Dodgers Tailgate https://dodgerstailgate.com Dodgers News, Rumors, Highlights | Shohei Ohtani, Mookie Betts Tue, 29 Jun 2021 00:19:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.5.4 https://dodgerstailgate.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/cropped-1Artboard-2Icon-32x32.png Dodgers Tailgate https://dodgerstailgate.com 32 32 Dodgers vs. Giants, Part Three: Tight Race, Hatred, Greatness, and How a Rivalry Should Be https://dodgerstailgate.com/dodgers-vs-giants-part-three-tight-race-greatness-and-how-a-rivalry-should-be/2021/06/28/ https://dodgerstailgate.com/dodgers-vs-giants-part-three-tight-race-greatness-and-how-a-rivalry-should-be/2021/06/28/#respond Tue, 29 Jun 2021 00:09:28 +0000 https://dodgerstailgate.com/?p=8192 […]]]> Tonight, the Dodgers will head into a short two-game clash against the Giants. It’s always been a heated rivalry ever since the New York Giants’ Bobby Thomson hit a walkoff home run off the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Ralph Branca in 1951 to win the National League Pennant in a moment dubbed the “shot heard ’round the world.” Now, 70 years later and about 3,000 miles to the west, they continue to do battle with more recent moments punctuating the rivalry. Max Muncy telling a jawing Madison Bumgarner to “go get it out of the ocean” to the home run ball he blasted into McCovey Cove comes to mind. But one thing’s been missing lately from the rivalry despite all the animosity: The two teams succeeding at the same time. That changes tonight. The Giants sit with the best record in all of baseball with a 50-27 mark and the Dodgers don’t sit too far behind with a 47-31 record. The Dodgers turned the tide the past few days with three straight wins over the Chicago Cubs, while the Giants are 8-2 in their last 10 games. Standings-wise, the intrigue is abound as well with the Dodgers trailing the Giants by 3 1/2 games. Win both, and they’re on the Giants heels sitting a game and a half back. But lose both, and they’re back down to 5 1/2 — not an insurmountable deficit in June, but not one to take lightly either. The Dodgers will be anchored on the mound by Trevor Bauer and Walker Buehler, while the Giants will counter with Anthony Desclafani and Kevin Gausman over Monday and Tuesday. Each of the four are having great seasons, while Buehler and Gausman are both having arguably the best seasons of their careers. Factor in players like Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, Donovan Solano, and Mike Tauchman playing well for the Giants, while Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, Will Smith, and more recently Zach McKinstry are doing the same for the Dodgers, the two teams are on a crash course for a great mini series. One with intrigue beyond California. Intrigue that’s now national again. Hatred and performance on both sides. That’s how rivalries should be, and that’s where the Dodgers and Giants stand today. Settle in over the next two days. It’s going to be a fun show.

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Kershaw’s 13 Ks, McKinstry’s slam lift Dodgers past Cubs 7-1 https://dodgerstailgate.com/kershaws-13-ks-mckinstrys-slam-lift-dodgers-past-cubs-7-1/2021/06/27/ https://dodgerstailgate.com/kershaws-13-ks-mckinstrys-slam-lift-dodgers-past-cubs-7-1/2021/06/27/#respond Mon, 28 Jun 2021 06:00:13 +0000 https://dodgerstailgate.com/?p=8186 […]]]> LOS ANGELES (AP) — Clayton Kershaw wrapped up the eighth inning and left the mound to a standing ovation from the Dodger Stadium crowd after a performance measuring up to the best in his remarkable career.

Those wild cheers quickly turned to boos when umpires inspected him for foreign substances, but Kershaw only smiled and then waved his cap as the roar returned.

“To have a full crowd of Dodgers fans again, I missed it, and it’s awesome,” Kershaw said. “I don’t ever want to go back.”

Kershaw and the Dodgers are surging forward again after a week that began with a few steps backward for the defending World Series champions.

Kershaw racked up a season-high 13 strikeouts over eight dominant innings, and Zach McKinstry hit a grand slam in the second inning of Los Angeles’ 7-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday night.

Cody Bellinger homered in his second straight game and drove in three runs in the Dodgers’ third consecutive win over Chicago after four Cubs pitchers combined for a no-hitter in the series opener Thursday.

Kershaw (9-7) yielded four hits while flummoxing the Cubs with his slider, recording his highest strikeout total in a regular-season game since July 2017 and getting a season-high 26 swings and misses.

“It’s hard to imagine him being any better,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

Beyond Kershaw’s brilliance, the Dodgers appear to be back on form after they followed up three straight losses in San Diego with their lifeless effort in Chicago’s no-hitter.

“Coming back here and being no-hit, I think that maybe was a wakeup call in some regards,” Kershaw said. “It was kind of a collective effort, the reasons why we were struggling there. We’ve got back on the highs the last three games, and it was good to see.”

Javier Báez hit his 18th homer for the Cubs, who haven’t won a series at Dodger Stadium since 2014. Anthony Rizzo also left in the fourth with lower back tightness.

Kershaw lasted just one inning at Wrigley Field last month in the shortest start of his 14-year career, but the 33-year-old left-hander was spectacular in the rematch.

He didn’t get into a three-ball count until the sixth, and he issued his only walk in the seventh. He matched his highest strikeout total since he struck out 13 Brewers to wrap up last fall’s NL wild-card series on the way to his first World Series title.

“He’s one of the greats,” McKinstry said. “He’s a great baseball player, great competitor. He’s a great leader in this clubhouse, and everybody just kind of swarms around him.”

McKinstry’s first career grand slam was the Dodgers’ first hit after they loaded the bases with two walks and a hit batsman against Adbert Alzolay (4-7).

Three batters and one inning-prolonging error later, Bellinger followed up Saturday’s walk-off homer with a two-run shot off Alzolay, who yielded six runs on five hits over three innings in his third consecutive defeat.

“Just wasn’t sharp,” Cubs manager David Ross said of Alzolay. “Looked like his command was off. Just his whole rhythm in general, syncing up his mechanics, led to sporadic command. He was battling himself out there.”

Sergio Alcántara got into the Cubs’ first three-ball count against Kershaw in the sixth, but Kershaw struck him out anyway to set a new season high.

Mookie Betts tripled and scored on Bellinger’s sacrifice fly in the sixth.

EYES WIDE SHUT

McKinstry’s slam was the second homer in three days from the rookie whose promising start was derailed by a five-week injury absence consuming most of May. He hadn’t hit particularly well since returning — until the Dodgers’ coaching staff discovered he was swinging with his eyes closed.

“I was closing my eyes on contact, which is wild to think,” McKinstry said. “I saw that in San Diego, started working on it, making sure my eyes are open. It helped. Started seeing ball a little longer out of the pitcher’s hand.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: C P.J. Higgins will have his right forearm flexor tendon repaired when he has surgery. He is still out for the season. Higgins hurt himself making a throw June 9.

Dodgers: SS Corey Seager’s broken hand is taking a bit longer than expected to heal, Roberts said. The World Series MVP is no longer swinging the bat as frequently as before, and there’s still no firm timetable for his return.

UP NEXT

Cubs: Kyle Hendricks (10-4, 3.84 ERA) pitches Monday in Milwaukee to open a three-game set.

Dodgers: The NL’s top two teams meet again when Trevor Bauer (7-5, 2.57 ERA) takes the mound Monday to open a two-game home series against the San Francisco Giants.

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Cody Bellinger, Dodgers Could Finally Have Awakened Thanks to Walk-Off Home Run https://dodgerstailgate.com/cody-bellinger-dodgers-could-finally-have-awakened-thanks-to-walk-off-home-run/2021/06/27/ https://dodgerstailgate.com/cody-bellinger-dodgers-could-finally-have-awakened-thanks-to-walk-off-home-run/2021/06/27/#respond Sun, 27 Jun 2021 15:39:32 +0000 https://dodgerstailgate.com/?p=8173 […]]]> Before Saturday night’s walk-off win, the Dodgers had one key ingredient missing in the 2021 season, a walk-off win. Thanks to Cody Bellinger’s “Belli Bomb” hit to right-center field in the 9th inning against Cubs reliever Keegan Thompson, the defending World Champions finally got to celebrate this special type of victory that adds excitement to a team’s season.

It doesn’t matter how good a team is at any level; every team has an identity. The Dodgers teams in the past few seasons were known as cardiac kids who could will themselves back from any deficit. Now crowned as baseball’s champion and juggernauts of the diamond, the 2021 team, up until Saturday night, not once showed any resiliency, posting a 9-14 record in one-run games. Anything that has gone to extras — don’t count on it, they’re 2-8.

It sounds like a case to blame the bullpen; but when you think about it, it now makes sense. The team didn’t have a puncher’s chance to fight back because it didn’t believe it could, until Saturday night. That’s when Bellinger walked off on Thompson, and excitement filled the clubhouse and the team ran out and celebrated a well-deserved win on a night Julio Urías struck out a career-high 12 but didn’t get to taste victory as a result.

Now, relive the excitement (mind Joe Buck’s voice) and let’s agree that this is just what the doctor ordered:

Ahead of the count 3-1, any professional hitter knows that he’s earned a pitch to hit — but a former MVP is going to crush a 90 mph breaking pitch left over the plate, and that’s what Bellinger did.

Here’s the homer called in Spanish. Excitement is a language of many tongues.

The Dodgers’ Twitter account got it perfectly correct. Nothing is as sweet as walking off on your opponent, and it’s even sweeter knowing that it’s a very different script than the one we shall not mention that happened just two nights ago.

Like previously mentioned, going back to previous seasons, the Dodgers had made a habit of walking off on teams. Here’s a look at how many times the Dodgers have walked off Dave Roberts took over as manager in 2016:

  • 2020: 2
  • 2019: 12
  • 2018: 6
  • 2017: 10
  • 2016: 7

Those 2019 Dodgers sure were special, winning 106 games before running into the speeding bullet that was the Nationals.

So the saying goes, “better late than never,” and the team has 85 games remaining beginning with tonight’s series finale with the Cubs before welcoming in the Giants for two and going on the road to Washington and Miami. They have the third-best record in baseball at 46-31 and the third-best run differential at +97. Without a spark the team was pretty good. Did Bellinger show signs of a sleeping giant waking up?

How good can this Dodgers team be when at full strength? Don’t forget, it’s still not completely healthy yet, and Corey Seager is expected back in early July, which could be a little over a week from now.

The trade deadline is a month away as well. Great things could be in store for the Dodgers over the next 85 games and another potential playoff run after that.

For now on this Sunday morning, here’s a walkoff memory. The time when Justin Turner walked off on John Lackey and these same Cubs in Game 2 of the NLCS on the way to a 4-1 series win and their first World Series berth since 1988 in 2017. Check out the tweet Vance is replying to. The Dodgers in 2017 could do this to any pitcher. Should they regain that ability in 2021, look out.

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Cody Bellinger blasts game-ending HR, Dodgers beat Cubs 3-2 https://dodgerstailgate.com/cody-bellinger-blasts-game-ending-hr-dodgers-beat-cubs-3-2/2021/06/26/ https://dodgerstailgate.com/cody-bellinger-blasts-game-ending-hr-dodgers-beat-cubs-3-2/2021/06/26/#respond Sun, 27 Jun 2021 06:00:21 +0000 https://dodgerstailgate.com/?p=8170 […]]]> LOS ANGELES (AP) — Cody Bellinger has spent more time on the injured list than on the Los Angeles Dodgers’ lineup card this season. Even when healthy, the 2019 NL MVP has been batting .217 with little to celebrate.

One major swing against the Chicago Cubs just might put Bellinger back on track.

Bellinger homered with two outs in the ninth inning, and the Dodgers beat the Cubs 3-2 Saturday night for their first walk-off victory of the season.

Two innings after Bellinger came on as a defensive substitution in a double switch, he crushed a 422-foot solo shot to center off Keegan Thompson (3-2). Just about everybody but Bellinger knew it was gone.

“I knew I hit it well,” Bellinger said of his third career game-ending homer. “But I haven’t hit too many this year, so I wasn’t sure.”

The rest of the Dodgers were more excited about Bellinger’s possible breakthrough, because they know what he went through to get there over the past three months.

Bellinger missed nearly eight weeks with a hairline break in his leg after getting hurt in the season-opening series in Oakland. After another stint on the injured list this month with a hamstring problem, he had just one hit in three games back, prompting manager Dave Roberts to keep him out of the starting lineup.

“It’s big. It’s real,” Roberts said. “We as coaches or teammates can say, ‘Hey man, you’re going to be there when you’re ready to go.’ But as a player, I think you want to feel you’re pulling your weight. … For him to get that hit, I think it was big for all of us.”

Bellinger made a difficult catch on Joc Pederson’s line drive to center in the top of the ninth, and then he hit his second homer of the year, setting off a celebration for the defending World Series champions.

“It’s not that I’m, like, searching for a big moment,” Bellinger said. “Just playing the game, and if you’re in those moments, then you’re in that moment and you just want to perform and succeed and help the team win.”

After Max Muncy and Justin Turner each drove in a run in the first inning, the Dodgers made 26 outs before Bellinger’s blast. One night after snapping a four-game skid, Los Angeles won for the second time since four Cubs pitchers combined for a no-hitter at Dodger Stadium on Thursday night.

David Price (3-0) got two outs in the ninth while pitching for the third consecutive day.

Julio Urías racked up a career-high 12 strikeouts while pitching five-hit ball into the sixth inning for the Dodgers.

Anthony Rizzo homered for the Cubs. Alec Mills yielded eight hits in four rocky innings, but just two runs — none after his first three batters.

“I didn’t have my best stuff today,” Mills said. “Kind of was in and out of knowing where it was going, to be honest. … Given the situation, to go four innings and only give up two with the kind of stuff I had was obviously a little bit of a success.”

Mookie Betts led off the game with a double, and Muncy doubled him home before scoring on Turner’s single.

Urías got off to an outstanding start to the season, but the Dodgers’ World Series-clinching hero came into Saturday hoping to end a decline in effectiveness over the past month.

“He looked fantastic,” Roberts said of Urías. “He was fantastic.”

The left-hander yielded just one hit in the first three innings, but Rizzo homered to right on Urías’ first pitch of the fourth, blistering a high fastball on the ninth anniversary of the three-time All-Star’s Cubs debut.

Ian Happ tied it with an RBI double in the fifth after batting for Mills.

TAYLOR (NOT SO) SWIFT

Chris Taylor was thrown at third base twice by Cubs catcher Willson Contreras in the first four innings. The LA veteran was nabbed trying to steal in the second, and he was picked off in the fourth. The second time cost the Dodgers a run, since Urías singled on the next pitch.

REVERSAL UNREVERSED

Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward thought he hit a tiebreaking homer in the seventh when his drive down the left-field line was initially ruled fair by third base umpire D.J. Reyburn. The umpires then reversed themselves after a group consultation, and video review didn’t reverse the reversal.

“I had doubts on the original call, so I wanted to get together with the crew,” Reyburn said. “Based on the information they gave me, I wanted to change it.”

Heyward still singled to center, reaching base in his seventh consecutive plate appearance.

“They got together and conversed, and I guess they overturned it, and at that point all we can do is trust in the video,” Cubs manager David Ross said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: INF Nico Hoerner (left hamstring strain) will begin a rehab assignment Sunday with Triple-A Iowa.

Dodgers: Yoshi Tsutsugo (right calf strain) will get at least another week at Triple-A Oklahoma City before he is re-evaluated.

UP NEXT

Dodgers star Clayton Kershaw (8-7, 3.43 ERA) hopes to atone for the shortest start of his career May 4 at Wrigley Field when he pitches the series finale against Albert Alzolay (4-6, 4.19 ERA).

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Rumors: Dodgers Owners Walter, Boehly Reportedly to Buy Stake in Lakers Franchise https://dodgerstailgate.com/rumors-dodgers-owners-walter-boehly-reportedly-to-buy-stake-in-lakers-franchise/2021/06/26/ https://dodgerstailgate.com/rumors-dodgers-owners-walter-boehly-reportedly-to-buy-stake-in-lakers-franchise/2021/06/26/#respond Sat, 26 Jun 2021 15:59:00 +0000 https://dodgerstailgate.com/?p=8145 […]]]> Dodgers owners Mark Walter and Todd Boehly are reportedly purchasing the minority ownership stake of the Lakers being sold by Philip Anschultz, Yahoo Sports reported Saturday.

News broke late Friday that Anschultz would be selling the second-largest stake of the team, a 27-percent share, which trails only the 66 percent owned by the Buss family. The deal is pending approval by the NBA’s Board of Governors.

Sportico says it has five sources; two of which are saying the deal is valued at $5 billion. Anschultz founded AEG, which alongside the Lakers owns the Staples Center. The stake in the Lakers was not owned by AEG, but Anschultz personally.

A deal could be finalized in early July.

The Lakers are ranked by Forbes as the 7th most valuable sports franchise at $4.6 billion as of May, trailing the Dallas Cowboys (NFL), Yankees, New York Knicks (NBA), Barcelona (Soccer), Real Madrid (Soccer) and the Golden State Warriors (NBA). The Dodgers were ranked No. 16 with a value of $3.57 billion, the second-best in the Major Leagues.

Walter’s net worth is estimated to be $4.9 billion according to Forbes. He is the CEO of Guggenheim Partners, which has over $310 billion in assets under management. Other investments of his include stakes in plant-based food maker Beyond Meat and online car vendor Carvana.

Between the Dodgers and Lakers, Los Angeles has really bonded through the success of the two teams, especially after they both won world championships in 2020.

A well-known partner of Guggenheim Partners’ purchase of the Dodgers in Magic Johnson, who is a Lakers legend and former owner of the basketball staple. After he sold his stake of the team in 2010, he became president of basketball operations; a role he renounced as well. In 2019 he stepped down after alleging that there was lots of whispering and backstabbing going on in the organization. He would go on to appear on ESPN and accuse team general manager Rob Pelinka of stabbing him in the back.

In theory, the two teams may be tied together again shortly, and one has to think that Johnson and Pelinka could work together again. For anybody worried, the two have said to have reconciled after the Lakers won the NBA Championship in 2020.

Stay tuned to see what happens next in the bonding of the Lakers and the Dodgers.

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Dodgers: After Historic Loss and Offensive Woes, Dodgers Right Ship Heading Into Game 3 vs. Cubs https://dodgerstailgate.com/dodgers-after-historic-loss-and-offensive-woes-dodgers-right-ship-heading-into-game-3-vs-cubs/2021/06/26/ https://dodgerstailgate.com/dodgers-after-historic-loss-and-offensive-woes-dodgers-right-ship-heading-into-game-3-vs-cubs/2021/06/26/#respond Sat, 26 Jun 2021 15:39:13 +0000 https://dodgerstailgate.com/?p=8140 […]]]> For a while there, it seemed as if everything was starting to crash.

Pitchers with a first inning phobia, an anemic offense, a gritty Padres team. All of that led to a sweep in San Diego.

The Dodgers returned back to the friendly confines of the Ravine, only to get hit with a sobering wake up call as they were no-hit by Zach Davies and the Chicago Cubs bullpen.

Sentiments postgame then were a combination of treating that like it was only one game in a marathon, with the concession that they needed to find their groove offensively.

Find that they did on Friday night, as clutch home runs from AJ Pollock and Max Muncy sealed a 6-2 Dodger win.

And in the process, that might have righted the ship at an important time.

Heading into Friday, the Dodgers were only 4.5 games behind the Giants for first place in the NL West. But with a series against a quality Cubs squad and staring down a two-game set against the inferno that the Giants are — winners of 11 of their past 14 — this current series was gaining more and more importance, if only to keep things from ballooning out of control.

Now, things are still important, but it doesn’t feel like as much of a do or die situation.

The Dodgers still sit 4 and a half back of that team by the Bay, but with a quality win under their belt after skidding last week, the Dodgers look like their usual selves again.

Los Angeles heads into their last two games of the series with Julio Urias and Clayton Kershaw taking the mound and something to build on.

Dave Roberts praised the offense following Friday’s win, but in addition to Justin Turner and Mookie Betts, the manager specifically praised shortstop Gavin Lux as well for a key walk in the 8th — right before he was driven in by the Pollock home run.

“One of the key at-bats I don’t think should get lost is the Gavin Lux at-bat. That’s a six-pitch at-bat, takes a 3-2 change down below, was big, was really big … Across the board, much better tonight.”

The Dodgers’ patient approach has been consistently praised since Thursday even in the face of getting no-hit. Despite that black mark, the team forced eight walks that night, followed by not chasing against Jake Arrieta on Friday.

All in all, things looked much better on Friday and the lately much maligned offense showed a spark that they hadn’t shown since last week.

It’s too small of a sample size to say whether the team has turned things around completely, but at the very least they now have something positive to take with them as they head into the final two games against Chicago and a twin billing against the Giants.

And with Urias and Kershaw on the docket, certainly their left arms should do quality work as they look for a series win as they try to climb up the standings.

The offense — the biggest Achilles heal during last week’s stretch — they found that groove Friday, a very encouraging sign heading into the weekend.

Whether that ultimately leads to tangible Dodger momentum and a series victory, we shall see.

Cubs vs. Dodgers, 4:15 PM PST on FOX

Alec Mills (3-1, 5.18 ERA) vs. Julio Urias (9-3, 3.99 ERA)

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Dodgers: The 5 Things to be Concerned About Heading Toward Midseason https://dodgerstailgate.com/dodgers-the-5-things-to-be-concerned-about-heading-toward-midseason/2021/06/25/ https://dodgerstailgate.com/dodgers-the-5-things-to-be-concerned-about-heading-toward-midseason/2021/06/25/#respond Fri, 25 Jun 2021 21:56:50 +0000 https://dodgerstailgate.com/?p=8129 […]]]> “BEAT LA!, BEAT LA!” rang off through a raucous stadium that resembled more a game from October than just a meaningless game in June. The Padres just completed a sweep after former Dodger Manny Machado turned in another amazing defensive play in the series.

Meanwhile Dodger fans are making light of the celebration of Padres fans because they celebrated that last play like it was Game 7 of the World Series.

And the Dodgers players, with the exception of Trevor Bauer, are taking these losses in stride and that should be more of the concern.

The Dodgers looked great over the weekend sweeping the Diamondbacks, but it doesn’t take much, as Arizona proved they don’t care about winning when they allowed a limping Brewers player (Daniel Vogelbach) score around third without a throw.

Dave Roberts and crew should be taking a look in the mirror, because after showing up in the first three games against the Padres early on in the season by setting up their best pitchers and going 2-1 by playing with the type of intensity it takes to show the league and an up-and-coming team how to be a winning team, they have completely taken the foot off the pedal and lost their edge, going 1-6 since.

The Dodgers have spoiled fans by winning the last eight division titles. The only difference being that the previous seven titles resulted in playoff losses, including twice in the World Series.

The quest for a championship left hunger in the team to compete to get to the pinnacle of the baseball realms and finally bring home a championship. A team shouldn’t overreact to a mid-season series like this sweep by the Padres. But if the Dodgers want another division title and chance to play in the World Series, they shouldn’t underestimate the team from San Diego.

After playing the Cubs this weekend for four they will host the Giants before arriving at the midpoint of their season.

It’s another challenge to show how hungry they are to start the second half of their season. If they get swept again, it may show the glaring weakness of this year’s team.

Here are my top five concerns six games heading into game 81 and the end of the first half.

5. The Energy Kiké and Joc Provided is Noticeably Gone

Most fans would say they were OK to see Kiké Hernandez and Joc Pederson go because they deserved to play full time. But how many times this season have we missed Kiké’s energy in the lineup, or gotten that clutch home run from Joc?

Like it or not, those guys brought a lot to the table defensively and offensively. Even though Zach McKinstry brought that fun before he got hurt, and Gavin Lux’s tight pants power and fun reminded us Kiké, it hasn’t been as consistent as the past few years.

Joc may hurt the Dodgers in this current series with the Cubs after getting his ring last night, and wouldn’t that sting the fanbase a little.

4. The Bargain Bench Isn’t Producing

Remember when Andrew Friedman and Dodgers upper management used to hit the jackpot with pick-ups like Max Muncy, Chris Taylor, Brandon Morrow, Jake McGee, and Dylan Floro? These were guys that would come in and produce great results and show the potential they couldn’t on other teams.

Friedman has really struck out with Sheldon Neuse, Luke Raley, Edwin Uceta, Phil Bickford, Alex Vesia and Garrett Cleavinger.

The only thing that has saved Friedman this year is Albert Pujols, but just barely.

Maybe Farhan Zaidi should have gotten more credit for what he did with the Dodgers; look at the offseason pickups the Giants signed that have panned out the last two years (Kevin Gausman and Anthony DeSclafani to name a couple) and boosted them to the top of division.

3. Bullpen Woes

If it wasn’t for Jimmy Nelson, Victor Gonzalez, Blake Treinen and a rejuvenated Kenley Jansen, the Dodgers might be further back from the Giants. Last weekend’s game in Arizona proved what Roberts has had to deal with. Up 9-1 and Tony Gonsolin is still not ready to pitch more than three innings. He has to use five pitchers the rest of the way including Kenley Jansen to close it.

They are sorely lacking that middle relief guy that can bridge the gap to the back of the bullpen. If fans never have to see Uceta, Mitch White, Cleavinger and Bickford in high leverage situations again it will benefit the team.

A bright spot is Joe Kelly returning to his old form. Friedman needs to make a trade for Pirates closer Richard Rodriguez, or raid the Reds bullpen for help.

2. Injuries

It feels like Cody Bellinger has been on the disabled list and training in Arizona more that at Dodger Stadium this year. Losing Dustin May has put a hinge in both the rotation and bullpen. Then when last year’s World Series MVP Corey Seager went down for an extended amount of time, the offensive woes started to catch up to the team, especially this series against the Padres, and even more so in last night’s combined no-hitter for the Cubs.

Even Mookie Betts has finally started come around and be himself after early minor injuries.

The bullpen has suffered with Corey Knebel and Brusdar Graterol not being there to help Roberts manage late innings. Friedman has always given the Dodgers good depth and that’s why they still sit second in the NL West.

The Dodgers are going to need another midseason trade to help with depth.

1. World Series Hangover

The toughest thing to do is win back-to-back World Series, and the Dodgers are confirming how tough it is to do that. It is like the Dodgers for the last six years had been running a marathon and when they won the World Series they stopped and let the sweat dry, and now it is hard to regain that same intensity it took to win those division titles.

It is hard to blame them with all the success they had the last couple of years. But watching a hungry team like the Padres and Giants should scare you the the most, because they are younger and more energetic than this year’s Dodgers team. It is crazy that the Dodgers don’t have a walk-off win this year and how they struggle to win one-run games.

As Pete Rose once said, if everyone is playing 100 percent, he had to play at 110 percent. The Dodgers are going through the motions right now, and barely playing 100 percent, hopefully the second half will bring more of an intensity, or else the division title streak will end, and the team will be left with some big offseason decisions.

A short or no postseason run for the Dodgers and fans may never see Clayton Kershaw or Corey Seager in a Dodger uniform again; but another long run and they may keep them for another run for years to come.

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No-hitter No. 7: Cubs blank Dodgers, tie MLB season record https://dodgerstailgate.com/no-hitter-no-7-cubs-blank-dodgers-tie-mlb-season-record/2021/06/24/ https://dodgerstailgate.com/no-hitter-no-7-cubs-blank-dodgers-tie-mlb-season-record/2021/06/24/#respond Fri, 25 Jun 2021 06:00:10 +0000 https://dodgerstailgate.com/?p=8154 […]]]> LOS ANGELES — — After Craig Kimbrel struck out pinch-hitter Will Smith to end the game, the Chicago Cubs’ closer was curious why catcher Willson Contreras celebrated with a bigger-than-usual fist pump.

Fellow reliever Ryan Tepera then ran onto the field at Dodger Stadium and whispered in Kimbrel’s ear: “You have no idea what happened.”

The Cubs’ fearsome bullpen had just teamed up with starter Zach Davies for the first combined no-hitter in franchise history — and none of the three relievers who followed Davies onto the mound had any idea they were pitching their way into history until after they finished.

The four Cubs combined for the seventh no-hitter in the majors this year, matching the most in a season since 1900, as Chicago blanked the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-0 Thursday night. The Dodgers drew eight walks, getting at least one from each opposing pitcher, but managed no other baserunners.

The tension was palpable in the Cubs’ dugout, where Davies watched with trepidation after reluctantly agreeing with manager David Ross’ decision to pull him for a pinch-hitter after 94 pitches. Davies (5-4) issued five walks while scrapping through six spotless innings against the defending World Series champions.

“I think every pitcher wants to continue in the game, regardless of his pitch count, but it worked,” Davies said. “Chafe, Tep and Craig shut the door. A part of history. I’m excited for the guys that were on the field. I can’t complain at all.”

But incredibly, the relievers remained blissfully oblivious to the stakes as Tepera, Andrew Chafin and Kimbrel went to the mound and preserved a zero they couldn’t see, thanks to the position of the Dodger Stadium bullpen.

“The whole bullpen had no idea,” said Chafin, who pitched the eighth. “It was completely oblivious. But in our defense, in that bullpen, from our perspective on the field, all we can see is batting averages and the count, stuff like that. We can’t see the scoreboard with the hits.”

Tepera and Chafin each walked a batter during their inning on the mound, but Los Angeles couldn’t capitalize.

Kimbrel then walked Chris Taylor leading off the ninth, but the ferocious closer struck out Cody Bellinger, Albert Pujols and Smith to finish the Cubs’ 17th no-hitter since 1880.

“I think they all needed to get a walk in, just to make my heart rate go up a little bit,” Ross said. “You get to the ninth, I don’t know I’ve been as nervous in a long time with a 4-0 lead and Craig Kimbrel on the mound as I was tonight.”

Javier Báez homered in the first inning and Contreras added a two-run shot in the sixth for the Cubs, who happily celebrated the franchise’s first no-hitter since last Sept. 13, when Alec Mills blanked Milwaukee.

Contreras was the constant in the combined no-no, and all four pitchers praised his work behind the plate.

“From catching this team since 2016, I’ve been catching a lot of shutout games, but nothing close to a no-hitter,” said Contreras, who was visibly emotional afterward. “Tonight was one of those nights that are super special in my life, one that will be hard to forget.

“I didn’t realize that we had a no-hitter going on until the sixth, and from the seventh on, my heart would just race and race. I was trying to slow the game down, to put the right finger down, to call the right pitch.”

The seventh no-hitter of this highly unusual season — the most in baseball history before July 1 — was the first since May 19. The Boston Red Sox also took a bid for a combined no-hitter into the eighth inning earlier Thursday, but lost the no-no and the game at Tampa Bay.

“This is an awesome moment,” Davies said. “The World Series, I think something like that probably tops it. But even though it wasn’t solo and it was a combined effort, being a part of history is something special.”

With this no-hitter — the 312th in baseball history — 2021 matches 1990, 1991, 2012 and 2015 for the most in a single MLB season since 1900. That’s one shy of the record eight in 1884, the first season overhand pitching was allowed.

The other no-hitters this year were thrown by San Diego’s Joe Musgrove (April 9), Carlos Rodón of the Chicago White Sox (April 14), Baltimore’s John Means (May 5), Cincinnati’s Wade Miley (May 7), Detroit’s Spencer Turnbull (May 18) and the New York Yankees’ Corey Kluber (May 19).

In addition, Arizona’s Madison Bumgarner pitched a seven-inning hitless game in a doubleheader on April 25 that is not recognized as a no-hitter by Major League Baseball.

The Cubs actually did something that’s been much harder than throwing a no-hitter over the past two seasons: They beat Walker Buehler, who hadn’t lost in 23 straight regular-season starts.

Buehler (7-1) took his first loss since Sept. 21, 2019, for the Dodgers despite throwing six innings of five-hit ball. Buehler made it through six innings for the 17th straight start, but lost his streak of 30 straight games overall without a defeat.

“Two really bad pitches to two really good hitters, and they took advantage of them,” Buehler said. “Just can’t leave fastballs in the middle like that.”

The Dodgers hadn’t been no-hit since Aug. 30, 2015, when they were blanked in Chavez Ravine by the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta — who is scheduled to pitch for Chicago on Friday night. It was the Dodgers’ 20th no-hit loss, the most in major league history.

“When something like this happens, you want it to sting a little bit,” manager Dave Roberts said. “It stings me.”

Davies bounced back sharply after yielding a career-high eight runs in his last start against Miami. Those eight runs matched the number he had allowed in his previous six starts combined, and he regained his excellent form at Dodger Stadium.

Davies walked two batters in the first before getting Pujols to ground out. He walked the leadoff batter in the third and fourth, but avoided any other trouble. The fifth inning was his first 1-2-3 frame.

The Dodgers probably got closest to a hit in the first inning when Taylor’s line drive to center was caught by Rafael Ortega.

Davies has never thrown a complete game in his seven-year major league career, which began with five seasons in Milwaukee before a stop in San Diego last year.

Tepera, Chicago’s busiest reliever, walked Gavin Lux with two outs in the seventh, but Austin Barnes lined out to second.

Chafin walked Mookie Betts with one out, but Max Muncy hit a grounder right to first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who stepped on the bag and threw to second for an easy double play.

The previous combined no-hitter in the majors was Aug. 3, 2019, when Aaron Sanchez and three Houston relievers blanked Seattle 9-0.

Buehler took a no-hitter into the eighth inning last Saturday in Arizona, where he tied the Dodgers record for consecutive regular-season starts without a loss. He made it through six innings Thursday for the 15th time this season, but he still has never beaten the Cubs.

Báez followed his 17th homer by cupping his hand to his ear as he returned to the Chicago dugout, getting a loud chorus of jeers along with cheers from the Cubs’ sizable fan contingent in Los Angeles. Buehler recovered and stayed out of trouble until the sixth, when Contreras took him deep.

Chicago added another run in the seventh when Jason Heyward singled and scored on a single by pinch-hitter Jake Marisnick, who was hitting for Davies.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: 2B Nico Hoerner (left hamstring strain) faced live pitching in the bullpen. … LHP Justin Steele (right hamstring strain) threw a bullpen. He’s headed to Triple-A Iowa for a rehab assignment after five weeks out.

Dodgers: Betts returned from a bout of stomach flu and drew two walks. … Justin Turner got a scheduled day off.

UP NEXT

Tony Gonsolin (0-0, 3.00 ERA) hasn’t won since returning to the rotation, but the Dodgers are 3-0 in his starts. He’ll face Arrieta (5-8, 5.45), who is 0-4 with an 8.20 ERA in his last five starts for Chicago.

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Bauer was solid, but home runs came back to bite him https://dodgerstailgate.com/bauer-is-good-but-home-runs/2021/06/24/ https://dodgerstailgate.com/bauer-is-good-but-home-runs/2021/06/24/#respond Thu, 24 Jun 2021 21:40:48 +0000 https://dodgerstailgate.com/?p=8110 […]]]> Trevor Bauer came into Wednesday’s game looking to halt a potential paradigm shift in the NL West. Expectations did not meet reality, however, as the Padres swept the Dodgers and now have the great gods of momentum working in their favor. 

The Padres were using the complex algorithm of “get ahead and stay ahead” in all three games which is what made this series feel so lopsided. Never having a lead can do that to you.

Bauer looked to be cruising through the first inning after getting Tommy Pham to ground out to Lux at short and getting Tatis to whiff at 97 in the bottom half of the strike zone. Leaving without a run in the first inning would be a monumental feat as the Dodgers had been outscored 6-0 in previous two games. 

With 2 outs and Beat LA chants humming throughout the crowd Jake Cronenworth sent a high and inside 2-1 fastball into the right field seats. 

Cronenworth homered in all 3 games and had 6 RBI’s this series nearly matching the 7 total runs the Dodgers put up in the entire series. Seeing a left handed hitting second baseman tear up the Dodgers tear up the Dodgers like that gave me instant flashbacks to Daniel Murphy.

With Beat LA chants running rampant through Petco Park Manny Machado sent a hanging bender into the sky and just like that the broom sticks were sweeping. 

 

On December 15th,1984 the Seattle Seahawks retired the number 12 jersey in honor of their fans and after last night the Padres should retire the number 10 jersey. This kind of passion bleeds into the game and the Dodgers were constantly working against it all series. It felt like Sisyphus pushing a boulder uphill only for it to roll down as soon as they were about to reach the top. Speaking of rolling… 

Credit to Bauer for not only using vanilla player jargon to recap the loss, but battling back as well. Might not feel like it now, but this was another defining moment for Bauer. 

He got Eric Hosmer to line out to Bellinger in center field to end the inning and cruised from there.

Between the 2nd and 6th inning he gave up zero earned runs, three hits and 9 strikeouts. After the foreign substance locked down his spin rate and swinging strikes numbers began to dip, but last night proved that he can still perform legally. He ended up with 19 swinging strikes, his most since May 15th against the Marlins. 

 

 

Even had this hilarious moment as well:

He left the 6th inning with all the momentum in the world

but this would prove to be the apex of the night. 

I don’t disagree with Bauer being sent out for the 7th inning, but it did prove costly. 

 

Heading into the at bat, Victor Caratini was 1-14 in his career against Bauer with 5 strikeouts and in his two previous at bats he was 0-1 with a strikeout and an IBB. The strikeout came on the exact pitch he hit for a home run, because this time it was left hanging and not in the dirt. 

Bauer then walked Jurickson Profar and just like that his night was over. 

Final line: 6 IP, 5 hits, 3 ER, 4 BB and 10 K’s.

I’m just as frustrated as the next fan, but there is no reason to act like we are witnessing the downfall of a lightning in the bottle pitcher.

Since May 21st against the Giants his ERA has gone from 1.98 to a whopping 2.57. The guy is clearly still dominating and now leads the NL in total strikeouts with 119. 

He might give up home runs at a high clip, but calling him a disappointment is abysmal.

On to the Cubs we go. 

 

When Matt isn’t blogging about the Dodgers, he’s yelling at his TV because of them.

 

Twitter: @Mattweiner20

 

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Padres beat Dodgers 5-3 for 1st sweep of rivals in 8 seasons https://dodgerstailgate.com/padres-beat-dodgers-5-3-for-1st-sweep-of-rivals-in-8-seasons/2021/06/23/ https://dodgerstailgate.com/padres-beat-dodgers-5-3-for-1st-sweep-of-rivals-in-8-seasons/2021/06/23/#respond Thu, 24 Jun 2021 06:00:40 +0000 https://dodgerstailgate.com/?p=8148 […]]]> SAN DIEGO (AP) — The last time the San Diego Padres swept the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park, in September 2010, right-hander Joe Musgrove was just starting his senior year at Grossmont High in suburban El Cajon.

When the Padres got their most recent sweep of LA, at Dodger Stadium in April 2013, Musgrove was still three years away from making his big league debut.

So yeah, it’s a big deal for the hometown kid to be part of a series that had Petco Park rocking for three straight nights.

“I feel like the rivalry is at its best that it’s ever been,” Musgrove said after the Padres hit three solo home runs off reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer and beat the Dodgers 5-3 Wednesday night for their first three-game sweep of the NL West rivals in eight seasons.

“It’s a pretty level playing field between the two teams and I feel like we’re starting to show them that you’re not going to walk all over us this year and that we’re going to fight, we’ve got the pieces to do it, and now it’s about going out and doing it,” said Musgrove, who got a no-decision after pitching six strong innings. “It feels good to be part of that.”

The game ended in front of a sellout crowd of 43,961 when pinch-hitter Albert Pujols lined out to third baseman Manny Machado, who finished off a tremendous series defensively by doubling Will Smith off second. That earned Mark Melancon his major league-leading 23rd save.

San Diego is 7-3 this season against the Dodgers, including winning four straight, and has won two of the three series against the eight-time defending division champions. The Dodgers swept the Padres in the NL Division Series in October en route to winning the World Series.

San Diego has won seven straight games overall, including a four-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds, after losing 13 of their previous 17.

“We’ve got areas to improve at and we are going to be a better team as the season gets going and down the stretch,” manager Jayce Tingler said. “I don’t want to put a ceiling or a cap on what we’re capable of because this is the most talented group I’ve been around. … I do believe our best ball is still ahead of us, that’s for sure.”

Trent Grisham drew a go-ahead, bases-loaded walk in the eighth.

With the score tied at 3, Jake Cronenworth, who homered in the first, started the winning rally with a leadoff double off Blake Treinen (1-3) that went off the glove of leaping right fielder Matt Beaty. Machado, who also homered in the first, singled. Victor Gonzalez came on and allowed Eric Hosmer’s sacrifice bunt. Wil Myers was intentionally walked to load the bases before Gonzalez walked Grisham to bring in Cronenworth. Victor Caratini added a sacrifice fly.

Cronenworth and Machado connected back-to-back with two outs in the first against Bauer, who won the 2020 NL Cy Young Award while with Cincinnati. Caratini gave the Padres a 3-2 lead with a leadoff homer in the seventh.

The Dodgers tied it in the eighth when Max Muncy doubled and scored on Justin Turner’s opposite-field single to right.

Bauer allowed thee runs and five hits in six-plus innings, struck out 10 and walked four.

After allowing the consecutive homers in the first, Bauer settled down and retired nine of the next 10 batters before getting into and out of a jam in the fourth. After Bauer struck out Machado and Eric Hosmer, he walked Myers and allowed a ground-rule double to Grisham. Caratini was intentionally walked to get to Musgrove, who struck out looking.

Musgrove retired nine of the first 10 Dodgers before Los Angeles broke through in the fourth. Muncy hit a leadoff double, Cody Bellinger — activated earlier in the day — walked with one out and Smith hit an RBI single. First baseman Hosmer went for a reverse double play on Beaty’s grounder and forced Smith at second but shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr.’s return throw skipped past Musgrove for an error and Bellinger scored.

Musgrove, who threw the Padres’ first no-hitter on April 9, allowed two runs, one earned, and two hits in six innings. He struck out five and walked two.

“I’m a Padre fan. I grew up in San Diego, so I’ve been living this for a long time and I’ve been watching these series go down and it’s kind of the dream that you get to participate in an action-packed series like this,” Musgrove said.

Tim Hill (4-3) got the win.

COMPLIMENTING MACHADO

Machado homered twice this series and played stellar defense. In the eighth, while playing in right field in a shift, he dived and fell a few feet short of catching Muncy’s double.

“That’s a bad man. Just an absolute bad man,” Tingler said. “Manny was unbelievable this series.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Dodgers: Activated Bellinger from the 10-day injured list after he missed seven games with tightness in his left hamstring. To make room, INF Andy Burns was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler (7-0, 2.48 ERA) is scheduled to start Thursday night in the opener of a home four-game series against the Chicago Cubs, who will counter with RHP Zach Davies (4-4, 4.66.

Padres: RHP Chris Paddack (4-5, 4.10) is scheduled to start Friday night in the opener of a three-game home series against the last-place Arizona Diamondbacks, who will counter with RHP Corbin Martin (0-2, 8.62).

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