Dodgers fans have pushed the team to first in Major League Baseball in attendance. (John McCoy/Staff Photographer)
The Dodgers’ fortunes came full circle today, when online oddsmaker Bovada released its list of World Series favorites with the Dodgers on top at 9 to 2.
To recap, then:
The Dodgers have gone from the preseason favorites with baseball’s highest payroll, to midseason busts on the verge of firing their manager, to favorites once again by winning 40 of 48 games.
Friday served as a reminder of how things might have been when the Philadelphia Phillies, the Dodgers’ weekend opponent, fired manager Charlie Manuel with 40 games left in their season. Ryne Sandberg will take over on an interim basis.
It was supposed to be Don Mattingly not long ago. Now it’s Mattingly who will be opposing Jim Leyland from the opposite bench in the 2013 World Series, if these odds are any indication:
Los Angeles Dodgers 9/2
Detroit Tigers 5/1
Atlanta Braves 13/2
Boston Red Sox 15/2
St. Louis Cardinals 10/1
Tampa Bay Rays 11/1
Texas Rangers 11/1
Cincinnati Reds 12/1
Oakland Athletics 12/1
Pittsburgh Pirates 12/1
Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw didn’t allow a run in eight innings against the New York Yankees on Wednesday. (John McCoy/Staff photographer)
Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis gets the bigger picture of his existence as a Major League Baseball player. He doesn’t strike me as an over-the-top baseball historian like Curt Schilling, or a numbers guy like Brandon McCarthy, but he does catch Clayton Kershaw every fifth day. So he gets it.
“We’re spoiled, that’s all I can say, having him on our team and on our pitching staff,” Ellis said after the Dodgers’ 3-0 loss to the Yankees yesterday. “We’re teammates with somebody who’s really, really special.”
Some perspective on Kershaw: His 1.87 earned-run average is the lowest in baseball, and he has a chance to post the first sub-2.00 ERA by a Dodgers pitcher since Sandy Koufax in 1966. If the season ended today, Kershaw would qualify for the ERA title (he’s pitched 168 innings) and would own the third-lowest ERA in a single season in Dodgers history. In terms of ERA+, which accounts for how many runs are being scored around the league in a given year, Kershaw is in the midst of the best season by a pitcher in Dodgers history, a hair better than Koufax’s 1966 season.
But Ellis doesn’t need the numbers. He sees it all the time. “The fact that (Kershaw) can come out and reproduce what he does,” Ellis said, “is what makes him the best in the league.”
Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper left Monday’s game against the Dodgers in the fifth inning after hitting an unppaded portion of the right-field wall face-first.
Harper took a semi-circular route in pursuit of a fly ball hit by A.J. Ellis, and didn’t realize he was out of room until he smacked face-first into the scoreboard embedded in the right-field wall. Harper’s hat flew backward as he fell backward, and he remained still on the warning track for some time before Nationals trainers reached him from the first-base dugout.
Harper walked of the field on his own power. Ellis reached third base on the hit, which was ruled a triple.
Tim Federowicz posted a 1.643 OPS after being demoted to Triple-A Albuquerque.
Tim Federowicz returned to Dodger Stadium on Wednesday. In his mind, and on the depth chart, it was like he never left.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said that Federowicz will be the team’s number-two catcher, supplanting veteran Ramon Hernandez, whose 0 for 4 performance against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday lowered his batting average to .045. Hernandez, who was obtained from Colorado for pitcher Aaron Harang on April 6, is staying on as the Dodgers’ third catcher. Continue reading →
This conference on the mound in the fourth inning didn’t help Josh Beckett (third from right). It merely delayed the inevitable in the Dodgers’ 7-3 loss to the Colorado Rockies, a game that lasted 3 hours, 54 minutes. (John McCoy/Staff Photographer)
You got the sense that Josh Beckett could live with the smaller strike zone imposed by home plate umpire Larry Vanover tonight. Beckett could even live with the three runs he allowed in the first inning, maybe because he didn’t want to throw his shortstop, Hanley Ramirez, under the bus for committing an error that left him pitching out of the stretch one batter into the game.
No, there were other things happened tonight specifically, and this season in general, that Beckett has not made peace with.
Chris Capuano collided with Jason Marquis and fell down covering first base in the first inning. He wasn’t injured on that play, but stayed in the game and strained his left calf muscle running to cover the bag in the second.
Chris Capuano was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday, ruling him out for the next time the Dodgers will need a fifth starter. That spot wouldn’t necessarily come up until the Dodgers’ April 27 home game against the Milwuakee Brewers, but manger Don Mattingly said he would like to use the fifth starter on April 24 at Citi Field against the New York Mets to give Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett an extra day between their next two starts.
Ted Lilly returned to the team one day after making a rehab start for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga and is scheduled to throw a bullpen session in two days. He’s done making rehab starts and is poised to take the fifth turn in the rotation.
“If he slots in, everybody kind of gets an extra day,” Mattingly said. “We really like doing that.”
Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke said he’s watched replays of last Thurdsay’s brawl in San Diego. (Associated Press)
Say this much for Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke: He’s trying to learn from his mistakes.
Mistake one: October 11, 2011. On the eve of the National League Championship Series between Greinke’s Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals, Greinke was asked about Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter.
“They think his presence, his attitude out there sometimes is like a phony attitude,” Greinke told reporters in Milwaukee. “And then he yells at people. He just stares people down and stuff. And most pitchers just don’t do that. And when guys do, I guess some hitters get mad. Some hitters do it to pitchers. But when you do that some people will get mad.
“There’s other pitchers in the league that do it, but, I don’t know,” Greinke said, “a lot of guys on our team don’t like Carpenter.”