This Day In Dodgers History – June 30th

The bright young career of Sandy Koufax reaches the first of what would be many peaks as the left-hander fires his first no-hitter, a 5-0 gem over the New York Mets before a crowd of 32,769 at Dodger Stadium in 1962.

The no-hitter is the first by a Los Angeles Dodger pitcher and second at Dodger Stadium. Bo Belinsky of the Los Angeles Angels was the first to toss a no-hitter at Dodger Stadium, on May 5, 1962 over the Baltimore Orioles.

Koufax, who would go on to pitch four no-hitters – including the only perfect game in franchise history – gave an early indication of his domination against New York when he struck out the side on nine pitches in the first inning. He battled some control problems, walking five and reaching 3-and-2 counts nine times, but did not allow a runner to reach second base.

The native of Brooklyn became the first Dodger left-hander to throw a no-hitter in 54 years, following Nap Rucker’s gem during the 1908 campaign.

A Hall of Famer and one of the most dominating pitchers in history, Koufax threw no-hitters in each of the next three seasons. His perfect game came on Sept. 9, 1965 in a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium.

Koufax also had two one-hitters during his Los Angeles career.

 

Per Dodgers Site.

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Today In Dodgertown – Injury Updates

Today “marks” a huge day for Mark Ellis (See what I did there? Eh? Ok, sorry, no more puns) Considering our absurd amount of injuries, I figured that everyone would like a brief little summation on all the players to see when we’ll have our Dodgers team back, healthy, and ready to make a push back to first place. Here it is:

Mark Ellis: Mark is literally one month ahead of schedule in regards to his rehab. After a May 19th collision at second base, he was hospitalized for five days, and came within six hours of losing his leg. I’m not a doctor…but that’s not typically a “let’s get back to playing baseball” type situation. That’s more of a “I’m lucky to be walking” type situation. Nonetheless though, he is not only walking, he’s playing again. Like I said before, today is a huge day for Mark. He will be making his first rehab start of a four day assignment for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. Tonight, he is going to just DH. Then he will play the field the remaining three days, and rest after that. The Dodgers have targeted Mark to make his official comeback with the club (assuming all goes well with rehab games) for the Arizona series which starts this upcoming Thursday, July 5th.

Matt Kemp: Matty is also doing well and is progressing right along in his rehab. Don Mattingly came out last week and said that the Dodgers had sat down with Matt to discuss the All-Star break and whether or not he would be able to participate. The agreement that they came up with was that he would be able to compete in the Home Run Derby no matter what, but would not play Center Field in the ASG if he had not yet played a game for the Dodgers. Which is understandable. Donnie has since said that Sue Falsone and the Dodgers training staff are now working to not only allow Matt to compete in the Home Run Derby, but also manage to work that into his rehab as well.

“The plan right now is that it would be part of what he’s doing. We’re going to try to build it into the program.” Mattingly said.

Don went on to add that Matt still has another round of testing to do on his hamstring before he starts his rehab assignment, but that there is a chance he could start his rehab assignment before the All Star Break.

Andre Ethier: ‘Dre, as we all know in that dreaded Giants’ series, tweaked his left oblique in a slide to second. Good news for us all, is that it wouldn’t require a DL stint. I know that oblique’s are incredibly touchy injuries and depending on the severity, could literally take months to heal, but Don and Andre have both said it was a very minor injury, and they are just playing it safe. ‘Dre is still sore, but he says that he expects to be back in the lineup either tonight or tomorrow. Judging by the way they have played it so far, my guess would be tomorrow night, but we’ll see when the lineup card’s scratched in.

Ted Lilly: Ted’s recovery is still moving along slowly, but moving along nonetheless. Last Friday he made a big improvement and made about 15 soft throws. I know that may not sound like much, but initial reports were saying that his shoulder inflammation would cause Lilly to undergo an operation, so the fact he can make throws without it, is a huge progression. Don said that they will continue to take it slow and cautious with Lilly. Luckily for everyone, Eovaldi has done a very nice job (contrary to his win-loss record) replacing Lilly in the rotation, so we don’t have to rush anything. There has not yet been a timetable on his return.

Javy Guerra: Javy underwent right knee surgery on June 5th, and has made a very good recovery from that. He is said to possibly be ready for a rehab assignment as early as this upcoming week. He threw back-to-back bullpen sessions on Thursday and Friday and is progressing along nicely. Similarly, there is no timetable set for Javy’s return either.

My best guess would be that if everyone stays on the pace they are at, and we don’t have any setbacks, we could be looking to be full strength by the end of July, if not a week or two before. At this point, it will almost be weird to have all of our players back again. I can’t imagine the strength of our lineup with all of our players healthy, and a successful trade deadline. Only time will tell…

Stan Kasten – The Direction of the Dodgers

Stan Kasten…is a leader. I don’t just say that because of the position he currently holds with the Dodgers as President and CEO. I say that because if you ever get the incredible opportunity to speak with him or even listen to him talk, you become inspired. You get this overwhelming excitement that you didn’t even knew existed. He got me excited about this current ball club that we have. Impressive, right? I walked away from it all not even really knowing why I was so optimistic, but I was. Listening to him talk is simply a wonder and a treat. He is the kind of guy that when you greet him with a polite, “Hello Mr. Kasten, how are you doing?” He quickly corrects you and replies with a laugh, “It’s Stan, but I’m doing great, thanks for asking.” He talks to you like a friend, and tells everyone exactly how it is, no matter the situation.

He knows exactly what he’s doing. This isn’t his first rodeo. He is an incredibly humble man that knows that this whole “business,” if you will, is 100% about the fans; and from the fans standpoint, the team comes first. The team…is everything.

Within the first week of him becoming president, Stan was walking the stadium. He was checking out lines at the food vendors, walking the upper deck, stopping to say hello to fans. This is a guy who has personally read over 3,000 suggestions from the fan box, performed 2 different public opinion surveys and 2 separate focus groups just last week. It’s not glamorous work by any means, but it is completely necessary. He doesn’t have someone do the dirty work for him, he does it himself.

This “interview,” for lack of a better term, wasn’t necessarily a question and answer type deal. It was more of a conversation with a few guiding questions. Instead of giving you exact questions that were asked, I will merely guide you in the direction that the conversation went, but mostly quoting Stan, so you can see first hand, what your Dodgers president is like. Now Stan is very in depth when he speaks to fans, his coworkers, his associates, anybody. So when he is asked a question, he answers to the absolute best of his abilities and in depth as possible for clarity sake. His responses and quotes can be long, but I can guarantee you they are worth your time. He is an amazing speaker, and will get you excited moving forward. So as you’d probably all like, I’ll stop writing and get to the good stuff. haha

Since the Guggenheim Group has taken over, there has been a definitely different vibe around Dodger Stadium. The average attendance has rose to around 39,000 per game, there are great promotions, and overall, fans are much happier with this new group. I think we’d all agree with that. Stan was very thankful for the credit, and was thankful for the fans as well:

“Thanks for saying that, and people tell us that, anecdotally, that the reaction has been fantastic. But I will tell you what I can say for sure, objectively, that we have sold a lot more tickets. We have sold almost 3,000 new season tickets since the announcement that we were selected had been made. Now I got to believe that most of that is because the team looks so good and the future I think is bright for everyone, but there is also that belief or that credibility that our group brings with it. Now everyone is going to need to see some proof, but I do not take their support and their reception for granted. We have to start doing things and the sooner the better for that. But again, giving us this latitude, giving us this time to feel our way through to find out the best things to do, we really appreciate it, and we don’t take it for granted. We do have plans, and we are working on things right now to not just get the experience better, but even more importantly the team better.”

The dreaded series against the Giants was brought up. When this all happened, it was all on our minds, and it was something that needed to be addressed — not just the series, but this recent lack of offense and overall performance. Stan didn’t back down from any of it and responded with integrity:

“Well you have to address the areas that are available to you, let me talk about that for a second. First of all, as you know, no matter how long you’re in the game, losses really hurt (chuckling) and losing streaks are the worst of all. So yeah, this is a bad week for all of us who are Dodgers fans. I do have to say, to be fair, I was thrilled that we were doing as well as were doing up until two weeks ago, given the unbelievable injuries to the key people that we’ve had. Ya know, we’d love to have Matt back, we’d love to have Mark Ellis back, we’d love to have Ted Lilly back, and yet without guys like that, and other people that we’ve lost along the way, we really held up well. That was a real testament to the fortitude of this team, the resilience of the backup players who had to step up and the managing of Don and the coaching of his coaches. So that’s a real strength I think and that hasn’t gone away, we still have those strengths. But when we get players back, we obviously expect to get better.”

We all know about Stan’s philosophy. He is very intent on making our farm system as strong as it can be, and dominant in the future. He has always been a big supporter of the farm system, it has worked wonders for him in the past with other teams, and he looks to bring the Dodgers back to where they were — the best farm system in baseball. Going off what he said about improving the team, the conversation went into exactly that, and what he was doing as of now, to improve the farm system or the big league club.

“Well for this time of year, what has happened when I say all you can do is what’s available, is going in to June and in to July, it’s a scouting and player development time of year, that’s because the draft is the first week of June. And I can tell you that I think we had an excellent draft; I watched the process, I spent a week with the scouts to learn them, to see how they worked, to find out who I can really trust and where we might need to add more. I think we had a terrific draft, I think we need to get our first round picks signed, but I expect that to happen very soon. After the draft, the next thing that happens is the July 2nd, international day. And you know this is such a big thing for me because its such a big part of modern baseball. It is an area that the Dodgers did not emphasize in the last few years. I think it’s a really important thing. And this year, new rules are kicking in pursuant to our new collective bargaining agreement. So there’s a window where you can sign people before July 2nd, and I’d like to see if we can do something before then. So that’s Monday. And then starting Monday, after July 2nd, we all now have a cap amount – an allotment of money – that we can use to sign international players, and I hope to start using that money for that next group of players starting first thing monday. So I hope by this time next week, (which at that time would be Wednesday, July 4th) we’ll be able to announce the signings of all our first round draft picks, maybe a pre-July 2nd singing, maybe some post July 2nd signings, so that we can say that in the course of one month we’ve really, really started the process of beefing up our minor leagues. So that’s what can be done now. After the July 2nd period, or the week thereafter, you really can start to turn your attention to the major league club because that’s when other teams are turning their attention to their major league clubs as well. Where the scouts are now fanning out, and also, the closer you get to the deadline, July 31, the picture becomes clearer which teams are going to sell, which teams are going to move their players. Right now it’s kind of merky because, as we know, this year there is now a second wild card team and that means more teams have hopes so teams are staying in it longer. I think that will clear up by August 31. And all I will say to you is this, I think we demonstrated with Andre Ethier that we will be aggressive in retaining the players that we really appreciate. I think that when we get going on these international signings, we will demonstrate there too that we’re going to be aggressive in pursuing international talent. And I hope by August 1, we’re able to show that we’ll be aggressive in pursuing additions to the team in mid season as well. And then next offseason, we plan on being aggressive in doing that too. So we still have things to prove to our fans, but I promise you that is our plan, and we plan to deliver on that.”

Now…I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t know how that wouldn’t just get you excited right there. His plans are so in depth. He has already done so much in just ONE month as president to beef up our minor leagues and explains vividly why he hasn’t made moves in the majors yet. I think this gives all the fans a sigh of relief to know that its not something he is forgetting, and is on a to-do list that is miles long. Oh, and just so everyone knows he’s not blowing smoke, he’s already delivered. Today, the Dodgers DID sign their first round pick Corey Seager to a $2.35 Million deal, and they also signed international Cuban prospect Yasiel Puig to a 7 year, $42 Million deal. He said they were going to be aggressive, and they have been. This interview was before any of those signings had been made too. So you can bet that all of the other things he mentioned, he plans on delivering. It’s a very exciting time to be a Dodger fan.

Kevin Kennedy from Dodger Talk always loves taking questions from fans about players that could potentially be a trading target for us. Obviously, Stan can’t comment on specific players because that would be tampering, but Kevin Kennedy can. A caller brought up the name Mike Moustakis to him, and Kevin brought up the fact to the caller that Moustakis had just recently been locked down for the Royals and won’t be available. Dodgers will, however, be looking at “bottom feeders,” as he put it, to deal with. When this was brought up to Stan, he had this to say:

“Well let me say this, (laughing) as a management guy, I don’t like thinking of teams as “bottom feeders.” They are “building” teams, or “rebuilding” teams, but they are at a different stage of their process. We are the Dodgers. We are full of Dodger pride that we have earned over a century of baseball. We expect more here; everyone expects more of me, and I get that. We’re not one of those building teams, we’re a team that needs to go for it right now, and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”

Going off of that Dodger pride, the point came up that this lineup that is filled with utility players being used as everyday players is not a lineup that fans can be proud of. Being swept by the Giants without scoring runs is a terrible feeling, and watching games, day in and day out without scoring runs is, being completely honest, embarrassing. The other point was that we have old, tired players in the lineup as well. Long story short, it’s a really tough lineup to be behind and support for the fans. Again, Stan was not hesitant to take on the criticism:

“Well let me say a couple things about that (that phrase seemed to be a trend when he answered a question) First of all, I know how you’re feeling. You’re feeling like I’m feeling given how the last ten games have gone (1-9). Two weeks ago, we were feeling pretty darn good about this same group of players that you just mentioned. And secondly, on the front office’s behalf, and on the manager’s behalf, let’s remember all that led up to the acquisition of those players, whether they were acquired last year, or through this winter, and the circumstances that the front office had (referring to the confusing ownership situation of course). And I think going forward, it’s a new day with a little more resources, with a little more aggressive philosophy than they’ve been able to have recently, and I don’t think I need to say more about that. So I hear what you’re saying. There IS a value to a veteran bench. We’ve had many nights this year, where our veteran bench has really come through and, in fact, until two weeks ago, they were doing it regularly all season, so lets give them that credit. But I hear you moving forward, and there is nothing I like more than young talent. You need to have that pipeline, and every team that has had sustained success did so on a foundation of young talent. It’s what we don’t have here quite as much as I’d like, to be frank, and it’s what we need to build and we have turned our attention to that. But we’re not waiting for them to get here! If we need to go out and find reinforcements, we’re going to aggressively seek them out right now.”

One last quick point that was brought up, was that even though Stan can’t mention any one player by name, as generically as possible, could he say if he anticipated any type of move before the deadline:

“Well I anticipate trying, ya know? I mean it takes two to make a deal. I know we’re going to be aggressive. It won’t be a matter of resources as I’ve described to you before. At the trade deadline, the currency that is most valuable is not money, it’s prospects…and there are a number of teams that are deeper in those than we are, frankly. So that’s why you need to build that organization up, not just to build the pipeline and use players yourself, but to use as currency to improve your team in other ways. So we’ll see if we’ll be successful in doing so. I can tell you that our front office has a mandate from me, and from Mark, and from Magic, to be as aggressive as they can in acquiring other players. My guess is we will find things to do and I can promise that we will be working hard at accomplishing that.”

Sigh of relief, right? I know it is for me. He is an incredibly smart man, and I am so proud to say that he is in charge of leading this team to becoming a dynasty again. He has a definitive plan, even if he can’t give all the details he would probably like. I wanted to make sure that all fans have access to as much of Stan as humanly possible. It’s nice to know what your president is doing and to pick his brain a little bit. I hope you all found this as informing as I imagined.

Be sure to follow Dodgers Insider on Facebook and Twitter for more up-to-date news and rumors about your Boys in Blue. Go Dodgers!

The Chaos of Trade Rumors – June 29th

Oh boy, have the rumors been flowing tonight…where to even start? How ’bout I just dive right in.

The first initial rumors for a trade was as follows:

Jed Lowrie from the Astros coming to LA for Dodgers #1 prospect Zach Lee, and #6 prospect Garrett Gould. When I heard this, I just about died of a heart attack. I thought, ‘No way…not even for Ned. There is NO way that anyone would ever think this is a good idea. Right?’ As I was fumbling for answers, brainstorming for reasons as to why this would ever be even remotely considered…updates were made.

Apparently there was confusion among sources. When the name “Lee” was mentioned, it was assumed that it was the Dodgers’ prospect Zach Lee. That wasn’t the case. It was in fact, Carlos Lee, the Astros’ 1B, and Zach Lee was never mentioned in trade talks. This gave me a huge sigh of relief. Then the official update (which has stood all the way up until this point) was Carlos Lee to LA for Dodgers Prospect Garrett Gould. The confusion with people involved was also surrounding Lowrie. Lowrie is a shortstop for the Cubs as of right now. If he came to the Dodgers, he would have been used at third, a position that he isn’t comfortable with. Dodgers are not and will not give up on Dee Gordon for quite some time.

I’m ok with this Carlos Lee-Garrett Gould trade, and I’m also not. I’ll explain.

I’m ok with it, because Garrett Gould has been wildly mediocre in the minors for us. He does show a lot of promise, I’ll give him that, but his numbers are subpar. For the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Single A), Garrett has gone 1-6 with a 5.12 ERA. He is a much less risk to give away than Zach Lee is, who is a former first round pick, and just promoted to AA Chattanooga yesterday. With that being said, Garrett is still a very big asset for the Dodgers. The reason I’m not ok with this trade, is because of the impact (or lack there of) that Carlos Lee would have for us. I don’t believe in giving away potential assets for the Dodgers for old, mediocre, short-term talent that isn’t a large upgrade in the first place. We need power at first and third base. No one is disputing that. James Loney isn’t getting the job done. No one is disputing that either. Carlos Lee was a power hitter. Was. This year, he has only hit five homeruns (compared to Loney’s two) and all of those have been at home, in Minute Maid Park. Don’t even get me started on his defense. We all know what Loney can do at the bag, and to put it mildly, we’d be losing a ton on defense with Lee.

Another interesting note in all this…was that Garrett Gould was scratched from his start tonight with the Quakes an hour before game time. Could this trade happen sooner than everyone thinks? I am finding it hard to find another reason that would point to why he would get scratched at all. More updates on this as they come in.

Ryan Dempster is also a name that has been thrown around tonight as well. Dodgers sources have said that they are very interested in acquiring Ryan Dempster. While the sides haven’t talked since the week before Dempster went on the disabled list, a person familiar with the situation suggested the Dodgers have a very good chance to land the veteran right-hander and are the odds-on favorite to land him once he comes off the DL. The Dodgers’ pitching has been very strong and were getting wins when the offense was performing. However, you can’t win games without the support of your offense, no matter how good you are. Ryan Dempster would be a great fit in the Dodgers rotation, but I strongly believe they need to focus on offense first and foremost. With that being said, I wouldn’t mind seeing him in Dodger blue at all.

Edwin Encarnacion: I was asked on Facebook to hit on Encarnacion so I will, as much as I can. It’s hard to talk about players from other teams, because teams won’t give out (nor do they even know) who will be available come the trade deadline. When it comes to Dodgers sources, I have a bit more of an in and know who we’d be willing to trade, but as far as other teams go, it’s hard to say. All I have gotten from anybody is that if the Blue Jays are out of it near the deadline (currently 7.5 games out of 1st) they will be willing to deal. Now the tricky part is…who are they willing to deal out? I’ll bring you into a bit of the chaos that surrounds the Blue Jays situation. This is a summary of what I found among top CBS and Fox Sports writers. Buckle Up.

The Blue Jays are giving “little indication” that they intend to trade potential free agents Edwin Encarnacion and Kelly Johnson, Rosenthal and Morosi write. Scouts are saying they’ve been told Encarnacion IS available for the “right” pitcher, Stark reports. Yet one person told Stark Encarnacion is “not available, as far as I know.” Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.com wrote earlier today that the Blue Jays would have multiple suitors if they make Encarnacion available.

Confused? Yeah so am I. Long story short, we will know a lot more after the July 2nd International signing deadline, when GM’s and team’s can start focusing more on their big league teams. More on that in my Stan Kasten interview. Stan does a great job describing what goes through a team’s head around this time of year. As far as Encarnacion goes, I would LOVE to have him on the team and think that he would be the influential power bat that we so desperately need.

If there are any more players that you are curious about, or would like an update on, please feel free to contact Dodger’s Insider on Facebook or on Twitter and ask away. I am more than happy to do my best and give you the most up-to-date information there is available.

Due to the length of this post, I am going to write about Stan Kasten and what he has to say about the direction of the Dodgers in my next post (which I will finish tonight). It’s a great article, that will honestly get you excited about where things are going. Talking to Stan and hearing him talk gets me extremely pumped up and I’m 100% on board with what he’s doing. Hopefully, after this article, you will all feel the same as I do.

Before I end this, just some quick notes. In regards to the International signing, Dodgers made their first move today by signing Cuban prospect, Yasiel Puig. Puig, 21, was added to the Dodgers’ 40 man roster today and was signed for a 7 year, $42 Million deal. He was immediately optioned down to the Dodgers’ rookie level team in Arizona and placed on the temporary inactive list. Ned Colletti said the signing was only the ‘first piece’ to re-establish their presence in the international market and that “this signing is a snapshot of a much bigger vision and bigger plan.”

Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times also tweeted (while I was writing this post actually) that the Dodgers first round pick (18th overall) Corey Seager, also signed tonight  for $2.35 Million. More details on that later.

Ethier Injured | Dodgers get swept out of San Fran

Today, the Dodgers bad luck just kept on packin’ on. I am very thankful for Vin Scully, because if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t know what to write today to sum it all up. He, as always, had a theatrical one-liner that did a better job than I could have done in a paragraph.

“When it rains, it pours — and it’s pouring on the Dodgers.” – Vinny

Andre Ethier, after walking in the first inning, slid into second to try and break up the ever-so inevitable double play that the Dodgers can’t seem to avoid lately. The slide didn’t work, and of course, the Dodgers did hit into the double play and it ended the “rally” as usual. All seemed to be normal, until Don Mattingly and Sue Falsone walked out towards ‘Dre in the middle of the inning. After a few words, he was pulled and Herrera was put in RF to replace him. He was taken out due to a left oblique strain. Now, depending on the severity of the injury, this could take quite a while to heal. A move will probably have to be made. Everyone’s money would probably be on Alex Castellanos to be brought up, if necessary.

With Ethier and Kemp both sidelined, (responsible for the Dodgers’ 22 of 45 homeruns) the HR leaders on the team are AJ Ellis with six and Juan Rivera with three.

In the third inning, Juan Uribe lead off, so naturally, that limited our outs to only two for the inning which brought up Chad Billingsley with one down. Bills decided to help his own cause. How? By destroying a pitch to right center that bounced off the wall for a double. The last time I remember seeing power like that was Bobby Abreu’s homerun in Anaheim. Then, with Billingsley on second, Lincecum threw a wild pitch which advanced Chad over to third with one out. Could it be? Could that horrid 23 consecutive scoreless inning streak end? A couple pitches later, sure enough, Lincecum throws his second wild pitch, and Chad takes off for home. Unfortunately for us all, the ball bounced right back to Sanchez and he threw a bullet to Tim who was covering the plate…Out…24 consecutive innings.

In the bottom of the same inning, the Lincecum-Billingsley battle continued with Lincecum singling on a line drive to left field. Gregor Blanco grounded out, which advanced him to second and a Ryan Theriot single moved him over to third. With runners at first and third with two out, Melky Cabrera hit a double on a fly ball to left field which scored Tim and moved Theriot over to 3rd. Dodgers down 1-0. After a Buster Posey walk that loaded the bases, Angel Pagan also worked the count for a walk and that forced in Theriot. Dodgers were then down 2-0.

In the fifth inning, Juan Uribe tried to end the inning by striking out with another ugly swing, but swung at a ball that actually got away from Sanchez so he ended up on base. Billingsley would strike out right after him though…26 consecutive scoreless innings.

To the top of the seventh we go. We have runners on second and third with two outs, and who steps up to the plate…Juan Uribe again. Maybe this is his chance to shine. Maybe this is finally the time where he will stop swinging at terrible pitches and just maybe get a run in. What if Uribe was the one to end this now 27 inning scoreless streak? Nope. He strikes out swinging to end the inning. Weird.

28 Consecutive Scoreless Innings.

With the Dodgers losing this one today, 3-0, that runs their total to 30 consecutive innings. Now anytime that you are shutout in an entire series, you start wondering how close to that dreaded history you are. Well I checked, and fortunately for us all, I couldn’t find an official record for most consecutive innings by a team, however I did find something interesting. Almost exactly a year ago today, the Seattle Mariners were shutout for 30 innings in a row. Now before I go on, the last time the Dodgers have scored was in the sixth inning against the Angels on Sunday Night. When the Mariners had their streak, the last time they had scored was also against the Angels. Strange. Either way, the Dodgers now have 30 consecutive scoreless innings, and man, I can’t wait for it to end. This is brutal.

Kershaw looks to continue his dominance in SF… Lineups vs The Hated Ones

I’m pretty optimistic heading into the second game of this series in which the Dodgers got punched in the mouth in the first game. Wondering why? A guy by the name of Clayton Kershaw is taking the mound. He has pitched a total of 40 innings at AT&T Park. The Giants have managed to score in just two of those innings. His current innings streak without an earned run is up to 32.2. In his last four starts in San Francsico, he has only allowed one run total.

So needless to say, barring a Eovaldi-type breakdown, I think the Dodgers will be in good condition to win this ball game. With that being said though, expect a very low scoring game. Ryan Vogelsong is on the mound for the enemy and he has been anything but inconsistent this year. He has only had one start this entire year that didn’t result in a quality start, which requires a minimum of six innings pitched, and only three earned runs allowed. That’s impressive. I’d still take Kershaw’s track record in SF though.

Dee Gordon looks to continue his hot streak, just three days out of having a one-on-one session with Maury Wills. In those three days, he is batting .500 with three stolen bases, two runs scored (impressive considering the Dodgers lack of runs) and a walk. He has been definitely improving his offense, despite the inconsistency in the field. Posey is also in the lineup tonight after getting the first game of the series off.

And wouldn’t you know it!! My DREAM lineup has finally come. No kennedy…No uribe…No loney. I really hope this works out to show that this is the way it should be. This is the time to shine for the Dodgers. Here is what Donnie and Bruce Bochy have scratched in for tonights game starting at 7:15 PT.

Dodgers:

1. Dee Gordon, SS

2. Elian Herrera, 3B

3. Andre Ethier, RF

4. Juan Rivera, 1B

5. Bobby Abreu, LF

6. Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B

7. Tony Gwynn Jr., CF

8. AJ Ellis, C

9. Clayton Kershaw, SP

 

Giants:

1. Blanco, RF

2. Theriot, 2B

3. Cabrera, LF

4. Posey, C

5. Pagan, CF

6. Sandoval, 3B

7. Belt, 1B

8. Arias, SS

9. Vogelsong, SP

Dee Gordon – Amazing Story of How He Dealt with the Loss of His Mother at a Young Age

Following Story By: T.J. Simers, L.A. Times

It’s been almost 40 years, so many athletes, too many names to remember, and yet lost in the numbing routine of one game after the next I suddenly find myself rooting for someone to really make it.

And I almost never root for anyone, as you know, and yet here I am preparing to gush.

Who wouldn’t pull for a 6-year-old kid who learns his mother has been shot dead only to grow up into the kindest, most approachable and forgiving young man one might ever meet.

“Dee” to baseball fans, “Devaris” to his family and planning in the future to have “Strange-Gordon” across the back of his jersey in honor of his mother and father, this must be what it’s like to break open a shell and find a pearl.

It is noon Monday in the lobby of the Dodgers’ team hotel here, and Dee Gordon, the closest thing to a human toothpick, has already eaten breakfast twice. And between bites he’s smiled at a couple hundred people.

What’s he so happy about? It has to be tough hitting only .228 on center stage before realizing how ridiculous that sounds.

How tough must it have been to have a mother for just six years?

Correction: “Six great years,” he says while reaching for his cellphone.

“You see my screen saver here? This picture was taken in her final days. It’s the one I look at just before every game.”

Mother and son, head to head in the photo, appear to be having a blast; the kid’s mouth is wide open as if shouting or laughing.

“I’m happy,” he explains.

I want to know if he became bitter in time. And how does a kid recover from life turned upside down?

“I just chose to make the best of it,” he says. And how do you not root for the kid?

His mother, Devona Strange, meets his father, Tom Gordon, in high school. They do not marry. Tom, also known as “Flash,” is just beginning what will become a 21-year major league career as a pitcher.

Dee is in first grade, his school bus pulling up to the gated apartment complex in St. Petersburg, Fla., where his mother lives. Like the other kids, he knows something has happened.

“We knew when cars were parked outside the gate someone had died or there had been a robbery,” he says. “A policeman began asking each of us where we lived.”

Two women who work with his mom pull him aside.

“I’m already mad at one of the ladies because two days earlier I didn’t want to do my spelling words,” he says. “I hid them at her work, but she finds them, tells my mom, and I get in trouble.

“Now she wants to take me to McDonald’s. I’m 6, we live in a not-so-nice neighborhood and McDonald’s is awesome. And I remember exactly what I ordered that day: ice cream and small fries. But I keep saying I’ve got to go home because my mother will be there.”

He was very close to his mother, he says, the memories still vivid. He says they would climb into bed, watch TV together, and he starts naming off the shows.

Gordon’s eyes glisten. “I didn’t take it in right away,” he says. “They told me she was gone. I had one question: ‘Is she coming back?’ I remember later crying so hard I just went to sleep.”

Now he still tries to hold on, her name in his helmet, in his shoes, in almost everything he touches.

But he’s still not sure he has it right. He’s told his mother and her boyfriend were watching TV, messing around, a gun goes off, his mother is hit in the heart and later the boyfriend serves five years for manslaughter.

Gordon moves to central Florida to a new home and school to be with his father.

“I told my grandmother God might have done this to help me in life,” Gordon says upon reflection. “I was getting in trouble a lot and if I had stayed in St. Petersburg, I might not be sitting here today.”

There are more hurdles to clear. He takes on his teenage years with a burden no youngster should endure by himself. He begins to blame himself for his mother’s demise.

“A few weeks before my mom died I heard my mom choking,” he says. “I picked up this purple eight-pound weight and hit her boyfriend in the head.”

The kid tells the boyfriend to leave, but then reconsiders.

“I’m 6 and I’m thinking if he leaves he’s going to take my toys,” he says. “Then two weeks later . . .”

He’s in pain, he admits, his anger leading to fights before he works everything out.

“I had a complete turnaround,” Gordon says, a “Yes, sir” often mixed into his answers. “I’ve always been surrounded by great people. I have two grandmothers who are like mothers, Uncle Anthony who texts to say, ‘You can’t keep a good man down,’ and a father, who is just great.”

Dad’s smart, too. The kid is a terrific basketball player, but his future is baseball. Dad promises him a car if he tries baseball. Gordon makes the switch, but gets no car.

“Would you give me a car at 16 or 17?” Gordon says.

Here we are, Gordon 24 and promising to never change. He mentions the impact on him when he hears someone talking about making minimum wage.

“Someone my own age,” he says. “How fortunate are we?”

But he’s going to have to do better, the game not caring what he’s overcome.

“Every sport came easy to me until this year and honestly I didn’t know how to handle it,” he says, his candor as refreshing as his bubbly personality. “It was eating me up, but if I didn’t let what happened to my mother eat me up, why should this?

“I just have to move forward,” he says, and if successful, I know one fan who will be thrilled.