Dodgers Now

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Category: Javy Guerra

Kenley Jansen is making hitters look silly


Kenley Jansen is not of planet Earth. He is plain nasty. If you’re a hitter, you do not want to see him on the mound. You probably don’t want to see him in a stadium hallway.

Jansen has very quietly put together a phenomenal sophomore season. Been so good it’s just stupid. Been so good that despite Javy Guerra’s remarkable success, you have to wonder if the heat-throwing Jansen isn’t the Dodgers’ closer of the future.

He’s had only two bad outings all year, and both came the first three weeks of the season when his shoulder was probably already bothering him. Since returning from the disabled list June 18, he’s been as close to unhittable as you can dream.

I wrote in jest -– anyway, I pretended it was in jest -– back in July that Jansen had become the world’s greatest reliever. All he’s done since is make that overstatement appear modest.

Even after going on the DL again with an irregular heartbeat, he has returned same as he ever was. Which is absolutely lights out.

In his 21 games since returning from his shoulder problem in June, Jansen has fashioned a stunning 0.38 ERA. He has struck out 40 in his 23-2/3 innings, allowed one run, only five hits (.068 batting average) and 10 walks.

This has been somewhat lost because his overall season numbers are more modest (2-1, 3.22 ERA). Yet subtract those two poor April outings which accounted for nine of the 16 runs he’s allowed all season, and his ERA is 1.45.

Jansen doesn’t turn 24 until the end of the month and is in only his third year as a reliever after starting his career as a catcher. So much about the Dodgers right now is cloudy, but Jansen is a supernova.


Clayton Kershaw outduels Tim Lincecum in 2-1 win

Andre Ethier is headed for knee surgery

Frank McCourt and Bill Burke: Not pals

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers reliever Kenley Jansen after striking out Colorado's Dexter Fowler to earn a save in a 3-2 win on July 26 at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Jeff Gross / Getty Images

Dodgers start doubleheader with win behind Tony Gwynn Jr.

Tony Gwynn Jr., the forgotten Dodger?

The glamour guys in the outfield are Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. The surprising run-producing addition is Juan Rivera. The hot prospect is Jerry Sands.

And Gwynn?

He’s given the Dodgers just about all they hoped for when he signed a one-year contract in the off-season: great outfield defense, speed on the bases, a respectable .257 batting average, and on a damp Thursday as a bonus, a game-winning double.

In the first game of a doubleheader, Gwynn lined his ninth-inning double into the right-center gap to drive in two, break up a tie game and lead the Dodgers to a 7-4 victory over the Nationals in Washington.

Rain had started to fall when the Dodgers started their one-out rally against Washington reliever Drew Storen after he hit Sands with a pitch and Rod Barajas singled.

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Stephen Strasburg earns a bow; Dodgers beat Nationals, 7-3

Dodgers-blog_640 Stephen Strasburg strolled to the mound, if fashionably late, and was not carried on a walking throne by manservants. Hitters were not required to bow before entering the batter's box. Plebeians in the crowd did not throw rose petals at his feet, at least not literally.

Otherwise, royalty arrived and then actually delivered. Which, considering the buildup and the fawning, is saying something.

In his first appearance since undergoing Tommy John surgery, the expressionless Strasburg was in total command. With machine-like efficiency, the Washington Nationals' 23-year-old phenom shut out the Dodgers for five innings, throwing 56 pitches on a wet Tuesday night in Washington.

The Dodgers cooperated, swinging early and often, and at no point did they actually pretend to threaten Strasburg. Maybe they’d read his effusive press clippings. And just maybe, Strasburg will actually continue to live up to the incredible hype.

Strasburg left with a 3-0 lead, but the Dodgers came back to tie it in the sixth and prevent the right-hander from earning the victory.

The Dodgers ultimately defeated the Nationals, 7-3, taking the lead on a two-run single by Rod Barajas in the eighth, Strasburg by then long gone, his budding legend one outstanding start richer, the game itself almost reduced to a sideshow.

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Nathan Eovaldi and the kids lead Dodgers to sixth straight win, 2-1

Nathan3 Nathan Eovaldi wasn’t supposed to be here. Not in the major leagues, not playing with the big boys.

Not this season, anyway. Probably not even next season.

But a series of injuries to Dodgers starting pitchers caused them to dip into the ranks of double-A Chattanooga for the second time this season and call on Eovaldi. It wasn’t exactly a move of desperation, but it was in the neighborhood.

Only in his sixth and final start of the season Saturday, Eovaldi has at least put his name in the conversation for the Dodgers’ rotation for next year.

Eovaldi struggled with his control, but the 21-year-old showed poise in containing the damage, giving up only one run in his six innings of an eventual 2-1, 10-inning victory for the Dodgers.

It made for the Dodgers’ sixth consecutive victory, a season high. The suddenly hot club has won 11 of its last 12 games and pulled within two games of .500 (68-70) for the first time since May 14.

They won it in the 10th inning after another promising Dodger, shortstop Dee Gordon, led off with a double. Anyway, his speed turned what looked like a single into a double. James Loney’s bunt sacrificed him to third, and after an intentional walk to Matt Kemp, Juan Rivera’s fly to center field was deep enough to bring home Gordon.

A final Dodger youngster, rookie Javy Guerra, pitched a scoreless bottom of the 10th for his 15th save in 16 opportunities.

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Who are those guys? Dodgers rally for fifth straight win, 8-6


No, honest Atlanta, those are the Dodgers. The bankrupt team. Same disappointing group that’s been struggling all season.

Well, at least until lately, when the Dodgers are at minimum competitive and, at best, playing some of the finest baseball in the National League.

Hard to believe?

The latest evidence came Friday night, the Dodgers falling behind 5-0 after three innings, the Braves probably thinking the game was in hand over the sub-.500 Dodgers.

These current Dodgers, however, are on their best roll of the season and it continued in Atlanta, the Dodgers rallying for an 8-6 victory.

It was the Dodgers’ fifth consecutive victory and 10th in their last 11 games. It brought them within three games of .500 for the first time since May 17th.

Since July 6 the Dodgers have quietly, almost mysteriously, gone a highly respectable 30-19.

One of the reasons for their turnaround has been the addition of outfielder Juan Rivera, who drove in their first three runs Friday to start the unexpected comeback.

Then the Dodgers won it with a five-run rally in the seventh inning, when eight consecutive Dodgers reached base. Singles by Justin Sellers, Tony Gwynn Jr. and Dee Gordon off reliever Arodys Vizcaino loaded the bases for the hot-hitting James Loney. Who remained hot, going low to line a bases-clearing double to right field to give the Dodgers a stunning 6-5 lead.

Matt Kemp was walked intentionally and Rivera not intentionally. That brought the call to right-hander Cristian Martinez to face Andre Ethier, who promptly singled in two more runs and the Dodgers had a three-run lead.

That made it easier to overlook a less than inspiring performance by a struggling Chad Billingsley, who lasted only four-plus innings. Billingsley gave up nine hits and walked three. A Gordon fielding error left only three of the five runs he allowed earned.

Hong-Chih Kuo, looking a lot more like the Kuo of last season, earned his first victory of the season with two strong innings. Kuo (1-2) struck out three and gave up one hit.

Javy Guerra gave up a solo home run -- the first of his career -- in the ninth inning to Dan Uggla, but then closed it to pick up his 14th save in 15 opportunities.


Dodgers-Braves box score

At their worst, Dodgers have two of the best

Frank McCourt offered $1.2 billion to sell the Dodgers

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers catcher Rod Barajas tags out Braves shortstop Alex Gonzalez in the third inning Friday night in Atlanta. Credit: Kevin Liles / US Presswire

Don't look now, and most aren't, but Dodgers are hot with 4-2 win


And then, when nobody was looking, the Dodgers quite unexpectedly got hot.

They earned their eighth win in nine games Wednesday afternoon with a 4-2 victory over the San Diego Padres, before an actual crowd of maybe 9,000; tickets sold was announced as 27,767.

Which begs the question, if the Dodgers beat the Padres and nobody saw it, would it still count?

This time the hot hitter who carried the Dodgers was Rod Barajas, who powered a two-run homer off Wade LeBlanc in the second inning.

With Matt Kemp’s single in the first driving in one run, and James Loney’s hit adding a final RBI in the fourth, it was enough to make left-hander Ted Lilly a winner for his second consecutive start.

Barajas has been on something of a tear. In his last 21 games, he has seven home runs and 20 RBIs. He has 15 home runs on the year, second on the club to Kemp’s 31.

Barajas was signed to a one-year deal in the off-season and turns 36 on Monday. You might not think he figures into the Dodgers’ plans, but they are mostly back where they started from at catcher. Somebody has to be behind the plate next year.

Lilly went 5 2/3 innings to earn the victory and raise his record to 9-13. He allowed six hits and four walks, so it was hardly his cleanest game. But for only the second time in his last 13 starts, he did not give up a home run.

Rookie Javy Guerra pitched a scoreless ninth for his 13th save in 14 opportunities.

It was the Dodgers' second series sweep of the year against the Padres. And they’ve had only four.

The victory also pushed their home record over .500 (36-35) for the first time since May 13, and left them only five games under .500 (65-70) overall for the first time since June 12.


Dodgers-Padres box score

Reliever Scott Elbert proves he's a keeper

T.J. Simers: He's positive a negative approach can motivate team

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers starting pitcher Ted Lilly won his second consecutive start Wednesday in a 4-2 win over the Padres. Credit: Gary A. Vasquez / US Presswire

Andre Ethier has healthy-looking slam in 8-5 win over Padres

Andre Ethier, enigma. Works for the Dodgers. Works for them right now, anyway.

Ethier talked like a guy who wanted to leave the Dodgers, and then said he wanted to stay. Complained he’s playing on a bad knee but the Dodgers told him to suck it up, and then said playing was always his decision.

Say this for Ethier, his knee has looked plenty healthy the past two games.

Since causing a mini-storm when comments about his knee came out Sunday in a column by The Times’ T.J. Simers, and then having a closed-door meeting with Manager Don Mattingly and General Manager Ned Colletti, Ethier has been hitting up a storm.

Ethier highlighted his two-game resurgence Tuesday with a grand slam, capping an eight-run second inning that held up for an 8-5 victory over the Padres before an announced crowd of 36,589.

Ethier is six for eight since being called into the manager’s office. This bad boy thing must be inspiring, at least to Ethier. His last home run came July 25.

In his 14 previous games before the brouhaha, Ethier was five for 48 (.104) without an extra-base hit or RBI.

Ethier’s third career grand slam was the high point of what could successfully be called a wild second inning.

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Dodgers stun Cardinals with rare ninth-inning rally, 2-1

All the stars seemed aligned against the Dodgers on Monday.

They were playing at Busch Stadium, where they had gone 3-15 since it opened in 2006. They were up against Chris Carpenter, who was 6-0 lifetime against the Dodgers. And they trailed, 1-0, heading into the ninth inning, an obstacle they had overcome once in 63 previous games.

And they won, with an improbable ninth-inning rally after former Cardinal Aaron Miles tripled in the tying run and Rod Barajas drove him home with the wining score when his grounder bounced off the glove of ex-Dodger Rafael Furcal, who threw wide of the plate.

Rookie Javy Guerra came on to close it, and the Dodgers had escaped with a 2-1 victory no one saw coming.

St. Louis’ Tony La Russa gave the Dodgers a nice assist with come curious overmanaging. Carpenter took a 1-0 lead into the ninth, having held the Dodgers to five singles -- three by James Loney.

But after he hit Juan Rivera to open the bottom of the ninth, La Russa went to the bullpen, and Carpenter did not look happy. He’s a little less happy now.

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Dodgers suffer first extra-inning loss of the season, 7-6

Dodgers-blog_275 The Dodgers thought they had the Rockies right where they wanted them.

Say what you will about the Dodgers this season, but they had been a monster in extra innings. They sneered at teams in extra frames. They were suddenly, inexplicably, baseball's best.

They seemed to be at it again Saturday in Denver, when in the 12th inning they got an unlikely home run from little Aaron Miles and an even more unlikely inside-the-park homer from Trent Oeltjen to take a 6-4 lead.

But rookie closer Javy Guerra blew the first save of his career in the bottom of the 12th, and then the Rockies won it in the 13th when Mark Ellis doubled with two out against Blake Hawksworth -- the Dodgers' eighth pitcher -- and Dexter Fowler followed with a game-winning single.

The 7-6 Colorado victory was the Dodgers' first loss in seven extra-inning games this season.

And for a moment, victory seemed so close.

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Just another Clayton Kershaw gem in Dodgers' 5-1 victory

Clayton Kershaw with a three-run lead heading into the seventh.

Could there be sweeter music to the Dodgers these days? Mozart meets Lennon.

It’s the closest thing the Dodgers will know to certain victory this season, and it worked just fine Thursday afternoon in the visiting Dodgers’ ultimate 5-1 victory over the Brewers.

The victory snapped Milwaukee’s six-game winning streak, and for the Dodgers salvaged the final game of the four-game series.

Kershaw fairly breezed through the game, cooling off a red-hit Brewers team that had won 19 of its last 21 games. And somehow he made it look easy.

Kershaw was dominant, and it’s getting to the point where that’s almost expected of the 23-year-old every outing.

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