Jun 25

Angels 6, Dodgers 1: Loss erected


Gus Ruelas/APKuroda unconfected.

Luck rejected
Hiroki affected
Trumbo connected
Scoreboard infected

Umpire inspected
Kemp ejected
Apoplected
Dodgers dejected

Gwynn elected
No offense detected
Fans dyspepted
Hope unselected

Relievers injected
No help effected
Deficit projected
Doom expected

Jun 25

June 25 game chat

Via the Dodger press notes, an update on Dioner Navarro’s defensive feat Friday: “According to Elias, the last catcher with two or more pickoffs and more than two runners caught stealing in a game was the Yankees’ Ron Hassey, who accomplished the feat on June 8, 1986 against the Orioles. Navarro leads the Majors with four catcher pickoffs in 25 games behind the plate and ranks fourth in the NL (min. 20 games) with a 30.0 caught stealing percentage (6 CS/14 SB).”

Jun 24

Dodgers calling out all Angels on basepaths but lose


Mark J. Terrill/APThe defensive stylings of Dioner Navarro, here tagging out Bobby Abreu, were not enough to keep the Dodgers in the lead.

In the first inning tonight, the Angels’ Maicer Izturis was caught stealing and Bobby Abreu was thrown out at home. In the second inning, Mark Trumbo was picked off first by Navarro and Jeff Mathis was thrown out at third. In the third inning, Erick Aybar was picked off first by Navarro. In the sixth inning, Vernon Wells was caught stealing.

Dioner Navarro became the first catcher to be officially recorded with two pickoff throws and two caught stealings in the same game, according to Vin Scully on the Prime Ticket broadcast. And still the Dodgers were down 5-3 heading into the eighth inning.

That’s because Rubby De La Rosa, while throwing heat, allowed four walks, six hits, a double and two home runs. And that’s because, while Matt Kemp was hitting a two-run homer and Andre Ethier was going 3 for 4, the Dodgers were 2 for their first 12 with runners in scoring position.

Meanwhile, Marcus Thames left tonight’s game in the second inning with a strained left calf, raising the possibility that the Dodgers will soon see the return of Jerry Sands (.941 OPS in Albuquerque in June) or the debut of Trayvon Robinson (1.173 OPS in June) in left field if Thames goes on the disabled list.

There’s also talk that Rafael Furcal could move to second base when he returns from the disabled list so that Dee Gordon can stay at short, but I’m not convinced that Gordon doesn’t have a trip to Triple-A left in him.

Update: It got no better for the Dodgers, who gave up three runs (one unearned) in the final two innings of an 8-3 defeat. The Angels retired the final 11 batters for the Dodgers, who went hitless after the fifth inning.

Jun 24

State of L.A. baseball podcast

It’s a state we’d all alter, but in any event, here’s what Tony Jackson, Mark Saxon, Brian Kamenetzky and I had to say in our ESPNLosAngeles.com podcast about the Dodgers and Angels at (approximately) midseason.

* * *

  • Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley have each outhit the batters they have faced this year. David Golebiewski of Fangraphs looks at the phenomenon.
  • Mark Cuban’s potential as a baseball owner is the subject of Jayson Stark’s latest rumination at ESPN.com.
  • Farewell, Peter Falk.
Jun 23

Chris-cross: Comparing top draft picks for the Dodgers and Angels

As the Dodgers and Angels prepare to battle on the field for the first time this season, we can revisit an earlier pseudo-faceoff between the two clubs – the MLB draft.

Los Angeles and Los Angeles* drafted in succession, with the Dodgers using the 16th pick overall and the Angels the 17th. Both teams picked college juniors: Stanford pitcher Chris Reed to Chavez Ravine, Utah first baseman C.J. Cron to Anaheim.

The question of the day is this: Why did the Dodgers, an organization that needs offensive help, take the pitcher – a reliever at that – instead of the hitter. Cron certainly has his bona fides.

“A 6-foot-4, 235-pound right-handed slugger who can drive the ball but also sprays it to all fields and makes consistent contact, Cron from the beginning was in the bull’s-eye of Los Angeles scouting director Rik Wilson,” wrote Tom Singer and Jordan Garretson of MLB.com.

In 49 games, the first-team All-American had a .517 on-base percentage and .803 slugging percentage, with 15 walks and 31 walks compared to 21 strikeouts in 198 at-bats. The twist with Cron: Do the words “torn right labrum” scare you off?

“I played through it, because the doctor said I couldn’t do any more damage,” Cron told MLB.com. “It’s pretty painful when I throw, so something will have to be done eventually.”

Said Jason A. Churchill of ESPN.com: “Cron possesses perhaps the best power tool among college bats in the entire class. A natural catcher, Cron played first base this season due to a shoulder injury, but that is likely where he ends up as a pro. He makes a lot of contact, too, but doesn’t generally work the count all that much. He generates leverage and loft consistently and is believed to have a strong enough ability to hit for average that he’ll skate through the minors in a couple of seasons. The Halos need bats, and Cron gives them one.”

And this from Baseball America: “He doesn’t move well at first base and is a bottom-of-the-scale runner, but that’s all right because he’s the best all-around hitter in the country and should have no problem producing the numbers teams expect from a first baseman. Cron has the unique combination of pure hitting ability and power. He projects to be an above-average hitter and has legitimate 80 raw power on the 20-80 scale that translates into at least above-average usable power. He has great hand-eye coordination and the strength in his hands to drive good pitches for singles and doubles. He uses a good approach at the plate and makes adjustments well, so he should move quickly through a team’s system.”

However much they might or might not have been tempted by Cron, the Dodgers went with Reed, the reliever whom they project as a starting pitcher.

“Reed is listed at 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds,” said Baseball America, “but scouts say he has grown and gained strength from last year to this year. His fastball varies from 89-91 mph some nights to 92-94 on others, and he has touched 96. He’ll show a power slider and above-average changeup, but all of his stuff needs more consistency. That should come with experience. Reed has totaled just 68 innings at Stanford and has started only one game. His size, athleticism and three-pitch mix will tempt teams to give him a shot as a starter in pro ball.”

The Cleveland High grad finished his season with 52 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings, while allowing 39 hits (one home run) and walking 17.

“There’s big league ability here and his changeup and slider are his two best pitches,” Churchill said, “but this was a pick to make sure they landed a player with probability and signability, rather than upside.”

However, the final judge was Dodger assistant general manager of scouting Logan White, and don’t try telling White that Reed doesn’t have upside.

“I think this guy definitely can start,” White told Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com. “I think we got fortunate that the kid was pitched out of the bullpen. We were on him a long time. He hasn’t been seen a lot (by other clubs). He throws 92-95 (mph). … He is big and strong, 6-feet-5 and 215 (pounds). He has a hard slider, 86-88, and a sharp changeup as well.”

If anything, the signability issue might loom larger in White’s mind, with Reed being a Scott Boras client, but the man who lassoed Zach Lee a year ago isn’t lacking confidence.

“I would never say it’s a slam dunk, but I’m fairly confident about it,” White told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. “I think the kid really wants to play; he’s given us every indication that he wants to go play. He wants to start.

“Scott and I get along fine. I’ve had fine dialogue with the Boras Corp. I don’t have resentment from that standpoint. There’s always some concern. Like last year, I felt we would sign (Lee), but I couldn’t say 100 percent. This is the same way.”

White’s bias toward drafting pitchers in the first round is hard to ignore – this is the ninth time in the past 10 Dodger drafts that a pitcher has been the team’s first pick. It hasn’t always been successful, but Cron did not persuade White to break from the formula. Best-case scenario: Reed is competing with Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Rubby De La Rosa, Zach Lee, Garrett Gould, Nathan Eovaldi, Allen Webster and more for a spot in the Dodger rotation.

Jun 23

A new hope: Kemp joins Kershaw as light savior


Gary A. Vasquez/US PresswireMatt Kemp has been the most valuable offensive player in the NL in 2011, according to Fangraphs.

They are the two shining lights of the Los Angeles Dodgers, two high beams coming down the highway in blinding glory, belying the sputtering engine behind them.

Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw are the redemptive forces in a sinful year for the Dodgers. With respect to the speedy pleasures of Dee Gordon, the early season build of Andre Ethier’s hitting streak or the fleeting moments of glory for the other boys in white and blue (Hey, remember that time Jerry Sands doubled in his first at-bat? That was awesome), Kemp and Kershaw have been the sustaining forces for the masses.

With Kershaw, we expected no less. Ascending with blinding speed, the lefty has scarcely had his destiny challenged since he made his minor-league debut at age 18, outside some concern about his control that was easily pegged to his youth. Precocious in talent and work ethic, thoroughly grounded and determined, Kershaw just keeps blossoming, with 117 strikeouts and only 114 baserunners allowed in 107 1/3 innings this season. His ERA is at 3.01, with 12 of the 36 runs he has allowed in 2011 coming in twin pairs of sixth and seventh innings on in Cincinnati and Colorado — two blips preventing his ERA from settling in the low 2s.

Gary A. Vasquez/US PresswireClayton Kershaw leads the major leagues in strikeouts per nine innings.

Every start, Kershaw brings no-hit stuff, and twice in the past month he has nearly brought it home, before settling for two-hit shutouts. Always poised on the mound, Kershaw is the rare beacon of confidence in a Dodger world teeming with doubt.

Rare except for Kemp, who stands in contrast as someone whose raison d’etre has repeatedly been second-guessed. No matter what he did on the field for most of 2010, the question dogged him: ballplayer or imposter?

Kemp picked up the Bison nickname way back in his first week as a Dodger, though perhaps Baby Bison might have been more appropriate.  His obvious speed and strength immediately inspired people who nicknamed him, but anyone could also have anticipated that there would be growing pains on the prairie.

And yet, just as easy as the hurdles were to predict, so was the impatience. Let’s put this in perspective: Kemp made his major-league debut in 2006. For four seasons, his improvement was measurable. Even his 2010 season launched like a rocket with seven home runs in his first 14 games.

Whatever the reasons things went wrong for Kemp, 25 years old at the time, the widespread disgust with his performance from so many quarters outran even the Bison. Some of us look at struggling athletes and say, “This is what people go through, and the ones who are meant to conquer it will.” Others just say, “This shouldn’t happen – period.”

No one wants to rehash the whys and wherefores of last season — that’d would deck the halls with all the fun and good times of an unanesthetized root canal. The question was whether Kemp would or could do anything about it, a question that I wrote last fall was anything but simple:

… Everyone is expecting Kemp to be humble about a career that, until a few months ago, he has had every reason to take pride in. That might require more than an overnight adjustment. It might require trying harder, and then thinking you’ve got it, and then realizing you don’t, and then having to search – sincerely search – for new levels within yourself that aren’t immediately apparent.

Kemp, who has averaged more than 20 homers a year with a .285 batting average, who has had Gold Glove and Silver Slugger honors, two playoff appearances, a past income of more than $5 million and a guaranteed 2011 income of nearly $7 million, who came back and improved after disappointing finishes to his 2006 and 2008 seasons, is being told that’s not enough, not nearly. He’s being told that if he doesn’t improve in 2011, he will be a great disappointment, and if there’s any question about his effort, it will be nothing less than shameful. …

If Kemp were to say to himself – and I personally don’t think for a moment he is saying this to himself – “I have money, I have love, I have a good job and I have my health, and I have this all just by being who I already am, and even though I’m no longer the best, that’s all I need,” no one would think for a moment that this was a legitimate perspective, even though outside the world of competitive sports, it most certainly is. In sports, there’s no greater sin than unrealized potential. And yet in life, in real life, letting some of your potential go at a certain point can actually be a gift to yourself and your loved ones. …

As much as I wanted Kemp to rebound, I would have understood on a hits-close-to-home level if he hadn’t. But we needn’t have wondered.

Smaller guys like Jamey Carroll and Aaron Miles are typically called grinders, but Matt Kemp is nothing if not grinding. You can see it in the way he runs, the way he hits, even the way he holds himself back when he needs to. His spikes pulverize the dirt like engine pistons, his turbine power could light up 200,000 homes.

What’s better than a guy who makes you drop everything you’re doing to see what he’ll do next — and who constantly rewards you for the attention? That is Matt Kemp. His nearly homer-a-day performance on the Dodgers’ early June roadtrip was like a layer of Thompson’s Water Seal preventing any viewers from leaking away during his at-bats. The man came up to pinch-hit with a bad hamstring in the ninth inning and the Dodgers trailing 6-0 in Colorado — and you had to watch. And he delivered. His 20 homers and 21 steals in only 76 games — just extraordinary.

The respect and fear he has generated has only added to his momentum — intentional walks in the first inning, getting pitched around even if he’s the tying or winning run. To his credit, Kemp has made the most of this, reining in his swing when appropriate. I don’t suppose people buy tickets just to see maturity on display, but Kemp has put on a nightly revue.

It almost defies belief that the Dodgers might have their worst ballclub in two decades — yet could legitimately end up with the National League Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Awards. In some ways similar, in some ways so different, Kershaw and Kemp have kept the lights on at Dodger Stadium, guiding us through the fog.

Jun 22

Praise to Harley

  • Jonathan Broxton will eventually get the chance to be a closer again, reports Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com, but will not take on that role initially. I still say the longer the Dodgers can avoid assigning any one person to that role, the better. Broxton threw in the 94-97 mph range in his first rehab outing Tuesday.
  • Jerry Crasnick pays more than lip service to the notion of expanding rosters to 26 players – he provides all-points opus with pro and con arguments on the subject at ESPN.com.
  • I enjoyed this piece on former Dodger pitcher Guillermo Mota by Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles.
  • He’s just there, not being especially terrible. That doesn’t have a ton of value — it’s called replacement level because the idea is that you can find an equally capable pitcher by trolling the waiver wire — but after 81 games as a Giant, I realized that I’ve never thanked Mota for not being Wayne Franklin, Waldis Joaquin, Merkin Valdez, or Osiris Matos. He’s not Vinnie Chulk, Erick Threets, or Randy Messenger. He’s not Billy Sadler, nor Brandon Medders. He’s not even Al Levine.

    He’s just Guillermo Mota. Which is to say, just a reliever. He comes in a yellow box with “RELIEVER” written in black lettering on the front. He’s not bad. He’s not good. He just is. By definition, that doesn’t have a lot of value — but he could be a punchline, an anecdote, a pitcher you tell your kids about so they’ll go to sleep quicker. I’m glad he’s not.

  • Kenny Shulsen of Lasorda’s Lair posted video of Dodger prospect James Baldwin III.
Jun 22

Homer-field disadvantage sinks Lilly, Dodgers

Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesMagglio Ordonez is greeted by Victor Martinez after Ordonez’s two-run home run in the second inning, one of four round-trippers by Detroit today.

Going into today’s game, here were Ted Lilly’s day and night splits for 2011:

Day: .379 on-base percentage, .566 slugging percentage, .945 OPS
Night: .284 on-base percentage, .389 slugging percentage, .683 OPS

That was before Lilly gave up three home runs in the Dodgers’ 7-5 loss to Detroit today, ending Los Angeles’ three-game winning streak. In short, Lilly in the daytime this year has practically been like facing a lineup of nine Matt Kemps.

Last year, the day/night OPS difference for Lilly was .796/.640. Should the Dodgers start keeping Lilly out of day games? That split hasn’t been consistent over the course of his entire career, so maybe it should just be ignored, but it does have me wondering.

The Dodger offense tried to overcome the troubles of Lilly and Matt Guerrier, who got a quick hook after allowing the Tigers’ fourth homer and a single to start the eighth inning. They had their five runs and needed at least two more in the ninth inning when, with one out, Andre Ethier singled and Matt Kemp (triple, two singles, two walks, one steal) got a base on balls. James Loney’s third hit of the day loaded the bases.

Don Mattingly then did perhaps the one thing that has been most vexing about him this year — use his pinch-hitters in frustrating fashion. Instead of saving Casey Blake to bat for Dioner Navarro, Mattingly had Blake bat for Dee Gordon. No matter how raw the rookie is, I don’t know how you could think at this point that Navarro is a better bat — plus, by sending Blake up with one out, Mattingly almost infinitely increased the possibility of a game-ending double play.

Right or wrong, Mattingly watched Blake strike out and Navarro (who also left the bases loaded in the fifth inning) drove one deep to center that Austin Jackson had to run back to catch before hitting the wall. It was a well-hit ball, but with that out went the tenuous momentum the Dodgers had built for the previous three days.

Jun 22

How ‘The Bad News Bears’ almost won

Josh Wilker (yes, I do mean Wilker this time) has been doing a lot of retrospection on “The Bad News Bears” in support of his new book (which I read last weekend and quite enjoyed). Today, he writes insightfully about the Toby Whitewood character, and in the process links to a conversation with actor David Stambaugh from last year at The Hollywood Interview. It’s all really interesting stuff for fans of the original movie, but here’s the big reveal, from my perspective:

“For a long time,” Stambaugh says, “we didn’t know how the movie would end, because they actually filmed the last play of the big game both ways. The one they used has Kelly (Jackie Earl Haley) getting tagged out, but they also shot footage of an extra man on base, Kelly making his home run, and the Bears winning the game. Michael Ritchie took some of us out to dinner a few days before the premiere, and that’s when he told us what had been decided. I think we were all pretty happy about it. It seemed like the more authentic ending.”

* * *

  • Jamey Carroll gave a lengthy interview to Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors.
  • Dodger minor leaguer Scott Van Slyke was named most valuable player of the Southern League All-Star Game. He drove in the game’s first run with a single before stealing second and scoring, and later doubled and scored a second run. This season, Van Slyke has 22 doubles in 225 at-bats, a .408 on-base percentage and .516 slugging percentage.
  • Update: Bryan Stow’s condition has been upgraded from critical to serious, reports The Associated Press. “Doctors there said Wednesday that Stow is now breathing without a ventilator and has been able to intermittently follow some basic commands.”
Jun 21

Kemp has 20-20 vision, Kuo looks perfect in Dodgers’ third-straight win

Gary A. Vasquez/US PresswireIn his first at-bat since returning to Los Angeles, A.J. Ellis drives in the Dodgers’ first run.

The third feel-good three-game winning streak for the Dodgers is here, with these highlights coming from a 6-1 victory over Detroit:

  • Hong-Chih Kuo returning to action for the first time since May 9 and throwing a nine-pitch perfect inning.
  • Matt Kemp stealing two bases to reach 20 homers and 20 steals in his 75th game this season.
  • A Dodger offense that gave Detroit starter Max Scherzer fits, with six runs on 11 baserunners in six innings.
  • A.J. Ellis reaching base twice in his first start since April, raising his season on-base percentage to .435.
  • Two times on base each as well for James Loney, Aaron Miles, Juan Uribe and Tony Gwynn Jr.
  • Andre Ethier hitting his seventh home run of the year, on a 3-0 pitch.
  • Back-to-back RBI doubles by Trent Oeltjen and Dee Gordon.
  • Chad Billingsley allowing one run in his first five innings, before running into trouble in the sixth.
  • Mike MacDougal overcoming us cynics by inducing a double play with the bases loaded in relief of Billingsley.
  • The Dodgers’ ERA this week: 0.33 so far, with one run, 12 hits and six walks against 28 strikeouts in 27 innings.
  • For the second night in a row, a Dodger pitcher (Blake Hawksworth) struck out the side in the ninth.
  • Up in San Francisco, the Giants giving up eight runs before getting their second out of the game in a 9-2 loss to Minnesota.

The Dodgers will go for their first three-game sweep of a series and four-game winning streak of the season Wednesday afternoon.

Jun 21

Roll out the barrel

Josh Fisher continues his parsing of the McCourt empire at Dodger Divorce, with the emphasis in today’s piece on whether, by having subdivided the Dodgers’ revenue-generation machine into myriad entities, Frank McCourt has Bud Selig over a barrel even if MLB seizes the team.

Should McCourt win out on these issues, it would dramatically devalue the team itself, if a new owner were buying it without the revenue generators intact. But no new owner would want to buy the Dodgers without the ability to reap the profits.

Please take the following in the spirit of thinking out loud rather than saying anything definitive, but my reaction is that, as fascinating as this is, this all comes down to the fate of the lawsuit we all expect is coming. The entire dispute stands on whether or not MLB can define what’s allowed and what isn’t. My legal opinion isn’t worth spit, but I find it hard to believe that the courts would rule that MLB is in the right, yet not allow MLB to reap the benefit of that ruling because of McCourt’s shenanigans.

Yes, MLB might have approved the shenanigans, but for that matter, it also approved McCourt’s purchase of the team. Both approvals were rendered with the understanding that MLB would have the last word on operations of the Dodger franchise.

Otherwise, the other 29 owners would be permitted to simply stash any and all parts of their teams in newly formed companies, and be able to flaunt the rules as they see fit – even if MLB won the case. (Or, I suppose, MLB could specifically bar this practice going forward, but still, you get the idea.)

My sense is that MLB and Selig would not be entering this fight with McCourt if they were not confident of conquering this particular set of challenges, but all we can do is wait to see how it pans out.

* * *

  • Chad Billingsley’s curveball has been flatter during his slump, says Zack Singer of ESPN Stats & Info.
  • It might be fruitless, but there’s a petition to get Vin Scully on the air during the postseason for Fox (via Big League Stew).
  • Billy DeLury, the second-longest-tenured Dodger employee after Scully, is the subject of a nice interview by Evan Bladh at Opinion of Kingman’s Performance.
  • Mark Cuban appeared on TMZ today and at once displayed more interest in buying the Dodgers and more wariness than I’ve heard him offer before. As Cuban notes, all this speculation is premature — there is no timetable for the team being put on sale yet.
  • Christopher Jackson of Albuquerque Baseball Examiner writes about the long road for pitcher Randy Keisler.
Jun 20

Kershaw outdoes himself again, 4-0


Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesClayton Kershaw

That blankety-blank Clayton Kershaw – and I mean that in a good way.

As in, that Clayton Kershaw blankety-blanked the Detroit Tigers tonight, 4-0, for his second two-hit shutout in the past three weeks and, in his 99th career start, the top performance of his career.

On May 29, Kershaw struck out 10 in his 116-pitch two-hitter of Florida. Tonight, Kershaw struck out 11 members of one of the better offenses in baseball – including all three batters in the ninth inning – to complete his 112-pitch outing. The 23-year-old leads the majors in strikeouts with 117.

Kershaw faced only 29 batters in the game – with a tip of the cap to Dioner Navarro’s perfect pickoff of Ryan Raburn at third base in the third inning – matching Sandy Koufax in Game 5 of the 1965 World Series for the quickest shutout and quickest victory over an American League team in Dodger history, regular season and postseason.

Kershaw also gave himself some breathing room in the bottom of the eighth with a two-out, two-run single to double the Dodger lead. Combined with his third-inning walk, Kershaw raised his 2011 on-base percentage to .333 – better than opponents are doing against him this year.

Since the bumpy blown leads of Cincinnati and Colorado, Kershaw has pitched 16 innings and allowed one run on six hits and three walks while striking out 15. And the Dodgers have thrown back-to-back shutouts, reducing their deficit in the National League West to seven games,

The game-winning RBI went to Juan Uribe, batting second tonight ahead of Andre Ethier as manager Don Mattingly tries to jump-start his season. Uribe didn’t see many fastballs in his first trip to the plate but belted a 3-2 changeup from Brad Penny for his fourth homer of the year and first in more than 100 at-bats since April 29.

Update: The following is from ESPN Stats and Information:

How Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw dominated the Tigers:
- Kershaw went to his slider as his out pitch. He threw 21 sliders for the game, 16 of which came with two strikes. All 12 outs he got on his slider came with two strikes, including a career-best 10 strikeouts (all swinging).
- Tigers hitters couldn’t lay off his slider. They swung at 17 of the 21 (81 pct) he threw, including 14 of 16 (87.5 pct) with two strikes. No Kershaw opponent has swung more often at his slider in his career (min 3 sliders).
- Kershaw had good command of his slider, keeping it primarily down in the zone. He threw 10 sliders down in the zone, all with two strikes. Tigers hitters swung at eight of them and missed on seven.

Clayton Kershaw’s Slider
Monday vs Tigers

Pitches 21
Swings 17
Misses 11<<
Hits 0
>>10 strikeouts (career high)

From Elias:
Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw two-hit the Tigers in a 4-0 win, posting his third career shutout. Kershaw finished his shutout in style by striking out the side in the 9th. According to Elias, the last Dodgers starter to finish a shutout by striking out the side in the 9th was Sandy Koufax in his perfect game on Sept. 9, 1965 against the Cubs.

Kershaw’s performance Monday tied him for the second-highest game score this season.

Highest Game Score – 2011 Season
June 14 Justin Verlander 94
Monday Clayton Kershaw 93<<
May 22 James Shields 93
May 29 Clayton Kershaw 92
Apr. 14 Cliff Lee 92
>>Kershaw: career best

It also ties for the fifth-highest ever in interleague play (behind a perfecto, a no-no, and a pair of 1-hitters).

Highest Game Score, interleague play (all-time)
David Cone, NYY 07/18/99 vs MTL 97 (PG)
Justin Verlander, DET 06/12/07 vs MIL 95 (NH)
Chris Carpenter, STL 06/14/05 at TOR 94
Mark Mulder, OAK 07/06/01 at ARI 94
Clayton Kershaw, LAD 06/20/11 vs DET 93
James Shields, TB 05/22/11 at FLA 93
Pedro Martinez, MTL 06/14/97 vs DET 93

Jun 20

Kershaw XCIX: Kershawl the President’s Men

Bob Timmermann writes at Native Intelligence about the upcoming Society for American Baseball Research convention in Long Beach.

Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness explores what Matt Kemp might be worth in his next contract.

Jun 20

MLB rejects Fox deal, McCourt ownership on precipice

Major League Baseball is standing its ground against the McCourt ownership of the Dodgers, rejecting the proposed Fox television rights deal for the Dodgers and rendering Friday’s divorce settlement between Frank and Jamie McCourt void.

It would seem all signs point to MLB seizing control of the Dodgers (pending the completion of Tom Schieffer’s investigation and/or McCourt failing to make the June 30 team payroll) and McCourt suing the sport. However, the next milestone could be as soon as Thursday, the day Judge Scott Gordon of Los Angeles Superior Court was scheduled to hear arguments from Jamie McCourt’s representatives on whether to order the immediate sale of the Dodgers. The divorce settlement had rendered that hearing moot, but with the settlement itself nullified, the question now is whether that hearing will take place after all.

The fight between Frank McCourt and MLB could be long and bruising, but for you bottom-liners out there, the McCourt ownership could be in suspension by the end of next week.

Update: Molly Knight of ESPN the Magazine talked to ESPN AM 710 about the latest.

Update 2: From the updated news story …

Jamie McCourt had requested that the courts demand an immediate sale of the Dodgers. She had rescinded that request as part of the settlement. Sources tell ESPN The Magazine’s Molly Knight that she had wanted a more global settlement that did not rely on the Fox deal being approved by Selig because she is ready to move on from this nasty, nearly two year legal battle. A spokesman declined to say whether she will go back into court an request a Dodgers sale.

Update 3: “We are extremely disappointed with the Commissioner’s rejection of the proposed FOX transaction which would inject $235 million into the Los Angeles Dodgers,” said Steve Susman, senior partner of Susman Godfrey in a statement, waxing proudly about the dollar figure while of course ignoring the fact that there’s another $150 million up front from Fox that wouldn’t be injected into the Dodgers. Here’s the rest of his statement:

“As Commissioner Selig well knows, this transaction would make the Dodgers financially secure for the long term and one of the best capitalized teams in Major League Baseball.

“For weeks Major League Baseball has consistently made public pronouncements asserting that Jamie McCourt’s agreement of the Fox transaction also was needed; that the Court adjudicating the McCourt divorce grant its approval of the transaction; and the Dodger organization provide all data requested by Major League Baseball to satisfy the so-called investigation ordered by Commissioner Selig last April – the latter also being the excuse he gave at that time for delaying his approval of the proposed Fox transaction.

“All the requirements for the Commissioner to approve the Fox transaction were put in place by last Friday: Frank and Jamie McCourt entered into an agreement based on the proposed transaction; the Court ordered, among other things, that the Fox transaction is “in the best interest of the Los Angeles Dodgers and should be consummated immediately;” and all information requested by Major League Baseball under its so-called investigation has been provided by the Dodgers.

“Commissioner Selig’s letter of rejection is not only a disappointment, but worse, is potentially destructive to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Major League Baseball. Accordingly, we plan to explore vigorously our options and remedies with respect to Commissioner Selig’s rejection of the proposed Fox transaction and our commitment to protect the long-term best interests of the Los Angeles Dodgers.”

Jun 19

Lose on Sunday? Never


Alex Gallardo/APWinning streak: Javy Guerra celebrates the Dodgers fourth consecutive Sunday win.

Hiroki Kuroda – seven shutout innings, lowering his ERA to a team-best 3.07. Yep.

Dioner Navarro, game-winning homer in the bottom of the eighth inning … huh?

Some might not call it a rout, but all I know is the Dodgers scored infinitely more runs than Houston today. How much more one-sided can things get?

If you can believe it, the Dodgers have gained 1 1/2 games on first-place San Francisco in the National League West standings in the past four days. Strange journey.