By Jon Weisman
Josh Beckett has officially come off the disabled list and will start for the Dodgers today, with Paco Rodriguez returning to Triple-A Albuquerque.
Making his first start since July 6 after spending the minimum 15 days on the DL because of a left hip impingement, Beckett is fourth among National League pitchers in ERA (2.26) and opponents’ batting average (.203). He has pitched shutout ball in four of his past six starts, though his last before the DL totaled only five innings in Colorado.
In 12 starts since May 8, Beckett has a 1.92 ERA with 65 strikeouts in 75 innings against 80 baserunners, averaging 6 1/3 innings per start.
Rodriguez pitched back-to-back games July 18-19 on his recent callup, retiring the four batters he faced with 16 pitches, on three fly balls and a strikeout.
The second annual LGBT Night Out at Dodger Stadium will take place at the August 22 game against the Mets, the Dodgers announced.
LGBT Night Out at Dodger Stadium will feature a special performance of the national anthem by Mary Lambert (pictured), as well as a celebrity first pitch and more. The evening will conclude Friday Night Fireworks, with music by DJ Manny Lehman.
“Baseball recently showed the importance of inclusion at the All-Star Game with the hiring of former Dodger Billy Bean as its ambassador,” said Dodger executive vice president and chief marketing officer Lon Rosen. “We look forward to once again welcoming and recognizing the LGBT community of Los Angeles to Dodger Stadium. They are an integral part of this great city of ours and the Dodger community.”
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) July 22, 2014
By Jon Weisman
Dee Gordon was named the Dodgers’ 2014 Heart and Hustle Award winner by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association.
The award is designed to honor active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and tradition of the game. It’s the only award in Major League Baseball that is voted on by former players.
By Jon Weisman
You could say there are some close divisional races in the National League:
.551 54-44 San Francisco
.550 55-45 Los Angeles
.545 54-45 Milwaukee
.545 54-45 St. Louis
.552 53-43 Washington
.551 54-44 Atlanta
Pittsburgh (52-46) and Cincinnati (51-47) are within 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 games of the NL Central lead, meaning that eight teams can call themselves top contenders for the five playoff spots in the NL.
* * *
Here’s the updated list of all-time pitcher leaders in stolen bases for the Dodgers in Los Angeles, courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com:
By Jon Weisman
Intentional? No. Irresponsible? That’s another story.
That was the sentiment from the Dodgers after Sunday’s roller-coaster 4-3 victory.
Adrian Gonzalez, who had the game-winning hit Sunday for the Dodgers, starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw and manager Don Mattingly talked about the key events.
In their most emotional game of 2014, the Dodgers prevailed over St. Louis on Sunday, 4-3.
It was a game in which 2013 National League Championship Series hit-by-pitch victim Hanley Ramirez was drilled two more times by Cardinal pitchers, a day after Yasiel Puig was knocked out of action by an HBP. The latest one, which came in the ninth inning that saw the Dodgers deliver the tiebreaking run, looked serious enough to sideline Ramirez himself, but we’re awaiting reports as this was being published.
Ramirez was hit by an 0-2 pitch, which is a count that I’ve always found exonerated the pitcher (in this case, Trevor Rosenthal) from intent. You’re just too close to an out, especially in a tie game in the ninth, to give up a base voluntarily. It’s the same reason that I never felt Zack Greinke was trying to hit Carlos Quentin with his 1-2 pitch in early 2013.
Many Dodger fans online might not agree. In any case, the damage the Cardinal pitchers have been inflicting in the past nine months has been fairly ridiculous, which is why you can imagine Matt Holliday couldn’t have been too surprised by Clayton Kershaw’s first HBP of the year to start the bottom of the fourth.
Kershaw, whose efforts included his first career stolen base, eliminated Holliday from the basepaths on his very next pitch, thanks to a 4-6-3 double play, and seemed thoroughly in control, taking a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the sixth. But Matt Carpenter, a thorn in his side with an 11-pitch at-bat in NLCS Game 6 last October, worked a 10-pitch walk, and the next batter, Peter Bourjos, hit a game-tying homer.
That evened the game and left Kershaw (seven innings, six hits, one walk, eight strikeouts) with a no-decision after winning eight consecutive starts. The tie was broken in the ninth by Adrian Gonzalez, who stranded two runners with two out in the seventh but this time delivered an RBI single that scored Miguel Rojas, pinch-running after A.J. Ellis led off the inning with a double.
Kenley Jansen retired the side in order on 12 pitches to close out the game.
By Jon Weisman
The Dodgers will score again.
I know it doesn’t look like the Dodgers will score again, but the Dodgers will score again. Because teams always score again.
But, it has been a bit of a dry spell for the offense.
Los Angeles has gone seven straight games without scoring more than three runs, one of their longest streaks since the team last won a World Series in 1988.
11 June 26-July 6, 1989 (2-9)
9 July 23-August 1, 2003 (2-7)
8 September 4-13, 2012 (1-7)
8 June 23-30, 2012 (1-7)
8 July 21-29, 2010 (5-3)*
8 August 19-26, 2008 (1-7)
8 May 8-15, 2002 (3-5)
8 June 7-15, 1992 (2-6)
7 July 9-19, 2014 (3-4)
7 August 9-15, 1997 (3-4)
7 July 7-11, 1992 (2-5)
7 April 28-May 10, 1992 (1-6)
7 April 11-17, 1989 (2-5)
*From July 21-27, 2010, the Dodgers scored 11 runs in six games — and went 5-1, thanks to four shutouts plus a 3-2 win.
Behind Clayton Kershaw tonight, the Dodgers could conceivably go 4-4 in eight low-scoring games, though of course they’d welcome an offensive explosion as a change of pace.
By Cary Osborne
So how do the Dodgers win this year? Of course, the simple formula is pitch well, play good defense and out-hit your opponent. But here are some revealing numbers on occurrences that usually lead to Dodger victories. So the Dodgers usually win when …
– They play NL West rivals the Diamondbacks, Rockies and Padres.
The Dodgers are 26-11 against those teams (a .703 winning percentage). They have 20 games left against those three teams.
The second-place Giants are 18-18 against those same teams. They have 20 full games left against those teams. A May 14 game with the Rockies was suspended due to rain. The score is 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning and will be completed during a three-game series in Colorado Sept. 1-3.
– They lead after six innings.
When they have the advantage going into the seventh they are 46-5 (.902). If they trail after six innings they are 1-35 (.027). If they trail after seven they are 0-34. After eight they are 0-36.
- They don’t make an error.
In those games, the Dodgers are 34-21 (.618).
– They score more than three runs.
They are 41-11 (.788) when scoring three runs or more. Score three or less and the Dodgers are 13-33 (.283).
– They outhit their opponent.
They are 36-5 (.878) when they outhit their opponent.
– Hanley Ramirez knocks in a run.
In games that Ramirez knocks in a run, the Dodgers are 23-9 (.719).
– Adrian Gonzalez knocks in a run.
The Dodgers are 28-14 (.667) when Gonzalez has at least one RBI.
– Dee Gordon scores.
The Dodgers are 29-12 (.707) when Gordon scores at least one run.
Photo by Jon SooHoo/©Los Angeles Dodgers, LLC (2014)
By Jon Weisman
One big concern with Paco Rodriguez in 2013 was whether he was burned out by the time September arrived. That was the conclusion almost everyone seemed to draw when his otherwise sterling season fell apart with a 5.68 ERA and 2.211 WHIP in the regular season’s final month, followed by a rough and abbreviated postseason.
Cause or correlation, it made me curious how much more rested Rodriguez will be after this year’s All-Star Break compared to last year. (Note: MLB and minor-league work is combined here.) (more…)
The Dodgers activated Justin Turner from the disabled list before tonight’s game at St. Louis and optioned Carlos Triunfel.
Turner has been out since June 28 with a left hamstring strain. He has a .406 on-base percentage and .513 slugging percentage in 128 plate appearances since May 1.
– Jon Weisman