Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Zack Greinke (Page 1 of 9)

Best of the 2010s:
The All-Decade Dodgers

Raymond Gorospe/

We have nearly reached the end of the ’10s, and though selections of the Dodgers’ all-decade team should probably wait until after the 2019 World Series, these few days of relative calm before the storm of the postseason seemed like a good time to reveal them. Nothing is likely to affect these choices between now and then (although I’m fascinated by the idea that something could). 

Most challenging was having to deal with five legitimate candidates for the four openings at outfield/first base. Catcher was nearly a toss-up, and second base yielded its own surprise. 

Here we go … 

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Who pitched the Dodgers’ top games each year in the 2000s? Some names will surprise you

Clayton Kershaw is by far the most dominant pitcher for the Dodgers — if not all of Major League Baseball — in the 21st century. Not surprisingly, he has pitched the game of the year for the Dodgers more times than anyone else.

But using the tried and true Game Score formula as a barometer, Kershaw has topped the charts in only four of his 11 big-league seasons. During the Kershaw era, some unexpected names have stolen the spotlight from Kershaw, if only for a moment.

In fact, in the 13 seasons from 2001 through 2013, 13 different pitchers had the top Game Score for the Dodgers.

Here’s a year-by-year rundown of the Dodgers’ best Game Score performances each year, dating back to 2000.

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Previewing Brothers in Arms
Part Seven: The Hired Hands

Part Seven of Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw, and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition (order now!) — “The Hired Hands” — is the book’s shortest section, but it takes us to another key transition point for the franchise.

Right up until the final decade of the 20th century, the Dodgers signed or scouted, domestically or internationally, every significant starting pitcher they ever had as an amateur — or parlayed that homegrown talent into a trade for one. While the best things in life aren’t always free, the Dodgers rarely risked big dollars on pitchers from rival area codes. You could say it was pride. Or a conservative streak. Or feeling scorched by the relatively fruitless expenditures on the Dave Goltzes of the world.

But as the 20th century neared an end, the Dodger pitching tradition couldn’t survive on its own momentum. The team had to begin to look elsewhere for talent.

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Why ‘Dodger for life’ looks good for Clayton Kershaw

Addressing the strong possibility that Clayton Kershaw will opt out of his contract with the Dodgers after the 2018 season, Dodger owner and chairman Mark Walter told Jon Heyman of FanRag (I still can’t believe that’s the name) Sports that the future Hall of Famer “should be a Dodger for life.”

Walter’s waxings are warmly welcome but shouldn’t be shocking. Short of seeing the front office and the pitcher side-by-side at a press conference, nearly every sign you might observe points to the Dodgers and Kershaw forming a more perfect union.

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The 20 most pivotal regular-season moments in Los Angeles Dodger history


Tommy Lasorda hugs R.J. Reynolds after the rookie’s unforgettable squeeze, whose 33rd anniversary is Sunday.

By Jon Weisman

Every Dodger fan is targeting the World Series, but you can’t get there without some regular-season magic.

The Dodgers have seen plenty in their 49 Southern California seasons, both in their favor and against them.

For good and for bad, here (in this Dodger Insider magazine story) are the ups and downs, the highs and lows — the 20 most pivotal regular-season moments in Los Angeles Dodger history.

Read the entire story by clicking here.

* * *

Beginning this year, the Dodgers merged their previously separate Playbill and Dodger Insider magazines into one publication (at least 80 pages per issue) with a new edition available each homestand plus one in October, 13 issues total. It is distributed at auto gates (one per vehicle) and via Fan Services for those who use alternate transportation. Dodger Insider magazine includes news, features, analysis, photos, games, stadium information and more. Fans who wish to subscribe for 2017 can do so at

Homer-happy Dodgers make it rain against Greinke


Adrián González, Corey Seager and Yasmani Grandal hit three of the Dodgers’ five homers. (Photos: Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Image-1-2By Jon Weisman

In distance, they measured 2,025 feet. On the Richter scale, they might as well have been a 10.

Zack Greinke, the darling of Dodger Stadium for three seasons, was punished in his former home like a Rock’Em Sock’Em Robot.

Five home runs off Greinke — a career-high, including four in the fifth inning — shook Chavez Ravine and sent the Dodgers to a 10-2 victory over Arizona tonight.

With San Francisco shut out in Colorado today, Los Angeles leads the National League West by a season-high four games.

The Dodgers’ five leaders in home runs each took Greinke deep — Adrián González (17) with a man on base in the fourth inning, followed by Joc Pederson (20), Corey Seager (24, with two aboard), Justin Turner (25) and feature creature Yasmani Grandal (24).

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One run the difference again for Dodgers


By Jon Weisman

Zack Greinke didn’t exactly dominate the Dodgers, least of all Corey Seager, who had a single, walk and career-best 440-foot home run off his former teammate.

But Greinke was one run better than Mike Bolsinger, who gave up two solo homers of his own — and then a tiebreaking score in a fifth inning that began with a Greinke single. That meant in the Dodgers’ sixth consecutive one-run game, they lost for the third straight time, 3-2.

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Dodgers carry streak of one-run games into reunion with Greinke

Zack Greinke on the mound against the Dodgers. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Zack Greinke on the mound against the Dodgers. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Dodgers at Diamondbacks, 6:40 p.m.
Chase Utley, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian González, 1B
Trayce Thompson, RF
Joc Pederson, CF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Scott Van Slyke, LF
Mike Bolsinger, P

By Jon Weisman

The more things change … the more things change.

Zack Greinke faces the Dodgers tonight for the first time since he came with the Milwaukee Brewers to Los Angeles on May 31, 2012. That night, the Dodgers offered this starting lineup:

Elian Herrera, CF
A.J. Ellis, C
Bobby Abreu, LF
Andre Ethier, RF
Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B
Adam Kennedy, 3B
Scott Van Slyke, 1B
Dee Gordon, SS
Chad Billingsley, P

One of those Dodgers is in tonight’s starting lineup. Another is on the bench. A third is on the disabled list. That, plus Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen, is all that remains to link that Dodger team and this one, four years later.

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Dave Roberts discusses Kershaw, Greinke

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Dallas is a pretty convenient stop on the way from Los Angeles to Nashville, and Clayton Kershaw’s house is a pretty nice place for a layover.

So on his way to baseball’s annual Winter Meetings, new Dodger manager Dave Roberts spent several hours meeting with Kershaw, to discuss next year’s team in general and the departure of Zack Greinke in particular.

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Zack Greinke bids farewell to the Dodgers

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 6.47.08 PM

By Jon Weisman

Zack Greinke has agreed to terms with the Arizona Diamondbacks on a six-year contract, according to multiple news reports, including

What is official is that Greinke’s three-year run with the Dodgers has come to an end.

Greinke, who turned 32 in October, pitched 602 2/3 innings as a Dodger with a 2.30 ERA (156 ERA+) — best in Dodger history for pitchers with at least 500 innings — culminating in his 1.66 ERA in 2015, the lowest by a Dodger in 99 years. Greinke also had a .300 on-base percentage at the plate and won two consecutive Gold Gloves.

It’s practically impossible to have been a Dodger fan and not loved Greinke. But it is completely possible to move forward, and that’s what the Dodgers will do.

Greinke, Kershaw in NL MVP top 10

By Jon Weisman

Zack Greinke finished seventh, Clayton Kershaw 10th and Adrian Gonzalez tied for 19th in the Baseball Writers Association of America’s National League Most Valuable Player vote, won unanimously by Washington’s Bryce Harper.

Greinke, the NL Cy Young Award runner-up, received two of the 30 possible second-place votes behind Harper, and in the MVP race also finished one slot behind NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta. Greinke was included in the top 10 of 24 ballots.

Other than Kershaw winning the NL MVP voter last year, Arrieta and Greinke had the highest finishes for a pitcher in the NL MVP race since Roy Halladay finished sixth in 2010.

Kershaw’s highest place on any MVP ballot this year was fourth place (two votes). Gonzalez had one ninth-place and one 10th-place vote.

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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Brett Anderson returning to Dodgers in 2016

Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Brett Anderson will be back in a Dodger uniform next season after accepting the team’s one-year qualifying offer.

Zack Greinke and Howie Kendrick rejected their qualifying offers to pursue multi-year deals. Each could sign with any team, including the Dodgers.

Anderson would have been the first player under the current collective bargaining agreement to accept a qualifying offer, but he was beaten by a few hours by Houston’s Colby Rasmus and Baltimore’s Matt Wieters, reportedly.

Anderson, who turns 28 just before Spring Training next year, set a career high in innings (180 1/3) in 2015 and had his best season since 2009, with a 3.69 ERA, a career-high 18 quality starts and an MLB-leading 66.3 percent groundball rate.

With Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood and (if he returns from shoulder surgery) Hyun-Jin Ryu, the Dodgers could have as many as four southpaws in their starting rotation at a given time next season.

Zack Greinke repeats as NL Gold Glove pitcher

[mlbvideo id=”149883183″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Photo: Jon SooHoo

By Jon Weisman

Zack Greinke has won his second consecutive National League Gold Glove Award. Known for his athleticism, Greinke was credited with nine defensive runs saved by Fangraphs, 50 percent more than anyone else in the league.

Greinke is the third two-time Gold Glove-winning pitcher, following Andy Messersmith and Greg Maddux. Fernando Valenzuela, Orel Hershiser and Clayton Kershaw are the Dodgers’ other Gold Glove-winning hurlers.

Adrian Gonzalez, a finalist for the Gold Glove at first base and a four-time winner including 2014, was beaten out by Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt.

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