By Erin Edwards
What an exciting October for Dodger fans. While our boys in blue battle for a title, the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation will continue a number of fundraisers during the postseason, giving fans an opportunity to support programs that benefit undeserved children and families in Los Angeles.
By Jon Weisman
Two games into the 2016 National League Championship Series, we have had no shortage of drama — or trivia. For those of you who like to wallow in the historically bizarre and bizarrely historical, here are some off-day tidbits:
Our Dodger Insider tribute to Vin Scully hits the Dodger Stadium stands tonight — distributed free at the autogates (one per vehicle) and at Fan Services booths (for those who arrive via alternate transportation) through September 24, and then to every fan with the special commemorative cover on Fan Appreciation Day, September 25.
To lead off our salute to the beloved broadcaster during his final homestand with the Dodgers (sigh), here’s my piece trying to capture what he has meant to his listeners for the past 67 seasons — and what happens for us now, as we confront the reality of his upcoming departure.
— Jon Weisman
Just a quick reminder not to miss your chance to take part in the 2017 Dodgers-White Sox Adult Fantaasy Camp, taking place at Camelback Ranch in Arizona from January 15-21, 2017. Among those scheduled to appear are Tommy Lasorda, Eric Karros, Eric Gagne, Pedro Guerrero and Steve Sax.
Throughout the camp, participants (21 and older) will interact with and receive instruction from Dodger and White Sox greats on the field and enjoy hours of baseball stories from the stars of the past off the field — a 24/7 first-class baseball experience.
— Jon Weisman
By Jon Weisman
The fastball was there. The pinpoint command on breaking pitches … maybe not quite so consistent.
But the main thing for Clayton Kershaw, in his return from 10 1/2 weeks on the disabled list, will be how he felt between innings and how he feels in the coming days.
Because even though Kershaw allowed two runs on five hits in an abbreviated, three-inning start at Miami, tonight offered plenty of glimpses of the superstar the Dodgers hope will lead them into October.
Kershaw’s fastball sat at 93-94 mph, and he struck out five. The last of those came on his 66th and final pitch, and made him the first pitcher in MLB history to reach 150 strikeouts in a season without first walking at least 10. Tonight, Kershaw walked none for the 113th, 114th and 115th innings out of the 124 that he has now thrown this season.
In the process, he certainly exerted himself. Under the air-conditioned dome of Marlins Park, Kershaw fired bullets and sweat more of them — no more so than in a 29-pitch second inning. He also made an on-the-run, awkwardly lunging attempt to throw out Christian Yelich on a soft comebacker, then soon after had to duck out of the way of a 91 mph liner up the middle from opposing pitcher Jose Fernandez.
By Jon Weisman
Five budding businesses have been chosen by the Dodgers and R/GA Ventures for the second Dodgers Sports Accelerator, which launches today.
The Accelerator focuses on growth-stage companies and immediate business opportunities designed to create a path to category leadership and scale — i.e., being great with the potential to be greater. The companies will receive in-depth engagement with the Dodger leadership, business units and industry network, as well as with R/GA’s award-winning strategic marketing, branding, design and technology services.
- Greenfly transforms the relationships of organizations into powerful networks for content creation and distribution.
- Keemotion enables broadcast partners, professional leagues and universities from around the world to produce, customize, stream and share professional-quality HD video content live with the push of a button.
- ShotTracker, with its innovative “ShotTracker TEAM” solution, affordably captures real-time stats for basketball teams, yielding powerful analytics for coaches, players and fans.
- Renegade creates next-generation, “Sweat X” branded sports detergent, stain and odor technologies, specifically engineered to meet the needs of today’s high-performance sports apparel and gear, used at the professional, collegiate and youth sports levels.
- WSC Technologies has developed a platform that creates personalized sports videos automatically and in real-time, helping sports leagues and broadcasters to engage fans and monetize their content.
The program will conclude in early November with invite-only demo events, at which each startup will present to industry leaders, partners, and customers in the sports, technology and entertainment communities.
Between now and Vin Scully Appreciation Day on September 23, the Dodgers are revealing the results of the fan vote ranking Scully’s top 20 Dodger calls of all time, one at each home game. Here’s No. 20: Mark McGwire hits a ball out of Dodger Stadium.
— Jon Weisman
By Jon Weisman
Brett Anderson’s beard has gotten a lot longer since you last saw him in a big-league game. But his wait has gotten a lot shorter.
Two games from now, Anderson will make his first official start of 2016, taking the mound in the Dodgers’ series finale Sunday against the Pirates.
“I’m excited for Brett — it’s been a long road for him,” Dave Roberts said. “So to get him back, I think is obviously a good thing for us.
Sidelined by March back surgery, Anderson pitched a career-high 180 1/3 innings in 2015 with a 3.69 ERA. He made 18 quality starts last season and pitched at least five innings in 26 out of 31 games.
Anderson will follow Brandon McCarthy, who worked through some mechanical issues in two bullpen sessions this week and will make his scheduled start on Saturday.
“Just getting the natural feel back,” McCarthy said. “It felt very normal this week. … It wasn’t anything huge, but got to see what that leads to.
“A couple of things get off base and you feel screwy, and then it turns into you do’t believe you can execute something because your body’s not in position to allow you to execute it, so it just kinds of compounds upon itself. It feels like something’s been found now, so just making sure that’s it. It’s a very basic thing, but it’s something you can get away from quickly.”
Over at ESPN.com, David Schoenfield selected the most underrated player on all 30 MLB teams. For the Dodgers, he picked Kenta Maeda, which isn’t a bad choice, given that Maeda is 17th in wins above replacement among National League pitchers, which in my book makes him a high No. 2 starter.
“Underrated” and “overrated” are subjective concepts, based not only on your evaluation of the player’s performance but also of how he is perceived, so there’s no clear right or wrong answer. For example, Schoenfield went with Kenley Jansen for most overrated Dodger, which seems very weird to me — and even Schoenfield said “I feel bad about this one.”
Anyway, for most underrated Dodger, my instinct was to go with Yasmani Grandal, because my sense is that there’s barely been any awareness in the city of Los Angeles, let alone the rest of the country, of how good he has been.
Corey Seager is a Rookie of the Year favorite who has steadily become an MVP candidate — he leads the NL in WAR today — but the secret is definitely out on him. Justin Turner’s prowess has been a bit more stealthy, but I’d still say he gets exponentially more attention than Grandal.
Another good choice might be Joc Pederson, who got his sophomore slump out of the way during spring semester of his freshman year. Pederson has shown nearly across-the-board improvement in 2016, with a higher OPS and adjusted OPS, lower strikeout rate and better defensive rankings.
At the pace he’s going, Pederson would become the youngest Dodger center fielder with an OPS+ of at least 120 since Duke Snider in 1950. Something tells me that very few people, especially on a national scale, really appreciate how much he has contributed in 2016 and how promising he remains.
But as you can see above, I ultimately decided to leave it up to you. Here are some of your replies to my tweet: Who’s the most underrated Dodger this season?