At first glance it does not appear that Dee Gordon has slowed down.
He has 42 stolen bases on the season, after all, setting the Albuquerque Isotopes’ single-season record with 36 games left to play.
Yet at the same time Gordon has shown improved plate discipline and has cut down on his mistakes in the field.
So when it comes to talking about slowing down, it is more the mental aspect of the game for Albuquerque’s leadoff hitter than anything else.
“He’s slowing the game down,” manager Lorenzo Bundy said. “I think he’s starting to figure out that he can’t go on the first pitch all the time. He’s got to gather some information. When he gets his information then he can go.”
Gordon currently sports a .309/.402/.409 slash line with the first-place Isotopes (61-47). He has drawn 45 walks in 74 games this season compared to just 18 in 70 games in Albuquerque back in 2011.
“At first it was tough because I’m aggressive, I like to play hard, stuff like that,” Gordon said. “So it was tough at first but I’ve got good coaches who are helping me a lot. I’m just glad they’re taking the patience and time with me.”
That improved patience has even worked on the basepaths, where Gordon has been caught stealing just seven times this season.
“He’s picking his spots (stealing bases),” Bundy said. “Obviously his percentage is really, really good as far as successes and caught stealing. He’s just a more patient player right now.
“When you use the words ‘slow down’ with Dee it’s kind of an ironic expression.”
Gordon has also adapted to playing second base this season, where has started 12 games for the first time in his career. He still considers the keystone a work in progress.
“You know how you talked about slowing the game down?” Gordon said. “I have to slow that down like 10 times more. It’s cool. I love playing short but I’ll play wherever Lo puts me.”
Hanley Ramirez has played very well at shortstop this year, leaving many fans to speculate that Gordon could instead replace Mark Ellis, a potential free agent, at second base next year. Gordon said it is far too early to think about a permanent position change.
“I really don’t know about that,” Gordon said. “I’m not looking into that too much. Whatever happens happens.”
Gordon will take tonight off after playing in 10 consecutive games.
Around the Lab
- Former Isotope Steven Ames was recalled by the Marlins on Sunday morning and will soon make his major-league debut. Ames takes the roster spot of Kevin Slowey, who went on the disabled list. The right-hander was the only member of the Dodgers’ 40-man roster who was not called up this season prior to being traded. He and fellow Isotope Josh Wall were dealt with Single-A pitcher Angel Sanchez to Miami earlier this month for big-league starter Ricky Nolasco.
- Taking Ames’ place on the New Orleans roster is right-hander Scott McGough, who was part of last year’s Dodgers-Marlins trade involving Ramirez. McGough was 4-0 with a 2.54 ERA and one save in 29 relief appearances at Double-A Jacksonville.
- Rehabbing Dodgers starter Stephen Fife will start for the Isotopes tonight at 6:05 p.m. He will be limited to around 85 pitches. Fife tossed four innings for Albuquerque last Monday, throwing 63 pitches at Nashville.