Daily Distractions: Starting pitching, the secret sauce in a series loss.

Jake  Peavy

Jake Peavy allowed only a solo home run in a complete-game win over the Dodgers on Sunday. (David Crane/Staff Photographer)

The Red Sox know they caught a break over the weekend, just like the Chicago Cubs know they will not in the coming days.

Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke never threw a pitch for the Dodgers against the Red Sox. That’s a huge reason why the Dodgers dropped a series for the first time in two months. The way the Dodgers’ aces have been pitching lately, avoiding Kershaw and Greinke is like playing the Chicago Bulls between 1990 and 1993 on a night when Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were both hurt. (That never happened, for the record.)

After the Red Sox won the final game of the series Sunday — the Dodgers’ first series loss in more than two months — manager John Farrell complimented the performance of his starting pitchers. Jake Peavy threw a complete game Sunday, John Lackey threw a complete game Friday in a loss, and Jon Lester won the middle game with 7 ⅓ strong innings.

“The credit to our team is that we’ve stayed consistent, and the only way you can stay consistent is starting pitching and those guys have done it,” Farrell said. “Those guys have done a really good job. Even when a guy has a bad outing, the next guy picks him up.”

If that were Mattingly talking about the Dodgers’ staff, no one would be surprised.

Farrell also knows that it’s a double-edged sword, that he dodged a bullet by missing Kershaw and Greinke. Greinke, who starts against the Cubs tonight, has the majors’ lowest ERA since the All-Star break (1.41). Kershaw has the lowest ERA overall this season (1.72).

“Those are two very good pitchers, in those two guys,” Farrell said. “It’s just how the schedule unfolded.”

Meanwhile, MLB.com asked Cubs manager Dale Sveum about seeing Greinke and Kershaw the next two nights. His response: “Why did you have to bring that up? Let’s talk about something else.”

OK. Let’s:
Continue reading “Daily Distractions: Starting pitching, the secret sauce in a series loss.” »

Dodgers catcher Tim Federowicz gets his chance to face former team.

Tim FederowiczThere was one former Red Sox player in the Dodgers clubhouse Monday who didn’t draw a crowd of reporters when he arrived at his locker stall.

That’s probably because Tim Federowicz never advanced past Double-A while he was a member of the Red Sox organization. The Dodgers’ catcher said he came close to getting called up in 2011, the year he was traded along with Stephen Fife and Juan Rodriguez in a three-way trade that sent Trayvon Robinson to Seattle.

“I think if there was somebody to get called up my last year there, it would’ve been me,” said Federowicz, who was drafted in the seventh round of the 2008 draft. “There were different times I can’t go into where it almost happened.”

Federowicz was five days from his 24th birthday when the trade happened. That’s a large reason he never broke through with the Red Sox, who didn’t give more than 50 plate appearances to a player 25 or older that season. (The only 24-year-old regular, outfielder Josh Reddick, was traded to Oakland after the season for a pair of older players.)

Boston’s current active roster features two position players 25 or younger, Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks (who climbed the minor-league ladder at the same time as Federowicz), plus pitchers Brayan Villareal and Drake Britton.

“It’s good,” Federowicz said. “I think it’s part of the reason for their success, getting guys who enjoy coming to the ballpark every day. It pushes the old guys.”

Federowicz will catch Ricky Nolasco for the fourth time in Nolasco’s last five starts. A.J. Ellis gets the day off after starting a day game after a night game in Miami on Thursday.

Dodgers infielder Nick Punto ♥ Boston.

Nick Punto

Nick Punto played 65 games with the Boston Red Sox last season before being traded to the Dodgers in August. (Getty Images)

Nick Punto was happy to find out he’d been traded from the Boston Red Sox to the Los Angeles Dodgers last season.

That’s about the worst thing you’ll hear him say about his former team.
Continue reading “Dodgers infielder Nick Punto ♥ Boston.” »

Daily Distractions: Vin Scully returns, dissecting the trade, real best songs of the millennium.

Vin Scully

Vin Scully is returning to the Dodgers’ broadcast booth in 2014. (photo by J.P. Hoornstra)

The Dodgers announced this morning that Vin Scully will return in 2014, calling all games in California and Arizona as he’s done the past two seasons. It will be Scully’s 65th season behind the mic, and he’ll talk more about it at 2:45 p.m. today. (Follow along on Twitter and Tout for live updates.)

Scully said in a statement released by the team this morning that, “other than being home with my family, there is no place else I’d rather be” than Dodger Stadium. Few would disagree that Scully still sounds right at home in the booth.

Consider this: When he began broadcasting Brooklyn Dodgers games in 1950, the team had yet to win a World Series. Three years later, at the age of 25, Scully became the youngest person to ever broadcast a World Series game.

The Dodgers would love to give him one more before the year’s over.

Some bullet points for a Remembrance of the Slave Trade Abolition Day:
Continue reading “Daily Distractions: Vin Scully returns, dissecting the trade, real best songs of the millennium.” »

Colletti: Dodgers targeted Gonzalez since April.

When Adrian Gonzalez hit the second pitch he saw in a Dodger uniform for a three-run home run Saturday, it culminated general manager Ned Colletti’s season-long pursuit of the Boston Red Sox first baseman.

“I talked to [Red Sox general manager] Ben Cherington back in April about Adrian,” Colletti said. “As the talks went on, they were sporadic. We talked about other players. At the [July 31 non-waiver trade] deadline, they weren’t prepared to do anything. The more scouts talk, you get a feel for where the match may be – you get a feel for what players in your system they would like. … You don’t get the crystal clear picture of it, but you get an idea where their interest lies. We just kept turning, kept turning. I stayed in touch with Ben through the month of August. He all of a sudden knew that we were in the market to pick up star players. We were also looking to add as much pitching as we could add.”

Colletti said that Gonzalez was a topic of daily discussion, internally and externally, every day for the last week.

The home run was nice, but the Dodgers will need to get a lot more out of Gonzalez if today’s trade is to pay off. He’s under contract through 2018 for a total of $128 million after this season. Gonzalez turns 36 during the final year of his contract.

Continue reading “Colletti: Dodgers targeted Gonzalez since April.” »