Don Drysdale’s 1968 Vitalis commercial

Don Drysdale threw a lot of mean pitches in 1968, but he didn’t throw any greaseball. Thanks to Mark Langill for passing this along.

– Jon Weisman

It’s another wild night for the Dodger offense

By Jon Weisman

For the second time in three nights, the Dodgers showed off some bench-clearing brawn.

An eight-run sixth inning, the Dodgers’ biggest single-frame scoring outburst of the season, allowed the Dodgers to rest their starters again in what became an 11-3 victory at Colorado.

With 32 runs in their past three games, Los Angeles reduced its magic number for clinching a National League playoff spot to five and the NL West title to 10 – and stood to whittle off another digit with San Francisco losing to Arizona in the eighth inning, 6-2. Washington remained a half-game ahead of the Dodgers, who have won eight of their past 10 games, for the best record in the NL.

Justin Turner’s pinch-hit, two-run double with somewhere between two and four runners on base broke a 3-3 tie, and the Dodgers poured it on thereafter.

The NL’s best-hitting team with runners in scoring position finished the game 8 for 18 in those situations.

Matt Kemp got the Dodgers on the board in the first inning with a two-run home run. Juan Uribe had three hits, while Dee Gordon, Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez each had two. Carl Crawford became the second Dodger in three nights to be hit by two pitches.

Gonzalez leapfrogged injured Miami outfielder Giancarlo Stanton to take the NL lead in RBI. Gonzalez would be the third Los Angeles Dodger to lead the NL in RBI, after Tommy Davis (1962) and Matt Kemp (2011).

A big moment in the game might be forgotten in the short term but could be meaningful in the long. Paco Rodriguez pitched in his first game since August 3, relieving Roberto Hernandez with the bases loaded and two out, and induced an inning-ending groundout.

Earlier Monday, the Dodgers confirmed following an MRI that Hyun-Jin Ryu would miss his next start, but they are optimistic he’ll be ready to go for any playoff games. Ken Gurnick of MLB.com has more.

It’ll be a #DodgerBlueOut when the Giants come to town

Blue-out-graphic-web

By Erik Wilson

Are you pumped after the Dodgers took two of three in San Francisco this past weekend? Get ready to channel that energy next week into the #DodgerBlueOut.

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Dodger strikeout records likely to fall this week

Dodgers at Rockies, 5:40 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Yasiel Puig, CF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, RF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Carl Crawford, LF
Juan Uribe, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Roberto Hernandez, P

By Jon Weisman

Sometime before the Dodgers return to Los Angeles from their final roadtrip of the 2014 regular season, they’ll have no doubt broken the franchise’s strikeout records for pitchers and hitters.

With 1,253 strikeouts on the mound, Dodger pitchers are 40 away from breaking the team record of 1,292, set in 2013.

With 1,149 strikeouts at the plate, Dodger batters are 42 away from breaking the team record of 1,190, set in 1996.

Despite the strikeouts, Dodger hitters rank second in the National League in adjusted OPS and first in Wins Above Replacement. Here’s a Cliff Clavin-worthy fact — despite the Dodgers’ team-record pace, 16 MLB teams this season have struck out more than they have. Los Angeles is two strikeouts above the MLB average of 1,147.

Just another great Vin Scully call

I could listen to this call again and again.

— Jon Weisman

Clayton Kershaw named NL Player of the Week

Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants

For more photo highlights from Sunday, visit LA Photog Blog.

Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco GiantsBy Jon Weisman

Two-time 2014 National League Player of the Month Clayton Kershaw is now a two-time 2014 National League Player of the Week.

Kershaw won the award Monday after pitching eight innings in his two starts, including Sunday’s big 4-2 victory over San Francisco, and allowing a total of three runs and 13 baserunners in the 16 innings with 17 strikeouts.

For Kershaw, that makes five career NLPOW wins, including at least one every year since 2011.

Carl Crawford (12 for 20 with a walk, five doubles and a home run) and Hanley Ramirez (11 for 22 with a walk and two doubles) were finalists for the award.

Kershaw is also one of six finalists for this year’s Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award, presented to the player who “inspires others to higher levels of achievement by their on-field performances and contributions to their communities.” He has Dodger Insider’s official endorsement.

Dodgers’ final six regular-season games to air on local broadcast station KDOC

By Jon Weisman

The Dodgers’ final six games of the regular season — September 22-24 against San Francisco and September 26-28 against Colorado — will air on independent broadcast station KDOC, which is carried by every cable, satellite and telco provider in Southern California and can also be received over the air with an antenna.

Time Warner Cable announced today an agreement for SportsNet LA to air those games on KDOC, subject to national broadcast commitments.

KDOC can be seen on the following channels:

  • Charter: 710 high definition or 10 standard definition
  • Cox: 1012 or 12
  • AT&T U-verse: 1006 or 6
  • DirecTV: 56
  • Verizon FiOS: 506 or 6
  • Dish: 56
  • Over-the-air broadcast: 56.1

“Time Warner Cable is part of this community, and we’re Dodger fans too,” Time Warner Cable COO Dinni Jain said.  “Angelenos love their Dodgers, and we’re happy to give them a way to watch their beloved team during this pennant chase.”

Earlier this summer, Time Warner Cable offered to enter into binding arbitration to facilitate the completion of distribution deals for SportsNet LA, but potential distributors did not join in.

“Right now, we can’t change the fact that other area TV distributors won’t carry the channel, but we don’t want anyone to miss this exciting pennant run,” Jain said. “We hope everyone will tune in to KDOC and help us cheer on the Dodgers. We will continue to work on long-term agreements with other providers in the offseason.”

Kershaw dominant against Giants, but victory not assured

Dodgers at Giants, 1:05 p.m.
Kershaw CCVII: Kershawrney Miller
Dee Gordon, 2B
Yasiel Puig, CF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, RF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Carl Crawford, LF
Juan Uribe, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Clayton Kershaw, P

By Jon Weisman

Although, with a 1.40 ERA, no pitcher in baseball history has been tougher on the Giants than Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers have lost two of the past three games he has started against them — and the Dodgers are a relatively modest 14-9 in Kershaw starts against San Francisco.

On May 11, Kershaw surrendered a 3-1 seventh-inning lead when he allowed a two-run home run to Brandon Hicks, in a game the Dodgers eventually lost in 10 innings, 7-4.

And 366 days ago, Kershaw took a 2-0 lead into the seventh but gave up four consecutive singles in what became a 3-2 loss. The third run was unearned because of a Scott Van Slyke error.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS AT LOS ANGELES DODGERS

In 23 career starts against San Francisco, here’s the breakdown of earned runs allowed by Kershaw:

0: eight times (Dodgers are 8-0.)
1: six times (Dodgers are 5-1.)
≤1: 14 times (Dodgers are 13-1.)
2: seven times (Dodgers are 1-6.)
≤2: 21 times (Dodgers are 14-7.)
3: one time (Dodgers are 0-1.)
4: one time (Dodgers are 0-1.)

Amazingly and horrifyingly, the Dodgers are 1-6 when Kershaw allows the Giants exactly two earned runs.

With a win today, Kershaw would match Orel Hershiser (19-3, .864) for the best winning percentage by a Dodger pitcher in 29 years and the second-best all-time. Hershiser won five consecutive starts from September 13-October 2, 1985 to reach 19-3, but his final appearance of the years was a two-inning tuneup in relief to prepare for the 1985 National League Championship Series. He had a complete-game victory in Game 2, but was also the starting pitcher in the Game 6 loss.

Dodger run support for Kershaw’s starts has improved from 3.9 runs per game in 2013 to 4.8 this year.

 

Romper room: Dodgers are the answer men with 17-0 rout

By Jon Weisman

Tonight’s combination of Augustus Gloop, Mr. Creosote, Charles Bronson and Ed Grimley is brought to you by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In a dish of revenge as cold and overflowing as a jammed frozen yogurt machine, the Dodgers avenged Friday’s 9-0 loss to the Giants with a record-shattering 17-0 victory over San Francisco.

The Dodgers scored the most runs ever by an opponent at San Francisco’s AT&T Park and shattered the record for the biggest shutout in the history of the Dodgers-Giants series — by either team. Los Angeles came within two of its franchise record for largest shutout victory, a 19-0 defeat of the Padres on June 28, 1969.

For the Dodgers, their biggest shutout ever of the Giants was 12-0 on April 19, 1940. For the Giants, it was 16-0 over the Dodgers on July 3, 1949. Tonight’s game also happened to come 40 years and one day after an 11-0 Dodger victory at Candlestick Park.

The last time San Francisco lost, 17-0, the winning points came on November 19, 1950 on a George Blanda field goal.

The Dodgers scored four runs apiece in the first and second innings to knock out Giants starter Tim Hudson before he recorded his fourth out, the shortest start of his career, an event eerily similar to Hyun-Jin Ryu’s the night before. In their first two trips through the lineup, the Dodgers were 11 for 16 with a walk, a sacrifice fly and four doubles — two by Matt Kemp, who had three hits and three RBI in the first three innings, while also throwing out Angel Pagan at the plate (mid-bubble!) in the first inning to stop the Giants’ most significant scoring threat.

And that’s where the difference from Friday was. As bad as the San Francisco rout was, the Dodgers nearly doubled it, like a sudden shift in a backgammon game.

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 9.37.36 PMYasiel Puig, who ignited the Dodgers with the first hit of the game, stretching an apparent single into a leg double (pictured), had three hits and was hit by a pitch. Hanley Ramirez had three singles and a double. Juan Uribe had a single and a home run. Dee Gordon had two singles and his 60th stolen base of the season while becoming the first player in Los Angeles Dodger history to record seven at-bats in a nine-inning game.

And Zack Greinke was more than the beneficiary. In addition to six shutout innings on 84 pitches, Greinke walked, doubled off the top of the wall and hit his fourth career home run, his first as a Dodger.

Don’t expect Greinke (.204/.271/.352) to catch Madison Bumgarner (.242/.273/.419) in the Silver Slugger race, but he made up a chunk of ground tonight. Greinke is 5 for 10 with a walk and a .900 slugging percentage in his past five games.

Off the bench, Scott Van Slyke hit the Dodgers’ other home run, Alex Guerrero played left field and got his first Major League hit, and Roger Bernadina became the third Dodger to be hit by two pitches in his only two plate appearances of the game.

With 24 hits, the Dodgers were one away from the Los Angeles record for a nine-inning game. The Dodgers went 11 for 19 with runners in scoring position.

Oh — and not to be forgotten, Scott Elbert pitched a shutout inning in his first Major League game in 25 months. So very happy for him.

The More You Know …

The educational moment from tonight’s game is that while they don’t often come back from an in-game deficit, you can hardly do better after a defeat than the Dodgers. Tonight, the Dodgers improved their record to 43-21 after a loss.

It’s not as dramatic as coming back in a game, but it’s more meaningful.

… The More You Know

Be strong

Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants

Dodgers at Giants, 6:05 p.m.
Dee Gordon, 2B
Yasiel Puig, CF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, RF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Carl Crawford, LF
Juan Uribe, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Zack Grienke, P
Note: Paco Rodriguez was activated from the disabled list today.

By Jon Weisman

It’s not about the setback. It’s about how you respond to the setback.

And it’s not about instant gratification – not that I’m not a big fan of instant gratification. It’s about how things play out in the long run.

It’s understandable to be worried about Hyun-Jin Ryu and the Dodgers following the lefty’s injury-shortened outing in a 9-0 loss Friday to San Francisco, but don’t surrender to the worry. Twists and turns are all too common in baseball to get worked up over a single event.

If the Dodgers couldn’t overcome challenges, of which there have already been plenty this season, they wouldn’t have a National League West lead in the first place.  Whatever might come, assuming no resiliency of a team that made up 9 1/2 games in the standings makes no sense.

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