Archives for the month of: July, 2013
Matt Kemp greets Yasiel Puig after his walk-off home run.

Matt Kemp greets Yasiel Puig after his walk-off home run.

We struck out more than ever before (20 times altogether). Several players whiffed three times! One of them was Yasiel Puig. But you know what? The only at-bat that mattered was the last one, when the Manna From Havana sent an 0-1 pitch into the left-field pavilion in the 11th inning and then slid home to avoid the human wrecking balls that his teammates had become as he rounded the bases.

With the 1-0 win, the Dodgers took the series from the Cincinnati Reds, a really good team with the best bullpen in the National League.

Their pitchers were good. Starter Tony Cingrani fanned 11 Dodgers all by himself. But in the end, ours were just a little bit better. Starter Chris Capuano allowed just three hits in 6⅔ innings, and then Ronald Belisario, Paco Rodriguez, Kenley Jansen and Brandon (I take back every bad thing I’ve ever said) League blanked them through the last 4⅓. League even notched his third consecutive win. Amazing!

 

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zombie dodgersThe Dodgers are the hottest zombies in the Major Leagues.

After having been written off as dead in the water — Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times wrote on June 21 that they were “the most disappointing team in baseball” — they have come back to life with a vengeance. I have completely lost count of how many games the Dodgers have won since then (I think it’s like 28 or 29), but I know there have only been six losses. That’s, like, insane!

Dodger pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu won the game on which all Korean eyes were focussed.

Dodger pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu won the game on which all Korean eyes were focussed.

Yesterday, Hyun-Jin Ryu won the Korean war, and he did it in style! Against the Cincinnati Reds and Ryu’s fellow countryman Shin-Soo Choo, Ryu went seven innings, giving up only one run on two hits and striking out nine as the Dodgers beat the Reds, 4-1, at the Ravine.

The Reds' Shin-Soo Choo has played in the majors since 2005 with a career .289 batting average.

The Reds’ Shin-Soo Choo has played in the majors since 2005 with a career .289 batting average.

The game — played on the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice — brought out tons of Korean baseball lovers, media and photographers. Ryu and Choo had played together on the Korean World Baseball Championship team, but never against each other in the major leagues.

Don Mattingly, asked before the game if he was worried Ryu would be too nervous to pitch well, said, “No. If anything, I expect he’ll rise to the occasion.” Well, that he did, Donny-boy, that he did.

And the Dodgers continue their phenomenal domination of the past few weeks. On Friday, they squeaked out a 2-1 win on a two-run homer by Hanley Ramirez and sensational pitching by the man, Clayton Kershaw. He just keeps getting better and better.

L.A. Times todayThe Los Angeles Times has something against the Dodgers. I knew it when I worked there, and it has only gotten worse since I’ve been gone.

I don’t know if it is the plethora of Angels fans that inhabit the south end of the 3rd Floor of what, in the good old days, was known as Times Mirror Square (it even had its own ZIP code), or the fact that all the people at The Times are so miserable that they jump at the chance to point out something bad about somebody just to make their own pathetic lives seem less awful.

L.A. Times yesterdayBut I know that, if the Dodgers do something spectacular — like win 22 out of 28 games with a record-setting, come-from-behind, 5-run 10th-inning hitfest — you will barely be able to find the story in the Sports section (see right). However, if after the most amazing July (and it isn’t even over yet), the Dodgers lose one little game, 5-2, to the Cincinnati Reds — probably because they were tired from flying in from Toronto at 4 in the morning — it is splashed all over the front page with a banner headline and a 5-column photo of a dejected Andre Ethier (see above).

It has always been like this, at least for the past 8 years or so. Always the Dodgers failures are blasted out in the newspaper equivalent of neon lights, while their victories — of which there have been many the past four weeks — are relegated to, maybe, a tiny, one-column story, or even just a refer to inside. I’m not making this up.

In the first six games after the All-Star break, the Dodgers scored 47 runs on 78 hits. That’s an average of more than 7.8 runs on 13 hits per game. They had 10 road-game wins in a row, a record for the franchise since it moved here from Brooklyn. In other words, they hit and played their asses off, took a late plane back to L.A. and then had one bad game on too little sleep. But look at the difference in coverage.

KempTo be fair, Wednesday’s front page did have a giant photo of Matt Kemp — with the headline “Juice is still on the loose!”

Anybody just glancing at the page would immediately jump to the conclusion that the L.A. Times is reporting that Kemp has been using performance-enhancing drugs. I think that kind of play of Plaschke’s column about Ryan Braun could be grounds for a libel suit on Kemp’s part. But that is how the Times handles anything Dodgers. Look closer, you’ll see.

The Dodgers are not going to win every single game for the rest of the season. There will be a few losses thrown in for good measure, but I guarantee that L.A. Times readers will be more aware of their few setbacks than of their many triumphs.