Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Category: Midgame (Page 1 of 3)

Kershaw displays strengths and rust in return

Marc Serota/Getty Images

Marc Serota/Getty Images

By Jon Weisman

The fastball was there. The pinpoint command on breaking pitches … maybe not quite so consistent.

But the main thing for Clayton Kershaw, in his return from 10 1/2 weeks on the disabled list, will be how he felt between innings and how he feels in the coming days.

Because even though Kershaw allowed two runs on five hits in an abbreviated, three-inning start at Miami, tonight offered plenty of glimpses of the superstar the Dodgers hope will lead them into October.

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Kershaw’s fastball sat at 93-94 mph, and he struck out five. The last of those came on his 66th and final pitch, and made him the first pitcher in MLB history to reach 150 strikeouts in a season without first walking at least 10. Tonight, Kershaw walked none for the 113th, 114th and 115th innings out of the 124 that he has now thrown this season.

In the process, he certainly exerted himself. Under the air-conditioned dome of Marlins Park, Kershaw fired bullets and sweat more of them — no more so than in a 29-pitch second inning. He also made an on-the-run, awkwardly lunging attempt to throw out Christian Yelich on a soft comebacker, then soon after had to duck out of the way of a 91 mph liner up the middle from opposing pitcher Jose Fernandez.

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Chase Utley has unforgettable return to Philadelphia

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By Jon Weisman

Fairy tales might or might not come true, unless you’re Chase Utley, in which case they certainly do.

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Brandon McCarthy sails through six shutout innings, Dodgers sail into extras (and lose)


By Jon Weisman

When this year’s Dodger transactions are tallied, let’s not forget Brandon McCarthy being acquired in exchange for 14 months of suffering.

In his third start since completing his recovery from Tommy John surgery, McCarthy again asserted himself against the void of opposing bats, throwing six shutout innings for the Dodgers at Arizona tonight.

McCarthy sliced up the Diamondbacks on only 77 pitches — fewer than 13 per inning — allowing three hits and no walks while striking out eight. He wasn’t fazed at all by a delay of more than 10 minutes after he had thrown only two pitches, when home-plate umpire Dale Scott took a foul ball to the face mask and ultimately had to leave the game.

So far in this comeback season, McCarthy has thrown 16 innings with an ERA of 1.69, walking four, striking out 22 and looking every bit like a key second-half figure for the Dodgers.

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Kenta Maeda strikes out 13 in seven innings

Maeda pic

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

no seventhBy Jon Weisman

Kenta Maeda took a hammer to the Dodgers’ streak of 18 straight games without a starting pitcher reaching the seventh inning, striking out a career-high 13 in seven innings before leaving with a 3-1 lead.

Maeda fanned two batters in each of the first three innings, one in the fourth and then six batters in a row from the fifth into the seventh. His previous big-league high of nine strikeouts came June 8 against Colorado.

No Dodger starter had retired a batter in the seventh inning since Clayton Kershaw on June 20. None had even reached the sixth inning since Scott Kazmir on July 2.

Kershaw has the Dodgers’ season high in strikeouts with 14. Those also came on a Sunday afternoon against the Padres, on May 1.

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Joc Pederson injured after crashing into wall

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By Jon Weisman

Joc Pederson might have saved the game at the price of his health when he crashed into the outfield wall at Milwaukee in the eighth inning tonight.

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Dodgers tied trailing trumped in the ninth


By Jon Weisman

It’s Milwaukee 6, Los Angeles 6 entering the ninth inning. The Dodgers came back from down 3-0 and 6-3 to tie the game. Triumph or tragedy awaits. Who’s to say which?

This game has already had plenty of both. It’s been such a weird night, I’m kind of live-blogging the rest of the way as I recap what’s already come.

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Line drive knocks Kenta Maeda from game

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By Jon Weisman

On a night the Dodger bats broke out with four home runs to take a 7-4 lead into the eighth inning at Arizona, the celebratory swings were muted by a potentially serious injury to Kenta Maeda.

The good news: X-rays on Maeda’s leg were negative, and the initial diagnosis was a right lower-leg contusion.

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Julio Urías logs four long innings, sets strikeout mark


By Jon Weisman

Julio Urías remains in need of an efficiency expert, but that didn’t stop him from enjoying his most satisfying appearance as a Dodger to date — and setting a record to boot.

In his first appearance before his Los Angeles fans, Urías struck out seven — the most by a teenager in Los Angeles Dodger history — but used up 86 pitches by the fourth inning, leaving with a 3-1 lead over Colorado.

The Rockies bedeviled Urías by fouling off 19 pitches — 14 in his final two innings — and never surrendering a quick out. Urías faced 16 batters, and none saw fewer than four pitches in an at-bat.

But from the start, Urías countered his pitch-count difficulties with flashes of the brilliance that makes him so enticing.

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Julio Urias takes the stage but can’t command it


By Jon Weisman

Julio Urias is still a precocious teenager and a pitching prodigy. But the mania will have to wait at least a game.

Displaying consistent velocity but inconsistent command at 19 years and 289 days old, Urias lasted 2 2/3 innings in his Major League debut, leaving with the Dodgers trailing the New York Mets, 3-1.

With three strikeouts, Urias tied a Dodger record for a teenager in his first game, but he also allowed five hits and walked four and even in his best inning, couldn’t find the consistency he needed to last longer.

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Alex Wood sets career high in strikeouts with 13

Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Denis Poroy/Getty Images

By Jon Weisman

Alex Wood struck gold as he struck out almost every San Diego Padre he faced tonight.

In only six innings, the 25-year-old set a career high with 13 strikeouts, then left the game with two runners on and the Dodgers clinging to a 2-1 lead. San Diego would then tie the game in the bottom of the seventh, and for the second night in a row, the outcome was left to the teams’ bullpens.

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Scott Kazmir bounces back from rough start


By Jon Weisman

The worst fears about Scott Kazmir were both realized and replaced tonight.

After allowing four singles (and two runs) to the first five Marlins he faced, Kazmir went on to shut out Miami for the remainder of his six innings.

Throwing 113 pitches, his most since September 11, 2014, Kazmir finished with six strikeouts, retiring 16 of the final 21 batters he faced, including a 4-6-3 double play to end the top of the sixth.

The effects of Kazmir’s left thumb/wrist ailment were seen most when he came to the plate, where he did no more than show bunt, even with no runners on base.

Unfortunately for Kazmir and the Dodgers, he left trailing, 2-0. Left-hander Justin Nicolino stymied the Dodger offense in his 7 1/3-inning season debut, despite striking out only two, shutting out Los Angeles on 99 pitches by allowing only singles by Corey Seager and Justin Turner and walks to Kiké Hernandez and Adrian Gonzalez.

The legend grows: Kenta Maeda flirts with no-hitter

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

By Jon Weisman

There’s always a thrill whenever any pitcher is working on a no-hitter, that clickety-clack as he takes you up the rise of the roller coaster, each moment of anticipation adding to the whooshing reward.

When it’s your guy, it’s even more of a wild ride. And when your guy is a guy who is now verging on his own kind of Fernando-Hideo frenzy, well, lock down your valuables and keep your hands inside the car.

In his fourth Major League game tonight in Colorado, Kenta Maeda went 5 1/3 innings without allowing a hit, setting the stage for him to duplicate the no-hit effort achieved two decades ago by his countryman Nomo, before finishing with eight strikeouts in 6 1/3 shutout innings.

Maeda, as Cary Osborne presaged in his pregame writeup, is the first starting pitcher in MLB history to allow fewer than two runs across his first four starts. His ERA, with a trip to the Mile High City under his belt, is now an unreal 0.36, with 23 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings against 23 baserunners.

Despite pitching for the first time in his life at the big leagues’ toughest ballpark, Maeda could hardly have been more sharp. In the first four innings, he faced 13 batters and threw first-pitch strikes to all of them, walking one and retiring the other 12, with six strikeouts and only one ball even leaving the infield.

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Yasiel Puig tops himself with unreal throw

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By Jon Weisman

Yasiel Puig is his own tough act to follow, but in the fifth inning tonight, he done outdone himself with a jaw-dropping missle from right field.

With the Dodgers leading 5-4 over the Rockies in Coors Field and one out, rookie phenom Trevor Story sent a fly ball high off the right-field screen, that Puig leaped for but couldn’t reach.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Puig, who earlier in the game matched his 2015 total with his third stolen base of 2016, raced from the wall to pick up the carom with his bare hand just in front of the warning track, as Story was passing second base and heading for third.

Somehow, Puig ripped a throw well over 300 feet, traveling 93.5 mph, that soared on the fly right to the third-base bag, where Justin Turner laid the tag for the Story-booked ending.


Kenta Maeda steals his own spotlight

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By Jon Weisman

Tonight, Kenta Maeda did to the Padres what no hitter could do against Kenta Maeda: Round the bases.

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Kazmir matches Kershaw with one-hit start


By Jon Weisman

Scott Kazmir certainly likes to make a good first impression. And Dodger starting pitchers this season like to make good impressions twice over.

Echoing the season-opening seven innings of one-hit shutout pitching by Clayton Kershaw on Monday, Kazmir stymied the San Diego Padres in his debut performance as a Dodger with six innings of one-hit shutout ball tonight, handing a 3-0 lead to the Dodger bullpen.

Kazmir all but duplicated his seven innings of one-hit shutout ball in his own 2015 season debut. Though he pitched one fewer inning this evening, he walked none.

The only hit off Kazmir was an infield single by Cory Spangenberg near second base in the first inning. The 32-year-old lefty retired the final 17 batters he faced, finishing his night on 75 pitches.

Kazmir mixed in changeups as slow as 72 mph, but finished his night with 91 mph fastballs to strike out Melvin Upton Jr. and Jon Jay in the sixth.

In two nights, Dodger starting pitchers have thrown 13 shutout innings, allowing two hits and one walk while striking out 14.

“A lot was made of his spring,” Roberts said of Kazmir, according to Ken Gurnick of, “but he knew what it took to get ready for a Major League season. The fastball, the cutter, he threw great changeups tonight. He really executed the scouting report. I couldn’t have scripted it any better.”

Said Kazmir (via Gurnick): “I just wanted to have a good start to the season, get outs early and get us to the dugout as quick as possible. Location was the key, being able to get ahead. I was happy with my fastball location and worked the other pitches off that.”

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