Last Friday, Yasiel Puig
sacrileged a century and a quarter of baseball tradition offered one man’s opinion by calling the St. Louis Cardinals the Dodgers’ biggest rivals. In case you missed my story,
“We just have to beat St. Louis,” Puig said in Spanish at a Dodgers community caravan stop at Los Angeles’ City Hall on Friday. “If we beat them, we can beat the AL team.
“The principal rivals are the Cardinals. It’s not San Francisco. It’s nobody else.”
That quote found its way to the Bay Area yesterday. Veteran Giants color analyst Mike Krukow, who pitched in San Francisco from 1983-89, responded to Puig’s quote on a local radio station and expressed his gratitude. Via CSNBayArea.com:
“He’s just young. He’s just young and dumb and he’s gonna say some stuff. As a group, I doubt if they are gonna be talking about it openly but they are gonna be thinking about it. They [the Giants players] don’t miss stuff like that … if there was any way to refocus a whole group with a World Series hangover, this is it. Thank you Yasiel Puig.”
And with that, Krukow — who’s a great analyst and highly respected among fans – became a much bigger a homer than he is on the air.
Clayton Kershaw delivered an MVP-caliber performance
Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw joins a group hug after beating the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday, 9-1. (Michael Owen Baker/Staff photographer)
in the Dodgers’ National League West-clinching victory. His line: 8 innings pitched, 8 hits, 1 run, 0 walks, 11 strikeouts. The full box score is here
Not to be a downer (part 1) but: Colleague Vincent Bonsignore writes that the Dodgers should have their sights set on bigger celebrations.
Not to be a downer (part 2) but: Chad Billingsley accepts that he might never pitch for the Dodgers again.
In case you missed it, the Dodgers can clinch the National League West by beating the Giants today.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, in his pregame remarks to the media (above), was careful in choosing his words. After all, the Dodgers’ haven’t clinched the division just yet.
“It’s a good situation, obviously, that we’ve put ourselves in,” he said. “Anytime Clayton’s pitching, you feel pretty good.”
Giants manager Bruce Bochy seems to have embraced the possibility of losing the division with a slightly firmer handshake.
“We know it could happen,” Bochy said. “If it does, I’m not going to get caught up in what they do.”
Last year, the Dodgers celebrated the NL West title by jumping in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ pool. This year, there’s no pool in sight: Just 24 cases of beer, 204 bottles of champagne and four cases of Martinelli’s sparkling cider — MLB doesn’t allow alcohol on the field — buried in the bowels of the stadium in case the Dodgers clinch.
In light of that, Mattingly had an interesting message to his players: Restrain yourselves.
“I know it’s a rivalry but in the situation, there’s a good chance if we’re able to do this tonight you want to stay humble because you have a chance of playing (the Giants) again,” Mattingly said. “They’re a championship team. They have a chance to move forward.”
The last time the Dodgers faced San Francisco Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner, it didn’t end well. They lost 9-0 on Sept. 12 in San Francisco. Bumgarner won his 18th game of the season that day; today he’ll try to make it 19.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly wouldn’t say why he flipped Yasiel Puig and Justin Turner in the batting order Tuesday. Puig led off the Sept. 12 game; Turner is leading off today with Puig batting second.
“Because I felt like it,” Mattingly said, smiling.
The manager was a little more loquacious when he talked about Bumgarner and what makes him successful:
Mattingly also compared Bumgarner to several other left-handed pitchers who have had varying degrees in the major and minor leagues:
Bumgarner has allowed one run in his last 18 innings against the Dodgers. His 2.36 career earned-run average is his third-lowest against any opponent he’s faced more than once.
The Dodgers’ complete lineup:
Live updates from Dodgers-Giants game, Tuesday, Sept. 23. The Dodgers’ magic number remains at 3 after a 5-2 extra-innings loss to the Giants on Monday.
CHICAGO >> The Dodgers are playing the San Francisco Giants tomorrow, in case you haven’t heard. It’s a three-game series and this is what the standings look like right now.
So, rivalry game in the final week of the season with first place in the division at stake. Perhaps not surprisingly, Don Mattingly didn’t have to explain this to the Dodger players.
Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw allowed seven hits and two runs while walking one batter and striking out nine in eight innings Sunday against the San Francisco Giants. (Associated Press photo)
Things you learn by talking to people after a game: The Dodgers’ win over the Giants today might have depended on overcoming a misunderstanding.
You can read about that here; the box score is here.
Joc Pederson didn’t get into the game. In fact, he wasn’t even the left-hander chosen to pinch hit for Clayton Kershaw in the ninth inning against right-hander Hunter Strickland — Andre Ethier was. Behind the scenes, he’s still adjusting to a new routine. You can read about that here.
SAN FRANCISCO >> After the Giants scored all nine runs Friday, and the Dodgers scored all 17 runs Saturday, the two teams will be hard-pressed to put up a crooked number in Sunday’s series finale.
Clayton Kershaw is starting for the Dodgers. He’s had the efficiency of a robot all season. Here are a few numbers that make it hard to believe he will allow a run today:
Dee Gordon stole his 60th base of the season in the Dodgers’ 17-0 win over the San Francisco Giants on Saturday. (Associated Press photo)
I managed to refer to the Herbert Hoover administration in today’s game story
. The box score
, which shows the Dodgers going 11 for 19 with runners in scoring position, is all kinds of ridiculous.
Hyun-Jin Ryu is getting an MRI on his left shoulder Monday in Los Angeles and Carlos Frias will take his spot in the rotation if he can’t pitch Wednesday. Read more about Ryu and Frias in today’s notebook.