for the New Jersey Devils and Taylor Hall to get an extension done. It will likely drag into next season for Hall to decide if he wants to stay in New Jersey long-term.

“You want to play on the best team possible, and I’ve played nine seasons in the NHL and only won one playoff game,” Hall said. “You want to be on a team that’s not only a playoff contender but a Stanley Cup contender every year because I only have so many more years left in this league and so many more chances to win a Stanley Cup. It hasn’t even come close yet. I kind of want to make up for lost time, but at the same time want to be smart with everything that’s going on.”

The Devils drafted Jack Hughes first overall, traded for defenseman P.K. Subban, and signed Wayne Simmonds to a one-year deal.

Any extension for Hall will likely be $10 million-plus. There haven’t been any in-depth contract negotiations yet.

“It’s a big decision for Taylor,” Shero said. “It’s a big decision for the team here. Both sides need the information to have a real fruitful dialogue that’s meaningful, and that’s been the relationship we’ve had with Taylor since Day One, so that hasn’t changed.”

Quick Hits: Free agent and First-Round Draft Picks Signings

Free agent signings

John Hoven: The Anaheim Ducks have signed defenseman Chris Wideman to a one-year deal with $700,000 in the NHL, $350,000 in the minors and $400,000 guaranteed.

Michael Smith: The Carolina Hurricanes have re-signed forward Clark Bishop to a one-year deal worth $700,000 in the NHL, $65,000 in the minors with $80,000 guaranteed.

Ryan S. Clark: The Colorado Avalanche have re-signed Andre Burakovsky to a one-year deal at $3.25 million.

The Avs have just under $20 million to re-sign RFAs J.T. Compher, Vladislav Kamenev and Mikko Rantanen.

Aaron Portzline: The Columbus Blue Jackets forward Sonny Milano has accepted his qualifying offer of $874,125.

Puck Pedia: Florida Panthers forward Jayce Hawryluk accepted his qualifying offer of $874,000.

Cap Friendly: Panthers Samuel Montembeault accepted his qualifying offer of $708,750.

Cap Friendly: The Panthers signed Anthony Greco to a one-year, two-way contract with $700,000 in the NHL and $200,000 in the AHL.

John Hoven: The LA Kings have signed Mike Amadio, Daniel Brickley and Matt Roy to two-year deals at a $700,000 AAV.

John Hoven: King forward Sheldon Rempal accepted his qualifying offer.

New Jersey Devils: The Devils have re-signed defenseman Brandon Baddock and forward Josh Jacobs to one-year, two-way contract.

Cap Friendly: The Ottawa Senators have re-signed forward Michael Carcone to a two-year, two-way contract at $700,000 per.

Cap Friendly: The Winnipeg Jets have signed Nelson Nogier to one-year, two-way deal with $700,000 in the NHL and $80,000 in the minors.

First-round draft picks signing

Puck Pedia: The Buffalo Sabres have signed seventh overall pick Dylan Cozens. He’ll have a $925,000 cap hit with a AAV of $1.775 million.

NHL.com: The New York Islanders have signed their first-round pick Simon Holmstrom to an entry-level deal.

Ottawa Senators: The Senators have signed first-round pick Lassi Thomson.

Winnipeg Sun: The Winnipeg Jets have signed first-round pick Ville Heinola to an entry-level contract.

Quick Hits: Free agent and First-Round Draft Picks Signings

Free agent signings

John Hoven: The Anaheim Ducks have signed defenseman Chris Wideman to a one-year deal with $700,000 in the NHL, $350,000 in the minors and $400,000 guaranteed.

Michael Smith: The Carolina Hurricanes have re-signed forward Clark Bishop to a one-year deal worth $700,000 in the NHL, $65,000 in the minors with $80,000 guaranteed.

Ryan S. Clark: The Colorado Avalanche have re-signed Andre Burakovsky to a one-year deal at $3.25 million.

The Avs have just under $20 million to re-sign RFAs J.T. Compher, Vladislav Kamenev and Mikko Rantanen.

Aaron Portzline: The Columbus Blue Jackets forward Sonny Milano has accepted his qualifying offer of $874,125.

Puck Pedia: Florida Panthers forward Jayce Hawryluk accepted his qualifying offer of $874,000.

Cap Friendly: Panthers Samuel Montembeault accepted his qualifying offer of $708,750.

Cap Friendly: The Panthers signed Anthony Greco to a one-year, two-way contract with $700,000 in the NHL and $200,000 in the AHL.

John Hoven: The LA Kings have signed Mike Amadio, Daniel Brickley and Matt Roy to two-year deals at a $700,000 AAV.

John Hoven: King forward Sheldon Rempal accepted his qualifying offer.

New Jersey Devils: The Devils have re-signed defenseman Brandon Baddock and forward Josh Jacobs to one-year, two-way contract.

Cap Friendly: The Ottawa Senators have re-signed forward Michael Carcone to a two-year, two-way contract at $700,000 per.

Cap Friendly: The Winnipeg Jets have signed Nelson Nogier to one-year, two-way deal with $700,000 in the NHL and $80,000 in the minors.

First-round draft picks signing

Puck Pedia: The Buffalo Sabres have signed seventh overall pick Dylan Cozens. He’ll have a $925,000 cap hit with a AAV of $1.775 million.

NHL.com: The New York Islanders have signed their first-round pick Simon Holmstrom to an entry-level deal.

Ottawa Senators: The Senators have signed first-round pick Lassi Thomson.

Winnipeg Sun: The Winnipeg Jets have signed first-round pick Ville Heinola to an entry-level contract.

NHL Rumors: McKenzie On RFAs And Marner … A Hall Decision Likely Isn’t Coming Anytime Soon

McKenzie on RFAs and Marner

Bob McKenzie: Believe that the majority of the main unsigned restricted free agents will still be unsigned come the start of September.

Bob McKenzie: “As for Marner, my view from afar is that it’s probably close to or at the point where TOR hopes an offer sheet is tendered. That would allow/force closure, one way or the other. Match the offer sheet or take the compensation, but it would be done.

Because, unless I’m reading this wrong, there exists a fundamental difference in the perception of value/term between the two sides and it’s going to make getting a negotiated settlement very difficult. ”

A Hall decision likely isn’t coming anytime soon

Sportsnet: There is still no rush for the New Jersey Devils and Taylor Hall to get an extension done. It will likely drag into next season for Hall to decide if he wants to stay in New Jersey long-term.

“You want to play on the best team possible, and I’ve played nine seasons in the NHL and only won one playoff game,” Hall said. “You want to be on a team that’s not only a playoff contender but a Stanley Cup contender every year because I only have so many more years left in this league and so many more chances to win a Stanley Cup. It hasn’t even come close yet. I kind of want to make up for lost time, but at the same time want to be smart with everything that’s going on.”

The Devils drafted Jack Hughes first overall, traded for defenseman P.K. Subban, and signed Wayne Simmonds to a one-year deal.

Any extension for Hall will likely be $10 million-plus. There haven’t been any in-depth contract negotiations yet.

“It’s a big decision for Taylor,” Shero said. “It’s a big decision for the team here. Both sides need the information to have a real fruitful dialogue that’s meaningful, and that’s been the relationship we’ve had with Taylor since Day One, so that hasn’t changed.”