May 2016

Corey Seager ties May homer record for shortstops

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

It’s doubtful many people realize the kind of month that Corey Seager just had.

The 22-year-old’s three-run homer in the ninth inning of tonight’s 5-0 Dodger victory was his seventh round-tripper of the month, giving Seager a share of a franchise record.

Seager tied Hanley Ramirez for the most homers by a Los Angeles Dodger shortstop in a single month, according to my research at Baseball-Reference.com. Ramirez hit seven in August 2012, his first full month with the Dodgers after being acquired from Miami. (In fact, Ramirez hit all seven of his in the second half of that month, starting on August 16).

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Farm fresh: Cotton and Calhoun collect weekly honors

By Cary Osborne

There has to be some extra satisfaction for two highly touted Dodger prospect this week.

Jharel Cotton and Willie Calhoun, two players who got off to quiet starts in 2016, were named Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week and Texas League Player of the Week, respectively.

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Dodgers outlast Arrieta and conquer Cubs

Eighth-inning RBI heroes Howie Kendrick and Adrian Gonzalez.

Eighth-inning RBI heroes Howie Kendrick and Adrian Gonzalez.

By Jon Weisman

Jake Arrieta bent, and an inning later, the Cubs broke.

In his first start against the Dodgers since his August 30 no-hitter, Arrieta pitched seven more shutout innings. But he didn’t no-hit them (pop the champagne), and in fact, barely escaped the seventh inning after walking the bases loaded.

Once he was out of the game, the Dodgers struck, with a trio of singles from Chase Utley, Corey Seager and Adrian Gonzalez breaking a scoreless tie in the eighth — as well as ending 26 consecutive scoreless innings against Chicago dating back to last season — and propelling the Dodgers to a rain-delayed 5-0 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

The Dodgers not only answered the Cubs’ one-hitter Monday with one of their own (retiring the final 19 batters), they evened their record on their road trip against last year’s National League pennant finalists to 3-2, with two games to go. In those six games, Gonzalez (2 for 4) is 10 for 19 with two walks.

Howie Kendrick capped an eight-pitch at-bat with an opposite-field sacrifice fly for the Dodgers’ second run, and a three-run homer in the final inning by Corey Seager (3 for 5) — his team-leading ninth of the season — put the game all but out of reach.

While Arrieta came away with a no-decision, and in fact allowed only two more hits in this start against the Dodgers than he did in his last one, the loss nevertheless ended a 23-game Cubs winning streak in games their ace has started, which had tied a Major League record, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

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Wood headed to disabled list, Urias returning to Majors

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Alex Wood, whose most recent start was delayed three days because of left triceps soreness, is now going on the 15-day disabled list with left posterior elbow soreness, and 19-year-old Julio Urias is returning to the Dodgers.

Pending any shuffling of the Dodgers’ rotation, Urias would be scheduled to pitch Saturday in Los Angeles against the Braves.

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Alex Guerrero designated for assignment

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers at Cubs, 5:05 p.m.
Chase Utley, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Joc Pederson, CF
Trayce Thompson, RF
Howie Kendrick, 3B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Carl Crawford, LF
Scott Kazmir, P
Note: Yasiel Puig was a late scratch with a sore left hamstring.

By Jon Weisman

Two years and seven months after he was signed, Alex Guerrero has been designated for assignment by the Dodgers.

The 29-year-old Guerrero has spent the 2016 season on the disabled list because of a left knee contusion. With his minor-league rehabilitation assignment expiring and no place for him on the active roster, the Dodgers have removed him from the 40-man roster, with 10 days to determine his fate.

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Andre Ethier’s return to be delayed

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Andre Ethier’s recovery from a March 18 right tibia fracture has slowed, and his expected June return has been delayed, Dave Roberts told reporters today.

Roberts said that there isn’t much new with Ethier, who hasn’t been running at full body weight. Roberts added that he has exchanged texts with Ethier and that he is anxious to get back to action.

— Jon Weisman

Cubs nearly no-hit Dodgers for second straight time

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By Jon Weisman

A day before they face Jake Arrieta for the first time since he held the Dodgers hitless, the Dodgers were nearly held hitless.

Justin Turner’s sun-aided bloop single, which fell between three Cubs fielders in the top of the first inning, was the only hit by the Dodgers in a 2-0 Memorial Day loss at Chicago. Five pitchers combined to retired the final 25 Dodgers of the game.

In their past two games against the Cubs — Arrieta’s August 30 no-hitter and today — the Dodgers are 1 for 55 at the plate with two walks and 23 strikeouts.

Adrian Gonzalez’s walk after Turner’s single was the last Dodger baserunner. Alex Wood and three Dodger relievers pitched well enough to keep the Dodgers in the game, but not enough to overcome the Cubs’ pitching dominance.

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Carl Erskine, 89, honors childhood friend

Section from Carl Erskine's page in the 1957 Dodger Yearbook.

Section from Carl Erskine’s page in the 1957 Dodger Yearbook.

Dodgers at Cubs, 2:05 p.m.
Kershaw CCLIII: Kershawngle Book
Chase Utley, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Joc Pederson, CF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Yasiel Puig, RF
Carl Crawford, LF
Alex Wood, P

By Jon Weisman

Michael Tackett of the New York Times had a fine article over the weekend on 89-year-old Dodger great Carl Erskine, and the close, lifelong relationship he has had with childhood pal Johnny Wilson.

Their hometown of Anderson, Indiana paid tribute to the 88-year-old Wilson with a statue, and Erskine was key to making the honor happen.

… Erskine, the Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher who appeared in 11 World Series games and threw two no-hitters in the 1950s, and Wilson have been friends since meeting as children, in an alley with a basketball hoop attached to a barn, when Erskine offered an innocent invitation: “Do you want to play?”

One white child, one black, they were bound from that point by their love of sports and their meager economic circumstances during the Depression in this north-central Indiana factory town. The friendship with Wilson was Erskine’s bridge to his warm relationship with Jackie Robinson, whom he joined on the Dodgers in Robinson’s second season after breaking Major League Baseball’s color barrier.

One day, Robinson went out of his way to thank Erskine for speaking to his wife, Rachel, and children in front of white fans. Erskine said no thanks were necessary, and on Friday he said one name explained why: Johnny Wilson. …

Click here to read the whole story. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Dodgers signing Erskine, after he served in the Navy at the tail end of World War II.

Kershaw hits strikeout milestones in Dodger win

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By Jon Weisman

Clayton Kershaw completed his extraordinary May with a triumphant finish, if you don’t mind a mildly disappointing footnote.

Kershaw raised his strikeout total since May 1 to 65 — a total not exceeded by a Dodger pitcher in a single calendar month since Sandy Koufax in 1965. For the fourth time in six May starts, Kershaw struck out at least 10 and walked none. He averaged 8.3 innings per game. He allowed 24 baserunners in 49 2/3 innings. His ERA for the month: 0.91.

The 28-year-old phenomenon also set an MLB record by striking out his 100th batter before walking his sixth — Cliff Lee had the record with seven walks for his first 100 strikeouts in 2010 — and currently has a 21.0 strikeout-walk ratio.

Kershaw just can’t boast about his second career 6-0 month. Leaving a game mid-inning for the first time this season, Kershaw settled — happily, one can bet– for a 4-2 Dodger victory, but only after Mets tied the game off reliever Adam Liberatore with two out in the bottom of the eighth.

Adrian Gonzalez’s two-run single in the top of the ninth, and Kenley Jansen’s three-up, three-down save in the bottom of the inning, gave the Dodgers and Kershaw the ending they were counting on.

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May and the force that is Clayton Kershaw

Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 8.52.26 PM

Dodgers at Mets, 5:07 p.m.
Kershaw CCLIII: Kershawngle Book
Chase Utley, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Joc Pederson, CF
Howie Kendrick, LF
A.J. Ellis, C
Clayton Kershaw, P

By Cary Osborne

Clayton Kershaw closes the book on May with his final start of the month today. Make that a history book.

Kershaw goes into tonight’s game at New York with the lowest WHIP by a pitcher in May all time at 0.52. Bruce Sutter (1977) is second on the list at 0.54 and interestingly, the Mets’ Steven Matz is third, sporting a 0.59 mark this month.

The all-time record for WHIP in a month is shared by San Francisco’s Atlee Hammaker (April 1983) and St. Louis’ Woody Williams (September 2001) at 0.50.

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