Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Giancarlo Stanton

Kershaw’s dominant April comes to sudden halt


Matthew Mesa/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

When Miguel Rojas pinch-hit for Miami with one out in the top of the sixth inning tonight against Clayton Kershaw, it seemed little more than a happy reunion.

Kershaw was pitching like he did the night of June 18, 2014, when Rojas’ dazzling defensive play at third base was the one Kershaw needed to preserve his first career no-hitter. If not for a fly-ball triple to left field in the second inning, the Marlins would have been hitless this evening as well.

It would have been some kind of irony had Rojas broken up a Kershaw no-hitter tonight. With that off the table, Rojas did something far worse.

Rojas’ broken-bat double — his first extra-base hit in 62 plate appearances, dating back to September 18 — started a five-run Miami rally that Giancarlo Stanton finished with a 433-foot, three-run home run, in what would become a 6-3 Dodger loss.

Kershaw hadn’t allowed a home run with two men on base in 844 1/3 innings, since June 9, 2012, when none other than Miguel Olivo hit one for the Mariners. (In 1,648 career innings, Kershaw has still never allowed a grand slam.)

Stanton had gone 0 for 2 against Kershaw in the game, looking mismatched on a fourth-inning strikeout, and was 4 for 17 with one homer and three RBI in his career against the lefty. This time, there was no foolin’.

Still, it was stunning. Before Rojas’ double, Kershaw had retired 16 of 17 batters — eight strikeouts, eight infield outs. His season ERA was down to 1.27.  He had already become the first Dodger to average seven innings per April start since Derek Lowe in 2005, and he would go on to whiff 10 in all, setting a Dodger record for starting pitchers in April with a 13.33 strikeout-to-walk ratio (40 strikeouts/three walks).

In fact, for the first five innings, this had been a night to revive the “Kershaw MVP” chants. In addition to his pitching dominance, Kershaw had gone over his head to knock down a first-inning comebacker for an out, and also had two hits — a butcher-block single to left in the second inning, and a booming RBI double (97 mph in exit velocity) in the fourth.

That had given Los Angeles a 3-0 lead, though no doubt the Dodgers regretted not having more. Marlins starter Tom Koehler walked three of the first four batters he faced to start the game and sent two home on wild pitches. But Kershaw would have the Dodgers’ only RBI of the night.

After Rojas’ double, Dee Gordon (who was 0 for 2 and in an 11-for-57 slump) hit a two-strike comebacker off Kershaw’s leg for an infield single. Martin Prado and Christian Yelich followed with RBI singles, setting up the confrontation-turned-conflagration with Stanton.

With Kershaw having allowed five earned runs all year to that moment, those five batters literally doubled his ERA.

Stanton, Marlins top Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Yasiel Puig and Trayce Thompson homered in the fourth inning for the Dodgers, but it was not enough to withstand single runs by the Marlins in the three middle innings, and the Dodgers fell to Miami on Monday in their series opener, 3-2.

The Dodger bullpen pitched 3 2/3 shutout innings, but the difference-maker was Derek Dietrich’s RBI triple in the sixth inning off Ross Stripling, who lost his first MLB decision. Stripling allowed eight hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings, and his ERA is now 3.22.

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When you walk through the garden …

Rarely have I been retweeted more than I was Tuesday when I passed along this link to The Wire wind-up toys.

Now, unwind with these notes …

  • Don Mattingly confirmed to Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. that he has no plans to bat A.J. Ellis second, citing his lack of speed in front of Matt Kemp. Unfortunately, the alternative candidates’ lack of on-base percentage in front of Kemp seems not to have entered into Mattingly’s thinking.
  • Mattingly also hinted that Juan Rivera would start 2012 as the Dodgers’ regular left fielder with occasional days off. Tony Jackson of added that Jerry Sands is still in the mix to be a platoon partner for Andre Ethier and James Loney.
  • Dodger relief prospect Shawn Tolleson was interviewed by John Parker of
  • The Dodgers have the National League’s second-easiest early season schedule, according to Buster Olney of Nine of their first 34 games are against teams with winning records in 2011.
  • Here’s the full list, 200-deep, of Dodger prospect rankings from Brandon Lennox at True Blue L.A. Henry Heredia, this is your moment.
  • Gold Glove or not, Andre Ethier’s ranking in David Pinto’s PMR list for right fielders at Baseball Musings probably won’t surprise you. Matt Kemp in center field? You tell me what you think.
  • Trayvon Robinson is trying to reestablish himself after his hot start with Seattle turned into a rough finish, writes Larry Stone of the Seattle Times.
  • Tuesday in Jon SooHoo: two pics that fostered polar opposite reactions for me, Jerry Sands bunting and Matt Kemp skywalking.
  • Not surprisingly, initial reaction to the new book from Dirk Hayhurst, Out of My League, is positive. Examples: Andrew T. Fisher of Purple Row and Keith Olbermann at Baseball Nerd.
  • The statement from Ryan Braun sample-taker Dino Laurenzi is eloquently written.
  • Coming March 15-17 is a SABR Analytics conference in Arizona. Not coming at the same time is the Notalytics Conference in South Dakota, but I sure wish it were.
  • Emmett Ashford, the majors’ first African-American umpire, was given an honorary doctorate by his alma mater, Chapman College, according to Terry Cannon of the Baseball Reliquary.
  • Giancarlo Stanton: the slugger formerly known as Mike Stanton.
  • Harvard-Westlake’s Lucas Giolito hit 100 miles per hour while pitching a one-hitter for the Wolverines on Tuesday, writes Eric Sondhiemer of the Times.
  • Perfect for Leap Day: The Dodgers had the 29th-best offseason of all major-league teams, according to The Platoon Advantage.
  • KCRW’s Which Way L.A. now has its own blog.
  • Jonathan Abrams and Grantland published a vivid oral history of the 2004 Pacers-Pistons fight that spread into the stands.
  • Longtime Times columnist Steve Harvey is back writing “Only in L.A.,” host Kevin Roderick of L.A. Observed announced. The first new edition is here.
  • Watch former Cal quarterback Joe Ayoob break a world-distance record for throwing a paper airplane at
  • Farewell, Monkees and Brady Bunch star Davy Jones. I was a childhood fan of both. Here, from Variety, is the 1965 ad soliciting auditions for The Monkees

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