Clayton Kershaw no-hitter: By the numbers

Clayton Kershaw A.J. Ellis

Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw and catcher A.J. Ellis embrace after Kershaw no-hit the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night. (John McCoy/Staff photographer)

Clayton Kershaw came within a Hanley Ramirez error of throwing a perfect game on Wednesday night.

Kershaw couldn’t control the defense behind him, but here’s some data on a few things he could control, including pitch selection, pitch speed and location. All statistics via BrooksBaseball.net:

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Clayton Kershaw no-hitter: What the Colorado Rockies were saying.

Clayton Kershaw

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

From Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post:

“I think that anytime there is a special moment for someone, you want to watch how the guy responds,” (Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki) said. “Clayton, obviously, I have a lot of respect for. I know how hard he works.

“It’s nice for me to see how something means enough to bring tears to (their) eyes. It means that they care. I care a lot about this game and it was a special moment for me, too, to see somebody who values this game so much and see it pay off.”

“His breaking stuff was pretty much unhittable tonight,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. “When his fastball is hitting 95 mph, his breaking stuff is hard to deal with.”

In the critical ninth inning, fans were on their feet, taking flash pictures for posterity with their smart phones. First, Kershaw got DJ LeMahieu to ground out to first. Next, he got Charlie Culberson to pop out to right. Kershaw finished his masterpiece by striking out Corey Dickerson with an 87 mph slider.

“I wasn’t going up there to take (a pitch), that’s for sure,” Dickerson said. “But he was throwing strikes all night and getting ahead of everybody.”

After Dickerson struck out to become part of history, he slowly walked to the Rockies’ dugout, all the while peeking over his shoulder to watch Kershaw being mobbed by his teammates.

“He’s always been a stand-up guy and a class act,” Dickerson said. “His stuff was phenomenal tonight. I think all of the guys felt that. So we tip our cap to him.”

“His fastball had a little cut to it and he was painting the corners. Then he got ahead and was able to use his curveball. His velo (velocity) was up and he still had movement.”

Not all of the Rockies were quite so enthralled about being part of Dodgers history.

“Not good, not good. It’s terrible,” said Brandon Barnes, when asked about his team being no-hit. “He was just making his pitches when he needed to. He’s a good pitcher and he’s got good stuff. That’s why he gets paid a lot of money. But there is nothing we could have done about it tonight. We gave it everything we had.”

Daily Distractions: April Dodger Pride award winners include a couple top prospects.

Corey Seager

Shortstop Corey Seager had a strong month of April at Single-A Rancho Cucamonga (Staff photo)

The end of the month is always a good time to check in on the Dodgers’ farm system, because a good month comes with an award.

The Dodger Pride Awards were created in 2008 by GM Ned Colletti to reward one pitcher and one position player at each level of the system “who play the game with a hustling, smart, aggressive style.” The players and staff on each respective club vote for the monthly awards.

Your April winners:

Albuquerque (AAA)

Pitcher: Henry Sosa posted a 1-0 record with a 2.61 ERA (9 ER/31.0 IP) in April, striking out 21 batters against seven walks in five starts. The right-hander held opposing batters to a .233 batting average (27-for-116), while allowing only one home run in the month. The 12-year professional, who made 10 starts for the Houston Astros in 2011, was signed by the Dodgers as a free agent on December 13, 2013.

Player: Joc Pederson finished April among the Pacific Coast League leaders in several offensive categories including batting average (.398, 2nd), runs (22, T-3rd), hits (39, 1st), home runs (6, T-3rd), and stolen bases (9, T-2nd). On the year, the left-handed hitting outfielder is batting .368 (50-for-136) with 11 home runs and 22 RBI, including a .418 batting average (38-for-91) against right-handed pitching. Through 36 games this season, Pederson has also tallied 15 multi-hit games, including six performances with three or more hits. He entered 2014 as the Dodgers’ No. 1 prospect according to Baseball America.  

Chattanooga (AA)

Pitcher: Tyson Brummett went 2-1 and allowed only one run in 23.0 innings spanning four April starts, leading the Southern League in ERA (0.39) and ranking sixth in opponents’ batting average (.181). On the season, the former UCLA pitcher is 3-3 with a 0.83 ERA (4 ER/43.1 IP) and has allowed one run or less in six of his seven starts for the Lookouts. With runners in scoring position this season, the right-hander has allowed only four hits (4-for-36), good for a .111 batting average. Brummett signed with the Dodgers as a free agent on February 20, 2014, after being drafted by the Phillies in the seventh round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.

Player: Scott Schebler drove in 16 runs (T-7th, Southern League) and clubbed five homers (T-2nd, Southern League) in 25 April games. The Iowa native had a .258 batting average with six homers, four triples and 21 RBI, and has excelled in clutch situations, batting .300 (9-for-30) with runners in scoring position. The 23-year-old, a 26th-round draft pick in 2010, was the Dodgers’ 2013 Branch Rickey Minor League Player of the Year after batting .296 in 125 games for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga last season.

Rancho Cucamonga (High-A)

Pitcher: Matt Shelton went 1-1 in April with a 1.76 ERA (3 ER/15.1 IP) in eight appearances for the Quakes, limiting opponents to a .228 batting average (13-for-57) and pitching scoreless relief in seven of his eight outings. The Texas native struck out 14 batters and walked only one in April before being promoted to Chattanooga on May 1. The 25-year-old was selected in the 24th round of the 2011 draft.

Player: Corey Seager batted .294 (25-for-85) in April with 10 extra-base hits, while tallying 13 RBI in 20 games. The 20-year-old has raised his average to .333 (40-for-120) with two homers, 11 doubles, two triples and 15 RBI, batting .429 (15-for-35) with a .512 on-base percentage in nine May games. Seager entered 2014 as the Dodgers’ second-best prospect according to Baseball America.

Great Lakes (Low-A)

Pitcher: Michael Johnson posted a 1-1 record with a 1.35 ERA (2 ER/13.1 IP) and a save in eight April appearances. The right-handed reliever limited opposing hitters to a .200 batting average (10-for-50) with 19 strikeouts and five walks. On the season, the Massachusetts native has a 1.47 ERA (3 ER/18.1 IP) and 22 strikeouts in 11 appearances for the Loons. The 23-year-old, a 14th-round pick in the 2013 draft, led the Ivy League with seven wins as a senior at Dartmouth College in 2012.

PlayerJoey Curletta had a terrific April, finishing among the Midwest League leaders in batting average (.368, 2nd), runs (18, T-3rd), hits (39, 1st), doubles (9, T-3rd) and RBI (15, T-6th) in 25 games for Great Lakes. Overall, Curletta has posted a .356 batting average (52-for-146) in 35 games, second among Midwest League hitters, and has seven three-hit performances for Great Lakes. The Arizona native was selected by the Dodgers in the sixth round of the 2012 draft.

Some bullet points for a Frog Jumping Day:

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Dodgers option Pedro Baez to Double-A Chattanooga, activate Clayton Kershaw from the DL.

Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw made two rehab starts before being activated from the disabled list today. (Jennifer Capuccio Maher/Staff Photographer)

The Dodgers optioned Pedro Baez to Double-A Chattanooga and activated Clayton Kershaw from the 15-day disabled list Tuesday. Kershaw will start tonight’s game against the Washington Nationals.

Baez made his major-league debut in the ninth inning of Monday night’s rain-delayed loss to the Washington Nationals. He allowed two runs to score and heads back to the minors with a career ERA of 18.00.

Kershaw hasn’t started since an Opening Day win in Sydney, Australia. He made two rehab starts following the diagnosis of a strained teres major muscle.

Yasiel Puig is sitting out for the second straight day after crashing into the wall in Miami. Adrian Gonzalez is getting his second day off of the season. Here are the lineups for both teams:
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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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