Friedman ready to take on high expectations in LA

Former Rays executive introduced as Dodgers' president of baseball operations

Friedman ready to take on high expectations in LA

LOS ANGELES -- The title changes from general manager to president of baseball operations, but the mandate is the same: Win a World Series. Now.

It's not Andrew Friedman's fault that the Giants get there every other year, while the Dodgers haven't done it in a generation. But it's now Friedman's responsibility to change.

More

"I relish it ... It's a world-class organization with world-class expectations," Friedman said at his Friday Dodger Stadium press conference introducing the former Tampa Bay prodigy as the first ever president of baseball operations for the Dodgers.

"Our goal is to be as good as we can be in 2015 and play much deeper into October. We also need to be very mindful about sustaining this. If we have to go to free agents constantly to rebuild, that's not a viable business model to be competitive every year. A robust farm system is important in a lot of different ways."

Initially reading from a prepared script and sitting alongside team president Stan Kasten, then answering questions from reporters, Friedman "pledged" to "work as hard as I can" to "bring a World Series championship back to L.A." He added that fans' demand for a championship were "perfectly aligned" with his, and that his front office needs to work together as a family in a culture of trust.

Friedman said he believes he can "recreate" the Rays culture in Los Angeles, but immediately tried to quash assumptions that close friend Joe Maddon would follow him and become the Dodgers' manager, saying Don Mattingly "definitely" would manage the team next year.

"We are very aligned philosophically," Friedman said after having two phone calls with Mattingly, predicting they would work well together and complement each other. "I go into this with the intent of working with Donnie for a very long time."

Otherwise, Friedman said it was "premature" to answer questions about who would fill the roles of general manager and farm director, whether he would offer free-agent shortstop Hanley Ramirez a $15.3 million qualifying offer or the status of Mattingly's coaching staff.

Friedman said if having six outfielders is a problem, "it's a tremendous problem to have," but didn't say he wouldn't trade any of them.

The Dodgers won't discuss length or dollar amount of Friedman's contract and wouldn't respond when asked about rumors that he received a sliver of ownership. In today's world, that would be a logical inducement for leaving the comforts of a tight-knit front office in the very small market of Tampa Bay to inherit a star-stuffed roster, with egos and salaries to match.

And speaking of egos, Friedman now answers to a group of owners that includes billionaire investors, a Hall of Fame basketball icon, a Hollywood producer and a very, very hands-on CEO in Kasten. None of the other owners attended the press conference. The only player there, Adrian Gonzalez, is one of the few that makes his home in Southern California.

Friedman had great autonomy with the Rays. When asked if he was ready to work with Kasten, he said he's "a big fan of collaboration ... all I care about is getting more decisions right than wrong. Intellectual firepower is a good thing."

While navigating that flashy corporate flow chart, Friedman also inherits the double-edged sword of a 94-win season. Outgoing general manager Ned Colletti took over a 91-loss team in 2005 and had it in the playoffs the next season. A city rejoiced.

Now after reaching the playoffs five of nine seasons, including the last two, Colletti was replaced and Friedman is expected to win it all next year. By all accounts, if anybody is up to this, it's the 37-year-old former Wall Street investment banker whose clubs in St. Petersburg were essentially as successful as Colletti's with a fraction of the payroll.

As advertised, Friedman said he will blend traditional scouting with advanced analytics, although it "isn't perfectly clear to me" how far the Dodgers have come in analytics since the new ownership has embraced it.

Friedman repeatedly said "information is king" and "focus on process" as he described his approach. He downplayed the role of chemistry in building a roster.

"If you have 70 wins and great chemistry, I don't want those guys," he said. "I'd rather win with what you determine to be bad chemistry than lose with what you determine to be good chemistry."

Friedman, credited with stressing injury prevention with the Rays, said he looks forward to working with Dodgers vice president of medical services Stan Conte.

The last team to change general managers after winning at least 94 games was the Angels, who won 94 games under Bill Stoneman in 2007 and 100 games under Tony Reagins in 2008. But they didn't make the World Series. The most recent successful handoff were the Yankees, who won 96 games and a Wild Card berth in 1997 for Bob Watson, then 114 games and a World Series in 1998 for Brian Cashman.

And while Dodgers club officials insist the farm system is back on track, by their own admission, it hasn't produced an impact starting pitcher or position player in nearly a decade. Friedman said he couldn't answer how much work was in order to get the farm system where it needs to be.

Friedman will likely lean heavily on Dodgers senior advisor Gerry Hunsicker, hired two years ago by Kasten after serving as Friedman's vice president with the Rays. Friedman said he is not bringing any Rays employees with him "right now."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Hunsicker happy to be reunited with Friedman

Executive mentored Dodgers' new president in Tampa

Hunsicker happy to be reunited with Friedman

LOS ANGELES -- When 28-year-old Andrew Friedman was promoted to Tampa Bay's general manager in 2005, Gerry Hunsicker was brought in to serve as executive vice president and mentor, a job Hunsicker left when it was clear that Friedman didn't need any more mentoring.

Hunsicker joined the Dodgers two years ago as a senior advisor and now is reunited with Friedman, who was named Tuesday to the newly created job of Dodgers president of baseball operations.

More

"What Andrew brings to the table is the versatility and ability to work with everyone, from the 40-year veteran baseball man to the newer, metric-oriented, analytical-oriented new kid on the block," said Hunsicker. "He has the understanding and respect for the traditions of the game that came before him and the uncanny ability to meld information from every source to arrive at the best decision."

So, Friedman isn't old school and he's not Moneyball Paul DePodesta. He's a hybrid that hasn't reinvented the game by trashing its customs, but embraces an algorithm if it leads to a better outcome.

Video: Justice on Friedman to Dodgers

Will Friedman's success in the small market of Tampa transfer intact to the demanding spotlight of the Southland?

"His game plan will work in any market," said Hunsicker, who was a general manager in New York and Houston. "There is a different pressure in a big market from a small market. People don't have much patience in this business. Everybody wants to win. There will be some transition, but Andrew will evaluate and develop a plan, not just for the next year, but like he did in Tampa Bay, to be successful year in and year out.

"It's one of the major challenges for a major market team, to try to spend the resources wisely with one eye on the present and the other on the future. It's very hard to stay disciplined and committed to the game plan that may seem strange or unexplainable to fans or people on the outside. That's why you need to stay focused."

In addition to being a GM and senior advisor, Hunsicker has been a traveling secretary, Minor League pitching coach, scout, arbitration analyst, even assistant athletic director at Florida International University, where he earned a Master's Degree in management. Despite that resume, it seems Hunsicker came away from Tampa having learned as much from Friedman as vice versa.

"It was one of the most unique experiences of my career," he said. "I had a chance to come on board and work alongside Andrew from the very beginning as he put a new management team in place. I didn't know what to expect. We didn't know each other. With his limited background in baseball, I wasn't sure.

"But it didn't take long. In the first month, it became apparent to me that he was wise beyond his years baseball-wise, even though he hadn't worked in professional baseball. He was a great student of the game, he had played college ball [at Tulane]. He had a good grasp of what the game was all about. That, coupled with his astute ability and passion for the analytical side of the game, created a very successful cross to set the foundation for a successful baseball executive."

Video: Sax on Friedman joining Dodgers

Friedman remained in radio silence Wednesday, leaving unanswered questions about his plans for manager Don Mattingly, for pending free agent Hanley Ramirez, for the bullpen, for a fifth starter and for the vacant farm director's job.

Along with that new farm director, Dodgers president Stan Kasten said Friedman will probably hire a "general manager." Bryan Minniti is the name already rumored, because he just left the Nationals, where he worked with Kasten. Tampa Bay owner Stuart Sternberg said Friedman can't poach any Rays officials.

Kasten said Friedman believes he's already behind schedule for an offseason, but Hunsicker didn't sound concerned.

"From the beginning in Tampa, Andrew always knew what he wanted to do," he said. "It was a very short learning curve with him. He's a quick study who didn't take long to be successful."

Hunsicker said he wasn't involved in the Dodgers' recruiting of Friedman.

"I was as shocked as anyone else when the announcement was made," he said. "I had absolutely no role or part leading up to it."

Hunsicker said he expects to serve Friedman in a support role similar to what he's done for Kasten and former GM Ned Colletti (now special advisor to Kasten) the past two years.

"I'm exactly where I want to be in my career," he said. "I have no interest or desire in a high-profile, visible role. I'm comfortable doing what I'm doing and look forward to the next chapter."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Dodgers announce dedication of two new Dreamfields

Dodgers announce dedication of two new Dreamfields

The Dodgers dedicated their 35th and 36th Dodgers Dreamfields, the club announced Saturday.

The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, in partnership with the LA84 Foundation, the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation and Security Benefit, dedicated its 35th and 36th Dodgers Dreamfields at Franklin D. Roosevelt Park in Los Angeles.

More

Dodgers Dream Foundation director Nichol Whiteman, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Director of County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation Russ Guiney, president of LA84 Foundation Anita L. DeFrantz, and regional vice president of Southern California, Security Benefit Korie Henry attended the event. Dodger alumni Billy Ashley, Al Downing, Al Ferrara, Kenny Landreaux, Tim Leary, Matt Luke, Wes Parker and Dennis Powell also led a youth baseball clinic following the brief program emceed by SportsNet LA broadcaster John Hartung.

"We were thrilled to start the offseason by dedicating our 35th and 36th Dreamfields," Whiteman said. "We are grateful to our partners for their support and today's event emphasizes the club's dedication to the community year-round by continuing to provide a safe place for youngsters in our community to play and learn. The Dodgers Dreamfields at Franklin D. Roosevelt Park will also be one of our Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation sites for our Dodgers RBI program in 2015."

"As one of the oldest parks in Los Angeles County dating back to the 1930s, Roosevelt Park has a long tradition of meeting the needs of the communities it serves," said DeFrantz. "The LA84 Foundation is pleased to have partnered with the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation and Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation to further enhance the facilities the park offers. Youngsters using the fields will be able to hone their baseball/softball skills under the watchful eye of their coaches and parents, while having fun."

The two Dreamfields at Franklin D. Roosevelt Park include newly installed side and outfield fencing, newly replaced and refurbished backstop mesh and posts, newly installed metal dugout roofs, new laser leveled infield surface including new infield mix and bases, new turf infield and watering system, new laser-leveled outfield surface including new sprinkler heads and new sod, new remote controlled solar powered scoreboard and field signage.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Dodgers OF prospect Schebler locates HR stroke

Glendale surges ahead with four-run second, holds off Scottsdale

Dodgers OF prospect Schebler locates HR stroke

Outfielder Scott Schebler has come into his own as a power hitter in the last two years, slugging 27 home runs for Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga in 2013 and topping the Southern League leaderboard with 28 homers for Double-A Chattanooga this year.

Friday night, Schebler connected for his first home run in the Arizona Fall League and helped Glendale defeat Scottsdale, 6-5.

More

Box score »

Schebler, the Dodgers' No. 9 prospect, started slowly in the AFL and entered Friday hitting 3-for-19 without an extra-base hit in five games. After going 1-for-3 with a homer, a walk and two runs against Scottsdale, Schebler said he is hopeful his home run is enough to kickstart him.

"Sometimes you just need one swing to turn it around," Schebler said. "But there are a lot of good arms out here, and I'm just trying to put good swings on the ball and take good at-bats."

It wasn't just Schebler getting things going for Glendale. The Desert Dogs' offense quickly went to work, scoring four runs in the second inning off Scorpions starter Rob Whalen. The rally began when Whalen walked three batters -- including Schebler -- to load the bases. Catcher Kevan Smith followed with a three-run triple and scored two batters later, knocking Whalen out of the game.

Schebler said the Desert Dogs got some momentum in the inning and were able to capitalize on it.

"He started walking a couple people, and then he got back in the zone and Kevan was ready for it," Schebler said. "Hitting is contagious, you always hear it, but it's definitely true."

Schebler homered in the third to extend the lead and Glendale added a final run in the sixth.

Smith finished the game 1-for-3 with three RBIs and a run. Shortstop Darnell Sweeney, the Dodgers' No. 13 prospect, added two hits and an RBI.

After falling behind early, the Scorpions fought back and brought the potential tying run to the plate in the eighth inning. Right-hander Blake Smith came out of the bullpen to get the final out and end that threat, but Scottsdale wasn't done. The Scorpions scored twice in the ninth and had runners on first and second when Smith struck out third baseman Dan Gamache to escape again and end the game.

Right fielder Aaron Judge, the Yankees' No. 5 prospect, went 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs. First baseman Josh Bell, the Pirates' No. 3 prospect, added two hits and an RBI.

Schebler said the victory would make the bus ride back to Glendale a bit happier. Winning also will help ease a few of the growing pains of the AFL.

After playing nearly every day during the regular season, Schebler said he has had to adjust to sporadic playing time in the AFL. The level of pitching has also impressed him.

"The arms are great," Schebler said. "Every guy is [throwing] 95-96 [mph] with good put-away stuff. Every time you go to the plate, you better be ready, otherwise you might be sitting on the bench pretty quick."

Schebler didn't have much problem with the pitching in the Southern League this season. He hit .280/.365/.556 with 28 home runs and 10 stolen bases in 135 games for Chattanooga and led the league in slugging percentage, triples (14) and extra-base hits (65).

Schebler has also made strides as a defender. He said he has been focused on his breaks in the outfield and has worked on throwing for the last year and a half. Now, he wants to use the fall to continue to improve in those areas.

"I went to [instructional league] early to work on defense," Schebler said. "Hopefully I'll get some payoffs from that."

Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Kasten continues Dodgers' evolution with Friedman

Kasten continues Dodgers' evolution with Friedman

LOS ANGELES -- Gerry Hunsicker, then senior advisor to Andrew Friedman, was hired away from Tampa Bay two years ago by Dodgers president Stan Kasten. It wasn't hard to imagine that one day Friedman might follow.

That day was Tuesday, when the 37-year-old Friedman was named to the newly created position of president of baseball operations for the Dodgers, who shifted general manager Ned Colletti to the role of Kasten's senior advisor.

More

Kasten said Friedman is likely to add a general manager, as well as other staff, but said he expected manager Don Mattingly to return. The Dodgers already have two front-office openings after the recent departures of farm director De Jon Watson to Arizona and cross checker Roy Clark to Atlanta.

The popular speculation for a GM in recent days is Bryan Minniti, who recently stepped down as assistant general manager of the Washington Nationals, giving him ties to Kasten, who ran that club.

Friedman will be facing immediate roster issues: A decision on whether to offer free agent Hanley Ramirez a $15.3 million qualifying offer; fixing the bullpen; resolving the outfield jam; adding a fifth starting pitcher.

"He feels he's already well behind," Kasten said.

Tampa Bay's ability to produce talent through its farm system with Friedman at the controls dovetails with Kasten's desire to transition the Dodgers from an unsustainable record payroll full of free agents to one more reliant on less expensive in-house development.

"I expect us to become a home-grown organization," said Kasten. "We will get young and will wind up with a lower payroll. But it's never payroll just driving decisions. Phase 1 was to get the best team on the field. Phase 2 is to transition to home grown. With the kind of energy and success Andrew has had, he'll really do well here."

While Tampa Bay has been at the forefront of utilizing analytics, Kasten said this wasn't a Moneyball hire.

"Andrew doesn't view himself a numbers guy," said Kasten, who added that the Dodgers have gone from the bottom of the pack in analytics to the middle of the pack with desires to keep improving. "We can do more, we can do better. The more horsepower will make us better."

While Friedman's title indicates he will have more authority running the baseball operations department than any recent Dodgers non-owner, Kasten made it clear he's still the chief executive officer.

"I expect to be involved, to help him like I've helped other teams," he said. "It worked in Atlanta, it worked in Washington, I think it'll be fine here."

Kasten said the change wasn't prompted by the Dodgers' quick exit from the playoffs or expensive free agents that didn't pan out as expected. But he was vague about the specific reason for the front-office restructuring.

"What this is about is to add to the front office to make it the best it can be," Kasten said. "We will have a stronger, deeper front office. I'm not 100 percent sure how it will work. I have an idea. It's going to evolve."

Kasten didn't offer specifics when asked when he first considered Friedman for a role with the Dodgers. Some published reports say it was at least a year ago.

"Very recent," Kasten said. "I felt an opportunity and dived in. It happened fast."

Friedman was not under contract to the Rays. The Dodgers received permission from Tampa Bay to negotiate with Friedman, but were not required to provide the Rays compensation.

Friedman led the Rays to four postseason appearances, including two division titles (2008, 2010), in nine seasons from 2006-14. Under Friedman, the Rays posted the franchise's first winning season and won the American League pennant in 2008, when he was named Sporting News' Executive of the Year. After finishing below .500 in each of its first 10 years of existence, the Rays finished above the .500 mark in six consecutive seasons under Friedman from 2008-13.

Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon tried to put to rest the speculation of his move west by saying he plans on remaining Rays manager. And he gave Friedman high marks.

"He's a young man, but his abilities exceed his experience level," said Maddon. "He's really good. He's one of the best if not the best evaluator I've ever been around. So all that stuff's going to bode him well as he goes out west.

"Here's a guy at a very young age had a really good idea about how he wanted to do things. Then went ahead and did it. The growth more than anything I would say is based on his delegation. He's got great leadership qualities and in an administrative sense, he's outstanding. And it's hard to replace that, but we have some bright guys left behind who are ready for this challenge."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Friedman named Dodgers' president of baseball operations

Colletti remains with team as a senior advisor

Friedman named Dodgers' president of baseball operations

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers hired Andrew Friedman away from the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday to fill the newly created position of president of baseball operations, with current general manager Ned Colletti becoming a senior advisor to team president Stan Kasten.

Friedman, 37, was not under contract with the Rays. A news conference is scheduled to be held Friday at 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET. It can be seen live on MLB.com and dodgers.com.

More

Friedman led the Rays to four postseason appearances, including two division titles (2008, 2010), in nine seasons from 2006-14. Under Friedman, the Rays posted the franchise's first winning season and won the American League pennant in 2008, when he was named Sporting News' Executive of the Year. After finishing below .500 in each of its first 10 years of existence, the Rays finished above the .500 mark in six consecutive seasons under Friedman from 2008-13.

"Andrew Friedman is one of the youngest and brightest minds in the game today and we are very fortunate to have him join our organization," Kasten said. "The success he has had over the past nine years in molding the Tampa Bay Rays team has been incredible."

Friedman joined the Rays in 2004 and spent two years as director of baseball development before being named executive vice president of baseball operations. His previous experience includes two years as an analyst with the New York-based investment firm Bear Stearns & Co., Inc., and three years as an associate for the private equity firm MidMark Capital.

The Dodgers recently completed their fifth postseason appearance in Colletti's nine seasons; only St. Louis has matched that over that period of time. But an early exit at the hands of the Cardinals in the National League Division Series extended the Dodgers' World Series drought to 26 seasons.

"Ned Colletti has played a major role in the success of the Los Angeles Dodgers over the last nine years and I'm thrilled that we are able to retain him as a special advisor to me," said Kasten. "Ned's knowledge and experience in the game covering 33 years will be a great asset to the club as we continue to add and build our player-development system."

Former owner Frank McCourt hired Colletti to replace Paul DePodesta as the 10th GM in franchise history and the fifth in an eight-year span. Colletti inherited a 71-91 team and since then, the Dodgers have won four NL West titles, reached the NL Championship Series three times and compiled a 783-674 (.537) record. He had the winningest record of any NL GM in that time.

The Dodgers had a losing record in only one of his seasons, in 2010, when an ownership crisis financially handcuffed baseball operations. During his tenure, the Dodgers have the third-best won-loss record in the NL.

Guggenheim Baseball Management purchased the Dodgers in 2012 and kept Colletti in place with a dual mandate of trying to win a World Series immediately while rebuilding a farm system neglected during McCourt's era, during which the Dodgers abandoned the international talent market and eventually fell into bankruptcy.

Except for rare exceptions over the past decade -- most notably Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp -- a fallow farm system forced Colletti to plug holes through trades and expensive free agents, and he had come under fire for expensive mistakes like Jason Schmidt, Bill Mueller, Andruw Jones and, most recently, Brian Wilson.

Conversely, while Colletti had come under fire for dealing catching prospect Carlos Santana to Cleveland in the 2008 Casey Blake trade, weeks later he made one of the great Deadline trades ever by obtaining Manny Ramirez, who carried the Dodgers into the playoffs with the greatest two months of offense in club history.

Colletti also made one of the most shocking blockbuster deals baseball has known, obtaining Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto from the Red Sox. His deal last summer for Ricky Nolasco solidified a starting rotation that had lost Chad Billingsley for the season.

Some of Colletti's most successful acquisitions, however, have been on the cheap. From Takashi Saito to Justin Turner, from Wilson last year to Nomar Garciaparra, Colletti and the Dodgers have been rewarded by longshots when internal options fell short.

On Colletti's watch, the club made expensive quick-fix international expenditures that paid off, such as the signings of Yasiel Puig, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Hiroki Kuroda. Colletti's first trade after getting the job was one of his best, dealing away the troubled Milton Bradley for Andre Ethier, who became an All-Star in multiple seasons.

And whether it was mandated by ownership or Colletti's call, the Dodgers have resisted the temptation to deal away any of the organization's current jewels -- Joc Pederson, Corey Seager and Julio Urias -- even though it has meant passing on deals that might have made winning now easier.

Before joining the Dodgers, Colletti was assistant GM for the San Francisco Giants, and before that, he was with the Chicago Cubs, first in the publicity department, then in baseball operations.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Dodgers present completely new challenge for Friedman

Dodgers present completely new challenge for Friedman

The Los Angeles Dodgers have just hired a brilliant man, a brilliant baseball executive.

Is Andrew Friedman baseball's best general manager? Put it this way: There's no way to have this conversation without including him. He's a rare individual on many levels.

More

First, he understands the complex analytics that have transformed the sport. Perhaps because of his Wall Street background, he has had the ability to redefine some of the ingredients that win baseball games.

He also understands that baseball is about people, about personalities and about constructing a roster in which players accept their roles.

Friedman has already written an amazing legacy for himself with the Tampa Bay Rays. In the last seven seasons the Rays have averaged 90 victories a season and gone to the postseason four times despite an average payroll that ranked 25th.

The Rays won more games with fewer resources than any other team. In doing this, they wrote a blueprint for every other team unable to spend with the Yankees, Red Sox, etc.

Now he has a completely different kind of challenge. In fact, running the Dodgers baseball operation is almost totally different than running the Rays. First, he's going to have the kind of scrutiny and second-guessing he has never had before. Drowning out the noise will be one of his first challenges.

With the Rays, he was unable to take large financial risks. So he mixed and matched the roster, getting guys who fit a platoon plan or a young guy the Rays believed had the potential to be better than others thought possible.

One of the internal philosophies was this: "We see things others don't." In James Loney, Fernando Rodney, Yunel Escobar and many others, the Rays got significant contributions from players who weren't exactly in demand.

Because he had a great manager, he could throw an assortment of personalities into the clubhouse and trust manager Joe Maddon could make it work. If there was a better relationship between a general manager and manager than Maddon and Friedman, it would be difficult to find.

Maddon has one year remaining on his contract and could follow Friedman to the Dodgers. Or he may be so invested in the Rays and the Tampa Bay community, that he makes a long-term commitment.

Now a word about the Rays.

This is a difficult day. Friedman did wonderful things. But let's also remember the resurrection of the Rays began when Stu Sternberg bought the franchise. He brought along team president Matt Silverman and Friedman.

In terms of maximizing their financial resources and being a good citizen of the community and generally doing things right, the Rays have been as well run as any club in the game.

If there's a surprise in the announcement that Friedman is headed to the Dodgers, it's that he's leaving Sternberg and Silverman. They worked well together. They were close. They also understood they had a good thing going.

That said, as long as Sternberg owns the Rays, they're in good hands. In putting Silverman in charge of the baseball operation, Sternberg is turning to someone who sees the world the same way Friedman saw it.

Silverman will surround himself with more good people, and he will keep the Rays on the right path. Their first job is to get a new ballpark built in Tampa Bay, but that's a story for another day.

Back to Andrew Friedman.

His challenge with the Dodgers is different than anything he had with the Rays. The Dodgers have the largest payroll in the game. Tampa Bay's payroll the last four years combined is close to what the Dodgers spent this season alone.

They have close to $200 million in commitments for 2015 before beginning to improve the team. Even if Friedman is allowed to spend more money, baseball's free-agent market can't solve every problem. That's because most teams don't allow their best players to reach free agency.

Even if Friedman grabs Jon Lester and Russell Martin and a slew of relievers, his team will still have issues. The Dodgers are a hugely talented team, but they're a team with big salaries and big, big egos, a team in which the parts never seemed to fit.

It was one thing to get the overachieving Rays to function as a cohesive unit. It's another thing to get that same kind of thing from the Dodgers.

Around the game, scouts are effusive in their praise of Dodgers manager Don Mattingly for getting a consistent good effort from a club with all those large personalities.

Some of those guys came to the Dodgers with less than great reputations as teammates, and Mattingly did the best he could with what he was given.

But this much definitely has changed today. A solid baseball operation is about to be transformed into a great one. Friedman will indeed see things others don't. And the Dodgers, who've been remade in ways large and small the last few years, are going to see this as one of the best days they ever had.

Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Colletti ready to help in new advisory role with Dodgers

Colletti ready to help in new advisory role with Dodgers

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers' hiring of Andrew Friedman to run baseball operations was "purely about the long-term big picture" of the organization and not a reflection on the work of former general manager Ned Colletti, club president Stan Kasten said Tuesday.

Colletti was given the new title of senior advisor to Kasten and a new contract. After leading the Dodgers to the postseason five times in nine years, Colletti almost sounded relieved.

More

"They believe I have a chance to make an impact in a positive way and that's good enough," said Colletti. "I want to work, be held accountable and be responsible. Nine years is a long time, especially these nine years. It hasn't been smooth as glass."

Kasten would not define Colletti's role, while Colletti merely said he will "help Stan and help Andrew."

"Pride and ego can get in the way and deter from what is progress," he said. "I refuse to do that."

Colletti said he's been friends with Friedman since their "first general managers meeting" together and called him "a tremendous addition to this group. He'll bring another view, a successful view. His personality here will play great. Nobody better than this guy. Really, that's how I feel."

Friedman was hired away from the Tampa Bay Rays to the newly created position of president of baseball operations. He will be introduced at a Wednesday press conference, but Kasten said, based on their conversations, Friedman will hire a general manager, as well as supporting staff. Kasten also said he will remain active in baseball decisions and he "expects" Don Mattingly to return as field manager. Kasten dismissed theories that Colletti was replaced because of the Dodgers' early exit last week from the playoffs by St. Louis.

"That's just silly," he said. "I don't have a quick trigger. That's not how we do things here. It's not about this season. It was a good season, we won 94 games. It's purely about the long-term big picture."

Kasten also said Colletti shouldn't be criticized for player contracts the Dodgers signed since Guggenheim Baseball Management took over three years ago.

"That's on me," Kasten said. "No contract gets done that I don't approve. It's for none of those reasons and that criticism is unfair."

Former owner Frank McCourt hired Colletti to replace Paul DePodesta as the 10th general manager in franchise history and the fifth in an eight-year span. Colletti inherited a 71-91 team and since then, the Dodgers have won four NL West titles, reached the NL Championship Series three times and compiled a 783-674 (.537) record. He has the winningest record of any NL general manager in that time.

The Dodgers had a losing record in only one of his seasons, in 2010, when an ownership crisis financially handcuffed baseball operations. During his tenure, the Dodgers have the third-best win-loss record in the National League.

Guggenheim Baseball Management purchased the Dodgers in 2012 and kept Colletti in place with a dual mandate of trying to win a World Series immediately while rebuilding a farm system neglected during McCourt's era, which saw the Dodgers abandon the international talent market and, eventually, fall into bankruptcy.

Those years "taught me a lot," Colletti said. "You can get caught up in things you have zero control over. In this job, you're better off spending time on things you can control than what might have been. I didn't have time to wish, hope and wonder."

Except for rare exceptions over the last decade (most notably Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp), a fallow farm system forced Colletti to plug holes through trades and expensive free agents, and he has come under fire for expensive mistakes like Jason Schmidt, Bill Mueller, Andruw Jones and, most recently, Brian Wilson.

Conversely, while Colletti has been criticized for dealing catching prospect Carlos Santana to Cleveland in the 2008 Casey Blake trade, weeks later he made one of the great deadline trades ever by obtaining Manny Ramirez, who carried the Dodgers into the playoffs with the greatest two months of offense in club history.

Colletti also made one of the most shocking blockbuster deals baseball has known, obtaining Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto from the Red Sox. His deal last summer for Ricky Nolasco solidified a starting rotation that had lost Chad Billingsley for the season.

Some of Colletti's most successful acquisitions, however, have been on the cheap. From Takashi Saito to Justin Turner, from Wilson last year to Nomar Garciaparra, Colletti and the Dodgers have been rewarded by longshots when internal options fell short.

On Colletti's watch, the club made expensive quick-fix international expenditures that paid off, such as Yasiel Puig, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Hiroki Kuroda. His first trade after getting the job was one of his best, dealing away the troubled Milton Bradley for Andre Ethier, who became a two-time All-Star.

And whether it was mandated by ownership or Colletti's call, the Dodgers have resisted the temptation to deal away any of the organization's current jewels -- Joc Pederson, Corey Seager and Julio Urias -- even though it meant passing on deals that might have made winning now easier.

"You try to leave something better than you got it and after a bit of a dry spell, we went to the postseason five out of nine," Colletti said. "We not only have Joc and Seager and Urias, but a lot of talented people. That's pretty good."

Colletti has spent 33 years in baseball. Before joining the Dodgers, he was assistant general manager for the San Francisco Giants. Before that, Colletti was with the Chicago Cubs, first in the publicity department, then in baseball operations.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Bernadina elects free agency

Bernadina elects free agency

LOS ANGELES -- Outfielder Roger Bernadina elected free agency on Tuesday.

Bernadina, 30, had cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A, but he had enough Minor League time to leave the organization.

More

Bernadina was called up from Triple-A in September after the Dodgers nearly ran out of players in an extra-inning game and played in nine games. Earlier in the season, he played in 44 games with Cincinnati.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Fife passes through waivers, continues recovery

Dodgers right-hander had Tommy John surgery in August

Fife passes through waivers, continues recovery

LOS ANGELES -- Stephen Fife, recovering from Tommy John elbow reconstruction, was outrighted to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Monday after clearing waivers.

The right-handed Fife, 28, pitched once for the Dodgers this year, a six-inning spot start in Miami on May 4 when he allowed four earned runs in a no-decision. He went 4-4 with a 3.86 ERA for the Dodgers in 2013, making 12 appearances (10 starts).

More

Fife underwent Tommy John surgery in August and will likely miss the entire 2015 season.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Dodgers must get creative to stabilize 'pen

Besides solid setup men, LA looking for back-end starter, shortstop

Dodgers must get creative to stabilize 'pen

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers already have nearly $190 million committed in a 2015 payroll they would like to reduce from this year's $240 million.

They need to figure out who starts at shortstop, who can provide stability in the bullpen and who'll be the fifth starter. And there's no assurance the Minor League system can address any of those needs. So, the good news for the general manager is that the problem areas are limited. The bad news is that the solutions appear limited, too.

More

Manager Don Mattingly has received more criticism for postseason game management than credit for guiding a repeat division winner overflowing with complicated egos.

"Where we're at is where we're at," Mattingly said. "I'm prepared to win with the guys you have."

Mattingly also has said he recognizes that the abundance of well-paid, proven veterans also means the roster is aging and is in need of youthful athleticism. The 53-year-old is doing his part to promote a youth movement, as he's about to become a father again. The skipper said he's "really looking forward to it. My best year [as a player] was when we had a baby."

Mattingly is luckier than most managers in that the bulk of a stellar rotation will return, as will his closer and at least six of his starting position players.

But the challenges for 2015 are substantial. The Dodgers have never made the postseason in three consecutive seasons in franchise history. The Boys of Summer made the World Series four of five years from 1952-56.

Arbitration-eligible: INF Darwin Barney, OF Roger Bernadina, C Drew Butera, LHP Scott Elbert, C A.J. Ellis, 2B Dee Gordon, RHP Kenley Jansen, INF Justin Turner.

Free agents: RHP Josh Beckett (retired), RHP Chad Billingsley ($14 million club option with $3 million buyout), RHP Kevin Correia, RHP Dan Haren ($10 million player option), RHP Roberto Hernandez, LHP Paul Maholm, RHP Chris Perez, SS Hanley Ramirez, RHP Brian Wilson ($10 million player option), RHP Jamey Wright.

Rotation: Once Haren officially exercises his $10 million option, the Dodgers will return 80 percent of a solid rotation, also including Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu, all four having ended the season healthy. Beckett's retirement, the uncertainty of Billingsley's future after two elbow operations and nobody ready on the farm almost assuredly means the club will be looking for a free-agent journeyman or trade acquisition as a fifth starter, while hoping that somebody from the Minor Leagues rises up as a better alternative. But the club was disappointed in Zach Lee's regression and Julio Urias is only 18, so there isn't a logical candidate down there unless Matt Magill makes great strides in the Arizona Fall League.

Bullpen: The relief corps played a major role in the Dodgers' quick playoff exit, and while it obviously needs to be addressed, there isn't a lot of flexibility. Jansen is the reliable closer, but Wilson, J.P. Howell and Brandon League all have guaranteed contracts. Howell was solid for five months, and maybe the use took a toll. League had a solid season, but nothing he does seems to be appreciated, because he has a closer contract. Wilson wasn't able to retain his role as a dominant setup man, and by the time the playoffs rolled around, his role was to pitch in games in which the team trailed. So, finding a setup man is imperative. Pedro Baez has the stuff, but showed he wasn't quite ready yet. A comeback by second lefty Paco Rodriguez would be welcome.

Catcher: In defense of Ellis, his .191 batting average didn't stop the Dodgers from winning the division by six games and his .538 average didn't carry the club past the first round of the playoffs. In other words, his primary role isn't offense, but to run the game for the pitchers, and he does it exactly the way the coaching staff wants. Kershaw has been outspoken in the need to keep him. That said, it figures the Dodgers could non-tender Ellis to rein in his salary. The club will probably want to bring someone to compete with him. Management has always wanted Tim Federowicz to win the job, but so far he hasn't done enough in his limited chances. Butera is a serviceable backup, but he's out of options.

First base: Nothing to do here. Adrian Gonzalez is the MLB RBI champ. He shows up every day, is the steadiest run producer in a lineup of stars, still possesses plenty of power and even if he isn't a Gold Glove on defense anymore, he's much more good than bad. Scott Van Slyke can handle the position and give the lineup an added right-handed bat when necessary.

Second base: A year ago, the Dodgers thought Cuban signing Alex Guerrero would be their starting second baseman and Gordon might make the club. Gordon turned into an All-Star by resurrecting his career at second base and as a leadoff catalyst. Whatever Gordon lacks in the subtle instincts normally associated at the position, he makes up for it with athleticism and hustle. The club believes he tired at the end of the season, but second base is the least of the Dodgers' concerns.

Shortstop: First, management must decide whether to make a qualifying offer to Ramirez, and it better be ready for him to accept it and return for another unhappy season at shortstop. It's hard to let Ramirez's talented bat walk, but that's the more likely option, because the team doesn't believe he's a shortstop anymore. If he leaves, the Dodgers can deal or sign somebody else's starter, or devise a rotation out of Barney, Miguel Rojas and Erisbel Arruebarrena.

Third base: The Dodgers gave Juan Uribe another multiyear contract and crossed their fingers that they wouldn't regret it, and they haven't. Uribe came up with the highest batting average of his career, played his customary airtight defense and was healthy for most of the season. Now it's another walk year, and he should be motivated to keep it up. And Turner remains under control, so he returns as the primary bench player whose best position appeared to be the hot corner.

Outfield: Offensively and defensively, the club jelled when Matt Kemp was moved to right field, Yasiel Puig became the starting center fielder, Carl Crawford and Van Slyke platooned in left and Andre Ethier was sent to the bench. That makes Ethier the most logical trade piece, with Joc Pederson knocking on the door as a younger version. Long term, the Dodgers hope Pederson eventually emerges as the center fielder, because for all of Puig's highlight-film exploits, he doesn't focus out there and still misses the cutoff man. Puig also hasn't shown the ability to prevent slumps from extending for months, a common hole when young players are rushed through the Minor Leagues and don't learn how to overcome hard times.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Memorable season overshadowed by abrupt October

Year filled with highlights and player awards fizzles in postseason

Memorable season overshadowed by abrupt October

LOS ANGELES -- Club chairman Mark Walter pushed an equipment trunk out of the clubhouse after his Dodgers were bounced from the playoffs in St. Louis. A picture worth a billion words.

For $235 million in payroll, Walter got a second consecutive National League West title, but a first-round exit from the playoffs can only be viewed as a step backward for the deep-pocketed, high-profile Guggenheim ownership group.

More

First a windfall TV deal gone awry, then another loss to the Cardinals, leaving already frustrated fans distraught as the franchise World Series drought extends to 26 seasons.

So much went right for the Dodgers until the sour ending. Clayton Kershaw put together what certainly will be his third Cy Young season and possibly the first MVP year for an NL starting pitcher since Bob Gibson in 1968. Zack Greinke set a personal high with 17 wins. Adrian Gonzalez won an RBI title, Dee Gordon revived his career to lead MLB in stolen bases and triples. The team never had a losing streak longer than three games and for the second consecutive year rallied from a 9 1/2-game deficit. All the while, manager Don Mattingly was the ringmaster of a clubhouse circus, massaging egos while manipulating lineups.

Kershaw and Josh Beckett pitched no-hitters. Matt Kemp became Matt Kemp again. Justin Turner turned into one of the best bench players the Dodgers have had. Juan Uribe posted his highest batting average. A healthy Carl Crawford was one of the best second-half hitters in the game. Kenley Jansen was one of the most efficient closers in the league. And Yasiel Puig, for all of his drama, was a highlight film ready to happen at any moment.

But a season that opened with such high expectations in Australia ended in such despair in America's heartland, as the weak-link bullpen undermined managerial confidence and dictated decision making, from rosters to pitching changes.

The Dodgers overcame fewer injuries than they've had in some recent years. The biggest ones made Chad Billingsley unavailable all year, felled Beckett midway through the season after his surprising comeback from thoracic outlet surgery, cost the bullpen Chris Withrow and were just nagging enough to keep Hanley Ramirez from the kind of season that would have assured him of free-agent riches.

Although the team defense ranked near the bottom of the league, as it often does, team offense and pitching ranked in the top four. The Dodgers were MLB's best road team and dominated within the division (50-26), but tied for the league high with 12 extra-inning losses, another indictment of the bullpen.

So the Dodgers made back-to-back postseason appearances for only the seventh time in franchise history, had the most wins since 2009 and made the playoffs for the fifth time in Ned Colletti's nine years as general manager. 

Record: 94-68, first in the NL West

Defining moment: After a June 4 loss that left the Dodgers 31-30 and 8 1/2 games out, Mattingly called out his club for not pulling in the same direction. The deficit would reach 10 games, but by June 30 the club was 11 games above .500 and in first place. In late July, with all of his outfielders finally healthy, Mattingly settled on Kemp in right field, Puig in center, Crawford in left and Andre Ethier on the bench. On July 27 the Dodgers moved back into first place and stayed there the rest of the season.

What went right: Kershaw/Greinke again provided a throwback to the Sandy Koufax/Don Drysdale days of dual aces, when both clubs come to the ballpark pretty much knowing how the game will turn out. Kershaw was even better than before, and Greinke set a personal high for wins. Gonzalez won an RBI title, only the third in history for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Kemp, who needed the first half to shake off the rust of three operations, regained all of his superstar tools except running speed in the second half to provide protection for Gonzalez. Once all of the outfielders were healthy, Mattingly settled on Kemp, Puig and Crawford as starters and the team took off.

Gordon, whose shortstop career hit a dead end, was reborn as a second baseman, disruptive leadoff hitter and stolen-base champ. Turner came off the scrap heap to produce one of the best seasons ever for a Dodgers bench player. Dan Haren delivered 13 wins as a fourth starter. Once healthy, Crawford poured it on in the second half. Uribe had the highest batting average of his career.

What went wrong: Brian Wilson returned with a two-year, $19-million contract in hand and 5 mph less on the radar gun. That left the club scrambling all year for setup relief to get to Jansen. Along the way, Withrow blew out, J.P. Howell did what he could until weakening in September and it all ultimately resulted in early elimination from the playoffs. There were no in-season acquisitions to address the bullpen, only trades for journeymen starters Kevin Correia and Roberto Hernandez that made little positive impact. Management made those deals because lack of organizational depth couldn't adequately replace the season-long loss of Billingsley, then the midseason loss of Beckett, who had already delivered more quality starts than anybody expected.

On offense, the club kept waiting for Ramirez to repeat his '13 form, but he was never healthy enough to do it consistently.

Biggest surprise: A non-roster invitee, Turner produced one of the great seasons by a Dodgers utility man. He had the rare ability to step in and start for extended periods at several infield spots, while also the calm to excel as a pinch-hitter in pressure situations. The Dodgers are grateful the Mets cast him aside for reasons that remain a mystery.

Hitter of the Year: While Puig's dynamism and drama drew the spotlight and a starting All-Star berth, Gonzalez was the only steady run producer in the star-studded lineup. Take the MLB RBI champ out of this batting order and the Dodgers season would have ended in September, or sooner. If he's not everyone's idea of a prototype team leader, he sure was quick to get in the face of Yadier Molina when the Cardinals' catcher got into the head of Puig in the playoffs.

Pitcher of the Year: As if he wasn't already elite with two Cy Youngs, Kershaw became historic with a fourth consecutive ERA title that helped put him in line to be the first starting pitcher to win an NL MVP Award since Gibson in 1968. Unfortunately, a phenomenal season will be remembered as much for his dejected knockout in the NLDS, leaving Busch Stadium with another monkey on his back.

Rookie of the Year: Miguel Rojas, shortstop. All you need to know about the Dodgers' Minor League system is that Rojas wins this award with a .466 OPS, and he didn't even come up through the system. A journeyman Minor Leaguer, he was reliable as Ramirez's defensive caddy. He sure got Kershaw's vote for saving the lefty's no-hitter.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Mattingly doesn't expect change in GM's office

Dodgers skipper addresses challenges facing club, coming up short in NLDS

Mattingly doesn't expect change in GM's office

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly met with the media on Thursday, amid reports general manager Ned Colletti's job is in jeopardy.

According to a club official, Colletti will be in meetings with club president Stan Kasten over the weekend and would speak with the media next week.

More

So it was up to Mattingly to answer questions about what went wrong in this year's National League Division Series and how to fix it, after he and his coaching staff met with Colletti and his baseball-operations lieutenants to review the club.

Although Mattingly received a multiyear contract extension in January, one question he didn't answer conclusively was whether the club was bringing him back next year, although all indications are that it will.

"I'm assuming," he said. "Came to work, like every other day, nobody told me any different."

He said he "would be surprised" if there were a new general manager for him to work with.

"I came in today and it seemed like business as usual," he said.

Mattingly wouldn't give a definitive answer on whether his coaching staff would return, saying only he was "proud of everything we've done this year."

Mattingly did downplay disappointment over the way things ended in St. Louis this week, accentuating his belief that 2014 was another positive step in a multiyear process for rebuilding all phases of the organization.

"I don't feel like it's a bust," he said. "Win or bust is pretty tough. I don't mind that mentality, but you have to have reality, too.

"The playoffs were different this year. We didn't make an error. We had one baserunning mistake on a funky hop. They got the key hit, they made the key pitch and that's the difference in the series. We got beat, but we didn't beat ourselves. I can handle getting beat. I don't like losing. The things I always talk about, making the play, getting the hit, getting the out. They were able to do it. We weren't."

Mattingly said the one decision from the series with St. Louis he'd like to do over was bringing in lefty Scott Elbert to start the seventh inning of a tied Game 3 and face right-handed hitter Yadier Molina, with two left-handed hitters to follow. Elbert allowed a double to Molina, Jon Jay bunted him to second and Kolten Wong homered. Mattingly mentioned Brian Wilson as the likely right-hander for that situation. Wilson had warmed up before Elbert.

Mattingly conceded that managing the egos in this particular clubhouse "was trying a little bit ... a little challenging," mostly involving the crowded outfield.

"That was hard," he said. "I thought it would be easier. It wasn't. I had to make a decision. When they got banged up, it was easy. When everybody was healthy, I made the call. It wasn't four [Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford]. It was five [with Scott Van Slyke]. And five turned into six with the kid [Joc Pederson]."

However, he disputed critics of the clubhouse chemistry.

"All year we battled that talk, but in September the team was ready to play," he said. "I don't worry about the chemistry. We went into the [Division] Series thinking we'd win, prepared to win. The guys were all-in, and got beat."

Though he wouldn't opine on Hanley Ramirez returning, Mattingly said it was his opinion that the shortstop was bothered by the uncertainty of looming free agency.

"It's almost impossible not to," Mattingly said. "It was the same to me last year [as a lame-duck manager]. It's just noise. You feel you're tough, but it's still there. It's there all year."

Mattingly said the baseball-ops department is concerned about the aging of the roster. Of the eight position starters, six are 30 or older.

"You see teams all the time, all of a sudden, they're old," he said. "At 32, 33 is old again, it always has been except for a 10- or 15-year period. It's something you should pay attention to. But it's what the owners have talked about, building the farm system so you don't have to do it with free agents."

He reeled off the names of the club's top prospects -- Pederson, Corey Seager, Julio Urias, Scott Schebler, plus rookie pitchers Pedro Baez and Carlos Frias.

"That's how to avoid that and what we're working toward. It's an invisible part because we don't get to see it."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Lasorda receives Bob Feller Act of Valor Award

Other honorees are Indians' Swisher and Naval officer

Lasorda receives Bob Feller Act of Valor Award

Tommy Lasorda, a Hall of Fame manager and one of the great ambassadors of baseball, on Wednesday received an award that is close to his heart. The man who professes to bleed Dodger Blue is one of three recipients of the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award.

The award, established in 2013, is being bestowed on three men who possess the values, integrity and dedication to serving the United States in a manner Feller displayed. Lasorda joins Indians first baseman Nick Swisher and Senior Chief Petty Officer Carl Thompson of the U.S. Navy.

More

"I'm so proud to be one of the honorees to have the award coming to me, especially for a guy I idolized," Lasorda said in a video interview with MLB.com. "I used to look up to him with so much respect."

Author Peter Fertig created the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award with the support of the U.S. Navy, the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial, the Indians, the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association and Mrs. Anne Feller. The annual award honors one member of baseball's Hall of Fame, one current Major League player and a U.S. Navy Petty Officer.

Lasorda served in the United States Army from 1945-47, putting his baseball career on hold.

In the service, Lasorda was stationed at Fort Meade, Md. To date, Lasorda has visited more than 40 U.S. military installations across the world and he took part in a 2009 USO Goodwill tour for troops in Iraq. This year, Lasorda participated in Navy general retirement ceremonies and in the swearing-in of over 1,500 new U.S. troops.

Visiting the troops is a source of pride for Lasorda.

"All I was wanting to do was to tell them how much I appreciate what they're doing for me and for our country," the iconic former Dodgers manager said. "When they put that uniform on, it's the uniform of the greatest country in the world, the land of opportunity."

Feller made his MLB debut with the Indians at age 17 in 1936, and his legendary career ended in 1956. The right-hander posted a 266-162 lifetime record with 279 complete games and 44 shutouts. If not for spending four years of military service during World War II, he likely would have been a 300-game winner.

An eight-time All-Star, Feller became the first pitcher to win 24 games in a season before turning 21. His list of accomplishments included no-hitters in 1940, 1946 and 1951.

Feller was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1962, his first year of eligibility.

Feller passed away at age 92 in 2010.

"He was one of the greatest pitchers that ever walked out on the pitching mound," Lasorda said. "This guy was tremendous, and not only that, but a lot of people didn't know how much of a citizen he was. How proud he was to be an American.

"I enjoyed being with him. I always looked up to him with respect and admiration. The times I spent with him were very, very precious to me."

The word "valor" also holds special meaning to Lasorda.

"It's got a lot of power, the word valor," Lasorda said. "It means a lot. For me to be associated with that word makes me feel really, really good."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Season-long 'pen woes led to Dodgers' disappointing end

Season-long 'pen woes led to Dodgers' disappointing end

LOS ANGELES -- It was just one pitch in a Spring Training game, but it was a warning for what ultimately would doom the Dodgers this year.

Brian Wilson threw a pitch to then-A's prospect Addison Russell and looked uncomfortable on the mound to pitching coach Rick Honeycutt. Out came manager Don Mattingly and the medics, but Wilson insisted he was fine and was allowed to pitch.

More

For most of the 2014 season, Wilson insisted he was fine and was allowed to pitch. But this wasn't the same Wilson that returned from a second Tommy John surgery to sign with the Dodgers in midseason of '13 and provide a lights-out set-up man to closer Kenley Jansen. Last year's Wilson was rewarded with a two-year contract that will pay him another $10 million next season if, as expected, he exercises a player option.

This year's Wilson went on the disabled list in April with what was described as ulnar nerve irritation, although he suggested it was more to strengthen his arm from an interrupted Spring. But Wilson's velocity never returned, even though he raised eyebrows in the clubhouse in mid-September by saying he still had 95 mph in him, he was just saving it for the postseason.

As the postseason showed, Wilson's optimistic forecast wasn't borne out by radar guns or opposing bats and wasn't bought by Mattingly. As Clayton Kershaw was about to serve up that fateful curveball to Matt Adams Tuesday night with the season on the line, Mattingly had untested rookies Pedro Baez and Carlos Frias throwing in the bullpen.

"Obviously, your team is your team," Mattingly said when asked if he would have pulled Kershaw from Game 4 sooner if he had a more successful bullpen. "It goes back to the same question, is there anybody better, even on short rest, and even where he was at that point?"

The Dodgers spent $34 million on the bullpen alone attempting to prevent a comment like that. Most of the salary went to free agents, filling holes the farm system couldn't. The club only recently restarted international scouting efforts after neglect by previous ownership. Turning around the farm system takes years, and there is no budding reliever on the top-prospect list. The top pitching prospects (Julio Urias, Grant Holmes, Chris Anderson, Zach Lee, Tom Windle and Chris Reed) are considered starters.

Baez, a converted third baseman, had allowed the decisive Matt Holliday home run in Kershaw's Game 1 loss. Frias, a September callup after eight Minor League seasons, never entered a playoff game.

Watching the rookies warm up were former closers Wilson, Brandon League and J.P. Howell. Chris Perez, another former closer, might have been watching from home, having been left off the postseason roster after missing a $500,000 bonus by one appearance, even though he returned from injury to make seven scoreless appearances in September .

Veteran Jamey Wright was down there, too, as was Scott Elbert. Elbert had been designated for assignment two months earlier after two seasons of elbow problems, but was picked by management over Paco Rodriguez to be the second situational lefty. Elbert was the losing pitcher in Game 3.

Wilson, who hadn't allowed an earned run in 16 previous postseason games, pitched only once against the Cardinals, with the Dodgers trailing by two runs in Game 3. He allowed a leadoff double to Jhonny Peralta, intentionally walked Adams, struck out Yadier Molina and was replaced by Howell when the left-handed Jon Jay came to bat.

Mattingly managed Wilson carefully this year, spotting him against certain right-handed hitters and not overexposing him against lefties.

The unraveling of the Dodgers' bullpen traces to Wilson, but it was compounded by the sudden form reversal of the lefty Howell, who was nails for the first five months. Howell went into a September swoon and never pulled out of it. The domino effect had disastrous repercussions, as Mattingly had no confident alternatives and, in the end, wouldn't replace the best starting pitcher in the game while he still had a lead.

So, where was the depth?

Javy Guerra, another former closer, was lost on waivers to the White Sox. Injuries took their toll. Veteran swingman Paul Maholm blew out a knee in early August. Hard-throwing Chris Withrow, who would have been a candidate to take over the eighth inning, blew out his elbow and had Tommy John surgery. Jose Dominguez, with triple-digit velocity, didn't pitch after July 25 because of shoulder inflammation. Onelki Garcia missed virtually the entire season with elbow and knee surgery.

That the Dodgers took eight relievers into the playoffs (they took seven last year) reflected the concern the club had getting the ball to Jansen with a lead. Despite those calculations, or miscalculations, Mattingly's relievers had a 6.48 ERA in the series with the Cardinals. On the season, the Dodgers bullpen had a 3.80 ERA, 12th in the league.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Crushing blow: Homer sinks Dodgers' season

On short rest, Kershaw cruises for six before Adams' decisive blast

Crushing blow: Homer sinks Dodgers' season

ST. LOUIS -- Clayton Kershaw's next start will be on plenty of rest.

He couldn't fight off the demons, or elimination, Tuesday. After being routed by the Cardinals in back-to-back Octobers, a Kershaw masterpiece was ruined by Matt Adams' three-run blast in the bottom of the seventh inning Tuesday for a 3-2 comeback win that gave St. Louis the best-of-five National League Division Series in four games.

More

"The season ended and I'm a big part of the reason why," Kershaw said. "It doesn't matter how I pitched. It's bad deja vu all over again."

With the Dodgers' bullpen in shambles, Kershaw returned on three days' rest for the second time in his career and went MVP on the Cardinals for six innings, allowing only one hit. But Matt Holliday and Jhonny Peralta opened the fateful seventh with well-placed singles up the middle that nicked the gloves of infielders Dee Gordon and Hanley Ramirez.

Then Kershaw -- the certain NL Cy Young winner and probable NL MVP -- hung an 0-1 curveball to Adams, who lined it into the St. Louis bullpen to give the Cardinals their seventh home run of the series, five of them by left-handed hitters off left-handed pitchers. It was the first homer by a left-handed hitter off Kershaw this year.

"Saw it pop up out of his hand and knew it was going to be a good one to swing at," said Adams.

After 102 pitches, that was the end for Kershaw and the Dodgers, the bullpen never even getting a chance to protect the lead. Kershaw dejectedly left the mound, head down, Busch Stadium deafening, when rookie Pedro Baez replaced him. The Dodgers are now 1-10 in postseason games played in St. Louis and 13-22 in elimination games.

"Two grounders went through, then the home run," said Kershaw. "It happened that fast. Sometimes, hits can happen. Obviously, Adams is one that can't happen. It seems like one inning every time."

The Dodgers reached the NL Championship Series last year, so this early exit is a step backward for a club with a $230 million payroll and an ownership group that envisions a dynasty of championships. The Dodgers either led or were tied entering the seventh inning in all four games.

As for the owners, Mark Walter and Stan Kasten congratulated the Cardinals in their clubhouse before addressing the Dodgers in theirs. Manager Don Mattingly congratulated the Cardinals in the postgame news conference.

Back in the Dodgers clubhouse, the players packed for an unhappy flight west.

"It's awful. Devastating," said catcher A.J. Ellis, who went from a .191 hitter during the season to a .538 hitter in the playoffs, but finished the year in front of his locker, head in hands, before answering questions. "It just brings up last year. Familiar setting, rehashes our old nemesis as well. We're close, but still not there."

Mattingly was asked about sending Kershaw back out for the seventh inning after making 94 pitches, apparently by a questioner unaware of the bullpen's recent implosions. Kershaw struck out the side in the sixth inning and had nine strikeouts.

"It goes back to the same question, is there anybody better, even on short rest, and even where he was at that point?" Mattingly said. "I mean, Holliday hits the ball barely out of reach of Dee, Peralta hits the ball and it hits off Hanley's glove, and then had a curveball there. So at the end of the day, I think it's not really a situation that you try to change too much or manipulate too much."

Kershaw, who has won four consecutive ERA titles and just had a 21-3 season, is now 1-5 with a 5.12 ERA in 11 career postseason games (eight of them starts). He's the first Dodgers pitcher to lose four consecutive postseason games. This one followed his eight-run disaster in Game 1 this year, which followed his seven-run disaster in Game 6 of last year's NL Championship Series. He insisted afterward that he wasn't fatigued.

This also was the second time this series that Kershaw couldn't protect a lead. The Dodgers scored both runs in the top of the sixth inning when they chased St. Louis starter Shelby Miller. One run scored on Matt Kemp's double-play grounder, the other on Juan Uribe's RBI single.

"They just have a good team, man," Kemp said. "They get the big hit when they need it. Everything worked in their favor. Any time you lose in the playoffs you know your season is over and it's tough to swallow. We just came up short. They were the better team."

The Dodgers' offense, limited to one run in Game 3, was shuffled by Mattingly, who benched center fielder Yasiel Puig and replaced him with Andre Ethier, because Puig had struck out in eight of his previous nine at-bats and Ethier had homered earlier this year off Miller. Ethier went 0-for-2 with two walks and a strikeout.

The Dodgers put the tying run on first with one out in the ninth when Ellis worked a walk off closer Trevor Rosenthal. Puig pinch-ran for Ellis and Justin Turner pinch-hit for reliever Brandon League. Rosenthal fell behind, 2-0, got the count to 3-2 and struck out Turner. Gordon slashed a single to left to bring up Carl Crawford, who grounded out to second to end the season.

The sixth inning opened with singles by Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez off Miller, putting runners on the corners with no outs. Kemp bounced into a double play as Crawford scored the first run. The Dodgers weren't done, as Ramirez was nicked by a pitch and Ethier worked a walk.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny brought in Seth Maness, who was greeted by Uribe's RBI single to right, with Ethier taking third. On a pitch low and away to Ellis, catcher Yadier Molina whirled as the ball took a kind hop nearby, Ethier broke toward home and stopped, and Molina threw to third. Ethier went back standing up, umpire Jerry Meals ruled him safe, but the call was overturned on a challenge by Matheny and the inning was over.

"I didn't have a real good that dugout is kind of down in a little bit of a hole," Mattingly said. "But [third-base coach Lorenzo] Bundy, from his viewpoint it looks like the ball is getting away. And A.J. [at-bat] said the same thing. It's like it hit something and popped up. I think Andre saw the same thing, thought that ball was getting farther away and it was like a hit and popped. Again, I haven't seen a replay. I don't know. Our perspective is almost underground, so it's tough to see that stuff."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Game 4 loss has familiar feel for disappointed Kershaw

For second straight NLDS start, Dodgers ace falters in seventh vs. Cardinals

Game 4 loss has familiar feel for disappointed Kershaw

ST. LOUIS -- If the Dodgers went into this postseason knowing ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw was going to allow 11 earned runs in two losses to the Cardinals and have to pitch on three days' rest, they wouldn't have figured to win their just-concluded National League Division Series.

That's exactly what happened, and the Cardinals won the best-of-five series in four games, capped by their 3-2 win on Tuesday night. They are going on to the NL Championship Series for the fourth consecutive postseason and the Dodgers are going home without a shot at a World Series title for the 26th time since they defeated the A's to win the last one in 1988.

More

  Date   Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 3   STL 10, LAD 9 video
Gm 2 Oct. 4   LAD 3, STL 2 video
Gm 3 Oct. 6   STL 3, LAD 1 video
Gm 4 Oct. 7   STL 3, LAD 2 video

"How does it feel? What do you think? Not good. That's about as far as I'll go," Kershaw said after losing Game 4 when Matt Adams hit a three-run, seventh inning homer to sink the Dodgers and Kershaw for the second time in five days.

To put it all into perspective, Kershaw allowed only nine earned runs in his last seven starts of the regular season. He had three losses all season, two over a span of 11 days in May and another in August. He was 18-1 in his last 19 decisions, including wins in his final seven starts, a Major League-leading 21 overall.

With the playoffs coming and Kershaw seemingly fresher than last year after missing five weeks in April because of a muscle strain under his left arm, there was just no inkling that any of this was coming. Inclusive of last year's 9-0 loss to the Cardinals in the deciding Game 6 of the NLCS, Kershaw has allowed 18 earned runs in his last three postseason starts for an 8.67 ERA. He's 0-4 in the last two postseasons against St. Louis. Compare and contrast. His Major League-leading ERA this past regular season was 1.77.

Kershaw bemoaned the circumstances.

"The season ended and I'm a big part of the reason why," Kershaw said. "It doesn't matter how I pitched. It's bad deja vu all over again. I felt we had a really good chance to win. I'm thankful we got here and hope to be back."

His two NLDS starts were similar in so many ways. On Friday night at Dodger Stadium, he had a four-run lead and was pitching a two-hitter when he went into the seventh inning and fell apart. The Cardinals pelted him for five singles and Matt Carpenter's bases-loaded, bases-clearing double. When the smoke cleared, they had scored eight runs and led, 10-6, in a game they eventually won, 10-9.

On Tuesday, Kershaw pitched with three days' rest for the second consecutive NLDS. This time he carried a one-hitter into the seventh and for the second time just around the 100-pitch mark he again began to struggle.

Here was manager Don Mattingly's strategy heading into the fateful seventh:

"He felt good. In talking with him and getting the answer that we always try to get from him, we knew it was a three-hitter situation. We knew it wasn't going to be a 20-, 25-pitch inning. We knew it was going to be three hitters."

Unlike Friday, when Kershaw allowed four consecutive singles and nobody was even warming up in the bullpen, this time Mattingly said he had Pedro Baez warming up and ready to face Yadier Molina, the fourth hitter in the inning. Matt Holliday singled off second baseman Dee Gordon's glove. Jhonny Peralta singled off shortstop Hanley Ramirez's glove. And Adams hit an 0-1 curve on a line just above the right-field fence and into the Cardinals' bullpen to decide the game and the series.

Kershaw was taken out, again deflated. Mattingly defended his decision to again start the seventh inning with a potentially fatigued Kershaw, whose pitches were up in the strike zone at the end.

"You had to look at Clayton, where he was at, the way he was feeling, the way he was kind of cruising along," Mattingly said. "So I don't think anything right there changes a whole lot. It goes back to the same question: is there anybody better, even on short rest, and even where he was at, at that point? I mean, Holliday hits the ball barely out of reach of Dee, Peralta hits the ball and it hits off Hanley's glove, and then he hangs a curveball there. One bad pitch. So at the end of the day, I think it's not really a situation that you try to change too much or manipulate too much."

Last year in their NLDS against the Braves, Mattingly had designated Ricky Nolasco as his Game 4 starter, but after the Dodgers went up 2-1 in the series at home, he opted to use Kershaw on three days' rest to wrap up the series. Kershaw pitched the first six innings, leaving with the score tied 2-2. The Dodgers won 4-3 on Juan Uribe's eighth-inning, two-run homer.

But there's a big difference between this year and last October. Kershaw opened that series at Atlanta by pitching seven innings of one-run, three-hit ball as the Dodgers won Game 1, 6-1. That turns out to be his last postseason victory. Even in his best game of the last two postseasons against the Cardinals, Kershaw pitched six innings of two-hit ball in Game 2 right here and lost, 1-0, to then rookie Michael Wacha. The Cardinals appear to have his number.

"I've had success against them, too," said Kershaw, who is 5-5 with a 3.46 ERA in 15 regular-season starts against the Cardinals. "It seems like one inning every time. Obviously, that's not success. I feel I have the ability to get them out. They're a good team and they just beat me. I don't think they do anything major. They just get hits."

Not many of them, but certainly enough.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Actress Spreitler joins 'Express Written Consent'

Actress Spreitler joins 'Express Written Consent'

For someone who is about to turn 21 years old, Taylor Spreitler has built quite a nice resume. She's most recognizable as Lennox Scanlon in the family sitcom "Melissa & Joey," on which she has starred since 2010. But her first acting job dates back to 2005, when she was just 12 years old, playing a messed up younger sister in an episode of "Law and Order: SVU."

Seven years later, she returned to the show, to play largely the same character -- sort of.

More

"In both, I played a horrible sister," she said. "First one, the horrible younger sister. Two years ago, horrible older sister."

These are things we can only uncover during "Express Written Consent," our cheeky MLB.com venture that gives celebrities a chance to hang out in our booth at a Major League ballpark -- in this case, Dodger Stadium -- watch a game, and talk about whatever comes down the pike.

The affable Spreitler seemed at ease with MLB.com Jeremy Brisiel, who first peppered her with questions about how, ahem ... awful it must be to work with Melissa Joan Hart, star of "Melissa and Joey."

No, not really. Hart has a reputation as one of the nicest actresses in Hollywood, to which Spreitler can attest. Just consider what Hart did for her co-star around graduation time a couple of years ago. Spreitler, who was home-schooled, wasn't going to have the experience of a typical graduation with caps and gowns and speeches and parties. So, Hart created one on the set one day, unbenownst to Spreitler.

"We were filming a scene where I had to jump out of a window and land in a dumpster," Spreitler recalled. "And while I was in the dumpster, she had them pull away these curtains and I had a podium and I had a diploma from 'Melissa & Joey High School.'"

Hart went as far as to give the commencement speech, which was, Spreitler remembered, "pretty awesome."

Spreitler, born and raised in Hattiesburg, Miss., ended up in Hollywood by way of beauty pageants. Calling it the "typical southern thing to do growing up," Spreitler's pageant participation eventually snowballed into child modeling gigs, which necessitated a move to New York. There, she did a few commercials and, "one thing led to another, and I moved to L.A," she said.

Commercial life was fun, especially when she shot spots for Chuck E. Cheese on location.

"I got to play in Chuck E. Cheese all day long," Spreitler said.

Spreitler's years on "Days of Our Lives" were more taxing.

"It was difficult," Spreitler said. "It's not brutal hours -- you're not there that many hours during the day -- but you do a lot. Like 60 pages in a day where you're crying about these absurd switching babies and these crazy storylines and you go home and you feel so messed up in the head."

Spreitler's latest project, the horror film "Amityville: The Awakening," is due for release sometime in 2015. Starring in a horror movie, Spreitler said, was one of the most fun times of her career.

"It's something I've always wanted to do," Spreitler said. "Sometime in my life, I wanted to do it, and now I'm doing it."

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Trio of calls in St. Louis add to playoff replay intrigue

Trio of calls in St. Louis add to playoff replay intrigue

ST. LOUIS -- In the midst of a dramatic Game 4 of the National League Division Series in which the Cardinals closed out the Dodgers on Tuesday by winning, 3-2, the use of reviewable plays became a topic of discussion three times, and one review was used to overturn a play. The first and second instances came during the same strange plate appearance.

Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong was batting with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning at Busch Stadium, with teammate Jon Jay on first base after drawing a walk against Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw.

More

  Date   Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 3   STL 10, LAD 9 video
Gm 2 Oct. 4   LAD 3, STL 2 video
Gm 3 Oct. 6   STL 3, LAD 1 video
Gm 4 Oct. 7   STL 3, LAD 2 video
During the at-bat, Jay took a large lead and Kershaw threw to first base in an attempt to pick him off. It was a very close play, but first-base umpire Jerry Layne called Jay safe. Replays showed the Dodgers might have had a reason to call for a review, but Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly chose not to challenge.

Moments later, a truly rare occurrence took place.

Kershaw delivered the third pitch of the at-bat, a 76-mph curveball that bounced in the dirt before reaching home plate. Wong swung at the ball and connected, fouling the ball back. Then the ball bounced on the dirt and hit Wong's right knee. Then the ball advanced into fair play, prompting catcher A.J. Ellis to pick it up and throw Wong out at first to end the inning.

Home-plate umpire Eric Cooper called it a fair ball immediately, although replays clearly showed that the ball struck Wong's leg. In this instance, the play was not reviewable; in the current list of reviewable plays, batter hit by a pitch is listed as reviewable, but fair/foul calls are reviewable "in outfield only (at or behind umpire)."

"I guess I should stop playing cricket in the offseason," Wong joked in the Cardinals' victorious clubhouse after the game, with his team headed to the NL Championship Series for the fourth consecutive year.

"He threw that curveball way in front of home plate. For some reason, I went to check swing and it took a weird hop and came up and hit my bat. Then it hit my leg.

"It was such a weird, weird thing that happened. I didn't even realize what was going on at that point. I felt it hit my leg, but I saw the ball go in play and I thought I should just run just in case. It was crazy."

It was especially crazy considering Wong made headlines last year by being picked off of first base to end Game 4 of the World Series. Wong was crying after that one, but he had a different reaction to the bizarre play Tuesday.

"I took my helmet off and was just laughing," he said. "I was like, 'Of course this would happen to me. It's not a postseason unless something weird happens to me.'"

The umpiring crew was finally called on for a review in the sixth inning, when the Dodgers took a 2-0 lead. After Juan Uribe had singled home his club's second run of the inning with a line drive to right field and pushed Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier to third base, Ellis came up to bat.

Ellis saw three pitches, working the count to 2-1. The fourth pitch was a changeup in the dirt that got away from catcher Yadier Molina briefly, goading Ethier to stray off third base just enough. Molina, who has won six consecutive Gold Glove Awards, fired to third baseman Matt Carpenter, who appeared to apply the tag for the third out.

Third-base umpire Jerry Meals called Ethier safe, prompting a review that lasted one minute and 32 seconds and resulted in the call being overturned. Ethier was out, the inning was over, and the Busch crowd was very happy.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said after the game that he didn't have a great view of the play because the visiting dugout is "kind of down in a little bit of a hole," but that third-base coach Lorenzo Bundy and Ellis said the ball appeared to "hit something" and that it "popped up."

"I think Andre saw the same thing, thought the ball was getting farther away," Mattingly said.

And the Cardinals saw later how big of a play it ended up being. "Anytime you can get an out at third base," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "Matt Carpenter also being heads-up to be there.

"Yadi is fearless behind the plate. ... He continues to amaze us with what he does and how he controls the pace of the game, how he controls the pitching staff. And just his leadership qualities that he brings to the club.

"But that play is something that he does without thinking. He sees a play, he wants to make it happen."

Previous replay reviews this postseason

Orioles-Tigers, ALDS Game 3: Schoop's run-saving scoop confirmed

With Tigers catcher Alex Avila at third base and two outs in the second inning, shortstop Andrew Romine bunted toward Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop. The ball was deftly scooped up by Schoop, who flipped the ball to first baseman Steve Pearce in one motion, and umpire Jim Wolf called Romine out. With a run at stake, Detroit manager Brad Ausmus challenged the call. After a two-minute, 28-second review, the call on the field stood. The Tigers would lose, 2-1, and were eliminated from the ALDS.

Cardinals-Dodgers, NLDS Game 2: Overturned call aids Dodgers win

A play on a Dee Gordon grounder to second base that Dodgers manager Don Mattingly challenged in the third inning turned out to be a pivotal play in his club's 3-2 victory. Zack Greinke was on first base when Gordon hit a bouncer to Cards second baseman Kolten Wong, who put the tag on Greinke to get an out call from umpire Eric Cooper. Replays, however, showed Wong had tagged Greinke with his glove while the ball was in his throwing hand, and Greinke was awarded second base after the review. He later scored on an Adrian Gonzalez single.

Giants-Nationals, NLDS Game 2: Call stands; Posey out at home

With the Nationals leading, 1-0, with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Pablo Sandoval sliced a ball to the left-field corner with two runners on. Joe Panik easily scored from second, but Buster Posey was called out by home-plate umpire Vic Carapazza after the relay throw beat him by a split second. San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy immediately challenged the call, but it was upheld due to a lack of conclusive evidence.

Giants-Nationals, Game 1 NLDS: Ishikawa safe at second after reversal

With no outs and Travis Ishikawa on second, Jake Peavy laid down a sacrifice bunt. Instead of taking the out at first, Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche threw to second in hopes of gunning down Ishikawa, and umpire Tom Hallion called him out. Bochy challenged the call, and it was overturned after a review of just one minute and one second. Ishikawa would later score in a game the Giants would win 3-2.

Tigers-Orioles, Game 2 ALDS: Markakis' homer confirmed

With one out and one on in the third inning of a scoreless game, Nick Markakis launched a fly ball to right field that bounced off the grounds' crew shed roof in right field and came back onto the field of play. Right-field umpire Paul Schreiber signaled it was a home run, but Tigers manager Brad Ausmus requested the play be reviewed. The call on the field was confirmed, correctly according to the Camden Yards ground rules, which state: Fly ball hitting the grounds crew shed roof in right field and bouncing back into play: HOME RUN.

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Mattingly does admirable job, doesn't deserve blame

Mattingly does admirable job, doesn't deserve blame

ST. LOUIS -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly understands he'll be the focus of the postmortems after the Dodgers' 3-2 loss in Game 4 of the National League Division Series.

He had 10 different managers during his 14 seasons as a player for the Yankees. Billy Martin had three tours of duty during his time.

More

  Date   Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 3   STL 10, LAD 9 video
Gm 2 Oct. 4   LAD 3, STL 2 video
Gm 3 Oct. 6   STL 3, LAD 1 video
Gm 4 Oct. 7   STL 3, LAD 2 video
So Mattingly understands that managers get dismissed for all sorts of reasons and that they get blamed for things they shouldn't be blamed for.

Managers often are evaluated for things over which they have little control. That has been happening in baseball for about 120 years. It's one of the reasons we love the game. When a manager sends Jimmy up to pinch-hit, everyone in the park knows he should go with John.

Never mind that these are percentage calls, usually separated by the thinnest of margins. Still, when a team disappoints, it's tradition that someone takes the fall.

Again, Mattingly understands this. The Dodgers turned a team over to Mattingly that had baseball's largest payroll and a string of big stars.

Therefore, that team is supposed to win, right? Now with the Dodgers having been eliminated from the postseason by the Cardinals with a 3-2 loss on Tuesday afternoon, Mattingly will find himself under the microscope.

He left himself open to being second-guessed with a string of moves that didn't work. For instance, he might have stayed with his ace, Clayton Kershaw, a tad too long in Game 1. Kershaw threw 117 pitches in that game and seemed out of gas by the time Mattingly came to get him.

Then in Game 2, he might have hooked Zack Greinke a bit too soon. In Game 3, he called on little-used reliever Scott Elbert with the game on the line in the seventh inning. In Game 4, he benched his struggling star, Yasiel Puig.

Now the Dodgers are going home sooner than they were expected to, and so it's likely to be a difficult few weeks of evaluation.

Here's the bottom line. Unless the Dodgers can lure Joe Maddon -- to pull one name out of thin air -- away from the Tampa Bay Rays, they simply aren't going to get anyone better than Mattingly.

Plenty of people were skeptical when the Dodgers hired him four seasons ago. He hadn't had a minute of managerial experience. Back then, that kind of thing was unusual. Now it's all the rage to hire smart, talented people and allow them to learn on the fly.

In his four seasons, he has proven himself again and again. First, his personality -- that is, his honesty and essential decency -- play well over a ninth-month season. His teams play consistently hard, and Mattingly has put his players in position to win. Perhaps his biggest accomplishment is taking a clubhouse with big salaries and big personalities and worked hard to get it to function as a cohesive unit.

When the Dodgers dissect this season, they surely will see they put Mattingly in a tough spot. What was supposed to be deep, talented pitching staff was gutted by injuries, both in the rotation and the bullpen.

The Dodgers did win 94 games, but at one point, they were so desperate for pitching that general manager Ned Colletti made a quick tour of his farm system to see if the organization had arms that might provide immediate help.

Those weaknesses were exposed against the Cardinals, in a National League Division Series the Dodgers lost three games to one.

Mattingly had just three starting pitchers -- Kershaw, Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu -- he trusted. And when Ryu pitched Game 3, he'd thrown one inning in 30 days. Other than closer Kenley Jansen, Mattingly's bullpen was likewise stretched thin.

And his hitters were controlled by the Cardinals. Adrian Gonzalez, Dee Gordon and Juan Uribe all hit less than .200 in the series, and Puig was benched in Game 4 after striking out seven times in a span of eight at-bats.

The Dodgers batted just .194 with runners in scoring position for the series. They scored nine runs in one game and a total of six in the other three.

So when the Dodgers plunge into the offseason, their priorities will be pitching and most likely a shortstop to replace free agent-to-be Hanley Ramirez.

"We'll look at everything and kind of where we need to improve, how do we get better," Mattingly said. "And at the end of the day you lose, you don't worry about one situation or another, you just worry about the win or the loss."

Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Dodgers credit Cards after emotional playoff exit

St. Louis eliminates LA for second consecutive postseason

Dodgers credit Cards after emotional playoff exit

ST. LOUIS -- The Dodgers had a good season end badly Tuesday night in a 3-2 loss in Game 4 of the National League Division Series, bounced from the postseason one round earlier than last year by the same opponent as last year.

"We had high expectations and we didn't come through when we needed to and we lost the series," said Adrian Gonzalez. "They came up with the big home runs and we didn't, and that was the difference in the series. But I think you have two teams here that will see each other a lot for years to come. We just didn't get the job done this year."

More

  Date   Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 3   STL 10, LAD 9 video
Gm 2 Oct. 4   LAD 3, STL 2 video
Gm 3 Oct. 6   STL 3, LAD 1 video
Gm 4 Oct. 7   STL 3, LAD 2 video

The Dodgers have reached the postseason in five of the last nine years. This is the second time of those five that they lost in the National League Division Series.

"It ended fast and I don't think it's really sunk in yet," said Matt Kemp. "When I get home and I'm on the couch watching the playoffs, that's when it hurts the most, watching these other teams play and knowing you could have been there. But the Cardinals just got the big hits when they needed them."

A.J. Ellis, who led the Dodgers with a .538 playoff batting average after hitting .191 during the season, took the loss particularly hard.

"You don't know how many times you'll be in this situation with a chance to do this," he said. "There are no guarantees in life and baseball for sure. We know how hard it was to get here. You can't take it for granted. It will motivate and fuel us to win the division and roll the dice again in the playoffs."

Starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who suffered two of the losses in the best-of-five series and became the first Dodgers pitcher to lose four consecutive postseason games, blamed himself again.

"The season ended and I'm a big part of the reason why," he said. "It doesn't matter how I pitched. It's bad deja vu all over again. I felt we had a really good chance to win. I'm thankful we got here and hope to be back."

Andre Ethier, who started Game 4 in center field for the benched Yasiel Puig, knows the trade rumors will reignite this winter, meaning this could have been Ethier's last chance with this organization.

"It's sickening, that's what it is," Ethier said. "More than anything, it's not just not going far in the playoffs, it's just getting past a certain team. It's a recurring theme. We have to figure out how to do that. We know we have a team good enough to keep going and playing. But we have to have an answer to what these guys taught us, and we haven't been able to do that two years in a row."

J.P. Howell, a key part of the bullpen for five months until his September slump carried over to October, gave credit to the Cardinals.

"It's one of those tough cases where you do have to tip your caps to those guys," he said. "That team is better than us right now. They're moving forward for a reason. We've got some things to work on that we have to redo during the offseason. Next year our goal is the same thing, going to the World Series. But this time, good luck to them for the rest of the way."

Manager Don Mattingly began his postgame news conference by congratulating the winners.

"On behalf of my club and our organization I'd like to congratulate St. Louis," he said. "They were better than us this series, and when they needed to get things done, they got it done."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Ethier starts as Puig sits until end of Game 4

Mattingly cites matchups for benching; outfielder enters late as pinch-runner

Ethier starts as Puig sits until end of Game 4

ST. LOUIS -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly shook up his lineup for Game 4 of the National League Division Series on Tuesday, benching Yasiel Puig and replacing him in center field with Andre Ethier in the club's season-ending 3-2 loss to the Cardinals.

Ethier went 0-for-2 with two walks, one strikeout and was ruled out at third base after initially believing a pitch got away from catcher Yadier Molina in a critical sixth-inning play. Ethier initially was called safe, but the call was overturned on a challenge.

More

  Date   Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 3   STL 10, LAD 9 video
Gm 2 Oct. 4   LAD 3, STL 2 video
Gm 3 Oct. 6   STL 3, LAD 1 video
Gm 4 Oct. 7   STL 3, LAD 2 video

Puig was used as a pinch-runner for A.J. Ellis with one out in the ninth inning, but was stranded at second base when the game ended.

Before the game, Mattingly said Puig was healthy and the switch was made "because it gives us the best chance to win today. It's not about anything bad with Yasiel."

Mattingly also said Ethier was a better matchup against Cardinals starter Shelby Miller. In the regular season, Ethier homered off Miller on June 29 and was 2-for-6 lifetime against the St. Louis right-hander. Puig was 1-for-2 with a double, walk and strikeout against Miller.

Puig said he felt fine and had no advance notice he wouldn't start, learning of it when he saw the lineup after arriving at Busch Stadium. But he said he respected Mattingly's decision.

"I don't need him to tell me about it, either," Puig said. "They made the decision. Now it's my responsibility to support my teammates from the dugout."

Puig tripled Monday night and scored the club's only run. But he also struck out three times in Game 3, four times in Game 2 and once in Game 1. In 12 at-bats, he has eight strikeouts, three hits, scored four runs with a walk and played his typically aggressive outfield. Ethier is 1-for-2 with a double in the series. "Maybe I'm putting pressure on myself," Puig said, but he insisted being hit by a pitch in the first inning of Game 1 had "nothing to do with striking out."

"I'm facing good pitchers," he said. "I haven't been able to connect with good pitches they throw."

On the Sunday off-day, Mattingly said he was concerned that the Cardinals had stirred the emotional Puig in a pair of on-field dustups with Molina. Mattingly said he and the coaches had talked to Puig about simplifying the game, ignoring distractions "and just play baseball."

Ethier has been the odd-man out of the Dodgers' crowded outfield. He opened the season as the starting center fielder and played regularly while first Matt Kemp, then Carl Crawford, battled injuries. Once everyone was healthy after the All-Star break, Mattingly moved made Puig the starting center fielder, moved Kemp to right, put Crawford in left and sent Ethier to the bench.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Q&A with Dodgers manager Mattingly after NLDS Game 4

Q&A with Dodgers manager Mattingly after NLDS Game 4

DON MATTINGLY: I guess on behalf of my club and our organization I'd like to congratulate St. Louis. They were better than us this series, and when we needed to get things done they got it done.

On behalf of our organization I'd like to congratulate the Cardinals.

More

Q. When we talked about Kershaw, the pitching on short rest yesterday, you talked about not overextending his pitch count. He was at 94 through 6, similar to last year against Atlanta. Why did you feel you could still send him back out there?

DON MATTINGLY: He felt good. In talking with him and getting the answer that we always try to get from him, we knew it was a three hitter situation. I thought he was ready for Molina right there. We knew it wasn't going to be a 20, 25 pitch inning; we knew it was going to be three hitters.

Q. When all is said and done, how much are you going to reflect on average with men in scoring positions, especially these last two games?

DON MATTINGLY: You asked me that one particular thing right there. I think that you look at the whole, as a season, and then you go back in and kind of cut up what you were good at and what you weren't good at. You start evaluating your own club as you start trying to start over.

So again, we'll look at everything and kind of where we need to improve, how do we get better. And at the end of the day you lose, you don't worry about one situation or another, you just worry about the win or the loss.

Q. If your bullpen had had more success recently, do you think you would have stopped at 6 for Kershaw? I realize he only had 94 pitches, but three days rest. With the bullpen nonsuccess, was that a factor?

DON MATTINGLY: Obviously, your team is your team. It's like when do you pinch hit, whether you pinch hit for one guy or another, you do it. If it's not the right guy up there. And your team situation is your team situation.

But I think Clayton, where he's at, the way he was feeling, the way he was kind of cruising along. Again, we know it's short rest, but we're talking at that point three hitters. And to get through Adams and then turn it over to the guys out there.

So I don't think anything right there changes a whole lot. It goes back to the same question, is there anybody better, even on short rest, and even where he was at at that point.

I mean, Holliday hits the ball barely out of reach of Dee, Peralta hits the ball and it hits off Hanley's glove, and then had a curveball there. So at the end of the day, I think it's not really a situation that you try to change too much or manipulate too much.

But obviously if you've got a wipe out, you know, something it's not your team. You've got to manage your team.

Q. Two quick questions. The Ethier play at third base turned out to be really a major play in the game. How did he get hung up? What was your perspective on what happened?

DON MATTINGLY: I didn't have a real good that dugout is kind of down in a little bit of a hole. But Bundy, from his viewpoint it looks like the ball is getting away. And A.J. said the same thing. It's like it hit something and popped up. I think Andre saw the same thing, thought that ball was getting farther away and it was like a hit and popped. Again, I haven't seen a replay. I don't know. Our perspective is almost underground, so it's tough to see that stuff.

Q. And your decision in the 9th to pinch run Puig and bat Turner, rather than pinch hit Puig?

DON MATTINGLY: Yeah, again, not that hard, right there, right now. J.T. has been tremendous off the bench. And Yasiel gives us a guy if we hit a ball in the gap or down the line he's going to score a run right there.

Q. What's your theory on why the Cardinals have success against Clayton?

DON MATTINGLY: I don't know how much success that was. He gave up one hit through six. I know he's given up some runs. Wacha beats him 1 0 last year.

He's pitching really good through major parts of that game. He has the one inning and then he's pitching really good through major parts in LA. And then has one bad inning.

They have a good club. They have guys that are professionals. The more times you get through the order, you get through Holliday three times, you're getting into Jonny and Molina and those guys, the third time through the order, it always gets tougher and tougher, because you've got to change your mix. And they've seen you three times.

So I don't know if it's necessarily that they have any kind of command over Clayton. I think he's pitched really good against them, other than an inning here or an inning there.

Less

To McKeon, Beckett a standout competitor

Retiring righty hurled himself into World Series lore with former Marlins skipper

To McKeon, Beckett a standout competitor

MIAMI -- In their history, Marlins pitchers have combined to throw 141 complete games in the regular season, and four more in the postseason. None are more memorable than Josh Beckett's World Series-clinching gem at Yankee Stadium in 2003.

At 23, the hard-throwing right-hander cemented his legacy in Marlins history, and became the face of the franchise's second championship team. "There is no question about it, he was the key," said Jack McKeon, who managed the '03 club.

More

Now 34 and dealing with a torn labrum in his left hip, Beckett announced his retirement after the Dodgers were eliminated by the Cardinals on Tuesday night in the National League Division Series.

McKeon, a Marlins special assistant, has always heaped praise on Beckett. Both are bonded together in Miami postseason lore because McKeon rolled the dice and went with Beckett on short rest in Game 6 of the World Series.

The Marlins prevailed, 2-0, shocking the baseball world.

It was no small task, taking on the high-powered Yankees in the Bronx. But with a chance to clinch, Beckett went the distance, tossing a five-hit shutout, while striking out nine.

Fittingly, the series ended with the ball in Beckett's hands. On his 107th and last pitch, Jorge Posada tapped a slow roller that Beckett gloved and applied the tag for the final out.

"He was a competitor," McKeon said. "If it wasn't for him, we wouldn't have been there. He was a tough cookie. No complaints out of him. He just went about his work. He was like a 'Dead End Kid.' He wanted the ball. 'Give me the ball.' He wasn't afraid of anybody."

Picked second overall by the Marlins in the 1999 First-Year Player Draft, Beckett made his MLB debut in 2001. His career in Miami was mired by blister problems. From 2002-05, the Spring, Texas, native went to the disabled list five times due to blisters on his right middle finger. He also had a DL stint for a "skin tear" to the same finger.

In five seasons with the Marlins, Beckett was 41-34 with a 3.46 ERA.

"Josh [is] a special talent but also a special man," Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said in a statement. "We celebrated many exciting moments together both on and off the field. His zest for life will serve him well moving forward, and I'm proud to call him a friend."

Beckett's heroics in 2003 helped re-energize the franchise, and the championship season played a factor in the organization eventually securing their new stadium, Marlins Park, which opened in 2012.

"Josh Beckett will always hold a special place in Marlins history," president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "From being the team's first-round pick in 1999, to winning the World Series MVP after his complete-game shutout at Yankee Stadium to clinch the World Series in 2003, he has meant a lot to this organization. We congratulate him on a great career and we wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors."

In November 2005, Beckett and Mike Lowell were traded to the Red Sox as part of a package that brought Anibal Sanchez and Hanley Ramirez to South Florida.

With Boston, Beckett won his second World Series in 2007, and in 2012, he was dealt to the Dodgers.

Beckett faced the Marlins' twice in 2014, picking up a win and a loss. He finished his season at 6-6 with a 2.88 ERA. The highlight of his season was no-hitting the Phillies on May 25.

To McKeon, no Beckett start is more memorable than beating the Yankees in '03.

"When Beckett was pitching that sixth game of the World Series, he wasn't coming out until they tied the game," McKeon said. "If they tied the game, he might have been coming out of there. But I was going with my horse."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Right-hander Beckett announces plans to retire

Nursing hip injury, veteran ends 14-year career that includes Series MVP, no-hitter

Right-hander Beckett announces plans to retire

ST. LOUIS -- Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett, who threw a no-hitter in May but was on the disabled list for most of the last three months of the season, announced his retirement after the team was eliminated from the National League Division Series in a 3-2 loss in Game 4 on Tuesday night.

Beckett's season ended with torn labrum in his left hip. He said he will undergo surgery in May. Although many pitchers return from the arthroscopic operation and the resulting three-month rehab, Beckett said that's not in his plans.

More

  Date   Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 3   STL 10, LAD 9 video
Gm 2 Oct. 4   LAD 3, STL 2 video
Gm 3 Oct. 6   STL 3, LAD 1 video
Gm 4 Oct. 7   STL 3, LAD 2 video

"I just don't see me going through that rehab and coming back to pitch at this point in my life," he said.

Beckett, 34, went 6-6 with a 2.88 ERA in what was looking like a comeback-of-the-year season after he missed most of 2013 with surgery to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome by removing a rib near his neck.

On May 25, he no-hit the Phillies on the road and became the ninth pitcher of all-time to throw a no-hitter and be the MVP of the World Series. He ends his 14-year career with a 138-106 record and 3.88 ERA, having won the World Series with the Marlins in 2003 and Red Sox in 2007.

He came to the Dodgers from Boston in the 2012 blockbuster trade with Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto for James Loney and four Minor Leaguers.

Beckett would have been a free agent in the winter, so his departure frees up $15.75 million in payroll.

Less

MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

No relief: Bullpen struggles sink Tigers and Dodgers

Loaded lineups and great starters not enough to overcome biggest weakness

No relief: Bullpen struggles sink Tigers and Dodgers

The Tigers lined up three former American League Cy Young Award winners -- Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and David Price -- in their AL Division Series starting rotation. What do they have to show for it? A first-round exit, having been swept by the Orioles.

The Dodgers turned to expected National League Cy Young Award and MVP Award winner Clayton Kershaw in Games 1 and 4 of their NL Division Series against the Cardinals. Both times, Kershaw was close to dominant for the first six innings before having the game unravel.

More

Managers Brad Ausmus of the Tigers and Don Mattingly of the Dodgers both were politically correct in the moments after their clubs were eliminated, but the undermining of those two high-priced teams was a bullpen that couldn't provide relief.

Over the course of a 162-game regular season, the fatal flaws of a pitching staff can be masked. But in a short series in the postseason, there is no margin of error.

The Dodgers and Tigers can attest to that.

It wasn't because they had tight purse strings.

The Dodgers set a Major League record with a $235 million payroll, ending the Yankees' 15-year reign as the biggest spenders in the big leagues. The Tigers ranked fifth at $162 million.

Both teams have marquee players. The Dodgers have the 1-2 rotation punch of Kershaw and Zack Greinke, both of whom have Cy Young Awards on their resumes, and a lineup with the veteran bats of Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford, Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez, and the potential of Yaisel Puig.

The Tigers have those three Cy Young Award winners, plus a threatening lineup with the bats of Ian Kinsler, Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez sitting in the top five spots in the order

There was, however, little relief in sight, and it was costly to both in their bids for a World Series championship, which the Tigers haven't celebrated since 1984 and the Dodgers haven't won since 1988.

The Tigers ranked 27th in baseball with a 4.29 regular-season ERA for their bullpen, and the Dodgers were No. 22 at 3.80. And it didn't get any better in the postseason. Tigers relievers were a combined 0-1 with a 19.29 ERA (10 earned runs in 4 2/3 innings) while they were swept by the Orioles. The Dodgers bullpen had a 6.48 ERA, converting one of two save opportunities in four games against the Cardinals.

Big deal?

Well take a look at the four teams that are still playing -- the Orioles and Royals in the ALCS and the Cardinals and Giants in the NLCS.

The Giants (fifth, 3.01), Orioles (sixth, 3.10) and Royals (10th, 3.30) all ranked among the top 10 teams in bullpen ERA during the regular season. The Cardinals were 17th at 3.62. And all four had late-inning success in the Division Series, combining to convert 12 of 14 save opportunities.

In a game where starting pitchers averaged fewer than six innings per start in the regular season, the value of a strong bullpen cannot be ignored.

Tigers president, CEO and general manager Dave Dombrowski knows that all too well. His team has won four consecutive division titles, but he has advanced to the World Series only once, when his club was swept by the Giants in 2012. Dombrowski has been willing to shuffle the deck among his relievers each year, but hasn't yet found a winning hand.

In the past year, he signed free-agent closer Joe Nathan and setup man Joba Chamberlain, and he made the in-season acquisition of former All-Star closer Joakim Soria to reinforce the late-inning corps. He took a shot on Jim Johnson, who had 51 and 50 saves in back-to-back seasons in Baltimore but struggled so much earlier in the season that he was released by Oakland despite his $10 million salary. And Dombrowski gambled $1 million on a comeback by Joel Hanrahan that did not work out.

Setup man Al Alburquerque had a 2.51 ERA, and rookie Blaine Hardy had a 2.54 ERA, the only Tiger relievers with more than five appearances with an ERA of 3.50 or lower.

The Dodgers had three reliable relievers -- closer Kenley Jansen (2.76), J.P. Howell (2.39) and Brandon League (2.57), but no other regular bullpen member with at least 25 appearances had an ERA below 4.00.

The Dodgers' only significant relief investment last offseason was a $9 million deal to keep former star Giants closer Brian Wilson, who, in his effort to overcome career-threatening arm injuries, compiled a 4.66 ERA in 48 1/3 innings over 61 appearances. He faced only three batters (retiring one) in the NL Division Series.

Mattingly's concern about the ability to get the game from his starter to his closer was underscored in both of Kershaw's starts. Kershaw took a 6-2 lead into the seventh inning of Game 1, but he gave up six runs in the seventh inning and finally was pulled after left-handed-hitting Matt Carpenter's bases-loaded double.

Working on short rest in Game 4, Kershaw had a 2-0 lead after 97 pitches and six innings. He was back on the mound in the seventh but never got another out, giving up a three-run home run to left-handed-hitting Matt Adams before the bullpen got the call.

There was never any relief in sight for the Tigers or Dodgers.

Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Write 'em Cowboy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

How much did short rest affect Kershaw in Game 4?

History shows mixed results, but with the move more often unsuccessful

How much did short rest affect Kershaw in Game 4?

Clayton Kershaw will take a lot of the heat for the Dodgers' early playoff exit this season, and, sure, some of that is justified.

But Kershaw pitched Game 4 on short rest, and he threw 101 pitches without allowing a run before Matt Adams' home run sealed his playoff fate in a 3-2 loss. Simply put, pitchers hardly ever throw back-to-back 100-pitch outings with just three days in between. In the last 15 seasons, only three other pitchers (the Marlins' Josh Beckett and the Yankees' CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda) have done so in the postseason. Of course, Kershaw wasn't about to blame fatigue.

More

  Date   Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 3   STL 10, LAD 9 video
Gm 2 Oct. 4   LAD 3, STL 2 video
Gm 3 Oct. 6   STL 3, LAD 1 video
Gm 4 Oct. 7   STL 3, LAD 2 video

"I felt great, it just didn't work out," Kershaw said. "The season ended and I'm a big part of the reason why. It doesn't matter how I pitched. It's bad deja vu all over again. I felt we had a really good chance to win. I'm thankful we got here and hope to be back."

This wasn't Kershaw's first postseason start on short rest. In Game 4 of the 2013 NLDS, Kershaw allowed two runs over six innings as the Dodgers eliminated the Braves, but he was pulled after just 91 pitches. As Kershaw's experience shows, sending out a starter on short rest is always a gamble, and the numbers skew heavily against starting a pitcher who doesn't have his full rest between starts. Here are a few other facts and figures that demonstrate this.

(For the purposes of this exercise, we're taking into account only pitchers who started on short rest after making a start. Kansas City's Yordano Ventura technically started on two days' rest Friday in the American League Division Series against the Angels, but he did so after throwing just one-third of an inning in relief on Tuesday in the AL Wild Card Game vs. the A's.)

• Since 2004, starters on short rest are 5-7 with a 4.72 ERA in 21 starts in the postseason. In that timeframe, teams using a starter on short rest are now a combined 5-12 against teams who use a starter on full rest.

• Understandably, the area most affected by short rest is length. Just six of the 21 starters in those games have pitched more than six innings, and Detroit's Justin Verlander did so only after his Game 1 start in the 2011 ALDS was cut short by rain.

• Aside from Verlander, here is the full list of starters to pitch more than six innings on short rest in the postseason since 2004:

Hiroki Kuroda, Yankees, 2012 ALCS Game 2: 7 2/3 IP, 3 ER, 5 hits, 11 Ks.

Derek Lowe, Braves, 2010 NLDS Game 4: 6 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 2 hits, 8 Ks.

CC Sabathia, Yankees, 2009 WS Game 4: 6 2/3 IP, 3 ER, 7 hits, 3 Ks.

CC Sabathia, Yankees, 2009 ALCS Game 4: 8 IP, ER, 5 hits, 5 Ks.

Tim Hudson, A's, 2005 ALDS Game 4: 7 IP, 3 ER, 6 hits, 5 Ks.

As you can see, the only real dominant short-rest start in the past 10 postseasons was Sabathia's gem against the Angels in the 2009 ALCS. A pitcher's stuff may be there initially -- as Kershaw's was on Tuesday, but by these numbers, we can deduce that it's clearly much harder to dominate deep into a game without at least four days off.

• As we mentioned earlier, Kershaw joined a list of just four pitchers since 2000 who have thrown 100 pitches in a playoff game and then thrown another 100 pitches three days later. In last year's NLDS, manager Don Mattingly dipped into his bullpen after Kerhsaw had thrown just 91 pitches.

Kershaw was the first pitcher since San Diego's Kevin Brown in the 1998 NLDS to throw 110 pitches and then hit the century mark in his next start on short rest.

• Teams using a starter on short rest against a team with a starter on full rest are 18-36 in the postseason since 1995. This may be the most telling statistic of all. Typically, a team won't go to a pitcher on three days' rest unless he's a quality starter. Well, in the Wild Card era, those quality starters have led their teams to victory on short rest one-third of the time.

• On 14 occasions since 1995, two short-rest starters have opposed each other in a postseason game. Sabathia and Verlander matched up in Game 3 after that soggy ALDS Game 1 in 2011. But the most recent genuine occurrence was the fateful Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS, when Lowe pitched six innings of one-run ball on just two days' rest to lead the Red Sox past their arch rivals and into the World Series. He defeated the Yankees' Kevin Brown, who lasted 1 1/3 innings and allowed five earned runs on three days' rest.

There was some speculation Cardinals manager Mike Matheny would bring back Wainwright to go against Kershaw in Game 4, but the St. Louis skipper stuck with Shelby Miller as his starter.

• The most important disclaimer here is that combined ERA totals don't necessarily tell the whole story. A handful of starters -- notably Bartolo Colon, A.J. Burnett and Chien-Ming Wang -- have had extremely poor outings on short rest, skewing the ERA higher than we might expect.

• Since 2007, just three pitchers have started on short rest, looking to close out a series. Those three pitchers are a combined 2-0 with a 2.54 ERA, and all three helped their teams clinch that night. Along with Kershaw last season, Chris Carpenter (2011) of the Cardinals and Andy Pettitte ('09) of the Yankees were each solid on short rest in World Series clinchers.

In that same time frame, five pitchers, including Kershaw now, have started on short rest, looking to stave off elimination. Carpenter -- who did so in a Game 7, so his numbers apply for both categories -- was the only pitcher whose team was victorious, and the other four pitchers combined to post a 4.66 ERA.

• Sabathia (2009) was the last starter to pitch multiple games within the same postseason on short rest. Since the Wild Card era began, only six pitchers have pitched at least two playoff games on short rest in the same year. Pettitte (1996), Baltimore's Mike Mussina ('97), Cleveland's Jaret Wright ('97), Brown ('98), then with San Diego, and Arizona's Curt Schilling (2001), were the other pitchers to do so.

In their short rest starts during those seasons, those six pitchers combined to go 5-1 with a 1.77 ERA. What does that tell us? Well, for one, if a pitcher is successful on three days' rest, there's a good chance he'll be able to answer the call again later in that postseason.

• Long gone are the days of pitchers throwing entire postseasons on three days' rest. But it was a relatively common occurrence for much of the divisional era. Dating back to 1969 -- the first year Major League Baseball split into divisions -- 13 pitchers have thrown at least three playoff games on short rest in the same postseason.

Only Atlanta's John Smoltz (1992) and Orel Hershiser (1988) made four starts in one postseason on short rest. And Hershiser went 3-0 with a 0.79 ERA in those outings, on his way to NLCS and World Series MVP honors for the Dodgers.

AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less

Hanley heads group of Dodgers' free agents

Hanley heads group of Dodgers' free agents

ST. LOUIS -- Shortstop Hanley Ramirez will be the initial focal point of the free-agent season for the Dodgers, who were eliminated from the postseason with Tuesday's 3-2 loss in Game 4 of the National League Division Series.

Ramirez, who missed 34 games with an assortment of ailments, was looking for a big season to establish his value. When that didn't pan out, an impactful postseason could set him up for a big payday.

More

  Date   Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 3   STL 10, LAD 9 video
Gm 2 Oct. 4   LAD 3, STL 2 video
Gm 3 Oct. 6   STL 3, LAD 1 video
Gm 4 Oct. 7   STL 3, LAD 2 video

He wound up hitting .429 in the National League Division Series, going 6-for-14 with one double and two RBIs.

The Dodgers must decide if they want Ramirez back, and if they will extend to him a qualifying one-year offer of $15.3 million by the fifth day after the World Series. That would assure the Dodgers of a compensation Draft pick if Ramirez rejects the offer and signs elsewhere, but it also gives Ramirez the choice of accepting the offer and committing him to the Dodgers for one year.

Aside from the money, the biggest unknown with Ramirez is where he would play. Most clubs consider him a liability at shortstop and would prefer to move him to third base or first base. Dodgers third baseman Juan Uribe is signed through 2015 and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is signed through 2018.

Among other decisions: Chad Billingsley, coming off two major elbow operations, has a team option for $14 million or a $3 million buyout that figures to be exercised. Paul Maholm, recovering from knee surgery, is a free agent, as are midseason acquisitions Roberto Hernandez and Kevin Correia and veteran reliever Jamey Wright.

Dan Haren has qualified for a $10 million player option, but even Tuesday night said he hadn't decided whether he will accept it. Brian Wilson has a $10 million option that he is expected to accept.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less