Daily Distractions: Fans’ outrage toward Dodgers, Time Warner now includes an online petition.

Vin Scully
A fan petition calling on the Dodgers and Time Warner cable to “broker a deal” with local cable providers and “stop the defacto blackout” of the club on local television has 491 signatures on the website FansRising.com.

The campaign is planning additional action to raise attention to the issue, according to a press release from Fans Rising. Comments left by fans reveal that multiple petition signers are elderly fans no longer able to attend games who can’t watch on television.

“I saw my first Dodger game at Ebbets Field in 1938 and have been a faithful fan ever since,” wrote Doris Schalk. “I am now 84 and unable to drive, so don’t get to many games anymore, but being able to watch them all these years has been a god-send. The radio guys are very good – BUT I miss my Vin AND my Dodgers.”

Some bullet points for a Hump Day:
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Daily Distractions: The Dodgers are leading Major League Baseball into the Land of Lethargy.

Don Mattingly

The Dodgers and Washington Nationals sat through more than three hours of rain delays Monday night. (Associated Press photo)

Even when the Dodgers are fast, they’re slow.

Yesterday’s 4-0 loss to the Washington Nationals, which began at 7:05 p.m. in Washington, D.C., ended at 1:22 a.m. If you choose not to count the three hours, 17 minutes of rain-delay time toward the official time of game — this is what MLB does — the game lasted 2 hours and 59 minutes. In reality, more than six hours passed from the first pitch to the last, and the human beings at Nationals Park yesterday felt every second of it.

How many of those human beings made it past midnight? You’ll only need one hand for this exercise:

What’s really scary is that yesterday’s game was the Dodgers’ fastest in nearly two weeks. Not since they beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-2 on April 23 have the Dodgers finished a game in less than three hours — again, officially.

There’s a trend around baseball for games getting longer. Has been for a while. A year ago, six teams finished games in less than three hours on average. In 2012 that number was 15. Dial it back 10 years to 2004 and only one team, the Baltimore Orioles, averaged as many as three hours per game.

This year? Only two teams — Cincinnati and San Diego — are finishing in less than three hours. And those two clubs are averaging 2:59 per game. The meaning of the 3-hour mark has been completely flipped on its head.

Unfortunately the Dodgers are leading the way in this department, with an MLB-worst 3:25 average time of game. Might as well sit back, find a good blog to read between innings, and enjoy the ride.

If you want to reach for a positive, try this one: The team who played the longest games last season, the Boston Red Sox, won the World Series.

Some bullet points for an International No Diet Day:
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Daily Distractions: Who are the Dodgers without Clayton Kershaw?

Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw will start tomorrow against the Washington Nationals. (Associated Press photo)

Since the start of the 2009 season until a month ago, the Dodgers have had the luxury of a healthy Clayton Kershaw at all times. In terms of fWAR, Kershaw has been the National League’s best pitcher during that time period. Being healthy helps a player’s WAR and he certainly helps a team’s won-loss total.

But how much? Who are the Dodgers without their best pitcher? Until recently, that’s been hard to say.

Speaking last August about Kershaw’s credentials for the National League Most Valuable Player Award, Don Mattingly said that “as a manager you see how important (he) is every fifth day. He goes deep into games, saves your bullpen, stops losing streaks, extends winning streaks. you can’t hardly put it — it’s just big. He’s got to be considered.”

It’s been 45 days since Kershaw last pitched. In that time, their run differential is plus-9, their record is 17-14, and their bullpen is taxed. Only the Arizona Diamondbacks have gotten more innings out of their bullpen this season, and the Diamondbacks have played two more games. The Dodgers have needed more innings from their relievers on a per-game basis than any major-league team. That’s partly a function of their eight extra-inning games, which leads the major leagues.

It’s also a function of Kershaw’s absence. Last year, the burden that Kershaw took off the Dodgers’ bullpen was something Mattingly had to imagine; this year it is very real. The proof is in the numbers. While the other starters have picked up the slack (they’re 13-5 with a 3.06 ERA, sixth in MLB), the Dodger bullpen has exuded mediocrity. Their 3.79 ERA ranks 15th and they’re going unusually deep into counts against opposing batters. Only three major-league bullpens are averaging more pitches per plate appearance than the Dodgers’. Their high innings-pitched total doesn’t even tell the full story.

How much impact can Kershaw have on an entire pitching staff — an entire team? We’ll check back in another 45 days.

According to an interview Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti did with ESPN, Kershaw will be cleared to throw 100 pitches tomorrow.

“I think he looked sharper in the two rehab games,” Colletti said, “than he did in Australia.”

Kershaw allowed one run in 6 ⅔ innings in Australia.

Some bullet points for a Cinco De Mayo:
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