Clayton Kershaw through the 12-K, two-homer prism


By Jon Weisman

I guess you could be bothered that Clayton Kershaw allowed two home runs tonight and lasted but six innings.

Or, you can be pleased that Clayton Kershaw allowed one earned run on seven baserunners in six innings and struck out 12.

I can’t really tell you what to do. I can only tell you what I’d recommend.

After leaving for a pinch-hitter with the Dodgers leading 6-3 in the bottom of the sixth, Kershaw has an ERA with the uncharacteristic swell of 4.42, but he held the No. 3 offense in the National League so far this year almost entirely at bay.

Striking out six of the first 10 batters he faced over three innings, while the Dodgers built a 3-0 lead, Kershaw next allowed a home run to top Colorado hitter Troy Tulowitzki. He then sandwiched a wild pitch between two singles, benefiting from Andre Ethier throwing out Corey Dickerson at the plate — giving the Dodgers an assist from each outfield position this week.

The defense had the opposite effect on Kershaw in the next inning (which began with the Dodgers ahead, 4-1), when Adrian Gonzalez’s error allowed Drew Stubbs to reach first leading off the fifth. Kershaw then struck out the next two batters, but on the ninth pitch of the next at-bat, Charlie Blackmon homered to right.

Two more Rockies reached base in the sixth inning before Kershaw put a stop to their mischief, striking out Dickerson and Stubbs.

So it was a peccable evening, but not alarming. He allowed two homers, but that’s happened eight previous times during his run of Cy Youngs since 2011.  Meanwhile, Kershaw has 26 strikeouts in his first 18 1/3 innings this year.

He has allowed 22 hits this year, but that’s with opponents batting .413 on balls in play against him. Something tells me he’s not going to remain that unlucky.

So I say be pleased.

Dodger offense pounding away

Rockies at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Kershaw CCXII: Kershawrk Tank
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Carl Crawford, LF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Andre Ethier, RF
Juan Uribe, 3B
Joc Pederson, CF
Clayton Kershaw, P

By Jon Weisman

As Clayton Kershaw takes the mound for the start that will either launch or evaporate the “What’s wrong with Clayton Kershaw?” questions, it’s worth taking a moment to note how much the offense has keyed the Dodgers’ 6-3 start.

A dozen days into the National League season, Los Angeles leads the NL in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, home runs and weighted on-base average (wOBA).

According to Fangraphs’ Offense stat, the Dodgers are truly dominant, coming in at 13.8, with the No. 2 team (San Diego) nearly 50 percent lower and 12 out of 15 teams in negative territory.

It’s not only Adrian Gonzalez, though he has definitively led the way. Joc Pederson, Howie Kendrick, Yasiel Puig and Jimmy Rollins are off to above-average starts, along with Alex Guerrero, Andre Ethier and Scott Van Slyke off the bench. (Puig is missing his third straight start, by the way, with a tender hamstring.)

The Dodgers have scored at least five runs in six of nine games in 2014 (winning all six) and at least three runs in all but one. They’re averaging 4.6 runs per game.

Rollin’ Ryans: Dodgers DFA Dennick, acquire Corcino

By Jon Weisman

It isn’t really like this, but you might imagine the Dodger front office setting up a game of musical chairs where, instead of taking a chair away each time a player sits down, they simply keep the chairs where they are, remove the excess player and replace him with another — each one in theory slightly more valuable than the last.

The latest exchange happened today with the Dodgers designating for assignment pitcher Ryan Dennick, whom they claimed only 48 hours ago, to make room on the 40-man roster for another erstwhile member of the Reds organization, Daniel Corcino.

Corcino, 24, had a 4.13 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and 113 strikeouts against 209 baserunners in 143 2/3 innings for the Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos in 2014. That included 74 walks and 16 batters hit by pitches. Corcino also had a 4.34 ERA in 18 2/3 innings for the Reds in his first big-league action late in the season, striking out 15, walking 10 and pitch-hitting one.

Dennick joins a recent group of temporary Dodgers named Ryan who never played for the organization that also includes Ryan Jackson, Ryan Webb and Ryan Lavarnaway.

LADF Blue Diamond Gala dazzles at Dodger Stadium

LOS ANGELES DODGERSBDThursday’s inaugural Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation Blue Diamond Gala was quite an event, combining the spectacle of players as Ted Baker fashion models with the sincere commitment to raising funds to benefit the wide-ranging efforts of the LADF.

Watch the video above to hear more about the philanthropy, and enjoy photos from the Dodger team photographers, as well as from Instagram and Twitter.

— Jon Weisman

Dodger minor league report No. 1: Welcome to 2015

By Cary Osborne

One week into the minor league season, we bring back our weekly minor league report. At the bottom, you’ll see how the Dodgers’ top 10 prospects have done so far.

There have been many happy returns from names we expect to hear from — Seager, Urias, Anderson, De Leon — and from others who are looking to brand themselves as prospects in 2015.

So, right to the report …

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Carlos Frias recalled, David Huff designated for assignment

Los Angeles Dodgers vs Arizona Diamondbacks

By Jon Weisman

The Dodgers made a triangle of roster moves today, designating Tuesday starter David Huff for assignment, recalling Carlos Frias from Triple-A Oklahoma City and claiming lefty reliever Ryan Dennick from the Reds for Double-A Tulsa.

Huff had no options, so he couldn’t be sent back to the minor leagues. If he clears waivers, he could potentially rejoin the organization.

Knowing that Juan Nicasio would be needed for extended work behind Huff on Tuesday, the Dodgers planned the addition of Frias, who pitched 5 1/3 innings for Oklahoma City on April 8, as a long reliever. Frias could start for the Dodgers on April 25, the next time they’re scheduled to need a fifth starter, but the team hasn’t committed to that.

Dennick, who turned 28 in January, had a 2.36 ERA for Triple-A Louisville last season with 39 strikeouts against 61 baserunners in 49 2/3 innings. He also surrendered six earned runs in 4 2/3 innings while making his MLB debut for the Reds in September.

Jackie Robinson statue to grace Dodger Stadium

PB2By Jon Weisman

Jackie Robinson Day has been one filled with baseball royalty, fond reminisces and earnest discussion of challenges yet to be met.

But the lingering memory from April 15, 2015 will be that this is the day the Dodgers announced they would erect a statue to honor Jackie Robinson at Dodger Stadium.

Details about placement, timing or design are not yet available, but the commitment was a most welcome piece of news.

“It’s the fulfillment of a dream,” said Jackie’s widow, Rachel Robinson.

In making the announcement, Dodger president and CEO Stan Kasten said that the statue would be the first of a series at Dodger Stadium. The news just keeps getting better.

The Dodgers’ Fast Burn All-Stars

Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers

Mariners at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Yasmani Grandal, C
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Andre Ethier, RF
Scott Van Slyke, LF
Juan Uribe, 3B
Joc Pederson, CF
Brett Anderson, P

By Jon Weisman

This post is anything but a critique of Alex Guerrero, whose potential legitimacy as a Major Leaguer I have championed this year — in fairly lonely fashion until this week, really.

But even though Guerrero has started the season by going 5 for 12 with a double and two home runs in his first four games, the heated demands on Twitter to push him into the starting lineup — as if it were a crime to question the rush to coronation — got me wondering about other Dodger hot starters.

So, here’s an All-Star team of Dodgers who went wild in their first games of the year, then didn’t quite live up to that promise. We’ll even raise the stakes to 10 games played — more than twice the duration of Guerrero’s hot launch.

C — Kevin Pasley, 1976 (6 for 16, three walks, .911 OPS)
1B — Tracy Woodson, 1987 (6 for 21, one homer, .924 OPS)
2B — Elian Herrera, 2012 (12 for 33, three doubles, .887 OPS)
SS — Luis Maza, 2008 (8 for 20, one homer, 1.005 OPS)
3B — Andy LaRoche, 2007 (6 for 23, 12 walks, .818 OPS)
LF — Jerry Sands, 2012 (8 for 31, five doubles, .753 OPS)
CF — Mike Ramsey, 1987 (11 for 33, .765 OPS)
RF — Jason Repko, 2005 (8 for 26, three homers, 1.092 OPS)
P — John Ely, 2010 (Elymania)

Every one of these guys did or have done more in their baseball careers than 99.9 percent of the world — Sands, for that matter, was at it again this past week, starting 2015 with Cleveland by going 5 for 13 with two doubles.  Some were productive for weeks, maybe even a couple of months. Sometimes it was injuries, rather than ability, that got in the way. But excitement soon gave way to retreat.

Alex Guerrero might well be a starting third baseman someday, and it will be thrilling if he is, but a certain amount of healthy skepticism is probably useful. Believe me, I have to remind myself of that sometimes. In the meantime, everyone can be happy he’s been so productive off the bench, part of the crew helping keep the Dodgers in every game.

In case you missed it: Jackie Robinson Day edition

By Jon Weisman

Beginning at 2 p.m., MLB.com is live-streaming today’s Civil Rights Roundtable, featuring Frank Robinson, Sharon Robinson, Billy Bean, Magic Johnson, labor leader and civil-rights activist Dolores Huerta, and UCLA Department of Urban Schooling doctoral student Brian Woodward.

Now, in addition to what was posted this morning on Dodger Insider, here are more links to Jackie Robinson Day coverage around the Internet:

  • A Jackie Robinson photo gallery, dating back to 1925 — SI.com
  • The time Jackie Robinson played shortstop for the Dodgers — Eric Stephen, True Blue L.A.
  • A re-creation Robinson’s debut as if he were writing on that day — Jay Jaffe, SI.com
  • A 1950 Jackie Robinson comic book — Ernest Reyes, Blue Heaven
  • Also from Blue Heaven: Jackie Robinson at the Apollo
  • Lopes appreciative of those who came before him — Lyle Spencer, MLB.com
  • MLB’s only black manager pauses to remember Jackie Robinson’s impact — Tim Brown, Yahoo Sports
  • Jackie’s day a fitting backdrop for Civil Rights Game — Mark Newman, MLB.com
  • Last but definitely not least, a very special first-person piece that Jimmy Rollins wrote about Jackie Robinson for Sports Illustrated appears below (click below to enlarge)

Rollins SI

A detailed account of Jackie Robinson’s first day in the Majors

robinson_jackie2

By Jon Weisman

In 2007, I wrote the following piece for SI.com on what it was like for Jackie Robinson on April 15, 1947.

* * *

For most of us who didn’t live through Jackie Robinson’s first day in the major leagues, black and white images have embedded it in our memories. A stark snapshot of Robinson in his Brooklyn Dodgers cap, or frames of newsreel footage showing him running the bases.

According to Jonathan Eig’s new book, Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson’s First Season, when Robinson awoke early that day at Manhattan’s McAlpin Hotel, the sight before him, his wife, Rachel, and five-month-old son, Jack, Jr., was vivid and suggested anything but the historic day that was upon him.

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