After a successful rehab start Saturday night in the minors, Clayton Kershaw will return to the mound Friday in Miami, his first start for the Dodgers since June 26. In the meantime, the Dodgers have gone 36-24.
When asked what he learned from the experience, Kershaw said, "I’ll never get hurt again."
Of course, no Dodgers fan will truly relax until after his start Friday and he wakes up Saturday feeling fine.
Let's assume for a moment that the Dodgers will make the playoffs by winning the division, so they avoid the one-game wild-card playoff. A big assumption, but just play along with me here.
Now let's assume they go with a four-man playoff rotation. How does this rotation look:
Kershaw, Kenta Maeda, Rich Hill, Julio Urias
or this one:
Kershaw, Maeda, Hill, Jose De Leon
That's a solid rotation. The big question being: Will the Dodgers want to stretch out Urias or De Leon by pitching them in the postseason? I'd feel a lot more comfortable with Urias or De Leon in the rotation than Bud Norris. Of course, there's the chance that Ross Stripling or Brock Stewart step up down the stretch too. And Scott Kazmir will be back before the playoffs, so if they decide not to pitch Urias or De Leon in the postseason, a healthy Kazmir would be the best bet to fill out the rotation. This is a very important thing to watch over the remainder of the season.
Urias vs. Kershaw
I get emails from some of you talking about how overhyped Julio Urias was and how he will never be more than a No. 3 starter. How soon we forget the first season of Kershaw. Let's compare Kershaw's first season with Urias'.
Kershaw (2008): 107.2 innings, 5-5, 4.26 ERA, 1.495 WHIP, 8.4 K/9, 98 ERA+ and a 4.08 FIP.
Urias (2016): 68.1 innings, 5-2, 3.69 ERA, 1.449 WHIP, 10.0 K/9, 106 ERA+ and a 3.15 FIP.
So, Urias is doing pretty well for himself and has better numbers than Kershaw did in his first season (though in fewer innings). If he improves at the rate Kershaw did, then he will throw about 10 no-hitters in 2024.
KTLA (Channel 5) will air Vin Scully's final six regular-season games, which means pretty much everyone will be able to listen to him as his final season comes to an end. The games will be: Sept. 23-25 vs. Colorado and Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at San Francisco. KTLA will also air the Vin Scully Appreciation Night ceremony before the game on Sept. 23.
Puig's back too!
Since returning to the majors, Yasiel Puig is 3 for 6 with a homer, three RBIs and three runs scored. Granted, it was against the Padres, whose pitchers seem to think throwing fastballs down the middle is a good pitching technique, but if Puig found his focus again, then the Dodgers offense just became a lot more formidable.
The rest of the schedule
HOME (10 games): Sept. 5-7 vs. Arizona, Sept. 19-21 vs. San Francisco, Sept. 22-25 vs. Colorado.
ROAD (16 games): Sept. 9-11 at Miami, Sept. 12-14 at New York Yankees, Sept. 15-18 at Arizona, Sept. 27-29 at San Diego, Sept 30-Oct. 2 at San Francisco.
How the players acquired at the trade deadline are doing:
Josh Reddick: .196 (18 for 92), 1 homer, 2 RBIs. In his last seven games, Reddick is hitting .364.
Rich Hill: 2-0, 0.00 ERA
Jesse Chavez: 1-0, 3.44 ERA in 15 games
Josh Fields: 1-0, 4.22 ERA in 12 games
And that other trade:
Carlos Ruiz: .250 (2 for 8, 0 RBIs) in 3 games
A.J. Ellis: .273 (3 for 11, 5 RBIs) in 3 games
The magic number
Each week I will look at a uniform number a Dodger is wearing and go through the history of that number with the Dodgers. When I was a kid and went to games, I was always curious who wore the number of my favorite players. Then again, I was a strange kid. For “best Dodgers to wear the number,” only the stats a player compiled while he was with the team and wearing that number count.
Next up is: No. 50 (Casey Fien)
Best Dodger to wear No. 50: Jay Howell (1988-92).
Others to wear No. 50: Don Elston (1957), Rod Miller (1957), Bob O'Brien (1971), Eddie Solomon (1973-74), Lerrin LaGrow (1979), Ron Roenicke (1981), Sid Fernandez (1983), Tony Brewer (1984), Brian Holton (1985), Jack Savage (1987), Steve Wilson (1993), Antonio Osuna (1995), Felix Rodriguez (1995), Mike Harkey (1997), Brad Clontz (1998), Will Brunson (1998), Pedro Borbon (1999), Onan Masaoka (2000), Chris Donnels (2000-01), Jolbert Cabrera (2002), Steve Colyer (2003), Duaner Sanchez (2004-05), Joel Guzman (2006), Eric Stults (2006-09), Jon Link (2010), Rubby De La Rosa (2011), Nathan Eovaldi (2011-12), Randy Choate (2012), Todd Coffey (2012).
What Vin Scully means to me
I asked you to tell me your best Vin Scully memory, and I got a lot of responses. I will publish selected ones in each newsletter. Keep emailing them to me.
Gary J. Saldutti: I spent days and nights two years ago pouring my heart out on paper trying to pare down a letter to Vin to just a few paragraphs in order to say, "Thanks." We all thought that year would be his last. What I received in return was an impersonal form letter stating the he simply receives too many letters and mine could not be delivered. I was so upset and bewildered that a true fan could be treated this way, but I had to be realistic and understand that our lives are full of disappointments just like that one.
Speaking of disappointments, you'd have to go back to the year 1976. The Dodgers were in a heated pennant race with The Big Red Machine. My friends and I were seated along the first row of field boxes just beyond the Dodger dugout. With the team trailing by a run in the ninth inning, they somehow loaded the bases with no outs. However, they eventually failed to score the tying run and lost.
I was so animated and distraught in my seat, hands on head, jumping up and down when I twirled around and looked up to Vinny's booth. Surprisingly, he was looking right at me as I shook my head. At that point, he held out his arms to the sides, shrugged his shoulders as if to say, "What are you gonna do?"
I needed to be consoled in a big way, and who better to accomplish that than Mr. Vin Scully himself? I'll always remember his uncanny way of connecting to fans through his voice, stories, and unbridled passion for the game we all share.
The TV situation
If you would like to complain about the Dodgers’ TV situation, you have three options: The Dodgers, Time Warner Cable and whatever local cable or satellite provider you have that doesn’t carry the Dodgers. Here’s whom to contact:
For the Dodgers, click here or call (866) DODGERS ( 363-4377). (I hope you like form letters.)
For Time Warner, click here.
For your local cable or satellite provider, consult your bill for the customer service number and for the website.
What others are saying
You've been reading me for two years now, so I think it would be fair and appropriate to see what others are saying about the Dodgers. This new section will provide you with links so you can get a wider perspective on things.
With Clayton Kershaw returning this week, what better time to revisit Vin Scully's best calls from Kershaw's no-hitter? Watch and listen to it here.