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Why the Turner/Grandal Dugout Fracas is Good Medicine for the Dodgers

During the sixth inning of last night’s Dodgers – Brewers game, Justin Turner sent a fly ball to deep left field. Joc Pederson tagged up at third and scored the tying run, but the play was much closer than it had to be.

Yasmani Grandal was on first base and he tagged on Turner’s fly ball as well. However, instead of slowing the action down to make sure Pederson scored, Grandal quickly ran into being tagged out at second base. He was tagged out so quickly, the Brewers appealed to instant replay, hoping Grandal was out before the run scored.

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The Brewers lost the appeal, Pederson brought in the tying run, and Justin Turner steamed.

When Turner returned to the dugout, he sought out Grandal to remind him to keep his head in the game; I presume his message was something like that, but with some colorful language for emphasis. They began barking at each other seriously enough that veterans Adrian Gonzalez and Howie Kendrick had to step in and separate them.

Some bad turns that affect a team cannot be controlled, such as a foul ball breaking a leg. Smart base running according to the game situation is something that can be controlled. The Dodgers have been a sloppy and boneheaded base running team all season. At times they’ve been flat-out lazy. Grandal’s gaffe almost cost the tying run last night. Add that to the myriad of woes surrounding the club this year, and one can see why Turner just could not take any more.

When the Dodgers recently played the Diamondbacks, there was chatter about past bad blood between the two teams, and some openly hoped for an encounter with the Snakes that might fire up and inspire the Dodgers. I never want to see anybody get hurt, but there is nothing like an enemy to strengthen ties and determination on a team.

Over the past couple of years the Dodgers’ idea of playing with passion has shown itself as dancing to bubble machines, wearing banana suits, and faux selfie poses.

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While it’s all good fun and I like a laugh as much as anyone else, what this team needs is more of the grit and take-no-prisoners attitude that Chase Utley has.

Yasmani Grandal made the mistake of being the anti-Utley last night. He has not been hitting, has been less than efficient behind the plate, and his boneheaded base running became the last straw. Turner let it be known slacking will not be tolerated, and it’s a message that needs to be repeated often with this team.

There are fans and writers who have accepted the notion the Dodgers are going nowhere near the playoffs this season. That’s one thing, but when members of the team accept this notion – look out. All bets are off, and only bad things will come from it.

Justin Turner served notice last night that he is focused on winning, and everybody else better be as well. Sure, it was a heat of the moment thing, and he probably wasn’t thinking about all of that when he went at Grandal – but it made a statement. Regardless of what they said in postgame interviews about everything quickly being forgotten, more than a few of the Dodgers went to bed last night thinking about that dugout shoving match, and what it means for the team going forward.

I suspect tonight a number of players will focus more keenly in batting practice, prepare for the game a little better, and synchronize with each other more on the field. Even if it doesn’t end up making a difference to the team’s chances in the long run, the skipper and the suits will notice who responded well to the kerfuffle, who was indifferent, and who couldn’t improve despite putting in the extra effort.

The Dodgers don’t need to hit the panic button, but they sure need a shot of Vitamin Kick-Ass if they are going to catch the Giants and win the division. Justin Turner delivered the first dose of it last night.



Oscar Martinez

I was born in the shadow of Dodger Stadium and immediately drenched in Dodger Blue. Chavez Ravine is my baseball cathedral, Vin Scully was the golden voice of summer all my life, and Tommy Lasorda remains the greatest Dodgers manager ever. My favorite things are coffee, beer, and the Dodgers beating the Giants. I also blog about my baseball card hobby at All Trade Bait, All the Time.

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Oscar Martinez
I was born in the shadow of Dodger Stadium and immediately drenched in Dodger Blue. Chavez Ravine is my baseball cathedral, Vin Scully was the golden voice of summer all my life, and Tommy Lasorda remains the greatest Dodgers manager ever. My favorite things are coffee, beer, and the Dodgers beating the Giants. I also blog about my baseball card hobby at All Trade Bait, All the Time.

12 thoughts on “Why the Turner/Grandal Dugout Fracas is Good Medicine for the Dodgers

  1. {{{ I am going to repost my post from the one prior. Scott, I still feel these multi stories with comments to follow — still create a problem to follow along. Just my opinion as I have stated before. Example: if you post in the morning to someone’s post — then leave for work or out for the day, when you check back in that late afternoon or evening — there usually have been two more articles and you have to go way back to see if someone responded to your morning post. Suggestion: have a place on the main page — for the editor and assistant editor stories. Then one threat for the entire day, just let it go. }}}

    The Truth Hurts — I have posted many times for the last two season — that I did not like the Dodger ROSTER. At first, people put me down. But the reality has set in.

    Other clubs are building and rebuilding their teams — and for some of them it is working.

    This past winter, I would have made the following additions to the Roster —

    Dexter Fowler – who was a free agent. Put him in CF, Pederson in LF, and Puig in RF.

    Johnny Cueto – who was a free agent. Go with a proven starter, roll the dice.

    Aroldis Chapman – with that trade to the Yankees, he and Jansen close and set up as needed.

    Ben Zobrist – Free agent, he is 35, but knows the game. Plays 2B and in the OF.

    OK – Dodgers would have lost 3 draft picks — and some minor leaguers —

    BUT — fixed the major weak points on this team. Risk? yes. I believe the energy these guys would have brought to the team — would have spread to other players and made the better players.

    1. Roger, I know you did, a couple others did too, Watford raised some concerns as well, not saying there weren’t others during the off-season but we were clearly outnumbered for reasons unknown.

      It’s not about who did or who didn’t, this team is a mess, we are all fans, just glad this team is being exposed for what it is.

    2. Amen to those upgrades, Roger. I would have been reluctant to give a 35-year old utility guy that kind of money, but it’s sure paid off for the Cubs. We wouldn’t have lost draft picks for Cueto and Zobrist because they had been traded in previous season…at least that’s my understanding of the rules.

      Does anyone use the “Notify me of follow up comments/new posts by email” feature? Personally, I get enough email, but it might help you keep track of which thread is hot.

  2. The heart of the Dodger team for the last few years has been Agone. So far, this year, which is shaping up to be his worst, has seen him struggling with a power outage and more strikeouts than his other years with the club. Possibly, he’s hurt. Possibly, he’s bored. Definitely, he’s not seeing the ball and he’s not taking up any leadership position that is visible, on or off the field.

    I don’t like to focus on what could have been. Bad trades, lost opportunities are no excuse for this team to underperform as they have been doing. We have some talent. It becomes every player’s responsibility to bring their talent to the game consistently. Turner’s outburst is a needed reminder to a club that has fallen asleep behind the wheel. They will not be getting any help from sleepy Roberts or brainfrozen FAZ. It is up to the players, plain and simple.

    The pitching is a different story altogether and I have no solution to their woes. Here, we have just too many under-talented arms and no real direction or help waiting in the wings. Perhaps prayers to the baseball gods might be called for. But, who are the baseball gods?

    1. I believe the gods help those who help themselves. Yeah, we have some talent here. But so do many other teams.

      I think AGon is hurting. He might be reaching the end, or he may need a couple of weeks off.

    2. Jeff
      Agone is hurting a little, and the talk of his demise is just talk. Agone does take a leadership role, but most of his leadership is in the clubhouse.

      He is there for everyone. He is one of those guys that likes to show more by example, then just with his mouth.

      He just might need a day off, and he will be back, especially now, because Turner is hitting again. Agone gets pitched the toughest, in the Dodger’s line up.

      When Turner wasn’t hitting, it made it tough for Agone to hit, because he had no protection in the line up. But he still had, and has, a respectable average, unlike a lot of the other players, on the Dodgers.

      He is also a very streaky hitter, so he could start hitting, in the Dodger’s next game.

  3. I agree about all the new posts; we never know where to post and where the cool kids will post.

    Oscar, regarding your story above about the Turner/Grandal thing: most people seem to think that it was Turner who called out Grandal in the dugout over his bonehead play. However, today on pregame Dodger talk, David Vasseigh said in actuality players told him that in the middle of the next inning, Grandal approached Turner about how Turner was gesturing after Grandal’s play, and Grandal didnt like how that looked. But he also knew he made a bonehead play, and he understood what everyone was talking about.

    On a more fun note, Urias was brilliant today; you can see ace material. However, Coleman obviously didn’t want him to get his first win so he gave up 2 doubles on 3 pitches. Idiot

    Also, in Rancho today: Ryu 4ip, 3 hits, 0runs 1bb, 5k

    1. Bobby
      I thought that that umpire really squeezed Urias, especially in the first inning.

      And that is why Urias threw so many pitches in the first inning. That umpire was calling very low strikes for the Brewer’s pitcher, and that made it hard for the Dodgers to hit that pitcher.

      He was calling strikes at the players heels practically. That is why Turner got upset.

  4. Agreed multiple live posts create problems. A possible solution might be to set a time period before a new post is published, or close comments on posts when a new one comes out; that is, only one live commenting post in play at a time.

    On Urias, a lot of talk about his yearly innings count. Innings are of no consequence, pitch counts (total) are. Last night he used 95 pitches to get through 5 innings; for a lot of pitchers 95 pitches will get them through 7 or 8 innings. I hope management is worrying more about his pitch count than his inning count in regards to not hurting his arm.
    And in regard to using him up here at all, if they’re not going to make an effort to get the hitter and relief pitching they need, why rush Urias at all?

  5. If Urias is going to be in the majors next year, he is going to have to pitch more innings this year, to be ready.

    I bet they will use him up to the Allstar break, because Ryu and MCCarthy, are suppose to be coming back, in the begining of the second half.

    Turner practically won last night’s game, he is difinitly back.

    And Venable also helped the Dodgers win last night too.

    So I guess it was good that he was in the line up, last night.

  6. Somewhere this morning I saw Video of Kelli Tennant interviewing Turner. I don’t know how tall he is but she’s 6’2″ and at least 4 inches taller than him. Her legs come up to his beard…

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