Max Scherzer’s dominance leaves Padres envious as Dodgers complete the sweep
Highlights from the Dodgers’ 4-0 victory over the San Diego Padres on Thursday.
SAN DIEGO — In the hours leading up to the July 30 trade deadline, the San Diego Padres envisioned Max Scherzer delivering the type of dominant outing he delivered Thursday at Petco Park. The right-hander tossed 7 2/3 scoreless innings in front of a buzzing sellout crowd. He scowled and he prowled and he overwhelmed hitters.
The Padres just imagined him logging those performances in their uniform, not for the club they’ve so desperately wanted to overtake. But the Dodgers, not the Padres, acquired Scherzer that day, swooping in to steal the biggest pitching prize along with Trea Turner. And on Thursday, Scherzer shut down the plunging Padres to complete the Dodgers’ three-game series sweep with a 4-0 win.
Scherzer recorded 10 strikeouts to one walk and 104 pitches in his fifth start as a Dodger and first start at Petco Park since he gave up seven runs over 3 2/3 innings as a member of the Washington Nationals on July 8. The 37-year-old right-hander, who’s given up five runs in 29 innings with the Dodgers, lowered his earned-run average to 2.51.
The Dodgers-Padres series was one home run-robbing catch after another
The Dodgers swept the Padres, holding their NL West rivals to five runs in three games and dominating virtually every category—but one.
Home run-saving catches.
After AJ Pollock, fighting off three fans, pulled back Manny Machado’s towering fly to left field in Tuesday’s opener, the Padres had the next two, debatably three, over/nearly-over-the-fence catches.
Here’s a video rundown of the four catches, in chronological order:
Dodgers defeat Padres 4-0 to sweep the three-game series
Dodgers: Padres center fielder Trent Grisham made a leaping catch at the wall to prevent a would-be home run by AJ Pollock to lead off the ninth, much to the relief of Padres reliever Shaun Anderson. Although the catch might not have been as spectacular as the one Pollock made on Tuesday, it was mighty impressive.
Cody Bellinger lined out to Grisham and Billy McKinney grounded out to send the game into the bottom of the ninth and into the hands of reliever Joe Kelly.
Padres: Fernando Tatis Jr. and Jake Cronenworth each grounded out to start the frame before Manny Machado beat out an off-balanced throw from Justin Turner on a chopper to third. Machado then took second base before Kelly caught Tommy Pham looking for the Dodgers’ 14th shutout of the season.
Max Scherzer caps off dominant night with 10th strikeout in the eighth
Dodgers: Mookie Betts drew a two-out walk, but that was the only blip on Craig Stammen’s night so far, with the Padres reliever getting Justin Turner to fly out to right to cap the frame.
Padres: Max Scherzer gave the Dodgers exactly what they needed coming off a 16-inning game — a long and dominant performance. Scherzer went 7 2/3 innings, allowing two hits and striking out 10. He got Ha-Seong Kim to pop out before striking out Victor Caratini to end his night.
Shane Greene, who earned the save in a 5-3 win over the Padres early Thursday morning, relieved Scherzer and got Eric Hosmer to fly out to Corey Seager.
End of eighth: Dodgers 4, Padres 0
Dodgers hold onto to a 4-0 lead heading into the eighth
Dodgers: Padres reliever Craig Stammen took over for Yu Darvish and retired the Dodgers in order.
Padres: It’s another 1-2-3 inning for Max Scherzer, who has allowed only two hits and struck out nine over seven innings. His pitch count stands at 92 heading into the eighth.
End of seventh: Dodgers 4, Padres 0
Max Scherzer continues to look strong through six innings for Dodgers
Dodgers: AJ Pollock hit a two-out single off Yu Darvish, but he went nowhere after Padres second baseman Ha-Seong Kim scooped up a grounder by Cody Bellinger and shoveled the ball directly from his glove to first baseman Jurickson Profar for the out.
Padres: Max Scherzer issued his first walk of the game to Jake Cronenworth with two outs, but managed to get Manny Machado to ground out to short to end the inning. Scherzer stands at 84 pitches.
End of sixth: Dodgers 4, Padres 0
Double play helps Max Scherzer and Dodgers in the fifth
Dodgers: Yu Darvish struck out Max Scherzer and Trea Turner before Corey Seager grounded out to second in a 1-2-3 frame.
Padres: Trent Grisham led off with a double to left field off Scherzer, who then hit Jurickson Profar with a pitch.
Scherzer then picked up his ninth strikeout of the game against Ha-Seong Kim before Victor Caratini grounded out in a 5-4-3 double play to defuse the Padres scoring chance.
End of fifth: Dodgers 4, Padres 0
Dodgers extend their lead over Padres in the fourth inning
Dodgers: Cody Bellinger drove in AJ Pollock on a sacrifice fly to right field to give the Dodgers a 4-0 lead over the San Diego Padres in the fourth inning.
Pollock led off with a standup triple after his flare to center off Yu Darvish that was misjudged by a diving Trent Grisham. With the ball rolling to the wall as Grisham picked himself up, Pollock had plenty of time to reach third.
Padres: Jake Cronenworth grounded out, Manny Machado struck out and Tommy Pham was called out on strikes as Dodgers starter Max Scherzer raised his strikeout total to eight.
End of fourth: Dodgers 4, Padres 0
Austin Barnes homers to give Dodgers 3-0 lead in the third
Dodgers: Austin Barnes hit a two-run home run and Corey Seager hit a run-scoring double off Padres starter Yu Darvish to give the Dodgers a 3-0 lead in the third inning.
Barnes’ blast to left-center, his fifth homer of the season, drove in Billy McKinney, who led off the inning with a walk.
After Max Scherzer grounded out, Trea Turner slapped a quick bouncer to the left-field wall for a double. Seager then drove him in on a fast hit that bounced off the wall in front of right fielder Fernando Tatis Jr.
Darvish struck out Mookie Betts and Justin Turner popped out to leave Seager on second.
Padres: Victor Caratini hit a one-out double down the right-field line after a diving Billy McKinney just missed out on a diving stop. Max Scherzer then struck out Darvish and Tatis Jr. for his fifth and sixth strikeouts.
End of third: Dodgers 3, Padres 0
Dodgers and Padres scoreless after two innings
Dodgers: Padres starter Yu Darvish got his glove up quick enough to block a comebacker off the bat of Justin Turner and force him out at first. AJ Pollock and Cody Bellinger followed with groundouts to cap the top half of the inning.
Padres: Max Scherzer retired the Padres in order again, with Tommy Pham and Trent Grisham grounding out and Jurickson Profar popping out to Mookie Betts.
End of second: Dodgers 0, Padres 0
Max Scherzer strikes out the side in scoreless first inning
Dodgers: Trea Turner popped out to center, Corey Seager grounded out to first and Mookie Betts, in his first at-bat since August 7, flied out to left-center field.
Padres starter Yu Darvish, the former Dodger, retired the Dodgers in order on 14 pitches.
Padres: Max Scherzer struck out Fernando Tatis Jr., Jake Cronenworth and Manny Machado as he chases his fourth win in a Dodgers uniform.
End of first: Dodgers 0, Padres 0
Dodgers activate Mookie Betts, option Gavin Lux and Matt Beaty
SAN DIEGO — The Dodgers optioned Gavin Lux and Matt Beaty to triple-A Oklahoma City on Thursday to make room on the roster for Mookie Betts and Darien Núñez ahead of their series finale against the Padres.
Betts will start in right field and bat third in his first game after a second stint on the injured list with a right hip injury. Núñez, a left-handed reliever, was recalled to give the bullpen a fresh arm after all nine relievers were used in the Dodgers’ 16-inning win Thursday morning.
The reinforcements required discarding Lux and Beaty, two left-handed batters who figured prominently in the club’s plans entering the season but saw their playing time vanish recently.
Once the organization’s top prospect and the 2019 Baseball America minor league player of the year, Lux has not fulfilled the high expectations.
A frustrated Clayton Kershaw hopes to make his return to the mound soon, but there are several ways he could best help the Dodgers.
The 23-year-old infielder has a .217 batting average and .647 OPS in 472 career plate appearances. The lack of production — in addition to his sporadic defensive troubles — compelled the Dodgers to acquire Trea Turner to play second base at the trade deadline and likely replace Corey Seager at shortstop next season if Seager departs via free agency.
Lux started just one game since coming off the injured list with a strained left hamstring. He was the last position player the Dodgers used in Wednesday’s win, pinch-hitting in the 16th inning after midnight. He was 0 for 8 since his return from the injured list.
Beaty had seemingly been surpassed by Billy McKinney — another left-handed batter — on the depth chart. He also had options left while McKinney doesn’t. Beaty, 28, is batting .262 with five home runs and a .732 OPS in 105 games this season. He started just two of the Dodgers’ 21 games in August.
Núñez, 28, has been charged with eight runs (seven earned) in 7 2/3 innings over six games for the Dodgers this season. He’s the third left-hander in the Dodgers’ bullpen, joining Alex Vesia and Justin Bruihl.
Betts and Turner are in the lineup together for just the second time since Turner was acquired. Both times Turner has batted leadoff and Betts, the Dodgers’ leadoff hitter since the beginning of last season, batted third.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Turner will remain the club’s leadoff hitter for the remainder of the season. He cited Betts’ hip injury — and its effect on his running ability — as reason to move him down in the order. He said the team cannot expect Betts to be as dynamic as he usually is.
Roberts said Betts will not play more than three days in a row in the regular season to curtail his workload ahead of the playoffs.
Max Muncy will bat second between Turner and Betts, but he isn’t in the lineup Thursday. Roberts said he is dealing with minor back tightness but should be in the lineup Friday against the Colorado Rockies. McKinney will make his first start at first base for the Dodgers in Muncy’s place.
Trea Turner 2B
Corey Seager SS
Mookie Betts RF
Justin Turner 3B
AJ Pollock LF
Cody Bellinger CF
Billy McKinney 1B
Austin Barnes C
Max Scherzer P
Fernando Tatis Jr. RF
Jake Cronenworth SS
Manny Machado 3B
Tommy Pham LF
Trent Grisham CF
Jurickson Profar 1B
Ha-Seong Kim 2B
Victor Caratini C
Yu Darvish P
What does October hold for Clayton Kershaw?
Clayton Kershaw stood in front of the Dodgers dugout Wednesday afternoon, enduring one of his least favorite parts of the job. This was a big series, with the big dogs on the mound, and Kershaw had to talk about an injury.
He has not pitched in eight weeks. His return appears to be another few weeks away, and even that timetable is etched in hope. He threw a bullpen session Tuesday, but he swatted away a question about whether the session was encouraging.
“Encouraging, not encouraging? It’s all discouraging right now, because I’m not pitching,” Kershaw said.
ICYMI: Tuesday night’s hero is Thursday morning’s hero: It’s the AJ Pollock Show
SAN DIEGO — The game that wouldn’t end, the kind Major League Baseball tried to make obsolete, finally ceased at 12:59 a.m. Thursday, five hours and 49 minutes after the first pitch was thrown at Petco Park.
It ended in a 5-3 win for the Dodgers over the San Diego Padres because AJ Pollock crushed a two-run home run in the 16th inning off left-hander Daniel Camarana, the last pitcher the Padres had available.
It ended after an entertaining pitchers’ duel between the starters, a game-tying home run in the eighth inning, a series of baserunning blunders, an intentional balk, a go-ahead pinch-hit single in the top of the 15th inning, a game-tying home run in the bottom of the 15th inning that bounced off the top of the wall, 13 combined intentional walks, 19 combined pitchers and 489 pitches.
The Dodgers (80-47) intentionally walked the bases loaded twice and escaped both times. The Padres, left without position players on the bench by the 10th inning, deployed two pitchers that were used as pinch-hitters. The Dodgers used 23 players; the Padres 24.
Betting lines and odds for Dodgers vs. Padres on Thursday
After surviving a 16-inning marathon with a 5-3 win that ended at 1 a.m. PDT, the Dodgers go for a three-game sweep of the Padres at 6:10 p.m. in San Diego.
Las Vegas oddsmakers opened the Dodgers around -145 favorites yesterday afternoon, but early money has come in on the Padres to avoid the sweep as the Dodgers were down to -130 as of 10 a.m.
Max Scherzer (11-4, 2.65 ERA, 0.91 WHIP) takes the mound for the Dodgers against Yu Darvish (7-7, 3.70 ERA, 1.03 WHIP) for the Padres as both teams need a long outing from their starters since the Dodgers used nine relief pitchers last night while the Padres used eight.
The season series is knotted at 6-6, though another thing working in the Dodgers’ favor is the expected return of Mookie Betts to the lineup.
With the strong pitching matchup, oddsmakers have set the Over/Under at 7.5 runs, though they’re shading it to the Over at -115 instead of the standard -110. The Over is 6-5-1 in the season series, though it should be noted that it probably should be even at 6-6 as last night’s game was a stone-cold Under as it was 1-1 after nine innings and stayed that way until the 15th inning before both teams scored 2 runs in that inning and the Dodgers finally pulled out the 5-3 victory in the 16th (longest game since MLB went to the “runner on 2nd base” rule in extra innings).
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AJ Pollock, last night’s hero, hits two-run homer to give Dodgers 5-3 win
Dodgers: Camarena still in the game for the Padres. With J. Turner on second, Pollock smokes a homer to dead center to give the Dodgers another two-run lead, 5-3.
Seager grounds to short. Taylor goes gap with a double to left center. Bellinger flies to left. Gavin Lux, the game’s last available position player, hits a loud out to the wall in right. 5-3 Dodgers.
Padres: Shane Greene on in an attempt to close out what Knebel could not. Cronenworth is the ghost runner. Hosmer strikes out swinging. Pham strikes out swinging. Frazier grounds to short.
And. It. Is. Officially. Over.
Dodgers first team to go five extra innings without scoring—Padres are second
Dodgers: Shaun Anderson on in relief for the Padres. With Muncy on second, J. Turner strikes out looking. Pollock grounds out to third. Seager is intentionally walked. Taylor strikes out check-swinging.
Padres: Graterol still in the game for the Dodgers, becoming first reliever in game to go beyond one inning (see above). Cronenworth on second, advances to third on first-pitch groundout by Hosmer. Pham grounds to Graterol, who forces Cronenworth into rundown. Turner tags Cronenworth out; Pham advances to second. Frazier is intentionally walked. (It’s now officially Thursday)
Caratini, who came off the bench yesterday, makes the third out for his third straight at-bat, flying to left.
On to 15!
Dodgers first team to go four extra innings without scoring—Padres are second
Dodgers: Nabil Crismatt on in relief for the Padres. With ghost runner Smith at second, Bellinger singles to right to put runners at the corners. Matt Beaty, pinch-hitting for the pitcher, smashes a liner that’s snagged by Hosmer. Bellinger does a nice job to get back to first. One out.
T. Turner grounds to Crismatt, who forces Smith into a rundown. Smith stays in rundown long enough to allow Bellinger and Turner to advance to second and third. Two outs. Muncy strikes out.
According to Joe Davis, the Dodgers are the first team in the Ghost Runner Era to go four extra innings without scoring a run.
Padres: Brusdar Graterol on in relief for the Dodgers. With Caratini ghost running, Grisham advances him to third with a groundout to second. Tatis Jr., who strikes out swinging. For the second time, Roberts orders Machado and Cronenworth to be intentionally walked, bringing up another pinch-hitting pitcher, in this case Ryan Weathers, who is 4-for-24 with a homer and gives off the optics of a hitter. Weathers grounds to Graterol, who makes a nice snag, then entertainingly flips to home to force Caratini.
For third straight extra inning, Dodgers can’t get run home; neither can Padres
Dodgers: Austin Adams—he of the 88% slider rate and 17 hit batsmen in 44 innings—on for the Padres. Muncy, ghost running at second, advances to third on a wild pitch. J. Turner hits a popup in foul territory, but second baseman Frazier drops it, keeping at-bat alive. (Umps reviewing whether ball was foul—it was.) Turner walks on full count.
Pollock hits a hard one-hopper to third, which is snagged by Machado, who catches Muncy off third. Now runners on first and second with one out. Seager strikes out swinging. Taylor walks on a full count to load the bases. Smith, up 3-0 in the count, flies out to left center on a 3-2 count. Dodgers now 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
Padres: Justin Bruihl in for the Dodgers. Cronenworth ghost running at second. Hosmer flies out to center, Cronenworth holds at second. Pham is intentionally walked. Frazier flies out to left. Caratini grounds to third.
Padres match Dodgers’ futility with RISP; to the 12th
Dodgers: Tim Hill, the 2020s’ version of “Everyday” Eddie Guardado, on for the Padres. With ghost runner Smith on second, Bellinger strikes out swinging. Pinch hitter Austin Barnes grounds out to third. T. Turner walked intentionally to face the lefty Muncy, who flies to center.
Padres: Phil Bickford on for Dodgers. With ghost runner Caratini on second, Grisham pops up bunt to J. Turner on first pitch. Tatis Jr. strikes out swinging on fastball down the middle.
Machado and Cronenworth both walked intentionally to load the bases. Pitcher Joe Musgrove, pinch-hitting for pitcher Hill, strikes out looking.
On to 12.
Dodgers, and Padres, can’t get runner home from third; to the 11th
Dodgers: Losers of 12 of their first 13 extra-inning games, the Dodgers have won their last two OT games. Craig Stammen on for the Padres. Seager grounds to second, moving ghost runner Pollock to third. Taylor pops out to short right; Pollock holds at third. Smith hits hard ground ball up the middle, but Frazier is positioned perfectly. Still 1-1.
Padres: Alex Vesia on for the Dodgers. Hosmer grounds to second, moving ghost runner, and pinch runner, Ha-Seong Kim to third. Pinch-hitter Tommy Pham is walked intentionally. Frazier pops up to short for the second out. Pinch hitter Victor Caratini, the last position player available for the Padres, strikes out looking.
Kenley Jansen holds Padres scoreless in ninth; on to extras
Dodgers: Padres closer Mark Melancon on in relief. T. Turner strikes out on three pitches. Muncy grounds out to second. J. Turner singles up the middle. Pollock flies out to left. Kenley Jansen coming out for bottom of ninth.
Padres: Machado pops out to left on first pitch. Cronenworth hits a cutter-induced fister to Muncy. Nola strikes looking. 13-pitch 1-2-3 for Jansen.
This time Snell stays in, and it still doesn’t work—Will Smith goes yard. 1-1
Dodgers: Padres roll the dice and leave Snell out for the start of the eighth. Taylor strikes out, but on Snell’s 116th pitch, a high fastball, Smith turns on it and deposits it in the left field seats. 1-1.
Snell remains in the game and strikes out Bellinger on his 122nd pitch, but after Albert Pujols is announced as a pinch-hitter, Jayce Tingler comes out to relieve his starter. Daniel Hudson on the mound to face Pujols, who strikes out.
Padres: Blake Treinen on for the Dodgers. Pinch-hitter Jurickson Profar, who homered last night, pops to second. Grisham pops up to J. Turner in short centerfield (shift). Tatis Jr. pops out to left.
Blake Snell can’t stop rolling; Buehler replaced by Joe Kelly
Dodgers: Snell still in the game. J. Turner turns on a 1-2 pitch but flies to Grisham just short of the track in center. Pollock and Seager strike out looking. For only the fourth time since the start of the 2019 season, per Dodgers broadcasters, Snell has pitched through the seventh inning.
Padres: Davis and Hershiser make the point this could be the pitching matchup in an NL play-in game. Nola flies to left. Hosmer strikes out on a curve in the dirt. Myers walks on a full count, Buehler’s first.
And that’s it for Buehler (6.2, one run—unearned—three hits, one walk, eight K’s, 106 pitches). Joe Kelly coming into the game. Frazier pops out to second.
Snell pitches though sixth for first time in four starts against L.A. in ‘21 (still 1-0)
Dodgers: Bellinger singles to center and advances to second on Buehler’s sacrifice bunt. T. Turner pops up a hanging slider to third. Muncy, hitting .398 with runners in scoring position this year (h/t Dodgers broadcast), pops to center. For the first time in four starts against the Dodgers this season, Snell pitches through the sixth.
Snell through six: one hit, two hits, six strikeouts, 92 pitches
Padres: Tatis Jr. strikes out swinging. Machado lines out to left. Cronenworth flies out to right.
Buehler through six: one run (unearned), three hits, seven strikeouts, 89 pitches.
Snell and Buehler trade another scoreless inning; 1-0 Padres through five
Dodgers: Seager, burglarized by Myers in his previous bat-bat, flies out more routinely to the San Diego leftfielder this time around. Taylor and Smith strike out swinging. Snell continues to do his best October 28, 2020 impress. No runs, one hit and base runner, six K’s through five.
Padres: Buehler, whose surrendered run is unearned, continues to counter Snell’s excellence. Myers strikes out. Frazier slips a single into left center. Snell sacrifices Frazier to second. Frazier advances to third on a wild pitch. Grisham grounds to short. No earned runs, three hits, six K’s through five.
Justin Turner gets Dodgers first hit; Padres still lead 1-0 through four
Dodgers: T. Turner grounds to short. Muncy smokes one to the 396-foot sign in center, but Grisham pulls it in for the second out. J. Turner grounds a single to left to end Snell’s perfect run. Pollock grounds out to short. Snell through four innings: zero earned runs, one hit, four K’s, 59 pitches.
Padres: Cronenworth pops out into the shift. Turner makes a nice play on a slow roller to retire Nola. Hosmer strikes out. Buehler through four: zero earned runs, two hits, five K’s, 63 pitches.
Blake Snell working his old magic, perfect through three innings
Dodgers: Will Smith struck out looking. Cody Bellinger flied out to center. Buehler struck out looking. Snell, like Julio Urías last night, perfect through three.
Padres: Snell strikes out looking. Grisham singles to right. Tatis Jr. strikes out looking. Machado strikes out.
Wil Myers steals a run, drives one in; Padres lead 1-0
Dodgers: AJ Pollock strikes out. Corey Seager gets Pollocked, as Padres leftfielder Wil Myers, unchallenged by spectators, pulls back a Seager fly ball that cleared the leftfield fence. Chris Taylor flied out to center.
Padres: Jake Cronenworth reaches second on a throwing error by T. Turner. Austin Nola grounds out to third. Eric Hosmer grounds out to second, advancing Cronenworth to third. Myers reaches on an infield single to score Cronenworth. Adam Frazier strikes out. Padres 1-0.
* Blake Snell fact that may only interest me: According to baseball-reference.com’s Similarity Score, the pitcher to whom Blake Snell is most similar? Dodgers pitching coach Mark Prior
Underway in San Diego; Giants hold off Mets to go three up again
At first pitch, the Dodgers find themselves where they were last night at first pitch: three games behind the Giants, who in the last five minutes finished off the Mets for the second straight night. Down 3-2, the Mets loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth off Giants closer Jake McGee, but Pete Alonso popped out to second to end it.
As hot as the Dodgers have been the last 2 1/2 weeks (14-2 since August 7), San Francisco has been similarly tough, going 12-3 during that same period.
Dodgers: Trea Turner strikes out swinging. Max Muncy rolls out to second. Justin Turner fouled to first.
Padres: Buehler, coming off his longest start of the season, tags out Trent Grisham for the first out. Fernando Tatis Jr. grounds to second. Manny Machado grounds out to short.
Blake Snell, tonight’s San Diego starter, at a glance
Blake Snell, acquired in an offseason trade with Tampa Bay, was one of the many reasons plenty of media outlets (including this one, see below) was hyping the Dawn of the Padres Era.
The Padres have long lived in the shadow of the Dodgers. But this season, the city of San Diego is convinced it will be a season to remember.
Dodgers fans, of course, best remember Snell for his involuntary early exit from Game 6 of the 2020 World Series, when the then-Ray dominated the Dodgers for 5 2/3 innings. Adhering to a season-long strategy, his manager, Kevin Cash, pulled him as the Dodgers prepared to go through the order for the third time.
For the Padres, the 2018 Al Cy Young Award winner has been a disappointment, barely above replacement. He has, however, been much better at home (4-2, 2.68 ERA, .175/.268/.304) than on the road (2-3, 7.01 ERA, .301/.421/.531).
This is Snell’s fourth start against the Dodgers. In his previous three, he has pitched no fewer than five innings, but never pitched through the sixth, not allowing more than two runs in any of those outings. In his last start against L.A., on June 22, he pitched five shutout innings to get the win.
Mookie Betts on track for activation Thursday against Padres
SAN DIEGO — Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Mookie Betts is on track to be activated for Thursday’s series finale against the Padres.
Betts has been on the injured list since Aug. 11 with a bone spur in his right hip. The right fielder received a cortisone injection — his second in a month — to remedy the pain. Last week, he said is confident he can remain healthy and on the field for the remainder of the season after two stints on the injured list since the All-Star break.
Clayton Kershaw played catch Wednesday at Petco Park after throwing a 20-pitch bullpen session Tuesday. Roberts said Kershaw, on the injured list since July 7 with forearm inflammation, bounced back from the bullpen sessions without an issue. He is scheduled to log another bullpen session Friday. He’ll throw breaking balls after only throwing fastballs Tuesday.
The Dodgers have managed to win 10 of 11 games without the two stars and seek to beat the Padres for the second straight night Wednesday. They begin the night 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Giants in the National League West with 36 games remaining.
The third-place Padres are 14 games behind the Giants and one game behind the Reds for the second Wild Card spot.
Trea Turner 2B
Max Muncy 1B
Justin Turner 3B
AJ Pollock LF
Corey Seager SS
Chris Taylor RF
Will Smith C
Cody Bellinger CF
Walker Buehler RHP
Trent Grisham CF
Fernando Tatis Jr. RF
Manny Machado 3B
Jake Cronenworth SS
Austin Nola C
Eric Hosmer 1B
Wil Myers LF
Adam Frazier 2B
Blake Snell LHP
Vin Scully releasing three NFTs commemorating Dodgers titles, his career
Recently, Amani Martin found himself explaining NFTs to — of all people — Vin Scully.
Martin, the manager of Vin Scully Digital, already helps run Twitter and Instagram accounts for the 93-year old broadcasting icon. NFTs, though, are another level of digital savvy. Scully had no idea what they were.
For those who might not know, NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are best explained as a digital collectible. The difference between an NFT and a physical collectible such as a baseball card is that, using blockchain technology, users can verify the authenticity and rarity of an NFT. In essence, that’s the analogy Martin used.
“Amani explained they were digital collectibles, like a computerized version of a physical trading card, and that each was unique,” Scully said in an email. “He likened it to the deed I have for my house where it’s recorded on a ledger as proof of ownership.”
L.A.'s other World Series powerhouse plays today at 2 PT
Watch L.A. Times Today at 7 p.m. on Spectrum News 1 on Channel 1 or live stream on the Spectrum News App. Palos Verdes Peninsula and Orange County viewers can watch on Cox Systems on channel 99.
The Dodgers, winners of 14 of their last 16 (and somehow still 2 1/2 games behind the Giants), are not the only L.A. baseball team on a tear. Torrance, the first Los Angeles County team to reach the Little League World Series since 1994, plays South Dakota today at 2 p.m. PT on ESPN. Ace Times staffer Jack Harris has been covering Torrance since they arrived in Williamsport, Pa. last week. You can also see Jack interviewed about Torrance in the video above.
This story on the happy isolation of a group of 10- to 12-year-olds is really worth your time:
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Two weeks ago, the families of Torrance Little League’s 14-player All-Star team met at their home field, loaded each kid and three coaches onto a charter bus, then watched as it pulled away.
They haven’t had any in-person interaction with their boys since. And if all goes well in the team’s appearance at the Little League Baseball World Series, it’ll be at least another week until they get together again.
“It’s been harder, because we can’t see our parents or talk to them or do anything with them,” said outfielder and catcher Andrew Nuruki. “But it’s been more fun because we get to be with our teammates all the time.”
Though the Little League Baseball World Series has returned after last year’s cancelation in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, not all social distancing precautions have gone away.
Instead, since the start of their West Region championship earlier this month, Torrance’s players and coaches have been sequestered in a bubble — a rule implemented by Little League organizers this year in hopes of keeping the resurgent virus at bay.
ICYMI: AJ Pollock steals the show in Julio Urías’s victorious return
SAN DIEGO — One contingent of fans at Petco Park, the faction wearing brown and yellow, cheered wildly once Manny Machado cracked the curveball in the fourth inning Tuesday night. The San Diego Padres, down a run, still were seeking their first hit off Julio Urías. Machado’s blast, everyone in the stadium assumed, would give them not only a hit but also a lead over the Dodgers.
AJ Pollock’s job was to not assume. The Dodgers left fielder saw a chance. He retreated to the ad-cluttered wall, leaped, stuck his black glove between three panicky fans’ outstretched hands, and caught the baseball. Once the masses saw that he came down with the robbery, the other group of spectators, the visitors in blue, erupted. Urías held up his arms, pointing to Pollock, in a gleeful shock. Center field Cody Bellinger jumped and ran over to congratulate his teammate.
“I thought it was a home run,” Urías said in Spanish.
Kenley Jansen closes out Dodgers victory with scoreless ninth
Dodgers: Tim Hill, the eighth San Diego pitcher of the night, on in relief. Taylor pops out to shortstop. Pollock flies out to left. Bellinger pops out to short.
Padres: Kenley Jansen will attempt to close it out. Nola strikes out swinging. Hosmer grounds to first. Myers lines single to left, takes second on defensive indifference. Profar, who hit two-run homer in last at-bat, walks in an 11-pitch at-bat. Frazier, the tying run, strikes out swinging.
Justin Turner, Seager hit sacrifice flies; Dodgers lead 5-2
Dodgers: Reiss Knehr, the Padres’ seventh pitcher of the night, on in relief. T. Turner doubles into the leftfield corner. Muncy walked and Turner stole third. J. Turner hits sacrifice fly to deep center to make it 4-0. Smith walks. Muncy and Smith advance on a wild pitch. Seager hits sac fly to center to score Muncy; Smith thrown out attempting to advance to third. 5-0 Dodgers.
Padres: Corey Knebel on for Vesia. Myers walks. Pinch-hitter Jurickson Profar hits belt-high fastball over rightfield fence to cut the lead to 5-2. Frazier grounds out to first. Pham lines to right. Manager Dave Roberts comes out to replace Knebel with Blake Treinen, the Dodgers’ fifth pitcher of the night. Tatis Jr. walks, steals second. Machado walks, bringing the tying run to the plate. Cronenworth strikes out swinging.
Pollock delivers with bat, too, driving in two to make it 3-0
Dodgers: J. Turner grounds a single to right to end a run of 15 consecutive Dodgers retired. Smith strikes out swinging. Seager doubles to right center. A diving Machado knocks down a Taylor grounder to prevent two runs. Bases loaded.
Daniel Hudson relieves Camarena. Pollock shoots a grounder into right to drive in two and advance Taylor to third. Bellinger pops up to the middle of the infield. Matt Beaty, pinch-hitting for Bickford, pops out to short.
Padres: Hometown kid Alex Vesia in for Bickford, third Dodgers pitcher of the night. Cronenworth flies to left on the first pitch. Nola flies out to deep left. Hosmer strikes out looking, 97 mph on the outside black.
Phil Bickford replaces Urías; retires Padres 1-2-3
Dodgers: Daniel Camarena in for the Padres, fifth pitcher of the night. Albert Pujols, hitting for Urías, taps out to second. Frazier makes leaping snare of T. Turner’s liner. Muncy pops up to left. Six-pitch inning for Camarena. That’s 15 retired Dodgers in a row.
Padres: Phil Bickford in for Dodgers. Pham fouls out to Taylor. Tatis Jr. fouls out to first. Machado strikes out looking.
Urías’ no-hit bid comes to end; Dodgers still up `1-0
Dodgers: Nabil Crismatt—who’s had two, 70s-style 5+ innings relief appearances this year—is in, fourth Padres pitcher of the night. Taylor strikes out swinging. Pollock flies out to right. Bellinger, in a 2-for-27 slump, strikes out swinging. That’s 12 Dodgers in a row.
Padres: Nola pops out to T. Turner in short centerfield. Hosmer ends no-hitter with line-drive double to right center. Myers walks on a 3-2 pitch. Phil Bickford starting to warm in the bullpen. Kim grounds into forceout, runners at first and third, two outs. Adam Frazier flies out to center. Urías 73 pitches through five.
AJ Pollock makes spectacular over-the-wall catch to keep it 1-0 Dodgers
Dodgers: J. Turner strikes out swinging for a second time. Smith strikes out looking on a pitch that looked outside. Seager pops out to left. Seven half-innings, six 1-2-3 innings so far.
Padres: Pham walks on a 3-2 pitch for San Diego’s first base runner. Tatis Jr. strikes out on a high fastball. Urías hangs a curve, Machado hits soaring fly ball over left field wall, which Pollock pulls back in for second out (above). Cronenworth pops out to short. Still 1-0 Dodgers.
Urías with a third perfect inning, 32 pitches thrown
Dodgers: Third pitcher of the night for the Padres, Emilio Pagán. Urías strikes out on three pitchers. T. Turner strikes out on three pitches. Muncy pops out to left.
Padres: Wil Myers grounds to third. Ha-Seong Kim strikes out swinging. Pagán, hitting for himself, pops out to short. Three perfect innings for Urías, 32 pitches.
Will Smith bomb (407 feet) gives Dodgers a 1-0 lead
Dodgers: Will Smith (above) turns a 3-2 fastball around and deposits it over the just-left-of-centerfield fence. Corey Seager walks on four pitches and that’ll be it for Johnson, who is replaced by Austin Adams* (66 strikeouts—and 26 walks—in 43 innings). Chris Taylor flies to right on the first pitch. AJ Pollock smashes a liner that’s pulled in by Tatis at the edge of the centerfield track. Cody Bellinger pops out to left.
Padres: Jake Cronenworth strikes out. Austin Nola flies to Bellinger. Eric Hosmer pops out to Bellinger. Two perfect innings, 24 pitches for Urías.
* per Dodgers broadcasters, two astounding Adams stats: 88% of his pitches are sliders, and he’s hit 17—17!—batters in his 43 innings this year.
And we are underway in San Diego: Scoreless after one
And we are underway in San Diego. Howdy, I’m Times Executive Sports Editor Chris Stone, and I get the spot start tonight in place of the indomitable Houston Mitchell. Jorge Castillo is at Petco, to be joined by Bill Shaikin tomorrow. You can follow Jorge here and Bill here. You won’t regret it.
Dodgers: Pierce Johnson opening for San Diego. Trea Turner strikes out swinging. Max Muncy grounds softly into the shift. Justin Turner strikes out swinging.
Padres: Urías pitching. Tommy Pham strikes out on a 3-2 pitch. Fernando Tatis Jr. grounds out into the shift on the first pitch. Manny Machado, also on the first pitch, hits a one-hop grounder to short. Eight-pitch inning for Urías.
This was April, when the Padres were supposed to rule the world
Steve Garvey couldn’t help but notice the futuristic metal cubes. They ringed the presidential desk of McDonald’s owner Ray Kroc, who had invited the Dodgers star to his hilltop home in La Jolla in hopes of convincing him to join his San Diego Padres. It was 1982, Time magazine had named the personal computer its Machine of the Year, and to Garvey, the glowing devices and their mystifying connection to the world at large was something out of “Blade Runner,” which captivated audiences that summer.
“They looked like small black-and-white TV screens,” recalled Garvey, so transfixed at the time that he walked around to Kroc’s side of the desk to get a better view. “He told me he was minding the store, checking sales in North America and Europe. He was in his 80s, sitting there in his little golf cap, making the first big move in the history of the Padres organization, and he liked big moves.”
Small screens, big vision. The guy who sold cheeseburgers for 19 cents and fries for a dime understood the monumental value of landing Garvey, the personification of Dodger Blue. Kroc dreamed of being an arch rival in the truest definition.
“He said, `‘Stevie’ — and you know those were different days when somebody calls you Stevie — ‘we really want you here, son,’” recalled Garvey, who signed a five-year deal for a then-robust $6.6 million. “He told me, ‘I know what you can do on the field, but off the field is really where you can make a difference here.’ He paused and said, `I’ve got a problem. I can only pay you in Big Macs and French fries.’
Clayton Kershaw takes ‘big step’ in his return from elbow injury
Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw, out since July 7 because of elbow inflammation, threw off a mound for the first time in almost a month on Tuesday, completing a 20-pitch bullpen session in Petco Park before the opener of a three-game series against the San Diego Padres.
The three-time National League Cy Young Award winner threw a 45-pitch simulated game on July 27 and appeared to be nearing a return when the elbow flared up again. Kershaw was transferred to the 60-day injured list Aug. 9 and is not eligible to be activated until Sept. 5.
“I just tried to come back too fast, which is a bummer,” Kershaw said Aug. 6. “After the sim-game, it didn’t respond really well. It’s going to take some time. I want to be part of the stretch run so bad. I’m going to do everything I can to get back, and I think I will.”
Dodgers legend Vin Scully is releasing three NFTs. Two will commemorate moments in Dodgers World Series runs, the third will focus on Scully’s career.
Kershaw, who is 9-7 with a 3.39 earned-run average in 18 starts, striking out 127 and walking 19 in 106-1/3 innings, threw all fastballs Tuesday. Manager Dave Roberts said Kershaw will play catch Wednesday and, later this week, throw another bullpen session in which he “starts spinning the ball a bit.”
“I watched it — it was really good,” Roberts said of Tuesday’s workout. “The delivery looked fluid. He felt pretty good about it. … Clayton was excited to get off the slope and feel good. Today was a big step.”
Julio Urías was activated off the injured list to start Tuesday night’s game, but even with the addition of the left-hander, the Dodgers have only four starters in the rotation — Walker Buehler, Max Scherzer, David Price and Urías .
Kershaw might not have enough time to build up to the 75 to 80 pitches required to return as a starter in early September, but he should be ready to pitch out of the rotation later in the month.
“We still have time on the schedule, but I don’t want to put the [coaching] staff or Clayton in any box,” Roberts said. “I think for us, each day, let’s improve, let’s get stronger, let’s build up the arm, and where that gets us whenever that takes place, we’ll just kind of see what role makes the most sense.
“I do know that Clayton, first and foremost, wants to be healthy, and he’s open to whatever will help the team at that point.”
Dodgers left-hander Julio Urías to start series opener against Padres
Dodgers left-hander Julio Urías was activated off the injured list and will start the opener of a three-game series against the San Diego Padres and right-hander Pierce Johnson at Petco Park on Tuesday night.
To make room on the 26-man roster for Urias, veteran reliever Neftali Feliz, who made his Dodgers debut by throwing a one-two-three eighth inning in Sunday’s 7-2 loss to the New York Mets, was designated for assignment.
Urias last pitched against the Mets on Aug. 13, giving up two hits, striking out five and walking two in five scoreless innings of a 6-5, 10-inning victory in Citi Field. But he was hit by a pitch in the left calf while squaring to bunt in the fourth inning and was placed on the injured list because of a calf bruise.
Urias, 25, is 13-3 with a 3.29 ERA in 24 starts this season, striking out 149 and walking 30 in 139 2/3 innings, surpassing his career-high workload of 79 2/3 innings in 2019 by 60 innings. The Dodgers had hoped to give Urias a breather at some point, and the calf bruise opened the door for a break.
Dodgers legend Vin Scully is releasing three NFTs. Two will commemorate moments in Dodgers World Series runs, the third will focus on Scully’s career.
The Padres are embarking on their second straight “bullpen game” and their fourth in the past eight games. They have won seven of 10 games over the Dodgers this season, including a three-game sweep in San Diego on June 21-23, but much has changed in the two months since the Interstate-5 rivals last met.
The defending World Series-champion Dodgers went on a tear in late July, winning 16 of 20 games to improve to 78-47 and remain within striking distance in the National League West, 2 ½ games behind the San Francisco Giants with 37 games left.
The Padres were 4 ½ games back on July 23 but lost 16 of their next 26 games, including a current two-week nosedive in which they’ve lost nine of 11 — seven to the lowly Miami, Arizona and Colorado — to fall to 68-58, 13 games behind the Giants and one game behind Cincinnati for the second wild-card spot.
“They’ve gotten the best of us,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “It’s a good ballclub over there, and we seem to bring out the best in them. We’d all like to redeem ourselves and beat these guys.”
DODGERS LINEUP: 2B Trea Turner, 1B Max Muncy, 3B Justin Turner, C Will Smith, SS Corey Seager, RF Chris Taylor, LF AJ Pollock, CF Cody Bellinger, LHP Julio Urias.
PADRES LINEUP: LF Tommy Pham, CF Fernando Tatis Jr., 3B Manny Machado, SS Jake Cronenworth, C Austin Nola, 1B Eric Hosmer, RF Wil Myers, 2B Ha-Seong Kim, RHP Pierce Johnson.
Alex Vesia looking forward to personal homestand vs. Padres
Alex Vesia enjoyed being outside, growing up in Alpine, the East County town of some 15,000 residents tucked into the Cuyamaca Mountains.
He played Little League baseball, rode his bicycle and stayed busy in the family’s large backyard.
“When I wasn’t playing baseball,” he said, “I was usually out at the desert, riding a dirt bike or camping with my family.”
If a home repair was needed, neither Alex nor his sister, Serena, saw plumbers or electricians show up. Alex’s parents did the job themselves. Cindy is a composite tool maker for General Atomics. Bob owns a machine shop company.
Dodgers are surging. Padres are slumping. But ‘a battle’ is still expected this week
When we last left baseball’s Interstate-5 rivalry, the San Diego Padres had completed a three-game sweep of the Dodgers to move to within a half-game of second place on June 23, and Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer had ripped his own team, saying the Padres “absolutely kicked our ass from an intensity standpoint.”
Much has changed since.
Bauer, for starters, has been on paid administrative leave since July 2 while Major League Baseball and the Pasadena Police Department investigate a domestic violence allegation against the right-hander, whose career is in jeopardy after signing a three-year, $102-million deal last winter.
After the Athletic reported on July 29 that the Padres were “close to acquiring” Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer, it was the Dodgers who swung a blockbuster deal for the three-time Cy Young Award winner and All-Star shortstop Trea Turner the next day.