Jul 15

Rivera, Kemp power Dodgers

Juan Rivera homered on his first pitch as a Dodger, Matt Kemp threw out a runner at the plate, hit his 23rd homer and drove in four runs, and Clayton Kershaw allowed no earned runs over seven innings.

Yet thanks to a Juan Uribe error that paved the way for four unearned runs off Kershaw in the bottom of the seventh (including a three-run homer to deep center by Xavier Nady), the Dodgers had to sweat out a 6-4 victory.

The error effectively cost the Dodgers their fourth shutout in their past five games.

Hong-Chih Kuo started the ninth and was in position to become the eighth Dodger to get a save this year, but the final out ended up going to Javy Guerra (with the tying run on first base) on a called strike three. By the way, the Dodger team record is 11 pitchers with a save in a single season, last achieved in 1979.

The Dodgers have won five in a row, but all that’s done is get them to 11 games out of first place in the National League West, with a half-game drop imminent because San Francisco is romping over San Diego.

Jul 13

The Dodger Thoughts Grain of Salt Midseason Minor-League All-Stars


Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesGarrett Gould

This is a pretty quick-and-dirty post and doesn’t incorporate any scouting reports. It’s, like, kind of a top prospect watch, but from Mars.

Catcher
Gorman Erickson, 23
.408 OBP/.491 slugging/.899 OPS in 273 plate appearances at Single-A Rancho Cucamonga
.222/.400/.622 in 35 PA at Double-A Chattanooga

Backup: Steve Domecus, 24
.424/.490/.914 in 118 PA at Single-A Great Lakes

First base
Scott Van Slyke, 25 on July 24
.408/.528/.936 in 331 PA at Chattanooga

Backup: Chris Jacobs, 23 in November
.403/.482/.885 in 134 PA at Great Lakes

Second base
Jaime Pedroza, 25 in September
.373/.412/.784 in 268 PA at Chattanooga

Backup: Alexis Aguilar, 20
.327/.510/.837 in 52 PA at Rookie-level Ogden

Shortstop
Dee Gordon, 23
.371/.410/.781 in 249 PA at Triple-A Albuquerque with 24 steals in 27 attempts
.250/.280/.530 in 85 PA at Los Angeles with nine steals in 12 attempts

Backup: Jake Lemmerman, 22
.383/.446/.829 in 362 PA at Rancho Cucamonga

Third base
Travis Denker, 26 in August
.352/.548/.900 in 230 PA at Rancho Cucamonga
.380/.557/.937 in 79 PA at Chattanooga

Backup: Tony Delmonico, 24
.389/.448/.837 in 289 PA at Rancho Cucamonga

Outfield
Jerry Sands, 24 in September
.392/.650/1.042 in 189 PA at Albuquerque
.294/.328/.622 in 144 PA at Los Angeles

Trayvon Robinson, 24 in September
.377/.561/.937 in 353 PA at Albuquerque

James Baldwin, 20 in October
.383/.574/.957 in 60 PA at Ogden, nine steals in 10 attempts

Backup: Alfredo Silverio, 24
.338/.566/.905 in 346 PA at Chattanooga

Backup: Angelo Songco, 23 in September
.343/.501/.844 in 382 PA at Rancho Cucamonga

Backup: Scott Schebler, 21 in October
.377/.647/1.024 in 109 PA at Ogden

Starting pitcher
Nathan Eovaldi, 21
2.62 ERA, 9.7 K/9, 1.105 WHIP in 82 1/3 IP at Chattanooga

Garrett Gould, 20 on July 19
2.17 ERA, 8.1 K/9, 1.084 WHIP in 91 1/3 IP at Great Lakes

Zach Lee, 20 in September
3.32 ERA, 7.9 K/9, 1.231 WHIP in 65 IP at Great Lakes

Allen Webster, 21
2.33 ERA, 10.3 K/9, 1.241 WHIP in 54 IP at Rancho Cucamonga
3.69 ERA, 5.8 K/9, 1.165 WHIP in 46 1/3 IP at Chattanooga

Red Patterson, 24
3.43 ERA, 8.7 K/9, 1.107 WHIP in 81 1/3 IP at Great Lakes
3.60 ERA, 8.6 K/9, 1.100 WHIP in 20 IP at Rancho Cucamonga

Relief pitcher
Shawn Tolleson, 23
0.00 ERA, 19.8 K/9, 0.800 WHIP in 15 IP at Great Lakes
0.93 ERA, 15.8 K/9, 0.517 WHIP in 9 2/3 IP at Rancho Cucamonga
1.29 ERA, 10.7 K/9, 1.143 WHIP in 21 IP at Chattanooga

Steven Ames, 23
1.17 ERA, 16.4 K/9, 0.783 WHIP in 15 1/3 IP at Rancho Cucamonga
1.65 ERA, 9.4 K/9, 1.163 WHIP in 16 1/3 IP at Chattanooga

Josh Lindblom, 24
2.43 ERA, 11.3 K/9, 1.170 WHIP in 33 1/3 IP at Albuquerque
1.69 ERA, 4.2 K/9, 1.031 WHIP in 10 2/3 IP at Los Angeles

Cole St. Clair, 25 on July 30
0.79 ERA, 8.2 K/9, 0.735 WHIP in 34 IP at Chatanooga

Logan Bawcom, 23 in November
2.78 ERA, 11.1 K/9, 1.081 WHIP in 45 1/3 IP at Great Lakes

Others of note
SS: Delvis Morales, 21 in August
.400/.453/.853 in 74 PA at Arizona Rookie League

3B: Jeffrey Hunt, 20
.393/.529/.922 in 56 PA at Rookie-level Ogden

OF: Joseph Winker, 22 in August
.463/.552/1.014 in 68 PA at Arizona Rookie League

OF: Blake Smith, 24 in December
.342/.516/.858 in 278 PA at Rancho Cucamonga

OF: Kyle Russell, 25
.343/.522/.865 in 338 PA at Chattanooga, with 105 strikeouts

OF: Devin Shines, 22
.405/.563/.968 in 81 PA at Arizona Rookie League

SP: Jon Michael Redding, 24 in November
3.42 ERA, 8.0 K/9, 1.468 WHIP in 79 IP at Rancho Cucamonga

SP: Dana Eveland, 28 in October
3.77 ERA, 6.3 K/9, 1.362 WHIP in 105 IP at Albuquerque

SP: Victor Araujo, 22 in November
2.64 ERA, 10.0 K/9, 1.141 WHIP in 30 2/3 IP at Rookie Dominican Summer League

RP: Steven Matre, 23
1.50 ERA, 15.0 K/9, 1.083 WHIP in 12 IP at Ogden, one walk

Jul 13

2011 Emmy preview

With the Emmy nominations coming Thursday morning and no Dodger game until Friday night, I’ve been trying to predict, for my own entertainment, which drama and comedy series will get 2011 Emmy nominations.

The comedy field might even be more crowded than the drama field this year, reversing recent trends. Here are some top contenders:

Comedy
“30 Rock” (a perennial)
“The Big Bang Theory” (last year’s most surprising omission)
“The Big C” (the hot new Showtime show often gets a long look)
“Community” (also beloved but perhaps only a cult favorite)
“Glee” (polarizing show creatively, but a nominee last year)
“Louie” (deserving but probably too narrow an audience)
“Raising Hope” (the best of a poor year for new broadcast comedies)
“Parks and Recreation” (critically beloved — this should be its year)
“Modern Family” (defending champ)
“Nurse Jackie” (nominated last year)
“The Office” (another perennnial: not as consistent as in past years, but its good episodes were great)

Drama
“Boardwalk Empire” (high-profile new HBO show, generally considered a success)
“Dexter” (nominated the past three years)
“Friday Night Lights” (still a longshot, but broke through with acting nominations last year)
“Game of Thrones” (fans are even more passionate about this HBO show)
“The Good Wife” (top broadcast network candidate)
“Justified” (critically beloved and represents FX well)
“The Killing” (hotly disputed finale might have left bad taste for some voters)
“Mad Men” (perennial that should have no trouble with “Breaking Bad” off the air this past year)
“Men of a Certain Age” (has its fans, but maybe not enough)
“The Walking Dead” (nominated for Golden Globe last winter, but it’s been off the air since early December)
“True Blood” (nominated last year, but probably fades away)

My personal favorites (not predictions):
Comedy: “Bored to Death,” “Community,” “Louie,” “Modern Family,” “The Office,” “Parks and Recreation,” though I wouldn’t complain if “The Big Bang Theory” got in.
Drama: “Boardwalk Empire,” “Friday Night Lights,” “Justified,” “Mad Men,” “Terriers,” “Treme”

You can see Variety’s Emmy preview coverage here.

I’ll be in the office at Variety at dawn to help start our Emmy news coverage — make sure you stop by — then will be heading over later in the morning to the Variety Sports Entertainment Summit, which ends with a “Moneyball” panel at 5:05 p.m.

Jul 13

Going deep with ‘Moneyball’

Morning briefing …

Dave McNary of Variety has an in-depth look at the development and prospects of upcoming film “Moneyball,” which hits theaters in about two months.

You know about Roger Owens, but Steve Lopez of the Times profiles another longtime Dodger Stadium peanut vendor, Ronnie Nelsen.

This post is dedicated to actor Roberts Blossom, who passed away Friday. Blossom was featured in one of my favorite episodes of television ever, the “Cicely” episode of “Northern Exposure.”

Jul 12

Dodgers send Thames up the Rivera


Mark Goldman/Icon SMIJuan Rivera has a .700 OPS in 730 plate appearances over this season and last, but he’s been better against lefties.

In a less-than-inspirational exchange, the Dodgers have acquired outfielder Juan Rivera from Toronto, plus cash, in exchange for a player to be named later or cash (presumably if the organizations can’t agree on the player).

In a separate but related move, the Dodgers designated Marcus Thames for assignment. Here’s more from my news story:

Rivera, who turned 33 last week, was batting .243 with six homers and 28 RBIs in 275 plate appearances this season. He had a .305 on-base percentage and .360 slugging percentage for the Blue Jays after coming to Toronto from the Los Angeles Angels in the January trade that sent Vernon Wells west. The year before, Rivera had a .312 OBP and .409 slugging for the Angels in 455 plate appearances.

He is in the final year of a three-year, $12.75 million deal, making $5.25 million this year.

The 34-year-old Thames, who signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Dodgers the same week as Rivera went to Toronto, was hitting .197 with two homers and seven RBIs with the Dodgers over 70 plate appearances in an injury-marred season that showed him ill-suited to play in the field. He had a .243 OBP and .333 slugging after posting .350/.491 numbers with the New York Yankees in 2010, playing the majority of the time as a designated hitter.

Rivera will join a left-field mix with the struggling Dodgers that includes Tony Gwynn Jr., Trent Oeltjen and Eugenio Velez, with Jerry Sands and Trayvon Robinson in the minors.

Dodger left fielders have two home runs and a .618 OPS this season, the worst in the National League.

There will be a lot of panic in some parts about whom the player to be named later might be, though I don’t have much fear on this front that it will be a significant prospect. And the cash from Toronto should cover a good part of what Rivera is owed this season.

So, this seems mostly to be a concession that Thames can’t hack it as a National League, non-designated hitter, whereas Rivera might fill the Thames’ role and contribute in the field a little.

At the same time, Rivera is pretty clearly a player in decline offensively — much more than Thames was going into this season — so I get no joy out of seeing him taking up space on the roster on the odd chance that he’ll bash a homer against a lefty once in a while.  (Rivera has two home runs and a .909 OPS in 65 plate appearances against lefties this season.)

Of course, the Dodgers are still carrying Eugenio Velez, but that’s another story.

Clearly, Ned Colletti hasn’t quite given up on the divisional race, though this hardly means he’s gone all in.

Jul 11

Sorrowful first half for Dodgers yielded surprising number of highlights


Al Behrman/APMatt Kemp hit two home runs to lead the Dodgers’ June 4 comeback in Cincinnati.

It wasn’t all bad, not nearly.

In fact, it took me aback to see, amid the wreckage of the 41-51 start to this season, how many good times the Dodgers have given us. A sample of the highlights is below … followed by a healthy sample of the lowlights, just to keep things in fair perspective.

Highlights

Kershaw strikes at heart of Giants, 2-1

(March 31)  Clayton Kershaw shuts out the Giants on Opening Day for seven innings. Matt Kemp, setting the stage for his banner season, walks three times and scores the Dodgers’ first run by drawing an errant pickoff throw at third base from Buster Posey and the second on an RBI double by James Loney (belying his cold start to the season). Hong-Chih Kuo and Jonathan Broxton (weathering a home run by Pat Burrell) close it out.

Dodgers survive and advance, 7-5

(April 3) I’m gonna call this “The Aubrey Huff Game” and see if that triggers the memories for you.

Tony Gwynn Jr. lifts Dodgers to opening victory in San Diego

(April 8-9) Completing a game that had been suspended at 1:40 a.m. in the midst of a fourth rain delay that had left the score tied 2-2 in the ninth inning, the Dodgers won, 4-2, with Tony Gwynn Jr. getting the game-winning RBI on a single with two out in the top of the 11th, driving in Juan Uribe. In the regularly scheduled game, Hiroki Kuroda pitched 8 2/3 shutout innings as the Dodgers won, 4-0.

Dodgers, Giants come together on field in exceptional ceremony

(April 11) “Monday night’s pregame ceremony by the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers against fan violence, part of a concerted response to the horrible beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow on March 31, was unprecedented but wonderfully rendered.” The Dodgers won that night’s game, 6-1.

Dodgers give Cubs walking pneumonia in 12-2 victory

(April 22) The Dodgers forced 10 walks and 230 pitches from the Cubs, improving Los Angeles’ record to 11-10.

Ethier’s heroics complete Dodgers’ comeback, 5-4

(April 27) A three-run home run by Rod Barajas and a 10th-inning homer by Andre Ethier, who earlier in the day extended his hitting streak to 24 games, helped the Dodgers rally from a 4-0 deficit.

Ethier rushes to 30, but Dodgers tackled in end zone

(May 6) With the losses mounting for the Dodgers, including this night’s 6-3 loss to the Mets, the Dodgers and their fans take solace in Ethier extending his hitting streak to 30 games, second-longest in Dodger history.

Dodgers keep knocking, White Sox let them in

(May 20) Russ Mitchell is batting .132 in his major-league career, but one of his nine hits was a ninth-inning, two-out, game-tying homer in Chicago that opened the door for a 6-4 extra-inning victory over the White Sox.

Rookies shine in Dodgers’ 5-4 victory

(May 24) With the third inning extended by a Houston error, Jerry Sands hit a no-doubter blast to center field for his first career grand slam. Rubby De La Rosa struck out two of three batters in a perfect eighth-inning major league debut, and fellow rookie Javy Guerra weathered a long foul ball by Bill Hall to close in the ninth for his first career save and a 5-4 Dodger victory.

Whooosh – there it is: Kershaw, Dodgers blow out Marlins

(May 29) Kershaw pitches the first of two two-hit shutouts this season, walking one and striking out 10 in an 8-0 win over Florida.

Majestic Bison and the Bisonettes rescue Dodgers, 11-8

(June 4) Kemp hit a solo homer and a grand slam in back-to-back innings, and the Dodgers came back from a 6-1 deficit and ultimately won in 11 innings.

Matt Slocum/APDee Gordon brought a spark, even if he mostly struggled with the bat.

Be wary, be excited, be both

(June 7) Dee Gordon has hits in his first three major-league at-bats, and De La Rosa survives his first major-league start in a 6-2 Dodger victory.

It just doesn’t Matt-er … it just doesn’t Matt-er

(June 10) As losses go, it was pretty incredible. Kemp’s season became even more legendary with a pinch-hit ninth-inning home run despite hamstring tightness, and Los Angeles scored five in the inning before losing, 6-5.

Kershaw outdoes himself again, 4-0

(June 20) Kershaw’s second two-hit shutout topped his first: 11 strikeouts, including all three batters in the ninth inning, and only 29 batters faced in the game.

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

(June 21) Kemp reaches 20 homers and 20 steals in the Dodgers’ 75th game of the season.

Dodgers opposite of bankrupt in 15-0 romp

(June 27) 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.

Dee Gordon steals second, (third), home and the show

(July 1) A few days later, you could remove the parentheses: An official scorer’s change made Gordon the first Dodger since 1928 to steal his way around the bases in one inning. It came on a night the redoubtable Kuroda pitched seven shutout innings in a 5-0 victory over the Angels.

No hits until the ninth – and suddenly, a Dodger victory

No-hit for 8 2/3 innings, the Dodgers got back-to-back hits by Uribe and Dioner Navarro for their third straight shutout victory, 1-0. The Dodgers had three consecutive shutouts for the first time since 1991. The following day brings the team’s first series sweep and four-game winning streak of the season.


Jed Jacobsohn/Getty ImagesRafael Furcal hurt his thumb on this fifth-inning slide.

Lowlights

An inexcusable act at Dodger Stadium

(March 31) The absolute nightmare: “Los Angeles police are looking for two men who beat and critically injured a San Francisco Giants fan in the Dodger Stadium parking lot after the opening day game.”

Ooof: 10-0

(April 2) A 10-0 loss to the Giants ended, as Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com noted, with catcher A.J. Ellis warming up in the bullpen for a potential relief outing.

Broken thumb will send Rafael Furcal to disabled list

(April 11) Let the injury train roll: Rafael Furcal broke his thumb tonight sliding hand-first into third base.

An 11-2 pounding adds to doubt: How much has really changed?

(April 15) This was actually the fourth game of a five-game losing streak in San Francisco and St. Louis. In the last three of those games, the Dodgers allowed 29 runs.

MLB takes over operations of Dodgers

(April 20) It’s not that this wasn’t good news per se, but the fact that it had to happen was pretty sad. And then, of course, the story turned about to be much more nuanced than that headline.

Dodgers out-rallied in 10-8 loss to Cubs

(April 23) The Dodgers stormed back from a 5-1 deficit to an 8-5 lead today in Chicago, before previously unscored-upon reliever Matt Guerrier allowed five smackers in the bottom of the eighth for a 10-8 Dodger loss.

Gus Ruelas/APJonathan Broxton leaves the field for the last time for some time.

Sure Broxton isn’t injured? Reliever looks all wrong in Dodger loss

(May 3) Broxton looks terrible as a 1-1 ninth-inning tie turns into a 4-1 Dodger defeat. He has been on the sidelines since.

Ethier’s streak ends at 30 as late-inning tie turns into Dodger loss

(May 7) New York broke a tie with two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, and Ethier watched Los Angeles go quietly in the ninth after going 0 for 4 with a walk, and so the only streak of note extended this night was the Dodgers’ losing streak to four with a 4-2 defeat.

Carroll takes blame as Billingsley’s stellar effort goes for naught

(May 14) Chad Billingsley went eight innings, allowed two walks, one hit and no earned runs while striking out eight and still took a 1-0 loss to Arizona. The run came across in the second inning on a Melvin Mora sacrifice fly after a Stephen Drew double and a throwing error charged to Billingsley on a pickoff attempt – that Jamey Carroll gamely took responsibility for.

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em

(May 28) Part of Dodger Stadium catches on fire, and there’s no worries about finding empty seats to move the affected fans to. Oh, and Los Angeles loses to Florida, 6-1.

Dodgers give one back on Kemp’s glorious night

(June 9) Kemp homered, tripled in two runs and doubled as the Dodgers took a 7-3 into the seventh inning in Colorado. But the Dodgers gave back their rousing comeback victory in Cincinnati from five days before, blowing the four-run lead and losing to the Rockies, 9-7. The defeat sent the Dodgers into last place in the National League West.

Slumping Billingsley adds to Dodger woes

(June 15) He has since snapped out of it, but Billingsley’s three-game, 11.19 ERA slump, culminating in a 7-2 home loss to the Reds, was unfortunate to say the least.

Dodgers calling out all Angels on basepaths but lose

(June 24) The Dodgers threw out six Angel baserunners – and still managed to lose by five.

McCourt takes Dodgers into bankruptcy filing

(June 27) Oh yeah, there was this.

Dodgers can’t overcome Lilly’s struggles in 6-4 loss

(June 28) Ted Lilly puts the Dodgers in a 4-1 hole at Minnesota, the Dodgers rally to tie, and then Lilly gives up two more runs – the 16th and 17th earned runs the lefty had allowed in his past 14 2/3 innings.

No-hit threat met with regret

(July 4) De La Rosa takes a no-hitter into the sixth inning, but the Dodgers end up losing to the Mets on Independence Day, 5-2.

Jul 10

Curb Your Dodger Enthusiasm


Courtesy HBOLarry David (Larry David) and Marty Funkhouser (Bob Einstein) in Dodger Stadium.

In the alternate universe that is Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” let’s just say there is some Dodger content in tonight’s season premiere that would be considerably more amusing than the reality we’re in. Sure, it’s unrealistic, but who wants realism in this case?

Let’s see if this episode ends up in court.

Jul 10

Step 1: Sweep the Padres


Gus Ruelas/APTony Gwynn Jr. scores the Dodgers’ first run as Padres third baseman Chase Headley throws the ball away.

It’s a small step no matter how you look at it – back toward the division race, or away from the rebuilding that need take place – but it’s a step nonetheless.

Andre Ethier hit two home runs, ending the Dodgers’ drought, and Ted Lilly allowed one but otherwise pitched solidly for five innings, and Los Angeles defeated San Diego, 4-1. For the Dodgers, it’s their first series sweep and first four-game winning streak of the year.

The first inhale of the last gasp has been a healthy one. After the All-Star break, six straight games against the National League West leaders.

Jul 10

Castro retires, joins Dodger front office


Jake Roth/US PresswireJuan Castro

Juan Castro has officially retired from baseball and taken a position as a special assistant to Dodger general manager Ned Colletti. He will spend time in player development and evaluation. You can see the full list of Dodger special assistants here.

“It was time for me to make the decision to end my playing career,” said Castro. “I’m honored that Ned thought of bringing me back to the organization where I first signed as a young kid more than 20 years ago. I’m very excited to once again work for the Dodgers in a new and challenging role.”

Amusingly, Castro had the highest batting average of his career in his final season, hitting .286 (4 for 14) for the Dodgers. Overall, Castro had a .229 batting average, .268 on-base percentage and .395 slugging percentage.

The Dodgers signed Castro on June 18, 1991, two days before his 19th birthday. Twenty years later, the defensive specialist retires with 17 seasons in the big leagues, 1,103 career games and 601 career hits. He also started the first triple play in Los Angeles Dodger history with a running, over-his-shoulder catch in 1996 in Atlanta.

According to the Dodgers, Castro fifth among Mexican-born players in games (1,103), at-bats (2,627) and doubles (123) while finishing seventh in home runs (36), runs (253), hits (601) and RBI (234).

* * *

The Dodgers’ homerless streak has now reached 384 plate appearances. According to the Dodger press notes, the Dodgers’ 10 straight games without a home run is the longest skein since July 6-12, 1992, a stretch that included the three post-riot doubleheaders against Montreal.

On the flip side, Ted Lilly will try to keep the Dodgers’ scoreless pitching streak going. Los Angeles has thrown 27 consecutive scoreless innings, 11 shy of the team record of 38 from September 9-12, 1966.

Lilly, by the way, has been slotted third in the Dodger rotation after the All-Star Break, ahead of Chad Billingsley. That puts Lilly in a day game at Arizona a week from today, instead of a night game in San Francisco if he had gone fourth.

Johannes Eisele/Getty Images

* * *

Congrats to the U.S. women’s soccer team for its remarkable comeback victory over Brazil today. I only saw the extra time and penalty kicks, but wow.

Jul 09

Crowd control: Before near no-hitter, fans stay away


Jon Weisman/ESPNLosAngeles.comDodger Stadium at the first pitch.

Jon Weisman/ESPNLosAngeles.comScene minutes earlier at the corner of Sunset and Elysian Park

The crowd Saturday at the first fan-organized protest against Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt might have been small, though nothing felt as sparse as the inside of Dodger Stadium.

About 75 people gathered at the southeast corner of Sunset Blvd. and Elysian Park Ave., down the hill from the ballpark, in the hour before Saturday’s Dodgers-San Diego Padres game for the “We Take Our Team Back” demonstration, designed to draw more attention to the frustration a number of Dodger fans have with the team ownership situation.

That turnout was less than organizer Roger Arrieta of West Covina, Calif., anticipated, but perhaps reflected a crowd that largely chose to avoid all things Dodgers on a vintage Southern California summer day.

“It’s a step,” said participant Joe Gonzalez of Boyle Heights.

As galvanized as the boycotters were by their protest, they might have been even more heartened by what was happening inside the stadium. The season-long attendance decline, amped by a national TV broadcast of a game originally scheduled for the evening, led to swaths of empty seats for the first pitch, at a level that even the cliche of late-arriving Dodger fans couldn’t explain.

Dodger attendance this season, amid increasing dissatisfaction with ownership and a team that has fallen into last place, is more reliant than ever on discounts just to mitigate the decline, something that wasn’t lost on protester Jesse Delgado of Monrovia, who manned the megaphone with equal parts anger and levity.

“Do not support the McCourts!” chanted Delgado. “Do not fall for his $1 hot dogs!”

Delgado earlier commented that while fan grievances toward McCourt might be well-known, there was an urgency for a solution.

“Our biggest concern as fans is, is it going to be in a timely manner, before (Matt) Kemp and (Andre) Ethier leave as free agents?” Delgado said. “How long can McCourt damage our team?”

Noting the declining attendance, Gonzalez believes that non-Dodger fans should take up the cause.

“The teams back East are used to getting revenue sharing,” he said. “They’re used to getting 40-45,000 a game (at Dodger Stadium). … They should be out here.”

With fans chanting, holding signs and buying and selling anti-McCourt T-shirts, Arrieta monitored reaction to the protest on his cellphone. The rather soft-spoken organizer calmly discussed his amazement at the state of the franchise and its fans.

“I just want to keep drawing more attention at this,” Arietta said. “Frank comes out and says, ‘I just keep doing this for the best interests for the community.’ Does he not see what’s going on?”

Jul 09

No hits until the ninth – and suddenly, a Dodger victory


Kirby Lee/Image of Sport/US PresswireAaron Harang

Twenty years ago this month, Montreal pitcher Mark Gardner no-noed the Dodgers for nine innings before losing the game on three hits in the 10th, 1-0.

Three years ago in June, the Dodgers defeated the Angels without ever getting a hit at all.

Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesDioner Navarro exults.

Today, the Dodgers came so close to duplicating one of those scenarios, then wrote a third. No-hit for 8 2/3 innings, the Dodgers got back-to-back hits by Juan Uribe and Dioner Navarro for their third straight shutout victory, 1-0.

The Dodger pitchers’ 27-inning scoreless streak is the best in the majors this season, and they have three consecutive shutouts for the first time since 1991.

Padres righty Aaron Harang, coming off the disabled list today for his first game in one month, threw six no-hit innings, walking three and striking out six on 95 pitches. After Harang left, the Dodgers threatened to score on San Diego’s bullpen thanks to errors and walks in the seventh and eighth innings, each time getting runners to first and second. But the five hitters who batted with the runner in scoring position went 0 for 5.

Rubby De La Rosa himself took a no-no past the fourth inning for the second time this week, with Cameron Maybin’s fifth-inning knock the only one against the Dodger rookie in six innings, during which he struck out a career-high eight while walking four on 98 pitches. Matt Guerrier, Mike MacDougal and Blake Hawksworth followed with perfect innings, taking the Dodgers into the bottom of the ninth.

And after Luke Gregerson struck out Matt Kemp, you could feel this game rolling straight into extra innings. But with one out to go before the no-hitter went into extra innings, the high-average bat of Uribe laced a double over Chris Denorfia’s head in left field.

And then, none other than Navarro and his sub-.180 batting average drove home Uribe with a gapper to right-center to, yes, win the game.

The final linescore:

SD 000 000 000-0 1 2
LA 000 000 001-1 2 0