March 2014

Lupe Fiasco to perform Sunday at Dodger Stadium

Fiasco

By Jon Weisman

Grammy-winning musician Lupe Fiasco will perform at Dodger Stadium before the Dodgers’ 5 p.m. game Sunday against the San Francisco Giants.

The performance is free to fans with a ticket to the game, and comes a day after Robin Thicke takes the Dodger Stadium stage, all part of the Dodgers’ Opening Weekend, presented by Bank of America.

Known for his sharp and dynamic lyrics, Fiasco had a breakout hit in 2006 with “Kick Push” and followed that with Billboard No. 1 “Lasers.” Next for Fiasco is the album “Tetsuo & Youth.” (more…)

Two (three) Opening Days are better than one

By Josh Tucker

While the rest of Major League Baseball celebrates their first Opening Day, here’s a look at the Dodgers’ first two Opening Days.

As you may know, the Dodgers first Opening Day took place in Sydney, Australia. After arriving Down Under:

(more…)

In case you missed it: Kemp, Beckett and more on Ryu

LOS ANGELES DODGERS VS SAN DIEGO PADRES

By Jon Weisman

Turnabout is fair play. Today, the other MLB teams get their turn, and we watch.

As far as the National League West goes, 1993 expansion partners Colorado and Miami (nee Florida) play at 4:05 p.m., with San Francisco at Arizona at 6:40 p.m.

Meanwhile, in the Dodgers’ world … (more…)

Dodgers reflect on first tough loss

LOS ANGELES DODGERS VS SAN DIEGO PADRESBy Jon Weisman

Two innings away from a 3-0 start to the season, the Dodgers didn’t even get to the bottom of the ninth Sunday, surrendering Hyun-Jin Ryu’s impressive outing in a 3-1 loss to San Diego.

Brian Wilson shouldered the blame. The reliever, who allowed only one run with the Dodgers last year, matched that when he allowed a game-tying homer to pinch-hitter Seth Smith. Overall, Wilson gave up three in the bottom of the eighth — two earned, one unearned as the result of his own error.

“It’s a hard one to swallow,” Wilson said, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. “I wasn’t able to get ahead of the hitters and make the proper pitches. I’m not particularly used to having one of those nights. I just wasn’t able to get ahead, and they took advantage.” (more…)

You can’t stop Hyun-Jin Ryu — you can only hope he needs a pedicure

Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Denis Poroy/Getty Images

By Jon Weisman

Last year, Clayton Kershaw went 19 innings before allowing his first run of the 2013 season. Hyun-Jin Ryu is approaching that neighborhood.

You can start the early campaign: Hyun for Cy Young.

Before Brian Wilson allowed three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning in the Dodgers’ 3-1 loss to the Padres (recapped here by Ken Gurnick of MLB.com), Ryu followed up his five shutout innings in Sydney with seven in Sydniego. It was a performance that quickly went from struggling to sterling, putting to rest any post-Australia concerns about toeture.

Struggling with location in the first inning against the Padres, particularly on outside pitches, Ryu loaded the bases with one out on a single and two walks. But the lefty turned Yonder Alonso’s comebacker into a 1-2-3 inning-ending double play.

After allowing singles to the first two batters in the bottom of the second inning, Ryu went into high gear. He retired 16 batters in a row into the seventh inning, walked Tommy Medica, then drew his second double play, a 3-6-3 special off the bat of Will Venable.

Despite throwing 21 pitches in the first inning, Ryu finished with only 88, meaning he averaged 11.2 pitches over the final six innings. Staked with only the one run the Dodgers got in the fifth inning off Padres starter Andrew Cashner, he needed to be that good.

In his 12 innings this season, Ryu has allowed only five hits while walking four and striking out 12. According to Baseball-Reference.com, Ryu is the eighth pitcher in Dodger history and fifth in Los Angeles to pitch at least 12 innings of shutout ball in his first two starts of the year.

Having left his infielders with almost nothing to do in the Australia start, Ryu instead starved his outfielders tonight. Yasiel Puig caught two flies, Carl Crawford one and Andre Ethier none.

March 30 pregame: How does the NL West race look?

LOS ANGELES DODGERS VS  LOS ANGELES ANGELS OF ANAHEIM

Dodgers at Padres, 5:05 p.m.
Carl Crawford, LF
Yasiel Puig, RF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Andre Ethier, CF
Juan Uribe, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Dee Gordon, 2B
Hyun-Jin Ryu, P

By Jon Weisman

Believe it or not, the other teams in baseball do intend to play regular-season games this year. I know — who knew? Weather permitting, by bedtime Monday, there will be no 0-0 teams left in the National League West.

The contemplative Andre Ethier and the Dodgers are the divisional favorite, but who’s the pick for top challenger? San Francisco is the consensus selection of the six national publications below. (more…)

Juan Uribe: Dressed for success

By Josh Tucker

It’s Opening Night in the U.S. for the Dodgers, and Juan Uribe came prepared. For what, we’re not sure. This outfit would make Barney Stinson proud because it is legend…

Hanley

Wait for it…

…dary! Legendary.

The Dodgers enter the Hunger Games

the-hunger-gamesBy Jon Weisman

This week, I watched “The Hunger Games” with my 11 1/2-year-old daughter. Long-term, I’ll remember it as the first movie that the two of us watched together featuring people dying every few minutes (sigh), and as the movie that reminded me I need to introduce her to “The Truman Show.”

Over at least the next 10 days, or until Katniss Kershaw returns from the disabled list, I’ll think of it as the kill-or-be-killed symbolic backdrop for the 2014 season.

The numbers almost track — 24 “tributes” in “Hunger Games,” 30 Major League teams. Or, if you prefer, 24 tributes juxtaposed against 25 active players on the Dodgers’ regular-season roster, each just trying to survive in a cutthroat world that sometimes seems capriciously manipulated from outside forces.

The swirling national circus might not like the Dodgers, might see them as villains, but more often than not, they have nevertheless been impressed by them, crowning them 2014 favorites at least as much as any other team. For their part, the Dodgers seem ambivalent about how much they care about being liked, but they are determined to survive until the very end.

No, I suppose no one will confuse Los Angeles as MLB’s District 12, though I think outsiders sometimes underestimate the toll and poverty of 25 years without a title, a span of time in which about half the teams in the Majors have triumphed, including a few of the supposedly less fortunate. When the Marlins have more than one World Series ring since your last, when your top historical rivals can say the same, it’s hard to feel too much sympathy.

In any case, the gamemakers have rejiggered the competition. Celebrate the best in baseball, then impale with a fireball, this one striking in the teres major muscle. So OK, that’s how we’re gonna play it. No one gets out of here clean, not even the supposedly blessed. The Dodgers are going to battle and bleed like everyone else.

The savage season, these Hunger Games, resume in earnest at 5:05 p.m., when the Dodgers face San Diego in the first official 2014 game on U.S. soil. Be great, be strong, be resilient … and be on the fates’ good side.

March 29 pregame: Kershaw to disabled list

Dodgers at Angels, 6:05 p.m.
Yasiel Puig, RF
Carl Crawford, DH
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Scott Van Slyke, LF
Juan Uribe, 3B
Andre Ethier, CF
Justin Turner, 2B
A.J. Ellis, C
(Dan Haren, P)

By Jon Weisman

So it has happened: Clayton Kershaw is heading for the disabled list.

It’s not the first time he has missed a start in his career, though that is rare in itself. But it is the first time he has been placed on the DL.

Don Mattingly gave reporters the news today. From Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A.:

Kershaw was throwing off flat ground in right field with trainer Stan Conte earlier Saturday, gradually increasing the intensity and distance of his throws. Once he felt something, on the 27th throw, he immediately ceased throwing.

“We have to save Clayton from Clayton. If it was up to him, I’m sure he’d want to go farther. We can’t allow him to do that,” manager Don Mattingly said. “He’s getting better, but it’s not at a point where we can go any farther. It kind of tells you he’s hit a ceiling at this point, and had to stop.”

Kershaw could next pitch as early as April 8 against Detroit. That potentially could be a matchup of 2013 Cy Young Winners: Kershaw and Max Scherzer.

Jose Dominguez, meanwhile, was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque.

Dodger exhibit at Japanese American National Museum

DSCN5496

By Mark Langill

Dodgers: Brotherhood of the Game, a new exhibition exploring the team’s storied past through four players and a Hall of Fame manager, opens at the Japanese American National Museum on today.

Jackie Robinson, Fernando Valenzuela, Chan Ho Park, Hideo Nomo, and Tommy Lasorda — each of whom made history in his own right — will be prominently featured, as will owners Branch Rickey, Walter O’Malley, and Peter O’Malley. The exhibition continues through September 14. (more…)