Tag:Clayton Kershaw
Posted on: July 12, 2011 7:33 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 8:16 pm
 

Pitching plans for tonight's All-Star Game

PHOENIX -- Talked to both All-Star pitching coaches during batting practice, Mike Maddux of the Rangers and Dave Righetti of the Giants, and here's the tentative pitching plans for tonight's All-Star Game:

AL starter Jered Weaver is only expected to go one inning. Angels manager Mike Scioscia talked to Rangers and AL skipper Ron Washington and requested Weaver go no more than one inning or 25 pitches because he's due to start Saturday during the Angels' doubleheader in Oakland.

Boston's Josh Beckett is expected to follow Weaver to the mound, according to Maddux. After that, look for either Michael Pineda of the Mariners or Texas' C.J. Wilson. The way things were set up going into the game, Washington and Maddux were planning to use Pineda as the third pitcher in.

After that it's less planned, though Angels rookie closer Jordan Walden has been told there is a good chance he'll pitch in the fifth inning. While that's not guaranteed, Maddux said he did speak with some of the closers because, obviously, not everybody can pitch the ninth.

"Guys used to pitching the ninth inning, we gave everybody a heads up because if we need them early, normally, they wouldn't have even gone to the training table yet," Maddux quipped.

As for overall pitching plans, Maddux had another good line: "The only sure thing is, if Weaver carries a no-hitter into the second inning, he's not gonna get it."

As for the NL, starter Roy Halladay likely will pitch two innings unless he goes through a long first inning. Phillies teammate Cliff Lee will follow him to the mound. Then, Righetti said, it will be either the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw or Atlanta's Jair Jurrjens -- probably Kershaw.

 

Posted on: June 21, 2011 11:39 pm
 

Rotation against Verlander in All-Star Game

LOS ANGELES -- Detroit's rotation could keep Justin Verlander from pitching in next month's All-Star Game, but an early look at the top pitchers in each league shows few other conflicts right now.

Unless weather fouls things up, both Boston's Josh Beckett (last projected first-half start: Friday, July 8) and the Angels' Jered Weaver (Thursday, July 7) should be available options for American League manager Ron Washington to start the July 12 game in Phoenix.

And in the NL, Atlanta's Jair Jurrjens and Philadelphia's Roy Halladay (both would start Wednesday, July 6) would be available to manager Bruce Bochy, as would the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw (Thursday, July 7) and, possibly, Philadelphia's Cole Hamels.

Hamels currently is projected to start on Tuesday, July 5, and the Phillies have an off day on July 6. If manager Charlie Manuel stays on rotation, Hamels would not pitch again until, possibly, the All-Star Game. If Manuel decides to skip a starter on an off day Thursday (unlikely), then Hamels could wind up starting on Sunday the 10th.

The problem for Verlander, who has one no-hitter and a couple of near-misses this year, is that, barring rainouts, he'll start the Tigers' final game of the first half on Sunday, July 10.

Looking both to keep pitchers healthy and to give All-Star managers real options, baseball last year instituted a rule prohibiting anybody pitching Sunday from working in the All-Star Game. Those pitchers named to the team are still All-Stars and can be in uniform in the dugout, they're just not eligible to play.

Really, it's a no-brainer that for a manager not to juggle his rotation to accommodate the All-Star Game, and that's essentially what Tigers skipper Jim Leyland said this week. His first responsibility is to win games for the Tigers, period.

"Our schedule is what it is," he said. "Our rotation falls the way it does."

Though his Dodgers are buried in fourth place in the NL West -- unlike the Tigers, who are battling for the AL Central title -- Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly says he will handle Kershaw the same way Leyland is handling Verlander.

"I think if his spot comes up Sunday, he pitches Sunday," Mattingly said. "I don't think we can start shifting things around because of the All-Star Game.

"It's an honor to be chosen. If a guy is chosen and he's not able to pitch, you have enough slots [to replace him] and it's still an honor."

Posted on: May 16, 2010 8:29 pm
 

Dodgers keep winning, hold breath for Ethier

The most significant thing about the Dodgers' seven-game winning streak is found behind the numbers:

They've put all of that together without shortstop Rafael Furcal (strained hamstring) and opening day starter Vicente Padilla (right elbow soreness), who are on the disabled list, and they've won the last two games without Andre Ethier (fractured right pinky).

The Ethier loss is still fluid, and the Dodgers will not know until later this week whether they'll have to place him on the disabled list.

If he misses significant time, it will make life tough on the Dodgers because, as Sunday's games started, Ethier led the NL in all three Triple Crown categories: Batting average (.392), home runs (11) and RBI (38). In fact, he leads the majors in two of those categories -- average and RBI.

Manager Joe Torre said following Sunday's 1-0 win in San Diego that the plan is to "wait a couple of days" and "let some of the soreness come out. Then we'll see what he can do with it and decide if that's enough.

"The last thing I want is for him to go out and do something and get into bad habits."

Ethier injured himself in the batting cage before Saturday night's game while in the midst of his regular pre-game routine. Torre said Ethier's right pinky finger -- on his bottom hand as the lefty swings the bat -- always has had a tendency to slip off the knob and sort of fall behind the bat handle. That leaves the bat handle threading through Ethier's right ring and pinky fingers.

The fracture is in the area of the first knuckle of Ethier's right pinky -- the one closest to the fingernail.

Torre said the trainers will place the finger in "some kind of splint" to immobilize it and hope it calms down in a day or two.

"A lot depends on what we find out over the next couple of days," Torre said. "As far as his comfort level."

In the midst of this, the Dodgers received excellent starts this weekend from Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley and are 12-3 since April 30 -- the best record in baseball since that date.

"It's big because we've put a streak together for ourselves where we've played good baseball and gotten good pitching," Torre said. "We were fumbling around early trying to get a good feel."

"It's been good," said first baseman James Loney, whose clutch home run helped win Saturday's game.

The Dodgers now are 17-7 in games when they hit at least one homer, and 3-10 when they don't homer.

One other significant stat: They're now 12-3 in games against NL West opponents. Cleaning up within the division is exactly how they won the NL West in 2009: They went 46-26 against the Padres, Giants, Rockies and Diamondbacks.

Posted on: October 14, 2009 7:23 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2009 7:36 pm
 

Dodgers choose Kershaw for Game 1

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers are coming strong out of the gate with a left-hander against Philadelphia in Game 1 of the NL Championship Series on Thursday, opting to hand the ball to rookie Clayton Kershaw, 21.

The decision not only emphasizes the Dodgers' growing confidence in Kershaw, who started Game 2 against St. Louis last round after defeating Colorado on the final Saturday of the season to clinch the NL West, but also allows them to position a lefty right away to face Philadelphia's big left-handed bats: Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez. Kershaw was 0-2 with a 5.23 ERA against the Phillies in two 2009 regular-season starts.

The rotation also is notable on a couple of other levels, from going with the kid in Game 1 to starting August acquisition Vicente Padilla in Game 2 to leaving All-Star Chad Billingsley out completely. Hiroki Kuroda will start Game 3 and Randy Wolf Game 4.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel named lefty Cole Hamels as his Game 1 starter, as expected. Manuel declined to go beyond that until the Phillies finalize their roster, probably either later tonight or Thursday morning.

In last year's NLCS, which the Phillies won in five games, the Dodgers went with a three-man rotation and started all right-handers: Derek Lowe, Billingsley and Kuroda.


Padilla, who essentially was kicked off of the team in Texas this year after several run-ins with teammates and management, ascended to the Game 2 start based on his seven impressive innings against St. Louis last round, manager Joe Torre said.

Billingsley's absence is particularly noteworthy not only because he was an All-Star in July, but because he was the starting pitcher against Philadelphia last year in Game 2 when the Phillies' Brett Myers knocked Manny Ramirez off the plate and the Dodgers failed to respond.

Billingsley was the losing pitcher that day, and he lost more than the game. He also lost face in his own clubhouse as several Dodgers were angry that he did not respond and protect their best player. His fortitude has been questioned ever since and, though he seemed close to leaving that behind while pitching like an All-Star the first half of the season, those questions came back to dog him as he slumped down the stretch.

Kuroda, who wasn't even on the active roster last round because of a bulging disk in his neck, has been working at the Dodgers' facility in Arizona. Manager Joe Torre and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt journeyed there to watch him Tuesday and came away impressed enough to pick him to start Game 3.

"I wasn't hopeful that he would be ready for this round with the way things started with him," Torre said.

But the manager said he was "comfortable" watching Kuroda pitch Tuesday.

"He may not be as good as we want him to be, but still, off of what he did for us last year, it's something that we felt we wanted to give a shot to," Torre said of Kuroda, who won two postseason games for the Dodgers last year, holding the Cubs and Phillies to a combined two runs in 12 1/3 innings in the process.

Meantime, Wolf, a second lefty in the starting quartet, is bumped down to Game 4 after pitching Game 1 against St. Louis.

While he seemed disappointed, Wolf chose not to complain.

"I feel like I have an opportunity in Game 4 to help the team win," he said.

 

Posted on: March 10, 2008 7:54 pm
 

Boone Times Again

VIERA, Fla. -- He hadn't seen live pitching in two years before this spring, hasn't seen a breaking ball in what seems like forever and Bret Boone calls his current comeback at 38 "the hardest thing I've ever done."

But here he is, competing with Ronnie Belliard for the second base job in the Washington Nationals camp. He's got no guarantees and no promises. He looks smaller than in his 37-homer, 141-RBI season of 2001, though he's still cut.

He left the game suddenly two springs ago, walking out on the New York Mets with a secret: Alcohol, he says, was tearing him apart. He'd have 12 to 15 beers after a game, looking for the fix off the field that the game once gave to him on it.

He got the "bug" to come back five or six months ago, he says, once he felt his life was back under control. Having had experience with GM Jim Bowden in Cincinnati, he phoned the Nationals because he knew Bowden isn't adverse to giving a guy who needs a bounce a chance.

Come on in, Bowden told him. And so here Bret is, with his brother, third baseman Aaron Boone, and his father, special assistant to the GM Bob Boone, making this Nationals camp a family affair.

"I've got nothing to lose," Bret says. "I've already had my career, ya know?"

The final push that caused him to do this came a few months back when he was messing around with some buddies in a batting cage near his Southern California home. He hit four or five times, the pitching machine cranked up to high, and the bat speed was still evident.

"I'm not looking to hang on and be an average player," says Boone, who turns 39 in early April. "I'm not saying I have to be among the elite of the game, but I've got to be toward the top players of my position.

"If not, I won't hang around."

Likes: Baseball Prospectus 2008 is out now, and if you haven't checked it out, you should head toward your local Barnes & Noble right now. Tremendous dope on all 30 teams and more than 1,600 players. Essential stuff for the season, whether you're an avid Fantasy player or simply a voracious fan. ... Spring phenoms like 19-year-old lefty Clayton Kershaw forcing their way into the Dodgers' plans. ... My wife liked Gone Baby Gone, which we caught up with on DVD over the weekend, better than I did. I didn't dislike it, but I wanted to like it more than I did. It didn't help that Casey Affleck mumbles his way through the entire movie.

Dislikes: Airports, security lines, cattle-call boarding and no liquids through the security lines. The best way to make money in this sluggish economy has to be running a Starbucks, gift shop or food stand on The Other Side of the airport security lines. With no liquids allowed through, and with planes having long ago stopped providing any semblance of food, you're a captive audience to those airport shops. It's a license to print money.

Sunblock day? Just landed in Phoenix a couple of hours ago, and it's hot and sunny in the desert. Right around 80, as it should be for the rest of the spring. Good to be stocked up on sunblock.

Rock-n-Roll lyric of the day:

"Racism lives in the U.S.A
"Get hip to what Martin Luther King had to say
"I don't want my kids being brought up this way
"Hatred to each other is not okay"

-- John Mellencamp, Peaceful World

 
 
 
 
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