What a time to have the spotlight all to yourselves this fall …
Gary A. Vasquez/US PresswireAaron Miles, .311 hitter.
Painful. Just painful to try to rank these guys. It is a dog-eat-cog world.
Anyway, remember: We at ESPNLosAngeles.com would still like to hear your stories (approximately 500 words) of how you became Dodger fans, what the team means to you and how recent events have affected you and that fandom. Send your stories to this mailbag link. We’ll publish a great sampling of them.
If you’re having any trouble submitting, quit your web browser and try again. That seems to help in several cases.
|1||1||1||1||1||2||Matt Kemp||OPS has not dipped below .920 at any point this season.|
|2||2||2||4||4||1||Clayton Kershaw||In innings 1-2 in 2011, opponents are 13 for 115 (.113) with five walks, 42 K.|
|3||3||3||3||3||4||Hiroki Kuroda||Has 3.10 ERA but on pace for 18 losses, most by Dodger since Don Sutton in ’69.|
|4||5||4||2||2||3||Andre Ethier||Has .392 OBP; L.A. Dodgers have had 17 players finish at .400.|
|5||4||5||9||6||5||Jamey Carroll||Since going 7 for 10 in Colorado, he is 5 for 31.|
|6||7||13||20||21||20||Aaron Miles||Meet June’s NL batting champ (.419).|
|7||16||6||6||7||18||Chad Billingsley||Expected Fielding Independent Pitching (xFIP) of 3.31, compared to 4.22 ERA.|
|8||14||23||32||23||17||James Loney||.365 OBP since May 1. Bat him second, Kemp third, Ethier fourth?|
|9||8||22||—||—||—||Rubby De La Rosa||6.75 ERA at home, 2.50 ERA on road.|
|10||15||15||10||15||22||Blake Hawksworth||Since coming off DL: seven baserunners, two earned runs in 10 2/3 innings.|
|11||22||17||18||20||24||Kenley Jansen||Opponents 1 for 19 with three walks, nine strikeouts since return from DL.|
|12||10||19||—||—||—||Javy Guerra||Needs six saves to pass Broxton for team lead. In 82 games, Dodgers have had 21 save opps.|
|13||9||—||—||—||—||Dee Gordon||Objectively, should be optioned when Furcal returns. Subjectively …|
|14||11||—||—||—||—||Josh Lindblom||Has really Lind-bloomed this year – looks more like future relief mainstay.|
|15||12||16||7||5||10||Casey Blake||Even with three-hit game Monday, had .250 OBP, .261 slugging in June (73 PA).|
|16||30||—||—||—||—||Trent Oeltjen||Raised OBP to .481 in 28 plate appearances.|
|17||6||10||17||18||14||Ted Lilly||37 HR allowed in past 12 months; Kershaw has allowed 39 HR in career.|
|18||29||28||14||17||12||Tony Gwynn Jr.||Tied for NL lead in OF assists with eight.|
|19||13||9||13||9||6||Rod Barajas||Steady as ever: eight homers, eight walks.|
|20||20||12||8||10||25||Juan Uribe||Probably the Dodgers’ most valuable defensive player this year.|
|21||23||21||—||—||—||Scott Elbert||Has faced seven batters since June 14 (0 for 6 with BB).|
|22||17||7||16||14||—||Jerry Sands||.398 OBP, .603 slugging in AAA since demotion.|
|23||19||8||11||11||13||Mike MacDougal||Spent 10 minutes looking for an interesting note, came up empty.|
|24||18||11||5||8||—||Jon Garland||So, who remembers Garland’s complete game this year?|
|25||28||20||21||22||15||A.J. Ellis||Career .355 OBP now. Let him start.|
|26||21||14||12||12||8||Matt Guerrier||Nine of past 14 baserunners allowed have scored.|
|27||25||18||30||—||—||Jay Gibbons||One HR in first 25 G with Albuquerque, two HR in his past three G.|
|28||34||26||22||13||19||Marcus Thames||Since starting season 6 for 42 (.143), has gone 7 for 22 (.318).|
|29||26||24||15||19||—||Vicente Padilla||Still second on Dodgers in saves with three.|
|30||27||25||19||16||9||Jonathan Broxton||Could have fewest saves (7) for team leader since Bobby Castillo in 1979.|
|31||24||33||35||33||—||Ramon Troncoso||Full name is Ramon Landestoy Troncoso. Like the former infielder, was born in Peravia province of Dominican Republic.|
|32||35||27||27||29||—||Dioner Navarro||In past 64 PA, has seven hits, five walks (.194 OBP).|
|33||31||36||23||24||7||Rafael Furcal||Looking good in rehab: 18 PA in four games, .444 OBP.|
|34||41||38||24||25||16||Hong-Chih Kuo||Could be first Dodger pitcher whose ERA multiplies by 10 in one year (1.20 to 11.05).|
|35||32||31||—||—||—||Juan Castro||2,849 career PA, one HBP.|
|36||33||30||29||—||—||Russ Mitchell||Endured an 0-for-7 for Isotopes on Monday.|
|37||36||29||25||27||11||Xavier Paul||Batted .297 in June, but with only two walks.|
|38||37||32||26||26||—||John Ely||On June 29, 2010, Ely had his eighth and final quality start of season.|
|39||38||37||33||27||26||Ivan De Jesus Jr.||Doesn’t seem to be a there there.|
|40||39||34||28||30||21||Hector Gimenez||Has .747 OPS for Double-A Chattanooga.|
|41||40||35||31||31||—||Jamie Hoffmann||Second on Isotopes with 13 homers.|
|42||42||39||34||32||23||Lance Cormier||Has 3.14 ERA for Durham in 14 1/3 innings.|
Jesse Johnson/US PresswireRubby De La Rosa went a career-high seven innings.
Well, you knew this was coming.
It took less than two days for the Dodgers to go from scoring 15 runs in one game to being shut out in another — a 1-0 loss at the hands of the Twins.
It was not an entirely sad day, thanks to the progress shown by Dodger rookie Rubby De La Rosa, who completed a career-high seven innings in 99 pitches, allowing six hits and two walks (one intentional) while striking out four. The low walk total was also a career-best for De La Rosa as a starter.
On his third pitch of the game, De La Rosa gave up a triple to Twins leadoff hitter Ben Revere, and Tsuyoshi Nishioka drove in Revere with a groundout. That was it for Minnesota against the Dodger rookie, but it was more than enough for Minnesota against the Dodger offense.
The Twins could have made things worse, but they went 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position.
The Dodgers’ biggest missed opportunity might have been in the third inning, when Dee Gordon stole third base with one out. But Casey Blake missed a chance to push Gordon the final 90 feet by fouling out, and then Andre Ethier struck out.
In all, the Dodgers had eight baserunners, three of them in scoring position. The eight baserunners were spread across seven different innings. Twins starting pitcher Scott Baker (3.15 ERA) struck out nine and walked one in 7 1/3 innings.
Fans in Los Angeles ended their lunch hours with the Dodgers alone in last place, 11 games behind National League West-leading San Francisco on the penultimate day of June, edging closer to the point where even general manager Ned Colletti might start to concede the season.
Most games behind in National League West by Dodgers after 82 games
|Year||After 82 games||Final|
|1979||17 GB||11 1/2 GB|
|1990||12 1/2 GB||5 GB|
|1992||14 1/2 GB||35 GB|
|1998||12 1/2 GB||15 GB|
|1999||11 1/2 GB||23 GB|
*pending outcome of today’s remaining games
Fair readers …. we at ESPNLosAngeles.com would like to hear from you about the Dodgers, and not just in the short-form comments section below. We’re asking you to submit your real-deal stories of how you became Dodger fans, what the team means to you and how recent events (um, I think you know what we mean) have affected you and that fandom.
So, we’d like you to submit your thoughts – say, 500 words as a target length, but don’t feel wedded to it – to this mailbag link. The editors will then share a bunch of the stories on ESPNLosAngeles.com.
Hannah Foslien/Getty ImagesTony Gwynn couldn’t catch Alexi Casilla’s drive but threw him out trying to advance to third base for his seventh outfield assist of the season.
Ted Lilly will get his act together before Major League Vaudeville bids him adieu, maybe sometime soon, but he’s gettin’ tomatoes thrown at him right now.
Lilly allowed six runs in 4 2/3 innings (81 pitches), meaning that over his past three starts, Lilly has allowed 17 earned runs in 14 2/3 innings. He had at least been striking out batters, but tonight the player who is fifth in the National League in strikeout/walk ratio didn’t have it, striking out none. (Trivia: Most pitches by a Dodger pitcher this century without a strikeout … Carlos Perez, 101 on May 3, 2000.)
Lilly put the Dodgers in a 4-1 hole, but Los Angeles came back for three in the top of the fifth inning in a rally started by Aaron Miles’ first major-league home run since September 16, 2008 and ending with Andre Ethier’s two-run single off Twins lefty Brian Duensing. Lilly then surrendered the lead in the bottom of the frame on a two-run homer by Luke Hughes, the 16th homer Lilly has allowed in 17 starts.
The Dodgers mounted another rally in the seventh inning, but came up scoreless in what amounted to a reversal of fortune from Sunday, when they rode two close calls to a walkoff victory over the Angels. First, Tony Gwynn Jr. was ruled out on what appeared to be an infield single that would have put two runners on with one out. Then, Jamey Carroll was thrown out on a close play trying to score on Casey Blake’s single.
The Dodgers put two baserunners on in the ninth inning, but Casey Blake grounded out and that was the ballgame, leaving only this question: On what planet is it a good idea for Dioner Navarro to pinch-hit for Carroll, as occurred with one out in the final inning?
Is Jonathan Broxton’s Dodger career over? Maybe not, but it’s increasingly possible that the Dodger reliever, who will be a free agent at season’s end, won’t appear in a game for the team again with today’s news that he is being shut down from throwing for at least three more weeks. Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com has more:
… Club officials won’t say at this point that they are counting on getting Broxton back the rest of the season.
“We don’t have a timetable now,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “We did this once before, where he was shut down for three weeks and did all the stuff to return, and then we got back here. It’s just hard to say now that we’re going to get him back in six weeks or seven weeks or eight weeks. To me, at this point, if we get him back, great, all the better. But we have to kind of move forward.”
Broxton underwent an MRI on Monday in Los Angeles and then consulted with team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who determined that the MRI showed a worsening of the bone bruise in Broxton’s elbow and that the best course of action was to shut him down again. …
Though his troubles this year will lower his value on the free agent market, it’s likely that some other team than the Dodgers will pay more to take a chance on the reliever, who only turned 27 this month. For pitchers with at least 300 innings as a Dodger, Broxton is the franchise’s all-time leader in strikeouts per nine innings.
He might make it back this season, but if not, like Russell Martin last fall, he’ll probably be looking at a fresh start.
* * *
The initial news on the bankruptcy court front appeared to drag things out another month, but then again, maybe not.
MLB will “probably” file a motion to seize the Dodgers from Frank McCourt, The Associated Press is reporting. That comes in the wake of the franchise’s initial bankruptcy court hearing today, which ended with McCourt being granted financing on a temporary basis, pending a July 20 hearing, with the TV rights saga still a major hurdle. In short, there was news, but no resolution.
… Ordinarily, the requests made at these hearings are granted, almost as a matter of course. However, baseball has likely been preparing for this day for some time, and does not intend to let Frank McCourt have full operational control of the team during the bankruptcy. The primary issue today is debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing.
McCourt has secured a $150 million commitment from a JP Morgan-owned hedge fund, Highbridge Capital Management, to finance the team until a TV deal can be approved. The Dodgers would have access to $60 million immediately, and the remaining $90 million would be available at specific times moving forward. The DIP financing is not cheap: there is a $4.5 million fee off the top, and the Dodgers will pay 10% interest.
Baseball will likely try to exert its influence on the bankruptcy immediately, offering to fund Dodgers’ operations at a cheaper rate and lower overall commitment. While it is nearly unfathomable that either the Dodgers or baseball will take an insurmountable lead today, Judge Kevin Gross’ decision will be at least instructive on the deference he will give to baseball’s own policies and rules. …
… In about the mid-1990s, after it became clear how awful the DeShields-Pedro Martinez trade was, I started to conjecture that the Dodgers really could become the Cubs – that a journey to 100 years of mediocrity can begin with a single step. Subsequently, I started to think that I might be following the same path. I’m a published writer, and people (some of them, anyway) have enjoyed my work. But I don’t feel like I really made it to the champagne celebration in the locker room.
I’m very happy these days – I have a wonderful wife and a wonderful baby, and you won’t catch me regretting the choices I made that allowed those things to happen. But I do have frustrations, and those frustrations, I’ve come to realize, are played out each time the Dodgers do something. Anything. I’m not just talking about the 162 games; I’m talking about the offseason trades and the decisions to replace the dirt warning track with rubber and the removal of the sandwich station on the Club level of Dodger Stadium. I was raised in an easier time, where things were more often right than wrong, and I haven’t shed my addiction to that time. I want things with the Dodgers to be right. That, essentially, is the genesis of this website – to deal with that want.
I think what it is, is that when I was younger, the games were more fun. They were carefree. Now, they do seem to mean more to me. They carry this weight. And now, it’s been so long since the Dodgers have been a winner, I can’t imagine anymore what it will be like to celebrate that. I hope I enjoy the glory, if it ever comes, as much as I’ve suffered the pain. I think maybe I will.
– Dodger Thoughts, March 12, 2003
Lorenzo Charles died, and that was by far the worst news I heard all day.
I poked my thumb on a fork in the dishwasher, and that was by far the most pain I felt all day. I slammed my hand down on the counter and cursed.
But the angriest I got over the McCourt news today was when my web browser crashed while pages were loading.
This afternoon, I found myself wondering why I can get angry at so many things, so many little things – “Why won’t this page load?! It’s a computer! It’s all 0s and 1s!” – and yet I can remain unflappably calm over the way Frank McCourt treats the team I grew up loving.
It’s not because I don’t care. I couldn’t write for this website if I didn’t care.
Sometime over the eight years since I wrote the post excerpted above, Dodger games went back to the way they were. They went back to being carefree, to being an escape. I suffer every loss, yearn for every win, but even with a losing team, the games are a release for me again. They don’t carry weight. I channel my frustration elsewhere.
So much of the frustration and anger in my life is about unmet expectations. The computer should work. I should be able to do the dishes without maiming myself. March Madness God should not die at age 47. The biggest one of all: I’m not the person I want to be.
But Frank McCourt has no way left to disappoint me, because I have zero faith in the man to do the right thing. I have no expectations of him.
This is a particularly personal view that I don’t necessarily expect anyone else to share, so please don’t get the idea that I’m telling any of you not to be angry. You have every right. I’m just talking about me here.
I think part of my problem in life has been that I’ve not always been cynical enough, which is why I’m so easily disappointed. But McCourt is like a shot of cynicism straight into my veins. In some ways, it’s a relief. McCourt might own the Dodgers, but he doesn’t own me.
The Dodgers are my Odyssey, and to paraphrase Roberto Baly, Vin Scully is my Homer. Safe at home or mired on the seas, the Dodgers are a story, an endless fable that I see in the making, and so, so instructive.
The way I react to each chapter in this epic is the way I wish I reacted to the rest of my life. Suffer with dignity, accept limitations, believe that the next good moment is around the corner. I don’t want to have to become a cynic to survive my remaining time in this world, but if I can ever learn to take the bad with the good in my everyday life, like I do with the Dodgers, I’ll be the better man for it.
Don’t surrender. Be a dreamer, not a demander. It might not be what you need, but it’s what I need.
Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesTrent Oeltjen
One of my wife’s favorite expressions is “That’s insanity sauce” – tonight, the Dodgers were insanity sauce.
For the first time in their history in Los Angeles, all nine Dodger starters had a hit, a run and an RBI in the team’s biggest shutout victory since 1969, 15-0 over the Twins.
The boxscore is suitable for framing, starting with four hits for each starting outfielder (another first). Tony Gwynn Jr., Matt Kemp and Trent Oeltjen, who came within 80 feet of a cycle-completing double in the ninth inning before retreating to first. The hit totals for Gwynn and Oeltjen were career highs, while Kemp hit his National League-leading 22nd home run, measured at 444 feet to dead center. Los Angeles scored in seven of nine innings.
Casey Blake added two singles and a homer, and Andre Ethier, James Loney, Juan Uribe and A.J. Ellis each had two singles for the Dodgers, who finished with a Los Angeles Dodgers record-tying 25 hits, at least two by every starter.
On the mound, Chad Billingsley pitched six shutout innings (aided by Gwynn and Dee Gordon combining to throw a runner out at the plate), followed by one each by Blake Hawksworth, Hong-Chih Kuo and Scott Elbert. The relievers combined for seven strikeouts and didn’t allow a baserunner save for Gordon’s fielding error.
* * *
The Platoon Advantage wondered what a contemporary MLB expansion draft might look like, so they enlisted help from the multitudes of team bloggers, including myself, to stage one. The Dodgers lost Aaron Miller and Ted Lilly, who was the highest-salaried player in baseball who was taken in the mock draft (in the second round). The draft was over before a third Dodger was taken.
* * *
Jonathan Broxton had a new MRI for his right elbow, reports Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
Nominees were selected from the pool of Top 40 creditors mentioned in the Dodgers’ bankruptcy filing today, with what they were owed this week.
The Big Kahuna Award: Manny Ramirez, $20.99 million
Hall of Infamy Award: Andruw Jones, $11.08 million
Owed but Charitable Award: Hiroki Kuroda, $4.48 million
Medic-Alert Award: Rafael Furcal, $3.73 million
Hooray for the Other Team Award: Chicago White Sox, $3.50 million
“Ted” for Short (And We Are Short) Award: Theodore Lilly, $3.42 million
Don’t Take a Hike Award: Zach Lee, $3.4 million
Duty Free Award: Kazuhisa Ishii, $3.30 million
Ooh, Repay Award: Juan Uribe, $3.24 million
Juan for Two Award: Juan Pierre, $3.05 million
Griss for the Mill Award: Marquis Grissom, $2.72 million
Food for Thought Award: Levy Restaurants, $588,322
There’s a New Kid in Town Award: Alex Santana, $499,500
Dodger Talk (and No Action) Award: KABC-AM Radio 790, $273,321
Okay, This Has Stopped Being Fun Award: Office of Finance – City of Los Angeles (City Business Tax Audit 2007-2009), $240,563
Deuces wild: Clayton Kershaw’s week consisted of two complete games, two runs and 22 strikeouts, and in so doing, he became the National League’s one and only player of the week.
Elsewhere, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports had a nice piece on Hong-Chih Kuo’s battle with anxiety disorder.
… (Stan) Conte, after receiving permission from Kuo, spoke at length about the pitcher’s condition.
“The analogy I use is if you’re scared of small places, you’re claustrophobic and you’re scared of snakes. But you’re really good at catching those snakes, and they ask you every day to walk into a small, closed window-less room to grab them,” Conte said.
“They bite you. It hurts. But you’re the best in the world at doing it and they pay you a lot of money to do it. And every day it becomes worse and worse. It makes you believe you can’t do it, not for glory, not for fame, not for money. …
A source close to Jamie McCourt told ESPN The Magazine’s Molly Knight that she is not happy with Monday’s filing.
“She is exasperated,” the source said. “She has been trying to settle this for two years now, most recently by asking the judge to sell the team. She recognizes that a sale is best for the community but Frank refuses to let this go.”
We’re exasperated. We’re exhausted.
Are we defeated?
We knew Frank McCourt would not go anything but combatively into that good night, with one of the few remaining mysteries being whether he would take his fight to court after Major League Baseball seized the team, or make a preemptive move. Answer: preemptive move.
Today’s bankruptcy filing does not prevent MLB from taking action to seize the team, but it could prevent that move from having any legs to it, at least for some time, if the bankruptcy court rules to supersede MLB’s actions.
If that happens, the $150 million financing the Dodgers received will carry the team forward in the short term. But as miserable as the 2011 season has been, the real concern has never been about the short term. It’s been about the damage McCourt would do to the Dodger franchise if he were to retain Dodger ownership.
The financing only adds to the unfathomable level that McCourt has mortgaged himself and this team in order to retain his fraying hold on his empire, like some B-movie dictator from a made-up foreign land. The Dodgers would not cease to be if McCourt remains in charge. They might not even cease to compete. But their fans would go to sleep and wake up each morning knowing with certainty that things could be better, if not for their foot-shooting owner.
Though it’s not legally significant, there’s something symbolic and poetic about how many Dodger names were misspelled in the McCourt bankruptcy filing: “Kazuhisi Ishii.” “Jonathon R. Broxton.” “Chad Billingsly.” At the end of the day, McCourt’s impatient needs are more important than getting it right with the players on the field. No one’s asking McCourt to be an altruist, but his desperate insistence that he’s the best person for the job is an insult, and a harmful one at that.
It’s also hard not to see the name “Vincent E. Scully” listed in this morning’s filing as a creditor and absolutely marvel at how the road we have traveled.
But McCourt does have rights, the limits of which he continues to test, in the same way he tests the will of this community. The bankruptcy filing changes the game, a game that you can be excused for thinking will have no winner. How about a nice game of chess?
Here’s the initial report from The Associated Press:
The Los Angeles Dodgers have filed for bankruptcy protection in a Delaware court.
Dodgers owner Frank McCourt cites Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig’s interference with club operations and refusal to approve a Dodgers TV deal with Fox Sports as the cause for Monday’s bankruptcy filing.
In a news release, the team says Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection will provide the Dodgers with a process to address its immediate financing requirements and obtain the capital necessary to ensure the baseball franchise’s long-term financial stability.
He says the Dodgers have tried for almost a year to have Selig approve the Fox transaction, saying it would make the Dodgers one of the strongest capitalized franchises in Major League Baseball.
Here’s the official news release from the McCourt camp:
… Dodger owner Frank McCourt cited Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig’s refusal to approve the Fox transaction as the cause for the Chapter 11 filing.
“The Dodgers have delivered time and again since I became owner, and that’s been good for baseball,” McCourt said. “We turned the team around financially after years of annual losses before I purchased the team. We invested $150 million in the stadium. We’ve had excellent on-field performance, including playoff appearances four times in seven years. And we brought the Commissioner a media rights deal that would have solved the cash flow challenge I presented to him a year ago, when his leadership team called us a ‘model franchise.’ Yet he’s turned his back on the Dodgers, treated us differently, and forced us to the point we find ourselves in today. I simply cannot allow the Commissioner to knowingly and intentionally be in a position to expose the Dodgers to financial risk any longer. It is my hope that the Chapter 11 process will create a fair and constructive environment to get done what we couldn’t achieve with the Commissioner directly.”
The Los Angeles Dodgers have tried for almost a year to have Commissioner Bud Selig approve a transaction, which would assure that the Los Angeles Dodgers would be one of the strongest capitalized franchises in Major League Baseball, both now and for years to come. Indeed, for months, the Dodgers have sought approval from the Commissioner of a multibillion dollar media rights transaction negotiated between the Dodgers and FOX, which would immediately infuse hundreds of millions of dollars of capital into the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Commissioner’s office last week rejected the deal, despite having been made aware by the Dodgers since the spring of 2010 of the franchises’ cash projections and in turn liquidity needs for 2011.
“The deal with Fox demonstrates that the Dodgers have enormous value which substantially exceeds the team’s current and future liabilities,” said Bruce Bennett, bankruptcy counsel from Dewey & LeBoeuf. “The team is entering the bankruptcy case with enough committed financing to meet all of its short term expenses and to successful reorganize. The media rights will, one way or another, generate enough value to facilitate a reorganization.”
Operating under Chapter 11, the Los Angeles Dodgers have received a commitment for $150 million in Debtor-in-Possession (DIP) financing. This financing will enable the Dodger organization to fully meet its obligations going forward. There will be no disruption to the Dodgers day-to-day business, the baseball team, or to the Dodger fans.
Under Chapter 11, the Dodgers will continue to operate in the ordinary course of business. Pursuant to that authority, and additional authority the Dodgers have sought in motions filed today with the bankruptcy court:
- All salaries of Dodger employees will be paid and all Dodger employee benefits will continue.
- The Dodgers will operate within their existing budget to sign and acquire amateur, international and professional players.
- Ticket prices will remain the same and purchased tickets will continue to be honored.
- All amenities at Dodger stadium will continue in place, and promotions will continue as usual.
- Dodger vendors and suppliers will be paid any post-petition amounts in the ordinary course, with the intention of paying any pre-petition amounts in full prior to or at the conclusion of the bankruptcy case.
McCourt concluded, “The Chapter 11 process provides the path on which to position the Los Angeles Dodgers for long-term success. The process will allow us to focus on maximizing value in a manner that is transparent and driven by the best interests of the Los Angeles Dodgers and our fans.”
The frame of mind to have for Sunday’s Jered Weaver-Clayton Kershaw matchup was pretty basic: Revel in two out-of-sight pitchers, and just hope for the best as far as that whole winning-and-losing thing.
The aces for the Los Angeles Angels and the Los Angeles Dodgers lived up to their advance billing, throwing matching shutouts the first six innings. The Dodgers twice got runners to third base with less than two outs, in the fourth and fifth innings, but the rallies withered on the vine (or, if you can imagine the fans’ reaction, withered on the whine).
In a fast-moving start, Kershaw needed only 26 pitches through three innings and 64 pitches through six. At one point, the Angels’ No. 3-6 hitters had struck out six times in eight at-bats. Plus, Kershaw, who previously this season had made at least two highlight-reel plays on bunts, made another brilliant one in the sixth inning, reaching to backhand a bunt by Weaver and then throwing across his body to double up Jeff Mathis at second base.
In the seventh, however, two bloops got the best of Kershaw. Erick Aybar hit one that a deeply positioned Tony Gwynn Jr. couldn’t reach, and Aybar didn’t stop running, sliding expertly around Gwynn’s offline throw for a double. Then, Howie Kendrick hit a shallow fly to center that Matt Kemp dove for and trapped. Kemp sprung to his feet to throw home, but it was not in time to get Aybar and prevent the first run of the game. Had Kemp played the ball straight up for a single, Aybar would have held at third, but it was close enough that you could understand Kemp’s efforts.
You’d be forgiven for thinking the Dodgers were done at that point, especially with two out and none on in the bottom of the seventh, but Kershaw (who had struck out nine but walked none and only thrown 84 pitches to that point) singled to give the Dodgers a baserunner (and raise his batting average to .297). Gwynn then shocked the Angels with a deep fly to right-center that went off a running Vernon Wells’ glove. Kershaw, running all the way with two out, scored easily on the triple to tie the game.
Vin Scully raised the point that the two-out running might affect Kershaw going into the next inning, and as if to underscore those fears, Kershaw hit Peter Bourjos to start the eighth. Bourjos then went to second when James Loney missed catching a pickoff throw by Dioner Navarro. But with the go-ahead run in scoring position again, Kershaw struck out Bobby Abreu (on a questionable check swing called by third-base umpire Chris Conroy, who ejected Matt Kemp on Saturday), then retired Maicer Izturis on a grounder to third.
Weaver left the game after seven innings and 110 pitches, allowing seven hits and one walk while striking out four, his ERA sliding to 1.97.
There was no doubt that Kershaw should go out for the ninth inning, and he easily retired the first two batters. But on a 3-2 pitch, Wells, who had struck out in his three previous at-bats, slammed Kershaw’s 112th pitch of the game into the left-field seats, a devastating blow on a day Kershaw had dominated. Following a game April 21 against the Braves, it was the second time this season Kershaw had given up a potential game-winning hit when he was one strike away from completing the ninth inning.
Kershaw retired Mark Trumbo on a grounder to finish his day: nine innings, two runs, six hits, no walks, 11 strikeouts … and one home run. Kershaw faced becoming the Dodgers’ eighth pitcher to lose in a complete game since 2000. On the homestand, he pitched 25 innings with 26 strikeouts (including back-to-back complete games with 11 strikeouts), 12 hits, three walks, three runs and a 1.08 ERA. Opponents batted .146 with a .186 on-base percentage and .244 slugging in 86 plate appearances.
Three outs from victory, Angels closer Jordan Walden walked Juan Uribe, who went out for pinch-runner Dee Gordon – who stole second on a close play with Navarro showing bunt. Walden then walked Navarro. Jamey Carroll sacrificed the runners to second and third.
Kershaw’s spot in the order came up, and perhaps you had a passing thought of using the team’s best bunter to try a game-tying squeeze. But, properly I’d say, Aaron Miles (6-for-11 as a pinch-hitter this season, 24-for-57 overall in June) pinch-hit. Miles fell behind 0-2, getting fooled in particular on the second pitch, low and inside.
With the count 1-2, Miles hit a shallow fly that no one but Gordon could try to score on. Bourjos caught it and fired home. Gordon raced home. Mathis blocked the plate, but Gordon seemed to manage to lean over Mathis and get his hand on the plate to tie the game. Incredibly.
Gwynn then came up with pinch-runner Trent Oeltjen on second base and a chance to win it.
On a 2-2 pitch, Gwynn lashed one to right field, a no-doubter hit — his third of the game — that easily scored Oeltjen and set off a huge celebration at Dodger Stadium, led by Kershaw and Kemp, who was the first to reach Gwynn and wrestled him down and practically began punching him in delight. A thoroughly riveting game from start to finish ended with a 3-2 Dodgers victory.
Thanks, we needed that.
Here are the career numbers:
590 2/3 innings, 735 baserunners (470 hits, 256 walks, nine hit batters), 614 strikeouts, 3.14 ERA.
Opponents: .219 batting average, .304 on-base percentage, .322 slugging percentage, .626 OPS.
And, to celebrate the ongoing lamest feature in Dodger Thoughts history, here’s the list of all the Kershaw films made to date:
Kershaw XCIX: Kershawl the President’s Men
Kershaw XCVIII: Kershawl That Heaven Will Allow
Kershaw XCVII: Kershawpular Mechanics
Kershaw XCVI: Kershawft
Kershaw XCV: Kershawnal Best
Kershaw XCIV: Kershawlotte’s Web
Kershaw XCIII: Kershawl we are saying, is give peace a chance
Kershaw XCII: Kersh-sh-sh-sh-sh changes
Kershaw XCI: Kershawppy Mother’s Day
Kershaw XC: (vacant)
Kershaw LXXXIX: Kershawlistic medicine
Kershaw LXXXVIII: Kershawtel California
Kershaw LXXXVII: Kershawrlan County, U.S.A.
Kershaw LXXXVI: Kershawlandaise sauce
Kershaw LXXXV: Kershawberry muffin
Kershaw LXXXIV: Kershopening day game chat
Kershaw LXXXIII: Kershawteau Marmont
Kershaw LXXXII: Kershawpscotch
Kershaw LXXXI: Kershawctupus
Kershaw LXXX: Kershawt wheels
Kershaw LXXIX: Kershawquaman
Kershaw LXXVIII: (vacant)
Kershaw LXXVII: Kershaw, snap!
Kershaw LXXVI: Kershawnna Karenina
Kershaw LXXV: Kershawne on you crazy diamond
Kershaw LXXIV: Kershasta McNasty
Kershaw LXXIII: Kershawl of Me
Kershaw LXXII: Kershawmpty Dumpty
Kershaw LXXI: Kershawt and a beer
Kershaw LXX: Kershawt Tub Time Machine
Kershaw LXIX: Kershallow Grave
Kershaw LXVIII: Kershawk jock
Kershaw LXVII: O Kershaw, Curtain, Lights
Kershaw LXVI: Kershawpoly
Kershaw LXV: Kershawnee, Indiana
Kershaw LXIV: Kershaw Knight Pulliam
Kershaw LXIII: Kershawt My Dad Says
Kershaw LXII: Kershawrmor All
Kershaw LXI: Kershawrms and the Man
Kershaw LX: Kershawlsbury Hill
Kershaw LIX: Kershaws Clay
Kershaw LVIII: Kershawmmie dearest
Kershaw LVII: Kershawww, freak out!
Kershaw LVI: (vacant)
Kershaw LV: Kershawk-infested waters
Kershaw LIV: Kershaw the Frog
Kershaw LIII: Kershawme Opener
Kershaw LII: There’s no business like Kershaw business
Kershaw LI: (vacant)
Kershaw L: Kershawlk to the animals
Kershaw XLIX: Kershaws
Kershaw XLVIII: Kershome run derby
Kershaw XLVII: Kershawpple Dumpling Gang
Kershaw XLVI: Kershawlly olly oxen free
Kershaw XLV: Kershawlly Lolly Lolly get your adverbs here
Kershaw XLIV: Kershawvinist pigs!
Kershaw XLIII: Kershawk full o’ nuts
Kershaw XLII: (vacant)
Kershaw XLI: Kershawk treatment
Kershaw XL: Drive Kershow, putt for dough
Kershaw XXXIX: Kershow Gabba Gabba
Kershaw XXXVIII: Kershawrky’s Machine
Kershaw XXXVII: Kershawt through the heart
Kershaw XXXVI: Kershawp ’til you drop
Kershaw XXXV: Kershawppy Father’s Night
Kershaw XXXIV: Kershalways be closing
Kershaw XXXIII: Kershawt Heard ‘Round the World
Kershaw XXXII: Kershawva Nagila
Kershaw XXXI: Kershawt people got no reason
Kershaw XXX: Kershawffice Space
Kershaw XXIX: Kershawrk Attack
Kershaw XXVIII: Kershampoo
Kershaw XXVII: Kershantilly Lace
Kershaw XXVI: Kershey’s Kisses
Kershaw XXV: Kershawt in the Dark
Kershaw XXIV: Kershawffle off to Buffalo
Kershaw XXIII: Kersham-Wow
Kershaw XXII: (Adenhart)
Kershaw XXI: Kershama Lama Ding Dong
Kershaw XX: Kershane, Come Back Kershane
Kershaw XIX: Kershawrp Dressed Man
Kershaw XVIII: Kershawnterbury Tales
Kershaw XVII: Kershawt in the Dark
Kershaw XVI: Kershawnce To Dream
Kershaw XV: Kershawn of the Dead
Kershaw XIV: Kershawl We Dance?
Kershaw XIII: Kershawp Around the Corner
Kershaw XII: Kerdyshawck
Kershaw XI: Manny I
Kershaw X: Kershaq Fu
Kershaw IX: Kershawk the Monkey
Kershaw VIII: Kershaw Me the Money
Kershaw VII: Kershaw Na Na Na, Sha Na Na Na Na Na
Kershaw VI: Kershaw’s, Foiled Again?
Kershaw V: (vacant)
Kershaw IV: Kershawshank Redemption
Kershaw III: Kershawker
Kershaw II: The Kershawing