Kershaw’s comments and Dee reaches 20.9 mph

Here are some All-Star Game leftovers that include, by our vision, Dee Gordon reaching 20.9 mph before he rounds third base.

— Cary Osborne

Clayton Kershaw and Matthew Stafford: The Wonder Years

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By Josh Tucker

Is there is one kid that sticks out from your childhood, that dominated every sport with ease? In Dallas, Texas in the late 1990′s, early 2000′s there were two, and unfortunately for their counterparts in MLB and the NFL they continue to outshine and outperform. By now, you all have seen the photos of a young Clayton Kershaw and Matthew Stafford, but this Bleacher Report story takes you inside “The Wonder Years.” It was fun to watch Clayton Kershaw and Matthew Stafford grow into superstars on the field, but it was even more fun to be around off the field. 

Seriously, read it now.

This excerpt puts it in perspective:

“We would move it close to his house and try to, not really jump from the roof to the trampoline, but from the trampoline onto the roof,” says Pan Lucas, who played on the Blue Bombers and other teams with Stafford and Kershaw and remains close with Stafford. “We’d probably incorporate a ball with it. Some sort of dodgeball. So many stupid games like that.”

While you were jumping from your roof on to your trampoline, these guys were jumping from the trampoline onto their roof. And we all know Clayton Kershaw the fierce competitor, but what about Clayton Kershaw the enforcer?

“He was probably the only freshman to get kicked out of a game,” Charley Dickenson says. “This is nice, good old boy Clayton. Once the game has begun, he’s just totally another person, extremely aggressive, wants to win at all costs.”

Someone hit Stafford, too late for Kershaw’s liking. “He wasn’t too happy about it,” Stafford says. “He jumped on top of him and took him down. They ejected him. It was awesome.”

Says Lucas: “He seriously belly-flopped the whole pile. It was incredible. We watched it on film. We watched it and re-watched it, probably 100 times. The whole team was just dying laughing.”

Dodger Insider All-time Great Friendships Power Rankings:

  1. Timon and Pumbaa
  2. Juan Uribe and Hyun-Jin Ryu
  3. Jonah Hill and Michael Cera in SuperBad
  4. Kevin Arnold and Paul Pfeiffer
  5. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey
  6. Clayton Kershaw and Matthew Stafford
  7. Liam Neeson and Himself
  8. Sancho Panza and Don Quijote
  9. The Red and Yellow M&Ms
  10. Calvin and Hobbes

Clutch much? Dodgers actually crisp with RISP, but is it ever enough?

 (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Hanley Ramirez had a .404 on-base percentage with runners in scoring position heading into the All-Star Break, despite a 1-for-9 mark with the bases loaded. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

(Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Yasiel Puig has a 1.013 OPS with runners in scoring position this year, but is 0 for 6 with the bases loaded. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

Ducks on the pond, stranded. It’s enough to make you quack up.

Short of the final out of a loss, there’s hardly a worse feeling in baseball for an offense than failing to cash in on scoring opportunities.

In fact, the sight of a team stranding runners in scoring position is so unbearable that everyone, from fans to the media, usually thinks of their team as a disappointment in clutch situations — even when that team is doing all that can be expected. It’s certainly no different if you’re following the Dodgers.

Heading into the All-Star Break, the Dodgers weren’t known as a clutch team — if anything, they were dogged by a rather bizarre pileup of failings in bases-loaded situations, in which they had gone 11 for 63 (.175) with as many hit-by-pitches (two) as walks.

Yet with runners in scoring position, the Dodgers had the highest on-base percentage (.354) in the Majors. By that measure, Los Angeles was home to the most clutch team in the baseball.

You could even argue that the Dodgers, like the prototypical when-the-chips-are-down hero, turned it up when the pressure was on, given that their offensive stats were better with runners in scoring position than with the bases empty.

But even here, one has to be careful with how to interpret these numbers.

Fluke city
The more you dive into analyzing specific situations, the more the statistics succumb to the frailties of small sample size. (more…)

Video: Dodger All-Star highlights




Not Yasiel Puig’s night, but Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Dee Gordon had their moments to shine at tonight’s All-Star Game.

– Jon Weisman

On All-Star Tuesday, MLB recognizes Billy Bean, Glenn Burke in inclusion efforts

At the site of this year’s All-Star Game, Major League Baseball announced the appointment of former Dodger Billy Bean as MLB’s first Ambassador for Inclusion, providing guidance and training related to efforts to support those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community throughout the sport.

The news came the same day as it was revealed that another former Dodger, Glenn Burke, would be recognized posthumously by MLB as the sport’s gay pioneer.

Alyson Footer of MLB.com has more covering these stories.

– Jon Weisman

Final Dodger All-Star appetizers; Kershaw to pitch second inning

By Cary Osborne

To get you going for tonight’s 85th Major League Baseball All-Star Game, here are a few tidbits, following the above interview between the great Peter Gammons and the great Yasiel Puig.

  • Weirdly enough, Clayton Kershaw has never faced Mike Trout in a regular-season game. They faced each other last year at Citi Field in the 2013 All-Star Game and Trout flew out.
  • Derek Jeter, who will be playing in his final All-Star Game, is 2-for-6 (all singles) all time against Kershaw. Kershaw might not get to face either one, though. He told MLB Network that he will be pitching the second inning.
  • Jeter is 5-for-21 with a double and four strikeouts against Zack Greinke.
  • Greinke has struck out Miguel Cabrera 11 times in 35 at-bats, but has surrendered 10 hits to the defending two-time AL MVP.
  • Puig might not have homered during the Home Run Derby, but if you’re thinking about him homering in his first All-Star at-bat, 15 players have done that before. The last was Melky Cabrera in 2012. He also won the MVP in that game.
  • One Dodger is on that list of 15. Jim Gilliam homered in the 1959 All-Star Game.
  • If you’re thinking about Dee Gordon and a stolen-base record, the most stolen bases in an All-Star Game is two. Five different players have swiped two bags in a game: Willie Mays (1963), Kelly Gruber (1990), Roberto Alomar (1992), Kenny Lofton (1996) and Starlin Castro (2011).
  • And the most important tidbit: The 2003 All-Star Game was the first that decided home-field advantage for the World Series. Teams with home-field advantage in the World Series since 2003 are 8-3 and have won the last five World Series.
  • The last four teams with home-field advantage have won Game 1 of the World Series and are 7-4 all time in Game 1s.
  • The only Game 7 in that span was the 2011 World Series, and the St. Louis Cardinals, who had home-field advantage, beat the Texas Rangers.

The Dodgers, at 54-43, have the best record in the National League.

Dee Gordon: All-Star second baseman

Dee Gordon is greeted by Derek Jeter on Monday at Target Field.

Dee Gordon is greeted by Derek Jeter on Monday at Target Field.

By Cary Osborne

Dee Gordon wasn’t thrilled.

“I didn’t like where I was, and usually I’m in control of everything I do. And I wasn’t in control of it, so I didn’t know how to handle it,” Gordon conceded last month.

He certainly likes where he is now.

(more…)

Seagers pull off a rare All-Star double

Corey Seager at Sunday's Futures Game.

Corey Seager at Sunday’s Futures Game.

By Cary Osborne

Top Dodger prospect Corey Seager played in Sunday’s Futures Game — further acknowledgement for the 20-year-old that he is regarded as one of the game’s top minor league talents.

However, playing on a Major League field, — Target Field in Minneapolis, Minn. — in a nationally televised game hasn’t been the highlight of his experience.

“I think it was last night looking down on the field and finally seeing that (my brother’s) an All-Star,” Corey said.

The Seagers — Dodger minor leaguer Corey and Seattle Mariner Kyle Seager — are pulling off a baseball rarity in Corey being a Futures Game selection and Kyle being an American League All-Star in the same season.

AL All-Stars Kyle Seager, Houston Astro Jose Altuve and Oakland A's catcher Derek Norris.

AL All-Stars Kyle Seager, Houston Astro Jose Altuve and Oakland A’s catcher Derek Norris.

“I’m really proud of my brother. That’s going to be really neat for my parents because they’re going to get to see two really cool games,” Corey said.

Corey, who has arguably been the California League’s top hitter thus far with the High-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, was told on Friday before he left for Minnesota that he was being promoted to Double-A Chattanooga. He went 0-for-1 and was hit by a pitch in the Futures Game, and was given permission to stay in Minnesota to watch his brother (hopefully) play in the All-Star Game.

Corey and his parents watched Monday’s Home Run Derby from 20 rows up behind home plate and will be at Target Field tonight to root on Kyle, who on July 7 was named as a replacement on the American League team for the injured Edwin Encarnacion. Kyle, 26, is slashing at .279/.350/.493 this season with 15 home runs and 63 RBI.

“I was so excited when I heard Kyle made the team,” Corey said. “I think I was more excited than he was. It’s been so exciting to see him on the field with all those big names like Jeter and Trout.”

Corey said he hasn’t tried to meet some of the MLB All-Stars. He’s just tried to stay in the background and let his brother enjoy the moments. The family will do the same tonight.

Photos: Corey Seager: Ben Platt/MLB; Kyle Seager: Getty Images

 

Spectacular Bids: A Dodger Insider All-Star history special

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Ahead of this year’s All-Star Game, our Cary Osborne put together this great package celebrating great Dodger All-Star memories for this month’s issue of Dodger Insider. Spend a few moments with some of the best of the Boys in Blue. (Click each page to enlarge.)

— Jon Weisman

SBids1 (more…)

Dodger All-Star Game quiz

By Mark Langill

For your there-goes-another-Home Run Derby enjoyment, an All-Star Game trivia quiz (answers at the bottom):

  1. Who was the first Brooklyn Dodger pitcher to start an All-Star Game?
  2. Who was the first Dodger to hit a home run in an All-Star Game?
  3. The Major League Home Run Derby began in 1985. Who was the first Dodger All-Star to participate?
  4. Who are the only two Dodger pitchers to start an All-Star Game in their rookie seasons?
  5. Who are the only Dodger teammates to hit back-to-back home runs in an All-Star Game?
  6. Who is the only player to make his Dodger debut in an All-Star Game?
  7. Who were the five batters Fernando Valenzuela struck out in succession during the 1986 All-Star Game at Houston?
  8. In 1959, which Dodger became the fifth pitcher in history to start an All-Star Game in his home ballpark?
  9. Who is the only Dodger pitcher to win All-Star Game MVP honors?
  10. Name the only Dodger All-Star representative during the eventual 1988 championship season.
wills

Shortstop Maury Wills was the MVP of the 1962 All-Star Game (first game).

 Answers below …
(more…)

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