We're born again, there's new grass on the field
I throw my curveball like Clayton Kershaw and my fastball like Mo’Ne Davis
Mo’Ne Davis, first female pitcher to win a game in LLWS history, when asked to compare herself to major leaguers (x)
ladodgers:

What doesn’t Clayton Kershaw do well?

ladodgers:

What doesn’t Clayton Kershaw do well?

ladodgers:

Air Puig takes flight.

ladodgers:

Air Puig takes flight.

Final score: Los Angeles Angels, 5 @ Los Angeles Dodgers, 0
That game was not fun. I didn’t like that game.
Zack Greinke had a rough first inning (he gave up a ton of hard-hit balls, though the Dodger defense also didn’t do him any favors) before mostly settling down—he looked pretty decent for the rest of the game, save for a home run allowed to Josh Hamilton.
Garrett Richards, on the other hand, made the Dodgers look silly, delivering a complete game, 5-hit shutout. Seriously, this dude is good, and worth paying attention to; that said, it was still pretty embarrassing.
Not the start to the Freeway Series I was hoping for.

Final score: Los Angeles Angels, 5 @ Los Angeles Dodgers, 0

That game was not fun. I didn’t like that game.

Zack Greinke had a rough first inning (he gave up a ton of hard-hit balls, though the Dodger defense also didn’t do him any favors) before mostly settling down—he looked pretty decent for the rest of the game, save for a home run allowed to Josh Hamilton.

Garrett Richards, on the other hand, made the Dodgers look silly, delivering a complete game, 5-hit shutout. Seriously, this dude is good, and worth paying attention to; that said, it was still pretty embarrassing.

Not the start to the Freeway Series I was hoping for.

Uribe hangs with Greinke in the dugout. +

It is very difficult to say goodbye. God willing, I will be back next year. Over the years I have been blessed to have so many friends, including those that sit in the stands and listen, as well as those at home who listen and watch. It is just too hard to say goodbye to all these friends. Naturally there will come a time when I will have to say goodbye, but I’ve soul-searched and this is not the time.

Vin Scully

July 29, 2014

(via mightyflynn)

I think, as baseball fans, we can pretty much all agree that the All Star break is the worst. I mean, sure, the Home Run Derby is sort of entertaining. And it’s kind of fun to see all of that talent together on the field in the All-Star Game. And it’s good for the players from our favorite teams to get some much-needed rest. But when it comes down to it, it’s four days in a row without your team playing any games (and two days with no baseball action at all), which is sort of miserable.
So, I figured this brutal day without baseball was as good a time as any to finally make the trip to the Reagan Library for the baseball exhibit. It was definitely worth the drive. Like, I’m not even sure where to begin with how awesome this exhibit was. Among the highlights:
Artifacts from so many of the game’s greats—game-worn jerseys, gloves, baseball cards, etc.
A showcase of the evolution of baseball gear throughout the decade
Art, as well as extensive collections of baseball memorabilia
I only spent an hour and a half in there, but I easily could’ve spent three times that long just soaking everything in.
I really liked the fact that, in this exhibit, they presented both Major League AND Negro League history. After all, you’re not really getting the complete history of the national pastime if you’re ignoring an entire demographic’s contributions to the game prior to a certain point in history (i.e. Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier). (On that note, there was also a bit about women in baseball, though it was sort of hidden away in a corner downstairs. Oh well. I guess I should be happy it was there at all.)
The exhibit featured a ton of Dodgers-related stuff, focused especially on the team’s Brooklyn days. The most fascinating thing for me was, probably, seeing some of the team’s alternate jerseys, since for such a long time there’s been very little variation in the Dodgers’ uniforms. Don’t get me wrong, I love that the Dodgers keep it simple and classic with their look—but it was still interesting to see examples of times when they tried to change things up a bit. You can kind of see a few of the alternate looks on the right side of the above picture; apologies for my lackluster iPhone photography.
Basically, if you’re a baseball fan in the L.A. area (or who’ll be traveling to the L.A. area in the next month or so), find a way to get to this. The exhibit is at the Reagan Library through September 4th, and it’s $16 for adults to get in. Tickets can be purchased here.
(The Reagan Library is totally worth visiting on its own, too, regardless of how you feel about the man or his politics. It’s absolutely gorgeous out there in Simi Valley, and there’s some really neat stuff. For instance, you can walk through Air Force One! And you can buy all the Jelly Belly beans your heart desires.)

I think, as baseball fans, we can pretty much all agree that the All Star break is the worst. I mean, sure, the Home Run Derby is sort of entertaining. And it’s kind of fun to see all of that talent together on the field in the All-Star Game. And it’s good for the players from our favorite teams to get some much-needed rest. But when it comes down to it, it’s four days in a row without your team playing any games (and two days with no baseball action at all), which is sort of miserable.

So, I figured this brutal day without baseball was as good a time as any to finally make the trip to the Reagan Library for the baseball exhibit. It was definitely worth the drive. Like, I’m not even sure where to begin with how awesome this exhibit was. Among the highlights:

  • Artifacts from so many of the game’s greats—game-worn jerseys, gloves, baseball cards, etc.
  • A showcase of the evolution of baseball gear throughout the decade
  • Art, as well as extensive collections of baseball memorabilia

I only spent an hour and a half in there, but I easily could’ve spent three times that long just soaking everything in.

I really liked the fact that, in this exhibit, they presented both Major League AND Negro League history. After all, you’re not really getting the complete history of the national pastime if you’re ignoring an entire demographic’s contributions to the game prior to a certain point in history (i.e. Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier). (On that note, there was also a bit about women in baseball, though it was sort of hidden away in a corner downstairs. Oh well. I guess I should be happy it was there at all.)

The exhibit featured a ton of Dodgers-related stuff, focused especially on the team’s Brooklyn days. The most fascinating thing for me was, probably, seeing some of the team’s alternate jerseys, since for such a long time there’s been very little variation in the Dodgers’ uniforms. Don’t get me wrong, I love that the Dodgers keep it simple and classic with their look—but it was still interesting to see examples of times when they tried to change things up a bit. You can kind of see a few of the alternate looks on the right side of the above picture; apologies for my lackluster iPhone photography.

Basically, if you’re a baseball fan in the L.A. area (or who’ll be traveling to the L.A. area in the next month or so), find a way to get to this. The exhibit is at the Reagan Library through September 4th, and it’s $16 for adults to get in. Tickets can be purchased here.

(The Reagan Library is totally worth visiting on its own, too, regardless of how you feel about the man or his politics. It’s absolutely gorgeous out there in Simi Valley, and there’s some really neat stuff. For instance, you can walk through Air Force One! And you can buy all the Jelly Belly beans your heart desires.)

 Final score: San Diego Padres, 0 @ Los Angeles Dodgers, 1
As I mentioned in my post about Roy Campanella Night, the main reason I bought tickets to this game was because I wanted that bobblehead. I probably still would’ve bought the tickets even if I’d known that Paul Maholm was going to be that night’s starter, but it wouldn’t exactly have been an added incentive for me.
Sure enough, the pre-game tributes to Roy Campanella and Pee Wee Reese were wonderful. Roy’s daughter and Pee Wee’s son each spoke about their dads before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. There was also a really lovely video about Roy Campanella Night (and the legacy of Campy and Pee Wee) that I very much hope is posted online at some point. That alone was worth the price of admission.
What followed, however, had to be one of the silliest ballgames I’ve ever seen. I just don’t know how else to describe it. Pretty much everything about it was bizarre. I expected Maholm to be awful, but as this was his first start in nearly 2 months, I absolutely cannot complain about 2 hits across 6+ shutout innings, especially with 4 K’s and no walks (and yes, it is the unimpressive Padres offense he was facing, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t good). (On that note, shoutout to Brandon League, J.P. Howell and Kenley Jansen for their scoreless innings of work.)
The Dodger offense was also silly, looking rather lackadaisical against San Diego starting pitcher and massive jerkface Ian Kennedy. Sure, Kennedy really hasn’t been all that bad this season, but in the Dodgers’ two prior games facing him, they were nowhere near this helpless. Tonight, though, Kennedy delivered 8 scoreless innings, allowing 3 hits and walking 4 while striking out 8. It didn’t help the Dodgers that Yasiel Puig got ejected in the 4th inning for telling the home plate umpire that he was stupid. Oy.
Honestly, there was so little action for most of the game that I spent a good deal of time focusing on the absolutely stunning sunset we were treated to tonight:

While it seemed like the offensive futility could last forever, it thankfully didn’t, and fortunately it was the Dodgers who put an end to the run drought. But that even happened in a silly fashion. Adrian Gonzalez led off the bottom of the 9th with a double that would’ve been a sure thing for just about anyone but him, as he made it to the bag just in time. After Matt Kemp struck out, walks to Andre Ethier (intentional) and Juan Uribe (unintentional) loaded the bases with one out for A.J. Ellis. I was rooting pretty hard for a shrimp, but a walk-off sac fly was a pretty silly way to end the game, too. It’s like, YEAH, I MADE AN OUT AND WE WON! WOO!

Silly, silly, silly. And I love it. I love this stupid sport and how very silly it can be at times.
—
Well, the last time I was at Dodger Stadium, I saw the Dodgers slide into first place after having been 9.5 games out; tonight, I saw the Dodgers walk-off sac-fly their way to having the best record in the National League. I like the way things are going heading into the All Star break, don’t you?

 Final score: San Diego Padres, 0 @ Los Angeles Dodgers, 1

As I mentioned in my post about Roy Campanella Night, the main reason I bought tickets to this game was because I wanted that bobblehead. I probably still would’ve bought the tickets even if I’d known that Paul Maholm was going to be that night’s starter, but it wouldn’t exactly have been an added incentive for me.

Sure enough, the pre-game tributes to Roy Campanella and Pee Wee Reese were wonderful. Roy’s daughter and Pee Wee’s son each spoke about their dads before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. There was also a really lovely video about Roy Campanella Night (and the legacy of Campy and Pee Wee) that I very much hope is posted online at some point. That alone was worth the price of admission.

What followed, however, had to be one of the silliest ballgames I’ve ever seen. I just don’t know how else to describe it. Pretty much everything about it was bizarre. I expected Maholm to be awful, but as this was his first start in nearly 2 months, I absolutely cannot complain about 2 hits across 6+ shutout innings, especially with 4 K’s and no walks (and yes, it is the unimpressive Padres offense he was facing, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t good). (On that note, shoutout to Brandon League, J.P. Howell and Kenley Jansen for their scoreless innings of work.)

The Dodger offense was also silly, looking rather lackadaisical against San Diego starting pitcher and massive jerkface Ian Kennedy. Sure, Kennedy really hasn’t been all that bad this season, but in the Dodgers’ two prior games facing him, they were nowhere near this helpless. Tonight, though, Kennedy delivered 8 scoreless innings, allowing 3 hits and walking 4 while striking out 8. It didn’t help the Dodgers that Yasiel Puig got ejected in the 4th inning for telling the home plate umpire that he was stupid. Oy.

Honestly, there was so little action for most of the game that I spent a good deal of time focusing on the absolutely stunning sunset we were treated to tonight:

image

While it seemed like the offensive futility could last forever, it thankfully didn’t, and fortunately it was the Dodgers who put an end to the run drought. But that even happened in a silly fashion. Adrian Gonzalez led off the bottom of the 9th with a double that would’ve been a sure thing for just about anyone but him, as he made it to the bag just in time. After Matt Kemp struck out, walks to Andre Ethier (intentional) and Juan Uribe (unintentional) loaded the bases with one out for A.J. Ellis. I was rooting pretty hard for a shrimp, but a walk-off sac fly was a pretty silly way to end the game, too. It’s like, YEAH, I MADE AN OUT AND WE WON! WOO!

image

Silly, silly, silly. And I love it. I love this stupid sport and how very silly it can be at times.

Well, the last time I was at Dodger Stadium, I saw the Dodgers slide into first place after having been 9.5 games out; tonight, I saw the Dodgers walk-off sac-fly their way to having the best record in the National League. I like the way things are going heading into the All Star break, don’t you?

Roy Campanella Night as told by the L.A. Times in 1959

As soon as I heard that the Dodgers were giving away a bobblehead commemorating Roy Campanella Night, I knew I pretty much had to get one. Roy Campanella Night has to be one of the coolest, most touching moments in Dodger history. For anyone unfamiliar with that event, it was an exhibition game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in 1959 between the Dodgers and Yankees, held to honor/raise money to support longtime Brooklyn catcher Roy Campanella. Campanella’s career had been tragically cut short by a car accident that left him paralyzed from the shoulders down. The somewhat iconic image that inspired the bobblehead, depicting Pee Wee Reese wheeling Campanella around the field backlit by tens of thousands of matches and lighters, is stunning and moving.

Before I head to the stadium to get my bobblehead (and to see a—hopefully good—ballgame), I thought it could be kind of fun to delve into the Los Angeles Times' archives and find what was written about Roy Campanella Night back in 1959. Here's the article that ran the day of the game (if you can't read it here, you can enlarge it here):

image

image

There are a couple of articles from the next day describing the night’s events (the first one is enlargeable here; read the entire second one here, as it’s too large to include in this post):

imageimage

Read More

Final score: St. Louis Cardinals, 0 @ Los Angeles Dodgers, 6
Clayton Kershaw is a marvel. In 7 innings of work today, he didn’t allow any runs, while striking out 13 for good measure. Sure, he wasn’t flawless—he allowed 7 baserunners, 2 by walk and 5 by hit (3 of which came off the bat of Matt Carpenter, who’s been something of a thorn in Kershaw’s side since last year’s NLCS). But in some ways, that made his performance even more impressive, as he worked his way out of any jams he had with astounding unflappability.
Of course, today’s outing alone isn’t why Kershaw’s a marvel. It just put the cap on an outstanding month of June for him (which featured, lest any of us forget, his masterpiece of a no hitter). All Kershaw did in his 6 starts this month was allow a total of 4 ER in 42 IP, striking out 61 and walking just 4. I don’t have a clue who could possibly challenge him for Pitcher of the Month honors.
If more than a month missed and one bad start in Arizona had you worried about Kershaw’s Cy Young chances, by now it should be pretty clear that he’s very much got himself back in the race. Consider the following:
With an ERA of 2.04, he’s UNDERPERFORMING his FIP of 1.48 (as well as his xFIP of 1.53). That’s mindboggling.
His WHIP is down to .92, and he’s striking batters out at an absurd rate of 12.14 per 9 innings.
Kershaw leads NL pitchers with an fWAR of 3.2, just ahead of Adam Wainwright’s 3.1. Oh yeah, and that’s with 37 fewer innings than Wainwright has. Translation: KERSHAW BEEN GUD.
It’s probably also worth mentioning that the previous 28 innings that he’s pitched have been scoreless. We’ll just keep our eyes on that.
The stats are there—all he needs now is to keep making up for lost innings (and for Johnny Cueto’s ERA to inflate a bit).
I guess I’ve gone on for long enough about Kershaw. Well, no I haven’t—I could talk about Clayton forever, probably. He’s that good. But I should also talk about his teammates and the comfortable lead they gave him to work with. The first hit of the day off of Cardinals starter Shelby Miller was a bunt single by Adrian Gonzalez in the 4th inning; that wound up being part of a 2-run rally. The next inning, Gonzalez delivered an RBI single, and Andre Ethier hit his first home run in I don’t even know how long to bring in 3 more Dodger runs. YAY OFFENSE. It wound up being an easy victory.
Oh, and this win (combined with the Giants’ loss) put the Dodgers where they belong: in first place in the National League West. Sure, they’re sharing the title with San Francisco at the moment, and it’s likely that there’ll be some fluctuation in the standings for a while. The Giants may not be as good as they seemed when they started so hot out of the gate, but I also don’t think they’re THIS bad, and they’ll likely start to play like a halfway decent ballclub at SOME point. Nevertheless, I firmly believe that this Dodger team is the superior outfit in the NL West. And I think this’ll be a(nother) summer to remember for the Boys in Blue.

Final score: St. Louis Cardinals, 0 @ Los Angeles Dodgers, 6

Clayton Kershaw is a marvel. In 7 innings of work today, he didn’t allow any runs, while striking out 13 for good measure. Sure, he wasn’t flawless—he allowed 7 baserunners, 2 by walk and 5 by hit (3 of which came off the bat of Matt Carpenter, who’s been something of a thorn in Kershaw’s side since last year’s NLCS). But in some ways, that made his performance even more impressive, as he worked his way out of any jams he had with astounding unflappability.

Of course, today’s outing alone isn’t why Kershaw’s a marvel. It just put the cap on an outstanding month of June for him (which featured, lest any of us forget, his masterpiece of a no hitter). All Kershaw did in his 6 starts this month was allow a total of 4 ER in 42 IP, striking out 61 and walking just 4. I don’t have a clue who could possibly challenge him for Pitcher of the Month honors.

If more than a month missed and one bad start in Arizona had you worried about Kershaw’s Cy Young chances, by now it should be pretty clear that he’s very much got himself back in the race. Consider the following:

  • With an ERA of 2.04, he’s UNDERPERFORMING his FIP of 1.48 (as well as his xFIP of 1.53). That’s mindboggling.
  • His WHIP is down to .92, and he’s striking batters out at an absurd rate of 12.14 per 9 innings.
  • Kershaw leads NL pitchers with an fWAR of 3.2, just ahead of Adam Wainwright’s 3.1. Oh yeah, and that’s with 37 fewer innings than Wainwright has. Translation: KERSHAW BEEN GUD.
  • It’s probably also worth mentioning that the previous 28 innings that he’s pitched have been scoreless. We’ll just keep our eyes on that.

The stats are there—all he needs now is to keep making up for lost innings (and for Johnny Cueto’s ERA to inflate a bit).

I guess I’ve gone on for long enough about Kershaw. Well, no I haven’t—I could talk about Clayton forever, probably. He’s that good. But I should also talk about his teammates and the comfortable lead they gave him to work with. The first hit of the day off of Cardinals starter Shelby Miller was a bunt single by Adrian Gonzalez in the 4th inning; that wound up being part of a 2-run rally. The next inning, Gonzalez delivered an RBI single, and Andre Ethier hit his first home run in I don’t even know how long to bring in 3 more Dodger runs. YAY OFFENSE. It wound up being an easy victory.

Oh, and this win (combined with the Giants’ loss) put the Dodgers where they belong: in first place in the National League West. Sure, they’re sharing the title with San Francisco at the moment, and it’s likely that there’ll be some fluctuation in the standings for a while. The Giants may not be as good as they seemed when they started so hot out of the gate, but I also don’t think they’re THIS bad, and they’ll likely start to play like a halfway decent ballclub at SOME point. Nevertheless, I firmly believe that this Dodger team is the superior outfit in the NL West. And I think this’ll be a(nother) summer to remember for the Boys in Blue.