The Sports Report: Clayton Kershaw is back, but there is bad pitching news for Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw throws during the first inning.
Clayton Kershaw pitches during the first inning Thursday.
(Adam Hunger / Associated Press)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

From Jack Harris: When the Dodgers stayed quiet at the trade deadline, they did so with the expectation their banged-up pitching staff would get healthy over the final two months of the season.

On the first day of September, however, they still have about as many questions as answers when it comes to health on the mound.

On Thursday, they repeated a familiar sequence, getting both good and bad news on several key arms.

The good: Clayton Kershaw shined in his return from a back injury, pitching five strong innings before the Dodgers coughed up a lead and lost to the New York Mets 5-3 at Citi Field.


The defeat sealed the Dodgers’ first series loss in more than a month, and came at the hands of perhaps their biggest rivals in the National League pennant race.

The more troubling developments occurred before first pitch.

For the second time in the last two months, reliever Brusdar Graterol was placed on the injured list, this time with what the team said was right elbow inflammation.

Then, during his afternoon scrum, manager Dave Roberts said injured starter Tony Gonsolin’s strained right forearm “just hasn’t progressed” quite as fast as initially hoped, and that the pitcher will get an MRI on Friday.

Enjoying this newsletter? Consider subscribing to the Los Angeles Times

Your support helps us deliver the news that matters most. Become a subscriber.


From Helene Elliott: They sat together, whispered together, strategized together, two against the world, like they used to be.

Serena and Venus Williams accepted a wildcard entry into the U.S. Open women’s doubles field as a nostalgic indulgence, a gift to themselves in what’s likely to be Serena’s final tournament before she continues her self-described evolution and leaves competitive tennis. Serena wanted to remember what it felt like to play alongside her elegant, long-legged older sister, who cracked open the doors that Serena later blew off their hinges. Venus obliged.

“It was Serena’s idea. She’s the boss, so I do whatever she tells me to do,” Venus said earlier this week with an affectionate smile.


As it turned out, their doubles reunion on Thursday, their first in a Grand Slam tournament since the 2018 French Open and first at Flushing Meadows since 2014, wasn’t a gift for them alone.

It was a present for everyone who appreciates how far they have come and held out hope their journey would last a little while longer, for fans who knew all about their days on hard-used courts in Compton and those who began appreciating them while Venus won seven Grand Slam singles titles, Serena won 23, and teamed up for 14 Slam doubles championships, including two at the U.S. Open.

If storybook endings were written by majority vote, the sellout crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium would have dictated a happy chapter for the Williams sisters when they faced Lucie Hradecka and 17-year-old Linda Noskova of Czechia on Thursday. Reality intruded rudely for Venus, 42, and Serena, soon 41, with the Czech duo’s 7-6 (5), 6-4 victory.

The Williams sisters embraced at the end of the match and exited the court to a standing ovation. They were together, of course, Serena heading toward a possible career-extending third-round singles match against Ajla Tomljanovic on Friday and Venus to continue being her own unique self in addition to being her sister’s trusted rock.


Elliott: ‘It’s been a hell of a ride’: John McEnroe reflects on his life as tennis’ bad boy

Photos | All eyes on Serena Williams at U.S. Open


From J. Brady McCollough: Until it actually happens, there will be constant chatter about whether USC is “back” under Lincoln Riley. The debate will carry on with many subjective criteria being used by the program’s supporters and detractors, but here’s one objective marker that should be considered in the discussion:

The Trojans will need to bring home their eighth Heisman Trophy — yes, eighth, because we all saw what happened on the field and at New York’s Downtown Athletic Club in 2005 when the coveted bronze statue was handed to Reggie Bush as the program’s seventh winner.

When USC is USC, its top players win Heismans. Period. Eight would vault the Trojans above Ohio State, Notre Dame and Oklahoma (and wouldn’t that be satisfying for Riley, whose tutelage of quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray brought the Sooners two of their seven?).

For the next two seasons Caleb Williams, USC’s much-hyped quarterback transfer from Oklahoma, will be among the favorites to win the Heisman. What will it take for him to do it in 2022?


College football: The seven best games to watch in Week 1


From Jeff Miller: Brandon Staley never coached Sony Michel until Wednesday, immediately after the Chargers signed the veteran running back.

That doesn’t mean Staley was unfamiliar with Michel. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Staley told reporters Thursday that, when he was coaching in college, he recruited south Florida, where Michel starred in high school before going on to play at Georgia.

“He’s kind of a legend down there,” Staley said. “He was an eighth-grader that played on the varsity.”

Now, Michel is part of the depth the Chargers have built behind starter Austin Ekeler.


From Kevin Baxter: The San Diego Wave have sold more than 32,000 tickets for their first game at Snapdragon Stadium, assuring the crowd for the Sept. 17 game with Angel City FC will be by far the largest in the 10-year history of the National Women’s Soccer League.

The current NWSL attendance record is 25,218 for a North Carolina Courage-Portland Thorns game at Providence Park in Portland, Ore., in 2019. That’s also the year the league set a season attendance record of 792,409.

That mark is also likely to fall this year.

“It’s a great reflection of the momentum we see in women’s sports,” said Jill Ellis, the Wave’s president. “We’ve got 32,000 tickets out. We’ve sold all of our inventory. It’s pretty incredible.


1901 — Seven-year-old Ogden wins two races in a single day at Sheepshead Bay race track in Coney Island, New York. Ogden edges Cameron by a head in the second race on the card, a six furlong sprint on the main track. In the sixth race, a 1 1-16 mile distance on the turf, Ogden beats Monarka by a length.

1908 — Tommy Burns knocks out Bill Lang in the sixth round in Melbourne for his last successful defense of his heavyweight title.

1924 — Bill Tilden wins his fifth straight U.S. men’s singles title with a 6-1, 9-7, 6-2 victory over Bill Johnston.

1940 — Byron Nelson wins the PGA by beating Sam Snead 1-up at the Hershey Country Club in Pennsylvania.

1945 — Frank Parker wins the men’s singles title in the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association championships by beating Bill Talbert. Sarah Palfrey Cooke beats Pauline Betz for the women’s title.

1970 — The tie-break debuts in Grand Slam tennis at the U.S. Open. A total of 26 tie-breaks (the nine-point sudden death tie-break) are played on the first day of the tournament. Bob McKinley and Ray Ruffels both win matches in fifth-set tie-breaks.

1971 — Sixteen-year-old Chris Evert wins the first of her record 101 U.S. Open matches, defeating Edda Buding, 6-1, 6-0, in 42 minutes. Jimmy Connors, playing on 19th birthday, comes back from a two-set deficit to beat Alex Olmedo for his first U.S. Open victory.

1984 — In his first NFL start, Atlanta’s Gerald Riggs rushes for 202 yards and scores two touchdowns as the Falcons beat New Orleans 36-28.

1991 — Jimmy Connors turns 39 years old and rallies from a 2-5 fifth-set deficit to defeat 24-year-old Aaron Krickstein, 3-6, 7-6, 1-6, 6-3, 7-6. The fourth-round Labor Day match lasts 4 hours and 41 minutes.

1995 — Frank Bruno wins a heavyweight championship in his fourth attempt registering a unanimous decision over Oliver McCall to take his WBC title in Wembley, England.

2001 — Michael Schumacher becomes the winningest driver in Formula One history, winning the Belgian Grand Prix for his 52nd career victory. Schumacher breaks the mark shared with Alain Prost and clinches his fourth world championship.

2004 — In a second-round match, Sargis Sargsian defeats Nicolas Massu, 6-7 (8), 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4, in five hours and nine minutes. It’s the second-longest match on record at the U.S. Open and falls 18 minutes shy of breaking the record for longest match, set in 1992 when Stefan Edberg defeated Michael Chang in 5:26 in the semifinals.

2007 — Clay Buchholz throws a no-hitter in his second career start against the Baltimore Orioles.

2008 — Adrian Beltre goes 5 for 6 and hits for the cycle in a 12-6 Seattle Mariners win over the Texas Rangers.

Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally

Jimmy Connors rallies to defeat Aaron Krickstein at the 1991 U.S. Open. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.