Dodgers 4, Angels 4: A Scott Van Slyke grand slam, instant replay, perfect relay all go for naught.

Scott Van Slyke

Scott Van Slyke hit a grand slam in the Dodgers’ 4-1 victory over the Angels. (Associated Press photo)

TEMPE, Ariz. — Scott Van Slyke’s grand slam in the sixth inning and an exciting play at home plate in the first highlighted the Dodgers’ 4-4 tie with the Angels before 6,457 at Tempe Diablo Stadium. The 10-inning game is the second tie this week for the Dodgers (3-4-2).

The umpiring crew used instant replay to determine that Mike Trout was indeed thrown out at home plate attempting to complete an inside-the-park home run. Angels manager Mike Scioscia had a lengthy discussion with the umpires on the field before initiating the challenge. A 72-second review confirmed the call.

With one out in the first, Trout hit a long, sinking line drive just left of center field. Yasiel Puig dove at the last second but missed. The ball rolled past Puig and all the way to the warning track, where Puig got to the ball ahead of left fielder Scott Van Slyke. His relay throw to shortstop Hanley Ramirez on the short outfield grass was perfect, and Ramirez made an accurate throw to Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis just in time to retire the speedy Trout.

The only question seemed to be whether Ellis got his glove on Trout or not, but that wasn’t the only question circulating through the Dodgers’ dugout.
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2014 Freeway Series dates, times revealed.

Dodger Stadium will host its first games of 2014 when the Dodgers play the Angels at 7 p.m. on March 27 and 28. The Dodgers’ final preseason game is at 6 p.m. March 29 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim.

The dates and times for the annual “Freeway Series” games haven’t been formally announced by either team, but the Angels’ entire preseason schedule is now available on the team website. The Dodgers haven’t announced their preseason schedule.

A pair of games against the Diamondbacks in Sydney, Australia on March 22-23 will be Games 1 and 2 of the regular season. The Dodgers will then have three days of rest (March 24-26) before returning to Southern California for the final exhibition games against the Angels.

The Angels’ website also lists a Spring Training game against the Dodgers at noon on March 6 in Tempe.

Daily Distractions: You’re the best. No, really.

Yasiel Puig fans

Dodgers fans have pushed the team to first in Major League Baseball in attendance. (John McCoy/Staff Photographer)


If you’re a Dodger fan with a sense of entitlement, don’t let anyone knock you off your high horse today.

A recent study shows that Dodgers fans are the best. (OK, it’s actually a two-way tie for first.)

The study, conducted by a pair of marketing researchers at Emory University, contends that the Dodgers are getting as much out of their vast market than any team in baseball. Forbes’ team-by-team valuations are among the criteria, so the recent $2 billion sale of the franchise to Guggenheim Baseball Management certainly played a factor in the Dodgers placing first. Here’s a more detailed description of the research method:

… we use a “Revenue Premium” method. The intuition of this approach is that brand equity adds a premium to team’s revenues that goes beyond what would be expected based only on team quality and market size. To accomplish our analysis, we use a statistical model that predicts team revenues as a function of the team’s winning rates, division finish, market population, payroll, and stadium capacity. We use this model to predict each team’s expected revenue. To measure the quality of the team’s fan or brand equity we compare the forecasted revenue with estimates of actual revenue.

Earlier today, I discussed the two Southern California fan bases — Angels fans ranked 30th, dead last in the study — with local NPR affiliate KPCC (89.3-FM).

The only fanbase that matched the Dodgers? The Boston Red Sox, who coincidentally invade Dodger Stadium this weekend.

Some bullet points for a World Mosquito Day:
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Hyun-Jin Ryu’s confidence, slider on full display in his second appearance.

Hyun-Jin Ryu Jae Kuk Ryu

Fox Sports West showed the career stats of former Cubs and Rays pitcher Jae Kuk Ryu during today’s telecast of the Dodgers-Angels game.

For a pitcher who speaks very little English, and has thrown three spring training innings in his major-league career, Hyun-Jin Ryu has revealed a lot about who he is as a pitcher in a short time.

Ryu started and threw two innings against the Angels on Friday, allowing four hits, two runs (both earned), walking one and striking out three. As is usually the case in spring training, the numbers didn’t really tell the story.

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Dodgers 1, Angels 1 (6).

Less than a half-hour after the final out, the sun was shining brightly over Camelback Ranch. But by then the fans were gone, players were changing into street clothes, and the final score — the Dodgers’ fourth tie of the Cactus League season (8-4-4) — seemed an insignificant afterthought. At least, no one in the press corps seemed bothered by the managers’ decision to end Sunday’s game after five and a half innings.

“We don’t want to sit out there and try to fight weather all day long after being here all day,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “The guys who needed work got their work, I’m happy with going home, to be honest with you.”

The actual game recap is a brief one:

The Angels’ Kole Calhoun scored in the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Mark Trumbo. Juan Uribe singled in Adam Kennedy for the Dodgers’ only run in the fifth. Both starting pitchers, Chris Capuano and Anaheim’s Dan Haren, allowed a mere two hits. John Grabow and Mike MacDougal worked one scoreless inning each out of the Dodgers’ bullpen.

After MacDougal’s last pitch, rain (and later hail) began to pelt the field hard enough that a tarp was rolled over the infield 1 hour and 16 minutes after first pitch.

The only semblance of drama for the Dodgers on this day took place before and after the game, when the second round of roster cuts was announced. Four players left the room in the morning, and catcher Gorman Erickson, catcher Matt Wallach, infielder Lance Zawadzki and first baseman Jeff Baisley were re-assigned to the minor league camp. More on that in tomorrow’s editions.

A few more notes:

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Dodgers 9, Angels 1.

The Dodgers chased Jered Weaver after 1 2/3 innings and collected 12 hits in an easy win over the Angels. At 6-1-2, the Dodgers trail only the Detroit Tigers (6-1-1) for the best overall spring training winning percentage, and are in sole possession of the best record in the Cactus League. [box score]

Juan Rivera went 2-for-3, tagging Weaver for a double and hitting his third home run (in three days) off reliever Andrew Taylor. All four of his Cactus League hits (4-for-12) have gone for extra bases.

Trent Oeltjen went 2-for-2, Matt Kemp scored a pair of runs and stole a base, and Dee Gordon stole his fourth base of the spring on his fourth attempt.

Starter Aaron Harang (1-0) allowed an RBI double to Angels catcher Chris Ianetta, the only run he allowed in three innings. Harang struck out two, walked none and allowed three hits.

“I was just making sure overall I was mechanically feeling right,” Harang said. “I executed some good pitches. … I still have to get a feel for (my slider). It’s still early. A couple things I’ll work on in the bullpen next week and in my next two starts.”

Weaver, who allowed three runs — all earned — saw his spring ERA rise to 7.36. The Dodgers tacked on four more runs against non-roster invitee Matt Shoemaker, who has a photo of Billy Mays hanging from his locker in the Angels’ clubhouse.

More in tomorrow’s editions. A few notes:
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Dodgers grab finale, 5-3

Clayton Kershaw was brilliant, the Dodgers’ offense was balanced once again, and the relief corps did just enough to secure a victory in the finale of the rubber game with the Angels, 5-3.

Kershaw delivered a near-virtuoso performance tonight: seven innings, four hits, four walks, and no runs. The 21-year-old, operating without his best stuff, struck out only five but got 11 ground ball outs. He threw 107 pitches in his seven innings of work, his longest outing since May 17 in Florida.

For the first seven innings, the Dodgers offense wasn’t too balanced. It essentially relied on two guys: Matt Kemp to single, and Juan Pierre to send him home with an RBI double. Joe Torre’s recent decision to bat Matt Kemp late in the order as a sort of second leadoff hitter began to really pay dividends tonight, as Kemp’s speed on the bases allowed him to be both a table-setter and potential table-clearer.

Eventually, James Loney hit a two-run shot in the eighth (it was reviewed by the umpires and upheld) and Casey Blake hit an RBI base knock in the ninth to cap the Dodgers’ twelve-hit performance.

After Kershaw exited, Ramon Troncoso came in for the eighth. He got two outs but put two runners on before being pulled. Situational lefty Brent Leach — who’s been nearly twice as effective against right-handed hitters as lefties — got Angel pinch-hitter Kendry Morales to hit a grounder to Blake at third.

Blake delivered an off-line throw to Loney at first, however, and the Angels scored their first run of the night. Jonathan Broxton then came in and walked Gary Matthews Jr. — the perpetrator of last night’s ninth-inning homer — before striking out Erick Aybar to end the inning. Broxton ran into a bit more trouble in the ninth, allowing two runners to score, before getting Napoli to ground out to end the game with Rivera at first.

Big win for the Dodgers, who move to 46-24. Angels again stay a half-game back of Texas at 36-31. The Blue have a day off tomorrow while they travel to Chicago to take on the White Sox in a three-game set beginning Tuesday.

Dodgers up 1-0 in the middle of the sixth

Dodgers lefthander Clayton Kershaw seems to have grown up quite a bit in the last few weeks, showing a lot of poise in escaping out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the fifth. Despite struggling somewhat with his control — he’s thrown four walks — Kershaw has only thrown 78 pitches through five innings. I say only because he has averaged more than 90 per five innings entering tonight. He should be able to last at least seven barring an offensive attack from the Angels.

Offensively, the Dodgers managed to put a run together in the top of the fifth via a Matt Kemp single and RBI double by Juan Pierre.

Angels starter John Lackey has thrown 91 pitches through six innings; he’s also walked four but has scattered three hits.