2015 Dodgers Top 50: The best plays of the first half

Los Angeles Dodgers vs Texas Rangers

By Jon Weisman

We’re through the first 81 games of the 2015 season, and the Dodgers’ first half was nothing if not action-packed. To be completely honest with you, I tried to trim this collection of top Dodger plays down to 50 — removing some really fine moments — but if you count, you’ll find a few extra.

So I say, revel in it. Sit back, click and enjoy …

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Kershaw shines before Dodgers lose duel in ninth

Sky

By Jon Weisman

This is Clayton Kershaw over his past eight starts:

Kershaw 7-3

Unfortunately for Kershaw and the Dodgers, they couldn’t push another run across after Adrian Gonzalez’s second-inning home run and lost to the New York Mets, 2-1.

Not even Howie Kendrick’s sixth-inning stolen base — the Dodgers first after 23 games without one — could rally the Dodgers.

Sevens (in innings, baserunners and strikeouts) weren’t lucky for Kershaw, who allowed one run but left with the score tied. Mets rookie Noah Syndergaard matched well with Kershaw, allowing four baserunners in six innings while striking out six.

“He was really good,” Kershaw said. “Really impressed. We all know when the big prospects come up, they’re gonna have the stuff, but he commanded the ball well on both sides of the plate, threw breaking balls high in counts, things like that. Even threw some changeups in there. Just another Texas kid — what do you expect?”

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Carl Crawford eager to return to action

Los Angeles Dodgers vs San Diego Padres Friday, April 24, 2015 at Petco Park in San Diego, California. The Dodgers beat the Padres 3-0.  Photo by Jon SooHoo/©Los Angeles Dodgers,LLC 2015.

Los Angeles Dodgers vs San Diego Padres Friday, April 24, 2015 at Petco Park in San Diego, California. The Dodgers beat the Padres 3-0. Photo by Jon SooHoo/©Los Angeles Dodgers,LLC 2015.

Mets at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Kershaw CCXXVI: Kershawming to America
Joc Pederson, CF
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Andre Ethier, LF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Clayton Kershaw, P

By Jon Weisman

Carl Crawford was in fine spirits today as he made a short stop at Dodger Stadium today before resuming his rehab work at Oklahoma City on Sunday.

Crawford has been sidelined since April 27 with a right oblique injury, but contended that the time has been anything but idle.

“Trust me, they work around it,” Crawford said. “One thing I try to do is keep my legs strong, make sure I can still run, do the things that I do when I play. My legs feel good — I feel like I can steal a base at any time, I’ll run down balls in the outfield. The only thing I need to do now is play, swing the bat as much as I can. … I’d like to be back as soon as possible.”

Don Mattingly initially stated today that he didn’t expect Crawford back on the active roster before the All-Star Break, then backtracked slightly.

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Dodger stolen base drought is a team record — but look to the 2011 Cardinals

Zack Greinke steals second base on May 27 (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Zack Greinke steals second base on May 27 (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

From the Dodgers public relations department:

The Dodgers have not stolen a base since June 7 and, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, their 23-game streak without a steal is the longest streak in modern franchise history (since 1900). Los Angeles has been thrown out on all six attempted steals during the stolen base drought. The last Major League team with a longer streak was the Cardinals, who went 33 games without a steal from June 10-July 20, 2011 and then won the World Series in October.

The last Dodger to steal a base, Andre Ethier in the sixth inning against St. Louis, was thrown out at home trying to score to end that same inning. Jimmy Rollins was the last Dodger to steal a base and then score (June 2) — though he stole third and then scored on a triple.

The last Dodger to steal second base before Ethier was Zack Greinke on May 27. The last Dodger to steal two bases in a game was Jimmy Rollins on May 23.

And yes, as you can see from the chart that follows … the Dodgers have not stolen a base that led directly to a run this entire season.

Stolen bases through 7-2

Recently on Dodger Insider: Sliding into the Dodgers’ baserunning issues

Hello Kitty and Kershaw at 50 percent off

600x400_LAD_4TH

By Cary Osborne

Hello Phillies. Hello Kitty. Hello deal.

The Dodgers are celebrating Independence Day Weekend with a three-day advance ticket special for Hello Kitty night at Dodger Stadium.

LAD 2015 Hello Kitty PlushStarting at 10 a.m. today, all Reserve Level tickets are at least 50 percent off for Wednesday, July 8, when the Dodgers host the Philadelphia Phillies. Plus, the first 40,000 fans in attendance will receive a Hello Kitty Plush, presented by Time Warner Cable.

On top of all that, July 8 is Clayton Kershaw’s spot in the rotation.

Go to dodgers.com/special for more information.

Jackie Robinson’s legacy underscores day of mentoring at Dodger Stadium

BE42 Mentoring Day

By Erin Edwards

Nearly 100 middle school students descended Wednesday on Dodger Stadium for the Dodgers BE42 Mentoring Day, presented by the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) in partnership with the Jackie Robinson Foundation. While baseball was the platform, the focus was on developing character through the study of the extraordinary legacy of American hero, Jackie Robinson.

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Brandon League’s roller-coaster ride as a Dodger loops into the finish

San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

After 35 months, Brandon League’s tenure as a Dodger appears to have come to an end.

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Dodgers acquire two more minor leaguers, plus Trevor Cahill

By Jon Weisman

Doubling down on their slots-for-tots strategy from earlier today, the Dodgers have acquired two minor leaguers — right-handed pitcher Caleb Dirks and outfielder Jordan Paroubeck — from Atlanta in exchange for international signing slot No. 87.

The 22-year-old Dirks, a Riverside native who will report to Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, had a 0.68 ERA at two levels of Single-A ball this season, with 29 strikeouts and a 1.28 WHIP in 26 2/3 innings. That includes 16 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings since being promoted to Single-A Carolina on May 8.

Paroubeck, 20, had a .346 on-base percentage and .457 slugging percentage for San Diego’s Rookie-level squad in Arizona last year. He went to Atlanta as part of the Craig Kimbrel deal and has played in 25 extended spring training games this year. Paroubeck will head to Camelback Ranch for ongoing rehab of a minor quad injury.

The Dodgers also signed 27-year-old veteran right-hander Trevor Cahill, who was designated for assignment by Atlanta on June 19 after allowing 22 earned runs on 48 baserunners in 26 1/3 innings.

As of 6 p.m., the Dodgers had added 14 players to the organization today.

Teenagers are no wasteland for Dodger international scouts

Alvarez

Yadier Alvarez

By Jon Weisman

Spending big dollars on teenagers from the international market — as in today’s nine international signings — involves no small amount of risk, but the Dodgers are clearly bullish on their new prospects, as Dodger senior vice president of baseball operations Josh Byrnes indicated in a conference call with reporters this afternoon.

Byrnes began by talking about 19-year-old Yadier Alvarez, the top-rated pitching prospect in the international market and a rare talent.

“He’s one of the more talented teenage right-handed pitchers who a lot of us who have been doing this a long time have seen,” said Byrnes, who added that Alvarez throws 97 mph, “occasionally touching 99-100, with very little effort and some pretty good feel for secondary pitches.”

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Dodgers sign nine international prospects, led by Yadier Alvarez, Starling Heredia

By Jon Weisman

Today, the opening day of the new signing period for international players not subject to the MLB draft, the Dodgers announced the following signings, led by the most highly regarded pitcher in the market … (more…)

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