August 2012

Legendary Dodger broadcaster Vin Scully celebrated

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Legendary Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully was celebrated with his own bobblehead as part of the Dodger Stadium 50th Anniversary season on Thursday night.

Scully was also out to throw the ceremonial first pitch, but had help as he included his grandchildren and family in the festivities.

Vin Scully recently made a huge announcement earlier this week that he would return to the broadcast booth for the 2013 Dodgers season.

Vin Scully was inducted in the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame in 1992. He was also inducted into the Southern California Broadcasters Hall of fame in 1997. Scully’s broadcasting career began with the Dodgers on April 18, 1950 at Shibe Park as the Dodgers played Philadelphia.

Dodgers fall to Giants and out of First place

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After taking two out of three from the Atlanta Braves on the road, the Los Angeles Dodgers have a serious three game battle with the rival San Francisco Giants for sole possession of first place in the NL West.

It would be the battle of the lefty’s as the San Francisco Giants Madison Bumgarner would take on Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. As both pitchers combined for an impressive 20 strikeouts and no walks, somebody had to come up the loser.

Kershaw was not strong out of the gate and neither was the Dodger defense, as Angel Pagan hit a double deep to left center over the head of outfielder Shane Victorino. Marco Scutaro hit a sacrifice to first base that advance Pagan to third. Then the Big Panda known as Pablo Sandoval kicked into high gear, as he connected on an RBI sacrifice fly to left that scored Pagan and gave the Giants the 1-0 lead. Kershaw continued as he struck out red hot hitter Busty Posey looking to end the inning.

The Dodgers were robbed off scoring in the bottom of the first inning, thanks to fly outs by Victorino and Matt Kemp.

Kershaw also made sure that the Giants were unsuccessful of scoring any more runs, as both lefty’s were in the zone. Both Bumgarner and Kershaw battled to see who would give up a score and in the sixth inning, Kershaw would lose that battle.
As Scutaro singled to left, Pagan advanced to third base. Once again The Big Panda Sandoval struck again hitting a clutch RBI single to left, that drove in Pagan and the Giants were on top 2-0.

With no run support behind him Kershaw continued to maintain his pose and pitched well into the eight inning without allowing a single run. Unfortunately for the Dodgers Bumgarner happened to be on the same page by denying the Dodgers any opportunity to score either.
“You’re always in for a battle against these guys,” said Kershaw. “You’ve got to tip your hat to Bumgarner. He pitched awesome. Two runs ended up being too many, and that’s just the way it was.”

In the top of the ninth inning closer Ronald Belisario relieved Kershaw and was very effective as Sandoval, Posey and Pence all struck out for the easy 1-2-3 inning.

Giants reliever Sergio Romo had his work cut out for him with two outs and a chance to complete the shutout, Hanley Ramirez connected on a solo home run deep to left center that ended the Dodger scoreless dilemma.

Giants manager Bruce Bouchy decided Romo had enough and brought in reliever Javier Lopez.
Lopez got the final out when Andre Either grounded out to first base and the Giants held on for the 2-1 victory over the Dodgers. Lopez picked up his second save on the season.

The Giants moved into first place by 1/2 game over the Dodgers with Monday night’s victory.

Dodgers Clayton Kershaw (11-7) pitched eight innings on six hits, two runs and ten strikeouts. Giants Madison Bumgarner (14-7) also pitched eight strong innings on four hits, and ten strikeouts, giving him an NL best 61 strikeouts since the All-Star break.

Giants manager Bruce Bouchy spoke about his starter’s performance, “both guys had great stuff. I enjoyed watching the game,” Giants manager Bruce Bouchy said. “Bum had great focus out there and concentration. He’s a tremendous talent.”

“We had our hands full with Madison tonight. He gives you a lot of angles with that crossfire (delivery), and that cutter kind of comes out of his shoulder. We didn’t have a whole lot of chances” said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.

*Matt Kemp was hitless in four at bats with a strikeout. Andre Either also went 0-4 with two strikeouts.

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Dodgers take Braves out to woodshed

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Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was suspended by MLB for two games, due to a verbal battle with umpire Angel Campos in Thursday’s 10-6 loss in Pittsburgh. Dodgers bench coach Trey Hillman filled in for Mattingly on Saturday night. 42,219 attended Major League Baseball’s sixth Civil Rights Game at Turner Field. Commissioner Bud Selig was in attendance along with Rachel Robinson widow of legend Jackie Robinson sat together. Robinson broke the color barrier for players, along with Hall Of Famer Frank Robinson who broke the color barrier for managers was in attendance.

Dodgers starter Aaron Harang struggled in the beginning, bottom of the first inning Michael Bourne walked. Martin Prado then connected on an RBI double to center that scored Bourne and handed the Braves the early 1-0 lead.

The next innings the Dodgers woke up and exploded offensively with one out, Hanley Ramirez blasted a solo homer run. Next James Loney showed up big time as he also connected on a home run run. Then Luis Cruz followed it up by knocking out a huge home run that gave the Dodgers the 3-1 lead.

Braves starter may be down but out as he and Harang continued to battle on the mound throughout the innings. Until the top of the sixth inning, with two outs, Sheets walked Matt Kemp. Later thanks to bad timing, Kemp put the speed to the test and successfully stole second base. After Andre Either walked Ramirez once again stepped up and hit a huge three run home run that gave the Dodgers the huge 6-1 lead.
“The walks. The walks. Putting men on base,” Sheets said. “Three home runs are pretty and they look good and they are runs but if I don’t walk those guys it’s 3-1 after six.”

The Dodgers continued to play solid defense until the ninth inning when the ball was passed to closer Kensley Jansen. Jansen struck out Bourne, then gave up a solo home run to Prado. Jansen settled down and remained focused enough to force veteran Chipper Jones to ground out to first base and end the game. The Dodger held on to defeat the Braves 6-2.

Dodgers Aaron Harang (9-7) gave up one run on four hits with eight strikeouts in six innings. Closer Jansen picks up his 25th save on the season.
Braves Ben Sheets (4-3) lasted six innings, gave up four runs, on three strike outs.

Hillman refused to conduct his post game interview in the managers office, “that’s not an option. I feel very uncomfortable being in the manager’s office. My objective was to stay out of the way. This is Donnie’s team.”

Hanley Ramirez spoke about his MVP type of performance, “I’ve been telling you guys that I’ve been feeling good at the plate. I’ve been seeing the ball great I think and I’ve been swinging at strikes. I think that’s the key.”

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Ozzie still has Hanley Ramirez on his mind

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Recently outspoken and controversial Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Gullien showed he still has Hanley Ramirez on his mind.

Ramirez who was acquired by the Los Angeles Dodgers in a trade from the Miami Marlins last month, displayed his signature “I see you” signal towards Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett after hitting a home run. Burnett got his revenge as he struck out Ramirez at the next at bat, and also yelled out an expletive.

That prompted the former manager of Ramirez to speak out on Thursday, “if Hanley hit a home run down by 30 runs, he would pimp it. That’s the way he is. … Somebody hits a home run, they put on a show. Somebody strikes out, they put on a show.”

When asked about the A.J. Burnett situation, Guillen responded, “it surprised me A.J. didn’t drill him. The way A.J. is, it surprised me he didn’t do it.”
Guillen also acknowledge that Ramirez attitude is currently the way of how the baseball culture has changed, but also stated that he didn’t care for it at all.

“I cannot say anything because my players do a stupid show. They’re a last-place team. They score one run and act like we scored 100.”

Oddly enough a three time All-Star Hanley Ramirez surprisingly struggled offensively this season with the Marlins batting a mediocre .246 in 92 games. However the former NL batting champion has reemerged since joining the Dodgers, in his 22 games he’s batting .322 with an impressive 23 RBI’s.

It’s evident Guillen misses Ramirez locker room presence, but Guillen must face the fact that he’s gone, so my question for Guillen is simply….tell ‘em why you mad son?

Kershaw shuts down Pirates at PNC

 
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After an 11-0 routing of the Pirates on Tuesday night and getting news of San Francisco Giants’ Melky Cabrera’s 50 game suspension for PED’s, the Los Angeles Dodgers looked to continue their elevation into first place.

The Dodgers sent their ace Clayton Kershaw to mound to battle the Pirates starter Wandy Rodriguez on a great night for baseball at PNC Park.

 

 

Rodriguez became another victim of the electric Dodger offense, as Mark Ellis singled to right field, which allowed Shane Victorino to advance to third base. Matt Kemp grounded into a fielder’s choice play to second that scored Victorino for the early 1-0 lead.

Kershaw was sharp and in control on the mound until the bottom of the second inning. With Gaby Sanchez on third base, Garrett Jones hit an RBI sacrifice fly to right that scored Sanchez and tied the game 1-1.Kershaw ended the inning with any further scoring damage as Josh Harrison flew out to right field.

The Dodgers continued to give Rodriguez fits with Mark Ellis and Hanley Ramirez on third and second base, Andre Either knocked a single down the right field line. With the bases loaded, Dodger first baseman Juan Rivera connected on a sacrifice fly that drove in Ellis for the 2-1 lead.

Kershaw helped his own cause connecting on a huge single down the line in left field. With Victorino and Kershaw on base, Kemp continued to hit as he connected on a timely RBI double that scored both Kershaw and Victorino. Ramirez continued his hitting ways as he connected on a double that scored Kemp and gave the Dodgers the big 5-1 lead in fourth inning.

Everything seemed to be going right for Kershaw and the Dodgers until slugger Andrew McCutchen decided enough was enough and connected on a huge solo home run to cut the lead 5-2. McCutchen hit his season high 24 home runs for the Pirates.
A frustrated, yet focused Kershaw remained poised and continued his dominance on the mound and shut down the Pirates for several innings.

The Dodger offense exploded in the seventh inning, Either knocked out a single that advanced Ramirez to third base. With runners on the corners, James Loney decided to join the hitting fest as he hit an RBI single that scored Ramirez and moved Either to second base. Luis Cruz hit a ground ruled double that scored Either and Loney moved to third base. Now AJ Ellis knocked out a sacrifice fly that scored Loney, and moved Cruz to third base now. The Dodgers continued their ruthless attack as once again pitcher Clayton Kershaw knocked out a sacrifice fly that drove in Cruz and the Dodgers led 9-2.
Kershaw hit his first RBI of the season.

Kershaw continued to pitch, as signs of fatigue began to show by giving up an RBI single to shortstop Clint Barmes that scored Travis Snider. Despite the added run, Kershaw was able to end the inning

Dodger reliever Brandon League closed the game with two outs getting Michael McKenry to ground out to second to end the game as the Dodgers defeated the Pirates 9-3.

Because the Giants lost tot he Nationals earlier in the day, the Dodgers are in sole possession of first place in the NL West.

The Pirates lost their third straight game and their hold on a NL wild card spot.

Kershaw spoke about his and the team’s performance, “It was a great night! Any time you get that many runs, you just try to attack the strike zone and make them beat you. Fortunately, tonight I didn’t walk anybody. Yeah, they got some hits, but when you have a 9-2 lead… you go out there, pound the zone and let your defense work.”

Kershaw (11-6) allowed three runs on six hits in eight innings. He had eight strikeouts and no walks.

Rodriguez (7-12) allowed five runs on ten hits, one strikeout in six innings of work.

Kemp has big HR to avert Rockies sweep

 

 

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The Dodgers avoid a sweep from the last place Colorado Rockies along with avoiding falling into a deeper abyss in the NL West from the rival Giants on Wednesday night.  The Dodgers sent starter Chad Billingsley to stop the bleeding against the Rockies starter Jeff Francis.

Billingsley did not get off to a great start, as Eric Young Jr hit a shot deep to center field over the head of Matt Kemp that bounced off the wall, and gave Young an inside the park home run as the Rockies led 1-0. Young is the first Rockies player to score on an inside the park home run. Billingsley continued to struggle as Dexter Fowler hit a double to right field, and Wilin Rosario walked. The Dodger defense began to emerge out of the vortex of laziness, as Tyler Colvin hit an RBI single that scored Fowler, however Rosario was tagged out at second base.

The Rockies had a 2-0 lead when the Dodger offense showed signs of waking up offensively with Shane Victorino who singled to left. After Mark Ellis walked, Victorino advanced to second base.  Matt Kemp stepped up and hit a huge 3-run homer deep to left center that gave the Dodgers the 3-2 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
“I really haven’t been hitting too well with runners in scoring position the last couple of days, so I needed to do something to help us get the momentum going. We haven’t been getting runs in the first couple of innings, so we definitely got to start putting runs on the board early and put pressure on the other team. The home run put some runs on the board early and gave Chad a little cushion” said Kemp.

Billingsley settled down, and seemed to be focused until the top of the fourth inning with one on, DJ LeMahieu crushed a single to left that scored Jordan Pacheco and tied the game at 3-3.

The bottom of the fifth inning the Dodgers played chess with reliever Carlos Torres, as Victorino connected on a single to right field. Victorino beat the throw to steal second base. Ellis was walked, and once again Kemp reached on a single that loaded the bases. With an offensive threat at the plate like Hanley Ramirez, Torres panicked as he eventually walked Ramirez which scored Victorino and gave the Dodgers the lead 4-3. Once again with the bases loaded, this time Torres was able to focus and cause Juan Rivera to hit into a timely double play to end the inning.

The Dodgers were far from done, just an inning later with Matt Treanor on second base, Victorino slugs a clutch single that scored Treanor. Ellis continued his hitting frenzy as he connected on an RBI single that scored Victorino who ran all the way from first to beat the tag at home plate.

With two on base in the seventh inning, Dodger manager Don Mattingly decided it was time to give Billingsley the night off and brought in reliever Ronald Belisario.
Belisario did not start off strong either as Young singled to right, and thanks to a throwing error by Andre Either, LeMahieu who was third base decided to make a run for home and was safe at the plate, as the Dodgers still lead 6-4. After that, Belisario was flawless the in the next two inning that set it up perfectly for closer Kenley Jansen to close out the game and bring home the win.

Jansen was sensational in the ninth inning as he got Young to pop up at shortstop and the Dodgers held on to defeat the Rockies 6-4. Jansen picked his 22nd save on the season.

Rockies outfielder Eric Young Jr., talked about making history with his inside the park homer, “I put a good swing on it, saw the trajectory of it, and immediately put my head down thinking it was at least going to be a double. I knew he missed it, and rounding second I saw the third base coach was waving his arms like crazy, so I knew he was going for it and I wanted to make a final stretch for it.”

Chad Billingsley (8-9) pitched six solid inning, gave up four hits with five strikeouts. Bilingsley has an impressive 2.02 ERA in his last four starts after going 0-5 in his previous five starts. Carlos Torres (1-1) picked up the loss as he pitched two innings, giving up five hits, with one strikeout and three runs.

 

Can the Dodgers place Cliff Lee in Dodger blue??

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The Los Angeles Dodgers didn’t seem to be quite through with making moves, as a source has reported that the team put in a claim for Phillies lefty Cliff Lee.

The Phillies placed their starter on waivers on Tuesday prior to the non-waiver trade deadline, where the Phillies assumed that a big package would be returned to them in exchange for Lee. And as the Dodgers claimed him off waivers, the Phillies immediately took him off the market.

This is not the first time Lee has been placed on waivers, back in 2010 he was picked up the Texas Rangers who he helped make a World Series appearance. In the off season Lee signed with the Phillies for five years at $120 million.
The 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner has a 2-6 record with a 3.73 ERA for the Phillies this season.

Surprisingly it’s common for MLB teams to place players on waivers, after the trade deadline especially players with extremely large contracts. If a player is claimed, the team can either work out a trade with that club or they can remove a player from waivers. Despite the bad taste this has left in the mouths of many Dodger fans I’ve spoken with, the Phillies were within the rights to do this with Lee.

There has been no comment from Dodgers GM Ned Colletti or anyone within the Dodger organization.

Another pitcher the Dodgers have claimed off waivers successfully is right hander Joe Blanton. In exchange the Phillies will receive a minor leaguer to named at a later date.

If the Dodgers are truly serious about winning, they will do everything it takes to acquire a stellar talented pitcher like Cliff Lee whom they so desperately need.

Kershaw & Kemp continues dominance over Cubs

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After a terrible series with the division rival Arizona Diamondbacks, the Dodgers have corrected their errors and began their winning ways against the Ryan Dempster-less Chicago Cubs. Clayton Kershaw was phenomenal on the mound against the Cubs that resulted in a 3-1 victory as they continued to keep pace with the NL West leading San Francisco Giants.

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw and Cubs starter Chris Volstad traded pitches like two heavyweight fighters trading blows in the main events for the first three innings. Both pitchers were sharp and refuse to allow the other team to strike first. However in the top of the fourth inning the Cubs would strike, with Darwin Barney on second, slugger Alfonso Soriano took Kershaw deep to left center that scored Barney and gave the Cubs the 1-0 lead. Kershaw maintained his poise as he ended the inning with a fly out from Welington Castillo.

The bottom of the fourth the Dodgers would come alive and response with an incredible single to right field by Mark Ellis. With a gleam in his eye and power in his bat, Matt Kemp stepped up to the plate and took Volstad deep to right field just over the wall for a 2-run home run, that gave the Dodgers the 2-1 lead. That was Kemp’s 16th home run of the season and 41st RBI.

“I thought it was going to be a home run, but you never know in this ballpark,” said Kemp. “It’s tough to hit home runs at night here, and after looking at it on the Jumbotron, I think I got a little bit of help. But we won, so it really doesn’t matter.”

Things began to cool off offensively for both ball clubs, however the intensity continued between both Kershaw and Volstad well into the eight inning. This game would prove to come down to one thing, which team would finish with the hottest bat.

In the bottom of the eight inning, newly acquired Dodger Shane Victorino hit a big double to center field. After the intentional walk to Kemp, Andre Either responded with a single to second that caught Kemp out at second base. With runners on the corners Hanley Ramirez delivered a timely RBI single to shortstop, and made safely to first base thanks to a throwing error by Starlin Castro. Victorino scored the insurance run as the Dodgers led 3-1.

It was Jansen time in the ninth inning as reliever Kenley Jansen, as he easily struck out Soriano and struck out Brian LaHair looking to end the game, as the Dodgers held on to the 3-1 victory. Jansen picked up his 21st save on the season.

Clayton Kershaw (9-6) picked up the victory and spoke about his performance, “the curveball wasn’t very good tonight and I didn’t throw a lot of strikes with it, but fortunately I had a decent slider. They [Cubs] came out aggressively and were putting the ball in play early.”
Kershaw pitched seven solid innings, gave up one run, three hits and seven strike outs with a 2.88 ERA.

Cubs starter Chris Volstad (0-8) who was recalled from Triple-A Iowa on Wednesday after starters Ryan Dempster and Paul Mahom were dealt in trades picks up the loss. He pitched seven innings, gave up two runs on six hits, and still winless int he major leagues.

The Dodgers still remain just 1/2 game back of the first place San Francisco Giants after their victory against the Colorado Rockies.

The Dodgers go for the sweep of the Cubs on Sunday as the Dodgers send new acquired pitcher Joe Blanton against Justin Germano on Sunday.
 

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