Archives for posts with tag: Philadelphia Phillies

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.

Shortstop Hanley Ramirez roars his mightiest after scoring the walk-off winning run.

Shortstop Hanley Ramirez roars his mightiest after scoring the walk-off winning run.

It didn’t look good after blunders in the top of the ninth tied the game at 3. I bet the whole outfield and Kenley Jansen were feeling more heat than even the sweltering temperatures warranted. But for some reason, I was sure we were going to score in the bottom of the inning. I just had a feeling that it would be all right.

Catcher A.J. Ellis is hoisted aloft by right-fielder Yasiel Puig after hitting the walk-off RBI single that made fans forget Puig's ninth-inning blunder.

Catcher A.J. Ellis is hoisted aloft by right-fielder Yasiel Puig after hitting the walk-off RBI single that made fans forget Puig’s ninth-inning error.

And it was! Hanley Ramirez singled on the first pitch off Phillies reliever Justin De Fratus, and a couple batters later, A.J. Ellis did his usual schtick of seeing many pitches and then slamming one down the line into right field. It was a beautiful thing. And outfielders Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig led the assault on the hero after he made their ninth-inning miscues meaningless.

So with that 4-3 win over the Phillies, the Dodgers move to only five games out of first place. A week earlier, it was 9½, so they have made up considerable ground by playing like the team they should have been from the start.

Let’s keep it up, guys!

Utilityman Skip Schumaker didn't allow any runs or give up any hits in his inning of "relief."

Utilityman Skip Schumaker didn’t allow any runs or give up any hits in his inning of “relief.”

Massacres abounded yesterday, with the Phillies creaming the Blue Crew, 16-1, and more layoffs at the Los Angeles Times, where I used to work. It was ugly.

At the Ravine, it was the worst home defeat since the Dodgers played at Ebbets Field. Yeah, that bad. It was so abysmal, Mattingly used utility player Skip Schumaker as pitcher in the ninth. (He did better than Brandon League, by the way.)

Over on Spring Street, the dimwits in charge of the Los Angeles Times (specifically Davan Maharaj, one of the biggest idiots I have ever met, and Marc Duvoisin, who may be an alien) sent a memo around to staff speaking of a “modest staff reduction.” Let me tell you, it is not “modest” when you’re the one having your entire life turned on its head. But those two imbeciles in charge are too stupid to realize how insensitive their language can be. Not only that, but in the same breath, they announced they’re hiring new employees to revamp the website. It makes me want to puke.

So, let’s just forget about Friday, okay? Let’s think of something good, like the fact that one of our Dodger broadcasters was elected to the National Radio Hall of Fame. Oh wait, it was Charley Steiner, who in the wrap-up of yesterday’s game said, “So the Giants scored 16 runs, 21 hits …” I swear it’s true.