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Ryu unlikely to start before postseason

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LOS ANGELES -- Manager Don Mattingly said on Tuesday that he'd be "a little surprised" if Hyun-Jin Ryu is able to pitch again before the postseason begins.

Ryu, who exited a Sept. 12 start against the Giants with inflammation in his left shoulder, has been playing catch, although he hasn't progressed to a mound. But assuming the Dodgers win the National League West, they won't need Ryu -- their No. 3 starter -- until Oct. 6, at the earliest.


"We're notching off-days here," Mattingly said. "I think we're pleased with the progress with Hyun-Jin and how he's doing, and he's moving forward and not having any complaints afterward. I'm happy with his progress."

Mattingly said that Ryu has been progressing well in his catches, throwing with increased distance and velocity.

This is Ryu's second bout with inflammation this season. He was on the disabled list from April 28 through May 21 with a similar injury, and he later missed 14 games with a strained right gluteus. An MRI on the shoulder revealed no structural damage.

If Ryu doesn't start again before the postseason, he'll finish the regular season with a 14-7 record and 3.38 ERA in 26 starts.

Michael Lananna is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"content":["injury" ] }

Dodgers' magic number still three after 13-inning loss

Haren stellar over seven frames before Giants rally in extras

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LOS ANGELES -- There was a Frank Sinatra Jr. serenade, a cake with candles and 53,500 guests in attendance. The only thing Tommy Lasorda was missing on his 87th birthday was a Dodgers win.

While the Los Angeles legend celebrated his special day at Dodger Stadium on Monday, the Dodgers pushed back any celebration of their own to another day, falling to the rival Giants, 5-2, in 13 innings. The Dodgers' magic number still sits at three and their lead in the National League West shrunk to 3 1/2 games with the loss.


In a playoff-like atmosphere, Dan Haren allowed just one hit in seven innings, a depleted bullpen rallied to get the team through extra frames, and Yasiel Puig delivered one of the team's defensive plays of the year, unleashing what was at the time a game-saving throw to catch Brandon Belt at home with one out in the 11th.

But none of those moments -- and no birthday cake -- could outweigh the final result. The Dodgers went hitless from the sixth inning on before long reliever Kevin Correia surrendered three runs in the decisive 13th.

"The story for me is we just didn't do enough to win," manager Don Mattingly said. "We give ourselves chances, our pitchers got us out of jams. [The Giants] kept getting guys out there, and our guys did a nice job of getting outs, and you're just hoping at some point you get a run up."

But the Dodgers never could. They tallied all four of their hits in the fifth and sixth innings. Carl Crawford broke up Jake Peavy's modest no-hit bid with a home run to lead off the fifth. Then Juan Uribe and A.J. Ellis singled, and after a Haren bunt, Dee Gordon hit a sacrifice fly to tie the score at 2. But a Hanley Ramirez single with two outs in the sixth was the Dodgers' only other hit for the remainder of the contest.

The Giants, meanwhile, peppered the Dodgers' bullpen for 11 hits, a bullpen that was shorthanded due to Sunday's pitcher-by-committee win against the Cubs. Still, J.P. Howell, Brian Wilson, Kenley Jansen, Scott Elbert, Brandon League and Daniel Coulombe managed to hold the Giants scoreless until Correia took over in the 13th.

With two outs and Belt on second base, the Dodgers opted to intentionally walk Brandon Crawford, bringing up the pitcher's spot in the batting order. The move backfired, however, as pinch-hitter Andrew Susac singled to drive in the go-ahead run. Center fielder Gregor Blanco followed up with a double to right, scoring Crawford, then scoring Susac as Blanco got caught in a rundown between second and third.

The Dodgers proceeded to go down in order in the bottom of the 13th against right-hander Hunter Strickland.

"It's a tough loss," catcher A.J. Ellis said. "You're getting closer, and you kind of want to put the nail in the coffin. ... Danny pitched well enough to win, and we weren't able to close the deal for him, and we weren't able to generate anything offensively."

Haren's lone mistake came against the first batter he faced, Blanco, who drilled a 3-2 fastball to center for a homer.

The right-hander struck out seven and walked none -- the lone baserunners he dealt with came via three Dodgers errors. In the third inning, Blanco reached third base with one out after right fielder Matt Kemp and Puig miscommunicated on a fly ball. The ball ricocheted off Kemp's glove, and Blanco came around to score one batter later on a bunt by Joe Panik.

Despite coming away with a no-decision, Haren was pleased with his outing. He said he was eager for the opportunity to test himself against a playoff-caliber team like the Giants, and he excelled in front of what was the largest crowd in the Major Leagues this season.

"I felt really good," Haren said. "I've been throwing the ball good for the last few weeks, taking out a start or two. When the team needs me, I've been able to step up. I've done my best when guys are down this year. I don't know if I'm going to be one-hit-in-seven-innings good, but I feel like I'm going to give us a good chance every time I go out there."

Haren gave his team a chance Monday, but ultimately, the Dodgers weren't able to carry the celebratory mood from the start of the game all the way to the end.

"I mean, we played hard," Haren said. "The bullpen did amazing considering we threw so many innings yesterday. We feel it. We feel the end is near. We know we have to win a few more games, and we're going to get there.

"Today we don't feel good, but tomorrow we could be feeling the complete opposite."

Michael Lananna is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


Haren's solid start kicks in player option

Right-hander can now choose to return to Dodgers for $10 million

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LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers right-hander Dan Haren might not have earned a win Monday night against the Giants, but he could have earned himself $10.5 million.

By reaching the 180-inning plateau this season, Haren triggered a $500,000 bonus in his contract and a vesting player option for 2015. He'd make $10 million with the Dodgers next season if he exercises that option.


While manager Don Mattingly said before Monday's game that he was only aware of Haren's contract status because "it's been in the paper," Haren said he's had the vesting option in the back of his mind.

"Of course I think about it," Haren said. "I may say I'm not, but there's a number set there by them, and I feel like I pitched pretty decent the whole year. Whether I earned it or deserve it, that's kind of up to someone else's opinion. I think what I have earned is the right to choose if I want to come back. ... I think I've pitched good enough to deserve that."

Those words came after a seven-inning, one-earned-run performance in a playoff-like start against the Giants. Haren said he knew he reached the necessary innings mark when he exited the game.

"It was little bit weird," Haren said. "Everybody knew. It was kind of an elephant-in-the-room type thing. I'm glad I got it over with. I didn't want to have to go into the next game thinking about it."

Haren has gone 13-11 with a 4.03 ERA in 181 innings in his first season with the Dodgers. Other than a five-game losing streak in the middle of the season, Mattingly has been pleased with what he's seen out of the right-hander.

"I just feel like Danny's been really consistent this year, for the most part. He's kept us in a lot of games," Mattingly said. "The one thing about Danny is he's such a competitor, you want him to do well. He'll do anything for you. And he says it: 'I'll pitch whenever you want.'"

Despite triggering the option, Haren said he doesn't know yet if he will exercise it. That decision will come after the season ends.

"I don't want to downplay the money," Haren said. "It's a ton of money. With that said, I've been really lucky. I've had a great career and made a lot of money, and it's really not about that anymore. In California, $10 million's what, $3 million?

"With a week left in the season, it's harder to even think about next year or make a decision about next year. I would love to have one more good start and have three good starts in the playoffs, and I'd feel really good."

Michael Lananna is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


Kershaw honored as repeat Campanella Award winner

Dodgers ace is first two-time recipient of honor named for late Hall of Fame catcher

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Add another achievement to Clayton Kershaw's impressive 2014.

The Dodgers announced Monday that their left-handed ace was named the winner of the ninth annual Roy Campanella Award, which is given to the Dodgers player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame catcher.


Campanella's daughter, Joni Campanella Roan, and Don Newcombe, special adviser to the chairman, presented the award, given since 2006 and voted on by players and coaches, to Kershaw before Monday's game against the Giants.

"I think Clayton has grown into his role here a little more," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "And not just on the field but off. It's tougher for a younger guy who's having success to be vocal and take on that leadership role. He's still trying to find his way, and he doesn't have the same amount of time as other guys, and things like that. But I think he's becoming more comfortable with that role, that he is a leader."

This is the second straight year Kershaw has won the award -- he's the first two-time winner of the honor -- and it figures to be the first of many awards to come this season.

Kershaw is a National League MVP Award and NL Cy Young Award candidate, entering Monday leading the Majors this season with a 0.86 WHIP and ranking among the NL leaders in opponents' batting average (.195, tied for first), shutouts (two, tied for third), complete games (six, first) and strikeouts per nine innings (10.78, first). The Dodgers have gone 22-4 (.846) when he's taken the mound in 2014.

Off the field, Kershaw and his wife, Ellen, have made a significant impact over his seven-year big league career, recently hosting the second annual Ping Pong 4 Purpose to raise money for their charity organization that gives back to at-risk children and communities in need.

This season, Kershaw is also in the running for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award, handed out by the Major League Baseball Players Association, and the Roberto Clemente Award, which he also won in 2012.

Jake Kring-Schreifels is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


Puig throws out Belt at home in 11th

Puig throws out Belt at home in 11th

Yasiel Puig's got it all: the swing, the glove, the speed, the power and, as he showed Monday, the arm. Puig and the Dodgers were hosting the Giants/celebrating Tommy Lasorda's birthday in Los Angeles for a matchup that turned out to be an entertaining pitchers' duel. 

Jake Peavy allowed two runs on four hits over seven innings for the Giants while Dan Haren gave up two runs on a lone hit through his seven frames. By the top of the 11th, the teams were still knotted up at 2.

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Dodgers lose challenge on pickoff play vs. Giants

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LOS ANGELES -- With two outs in the seventh inning Monday, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly unsuccessfully challenged a safe call at first base vs. the Giants.

The call came on a pickoff attempt by catcher A.J. Ellis with Brandon Crawford at the plate and starter Dan Haren on the Dodger Stadium mound.


First-base umpire Adrian Johnson initially ruled that pinch-runner Juan Perez made it back to first before Adrian Gonzalez's tag.

After the review, the original call was confirmed. Haren went on to strike out Crawford to end the top of the seventh.

Michael Lananna is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Tommy Lasorda gets birthday cake, hug from Magic

Tommy Lasorda gets birthday cake, hug from Magic

Dodgers legend Tommy Lasorda was on-hand in L.A. as Yasiel Puig and Co. hosted Jake Peavy and the Giants Monday night ... which also happened to be Lasorda's 87th birthday. 

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Puig has found stride at key time for Dodgers

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LOS ANGELES -- As August turned to September, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly could see that Yasiel Puig had lost something at the plate. Mattingly said on more than one occasion that the 23-year-old outfielder looked "tired."

So Mattingly tried to rest him, giving him days off here and there and dropping him in the batting order to lessen the pressure on Puig's shoulders.


Eventually, though, there came a point when Mattingly had to take the training wheels off.

"When we were getting close to [playing] San Francisco, we really just decided we're a better team when this guy's going," Mattingly said Monday. "And then just throwing him in the two-hole and saying, 'Let's go.' Trying to put our lineup back together."

Since that series in San Francisco from Sept. 12-14, Puig has played every day, batting .419/.479/.651 with two home runs and six RBIs in 10 games, entering Monday's rematch with the Giants.

In the 33 games prior to that, dating back to Aug. 1, Puig batted .203/.295/.228 with no home runs and five RBIs.

"I feel like he's turned the corner, honestly," Mattingly said.

On Monday, in the first game of a three-game series with the Giants that could decide the National League West, Puig was starting once again in the two-hole.

Michael Lananna is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


All-bullpen game plan sends LA home happy

Kemp's four-RBI day helps Dodgers trim magic number to 3

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CHICAGO -- Having already deployed four defenders on the same side of the infield this year, the Dodgers went out of the box again Sunday, piecing the work of six relievers from start to finish to fend off the Cubs, 8-5.

The Dodgers went all-bullpen because Hyun-Jin Ryu's shoulder isn't ready and manager Don Mattingly wanted to save Dan Haren for the Monday night opener of a three-game series that offers the dual pleasures of potentially clinching the division (magic number is three) and eliminating the Giants at the same time.


"It just worked out, but the biggest thing was putting runs on the board," said manager Don Mattingly, not willing to say the Dodgers stole a game with the unconventional pitching approach.

Matt Kemp homered with four hits and four RBIs and Yasiel Puig scored four runs in the Bullpen Day win as the Dodgers finished the away schedule with the best road record (49-32) in baseball after a taxing 6-4 trip.

Kemp said he won't be satisfied with a second consecutive division title.

"I want to win out," he said. "I want to have the best record in the National League. That would say something about our team. The home-field advantage is important."

The Dodgers' offense enjoyed the trip through three hitters' parks, averaging 7.5 runs a game. Kemp leads the league in slugging percentage since the All-Star break, Adrian Gonzalez added an RBI to his league-leading total (112) and extended his hitting streak to nine games, Hanley Ramirez is hitting .488 over the last dozen games, and Puig has come alive again. Ramirez, Juan Uribe and Scott Van Slyke also drove in runs.

"A lot of guys have been stepping up," said Mattingly, joking that canceling batting practice this weekend hasn't hurt. "Getting into the last month, our guys know where we're at and what's at stake."

Jamey Wright, making his 248th Major League start but only the second since 2007, allowed one run in two innings to start the bullpen parade. He struck out three but one of two walks turned into the Cubs' first run and helped up his pitch count to 46.

Wright left with a 4-1 lead and Carlos Frias took the baton. He struck out five, but both walks contributed to three runs in three innings.

"Frias' third inning [the fifth, which started with a pair of walks] was scary," said pitching coach Rick Honeycutt. "But he bounced back, didn't give up the lead and we stuck with the plan. We wanted to get through the fifth inning with a lead and then match up. Frias closing out the fifth inning was huge. Thank goodness this time of year we have extra arms. We got the ball to Kenley [Jansen] with a three-run lead, and that's what we were shooting for."

Frias handed off a two-run lead to Chris Perez, who retired all four batters he faced to get the win (scorer's discretion), and Paco Rodriguez followed by retiring the two batters he faced.

"The turning point in the game was the six consecutive outs by Chris and Paco," said catcher A.J. Ellis. "Those two guys have up their ups and downs with health and performance this year, but they've bounced back and stopped their momentum."

Pedro Baez, setup man du jour, allowed a leadoff home run in the eighth to Welington Castillo but held the game there, and Jansen pitched into and out of a ninth-inning jam for his 43rd save.

"I just challenged myself in that situation not to let them score," said Jansen, aided mightily by a defensive gem from Uribe on Anthony Rizzo's one-out grounder that was tougher than it looked.

"Even as young as we are, I thought we held our own," said Cubs manager Rick Renteria. "Don't think they weren't a little worried in the ninth when we got going. They're trying to clinch a division, and we're trying to show everybody who we are."

Of course, there were the daily Puig theatrics. In the first inning, he ran through a stop sign to score. In the fifth inning, immediately after appearing to turn his right ankle on an aborted slide stealing second base, he dashed around third without hesitation and scored standing up on a Kemp single. He also had two hits and reached base on an error and passed-ball strikeout.

Wright was still beating himself up for allowing a second-inning single to opposing pitcher Jacob Turner, which ran his pitch count high enough to keep him from a third inning.

"I got strike two on the pitcher with a four-seamer, which I hadn't thrown in five years, and I got that old feeling that I could throw it by him again for a punchout and he slapped it into right field," said Wright. "That's what I get for getting greedy."

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


Ryu could return to action before postseason

Lefty plays catch for second time in recovery from shoulder inflammation

Ryu could return to action before postseason play video for Ryu could return to action before postseason

CHICAGO -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly hasn't ruled out the possibility of Hyun-Jin Ryu pitching in a game during the next week, but Ryu will need to hurry in his recovery.

He played catch Sunday for the second time since receiving an injection in his inflamed left shoulder on Monday. But again Ryu threw about 60 feet at no more than 50 percent effort.


Mattingly has his rotation set for the final week of the regular season: Monday, Dan Haren; Tuesday, Zack Greinke; Wednesday, Clayton Kershaw; Thursday, off; Friday, Roberto Hernandez; Saturday, Haren; Sunday, Greinke.

"The only change," said Mattingly, "is if Hyun-Jin is able to do anything."

Assuming the Dodgers are still playing for the division title or home-field advantage in next weekend's series against Colorado, the only logical spot to use Ryu would be in Hernandez's spot on Friday, and it's doubtful Ryu will be ready that quickly.

An earlier clinching, however, would allow Mattingly to set up the rotation for the postseason and possibly use Ryu next Saturday or Sunday. Before pitching in a game, however, Ryu would need to throw a bullpen session and show the club that the inflammation doesn't return.

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


Flying Puig fully extends for run-saving catch

Dodgers center fielder shaken up on dive, remains in game vs. Cubs

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CHICAGO -- Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig put his immense athletic skills on display again Saturday with a spectacular diving catch in the Dodgers' game with the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

With one out in the bottom of the fifth inning and runners on first and second, fellow Cuban Jorge Soler laced a Paco Rodriguez pitch toward left-center.


On the dead run, Puig laid out fully and snagged Soler's line drive, landing on the slick, rain-soaked outfield grass with arms extended. He popped up and threw the ball into the infield, then collapsed with apparent pain in his right shoulder from the dive.

The throw came into second baseman Dee Gordon, who doubled Chris Coghlan off second base to end the inning and preserve the Dodgers' 6-2 lead.

Puig came off the field touching his right shoulder with his left hand, but he recovered quickly enough to double off the wall as the third batter up in the top of the sixth inning and remained in the game on defense in the bottom of the sixth.

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

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Cubs' challenge ends inning with 7-6-3 double play

Replay overturns safe call as relay throw beats Hanley back to first base

Cubs' challenge ends inning with 7-6-3 double play play video for Cubs' challenge ends inning with 7-6-3 double play

CHICAGO -- Cubs manager Rick Renteria challenged a call at first base in the Dodgers' third inning on Sunday, and it was overturned.

With one out and Hanley Ramirez at first, Carl Crawford flied out to left fielder Chris Coghlan, who threw to shortstop Javier Baez. He fired to first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who received the throw just before Ramirez returned to the bag.


First-base umpire Greg Gibson called Ramirez safe, but after a review, the call was overturned and the inning ended on the 7-6-3 double play.

Renteria now has challenged 54 calls and won 24.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Adrian's two homers squandered as 'pen crumbles

Dodgers build five-run lead before Howell, Wilson allow six to Cubs

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CHICAGO -- Clubs scouting for the ideal method of beating the Dodgers in the postseason will drill down on Saturday's game, because if the last-place Cubs can do it, why not a playoff team?

Two home runs from Adrian Gonzalez, a dynamic diving catch by Yasiel Puig and a five-run lead in the seventh inning weren't enough, as the Cubs battered the bullpen late in an 8-7 Dodgers loss.


Still, the Dodgers' magic number to clinch the National League West fell to five and their division lead remained 3 1/2 games after the Giants lost, 3-2, in San Diego.

With the wind again blowing out of Wrigley Field, Chris Coghlan homered twice for the Cubs, leading off the first inning against starter Roberto Hernandez and finishing off the comeback with a two-run killer shot in the eighth to pin the loss on Brian Wilson. Coghlan went 4-for-4.

"Personally I always like playing the Dodgers just because of their franchise and how good they are," said Coghlan. "You always enjoy competing against the best, and they're one of the better teams in baseball."

The Cubs, who trailed, 7-2, going into the bottom of the seventh, scored four times that inning off J.P. Howell, including a crushing three-run homer by Arismendy Alcantara, the first home run Howell has allowed this season.

Wilson and Howell, the veterans setting up closer Kenley Jansen most of the season, each took responsibility for not finishing off his inning.

"I was bad, they were good, a little of both," said Howell. "I missed location. I didn't get ahead, they took advantage, got a pitch to hit and didn't miss. Just an ugly day."

"It's 100 percent my fault," said Wilson, who heard Howell's confessional from his nearby locker. "I'm the one to blame for this game."

Howell noted that the Dodgers' bullpen was 19th (now 21st) in ERA, which he called "unacceptable."

Manager Don Mattingly wasn't about to bury either of them. He said he knows Wilson didn't hit 90 mph with a pitch in this game, but Wilson indicated that he's been a cutter pitcher all season after being unsuccessful early in the year when he occasionally amped up to the mid-90s. He said he didn't locate the home run pitch, he's not hurting and that velocity is not a correct barometer for his season.

"It's what he's been doing all year," Mattingly said. "Nothing different than all year. Not trying to change anything, this is what we've been doing to get us here. Today it didn't work out."

Except that by the time Wilson had come in, Mattingly had used lefties Howell, Paco Rodriguez and Daniel Coulombe. Scott Elbert and his delicate arm were used Friday, so Wilson faced the left-handed-hitting Coghlan. Lefties are hitting 52 points higher than righties against Wilson, which is why Mattingly has been setting up with both when possible to avoid these kinds of vulnerable matchups.

All of this was set into motion when Roberto Hernandez's start turned into a bullpen game one day before Mattingly was expecting to need one. Hernandez went four-plus innings and was charged with two runs in his third consecutive start of 4 1/3 innings or fewer. Pedro Baez, however, virtually assured himself of a postseason role by bailing fellow rookie Coulombe out of a no-out mess.

Mattingly said he wasn't comfortable Friday with an 8-3 lead because of the way Wrigley Field plays with the wind blowing out, and he said that using Howell with a five-run lead illustrated that he wasn't at ease Saturday either.

"When the wind's blowing, it's a small park," he said, agreeing that back-to-back series at Coors Field and Wrigley Field can damage the psyche of any bullpen.

Until the bullpen meltdown, the Dodgers had some highlights to enjoy. Gonzalez raised his numbers to 25 homers and 111 RBIs, while Puig made another ridiculous diving catch to turn fellow Cuban Jorge Soler's bid for extra bases into a run-saving, inning-ending double play that no doubt will get more airtime than Gonzalez's homers. Dee Gordon extended his hitting streak to 13 games, his streak of multi-hit games to eight and stole his 64th base.

Puig appeared to injure his throwing shoulder diving on the rain-slicked grass, but he stayed in the game and doubled moments later.

Along with taking responsibility for the loss, Wilson tried to put it in perspective after watching the Dodgers' offense score at least seven runs for the fifth time in the last eight games.

"We have to accept the loss, but we're still clicking on offense and pitching, and now we have to focus on going out tomorrow and do what we've been doing the past couple of days," he said. "I hope we end the series and the trip on a good note and go home to a much-needed break.

"Everybody wants to play at Dodger Stadium. On a positive note, we're clicking at the right time. I wouldn't let this take away from our identity as far as making a surge to the best record in the National League and taking the division."

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

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Cubs lose challenge on Gordon's 64th steal

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CHICAGO -- Cubs manager Rick Renteria lost a challenge in the third inning of Saturday's game against the Dodgers at Wrigley Field.

Renteria challenged a call by second-base umpire Greg Gibson, who ruled Dee Gordon safe on a steal of second while sliding and popping up on a throw by catcher John Baker. The call, however, stood after a two-minute review.


Gordon had led off the third with a single to right, then scored two batters later on a three-run homer by Adrian Gonzalez, his second of the game, giving the Dodgers a 5-1 lead. Gordon's successful steal was his 64th, tops in the Majors.

Daniel Kramer is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Lingering soreness keeps Uribe out of lineup

Lingering soreness keeps Uribe out of lineup play video for Lingering soreness keeps Uribe out of lineup

CHICAGO -- Third baseman Juan Uribe was out of Saturday's starting lineup against the Cubs at Wrigley Field after feeling a twinge in his lower abdomen or groin, but manager Don Mattingly said Uribe is expected to play in Sunday's series finale.

"He felt something in the same place that he's been going back and forth with for six to eight weeks," said Mattingly. "It's nothing he's not used to. He came in ready to go, but Stan [Conte, VP medical services] wanted to give him a day."


Uribe appeared to take an awkward swing during a strikeout Friday that ended the top of the fifth inning. Conte came onto the field and spoke with Uribe, who remained in the game for another inning before being removed with the Dodgers ahead big in their eventual 14-5 win over Chicago.

Uribe, signed during the offseason to a two-year deal, is batting a career-high .309 and is 11-for-28 with five RBIs on this trip. But he has missed 46 games with two stints on the disabled list for a strained right hamstring.

Hot-hitting Justin Turner started at third base Saturday, batting sixth.

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

{"content":["injury" ] }

Kershaw wins 20th as Dodgers clinch berth

Dodgers plate six in first inning on day ace doesn't have best stuff

Kershaw wins 20th as Dodgers clinch berth play video for Kershaw wins 20th as Dodgers clinch berth

CHICAGO -- After slugging a pair of two-run homers, A.J. Ellis reflected the tone of a clubhouse full of Dodgers who felt it was about time they did for Clayton Kershaw what he usually does for them.

"He's made me look good for so many years, it was nice to help him," Ellis said after the Dodgers pounded the Cubs, 14-5, on Friday to make Kershaw the Majors' first 20-game winner this year despite one of his poorer outings of the second half.


With the wind blowing out to left at Wrigley Field, Ellis was joined in dugout foam parties by Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig, who pulled three-run homers. That scoring windfall helped the Dodgers clinch a playoff berth -- thanks to the Brewers losing to the Pirates, 4-2 -- while also decreasing their magic number to win the National League West to six with the aid of the Padres' 5-0 win over the Giants.

Kershaw joined Pedro Martinez as the only pitchers since World War II with 20 wins in fewer than 30 starts and, having gone 21-5 in 2011, became the first Dodgers pitcher to reach the 20-win mark twice since Claude Osteen in 1969 and '72. At 20-3 (.870), Kershaw has the best winning percentage for a Dodgers pitcher since Preacher Roe went 22-3 (.880) in 1951. Kershaw's ERA is 1.80.

The Los Angeles ace didn't look like a NL MVP Award candidate or NL Cy Young Award favorite doing it, though. Gifted a six-run first-inning lead, Kershaw coughed up half of that before the second inning started. He struggled with his control and allowed three runs in only five innings, his shortest start in three months. He racked up nine strikeouts, but he also issued three walks for the first time since May 23, and he needed 106 pitches.

"Obviously, you want to go eight or nine [innings] and be the reason why the team won," said Kershaw. "Sometimes, the team does it for you and you just happen to be out there."

Kershaw said he couldn't explain why he fell behind in counts, although he didn't reject the possibility that sitting through a six-run top of the first might have contributed.

"It's not easy, but for six runs you'll take it and sit there for two yours if you have to," he said. "My velocity was there. I think I was out of it. My control wasn't good, the fastball was all over, the breaking ball wasn't breaking. Just chalk it up to a bad day."

Ellis said the Cubs had a more patient approach at the plate than recent opponents that have unsuccessfully tried to attack Kershaw fastballs early in the count. With a six-run lead in the first inning, Kershaw walked leadoff hitter Arismendy Alcantara.

"Nice to see the leadoff hitter walk, couple guys get some hits," said Cubs infielder Chris Valaika, who had two hits off Kershaw. "It makes us feel like he's human.''

Manager Don Mattingly said he was "pretty uneasy early" watching Kershaw struggle, knowing that his bullpen could be busy the next three days with the starting rotation jumbled. But a pair of six-run rallies provided plenty of breathing room.

"The way the wind was blowing, the ball gets out of the park and this place is more like Colorado and runs go up in a hurry," Mattingly said. "As well as Clayton has pitched all year and what he's meant to us, it's a good feeling to get a win for him. And even with the jams he got in, you saw what he's made of. He fought not to give up runs. He showed what he's all about, even in that outing."

Kemp -- who had two likely homers brought back to the park by an inbound wind Thursday night -- had the wind at his back in the first inning after a one-out walk to Puig, who was singled to third by Adrian Gonzalez. Kemp fell behind Jackson, 0-2, chipping his bat fouling off a 1-2 pitch. Then, with a new bat, he crushed his 22nd home run.

It was Kemp's 14th homer since the All-Star break, his sixth this month and third on the trip. Hanley Ramirez followed with the first of his two doubles, and with two outs, he was singled home by Juan Uribe, chasing Edwin Jackson after 35 pitches. Eric Jokisch took over, and Ellis launched his fifth pitch into the jet stream for a two-run homer.

Ellis, who came into the game with one home run and 19 RBIs this year, provided insurance in the third with a second two-run shot. Puig (.412 last eight games) padded the lead in the sixth, clearing the bleachers after a walk to Ellis and a one-out single by Dee Gordon (12-game hit streak), who has seven consecutive multihit games. Ramirez (.357 in September) doubled in a run and Carl Crawford added a two-run single.

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


Dodgers have bigger goals after clinching berth

Dodgers have bigger goals after clinching berth play video for Dodgers have bigger goals after clinching berth

CHICAGO -- There's no swimming pool at Wrigley Field and Lake Michigan is too cold, even in summer, so whatever celebrating the Dodgers did Friday probably didn't require goggles or fins.

There was a team party planned long ago by club owner and Windy City resident Mark Walter. But it couldn't have been as wild as Chase Field's pool party last year when the Dodgers clinched the National League West.


Despite clinching a playoff berth with the Brewers' loss on Friday, the Dodgers don't seem to be in a celebrating mood for anything short of another division title, which they can't achieve until next week's final homestand.

"Obviously, making the playoffs is a starting point, but I don't know if there's necessarily a celebration for it," Clayton Kershaw said after becoming a 20-game winner in Friday's 14-5 win over the Cubs.

"[A Wild Card berth] would be something of a letdown now, maybe not something to really celebrate, but maybe a pat on the back."

Matt Kemp, after mashing a three-run homer in support of Kershaw, agreed with his ace.

"We want to go bigger than that," Kemp said of the Wild Card. "We want to win the National League West. It's good to know we made the playoffs, but I wouldn't mind the best record in the NL. We've still got to continue to play good baseball. I want to win the West, for sure."

That can't happen until at least next week, when the final homestand of the regular season opens, fittingly, against the second-place Giants for a three-game series beginning Monday.

That would allow general manager Ned Colletti to eliminate his former team. This is the fifth time in nine seasons as GM that Colletti's Dodgers have qualified for the postseason.

Manager Don Mattingly, who has taken the club into October in back-to-back seasons, was slightly more sanguine about locking up a Wild Card berth.

"Obviously, it's something at that point that at least it gives you a chance to play when only 10 teams are left," he said. "But all year we've thought -- if that's the only way, you're good with it -- but we feel winning the division is what we're trying to accomplish."

Nonetheless, just making the postseason is an accomplishment for a club that opened the season with the demands of traveling to Australia, lost Kershaw for six weeks to injury, fell 9 1/2 games behind on June 8 and was back in first place 22 days later.

If the season ended now, the Dodgers would have home-field advantage in the NL Division Series vs. the St. Louis Cardinals, who beat them in last year's NL Championship Series.

The Washington Nationals have a 1 1/2-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, while the Giants and Pirates were in position for the two Wild Card spots.

This year the Dodgers are 4-3 against St. Louis, 2-4 against Washington, 2-5 against Pittsburgh and 8-8 against San Francisco.

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

{"content":["postseason" ] }

Five reasons why Dodgers made postseason

From Kershaw to Gordon, LA had the right ingredients in 2014

Five reasons why Dodgers made postseason play video for Five reasons why Dodgers made postseason

CHICAGO -- Don Mattingly playoff teams have certain traits. They don't panic. They rely on starting pitching. They fall 9 ½ games out of first place.

Sure, it's counter-intuitive, this storm-from-behind strategy, but whatever works. The Dodgers have now done it in back-to-back seasons, wiping out huge deficits to ensure October baseball. Here are five factors that made it happen this year:


Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke:  For $362 million worth of contracts, the Dodgers have the closest thing to a Koufax/Drysdale tandem that money can buy these days. No wonder this club has avoided even one losing streak as long as four games. Kershaw will win a third Cy Young Award and maybe an MVP.

A settled outfield: Because of injuries, Mattingly wasn't faced with an outfielder dilemma until after the All-Star break. By late July, he decided on Carl Crawford, Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp from left to right, with Scott Van Slyke platooning in left field and Andre Ethier on the bench. Puig was a one-man run machine in May, while Kemp and Crawford have stepped up through the stretch.

Dee Gordon:  The club came to Spring Training expecting Cuban signing Alex Guerrero to be the starting second baseman. Nobody saw Gordon reviving his career at a new position, but he was immediately more comfortable there than at shortstop and he gave the offense a disruptive force at the top with that blazing speed.

Dan Haren and Josh Beckett:  When Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu were injured early in the year, the back end of the rotation propped things up. Haren has gone on to double-digit wins and Beckett was in the conversation for comeback player of the year until his body broke down again with a hip injury that probably means retirement.

Adrian Gonzalez:  For the second year running, he's been the club's most consistent run producer, and this time it might mean a National League RBI title. For a club that has trouble keeping veterans in the lineup, Gonzalez has skipped only three games all season. Honorable mention goes to third baseman Juan Uribe, who answered doubters after being re-signed with his best of four Dodgers seasons.

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

{"content":["postseason" ] }

Joc Pederson makes coffee run for Dodgers

Joc Pederson makes coffee run for Dodgers

While it is an awful lot of fun, the life of an MLB rookie isn't as glamorous as you might think. The hours are long, there's a lot of travel involved, the uniform requirements can get pretty ridiculous, guys troll you left and right and then, when you get through all of that, you're expected to fetch coffee for the older guys.

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Phil Rogers

Even off his game, Kershaw still tough to top

Dodgers' superb lefty shows his mettle by grinding out win over Cubs

Even off his game, Kershaw still tough to top play video for Even off his game, Kershaw still tough to top

CHICAGO -- So that's what Clayton Kershaw looks like when he's off his game?

Kershaw was anything but sharp in picking up his 20th win on Friday afternoon, in what surprisingly was only his second start at Wrigley Field. He even walked the leadoff hitter in the Dodgers' 14-5 win, which isn't what you expect from someone headed for his third National League Cy Young Award in four seasons.


"It makes us feel like he's human," Cubs utility man Chris Valaika said.

Maybe Kershaw ate some bad deep-dish. Maybe he was put off by the size of the lettering that has been added to the Trump Hotel. Maybe he was just disappointed that he didn't get to swing the bat against Edwin Jackson.

Whatever it was, you've got to say this: Kershaw had a great sense of timing in picking Friday to turn in a clunker.

With first-inning home runs by Matt Kemp and A.J. Ellis giving him a 6-0 lead before he threw a pitch, Kershaw could afford to have his least impressive start since May. And he did.

Michelangelo probably had a few bad ones himself when he painted the Sistine Chapel.

By making it through the fifth inning with an 8-3 lead, Kershaw raised his record to 20-3 in 26 starts on two continents. You don't need to call the Elias Sports Bureau to know that's a first.

The 26-year-old from Dallas, the best pitcher in the game by a wide margin, will join Pedro Martinez as one of the only two pitchers since World War II to finish with 20 wins while starting fewer than 30 games. Kershaw is having a season for the ages, even if the Cubs did bump his ERA from 1.70 to 1.80.

"He just competes," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "This guy is tough. He's pretty much always on a hunt. He doesn't want to let one guy get on. He's never taken anything for granted. If he's got a big lead, it doesn't matter. If he's in a tight game, he's pitching the same way. I just think he's all about execution and game-planning every time he goes out there."

All three runs Kershaw allowed were in the first inning, before his curveball began to resemble itself. Once he located that beast, the party was over.

"It was a battle," Kershaw said. "I don't know why. Chalk it up to just a bad day. My control wasn't good. My fastball was all over [the place]. The breaking ball wasn't breaking. It was just a grind."

While few of the young Cubs hitters had ever faced Kershaw, manager Rick Renteria saw him a lot more often than he wanted to when he was one of Bud Black's coaches in San Diego. He helped put together a plan of attack that worked well when Anthony Rizzo (double) and Jorge Soler (triple) followed Arismendy Alcantara's leadoff walk with ringing extra-base hits to right field.

"I thought we did a nice job of grinding out at-bats," Renteria said. "He tries to attack the strike zone immediately. He knows guys are going to try to get after him because his stuff is so good. I think [coaches] sat down and tried to get [hitters] to get comfortable, maybe see the first pitch, see how he's throwing, make it be a strike. They ended up doing a good job of trying to get him up."

Remember, this was a forgettable outing for Kershaw. That's the only context this can be viewed in. He needed 106 pitches to get through five innings and he allowed seven hits. Yet Kershaw still struck out nine, including seven of the last 13 Cubs he faced.

During this stretch, Kershaw got seven swinging strikes, most on fastballs and sliders. But his put-away pitch was the big, sharp curveball, the one that Vin Scully labelled "Public Enemy No. 1" when he first saw it in Spring Training six years ago, when Kershaw was a non-roster player headed for Double-A Jacksonville.

Junior Lake and Alcantara struck out swinging at curveballs. Soler and Valaika experienced paralysis as Kershaw's curveballs crossed the plate, easily inside Phil Cuzzi's strike zone, if not the normal range of believability.

Valaika had gotten hits in his first two at-bats -- an infield single in the second inning and a soft double that fell between second baseman Dee Gordon and right fielder Matt Kemp in the fourth inning. You can't blame Kershaw for giving him a double dose of the curveball when he got him into a 1-2 count the next time up.

Valaika laid off the first curve for a ball, getting the count to 2-2. But here it came again. All he could was look at that one and listen to Cuzzi ring him up.

"He's got pretty electric stuff," Valaika said. "The first one, that went in the dirt, started in the zone and the bottom fell out of it. Then he threw one that I thought was up, but with as much bite as he puts on it, it's right back in the zone. He throws it so hard, such a sharp pitch, when you see it up, you might give up on it early and it falls right back into zone."

In going 2-for-3 against Kershaw, Valaika probably had as much reason to celebrate as the guy who got his 20th win and seems headed toward an NL MVP Award. It was another day of work for baseball's best pitcher, who is happy he got this performance out of the way in September, not October.

"Obviously you want to go eight or nine and be the reason why the team won," Kershaw said. "Sometimes the team does it for you and you just happen to be out there."

The beauty of it is they all count.

Phil Rogers is a columnist for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


Dodgers creep closer to playoffs with big, late rally

LA posts five-run seventh after Greinke struggles; magic number at 2

Dodgers creep closer to playoffs with big, late rally play video for Dodgers creep closer to playoffs with big, late rally

CHICAGO -- Coming from behind late as they've rarely done this year, the Dodgers produced a five-run seventh inning and pulled away from the last-place Cubs on Thursday night for an 8-4 victory at Wrigley Field.

With nine to play, they lead the idle Giants in the National League West by 2 1/2 games. The magic number to clinch a playoff spot is two -- and it is eight to win the division.


Dee Gordon broke the tie with an RBI double and Yasiel Puig chased rookie reliever Neil Ramirez with an RBI single in the inning that started with a single by Hanley Ramirez, who returned to the lineup with a pair of hits after missing two games in Colorado because of a strained right elbow. Ramirez is 10-for-19 on the trip.

"We fall behind, and the way we lost the last couple of games and with the wind blowing in, it made it seem like we were further than [three] runs down," said Adrian Gonzalez. "But we put a great rally together and came up clutch."

The rally included pinch-hitter Carl Crawford's single, a crushing error by Cubs second baseman Logan Watkins on Juan Uribe's potential double-play grounder and a clutch RBI double by pinch-hitter Andre Ethier. The tying run scored on pinch-hitter Justin Turner's groundout. Four of the runs were unearned.

"It always seems like that -- you make an error and the wheels come off," said Watkins, charged with two of the Cubs' three errors.

Puig had three hits and is batting .400 on the trip. Gordon is hitting .357 during an 11-game hitting streak. Uribe, with two hits, is batting .397 in 16 games since being activated from the disabled list. And nobody hit the ball harder than Matt Kemp, but two pitches he crushed were no match for the wind and turned into outs.

"After Matt's first rocket," manager Don Mattingly said, "the guys decided it was better to hit line drives."

All of those runs helped overcome a wobbly five-inning start from Zack Greinke, who allowed four runs on nine hits with the club desperately trying to restore order after rookie swingman Carlos Frias' record-setting, two-thirds-of-an-inning debacle at Coors Field on Wednesday. Greinke made 112 pitches, the tone set by a 31-pitch, two-run first inning. Dodgers starting pitchers have a 14.34 ERA in the last three games.

"I guess this is pretty darn big," Greinke said of the win. "By the fifth, it didn't look very good. To pull it out, it's almost like stealing a win. I don't know how many times we've done it all year."

Told the Dodgers have trailed 56 games this year after six innings, and this was only the second time they've won, Greinke said: "Really? Maybe doing it gets you going."

Paco Rodriguez, in his second appearance since being activated off the disabled list, got the win. Pedro Baez was allowed to pitch out of a tight seventh-inning jam, Brian Wilson pitched the eighth and Kenley Jansen, little used lately because of blowouts, pitched the ninth despite a non-save situation.

With a chilly wind blowing in, Greinke allowed the first four Cubs to reach base -- and committed his first error in four years on a wild pickoff -- for a 2-0 lead. Before a batter was retired, pitching coach Rick Honeycutt visited the mound as if it was Frias out there.

"I'd describe it as pretty bad fastball location," Greinke said. "I got behind in counts and wasn't able to use the offspeed."

Ryan Kalish helped Greinke with a puzzling bunt back to the mound for a force at third base before Greinke struck out Mike Olt and got Watkins on a grounder to first.

Kemp bailed Greinke out of a potential mess in the third inning, when Luis Valbuena's sharp leadoff grounder went through first baseman Gonzalez for an error. Valbuena tried for second on the play, but Kemp gunned him down for his seventh assist.

The Dodgers had their baserunning adventures -- with Gordon caught stealing in a pickoff/rundown, and Uribe thrown out on what would have been a double if he hadn't watched the ball momentarily until realizing the wind wouldn't let it clear the wall.

"We kind of shot ourselves in the foot early, but we were able to rally," Mattingly said.

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

{} Columnist

Phil Rogers

Dodgers counting on Kershaw, Greinke down the stretch

Los Angeles is 38-17 in games started by its top two hurlers

Dodgers counting on Kershaw, Greinke down the stretch play video for Dodgers counting on Kershaw, Greinke down the stretch

CHICAGO -- There's a popular Twitter account that tracks the number of consecutive games the Cubs have played without being no-hit -- a total that stands at 7,816 since Sandy Koufax's perfect game.

The person who runs the account dutifully updates the total on a daily basis and tosses in witty insight for no extra charge. But the account was silent for a couple innings after noting Chris Coghlan's leadoff single against Zack Greinke on Thursday.


"You're awfully quiet tonight. Nervous about tomorrow?" a follower Tweeted.

Replied @CubsNoHItStreak: "Terrified."

Clayton Kershaw, who seems to have already been awarded the National League Cy Young Award and the NL MVP Award, starts for the Dodgers.

No wonder Don Mattingly wasn't getting too worked up about his team arriving at Wrigley Field on the heels of 16-2 and 10-4 losses in Denver, which allowed the Giants to creep back into the NL West race.

With Hyun-Jin Ryu still recovering from a sore shoulder, Mattingly isn't sure who will start for him against San Francisco on Monday. It's not an ideal situation, by any means. But with Kershaw and Greinke on his side, the Dodgers' manager figures he'll be OK.

"Right now, I'm comfortable because I've got Greinke tonight, and that's the only game I'm worried about," Mattingly said before an 8-4 victory, which leaves Los Angeles 2 1/2 up with nine games to play.

When the Dodgers got rocked in Colorado on Tuesday and Wednesday, their starting pitchers were rookie Carlos Frias and Dan Haren. That left the non-Kershaw/Greinke portion of the rotation 1-5 with a 6.02 ERA in 10 games in September.


But Mattingly isn't inclined to get too worked up as long as he can lean on Kershaw and Greinke.

"I think if I had to worry about going through 162 games, right now would be a little different feel," Mattingly said. "We're not really in that situation. We've only got 10 games [left in the regular season]. I feel like we're OK where we're at now. We're going to get Hyun-Jin back. It's going to be a few days, but we're going to get him back. If you were trying to start the season like this, you'd probably be in a little bit of a box, but right now, [I] feel OK."

There are a lot of things Mattingly doesn't know. He isn't sure about the health of Hanley Ramirez, the power hitting of Yasiel Puig (two homers since July 4), his starting pitcher in the opener of Monday's showdown series with the Giants and who knows, maybe the first names of some of his players. He's got 37, after all.

But Mattingly knows he has the best 1-2 combination of starters in the Major Leagues, and he's counting on Kershaw and Greinke to matter more than any of the nagging questions.

Mattingly won't take anything for granted. He didn't do this math. Mattingly's focus is much more day to day, as it has to be with the Giants refusing to disappear. But he has a pretty good idea how it works.

Counting Thursday night, the Dodgers are positioned to have Kershaw and Greinke (a combined 34-11 with a 2.23 ERA) start nine of 15 games, assuming they win the West and play a five-game NL Division Series.

Since I've gone there, if they went to the World Series, with every postseason series going the distance, the Dodgers could use Kershaw and Greinke 17 times in 29 games. As the rotation currently sets up, with Greinke on track to start the last day of the season and Kershaw working the NLDS opener -- or, worst case, the NL Wild Card Game -- that scenario could play out if Mattingly twice went to Kershaw on three days' rest (as he did in the NLDS against Atlanta last year).

Greinke is 15-8 with a 2.76 ERA. The Cubs caught him on an off night but couldn't beat him. Greinke needed 30 pitches and an ill-advised bunt by Ryan Kalish to get through a two-run first inning, then threw 23 more in the second. He wound up throwing 112 pitches in five innings and, worse, leaving with a 4-1 deficit.

But, in an unusual turn, the Dodgers' bench rescued him. A five-run rally off Neil Ramirez in the seventh inning -- including pinch hits by Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier -- helped Los Angeles raise its record to 2-54 in games it has trailed after six innings.

The Dodgers are 38-17 in games started by Kershaw and Greinke. That's a .691 winning percentage -- and Mattingly would love to see if they can keep that up for another month, and ideally even a little longer.

Phil Rogers is a columnist for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


Hanley returns to action after treating elbow strain

Hanley returns to action after treating elbow strain

CHICAGO -- After missing the last two games in Colorado with a strained right elbow, Hanley Ramirez passed the medical tests and returned to the Dodgers' lineup for the Thursday night opener of the four-game series with the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

"That thing just popped up," manager Don Mattingly said of Ramirez's latest injury. "But I talked to Stan [Conte, VP medical services], and he said he was good to go."


Ramirez has been in and out of the lineup all year with assorted injuries to his shoulder, left leg, oblique, wrist, calf, hand, finger and thumb. Only the oblique issue put Ramirez on the disabled list.

Ramirez is in the final season of his contract and will be a free agent after the season.

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

{"content":["replay" ] }

Cubs lose late challenge on safe call vs. LA

Cubs lose late challenge on safe call vs. LA play video for Cubs lose late challenge on safe call vs. LA

CHICAGO -- Cubs manager Rick Renteria challenged that Adrian Gonzalez was ruled safe at first in the ninth inning of Chicago's 8-4 loss to Los Angeles on Thursday night, but he lost.

The Dodgers had Yasiel Puig at second with no outs against reliever Blake Parker when Gonzalez hit a grounder to shortstop Javier Baez, whose throw to first pulled Mike Olt off the bag. First-base umpire Phil Cuzzi called Gonzalez safe, which brought Renteria out of the dugout.


After a brief review, the call was confirmed, and Baez was charged with a throwing error.

Matt Kemp then tacked on a run with a sacrifice fly -- plating Puig, who had advanced to third on the play -- before Parker induced a forceout and a flyout to end the inning.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"content":["replay" ] }

Dodgers' playoff push hits bump in Colorado

Dodgers' playoff push hits bump in Colorado play video for Dodgers' playoff push hits bump in Colorado

DENVER -- The Dodgers won't miss Colorado. Carlos Frias, on the other hand, won't ever forget it -- for all the wrong reasons.

The Dodgers were sent packing by the Rockies, 16-2, on a historically bad Wednesday to drop the rubber match of the three-game series at Coors Field.


Making a spot start in place of the injured Hyun-Jin Ryu, Frias was rocked for eight runs in the first, becoming the first pitcher -- starter or reliever -- in the modern era to allow 10 hits and not record three outs.

"It was a bad day," Frias said through a translator. "I'm not going to allow Coors Field to be an excuse. Obviously there are other pitchers that are able to have success here at Coors Field. I'm just chalking it up to a bad outing."

After outscoring the Giants, 21-2, in the final two games of their series in San Francisco, the Dodgers seemed determined not to come out flat in Colorado, taking Monday's opener, 11-3.

But the final two games were an entirely different story as the Dodgers were throttled by a combined score of 26-6 at the hands of the last-place Rockies. Worst of all, the Giants fully took advantage of the Dodgers' back-to-back blunders, cutting Los Angeles' National League West lead to two games.

And with Frias serving up a hit to 10 of 11 batters he faced in the first, the Dodgers never stood a chance.

Frias held the Nationals scoreless over six innings in his only other career Major League start earlier this month. But on Wednesday, he couldn't get his sinker working in the Denver altitude, hanging almost every offering up in the zone.

"When they put up five runs on the board, I basically said, 'Well, today is not my day,'" Frias said. "I wanted to finish the inning, but I wasn't able to."

Justin Morneau brought his first-inning RBI total to five when left-hander Scott Elbert took over, tacking on a two-run single to his previous three-run homer off Frias from earlier in the frame.

"You wouldn't expect to come out like that against a guy who's got really good stuff," Morneau said. "Watching the video, we were expecting a tough matchup."

By the time the bleeding had stopped, the Rockies had set a new franchise record for the most runs scored in the first inning with eight.

Right-hander Kevin Correia came on to attempt to eat some innings for the Dodgers, but he proved to be just as hittable.

In three innings of work, Correia was touched for six runs (five earned) on seven hits, including a solo shot from Charlie Blackmon.

"It's frustrating," catcher Tim Federowicz said. "Everything you call gets hit. … You start to second guess your pitch-calling, but at the same time, we have to execute pitches."

The Dodgers avoided a shutout thanks to Darwin Barney, who hit his third homer of the season off Rockies reliever Rob Scahill with one out in the eighth.

Cody Ulm is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


LA buys new Triple-A club, moves Double-A

LA buys new Triple-A club, moves Double-A play video for LA buys new Triple-A club, moves Double-A

LOS ANGELES -- Confirmation Wednesday that the Oklahoma City RedHawks will be the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate next year is a payoff from the synergies brought by the parent franchise's Dream Team of owners.

Mandalay Baseball Properties' Peter Guber, who was instrumental in bringing Magic Johnson with him into the Guggenheim Baseball Partners' bid for the Dodgers, is selling the RedHawks to the Dodgers' owners. Guber will be the executive chairman and managing director of the team, and Mandalay Baseball partners Paul Schaeffer and Larry Freedman will manage the operations of the company.


"I am thrilled to be partnering with the Dodgers in the Oklahoma City franchise and am looking forward to an exciting future for the enterprise," said Guber.

Led by president and CEO Stan Kasten, the Dodgers' ownership group has vowed to replenish and invigorate the player development system. Solidifying affiliations is a small but necessary part of that. The club's Triple-A affiliate had been in Albuquerque, N.M.

"The Los Angeles Dodgers look forward to making Oklahoma City our long-term home for our Triple-A franchise," said Kasten. "We are committed to the great sports fans and the great city of Oklahoma City. We are excited to work with president and general manager Michael Byrnes and his outstanding staff, who have been a very integral part of the community.

"We enjoyed a great relationship with the Albuquerque organization and its fans, but the opportunity of franchise ownership was one we couldn't pass up."

Guber said he and Johnson were partners long before they joined the Dodgers' bidding. They partnered in developing Magic Johnson Theaters, and Johnson was a founding partner with MBP (and two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin) in the Dayton Dragons franchise of the Midwest League. The Dragons were recently sold for a Minor League record price (reportedly $40 million) after selling out every home game in their 15-year history and holding the record for the most consecutive sellouts in North American sports at over 1,050 consecutive sellouts.

"Our Dodgers ownership group is a very collaborative enterprise," said Guber. "We all like each other, are respectful of each other and we all bring value to the venture. I am very invested in sports. I understand the process of franchise ownership, what great entertainment sports [are]. It's exciting to see us building the Minor League system."

Guber's early career was primarily in Hollywood, teaming with production partner Jon Peters, releasing a string of hits for Columbia Pictures and Sony Entertainment, eventually founding Mandalay Entertainment, and expanding that company into sports ownership with a handful of Minor League baseball and hockey clubs. That led Guber to become a co-owner of the NBA's Golden State Warriors, and, three years ago, he joined with Johnson as partners in Guggenheim's record purchase of the Dodgers.

Guber remains equally committed to Hollywood and sports. "When the Game Stands Still," released by Sony last week, is the latest production in his four-decade career producing movies and television. Among the hits he produced -- "The Deep," "Midnight Express," "An American Werewolf in London," "Six Weeks," "Flashdance," "The Color Purple," "Rain Man," "Batman," "Donnie Brasco" and "Les Miserables." Through Mandalay Television Pictures, Guber has also adapted a number of books into Lifetime movies.

Guber is chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment, co-owner of the Warriors, chairman of the Guggenheim-owned Dick Clark Productions, chairman of Mandalay Digital Media and Mandalay Sports Media. He also wrote the New York Times No. 1 bestseller "Tell to Win -- Connect, Persuade and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story."

Mandalay has owned and operated 10 Minor League Baseball teams and owns the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (current Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, jointly owned by the New York Yankees) and the Erie SeaWolves (current Double-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers). Mandalay owned the Las Vegas 51s when they were a Dodgers affiliate.

The Dodgers will also be moving their Double-A affiliate to Oklahoma.

Los Angeles signed an agreement Wednesday with the Tulsa Drillers of the Texas League through the 2016 season, moving their Double-A team from Chattanooga, Tenn. Tulsa was previously an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies before the Dodgers came to an agreement with Drillers owners Dale and Jeff Hubbard.

"We are thrilled to be working with the Hubbard family and making Tulsa our home for the Dodgers' Double-A team," said Dodgers President & CEO Stan Kasten. "Having our top two Minor League teams within the state of Oklahoma will certainly be great for our organization and for the Dodger fans in the state."

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

{} Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Puig learning that spotlight isn't always fun

LA star is a lightning rod, in good times and bad

Puig learning that spotlight isn't always fun play video for Puig learning that spotlight isn't always fun

DENVER -- For all the focus and excitement that surrounds Dodgers center fielder Yasiel Puig, it is important to step back at times and remember that he remains a player with a ton of raw ability who is far from a finished product.

The Cuban defector was in the big leagues at the age of 22, making his debut last season 326 days after signing his first professional contract and with only 50 games of Minor League experience. Puig became an instant center of attention with his tape-measure home runs, sprinter speed and powerful arm.


In his second big league season, Puig is learning that being in the spotlight isn't always fun.

"He's a lightning rod when he is good, but he's also a lightning rod when he is bad," said manager Don Mattingly. "When he is going well, he's the center of attention for his flair for the dramatic. When he isn't going well, there's so much talk about, 'He hasn't done this, he hasn't done that.'"

Lately, it's been a lot of talk about what Puig hasn't been doing, and it eats at him.

"He just likes to go out and play the game," said Mattingly, "but obviously when you go bad for a long period of time, you feel it. You know you aren't producing. Nobody has to tell you."

That was apparent during the weekend when Puig admitted to The Los Angeles Times, "I have to get out of this in the next 15 or 16 games. If I don't get out of it now, I don't know if I'll get out of it for the playoffs."

There are signs of revival. Puig is 6-for-13 in his last five games, and in his final at-bat in the Dodgers' 10-4 loss to the Rockies at Coors Field on Tuesday night, he unloaded a two-run home run that left the park on a laser beam.

Puig, however, took third strikes for the second out in the fifth inning with runners on first and third and again for the final out in the sixth with the bases loaded and Colorado clinging to a 5-2 lead. Both times, he was visibly upset about the calls by plate umpire D.J. Reyburn, who showed much better restraint than Puig by walking up the first-base line and away from a potential confrontation.

But Puig had a single in the third inning and that home run, ending a 147 at-bat homer drought that dated back to July 31. He did drive in two runs, but that game him only six RBI since Aug. 5. And Puig is still only hitting .213 since Aug. 5, having struck out 33 times in 132 at-bats.

"His swing has been better lately," said Mattingly. "He has been a little more aggressive. For a while, he was caught in the middle, back and forth."

That's where the frustrations enter the picture. That's where the chirping at Reyburn surfaces, a product of Puig's frustration of being too passive on a full-count pitch with a run-producing situation. That's where the exchange with teammate Matt Kemp in the dugout the night before surfaces.

Mattingly down played the situation.

"Just family stuff," he said when asked about the Monday night dugout incident. "We're like the '72 A's."

Mattingly can only hope these Dodgers are like those A's, who fussed and feuded their way to three consecutive World Series titles.

Oakland had its Hall of Fame players, with the likes of Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter and Rollie Fingers. The A's did not, however, have any player who had the combination of raw talents that Puig possesses. Few players have had that kind of ability. The question is whether Puig can take that next step.

It's not about how far Puig can hit a ball or how strong an arm he can display or how quickly he can run the bases. It is a matter of doing the little things, which go largely unnoticed but can have such a big impact on the direction of a game.

It's understanding that the dramatic play isn't always the best play.

It's the bottom of the first on Tuesday night when Charlie Blackmon drew a leadoff walk and Josh Rutledge followed with a single to center. Blackmon, running on the pitch, was easily on his way to third base, but Puig, instead of throwing to second to hold Rutledge at first, uncorked a throw to third that had no chance of getting Blackmon, and Rutledge eased in to second, setting up a second run in that inning for the Rockies.

Little things, but they add up. They are things that are preached at the Minor League level. Puig, however, was fast-tracked to the big leagues because of impact ability, and he still has an educational process to endure.

That, said Mattingly, is a challenge that he and the coaching staff face, helping Puig master the finer points.

"For him to become a true star, we have to help him figure out the small things," said Mattingly. "He's trying to make great plays and he has the ability. It's about knowing when to go and when to stop. It's an area where we can really help him."

It's a little thing that can have a big impact.

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