Kershaw closes June with another masterpiece

Clayton Kershaw closed out one of the best months a Dodgers pitcher has ever produced Sunday with his 6-0 victory over St. Louis.
The left-hander struck out 13 batters and held the Cardinals to five hits over seven innings, improving his record in June to 6-0 and lowering his ERA over the same stretch to 0.82. Including his 15-strikeout no-hitter against Colorado on June 18, Kershaw struck out 61 batters in the month, a total matched only by Sandy Koufax in Dodgers history.
“As a starting pitcher, you want to keep your team in the game early,” said Kershaw, “then we can break through (offensively). … We’ve been scoring a lot of runs (lately), and that’s a sign of a good team.”
Kershaw improved his overall record to 9-2 and lowered his ERA to 2.04.
“He had one rough outing (an 18-7 loss to Arizona on May 17),” said Matt Kemp, who was 2 for 3 with an RBI Sunday, “and since then he’s been the best pitcher in the world. He’s getting better and better every year, and that’s hard to do. … It’s fun to watch.”
The victory also moved L.A. into a first-place tie with San Francisco in the National League West. Just three weeks ago, the Dodgers trailed the Giants by 9 ½ games in the division.

Clint Robinson’s confidence brimming on heels of his second major-league call-up.

Clint Robinson

Clint Robinson was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque on Thursday. (Getty Images)

This blog entry was written by Daily News intern Thuc Nhi Nguyen. Follow her on Twitter.

Making a major league team is always the dream, but Clint Robinson also knows the realities of life. The 29-year-old has a wife and mortgage hanging over his head. The first baseman who was called up from Triple-A Albuquerque two days ago admits that when he was in spring training with the Dodgers, he wasn’t eyeing a spot on the team’s big-league roster.

He was just looking for work.

“In the minor leagues, it can end like that,” Robinson said, snapping his fingers. “You have to go where you have the best chance to succeed and keep this as your job.”
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Don Mattingly: Dodgers’ defensive turnaround, daily drills “a coincidence.”

During a homestand in late May, when the Dodgers were hosting the Reds, Pirates and White Sox, infield drills became a regular occurrence each afternoon at Dodger Stadium. They were pre-planned, but they were beneficial At least one infielder, Dee Gordon, said at the time that the drills helped.

A month later, the stats would agree.

Through May 24, the Dodgers ranked third in baseball with 42 errors. Since May 25, the Dodgers’ eight errors are the fewest, tied with the Seattle Mariners through Thursday. Their .993 fielding percentage as a team ranks first and only two unearned runs have scored.

Compare those numbers to the start of the season (.978 fielding percentage, 28th in baseball, and 30 unearned runs in 50 games) and it’s clear something has changed.

Here’s what Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said about the late-May turning point:

Hanley Ramirez (shoulder) out again. Don Mattingly hopes shortstop can avoid the disabled list.

Hanley Ramirez was held out of the Dodgers’ starting lineup Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals and will potentially miss his fourth straight game with a sore right shoulder.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was hopeful that his shortstop could still make an appearance in tonight’s game:

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Clayton Kershaw, Josh Beckett nominated for ESPY awards.

Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw has been nominated for Best Baseball Player, and Josh Beckett is a finalist for Best Comeback Athlete, as voting for the ESPY awards began Tuesday.

Kershaw won the National League Cy Young Award in 2013 and last week threw the first no-hitter of his career. Beckett missed most of last season with thoracic outlet syndrome, then came back this year to pitch a no-hitter of his own.

The ESPY awards will air July 16 on ESPN, during the MLB All-Star break. Drake is hosting the annual made-for-TV awards show at the Nokia Theater.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly wasn’t nominated in the Best Fighter category.

Don  Mattingly Alan  Trammell

(Getty Images)

Clayton Kershaw named National League Player of the Week.

Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw pauses before throwing the final pitch of his no-hitter Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium. (John McCoy/Staff photographer)

Clayton Kershaw was named National League player of the week for the week ending Sunday. Kershaw threw his first career no-hitter on Wednesday against the Colorado Rockies (PHOTOS | STORY)

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, his 15 strikeouts were the most in Major League history by a pitcher that did not allow a runner to reach base via hit, walk or hit-by-pitch. The previous mark of 14 strikeouts in such a performance was shared by Nap Rucker (September 5, 1908), Sandy Koufax (September 9, 1965) and Matt Cain (June 13, 2012). In addition, the 15 strikeouts were tied for third-most overall in a no-hitter, and tied for the most by a left-hander, matching Hall of Famer Warren Spahn (15 on September 16, 1960). Kershaw’s performance was the 22nd no-hitter in Dodger franchise history, which is the most by any Major League club. It came just 24 days after his teammate Josh Beckett threw his first career no-hitter (May 25 vs. PHI), marking the shortest span between no-hitters by a team since Cincinnati’s Johnny Vander Meer did it in consecutive starts on June 11 and 15, 1938 (Elias Sports Bureau).

For the season, Kershaw is 7-2 with a 2.52 ERA.

This is his fourth career Player of the Week honor. He previously won the award April 1-7, 2013; May 14-20, 2012; and June 20-26, 2011.

On eve of series against Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals’ rotation takes a double hit.

Michael Wacha

Pitcher Michael Wacha, the MVP of the 2013 National League Championship Series against the Dodgers, was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday by the St. Louis Cardinals. (Getty Images)

The St. Louis Cardinals will be missing 40 percent of their starting rotation when they visit Dodger Stadium this week.

The Cardinals announced Sunday that right-handed pitcher Michael Wacha and left-hander Jaime Garcia have been placed on the 15-day disabled list. Garcia is 3-1 with a 4.12 earned-run average in seven starts this season. Wacha, named the most valuable player of last year’s National League Championship Series after beating the Dodgers twice, is 5-5 with a 2.79 ERA. Both pitchers have “shoulder troubles,” according to the Cardinals’ website.

The Dodgers host the Cardinals in a four-game series Thursday through Sunday. It’s the first meeting between the teams since a hotly contested NLCS that began with Hanley Ramirez being hit in the ribs by a pitch from Cardinals hurler Joe Kelly. Kelly is also on the disabled list.

Juan Uribe returns to the field in Single-A rehab assignment.

Juan UribeJuan Uribe played six defensive innings at third base for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga as planned on Friday. Uribe went 0-for-3 at the plate, grounding out, grounding in to a double play and popping out in his three plate appearances.

The 35-year-old is currently on the Dodgers’ disabled list with a strained hamstring. He went 2 for 4 as the Quakes’ designated hitter Thursday.

Dodgers season ticket holders will receive paper tickets from Clayton Kershaw’s no-hitter. Update.

If you’re a Dodgers season ticket holder, check your email today.

The club eliminated the distribution of paper tickets for season-seat holders prior to this season. Approximately 34,000 were sold. That’s a lot of built-in souvenirs from Clayton Kershaw’s no-hitter Wednesday against the Colorado Rockies — almost all of which were distributed electronically.

People like having paper tickets as a memento from a big game, so the club is prepared to offer one to every season-ticket holder. A letter of notification is going out today, according to a Dodgers spokesperson.

A few fans already have theirs. I spoke to one fan today, Bill Roebuck of Claremont, who purchased a total of 444 tickets prior to the season and complained when the club suggested he print them out at home. “I don’t own a smart phone,” he wrote, “and they expect me to print that many pages out and spend that much on ink — after they already charged me a handling fee?”

Because Bill complained, and the Dodgers complied with his request for paper season tickets, we have some idea what the special souvenir tickets might look like:

Bill Roebuck's tickets

Update (8:24 p.m.): The tickets won’t look like that, unless you have a really good printer.

While paper tickets are available to season ticket holders, fans report that they have been asked to print their own.

Update (2:13 a.m.): Here is what season-ticket holders were given today: