Clayton’s Last Stand

September 25, 2011

With Ian Kennedy winning his 21st game last night, Clayton Kershaw needs a good outing today to match him in wins.  If he can manage another great start, it will be hard for the voters for the Cy Young award to pick anybody else.

Let’s hope that the Dodgers play the “A” team today and do everything they can to help Kershaw win.

The game today starts at 1 PM which should help Matt Kemp a bit in his quest for 40 home runs.

This Day in Dodgers History

September 25, 1974 – In the first-of-its-kind operation, Dr. Frank Jobe transplants a tendon from Tommy John’s right wrist to the Dodger pitcher’s left elbow. The ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction, which will become commonplace surgical procedure better known as Tommy John surgery, enables the right-hander to win an additional 164 games games, more than half of his career total of 288 victories.


We found out

September 15, 2011

On Tuesday night, Gerardo Parra hit a home run, then paused before running the bases just a little too long to suit the Dodgers.  The home run followed a previous at bat by Parra in which he had to duck an errant throw from Hong-Chih Kuo.   A.J. Ellis yelled “You’re better than that.” to Parra after his showboat antics when he crossed the plate.  Clayton Kershaw went ballistic in the dugout and traded shouts with D’backs pitcher Daniel Hudson, who at some point asked Kershaw what he would do about the situation.  “You’ll find out!  You’ll find out!”, came the heated reply from Kershaw, well within earshot of hundreds of fans, players, coaches and umpires.

Last night, leading in the 6th inning 2-0, Kershaw threw a pitch several inches inside to Parra, nicking him on his elbow.  Home plate umpire Bill Welke immediately ejected Clayton from the game.  While Rod Barajas and Kershaw were arguing about that decision in disbelief, Don Mattingly emerged from the dugout just about as angry as he has been this season and argued the case.  Soon however, he crossed a line and was also tossed from the game.  It was highly unusual that Kershaw was thrown out of the game since there were no prior warnings given.

Rookie pitcher Josh Lindblom hurriedly warmed up then took over the pitching duties, determined to hold the lead for Kershaw.  Lindblom made 29 pitches while striking out five batters in two innings.  He was removed for pinch hitter Trent Oeltjen in the bottom of the 7th inning.  Nathan Eovaldi and Kenley Jansen followed with solid performances and the Dodgers won 3-2.

Despite his ejection, Kershaw improved his standing in the race for the Cy Young Award by winning his 19th game and throwing five shutout innings and striking out five.  Welke’s poor judgement robbed Kershaw of the chance to pitch more scoreless innings and build up his strikeout total, further improving his Cy Young chances.

Tony Jackson has more on this event and the reactions from Kershaw, Mattingly and umpiring chief, Tim Tschida in his column.

Today’s probable starters are Dana Eveland, 2-0, 0.60 ERA going against the Pirate’s Ross Ohlendorf, 0-2, 8.03 ERA.

This Day in Dodgers History

September 15, 1978 – In front of 47,188 fans at Dodger Stadium, Don Sutton throws a six-hitter to beat Atlanta, 5-0. With tonight’s attendance, Los Angeles becomes the first team to draw three million fans at home in major league history.


Back in California

September 9, 2011

The Dodgers left the soggy capital city, where they won game 1 of the scheduled doubleheader 7-4 before the nightcap was postponed indefinitely due to rain, and returned to sunny California.  They return to action tonight in the city by the bay, San Francisco.

This season will not see the Dodgers playing in October, and what remains of it will be used to evaluate several options for next year.  Andre Ethier has been shut down and is in Alabama to start the process to fix his knee.  His absence will provide a convenient opportunity for Jerry Sands to show if his reconfigured swing will be successful in the bigs.

The Dodgers, coming off of a two game winning streak and having won eight of their last ten, will face the Giants, who have lost their last game and six of their last ten.  San Francisco is still 4.5 games ahead of the Dodgers but well within reach in the fight for second place.

Tonight Clayton Kershaw will  take the mound and continue his difficult quest for the Cy Young award.

This Day in Dodgers History

September 9, 1965 – Sandy Koufax’s perfect game against the Cubs bests Bob Hendley’s one hit effort, 1-0. The Dodger Stadium gem is the southpaw’s record fourth no-hitter.

Thanks to Yunghitters89 for the more expanded version:

On this day in 1965, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax pitches the eighth perfect game in major league history, leading the Dodgers to a 1-0 win over the Chicago Cubs at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles.

Sandy Koufax was a talented all-around athlete from Borough Park in Brooklyn, New York. His first love was basketball, and he attended the University of Cincinnati on a basketball scholarship. His impressive left arm, however, attracted the attention of major league ball clubs and in 1954 he was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers. Despite his promising talent, Koufax won just 36 games to 51 losses from 1955 to 1961, and was incredibly inconsistent, blowing hitters away one game and walking in runs the next. Finally, advice from veteran catcher Norm Sherry turned Koufax around. As Koufax recounted in his autobiography, Sherry told him to “take the grunt out of the fastball.” It worked: From 1962 to 1966, Sandy Koufax executed what are arguably the five greatest seasons by a pitcher in baseball history. His newfound control limited his walks from 4.8 per game to just 2.1, and he pitched no-hitters in three consecutive years–1962, 1963 and 1964.

On September 9, 1965, at the peak of his baseball career, Koufax took the mound against fellow lefty Bob Hendley of the Chicago Cubs, and a pitcher’s duel for the ages ensued. The Cubs were held scoreless, while the Dodgers scored just one run, in the fifth inning. Dodger Lou Johnson walked to lead off the inning, and then advanced to second on a sacrifice. He stole third and then scored when the Cubs catcher fumbled one of Hendley’s throws. As it turned out, one run was all Koufax needed to bring home the victory. His fastballs, which seemed to rise as they reached the plate, whizzed past batters. His curveball was typically devastating, buckling batters at the knees, almost always crossing the plate as a strike after following its parabolic path. As he closed in on a perfect game, Koufax faced the middle of the Cubs order. He struck out Ron Santo and Ernie Banks in the eighth before striking out the side in the ninth to secure his first perfect game.

In addition to throwing his first and only perfect game, Koufax struck out a total of 382 batters in 1965, shattering Rube Waddell’s 1904 record by 32. He retired after the 1966 season at just 30 years old because of arthritis in his elbow.

Koufax won three Cy Young Awards (1963, 1965 and 1966), all of them unanimous.

He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1972. In 2007, the Modi’in Miracle of the Israel Baseball League made the 71-year old Koufax the final pick in the league’s inaugural player draft as a tribute to his legendary career and Jewish heritage.