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.”

Dodgers 3, Colorado Rockies 3: Of course spring training ends in a tie.

Hyun-Jin Ryu

Hyun-Jin Ryu threw 5 1/3 innings and allowed one earned run in his final Cactus League start. (Associated Press photo)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Dodgers ended the Cactus League portion of their season the only appropriate way: With a tie.

The Colorado Rockies scored a run in the seventh inning off Chris Withrow, tying the game 3-3, and the Dodgers’ final game in North America until March 27 ended in a tie. It was the Dodgers’ fifth tie in 21 exhibition games, giving them a final spring training record of 6-10-5.

Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu allowed two runs and seven hits in 5 ⅓ innings. Not unusually, he encountered the most trouble early.

Charlie Blackmon led off the game with a single but was picked off the bag. In the second inning, the Rockies got back-to-back singles by Matt McBride and Charlie Culberson. Both runners advanced a base when Ryu’s pickoff throw to second base got away from everyone for a throwing error.

The second inning ended on a dramatic double play — for a minute. McBride, trying to score on a sacrifice fly to right field by Jordan Pacheco, was out at home plate on a nearly 300-foot throw by Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig. Rockies manager Walt Weiss challenged the call. One television replay clearly showed that Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis missed McBride on his tag attempt. The umpires don’t always have the same vantage point when reviewing a call in Cactus League play, but the crew correctly overturned the call.

The Dodgers players had all retreated to the dugout after the apparent inning-ending double play. They filed back onto the field, Ryu made a couple warm-up tosses, then got D.J. LeMahieu to pop out on one pitch.

Adrian Gonzalez‘s single through a drawn-in infield scored Carl Crawford with the Dodgers’ first run. With Gonzalez on first base, Juan Uribe hit an RBI to the left-center field gap, scoring Gonzalez with the go-ahead run.

In the fifth inning, Gonzalez hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to drive in Ryu and pad the Dodgers’ lead. Ryu drew a walk to lead off the inning against Jordan Lyles and Carl Crawford followed with a single up the middle. Right-hander Bruce Kern relieved Lyles and allowed a single to left field by Hanley Ramirez that loaded the bases. Gonzalez’s fly ball to center field was plenty deep for Ryu to tag up and score without a throw.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Ryu gave up a solo home run to Nolan Arenado on a 2-2 fastball at the knees, bringing the Rockies within 3-2.

Chris Perez, J.P. Howell and Kenley Jansen didn’t allow a run out of the bullpen.

The Dodgers finished with a cumulative attendance of 114,402 in 12 home dates at Camelback Ranch for an average of 9,534, the highest average attendance since the team relocated Spring Training to Arizona in 2009. Last year, the Dodgers drew 133,460 in 17 home dates (including one WBC game) for an average of 7,851.

The box score is here.

Daily Distractions: Why isn’t Chris Capuano on the Dodgers’ NLCS roster?

Chris Capuano

Chris Capuano walked three batters but didn’t allow a run in Game 3 of the National League Division Series against the Braves, earning the victory in his only postseason appearance. (Associated Press photo)

Five days ago, Chris Capuano said he “really had no idea” that he was going to be on the Dodgers’ roster for the National League Division Series.

“You have Carlos Marmol who’s just throwing the ball fantastic, you’ve got Brandon League, you’ve got Edinson Volquez, you’ve got some real power arms,” Capuano said. “It was exciting for me to have a chance to contribute.”

At the time, Capuano reeked of false modesty. He had just pitched three scoreless innings in relief of Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lasted just three innings in his MLB postseason debut. The veteran left-hander is the only pitcher not named Clayton Kershaw to win a game for the Dodgers this postseason. He validated manager Don Mattingly‘s faith in Capuano and his health — he missed three weeks in September with a strained groin — and seemed to have earned his keep as a long reliever for any similar situations in the National League Championship Series.

Why, then, was Capuano left off the Dodgers’ NLCS roster Friday morning?
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Rockies 7, Dodgers 5.

A.J. Ellis, Brian Gorman

Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis takes umbrage with home plate umpire Brian Gorman’s reversal of this third-strike call against D.J. LeMahieu in the sixth inning. (Karl Gehring/The Denver Post)

If you were looking for a meaningful takeaway from a Dodgers perspective Wednesday night, there weren’t many in the Colorado Rockies’ 7-5 victory. So we’ll get to the Dodgers later.

If you were running an experiment about the merits of a replay system in baseball, this game was a petri dish full of bad calls.
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Edinson Volquez tries to exorcise his Coors Field demons.

Edinson VolquezEdinson Volquez has a chance to make the Dodgers look very, very good today.

Led by Ricky Nolasco, yesterday’s 7-4 win over the Rockies gave the appearance that the Dodgers can rest half their starters, give up six runs and still win. (The appropriate response: “Must be nice.”)

Can the Dodgers one-up themselves?

Several starting position players are getting the day off again as the Dodgers go for the sweep today — Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, Adrian Gonzalez and Mark Ellis. The scheduled starter, Volquez, has the sixth-highest career ERA at Coors Field (8.39) of any pitcher with at least seven starts at the ballpark. In three starts this season he’s allowed 21 runs, all earned, in 12 ⅔ innings at Coors. That’s made for a 14.92 ERA, the highest in a single season for any pitcher with at least three starts at the park.

Short of trading for Jeremy Guthrie and putting him on the mound — his 9.50 career ERA is the highest of any active starter at Coors — the Dodgers are doing their best to prove they can win with anybody in Denver.

Volquez has told reporters that he might have been tipping pitches recently. If that was indeed the problem and the magician has been revealing his secrets, pitching coach Rick Honeycutt‘s magic-bullet discovery would be enough to make Penn and Teller jealous.

A couple pregame notes:

• The Atlanta Braves lost to the New York Mets, temporarily moving the Dodgers 1 ½ games behind the Braves for the NL’s best record.

• As of last night, the Dodgers now lead the majors in average road attendance, drawing 2,392,116 in 67 dates for an average of 35,703. The Dodgers’ 45,696 average at home also leads MLB.

• The Arizona Diamondbacks’ game against the Toronto Blue Jays (click here for the live box score) will be over by the time the Dodgers take the field. Arizona is currently 13 ½ games out of first place. The Dodgers’ magic number to clinch the division is 12.

Here’s how the two teams will line up for the 5:40 p.m. game (televised locally on KCAL, Channel 9):
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Dodgers rest Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig, bat Michael Young fourth against Colorado Rockies.

Michael Young

Michael Young is 0 for 1 with one strikeout in his Dodgers career. (Associated Press)

Michael Young is batting cleanup in his first start for the Dodgers on a day off for both Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig in Denver.

Young, who was acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies for minor-league pitcher Rob Rasmussen ahead of the Sunday waiver trade deadline, struck out as a pinch-hitter in the Dodgers’ 10-8 win yesterday. He becomes the first player since Jeff Conine in 2003 to make his first start for his new team in the cleanup hole after being acquired on Aug. 31.

This is not new territory for Young. The 36-year-old from Covina has appeared in 99 games at third base this season (compared to 24 at first base) and went 3 for 10 in three games as a cleanup hitter with the Phillies this year. His .325 batting average and .375 on-base percentage in 99 career games as a cleanup hitter are his career highs.

Puig was removed midway through Monday’s win with a stiff left knee. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told reporters after the game that Puig would get the day off today, so that comes as no surprise. Somewhat of a surprise is the absence of Ramirez, who batted cleanup Monday and was the only member of the Dodgers’ starting lineup who didn’t get a hit.

One more pregame note: The Dodgers mentioned in their notes package that Matt Kemp is expected to travel to Camelback Ranch Glendale today to continue his rehab. Kemp has been out since July 24 with a sprained left ankle.

The full lineups for both teams:
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Dodgers 10, Rockies 8.

Yasiel Puig baserunning

Yasiel Puig (66) was called out for interfering with Colorado second baseman D.J. LeMahieu on this play in the first inning. (AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post)

Coors Field is a special place.

Visiting teams are best advised to check their formula for winning at the front gate and pick it up on the flight out of Denver. That also applies to the Colorado Rockies, who have tried every formula in the franchise-building book and have failed. Since Coors opened in 1995, the Rockies have missed the playoffs in 17 of 20 seasons.

There was no recognizable formula for the Dodgers’ win. Their hottest pitcher and position player, Clayton Kershaw and Yasiel Puig, were both on the field when Monday’s game began, but both were on the bench by the end of the Dodgers’ 10-8 win. Puig didn’t finish the game healthy and the major-league leader in innings pitched came nowhere close to finishing the game, getting yanked after five innings and 81 pitches. A series of mental errors, physical errors and pitching changes added up to a choppy game.
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Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers look to extend streaks against slumping Colorado Rockies.

The Dodgers will play the Colorado Rockies six times in their final 24 games this season, and their timing couldn’t be better.

The last time these two teams played on July 14, the Rockies were in third place, four games under .500 and two games behind the Dodgers for second place.

It might as well have been last season. The standings today have the two teams 17 games apart. The Dodgers are looking toward October and the Rockies are looking toward 2014.

Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw, meanwhile, is in the midst of a season that people will be talking about beyond even next season. He’s allowed seven earned runs since the All-Star break and driven in five. In terms of ERA, Coors Field is Kershaw’s second-worst pitching venue; it’s also among his favorite parks to bat in, putting him in line with nearly every pitcher who has stood on the mound and in the batter’s box in Denver.

No Michael Young in the starting lineup today. No Troy Tulowitzki for the Rockies; he’s getting a scheduled day off to rest his legs.

Here are both lineups for the 1 p.m. game:
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Daily Distractions: Outdoor hockey invades Dodger Stadium.

Stadium Series

Say hello to the “Stadium Series.”

That’s what the NHL is calling the first outdoor NHL game in Los Angeles, which today was formally announced and scheduled for Jan. 25, 2014 at Dodger Stadium (and reported here last month). What will you call it?

According to the league, it will be the first outdoor regular-season NHL game played in the U.S. west of the Mississippi River, the southern-most outdoor NHL game ever and the first ever in California.

Tickets aren’t available yet but it’s believed that Kings and Ducks season ticket holders will get first dibs, with details to be announced soon.

Onto the bullet points:
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