The Dodgers had a team meeting yesterday.
When a team is playing poorly, that might be seen as newsworthy. Yesterday, the meeting was short (about 15 minutes) and upbeat. It was a pat on the back and a reminder of the message going forward.
“We’ve kind of gotten our confidence now and we’re playing well,” Mattingly said before the Dodgers lost to the Colorado Rockies on Sunday. “We’ve got some momentum. So the biggest thing now is to be ready to play. We need to be ready to play and not come out of the break like we’re still on it.”
Mattingly said he congratulated the players for their improved effort, which was reflected in the Dodgers’ 17-5 record in their last 22 games. After the game, I asked if that went beyond Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig, who both flirted with .400 batting averages after debuting in early June.
The short answer was yes. He mentioned a few more names that I’ll include in my midseason report card that comes out soon.
The Home Run Derby is tonight. No Dodgers are participating.
The All-Star Game is tomorrow.
Some bullet points for a Monday morning:
• There’s a much larger context to Puig’s attempts to defect from Cuba to the United States. The family of Yoenis Cespedes, the A’s outfielder from Cuba, shared their story of being marooned on a Caribbean island. It’s worth a read.
• Dodgers prospect Joc Pederson walked, singled and scored a run at the MLB Futures Game yesterday.
• Futures Game, Part 2: MLB.com asked Pederson about Puig, his recent teammate at Double-A Chattanooga. Turns out they still text back and forth, and Puig left Pederson’s family tickets when the Dodgers visited AT&T Park in San Francisco recently. “That’s my hermano,” Pederson said.
• Futures Game, Part 3: Four years ago Matt Davidson and Taijuan Walker played for one of Southern California’s best high school baseball teams ever. This weekend they talked with colleague Pete Marshall about their rise from teammates to prospects.
• The All-Star break demands a mellow piece of music. “Rise” by Herb Alpert might be the most mellow song in pop music history. I dare you to disagree: