The Los Angeles Dodgers have been playing well lately. Currently, they sit atop the NL West, two games ahead of the San Francisco Giants. They’re in first place despite the fact that their best pitcher has been injured for two months. In the near future however, the Dodgers could be getting back their ace.
Clayton Kershaw has missed the last couple of months due to a herniated disk in his back. He hasn’t pitched since June 26th. Fortunately for the Dodgers, they’ve been able to stay afloat without Kershaw. It’s not easy to survive without your ace, but LA has found a way to do it.
Kershaw threw a bullpen session on Saturday. Afterwards, he told reporters that he feels “100 percent.” This is definitely a positive sign. Kershaw’s back has been a major problem since June. He was originally placed on the 15-day disabled list but was not ready to return once the time was up. He was named to the NL All-Star team but missed the game because of his injury. Now that Kershaw feels better however, there’s a good chance he returns very soon. He’s eligible to come off the disabled list tomorrow. It’s unlikely that he’s activated then, buy he’s definitely getting closer to a return.
Getting Kershaw back for the last month of the season would be huge. Before the injury, he was having another dominant year. In 16 starts, he’s 11-2 with a 1.79 ERA and 0.73 WHIP. He also has 145 strikeouts in 121 innings pitched. Had the back injury not sidelined him for two months, Kershaw would probably be in line to win the NL Cy Young Award once again. It’s an award that he’s won three times in his career.
The value of Kershaw cannot be understated. He’s been arguably the best pitcher in baseball over the last five years. He’s been named to the NL All-Star team each of the last six seasons. In 2014 he won the NL MVP Award in addition to the NL Cy Young Award. That season, he went 21-3 with a 1.77 ERA. Pitchers rarely ever win MVP, but Kershaw was dominant that season and so important to the Dodgers’ success that he was the clear choice.
The Dodgers are in a tight race with the Giants in the NL West right now. As well as they’ve been playing as of late, the team could really use Kershaw. He’s the guy that can transform them from a good team into a great team. Kershaw is so good that he can have that kind of impact on a team. If the Dodgers are going to reach the postseason and make a serious World Series run, they’re going to need Clayton Kershaw.
D’Backs Slugger JD Martinez Goes Deep Four Times Against Dodgers
Last night was a historic one in LA to say the least, as Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder JD Martinez went deep four times in his team’s 13-0 crushing of the Dodgers.
Arizona’s win marked their 11th in a row. Only the Cleveland Indians (12, active) have a longer winning streak in baseball this season.
Martinez’s 4 for 5, 6 RBI performance marked the 18th four-home run game in Major League history, 16th in the modern era (since 1900), and second this year (Scooter Gennett, June 6).
This is the second time that MLB has seen multiple four-home run games in a season. Mike Cameron and Shawn Green accomplished the rare feat in 2002.
Each home run for Martinez came in consecutive at-bats off a different pitcher. He took starter Rich Hill deep for a two-run shot in the fourth, hit solo dingers in the seventh and eighth off Pedro Baez and Josh Fields, respectively, and finished the feat with a two-run blast off Wilmer Font in the ninth.
Take a look at all four:
Two solo dingers sandwiched between two two-run dingers. Not too shabby!
Here are some notable facts about Martinez’s monster game, per ESPN Stats & Info:
The D’Backs are also now the only franchise in MLB with a perfect game, 20-strikeout game, and four-home run game. The first two are courtesy of a man named Randy Johnson—you may have heard of him.
Martinez, 30, was acquired by the D’Backs from the Detroit Tigers on July 18. In 40 games with Arizona, he’s hitting .257/.337/.688 with 18 homers and 40 RBIs. Overall on the year, he carries a .285/.367/.645 slash line with 34 homers and 79 RBIs.
With a record of 80-58, Arizona leads their division rival Colorado Rockies by 6.5 games for the top spot in the NL Wild Card race.
Rich Hill Loses No-Hit Bid In The 10th Inning On A Walk-Off Home Run
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Rich Hill lost a no-hitter in the most painful way possible on Wednesday night in Pittsburgh. The first hit he allowed was a walk-off home run in the tenth inning.
Hill was on the mound for the Dodgers as they faced the Pittsburgh Pirates in what was the third game of their four-game series. Pirates starter Trevor Williams went toe-to-toe with Hill for the first eight innings. Going into the ninth inning, neither pitcher had given up a run. The major difference between the two was that Hill had yet to allow a baserunner.
The perfect game almost ended in the bottom of the eighth inning when Pirates first baseman Josh Bell hit a hard line drive toward right field. Before it had the chance to land in the outfield for a base hit however, Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley made an unbelievable full-extension catch.
Unfortunately, the Dodgers were unable to give Hill any run support. Despite having a perfect game heading into the ninth inning, he did not have a lead to protect. Hill had 10 strikeouts through eight innings of work. The first batter of the bottom of the ninth inning was Jordy Mercer, and he hit a ground ball toward third base that was bobbled by Logan Forsythe. This untimely error ended Hill’s chances of achieving one of the rarest feats in baseball.
Luckily, Hill retired the next three batters and got out of the ninth inning without allowing a hit. The Dodgers could not get anything going in the top of the tenth inning, so the game remained scoreless. With Hill’s no-hitter still intact, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts did not hesitate to send him back out to the mound. Josh Harrison led off the bottom of the tenth inning. With one swing, he was able to give the Pirates their first hit of the game, as well as their first run. Harrison hit a ball to deep left field that just ended up making it over fence. Dodgers left fielder Curtis Granderson attempted to make a leaping grab and rob Harrison, but he came up short.
Hill lost his no-hitter in one of the most painful ways possible. He had a no-hitter going through the first nine innings, but had to keep pitching because his team could not give him any run support. As per ESPN Stats & Info, Hill is the first MLB pitcher in the last 100 seasons to go at least nine innings and allow one or fewer hits, not give up a walk, and still get a loss.
Rich Hill is the first pitcher in the last 100 seasons to throw at least 9 innings, allow 1 or fewer hits with no walks, and get a loss.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 24, 2017
It is a shame that Hill took a loss after pitching as well as he did. This loss probably will not affect the Dodgers that much in the long run, as they are 89-36 on the season and have a 21-game lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks for first place in the NL West. Hill is the one who will be most impacted by the result of the game, as he will most likely never come this close to a no-hitter ever again. For Hill, this game will always be considered the one that could have been.
Dodgers Land Yu Darvish From Rangers
The Los Angeles Dodgers have landed Texas Rangers starting pitcher Yu Darvish, a move that will bolster the Dodgers rotation and provide Darvish a much-needed change of scenery.
It was not immediately known what the Rangers would receive in return for Darvish.
In addition to Darvish, the Dodgers added depth to their bullpen by working out deals for Tony Cingrani and Tony Watson from Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.
The Darvish deal was first reported by Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal and later confirmed by ESPN.
Darvish is 6-9 with a 4.01 ERA his season, his worst in five years in the majors.
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