Turner, Taylor Cost Dodger Offence

Top of the 9th, Dodgers down by 1, Adrian Gonzalez at the plate. The count reads 3 balls and 1 strike. Turner has singled with one out in the inning and moved to second on a passed ball, where he represents the tying run and can keep this game going.

Adrian takes a mighty hack at the 3-1 pitch and comes up empty. Buster Posey however throws down behind Turner to the shortstop Brandon Crawford where he receives the ball, smacks Turner and ends the game.

The scorebook will read “2-6 caught stealing” but in reality it was a stupid play with a big consequence. In a night that was frustrating enough for Dodger fans and players alike, this play was the cherry on top, the icing on the cake.

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Zack Greinke’s Early Case for the NL Cy Young

After today’s dominant performance over the Washington Nationals, going 8 scoreless innings with 8 strikeouts, Zack Greinke is firming as favourite for the National League Cy Young winner and rightly so.

Zack started the All Star game, last week too, going two innings and only allowing the lead off homerun by super star Mike Trout. This one run was the only one he has allowed in his last 45 and 2/3 innings of baseball. In the MLB though that feet now is up to 43 and 2/3 scoreless innings, tying Orel Hershiser for most consecutive scoreless starts by a Dodger at 6.

Not only has he got a record of 8-2 in just 18 games started but he also has an ERA of 1.39, challenging Bob Gibson’s modern day era record of 1.12 in 1968. Zack’s ERA is lower than ever for Clayton Kershaw, even last season when he did the double, winning the Cy Young and the MVP.

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Dodgers Drop Game 2 via some Unneeded Help

Rule 7.09(g) of the Major League Baseball states,

It is interference by a batter or runner when … In the judgment of the umpire, the base coach at third base, or first base, by touching or holding the runner, physically assists him in returning to or leaving third base or first base [this results in an out]

In today’s Dodgers and Giants game, this exact thing happened.

With the runners on first and second, Brandon Belt hit a line drive through the short stop and third basemen’s hole for a single. Gregor Blanco rounded third and was held there by the base coach.

With no signs or warning, just his body.

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Brandon McCarthy Isn’t Terrible, He’s Actually Quite Amazing

Upon watching the first game of this regular season between the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals at the ever-stunning Wrigley Field, John Kruk, on ESPN, pointed out that the reason Adam Wainwright was so good that night was because all of his stuff fooled batters; made them swing at pitches out of the strike zone. Now, of course this is the case, not too many guys can get lucky on wild swings at pitches with their arms fully extended or when their knuckles are jarred up.

For Brandon McCarthy of the Dodgers though this was not the case for him in the opening game against the Mariners at Dodger Stadium on Monday.

McCarthy’s line of 7IP, 6H, 5ER and 10K’s can be taken in a number of ways. Firstly, the K’s, he struck out 10, that is a good effort on a number of levels. But the reason he struck out all those Mariners was because of his ability to drop the ball out of the zone with his sinker, which accounted for 8 of his strikeouts.

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Julio Urias’ First Start in AA

Ranked number 8 by MLB.com on their prospect lists for the whole of baseball and up there with one of the best 18 year olds as of right now, southpaw Julio Urias made his first start in the highest team he has ever played for, the Tulsa Drillers of AA.

As the Dodgers are managing his pitch count and starts they never usually go for more than 5 innings and today was no different, Julio threw 74 pitches for his 15 outs, a nice economy rate to keep the count low.

Some people wanted Urias up in the pen or even starting for LA in the 2015 season but this wont happen just yet. Although his first outing did show he has some potential. Urias went 5IP, gave up 2H and only 1BB with 4K’s and didn’t concede a run. A performance that would have given him the win on most occasions was spoiled by an error in the 9th, causing the Drillers to go down 1-0.

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Guerrero’s At Bat Against the A’s

Alex Guerrero has already caused some spark and controversy among the Dodgers ranks as he has said, with no option years left and that it would be up to him if he goes down to AAA where he hit .329 in 65 games, with 80 hits and 15 home runs. He has already said no, he would stay in the majors regardless of what the club wants from him.

Perhaps he doesn’t have to though; already this year is Spring Training Guerrero has been on fire, second best on the club for averages and equal most hits with Scott Schebler, who will be in the minors this year barring some amazing circumstances.

There was one at bat today I would like to highlight in Guerrero’s progress. As there is no doubt he is age ready, being 29 years old, he has been around a baseball field for some time. Last year however in my mind there was doubt surrounding his pitch selection of what he is hitting or looking for was strong but today that changed. In 13 at bats last year he struck out 6 times and only managed one hit in the majors, a terrible record for anyone, this was all down to pitch selection.

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Player Ratings for the 2014 Season

(All stats are from MLB.com and for the regular season only in the Majors)

Let’s start with the catchers. As a whole the 4 that played had an all round shocker, one bit off a teammate’s ear and the other 3 averaged under .200, this is only offense though and has Clayton Kershaw has said, “I don’t know what I’m going to do if [AJ Ellis is] not back … I think we’d be losing a lot if we let him go.”

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2014 NL West Champions!

The Dodgers put up some 9 runs against a lacklustre Giants team but Clayton Kershaw only needed 2 of them as he gave up just one run to clinch his MLB leading 21st win and to clinch the NL West for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The ace went 8 innings and threw a season high 117 pitches and in doing so lowered his Major League leading ERA to 1.77. Amazing.

The biggest story of the night however for me is the pitcher in the 9th inning for LA, Brian Wilson. Not because it was his former team that he finished off against and showed who’s boss but also because it is very obvious that the right handed ex closer has been out of touch for the season.

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Runs After Runs

Over the past week or so there have been 5 games the Dodgers have played in that have seen one team tally 10 runs or more. This is some feat for a string of games, especially when it isn’t the same team that is getting all of the runs but it is seemingly the Dodgers and their opponents taking turns in doing it.

Today’s 14-5 win is an example of how many runs the Dodgers are capable of scoring but the thumping last week in the first 2 games against Colorado which were 4-10 and then 2-16 shows us that we can’t always have the runs flowing in for the right team.

So who’s to blame for the runs we give up? Well the bullpen of course, right?

In these two games and the 9-0 loss to the Giants the series before it is not so much but more the starters fault. 8 runs were gave up from Haren in the first game in the first inning that had already lost it and earned the starter another loss. Then in the next game Frias was starting, even though he comes out of the bullpen on most occasions for the Dodgers, and went 0.2IP and 8ER.

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First Place Once Again But Where Will LA Finish?

After Clayton Kershaw’s two hit complete game shut out over the Giants to give the Dodgers a half a game lead over San Francisco, you have to wonder which team will be the first to crack and let the pressure get to them.

The only problem is that both tams know all about pressure and neither will want to give up a playoff spot with any ease.

The Giants have of course won the World Series twice in the last 4 years and LA have a massively star studded line up who made it to the NLCS last year and lost in 6. Both teams have the skill and the nerve, so who will hold out?

On the pitching side of things it is LA all the way with all stars like Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke as their 1 and 2 pairing with names like Jansen, League and Howell waiting in the bullpen for scoreless innings in relief. Continue reading