Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Jake Arrieta

Arrieta tops Greinke, Kershaw for NL Cy Young Award

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers


Zack Greinke in Cy Young balloting

  • 2009: first (AL)
  • 2013: eighth (NL)
  • 2014: seventh (NL)
  • 2015: second (NL)

Clayton Kershaw in NL Cy Young balloting

  • 2011: first
  • 2012: second
  • 2013: first
  • 2014: first
  • 2015: third

Dodger MLB Cy Young Award winners

  • 1956: Don Newcombe
  • 1962: Don Drysdale
  • 1963: Sandy Koufax*
  • 1965: Sandy Koufax*
  • 1966: Sandy Koufax*

Dodger NL Cy Young Award winners

  • 1974: Mike Marshall
  • 1981: Fernando Valenzuela
  • 1988: Orel Hershiser*
  • 2003: Eric Gagne
  • 2011: Clayton Kershaw
  • 2013: Clayton Kershaw
  • 2014: Clayton Kershaw*

By Jon Weisman

Despite the lowest ERA in the Major Leagues in 20 years, Zack Greinke will go into the offseason without the National League Cy Young Award.

Greinke missed becoming the ninth Dodger pitcher to win the trophy, falling to Jake Arrieta in this year’s vote by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

If four of Greinke’s 17 second-place votes had put him first, Greinke would have won the award.

Finishing third was three-time winner Clayton Kershaw, who did receive three first-place votes.

No ballot put Arrieta or Greinke outside of the top three, while two voters had Gerrit Cole of the Pirates in third place.

Greinke had a 1.66 ERA — the lowest in the big leagues since Greg Maddux in 1995 — and an adjusted ERA of 225 (best since Roger Clemens in 2005). He also led the Majors in WHIP (0.84) and win probability added (6.72).

This year’s balloting marked the first time that a pair of teammates ranked among the top three Cy Young vote-getters since 2011 (Philadelphia’s Halladay and Cliff Lee) and the first time for two Dodger pitchers since 1974, when Mike Marshall won the award and Andy Messersmith was the runner-up.

Two different Dodgers haven’t won the award in consecutive years since Don Drysdale (1962) and Sandy Koufax (1963).


Anticipating today’s NL Cy Young Award reveal

Greinke Kershaw

Together, Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw pitched 455 1/3 innings for the Dodgers in 2015 with 501 strikeouts and a 1.90 ERA. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

Sometime between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. today on MLB Network — I’m guessing as close to 3:59 p.m. as possible — the Baseball Writers Association of America will announce the winner of the 2015 National League Cy Young Award.

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Greinke, Kershaw are finalists for NL Cy Young

Will the NL Cy Young Award winner turn around? Next week, you say? (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Will the 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner please turn around? Next week, you say? (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

To the surprise of no one I imagine, Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Jake Arrieta have been officially announced as the three finalists for the National League Cy Young Award, in what is one of the closest three-way award races in MLB history.


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What Zack Greinke needs to win ERA title

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Jake Arrieta pitched six more shutout innings tonight for the Cubs, lowering his ERA this season to 1.77. Zack Greinke is still in the driver’s seat to lock up the Major League ERA title when he starts Saturday for the Dodgers, but there is suspense.

If Greinke …

  • … allows no more than two earned runs, he will win the ERA title no matter how many innings he pitches. You could add two earned runs to Greinke’s total right now, and his ERA would be 1.76.
  • … allows a third earned run, he will win the ERA title if he pitches at least 4 1/3 innings.
  • … allows a fourth earned run, you can hand the ERA title to Arrieta. Greinke would need to pitch at least 9 1/3 innings to finish with a lower ERA. Even a complete game by Greinke would leave him with a 1.770 ERA, compared to 1.769 for Arrieta.

Zack Greinke pitching for division title, Cy Young

Zack Greinke's ERA in September is 1.91. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Zack Greinke’s ERA in September is 1.91. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

While the weekend sweep at Colorado delayed all celebration in Dodgerland, it has set up Zack Greinke to kill two very large birds with one stone-cold toss.

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NL ERA race hotter than Southern California

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers at Diamondbacks, 6:40 p.m.
Justin Ruggiano, LF
Jose Peraza, 2B
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Scott Van Slyke, RF
Corey Seager, SS
A.J. Ellis, C
Chris Heisey, CF
Alex Wood, P

By Jon Weisman

A quick note before we get to today’s lengthy health recap: Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta lowered his ERA to 1.99 this afternoon. If he and Zack Greinke stay below 2.00, they’ll be the first duo to do so in the same year since Dwight Gooden (1.53) and John Tudor (1.93) in 1985.

If Clayton Kershaw (2.15) joins them, we would have the first sub-2.00 trio since Luis Tiant (1.91), Gaylord Perry (1.92) and Gary Nolan (1.99) in 1972.

Kershaw, who is next scheduled to start Monday against the Rockies, most likely has four starts left in the 2015 regular season. If he pitched a total of 24 1/3 to 28 1/3 innings, he would need to allow no more than two earned runs (0.64 ERA) to get his ERA below 2.00. If he pitched 28 2/3 to 33 innings, he could allow three runs, and if he pitched at least 33 1/3, he could allow four runs.

And now, to the Web (Gem) MD report, via manager Don Mattingly to reporters:

  • Jose Peraza, who is playing tonight (batting second) for the first time since tweaking a hamstring September 1, is at 100 percent.
  • With Jimmy Rollins still recovering from a finger injury, Corey Seager is making his seventh start since his callup nine days ago. As Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. noted, Peraza and Seager are the youngest starting double-play combo for the Dodgers since 1947.
  • Howie Kendrick had live batting practice and ran the bases. He’s “not there yet but getting closer,” reports Bill Plunkett of the Register.
  • Yasiel Puig is still feeling hamstring tightness and has not been able to resume baseball work.
  • Kiké Hernandez is feeling good, but still has to get over the hump.
  • Yasmani Grandal took live BP today and was hitting home runs, according to Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles.
  • Mat Latos’ stiff neck is improved, but his usage as a starter will depend on matchups.

No-no, no-no — Dodgers no-hit again

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

By Jon Weisman

Nine innings without a hit, then nine days, then nine more innings without a hit.

That’s the story for the Dodgers, who were no-hit tonight at Dodger Stadium by Jake Arrieta in a 2-0 victory by the Cubs.

Barely a week after Mike Fiers no-hit the Dodgers in Houston, Arrieta was magnificent, his 116 pitches darting in and out of the strike zone, striking out 12 and walking only Jimmy Rollins with two out in the sixth.

Kiké Hernandez reached base on a hard grounder to second baseman Starlin Castro that was ruled an error — on his postgame ESPN interview, Arrieta said he thought it was a hit. The other close calls came when Carl Crawford ended the seventh with a liner up the middle that Castro backhanded, and Hernandez hit a tough grounder to short that Addison Russell corralled for a 6-3 out. (Hernandez tweaked a hamstring running to first on the play, so that could be the most damaging aspect of this game.)

Justin Turner, Rollins and Chase Utley, the same trio that ended the game against Fiers (though in different order), made the final three outs tonight. Turner, in his first at-bat of the night, struck out. Rollins took a called strike three. And Utley, who made the final out in Josh Beckett’s no-hitter and has been involved in three no-hitters in the last nine Dodger games he has played in, struck out swinging.

The Dodgers had never been no-hit twice in the same year, and hadn’t been no-hit in consecutive years since Amos Rusie of the New York Giants and Jack Stivetts of the Boston Beaneaters did so in 1891 and 1892. Los Angeles set a National League record for fewest days between no-hitters, according to Mike Petriello. The MLB record occurred when the Chicago White Sox were no-hit on May 5-6, 1917.

There have been no-hitters at four Dodger games in the past two seasons. Most recent before that was the six-pitcher no-hitter by Seattle in 2012. That ended a 16-year drought of Dodger games without a no-hitter on either side, dating back to Hideo Nomo’s 1996 Coors Field no-hitter. Kent Mercker pitched the last no-hitter against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, in 1994.

Beyond the obvious, the frustration for the Dodgers was wasting what turned out to be some resilient pitching.

It didn’t start that way: Alex Wood was trailing by two runs after three batters, when Chris Denorfia walked with one out in the first and Kris Bryant homered. Wood struggled through the first three innings, throwing 72 pitches.

But he used only 32 pitches over his next three innings, retiring 10 of his last 11 batters. Relief pitchers Juan Nicasio and J.P. Howell generated inning-ending double plays in consecutive innings, as the Dodgers held the Cubs hitless with runners in scoring position tonight (and in the entire series, in fact).

Chicago had 13 hits, two walks and 12 left on base.

Dodgers hope everything’s jake against Arrieta

Chicago Cubs vs Los Angeles Dodgers

Cubs at Dodgers, 5:08 p.m.
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Chase Utley, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Andre Ethier, RF
Carl Crawford, LF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Joc Pederson, CF
Kiké Hernandez, 3B
Alex Wood, P

By Jon Weisman

Jake Arrieta might be the top National League Cy Young Award contender outside of Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw. But if the Dodgers can top him tonight, they’ll have a 4 1/2-game lead in the NL West, which would be their biggest since July 12.

San Francisco, which lost to St. Louis today for the second consecutive time this weekend, arrives in Los Angeles on Monday for a highly anticipated three-game series.

Arrieta has a 2.22 ERA, putting him in second place in the NL between Greinke (1.61) and Kershaw (2.24). The 29-year-old righty is fourth in the NL in wins above replacement (4.9), behind Kershaw (6.6), Greinke (5.1) and the slumping Max Scherzer (4.9). In xFIP, Arrieta is in second place behind Kershaw.

Like Kershaw, Arrieta has heated up with the heat. He has a 1.17 ERA with 89 strikeouts in 92 innings since June 21, and in fact, enters tonight’s game as the frontrunner for NL Pitcher of the Month honors (33 1/3 innings, two earned runs, 0.54 ERA, 31 strikeouts).

The Dodgers counter with Alex Wood, who has allowed 27 hits with 14 walks in 29 innings as a Dodger. Wood allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings in his last start.

A win tonight would also tie the Dodgers with the Cubs for the third-best record in the NL: 73-56.

* * *

Kiké Hernandez is getting his first official start for the Dodgers at third base tonight. Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. beat me to the punch on this, so I’ll just crib from him: Hernandez is the first Dodger to start at second, short, third and all three outfield positions in the same year since Bobby Valentine in 1972.

Hernandez’s experience at third has been limited to 14 2/3 Major League innings and 25 minor-league games, but he has taken grounders there during the season and played there in winter ball, according to Don Mattingly.

Since July 24, Hernandez has a .397 batting average, .443 on-base percentage and .589 slugging percentage.

Hernandez will be batting behind Joc Pederson, whom as ESPN’s Buster Olney pointed out, is on the verge of a unique month in baseball history. No player with at least 20 walks in any calendar month has had fewer than the seven hits by Roger Maris in August 1959, but with two games to go in August 2015, Pederson is at 21 walks and five hits.

Maris went 7 for 79 with 20 walks in August 1959, at age 24. That winter, he would be traded to the Yankees, for whom he would win American League Most Valuable Player awards in 1960 and 1961, hitting 100 home runs.

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