DODGERS RIDE PUIG-MANIA TO SEASON-HIGH SIX STRAIGHT WINS
"The way Yasiel plays is really contagious. You see that energy and it affects our fans and it makes the guys want to play like that. Bring a young guy like that in and it helps everybody. You've got to stay young. When everybody's experienced, sometimes it gets to be the same old thing. This kid brings energy."
—Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly, on rookie sensation Yasiel Puig. (Ken Gurnick, MLB.com)
"We're playing a faster brand of baseball right now. The energy is trickling through the clubhouse. It's also [Hanley Ramirez's] return. But with Puig, we wish we could play the way he's playing. The way he plays you don't see too much."
—Second baseman Mark Ellis.
“It kind of reminds me of myself. Sometimes he plays too hard. Sometimes you've got to tell him to calm down. You can't make every play. But you can't really change his game. That's the way he plays. That's how he's going to be successful, and let's just hope he doesn't get hurt because we need him out on the field.”
—Outfielder Matt Kemp, on Puig, who ran full-speed into the right-field wall while chasing down a home run during Thursday’s game against the Phillies.
"They checked the wall—it's fine."
—Mattingly, on Puig’s collision with the right-field wall. (Dylan Hernandez, Los Angeles Times)
"When you start losing games, and you start losing in games, you have to fight the feeling of 'here we go again. I think right now when we're down, there's not a whole lot of panic. It's a good sign."
—Starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw, on the team’s recent attitude during games. (Ken Gurnick, MLB.com)
"We'd be lying if we didn't know what was going on in the rest of the division. But we're just focused on winning games."
—First baseman Adrian Gonzalez, after Saturday’s win against the Phillies. The Dodgers are the closest they have been to first place in the NL West since early May. (Austin Laymance, MLB.com)
TRIBE, WHITE SOX PLAY TWO, SCORE 46
“They hit what I threw. I couldn't put guys away. They hit some good pitches. With the exception of one of the home runs, everything was down and on the corners of the plate. Some of them were even off the plate. It's just one of those days.”
—Indians starter Trevor Bauer, who started game one of a doubleheader that lasted nearly eight hours combined. Bauer gave up five runs, unable to pitch out of the first inning. (Ethan Asofsky, MLB.com)
“We knew it was early and that we had time to come back. Not to mention, we have two games today, so guys were positive. We jumped on them real quick, which was nice to see. We got the game back to even there.”
—Indians third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall. Cleveland replied with five runs in the top of the second, en route to a 19-10 game one victory.
"He's been swinging the bat for a while now. It's not just been singles, it's been doubles, home runs, stolen bases. It's been a lot of production. He's a pretty good player, and we're seeing it right now."
—Indians manager Terry Francona, on second baseman Jason Kipnis. He’s hit .419/.517/.699 in June, doubling three times in the first game.
"It's one of those that you have to be able to grind it out and win a game, and we just couldn't close it out. They were swinging it. I don't know if you felt like you weren't safe with the way they were swinging it because we were swinging it, too. We just didn't close it down."
—White Sox manager Robin Ventura. Chicago lost both games, despite scoring a combined 18 runs. (Scott Merkin, MLB.com)
SCUFFLING GIANTS FALL BELOW .500
"You earn your way to winning a division, you earn your way to be able to go to the World Series, and you earn your World Series trophy by doing it on the field. Right now we're not doing too much of it on the field. We're in rough water right now."
—Giants' general manager Brian Sabean, on the team’s recent struggles. (Henry Schulman, SF Gate)
"If one thing is working, then another thing's not working. But it doesn't help that we're not catching any breaks, that's for sure. I mean, if we catch a break tonight, we go ahead by a run, at least, shut the door, we have a win. If Venable doesn't make that catch the other day, that's a walk-off. We end up losing that game, too. We need to step up. All pieces need to be working at the same time."
—Shortstop Brandon Crawford, after Tuesday’s loss to the Dodgers dropped the defending champions under .500 for the first time this late in the season since 2008. (Chris Haft, MLB.com)
"It's a loss, there's no getting around it. He played a significant role in helping win the World Series. Now what has to happen is guys fill in, do a good job and—I use this term a lot—soften the blow of losing him."
—Manager Bruce Bochy, on news that outfielder Angel Pagan could miss the next 12 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left hamstring. That timetable would peg Pagan’s return for mid-September. (Chris Haft, MLB.com)
"Honestly, I didn't even know we were under .500. I just knew we haven't been playing well. We don't have to be under .500 to realize we're not playing well."
"The only fortunate thing … is that the division hasn't been something that's totally out of hand right now. It's not out of reach completely, so we've all been beating up on each other in the NL West. It could be a lot worse from that standpoint, but there's no reason for us to look at that and feel good about things.
—Starting pitcher Barry Zito. (Ian McCue, MLB.com)
SURGING PIRATES FIRST TO FIFTY
“It says we're playing good baseball through the month of June. But they don't break trophies in half. We have to acknowledge we've had this team's best season in 21 years … so far.”
—Pirates manager Clint Hurdle on the team’s league-best record nearing the end of June. (Tom Singer, MLB.com)
“We've opened some eyes, because we've done some damage on the field, showing what our talent potential is capable of doing. The goal is to keep playing them one at a time, not to focus on what we've already done. It's still early, with a lot of games left.”
—First baseman Garrett Jones (Tom Singer, MLB.com)
“Sellout crowds, we've been waiting for that. We're playing for ourselves, but there was about 40,000 people tonight and the city we're playing for, also. It's just awesome to see everybody dusting off their Pirates shirts now and coming out in droves to get what they've been wanting
“I'm not out there putting on a rock concert or nothing. I'd like to be. I just try to do my job. You step out of yourself for a minute and you appreciate it. It's awesome. The fireworks going, everybody's pumped up … It's just awesome. We're just trying to make light of it all. That's why we're winning. We're having fun.”
THIRTY HOMERS AND IT AIN’T EVEN JULY
"I don't think it's anything you can predict. It's something you obviously work hard toward in the offseason, to try and carry it into spring training and then into the season. I'm not going up there to try and hit home runs. I'm just trying to put good swings on good pitches. I think that's the biggest thing. Last night I was a little too aggressive, and it worked against me. Tonight I was a little more patient, and I saw the result of that."
—Orioles first baseman Chris Davis, who hit home runs 29 and 30 on Saturday against the Yankees. (Brittany Ghiroli, MLB.com)
"He's not hitting 1.000, but I will say he's having a tremendous year. You've got to make your pitches. He has closed up a lot of his holes over the last couple of years, and if you don't make [your pitch] and he gets the barrel of the bat, it's got a chance to be a long home run."
—Yankees manager Joe Girardi.
— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) June 30, 2013
—Mike Trout is resting for a few days, until he steals another 30 bases.
—Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista has adopted the high-socks look. He hit three home runs over the weekend.
"Part of me still wants to appeal it because I feel like I did nothing wrong. But bringing it down four games is drastic. It's a pretty fair thing and the union wanted me to take it so I agreed, thought it was the right thing to do and I'm going to serve it today."
—Diamondbacks’ infielder Eric Hinske, on Major League Baseball reducing his suspension from five games to one game. Several teammates and Dodgers alike have publicly acknowledged that Hinske was not an aggressor during the brawl between the D-Backs and Dodgers a few weeks ago. (Steve Gilbert, MLB.com)
"There's a lot of youthful energy. He loves to play the game. Even when he's struggling, he wants to grind his way through it. He's not that guy that wants to sit on the side and figure things out. The way he plays third base, it's tough to take him out of there."
—Rockies’ manager Walt Weiss, on third baseman Nolan Arenado, who has appeared in every game since joining the club on April 28. (Thomas Harding, MLB.com)
"I don't see drastic paths. We have a roster of veteran players, most of whom are under club control, a very talented offensive club, we've got a pitching staff that's evolving, some pending free agents, many others under club control. And we'll assess as we go."
—Angels’ general manager Jerry Dipoto, on whether he anticipates the club to be a buyer or seller at this year’s trade deadline. (Alden Gonzalez and Jason Beck, MLB.com)
"I had to beg [Mattingly] to play today. I'm sick of watching my team play without me. It kind of feels like you're not part of the team when you're on the DL and not playing. I just wanted to get back out there with the guys and play. But I definitely had to beg him."
—Dodgers’ outfielder Matt Kemp, who was activated from the DL on Tuesday. Kemp hadn’t played since suffering a hamstring strain on May 29. (Ken Gurnick, MLB.com)
"He's still going, so I'll congratulate him when it's all over. I'll congratulate him on 57."
—Rockies’ manager Walt Weiss, on the day-by-day approach that outfielder Michael Cuddyer has taken with his current 27-game hitting streak. (Thomas Harding, MLB.com)
“It's been great. They have two World Series in 20 years. Stuff happened quickly. They did it two ways. They had a lot of high-priced guys the first time. The second one, a bunch of misfits won it. I think it's a good organization.”
—Marlins outfielder Juan Pierre, on the franchise’s history. Things a bit less than rosy in South Beach these days, however. (Joe Frisaro, MLB.com)
“As we continue into the season with three months to go, always remember something: we are not—we are not—going to hinder this kid's health by killing him now, when the future is so bright. With Wheeler coming, with Montero coming, all these young prospect pitchers coming, we're not going to jeopardize what's down the road for right now. I'm not going to do it. So we're going to monitor his workload, and hopefully he gets through the month of September.”
—Mets manager Terry Collins, on the team’s plan to limit Matt Harvey’s workload down the stretch this year. (Anthony DiComo and Chris Iseman, MLB.com)
“I don't think guys just roll with it when it's a player they like as much as Corey [Hart]. But there's so much happening this year, it's like, 'Just another one.'”
—Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, reacting discussing the news that outfielder Corey Hart will miss the rest of the season due to a knee injury. (Adam McCalvy, MLB.com)
“We are looking to get on a roll. It's going to happen. That's the type of ballclub that we are. We are very capable of winning 10, 15 games in a row. If we hit a stretch like that, that's all it's going to take. We are right at .500 and within arm's reach of the leaders of our division, so that's nice.”
—Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth, on the team angling for another division title. (Bill Ladson, MLB.com)
“Soft-spoken guy, nice, father of two. He never caused any problems. He was at the ballpark on time, did his stuff, did his work, competed. I think he was a great guy. […] He was always a good teammate. I think everybody liked him and enjoyed him. Pitching-wise, he was competitive. For the year I got to hang out with him and play with him he was supporting and encouraging.”
—Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt, on former teammate Justin Miller. Miller was found dead in Palm Harbor, Florida on Wednesday. He was 35. (Henry Schulman, SFGate.com)