The Dodgers are 20-10, but the impostor who is wearing Clayton Kershaw’s uniform is 1-2 with a 4.26 ERA. He is giving up more than a hit an inning and does not look like a three-time Cy Young Award winner. Maybe Kershaw is trying something new this year, and is going to be mediocre during the regular season and outstanding during the playoffs, instead of the other way around. He gave up five runs in 5 2/3 innings against Colorado on Sunday. "It's tough to analyze, I guess," Kershaw said after the game. "You just see five runs on the board, so obviously not a good start." Manager Don Mattingly isn’t too concerned yet: "I don't think anything's any different with Clayton. Some years it doesn't go that way, the way you want it to early on. There will be a point where it turns, and then it'll be what it's always been."
More on Kershaw
Last season, in 27 starts, he gave up 42 runs. This season, in seven starts, he has given up 24. He gave up nine homers last season; he has given up five this season. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to give up on the guy. But these are some troublesome numbers. Because in the back of my mind, I remember what happened to Tim Lincecum.
The 20 greatest Dodgers
I’ve been asking readers of this newsletter and readers of our website to vote for the 10 greatest Dodgers of all time. Voting is now closed, and we received more than 14,000 ballots. Because of the overwhelming response, I will be expanding the list to the top 20 vote getters. Starting today, I will count down the top 20, one per weekday, until we get to your No. 1 selection. You can follow the countdown at this link, starting with No. 20: Kirk Gibson.
Kenley Jansen is 0-1 with a 6.23 ERA in five games with Class A Rancho Cucamonga as he continues to build arm strength while trying to return from foot surgery. However, Yasiel Puig, trying to come back from a sore left hamstring, had to leave Friday’s game for Rancho after “feeling something” in the leg while running the bases. Mattingly ruled out a Monday return for Puig, who has been on the disabled list since April 25. Puig was one for seven with a home run in two games with the Quakes.
Who goes there?
When Jansen returns, which could be as soon as the end of this week, the Dodgers will have to decide who to cut among their eight relievers to make room for him. Going by the numbers, you’d have to pick Chris Hatcher, who has been horrible this season. But Hatcher can’t be sent to the minors without his permission. Will the Dodgers do the right thing and get rid of their worst reliever, or do the easy thing and send someone like Sergio Santos down, even though he has pitched better than Hatcher? Or will some reliever come down with a convenient injury? This decision will give us some insight into the thought process of the new Dodgers front office.
Down on the farm
Corey Seager was promoted to triple-A Oklahoma City last week after starting the season in double-A Tulsa, where he hit .375 with five homers in 20 games. At Oklahoma City, he is hitting .233 in 30 at-bats, with no homers. Don’t worry though, he will adjust. He is only 21, and the average age of a triple-A player is 26. Julio Urias is 1-2 with a 2.48 ERA at Tulsa. He has given up only 21 hits and struck out 39 in 32.2 innings. He also has walked only five, incredible for an 18-year-old pitcher.
The Jimmy Rollins “hit your weight” game
Through Sunday’s game, Rollins is hitting .171. He weighs 175 pounds. He better go on a diet.
This week in Dodgers history
May 12, 2004: In one of the most memorable at-bats in Dodgers history, Alex Cora fouls off 14 consecutive pitches and then hits a home run off of the Cubs’ Matt Clement over the right-field fence for a two-run home run. The Dodger Stadium crowd cheered each foul ball as the total started to be displayed on the scoreboard. It really is an incredible at-bat, especially when the crowd starts getting into it, and with Vin Scully’s great call. You can watch the whole thing here.
May 13, 1947: Fans in Cincinnati taunt Dodgers first baseman Jackie Robinson with racial slurs during infield warm-ups at the Dodgers-Reds game. Shortstop Pee Wee Reese, a Southerner from Kentucky with friends attending the game, walks over to Robinson and puts his arm around him while talking to him, a gesture that silences the crowd.
May 14, 1981: Rookie Fernando Valenzuela improves his record to 8-0, getting the victory when Pedro Guerrero hits a lead-off walk-off homer against Montreal pitcher Steve Ratzer in the bottom of the ninth at Dodger Stadium.
May 15, 1998: The Dodgers trade catcher Mike Piazza and third baseman Todd Zeile to the Florida Marlins for Gary Sheffield, Bobby Bonilla, Charles Johnson, Jim Eisenreich and Manuel Barrios.
The Dodgers are 20-10. Since moving to Los Angeles, they have started 20-10 or better seven times. They made the playoffs all seven times, advancing to the World Series four times and winning two of them.