Hyun-Jin Ryu filmed a ramen commercial, and he brought some “teammates.”

Fans who lost the “Chopstick Challenge” competition at Dodger Stadium to Hyun-Jin Ryu, take heart: You lost to someone who is paid to use chopsticks on camera.

You already knew that of course, since Ryu did a Jin Ramen ad solo last year. The best takeaway from the new ad (above) that popped up on YouTube and circled the blogosphere today is that Ryu brought his Dodger teammates. He even brought a few teammates who were cut out of the final edit.

Man, Clayton Kershaw really shrank a few inches in the last week.

A.J. Ellis seems a bit smaller, too.

Is that Trey Hillman? (No seriously, is that Trey Hillman?)

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Chip Hale, an ex-Dodger, is managing the Arizona Diamondbacks.

One concept that’s always baffled me is how casual observers associate players, coaches and even executives with a certain team.

For example — and I’ve seen this written quite a bit lately — Ned Colletti is a “Giants guy.” Can’t have a Giants guy running the Dodgers, right?

The problem with this narrative is that Colletti was a “Chicago guy” before he was a “San Francisco guy.” He grew up there and collected as many stories from his time working for the Cubs as he has from his time working for the Giants.

What about Kirk Gibson? Dodgers guy, or a guy who was born in Michigan, attended high school and college in Michigan, was a first-round draft pick by the Detroit Tigers and played 12 of his 17 seasons in a Tigers uniform?

All of this is a long-winded way of saying the Arizona Diamondbacks hired a man who appeared in 14 games with the 1997 Dodgers to replace Gibson as their manager.

Before you go burn your Chip Hale jersey in mourning, keep in mind hat Hale managed or coached in the Diamondbacks organization from 2000-09. He’d been on the New York Mets and Oakland A’s staffs more recently.

Hale, 49, also hit a ball once in the minor leagues that resulted in a very telegenic non-catch.

Diamondbacks executive Tony La Russa said Monday that Dodgers third base coach Lorenzo Bundy was not his final list of managerial candidates.

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The strike zone is getting larger — a lot larger.

A.J. Ellis, Brian Gorman

Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis demonstrates how high some strikes are being called nowadays. (Karl Gehring/The Denver Post)

If the strike zone were to expand by, say, 40 square inches in the next six years, it would probably give pitchers a significant advantage over hitters. Right? Batting averages, on-base percentages and slugging percentages might drop. Strikeouts would rise. Casual baseball fans would long for the Steroid Era.

It so happens that, in the last six years, the strike zone has expanded by 40 square inches. Thirty-nine to be exact, according to TheHardballTimes.com, in an article titled “The Strike Zone is Out of Control.”

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Don Mattingly on Ned Colletti, his coaching staff, Hanley Ramirez, etc.

Don Mattingly

The Dodgers will finalize their 2015 coaching staff in the coming days and weeks. (Getty Images)

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly addressed a number of topics in his season-ending media session Thursday. The big takeaway, as I explained in today’s editions: If the Dodgers didn’t beat themselves, and the manager only would’ve done one thing differently, then whoever assembled the team is primarily accountable for an early playoff exit.

That’s the manager’s opinion, and Don Mattingly doesn’t have the power to fire Ned Colletti.

But he did address Colletti’s status directly, and a few other things I wasn’t able to expand on in that piece:
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J.J. Hardy reportedly re-signs in Baltimore: What it means for the Dodgers.

Hanley  Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez hit .283 with 13 home runs and 71 RBIs for the Dodgers in 2014. (Getty Images)

Veteran shortstop J.J. Hardy has reportedly re-signed with the Baltimore Orioles for three years and $40 million.

If and when that becomes official, there will be one fewer shortstop on the free agent market once the season ends. That carries a few implications for the Dodgers and impending free agent shortstop Hanley Ramirez.
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Poll: Who should be fired?

Compared to 2013 the Dodgers made progress in the regular season, winning 94 games, only to regress come October. This year they won just one game in the postseason; last year they won five.

Inevitably, there will be personnel changes. We’ll get to the players in the coming days and weeks. Today we ask: who among the Dodgers coaches and executives would you dismiss?

You can choose everybody. You can choose nobody.

You can write lots and lots of angry comments. You can write votes of confidence.

Have fun.

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St. Louis Cardinals 3, Dodgers 2: A familiar, painful ending.

ST. LOUIS >> There were lots of questions for the Dodgers to ponder on the flight home after their season-ending, 3-2 loss to the Cardinals in the NLDS.

Mark Whicker asks this: How do you send six men to the plate in the sixth inning, have five of them reach base and score just two runs?

The box score is here.

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Report: Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett plans to retire.

Josh BeckettJosh Beckett is planning to undergo surgery on his hip in May 2015. According to MLB.com, he will not attempt to return to the mound.

Beckett didn’t have time to sign any retirement paperwork or inform his teammates of the decision in the minutes after the Dodgers’ 3-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals Tuesday. But according to the report, Beckett’s career is over.

The 34-year-old right hander has pitched 335 games in a career that began in 2001, starting all but three. He made 35 starts with the Dodgers after arriving in an August 2012 trade with the Boston Red Sox along with Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto.

This season, Beckett went 6-6 with a career-low 2.88 ERA before hip injuries ended his season in July.

Beckett won 138 games for the Dodgers, Florida Marlins (2001-05) and Red Sox (2006-12). He was 7-3 with a 3.07 ERA in 14 postseason games, winning the World Series MVP Award in 2003 and the ALCS MVP award in 2007.

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Dodgers manager Don Mattingly on benching Yasiel Puig for Game 4 of NLDS.

ST. LOUIS >> Yasiel Puig was smiling Tuesday afternoon, cracking jokes, looking nothing like a man who’d just been benched for a playoff game for the first time in his major-league career.

He learned his fate the same way the rest of us at Busch Stadium did: by seeing Andre Ethier‘s name in the lineup card. But Puig said in Spanish that he didn’t need to talk to manager Don Mattingly about the decision.

We need to win that game,” Puig said. “I’m not working well on the field against St. Louis. It’s gone really bad in this series but … we’re doing the best we can. I’d like to hit every time I’ve gone up to bat, but haven’t been able to do so and I just win this game today with Ethier back there and with all of the guys that are playing. We know that we’re going to win with (Clayton) Kershaw on the mound and then continue at home with (Zack) Greinke.”

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