Archives for posts with tag: Kenley Jansen

la-sp-clayton-kershaw-shutout-20150708The plush toy of a certain “little girl” (don’t call her a cat) may have been smaller than people expected, but pitcher Clayton Kershaw made up for it with his best performance of the year last night, one that looked like the Kershaw of old, before baby and big contract took a little of the polish off.

Before the game, when the on-field hipster hosts were pushing for votes to get Kersh into the All-Star Game, my friend Liz said she wouldn’t vote for him because she wanted our ace to think about his season so far — 5-6 with a 3.03 ERA, not a bad number for a mortal, but way too high for Kershaw. (The losing record was only partly his fault, as he got virtually no run support in any of his starts.)

Liz thought Kershaw needed a timeout over the midseason break. She said, “If Kershaw pitches a no-hitter, I’ll vote for him.” (Both she and I — season ticket holders — missed his no-no last year, which we regret every day.)

But I offered this suggestion: “What if he pitches a complete-game shutout? Will you vote for him then?”

Liz thought about it, and said, “OK.” And that’s exactly what he did, beating the Phillies, 5-0, and increasing the Dodgers’ lead over the Giants and D’Backs to 5 games.

It was a beautiful thing. Even though he struck out 13 batters, Kershaw got in jams several times — two men on with no outs … guys on the corners with one out — but he and his favorite catcher, A.J. Ellis, got out of every one of them unscathed.

And speaking of A.J. Ellis, he broke out of a hitting slump big time, going 3-for-4 with a 2-run homer in the 2nd.

Get voting, Liz!

I Thought It Would Never End
The gem by Kershaw was my kind of game, unlike the slogging trudgefest two nights earlier, when I was sure we were going to see the longest regulation 9-inning game in history.

Monday’s 10-7 victory over Philadelphia fell 14 minutes shy of the longest National League game ever, thanks to the lack of a Dodgers starter for the evening. Why is the “best team money can buy” putting the ball in the hands of relievers who can’t even be trusted to win when they’re handed a lead?

There wasn’t a single 1-2-3 inning. Nearly every batter ran the count full. San Francisco started their game after us, and were finished losing before we had an out in the top of the 6th. The 7th-innning stretch came at 10:27.

Then, in the top of the 9th, with a 10-7 lead, Kenley Jansen walked the first batter and gave up a single to the second, putting the tying run at the plate. I figured he still wanted to try for the record, but he was just teasing the 50 or so fans still in the stadium, and the final out came 4 hours and 13 minutes after first pitch.

dodgers dollar signOne of these things, $tan Ka$ten and his cohorts in Dodger management care very much about.

The other can go to hell in a hand-basket for all they care. (Actually, the trip started last year when so few people showed up to the games that bobblehead nights were rarely more than ⅔ full and many concession stands were closed!)

But, hey! They got their $8.5 billion. Who gives a fig if the loyal fans who have loved their team through thick and thin for more than 50 years can’t enjoy the games at home on their TV sets, hear the melodious voice of Vin Scully and feel part of a community with a common and heartfelt passion.

It makes me physically ill to see this crippling greed and loathsome insensitivity take hold of my beloved Dodgers. And I’m not alone. I dread saying it, but one of my least favorite haters is on our side in this. Read Plaschke from yesterday’s L.A. Times.

“The most impactful collision of greed and arrogance in this town’s sports history,” Bill Plaschke writes, “has resulted in wreckage that is still smoking in the middle of the freeway, looking like another six-month SigAlert, twisted metal everywhere.”

And we are the hapless victims of this crash, bleeding on the side of Stadium Way, wishing an ambulance would come and whisk us off to salvation.

Who cares if half the National League West champion team from last year is gone? Andrew Friedman’s Moneyball tinkering won’t mean a thing if no one can watch the damn games.

Some say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but in this case it’s out of sight, out of mind. You’ll see it when the camera pans the stands and nobody’s there. Oh, wait, no you won’t.

LX5zO.AuSt.38Splish Splash!

No matter what the bean-balling bullies in Arizona think, the Dodgers deserved a dunk in the outfield pool at Chase Field. What better way to thank the D’Backs for the inspiration to take this season all the way to the end?

In early June, the Boys in Blue were written off as basement-dwellers after the most dismal April and May that I can remember. The Diamondbacks were smugly lording their first-place position over us, throwing balls at the players’ heads and sneering at the Dodgers’ high payroll and higher expectations.

That brawl on the field at Chavez Ravine — the most violent diamond fight since Roseboro and Marichal — sparked a fire in the Dodgers’ hearts. It was the turning point, just like in a movie, where the heroes turn it around and start winning game after game, with a soaring John Williams soundtrack in the background.

Hey, it was enough to win me back, and I’m pretty famous for never abandoning my boycotts. (I got my postseason tickets in the mail right after the game was over. Perfect timing!)

So the hard part is over, the even harder part is about to begin. One day at a time, one game at a time, one inning at a time.

GO DODGERS!