September 2015

Dodgers taking measure of their pitching

Andrew Friedman gets a champagne bath after the clinch Tuesday.

Andrew Friedman gets a champagne bath after the NL West clinch Tuesday.

Dodgers at Giants, 7:15 p.m.
Carl Crawford, LF
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Corey Seager, 3B
Andre Ethier, RF
Chase Utley, 2B
Yasmani Grandal, 1B
Austin Barnes, C
Joc Pederson, CF
Mike Bolsinger, P

By Jon Weisman

This afternoon to reporters, Don Mattingly disclosed some of the Dodgers’ pitching plans for the final five games of the regular season.

Thursday starter Brett Anderson might have a scheduled shortened start, and the same goes for Clayton Kershaw on Monday. By all appearances the Dodgers’ National League Division Series Game 1 starter on October 9, Kershaw will be on four days’ rest when the playoffs begin, so the Dodgers don’t need to skip him entirely. But it’s not like he’s going to be going the distance or anything, even if it means the difference between getting 300 strikeouts for the year or not.

(more…)

Clayton Kershaw chops the Giants’ beanstalk

Clayton Kershaw against the Giants in September: Two starts, 18 innings, one run, seven singles, no extra-base hits, two walks, 28 strikeouts, and one hellacious at-bat against Madison Bumgarner.

In 227 1/3 career innings against the Giants, Kershaw has 243 strikeouts with a 1.54 ERA, the fourth-lowest career ERA against a single opponent in MLB history, and a 0.82 WHIP, the lowest against a single opponent ever.

— Jon Weisman

Zack Greinke wins Roy Campanella Award

Congratulations to Zack Greinke, who today was named the winner of the 10th annual Roy Campanella Award, given to the Dodger player who best exemplifies the Hall of Famer’s spirit and leadership. Campanella’s daughter, Joni Campanella Roan, will present the award during pregame ceremonies Sunday.

Previous winners are Rafael Furcal (2006),  Russell Martin (2007), James Loney (2008), Juan Pierre (2009), Jamey Carroll (2010), Matt Kemp (2011), A.J. Ellis (2012) and Clayton Kershaw (2013 and 2014).

— Jon Weisman

The Giants and respect

Nice gestures by the Giants on their scoreboard and social media after Tuesday’s clincher by the Dodgers, and it’s appreciated — and we return the feeling.

— Jon Weisman

NLDS first look: New York Mets

Juan Uribe drove in the winning run July 26 against the Dodgers. (Jon SooHoo)

Juan Uribe drove in the winning run July 26 against the Dodgers. (Jon SooHoo)

By Jon Weisman

When the Dodgers last landed in New York City, the Mets were a contender, but also a bit of a laughing stock.

(more…)

Speculating on the Dodgers’ NLDS roster

Los Angeles Dodgers vs San Francisco Giants

For more images from Tuesday’s clinch and celebration, visit LA Photog Blog.

By Jon Weisman

Now that the Dodgers have won the National League West earned their spot in the National League Division Series, naturally we wonder who those 25 Dodgers in the next round will be. Here’s my look, and I’m speaking for myself here, not the organization.

(more…)

Dodgers went nearly wire-to-wire on title run

LAD_15-1000x790_clinch

By Jon Weisman

In what has perhaps seemed like an up-and-down season, Los Angeles truly ruled the National League West, leading nearly every day from April to tonight’s title-clinching, 8-0 victory.

(more…)

Postseason hats, shirts, tickets and more

Division Championship Merchandise2

Get your hands on Dodger postseason gear at the Top of the Park store from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, and from 9 a.m. until postgame during the Dodgers’ final homestand Friday through Sunday.

Tickets for the Dodgers’ first two potential National League Division Series home games are sold out, but for more information on other potential playoff games, visit dodgers.com/postseason.

— Jon Weisman

Laying down the Kershaw, Dodgers win NL West!

Kershaw close

By Jon Weisman

The Titanic skipped the iceberg. The boys beat the breaks.

All the numbers are magic tonight. For the first time in their history, the Dodgers are going to the postseason for the third consecutive year.

Soaring on home runs by Kiké Hernandez, Justin Ruggiano and A.J. Ellis off 2014 World Series hero Madison Bumgarner, sailing on the Unsinkable Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers stood up and shook up San Francisco, 8-0, to win the 2015 National League West title.

For Kershaw, it was his first career one-hitter (Kevin Frandsen’s clean single in the second inning preventing next-level history) and the second consecutive year he pitched the Dodgers to the NL West title — an eight-run victory both times. For Ellis, it was the second time in three years he homered in a division-clinching game.

Next challenge: To end the 26-year drought without a World Series title, the Dodgers’ longest since they won their first World Series in 1955. They will face the New York Mets in the National League Division Series, beginning October 9.

With the Dodgers having lost eight times in their last 10 games, stuck for 100 hours in a row on a magic number of two to clinch the division, Kershaw rose to the occasion for, as if it were even possible, one of the most brilliant games of his brilliant career. He retired the final 19 batters, struck out 13 in all (two shy of his career high), while needing only 104 pitches for the 12th shutout of his career.

Kershaw has 294 strikeouts in 2015, putting him within striking distance of 300 for the year, though he will probably have an abbreviated start in the Dodgers’ regular-season finale Sunday. Either way, Kershaw has the most whiffs for an MLB pitcher since Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson topped the 300 mark in 2002.

In his first start since returning from the disabled list, Hernandez provided the initial spark — or sparks. He led off the game with a single off Bumgarner, went to third on an omenic Kelby Tomlinson error, then scored on Justin Turner’s sacrifice fly — all before hitting the first Dodger homer to begin the third.

Though Kershaw was dealing, allowing his only single and walk in the third inning, it was a plenty tight game into the fifth, when whatever leverage Bumgarner was hanging onto seemed to give way when it took him 13 pitches to retire Kershaw — the longest at-bat by a big-league pitcher this year. The Dodgers didn’t score, but Bumgarner finished the fifth inning already at 100 pitches.

With two out in the sixth, Bumgarner hung a curveball that Ruggiano blasted for a 3-0 Dodger lead. Ellis went back-to-back to make it 4-0. In the eighth, the Dodgers broke it open with four runs, the big blow a team-leading sixth triple of the year by Andre Ethier.

Starting with the last out of the third inning, Kershaw retired 16 batters in a row, striking out 10 of them, to reach the ninth on 96 pitches.

Trevor Brown whiffed on three pitches. Angel Pagan flied to left on two pitches. Kelby Tomlinson took tow balls, then hit a slow chopper to shortstop, where Corey Seager flung to Adrian Gonzalez to ignite the celebration.

Next stop, playoffs.

Corey Seager, starting shortstop?

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

When the torch passes, it can burn. But the Dodgers are hoping when it goes from Jimmy Rollins to Corey Seager, it is warm and fuzzy — and winning.

Reports from Don Mattingly’s pregame session with reporters today indicated that Seager has become the Dodgers’ starting shortstop, seizing his September callup when Rollins was injured and supplanting the veteran.

(more…)