<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Sports]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Sat, 04 Jul 2015 06:42:10 -0700 Sat, 04 Jul 2015 06:42:10 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Sun Sets on Dodgers in 2-1 Loss to Mets]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 23:49:40 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2015-07-03+at+10.05.28+PM.png

As the sun slowly set on a beautiful summer day at Dodger Stadium, so too did the Dodgers bats as Los Angeles was stymied by rookie Noah Syndergaard and the New York Mets edged the Dodgers 2-1 on Friday night.

Kevin Plawecki drove in the winning run off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen with a sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth as the Mets snapped their three-game losing streak and move to one game above .500 at the halfway point of the season.

The Dodgers meanwhile, remain three games ahead of the San Francisco Giants in the NL West at the midway point in the season with a record of 45-36.

"I feel like we're in neutral right now," 2014 Cy Young Award Winner Clayton Kershaw said about the team's performance. "We're still in first at the halfway point, so there's a lot to be said for that."

Adrian Gonzalez started off the second inning with a solo shot to deep center of Syndergaard. It was Gonzalez's 14th home run of the season, his most through the first half of the season since 2011 with the Boston Red Sox.

"I left a change-up in the zone, and he put a good piece of wood on it," Syndergaard said. "I probably shouldn't have thrown that pitch there."

Wilmer Flores went 3-for-4 and hit an RBI single past Gonzalez in the top of the 4th to tie the game at one apiece.

After a leadoff double by John Mayberry Jr., Kershaw threw a wild pitch that advanced him to third before Flores knocked him home.

"I don't think I could have done anything differently that inning," Kershaw said. "The bloops and hard hit balls evened out, but they put them in the right places and got a run."

Kershaw continues to be unlucky this season. Despite making his eighth consecutive quality start, the reigning NL MVP has not won a game since June 6th, and is winless in his last five starts overall, despite posting a 2.41 ERA over that span.

"It never feels good to lose a game that you pitched in," Kershaw said. "I'm not frustrated, but the mood in here isn't as fun when you lose, so I need to grind one out."

Kershaw allowed just one run on five hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings. Ordinarily, that would be more than enough to get the W, but the Dodgers offense was stagnant, collecting only three hits in the game.

NY Mets rookie Noah Syndergaard made his 10th career start, and nearly matched the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner pitch-for-pitch. Syndergaard overwhelmed the Dodgers hitters allowing one run on just two hits with six strikeouts in six innings.

"It was awesome just to be able to step on to the same mound as Kershaw," Syndergaard said humbly. "He's an unbelievable pitcher and a lot of fun to watch."

Syndergaard tied a career-high allowing just two hits, and has surrendered one run or fewer in six of his last 10 starts.

Hansel Robles (2-2) pitched two scoreless innings for New York earning the victory and Jeurys Familia pitched a perfect ninth inning earning his 22nd save of the season.

Dodgers' closer Kenley Jansen suffered his first loss of the season after a couple of bad breaks started off the ninth inning. Lucas Duda led off with a bloop double that just snuck inside the left field line and Flores hit a slow-rolling single off Jansen's glove that gave the Mets runners on first and third with no outs.

One batter later, Kevin Plawecki flew out to centerfield, scoring Duda and the Mets won the game 2-1, improving to 16-13 in one-run games.

"I did my job today. I can't beat myself up on bloop singles and sac flies," Jansen said after the game. "We have a really good team, we can beat anybody, I can't let this bother me. I just have to come back tomorrow and do my job."

The loss was Jansen's first since June of 2014, but the All-Star closer has now allowed a run in three consecutive appearances for the firs time in his big league career.


Game Notes:
Howie Kendrick snapped his seven-game hitting streak, but also snapped the Dodgers franchise high 23-game stolen base drought with his theft of second in the sixth-inning.

The NY Mets pitching staff has allowed just 13 runs in it's last 80.0 innings.


 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[DeAndre Jordan Spurns Clippers]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 21:36:22 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/196*120/Screen+Shot+2015-07-03+at+9.12.56+PM.png

DeAndre Jordan is heading home. One of the NBA's biggest free agent fishes has reportedly agreed to sign a four-year maximum contract with the Dallas Mavericks.

According to ESPN's Marc Stein, Jordan was choosing between the Los Angeles Clippers and Mavericks after being courted by multiple teams over the past few days.

Many close to Jordan believed that the highly coveted center would re-sign with the Clippers who have a championship caliber roster, and were a fourth quarter collapse away from reaching the Western Conference Finals last season.

But Jordan, who hails from Texas and played his collegiate ball at Texas A&M, was lured to back home by Mavs owner Mark Cuban, and small forward Chandler Parsons.

"We think he is going to be our best player for years to come," Cuban told ESPN. "A franchise player for the rest of his career."

Multiple sources have also confirmed that Jordan has had a tumultuous relationship with Clippers point guard Chris Paul over the past couple seasons, and did not want to continue to be the third wheel behind Paul and superstar Blake Griffin.

Jordan, who is a huge fan of the Dallas Cowboys received recorded messages from owner Jerry Jones and star receiver Dez Bryant, both of whom asked the big man to come to the "Big D."

Among Jordan's other suitors were the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trailblazers, and San Antonio Spurs.

The Mavericks lost center Tyson Chandler to the Phoenix Suns, point guard Rajon Rondo to the Sacramento Kings, and guard Monta Ellis to the Indiana Pacers earlier in the week, but signed free agent shooting guard Wesley Matthews to a four-year deal on Thursday.

Jordan is one of the best big men in the league, and a consistent Defensive Player of the Year candidate. His .710 field goal percentage and 15.0 rebound per game average were the highest in the NBA this season, becoming the first player to lead those categories in consecutive years since Wilt Chamberlain in 1971-1972 and 1972-1973.

Jordan averaged a career-high 11.5 points per game last season, but shot a paltry 39.7 percent from the free throw line. The Mavericks believe that Jordan's free throw shooting will improve and think that he can average 20-20 every night during the 2015-2016 season.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kings Terminate Mike Richards Contract]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 19:58:26 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/208*120/Screen+Shot+2015-07-03+at+7.27.06+PM.png

It's been a busy week for the Los Angeles Kings. The 2014 Stanley Cup Champions lost stars Justin Williams, Martin Jones and Andrej Sekera, but gained goalie Jhonas Enroth and rugged forward Milan Lucic in a trade with the Boston Bruins.

Williams signed a two-year deal with the Washington Capitals, Sekera a six-year deal with the Edmonton Oilers and Jones was packaged with draft picks to the Bruins for Lucic, but perhaps the biggest surprise of all was when the Kings terminated the contract of forward Mike Richards.

Earlier this week, the Kings were supposedly in talks to either trade Richards or buy him out of his contract when the bombshell fell. The Kings found a clause in Richards' contract that allowed them to terminate his contract for a "material breach of the requirements of his Standard Player's Contract."

Days later, experts tried to speculate as to what the mysterious "material breach" was until news from Canada came out that Richards was under investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for illegal possession of OxyContin pills while trying to cross the U.S.-to-Canada border on June 17th.

The Kings forward was immediately detained by Canadian police and questioned at the border crossing which was located between North Dakota, Minnesota and Manitoba. Richards has not been officially charged with a crime yet, but the Kings believed it was enough for them to terminate Richard's contract.

Richards was supposed to make roughly $5.75 million this season and over the next five seasons under his current contract. Richards is expected to fight the contract termination with the help of the NHL Player's Union, but the Kings are staying steadfast in their decision.

"We are not prepared to provide any more detail or to discuss the underlying grounds for the contract termination," the team said in a statement.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pierce and Rivers to Reunite in Los Angeles]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 18:25:43 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/Screen+Shot+2015-07-02+at+6.19.58+PM.png

Finally, Paul Pierce is coming home. The future Hall-of-Fame small forward has verbally agreed to a three-year, $10.6 million deal with the Los Angeles Clippers according to various media reports.

Pierce will reunite with former head coach Doc Rivers with whom he won the 2008 NBA Title with the Boston Celtics. Rivers and Pierce were together for nine years in Boston, and Pierce himself spent 15 years in Bean Town.

After leaving Boston in a trade at the end of the 2013 NBA season, Pierce played a year with the Brooklyn Nets before signing with the Washington Wizards via free agency.

The Inglewood, CA native is a 10x NBA All-Star, and was named the NBA Finals MVP in 2008 after the Celtics defeated their rivals the Los Angeles Lakers in six games.

Pierce has always wanted to return to Los Angeles, and the chance to come home coupled with the opportunity to play for Rivers again appeared to be too enticing than other offers that were out there that could have netted Pierce more money.

Pierce will join a Los Angeles Clippers team that was one win away from reaching the Western Conference Finals last season, and should provide veteran leadership and a spark off the bench.

The Clippers traded away veterans Matt Barnes and Spencer Hawes earlier this month for SG Lance Stephenson and are looking to re-sign free agent center DeAndre Jordan.

By adding the No. 16 scorer all-time in NBA history the Clippers significantly improve their roster as they look to win their first ever NBA Championship next season. Pierce brings leadership and a championship pedigree and could prove to be the missing piece LA's "other team" needs, to put them over the top.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Contador Eyes 3rd Tour de France Title]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:40:08 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Alberto-Contador-2-July-2015.jpg

Tour de France contender Alberto Contador's serious-looking face cracked into a beaming smile during a lighthearted moment at his pre-race news conference on Thursday, when he was joined by an unexpected guest.

It happened when two Dutch television journalists presented the Spanish rider with a canary in a cage, popping it down on the table right next to him.

Contador used to breed canaries when he was younger, something he says he no longer has time to do since becoming a professional rider, and he sat gazing curiously at the tiny yellow bird as it hopped around.

Yellow will be all Contador has on his mind from this Saturday onward as he tries to win back the famed jersey he won twice before, in 2007 and 2009.

The showcase race starts with an individual time trial around the Dutch city of Utrecht and ends July 26 in Paris.

Contador's 2010 Tour title was stripped from him after a failed doping test for the fat-burning, muscle-building drug clenbuterol, and his 2011 Giro d'Italia title subsequently also scrapped. Following a suspension, Contador looked well set for a podium finish at the 2013 Tour, only to slump late on in the race and finish fourth.

His frustration turned to agony when, on the 2014 Tour, he dropped out on stage 10 after a bone-breaking downhill crash during a mountain stage. Remarkably, he continued to ride for 20 minutes with a fractured left tibia — and with blood gushing from his right knee — before agony overwhelmed him.

Contador, dejected, ruled himself out of the Spanish Vuelta only to recover quicker than expected, change his mind and win the race for the third time.

Now, he has another objective: the Giro-Tour double.

"If I win just another Tour it's not going to change my career, but if I achieve the double this is something people are going to remember," Contador said Thursday. "I take a lot of motivation from this."

After winning his second Giro title in May, he now has the chance to become the first rider since Italian Marco Pantani in 1998 to complete that double the same year.

He has thought about nothing else since the Giro ended.

"I sacrificed everything. Every day, every minute I have been working toward this," he said, looking serious again with his canary friend now removed from the table. "There was no celebration. I put absolute focus on the bike. It's a new challenge for me."

A hugely ambitious one, given the strength of the opposition.

Barring his way are defending champion Vincenzo Nibali and 2013 winner Chris Froome, who also has a burning desire to win after crashing out on the cobblestones in last year's Tour. Colombian climbing specialist Nairo Quintana, runner-up to Froome in 2013, is also a threat.

"I have been training and resting. But I think I'm well recovered physically and also mentally, which is probably more important," Contador said. "There are four favorites everybody talks about but I think there are more riders ... (Romain) Bardet, (Alejandro) Valverde, (Thibault) Pinot."

While Nibali's Astana team and Froome's Team Sky have changed their Giro lineups, Contador's Tinkoff-Saxo team has retained five riders from that race.

"They're experienced and strong," Contador said. "I trust them."

Contador will be nervous, however.

This year's opening nine-day swing from the Low Countries across northern France again features the dreaded cobblestones. Rain and slippery stones are a nightmare for most riders, while some like Nibali glide over them with dismissive ease.

"The first objective is to try and avoid crashes. It's a very complicated start to the Tour," Contador said. "The first nine days there are at least six very intense stages, maybe more. It's going to be a Tour with no rest."

By his own admission, Contador felt in better condition heading into last year's Tour.

"If I had to choose between last year and this year's feeling I'd take last year's," he said. "I come here with a clear objective. I know it's very difficult."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Get Second Run at Aldridge]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 15:29:56 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LaMarcus-Aldridge-Lakers-second-meeting.jpg

On Thursday, the Los Angeles Lakers got an unexpected second lifeline with free agent LaMarcus Aldridge. The highly coveted power forward had been reportedly unimpressed with the Lakers' presentation on Tuesday night because it had been focused on Hollywood and marketing.

On the second go around, the Lakers and Aldridge planned to discuss basketball on the court, rather than fame and opportunity off it. For the Lakers, getting Aldridge to sign in LA would alleviate a significant amount of the hurt and pain caused by waiting around at the start of free agency.

On Thursday morning, Greg Monroe delivered the purple and gold a heavy blow when he picked Milwaukee over LA and New York. While the Lakers had been waiting for the likes of Aldridge, Monroe and DeAndre Jordan to make decisions on their respective futures, a plethora of free agents had signed elsewhere. The latest in that line of painful signings was Ed Davis, who joined Portland on a three-year, $20 million deal.

The Lakers had repeatedly said they would like to keep Davis, but time spent waiting for decisions from Aldridge and Jordan meant that the purple and gold had signed absolutely no players. Despite crisscrossing the county, the Los Angeles Lakers' start to free agency could best be described as inactive. Nearly $1.5 billion worth of salary had been promised in the first 24 hours of NBA free agency, and the Los Angeles Lakers had not been responsible for a single dollar of that figure.

As rumors swirled that Jordan had been leaning towards signing with the Dallas Mavericks or LA Clippers and Aldridge had been enticed by the San Antonio Spurs, the Lakers miraculously pulled off setting a second meeting with the power forward in LA. Aldridge cancelled his meeting with Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks in order to make time for a second meeting with the Lakers.

A second chance to get the premier free agent is wholly considered positive at this stage for the Lakers. It gives them hope. However, if Aldridge does not sign with the Lakers, LA will be putting up a roster that primarily consists of young and untested players, Nick Young and Kobe Bryant. That inexperienced roster is the biggest issue with the Lakers talking basketball to lure Aldridge to LA.

The Dallas native turns 30 in a couple weeks and selling him on a young roster that needs time to mature is a tough task, especially when the Spurs offer a roster that can win now. Further, Bryant is not expected to play past the upcoming season, and the past two injury ridden seasons have not exactly instilled confidence in his ability to be reliable in the final year of his contract.

Getting a second meeting is positive for the Lakers, but if LA does not land Aldridge, one would have a difficult time not labeling the free agency summer of 2015 as a colossal failure for the Lakers.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Aftershock: LA Galaxy Upset Earthquakes]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 03:33:40 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2015-07-02+at+3.19.43+AM.png

Jose Villarreal scored in the 6th minute and the LA Galaxy held on from there, defeating the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 in the quarterfinals of the US Open Cup.

The Galaxy got revenge over their California rivals after the Quakes wacked them four days prior 3-1 at Stanford Stadium in the first edition of the 2015 California Clasico.

Both teams put different lineups on the pitch for Wednesday's match, with the LA Galaxy starting younger players Villarreal, Oscar Sorto, Ignacio Maganto, and more in order to rest their veterans.

With Robbie Keane resting, super-sub Alan Gordon started at forward and wore the captain's armband for the first time against his former team. Gordon played for San Jose from 2011-2014 scoring 18 goals in 64 games with the Earthquakes.

"I always root for them when we're not playing them," Gordon said of his former team. "Sometimes, there are situations with the team, and you're bitter. That wasn't me. I will always love the Quakes."

Gordon and the Galaxy struck early and often in the match, putting plenty of pressure on the Quakes patchwork back four. Midfielder Kenny Walker sent a long pass into Villarreal who beat J.J. Koval to the ball. Villarreal hammered a left-footed shot just inside the near post and past San Jose keeper Bryan Meredith for the game's first goal.

Less than half an hour later, it appeared that the Quakes had found the equalizer when Mark Sherrod beat Galaxy backup goalkeeper Brian Rowe with a header, but the referee whistled him offside and the goal was disallowed.

San Jose was the aggressor for most of the second half, attempting four corners and multiple shots on goal during the second frame, but they were never able to get the equalizer and the Galaxy were able to hold on.

Despite not being an MLS league game, it was the first LA Galaxy win on the road since August 20th, 2014 when they defeated the lowly Colorado Rapids 4-3 in Denver. The Galaxy are now 5-0 against San Jose all-time in US Open Cup history, and will face Real Salt Lake in the semifinals in three weeks.

 



Photo Credit: Twitter / @LAGalaxy]]>
<![CDATA[Hernandez Finishes a Homer Shy of Cycle]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 02:53:45 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/221*120/Screen+Shot+2015-07-01+at+9.23.03+PM.png

Kiké Hernandez had three hits, scored two runs, and knocked in an RBI as the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-3 in the rubber match of their three-game series.

Hernandez was 3-for-4 with a double, triple, and fell a home run shy of the cycle in a rare start in center field. The super-utility star started off the game with a three-bagger, hit an RBI double in the third, and a single in the seventh before coming up in the ninth needing a home run for the first cycle in franchise history since Orlando Hudson did it on opening day in 2009.

"I'm pretty sure I have a bruise on my butt because I swung so hard," Hernandez said about his last at-bat. "Every time I swung I closed my eyes and put the ball in play and it happened to be a hit."

The Dodgers opted for an all right-handed hitting lineup against the Snakes southpaw starter Robbie Ray. Ray (2-4) took the loss, allowing four runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and two walks.

Howie Kendrick continued his hot-hitting going 1-for-3 with two RBIs and raised his average to .298 on the season. Kendrick has hit safely in his last seven games and is batting an astronomical .500 with two doubles, a home run, and eight RBIs since June 25th.

Brett Anderson (5-4) allowed one run on seven hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings to pick up his fifth win of the season. The five wins are the most Anderson has recorded since the 2010 season in Oakland when he went 7-6 with the Athletics.

"It was a battle. I was able to keep us in the ballgame," Anderson said. "I rode the wave and gave us another quality start, hopefully I will be able to keep doing that in my final two starts before the All-Star break."

Aaron Hill and David Peralta both hit solo homers for the Diamondbacks, as Peralta's home run in the bottom of the ninth brought Arizona within a run.

Kenley Jansen served up the home run to Peralta as the Dodgers closer has allowed just three runs this season, all via the long ball. Nonetheless, Jansen was still able to close the door on the D-backs earning his 13th save of the season.

The plays of the game came in the bottom of the first inning when Anderson picked off Nick Ahmed trying to steal and Scott Van Slyke threw out A.J. Pollock on a bloop single after he rounded first. Dodgers' catcher A.J. Ellis wisely ran down the line and applied the tag on Pollock on the hustle play.

"I was just slow enough to trickle down to first base behind A.J. as Scott threw a perfect strike to me," Ellis said. "Those are plays that you got to make. You always look at the 8th and 9th innings as big plays, but sometimes it's the plays you make in the first inning that separate the game."


Game Notes:
The Dodgers steal the series from the Diamondbacks and have now won 9 out of their last 10 games against Arizona. They finish 6-4 on their 10-game road trip that stretched three time zones and over 5,000 miles.

The Dodgers have not stolen a base since June 7th and have been caught stealing six times over that span. The 23-game drought without a stolen base is the longest in franchise history.

Paul Goldschmidt's 11-game hitting streak came to an end, but the Snakes slugger walked for the 62nd time this season, an Arizona record before the All-Star break.


 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Why The Chargers Are Staying In San Diego]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 18:02:52 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/Dean+Spanos+Chargers+CEO.jpg

NBC 7’s Derek Togerson offers a reason the Chargers want to stay in San Diego in this commentary

Chargers CEO Dean Spanos has spent an awful lot of time in the Los Angeles area lately. He recently met with the L.A. mayor and has made several appearances on L.A. media outlets. Meanwhile … crickets in San Diego.

I believe this is what frustrates Chargers fans the most. I talk to the fan base. They talk to me. On social media, in person, on the phone, the one question that I hear the most from fans is not … Are the Chargers staying?

It’s … Why won’t Dean talk to us?

Bolts fans are scared. They don’t know what to believe. All they hear from the team they love comes from the mouth of Chargers Special Counsel Mark Fabiani (which, in the opinion of most Bolts fans, is like hiring a Press Secretary named Judas).

I don’t know exactly why Dean is letting his spokesperson do all the talking. But I can make a fairly educated guess.

One reason is sharing his thoughts with the fan base, or really anywhere in public, is a bad business decision. Spanos needs to keep everyone guessing because he needs leverage in multiple places. The more theories and opportunities and scenarios that are out there the better. It seeds uncertainty, which blossoms in to fear, and fear is one heck of a motivator. The second his true desire is revealed, the ability to play one city off the other disappears.

But even more than that is this: Dean Spanos does not like talking in public. He’ll do it, and do it well, when the occasion calls for it. Dean always makes himself available when there’s a coaching or front office change to answer questions about why the decision was made. In those situations he has time to prepare. He has talking points. He has the ability to, at least in some small way, control the narrative. Opening up to a flurry of random questions from fans is an unknown quantity he is simply not comfortable with.

Dean is not Jerry Jones. He’s not Robert Kraft. Those are guys who you can walk right up, say hi, turn on the camera and start rapping about this, that and whatnot. So, Chargers fans, I hate to break this to you, but if you’re waiting for Dean Spanos to take to the airwaves and let you in on his thought process or what he really wants for the future of his franchise, you’ll have coffee with Godot first.

But, if you look at the man’s history and habits, you can get a pretty good sense of what he’d like to do. I believe, in my heart of hearts, that Dean Spanos wants to stay. He wants to keep the Chargers in San Diego. He has it really, really good here, and he knows is.

From my observations we’re talking about a creature of habit. Dean Spanos likes to drive the same cars, frequent the same restaurants, dress the same way, for long periods of time. There is comfort in routine.

Can you imagine anything that would mess up your routine more than moving an NFL franchise to a different city?

Sure, the Spanos family would make a lot more money if the team moved to Los Angeles. But that would only be if they sold the franchise. The luxury boxes and PSL sales and all that fancy stuff will increase revenue, for sure. But the team still needs to build a practice facility in L.A. and those are not cheap. The Cowboys just built one for about $115 million and that’s in Texas, where everything is bigger (and cheaper). So the only real increase in wealth comes with the team’s increase in value, which is really only realized when a team is sold.

The Chargers ARE the Spanos family business. Forbes has their family’s net worth is listed at $1.26 billion. The Chargers are listed at $995 million, meaning 79% of the family’s worth is the team. The family does not want to sell the team. It’s part of their identity. Even the big bucks of L.A. can’t change that.

Plus, getting a new facility in San Diego will increase the team’s value anyway. Not as much as a move north but it’ll get them in to the NFL’s top 20. If they’re able to win a Super Bowl, we’re talking maybe even the top half. Driving to a new facility and walking past the Lombardi Trophy every day?

Now that’s something Dean would not mind changing his routine for.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Start Free Agency]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 13:46:39 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/205*120/Ed-Davis-Lakers-7-23-15.jpg

Tuesday night at 9:01 p.m. Pacific Time, NBA officially granted teams the ability to meet with players and agree in principal on deals. As would be expected, the Los Angeles Lakers did not wait to roll out the red carpet.

A contingent of LA Lakers executives, which included Lakers president Jeanie Buss, Lakers VP Jim Buss and Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, joined the likes of Kobe Bryant and James Worthy in meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge. The meeting would last approximately two hours with "#LAtoLA" featuring prominently on the Lakers' social media accounts.

On Tuesday, Mike Bresnahan reported that Aldridge would not be joining the Lakers because he "didn't quite gel" with Bryant.

After the initial Monday night meeting, a smaller contingent hopped a red-eye flight to Washington D.C. to meet with free agent Greg Monroe on Tuesday afternoon. The traveling party featured Kupchak, Lakers coach Byron Scott, Lakers assistant general manager Glenn Carraro, Lakers COO Tim Harris and Lakers P.R. czar John Black. The meeting with Monroe started at noon Eastern Time and lasted approximately two hours.

Free agency is not for the weary, as the traveling contingent of Lakers' brass had a meeting with LA Clippers' free agent DeAndre Jordan in Los Angeles on Tuesday night. Time Warner executives expect to be part of the Tuesday night meeting, and Jordan could possibly be the best fit of all the available free agents since the Lakers desperately need a defensive presence in the lane.

With the first three meetings, the Lakers made their intentions clear. LA wants a big man wearing purple and gold. Aldridge, Monroe and Jordan are the top three big bodies available on the open market. DeMarcus Cousins may or may not be available via trade, but landing a big name with the roughly $23 million of salary cap space the team vacated became the top priority.

While the Lakers zigzagged across North America, Kevin Love announced that he would be returning to Cleveland. Also, Jimmy Butler agreed to a long-term contract with the Chicago Bulls. Even Tyson Chandler, who had been rumored as a potential fall back option, agreed to a deal in Phoenix per Adian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. As dominoes around the league began to fall, the Lakers still did not have any deals in place.

LA did reportedly reach out to Ed Davis shortly after the start of free agency. Also, the team expressed interest in Jordan Hill, whose team option was declined before the start of free agency, Wayne Ellington and Jeremy Lin. Lin is the least likely to return due to a frustrating season in LA last year and the Lakers' decision to draft guard D'Angelo Russell.

Whether or not LA learned lessons from a disastrous offseason a year ago remains to be seen. Last year, LA missed on signing potential free agents waiting around for Carmelo Anthony, who ended up going back to the New York Knicks. Not even 24 hours into free agency, the Lakers have been busy. However, the NBA is a results-based business, and so far, the results have been underwhelming and largely nonexistent.



Photo Credit: Shahan Ahmed]]>
<![CDATA[Kendrick Knocks Out Arizona 6-4 in Extras]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 00:08:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/205*120/Screen+Shot+2015-06-30+at+11.11.14+PM.png

Howie Kendrick hit the go ahead home run in the top of the 10th inning and the Los Angeles Dodgers came from behind to knock out the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-4 on Tuesday night.

Kendrick went 4-for-5 with two RBIs and was a triple short of the cycle, but more importantly he came through in the clutch when the Dodgers needed him the most.

Kendrick tied the game with an RBI single in the top of seventh, and won the game with his solo home run in the 10th. All of Kendrick's hits were to opposite field as the second baseman continues his torrid hitting stretch over the past week.

"I was just trying to get something out over the plate," said Kendrick of his at-bats. "My main thing tonight was just to put good swings on pitches."

Kendrick wasn't the only one on the Dodgers who has been swinging a hot bat as of late as catcher Yasmani Grandal had four RBIs on the evening including a two-run home run in the second, and a two-run double in the 10th.

His two-run double in the extra frame turned out to be huge for LA as Kenley Jansen allowed a run in the bottom of the tenth, before striking out Yosmany Tomás to end the game, earning his 12th save.

"I thought they would have walked me in that inning to get to Jimmy," Grandal said of the double. "I was able to get Kenley two runs of support and it ended up being big."

One night after the Dodgers bullpen imploded, allowing 10 runs over the final four innings, they bounced back pitching four scoreless innings of relief to keep LA in the game.

"Our bullpen got a chance to go back out there the next night, and they were able to bounce back," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "It was very nice to see them pitch like that."

Joel Peralta pitched a perfect ninth inning to pick up the win as the Dodgers have now taken eight of the last nine against the Diamondbacks.

Nick Ahmed homered for the second consecutive game in the fourth inning to give Arizona a 3-2 lead. It was Ahmed's first time hitting home runs on back-to-back nights in his career.

Rubby De La Rosa was strong for Arizona on the mound allowing just two runs on six hits with seven strikeouts in 5.2 innings. De La Rosa has been stellar in his last four starts, allowing just two earned runs, posting an ERA of 1.30 over that span.

Carlos Frias battled back spasms throughout the night for the Dodgers, but still managed to keep his team in the game. Frias allowed three runs, on seven hits in five innings before telling his catcher that he was done for the night with lower back soreness.

"He got double plays when we needed them, and he battled through," said Grandal. "He came to me in the fifth inning and said 'I'm done,' I told Donny and he took it from there."

The play of the game came in the top of the seventh inning with the Dodgers trailing 3-2. Veteran shortstop Jimmy Rollins patiently walked after a nine pitch at-bat and three batters later Kendrick singled him home on an eight pitch at-bat to tie the game at 3-3.

"That's what we need as a team. Jimmy had a great at-bat," Kendrick said. "It was huge. It was good that we turned it around and came back to win the game."

Game Notes:
The left field combination of Andre Ethier and Scott Van Slyke each recorded outfield assists by throwing runners out at second base during the game.

Carlos Frias and Mike Bolsinger, the Dodgers three and four starters in the rotation replacing the injured Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy have not pitched beyond the sixth inning in nearly a month.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Bullpen Gets Snake Bit in Desert]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 00:23:57 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/Screen+Shot+2015-06-29+at+10.29.24+PM.png

The Dodgers bullpen has been one of the bright spots this year. Through the first half of the season, the LA bullpen has the second lowest team ERA in the Major Leagues.

On Monday, the bullpen imploded, allowing ten runs over the final four frames and Los Angeles blew a four-run lead losing to the Arizona Diamondbacks 10-6.

The Dodgers bullpen was lights out through the first seven games of their 10-game road trip, but was snake bitten on Monday as six different relievers surrendered ten runs on ten hits in four combined innings.

"Whatever we tried it didn't seem to work tonight," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "It was a group effort tonight. Our pen has been really good for us, tonight was just one of those nights."

Everything was roses for LA early on as starter Mike Bolsinger blew threw four scoreless innings against his former team. But Bolsinger was battling flu-like symptoms throughout the day as a bout with food poisoning left Bolsinger weak and with severe stomach bangs.

"I guess that will teach me to never eat oysters again," Bolsinger joked. "It kept getting worse and worse the longer the game kept going. My body felt like it kept getting hot."

Bolsinger battled throughout the game, even calling for athletic trainer Stan Conte to come to the mound in the bottom half of the fourth, where he received smelling salts.

Bolsinger had a four-run lead when he was replaced by a pinch-hitter with two outs in the top of the 5th. Bolsinger allowed no runs on just three hits with four strikeouts in four innings before the bullpen blew the lead, and subsequently the game.

"I feel bad that I taxed the bullpen on the first day of the series," Bolsinger said. "They have been good all year. I need to figure out a way to go deeper in games because I don't like putting that kind of pressure on the bullpen."

The Dodgers hit back-to-back homers in the fourth inning off Diamondbacks starter Allen Webster. Andre Ethier hit a rope down the right field line that just hooked inside the foul pole, and Yasmani Grandal followed with an opposite field rocket shot to left.

Three batters later Joc Pederson pounded an 83 MPH changeup deep into the seats in right-center. The mammoth home run blast was estimated at 461 feet and was the rookie's 20th home run of the season.

Webster struggled in just his fourth start of the season as he walked the first two batters of the game before hitting Justin Turner with a slider to load the bases. Adrian Gonzalez grounded into a double play that scored a run, and the D-backs were trailing 1-0 without allowing a hit.

Webster was chased after 3.2 innings, allowing four runs on five hits (three of them homers), with four walks and three strikeouts.

The bullpen began to unravel for the Boys in Blue when they allowed consecutive two-run homers in the fifth and sixth innings to Nick Ahmed and Yasmany Tomás that tied the game at 4-4.

Jimmy Rollins hit a bases loaded double in the top half of the seventh that scored two and recaptured the lead for LA 6-4.

"We had the game back in our hands with the game at 6-4 and our backend bullpen guys in the game," Mattingly continued. "We get the first two outs in the seventh, and then couldn't close the door from there."

David Peralta tied the game at 6-6 after a two-out triple scored Cliff Pennington and A.J. Pollock.

Finally, everything unraveled in the bottom of the eighth when Pedro Baez who was recalled from the 15-day DL earlier this week allowed four runs on four hits with two walks. He was only able to record two outs before being lifted for J.P. Howell, but by then the damage had been done.

Game Notes:
Grandal's homer in the 4th inning was from the left-hand side of the plate. It was a comedic affair when the Cuban catcher came up to the plate an inning later to face left-handed reliever Oliver Perez. Grandal was wearing the wrong batting helmet as he batted from the right-hand side.


 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[UCLA Coach Makes Diddy's Kettle Boil]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 12:47:58 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/Diddy.PNG Sean Combs lashes out with a kettlebell after UCLA’s Strength and Conditioning Coach Sal Alosi yells at his son. Fred Roggin welcomes Patrick O’Neal and A Martinez to discuss when coaches and parents go too far. Originally aired on Going Roggin, June 27th, 2015.]]> <![CDATA[Which Athlete Do You Want to See Naked?]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 19:23:43 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Which_Athlete_Do_You_Want_to_See_Naked_1200x675_473264707884.jpg Excited to see your favorite sports stars take off more than just their jerseys? Will hockey work in Sin City? And could Trevor Ariza beat Michael Jordan one-on-one? All that and more as Fred Roggin is joined by Patrick O’Neal from Fox Sports West and A Martinez from KPCC’s “Take Two” for some Rapid Fire. Originally aired on Going Roggin, June 27th, 2015.]]> <![CDATA[Raiders and Chargers and Rams, Oh My!]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 12:37:41 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Raiders_and_Chargers_and_Rams_Oh_My_1200x675_473265731694.jpg San Diego is so desperate to keep the Chargers they’re going straight to Roger Goodell. Fred Roggin shares the latest on the return of the NFL. Originally aired on Going Roggin, June 27th, 2015.]]> <![CDATA[Lakers Introduce Russell, Rookies]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 14:05:35 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-rookie-DAngelo-Russell-6-2015.jpg

"All three of us, nobody really knows who we are," Los Angeles Lakers no. 2 draft pick D'Angelo Russell said as he sat on stage next to no. 27 pick Larry Nance and no. 34 pick Anthony Brown. "We're rookies."

Joining the Los Angeles Lakers and drawing comparisons to Earvin "Magic" Johnson from Lakers coach Byron Scott before even landing in LA, however, promises that Russell will be known sooner rather than later.

Not all too surprising, Russell attracted the majority of the questions and provided the bulk of the answers on Monday. Southern California kid Anthony Brown seemed the most elated and genuinely giddy of the trio, as the Ocean View High School kid grew up a fan of the Lakers and promised to provide history lessons to his fellow rookies.

Larry Nance came into the press conference with his shoulders a tad bit lighter after Kobe Bryant texted the kid and told him that he had gotten past the ill-advised tweet Nance sent out in 2012. Nance used "#Rapist" in that three-year-old tweet, but Bryant had since publicly and privately told the Ohio native that it was "water under the bridge."

Still, Nance insisted on referring to Bryant as "Mr. Bryant" and promised to call him "sir" until told to do otherwise by the 20-year veteran. When asked if he was scared of reaching out to Bryant to apologize, Nance responded, "Terrified," which led to laughter from the assembled media and family members.

As is often the case in large press conferences with multiple folks sitting on stage, the answers did not exactly provoke headline material. Instead, the headline was that the three rookies had landed in LA and all three appeared anxious to get going on their NBA careers.

The NBA Summer League provides the trio of youngsters its first challenge with the Lakers. Russell said he looked forward to the coaching and responding to instructions, Brown said he wanted to work on spacing the floor and Nance wished to highlight his energy in the early July games in Las Vegas. 

Ultimately, Russell's high draft pick made him the main attraction. Given his extensive skill set and his 6-foot 5-inch height, the man of the hour was asked if he was more of a passing point guard or shooting guard. The 19-year-old insisted that he was not one of the other: "I consider myself a basketball player."

Russell added, "I consider myself the top basketball player in the draft."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[FIFA is in Trouble Again]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 13:54:06 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GR_FIFA_clip_1200x675_469626947647.jpg Sepp Blatter is forced to abandon his dream of winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Apparently the FIFA corruption scandal doesn’t sit well with The Nobel Peace Center. Originally aired on Going Roggin, June 20th, 2015.]]> <![CDATA[Dinosaurs, D’Antoni, and Football in the Olympics ]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 13:49:36 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GR_Rapid_Fire_Clip_1200x675_469632067960.jpg Are you more afraid of dinosaurs or the discus? What did Mike D’Antoni have to do with the Warriors winning the championship? And who could challenge the U.S. in Olympic football? All that and more as Fred Roggin is joined by Brian Webber of NBC Sports Radio and radio host J. Woodfin for some Rapid Fire. Originally aired on Going Roggin, June 20th, 2015.]]> <![CDATA[The 49ers Want You to Check Your Instagram]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 13:47:05 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GR_49ers_SM_breaks_clip_1200x675_469633091644.jpg San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula will allow players social media breaks to check their cell phones during team meetings. Originally aired on Going Roggin, June 20th, 2015.]]> <![CDATA[Trump Tees Off on Obama]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 13:39:47 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GR_Obama_Trump_Clip_4_1200x675_470041667623.jpg Donald Trump invites President Obama to hit the green on one of his courses while announcing his 2016 presidential bid. Who’s got the better golf game? Originally aired on Going Roggin, June 20th, 2015.]]> <![CDATA[Greinke's Gem Wins Rubber Match For Dodgers]]> Sun, 28 Jun 2015 14:59:19 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2015-06-28+at+1.02.58+PM.png

Zack Greinke threw a gem over eight scoreless innings, and the Los Angeles Dodgers shut out the Miami Marlins 2-0 in the rubber match on Sunday.

It was Greinke's first victory since May 5, as the right-hander continues to show why he may be the true ace of the Dodgers staff as reigning Cy Young Winner Clayton Kershaw has struggled in 2015, while Greinke has been dominant, leading the Major Leagues with a 1.58 ERA.

For the 10th consecutive outing, Greinke did not get much run support as the Dodgers have been shut out in Greinke's last two starts and have only scored 12 runs total in his last nine outings.

"I think I saw him dancing on the inside when we scored a run," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly joked. "I'm just happy we were finally able to score some runs for him."

Greinke (6-2) made his 38th start for Los Angeles after a loss and is 22-6 following a Dodgers defeat. The former 2009 Cy Young Winner allowed four hits over 7.2 innings, without a runner ever reaching scoring position off of him as he extended his scoreless innings streak to 20.2.

"I didn't have many guys in scoring position, and they kept getting outs by hitting balls right at people," Greinke said. "It was a good game today. We played some really good defense."

Turning the tables on the Marlins from a night earlier, the Dodgers got on the board in the fifth inning thanks to a costly mistake by Miami. After a leadoff single by Jimmy Rollins, the veteran shortstop advanced to second on a balk by Marlins starter Jose Urena.

Greinke sacrificed Rollins to third, but after a walk to Joc Pederson, Howie Kendrick appeared to have grounded into an inning ending double play. But, shortstop Adeiny Hechevarria's errant throw was off target to first, allowing Kendrick to reach base safely and Rollins to score on the play.

"Jimmy gets on, and we're able to balk him over and then Howie beats that double play out on an errant throw," Mattingly said of the play. "Any run in a game like this is big. That was a big run. Gonzo's double was a big run."

Adrian Gonzalez went 3-for-5 with an RBI double in the seventh inning that tacked on a much-needed insurance run and the Dodgers would take a 2-0 lead into the final frame.

"I made a little adjustment and I was able to get on top of a fastball and drive it," Gonzalez said of the double. "Team wins is most important, but I'm glad we could get this win for Zack."

Urena (1-4) pitched well for Miami, but the defensive mistake by the Marlins was his downfall as he allowed just one run on four hits in five innings before leaving for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the sixth.

It was the Marlins second game without All-Star slugger Giancarlo Stanton who is expected to miss the next six weeks with a broken left hand, and the team's fifth loss on their current home stand.

For Los Angeles, the shutout victory was their 11th on the season as they win the series against Miami two games to one, and are now 4-3 on their current 10-game road trip.

Kenley Jansen survived a scare, surrendering a leadoff double in the bottom of the ninth to Christian Yelich before striking out the next two batters and getting Derek Dietrich to pop out to the catcher to end the game, earning his 11th save.

Game Notes:
It was Josh Beckett day at Marlins Park as the former Marlins and Dodger pitcher threw out the ceremonial first pitch and was honored before the game for bringing a World Series title to the Marlins in 2003.

Los Angeles was 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position and left 12 men on base despite picking up the victory.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Marlins' Stanton Out With Fracture in Hand]]> Sat, 27 Jun 2015 23:59:21 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-478685206.jpg

The Miami Marlins will be without the services of Giancarlo Stanton for the foreseeable future due to a fracture in his left hand.

Stanton suffered the injury during Friday's loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The slugger grimaced following a strikeout in the ninth inning, and trainers checked his hand in the dugout afterwards.

Stanton is expected to miss four to six weeks with surgery pending. Miami has brought up Cole Gillespie to take Stanton's place on the roster. Ichiro Suzuki figures to be the main beneficiary in terms of playing time.

Stanton currently paces Major League Baseball in home runs and figured to be a lock for participation in the Home Run Derby. The outfielder was also one of the leading vote-getters for starting gig in the All-Star Game itself. But both of those events would now seem to be out of reach for the injured star.

The Marlins gave Stanton a 13-year $325 million contract in the off-season, which represented a major commitment and risk by the team. Stanton is one of the best players in the game, but has struggled to play a full season in his MLB career.

Miami now may turn into sellers and move pieces such as Dan Haren and Mat Latos. Both pitchers are set to be free agents, and the team is 15 games under .500. A playoff appearance is unlikely without Stanton's bat to help an already quiet offense.

The Marlins will take on the Dodgers again on Saturday as they look to end a five-game losing streak.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Quakes Shake Off LA Galaxy 3-1]]> Sun, 28 Jun 2015 00:36:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/170*120/Screen+Shot+2015-06-27+at+9.32.09+PM.png

Chris Wondolowski scored a magnificent goal and Matias Perez Garcia notched two assists as the San Jose Quakes shook up the LA Galaxy 3-1 on Saturday in the first chapter of the California Clásico.

Juninho dialed up from long distance in the 17th minute when his rocket shot from 30-yards out found the back of the net. The golazo was touched at the last minute by Quakes keeper David Bingham, but it was not enough to deflect it out of the net.

“Yes, I’m happy with the goal, but I’m very upset about the result," Juninho said. "We’re still conceding second half goals and we’re struggling on the road. We have to get better and play better on the road.”

Chris Wondolowski found the equalizer ten minutes later when he smashed a shot into the top right corner of the net. Matias Perez Garcia found Wondolowski in the center of the box and the USMNT striker hammered the ball mid stride into the goal.

"It's a great win especially against a rival," Windolowski said. "Any time you can get three points, it's nice, especially at home. Right now we are playing well, playing tough and playing with a good attitude and that goes a long way."

San Jose scored off a set piece in the 53rd minute when Clarence Goodson beat Baggio Husidic to the spot just inside the near post for the header. Once again Perez Garcia was credited with assist as his clairvoyant cross found Goodson perfectly.

"Matias [Perez Garcia] was swinging in some good balls, even in the first half with a couple set pieces that looked a little bit dangerous there," Earthquakes head coach Dominic Kinnear said. "Good for Clarence... Congratulations to him. Not only his goal, but I think he's been playing really well for us."

The Quakes added an insurance goal in the 72nd minute when Cordell Cato beat Jaime Penedo to the bottom right corner of the far post.

"It was just about effort. Me making the run to get at the end of the play," Cato said of his goal. "Shea did well to cut inside and I just made myself available and lucky enough I was able to finish it."

The LA Galaxy appeared to run out of gas in the waning minutes of the match as the club has played three matches in the last seven days compared to San Jose who has only played once since last Saturday.

“It wasn’t going to change no matter what. We had to play the game, right?” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “We were bad in the second half. What can you say? Whatever the reasons are. We got out played. Very poor performance on our part.



Photo Credit: Twitter @SJEarthquakes]]>
<![CDATA[A Comedy of Errors Costs Kershaw, Dodgers Victory]]> Sat, 27 Jun 2015 21:22:01 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/209*120/Screen+Shot+2015-06-27+at+4.38.35+PM.png

In his eight-year career Clayton Kershaw has never lost three consecutive starts…until Saturday.

The reigning NL MVP and Cy Young Award winner was cursed by a couple of costly errors and the Miami Marlins derailed the Dodgers' three-game winning streak 3-2.

Coming into the game, the Dodgers were riding a franchise record 13 consecutive games without an error. They led the Big Leagues with a .990 fielding percentage and were tied with the Marlins for the fewest errors in baseball (29), but, oh, what a difference a day makes.

The Dodgers committed errors in the first and second innings, gifting the Marlins two unearned runs that should have been outs.

"We definitely beat ourselves tonight," Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal said. "If you take the bad throw and the wild pitch, we're up 2-1 after the first inning."

After a solo homer by Justin Turner to start the game, the Marlins rallied in the bottom half of the first inning after. Following an infield single by Christian Yelich, Adeiny Hechavarria hit a soft single to right field that Andre Ethier threw into the Marlins dugout. Instead of runners on 1st and 3rd with two outs, Miam was in buisness with a run in, and a runner on third.

Seconds later, Kershaw was charged with a wild pitch on a ball that bounced between Grandal's legs and the Marlins would take a 2-1 lead on two runs that should have never occurred.

"That wild pitch gave them the second run, which you never want to do," Kershaw said. "I wasn't really sharp the first few innings. I was a little all over the place with my fastball early on."

An inning later, the defensive miscues continued when Joc Pederson dropped a line drive by opposing pitcher Tom Koehler that bounced off his glove and the Marlins scored another unearned run to lead 3-1.

"It cost us the game," a somber Pederson said. "I messed up. I made us lose. It's hard to rebuttal from an error that cost us the game like that."

The Dodgers got a run in the fourth on a single to left by Adrian Gonzalez, but stranded runners on first and third after Grandal hit into an inning-ending double play.

"That double play kept them in the lead, and kept them in the game," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "We had a chance to score another run there and you never know what happens after that.

Koehler (6-4) allowed two runs on six hits in seven innings and the Marlins bullpen would close the door from there, ruining another quality start for Kershaw, handing him his third consecutive loss for the first time in his career.

"I'm fine with it," Kershaw said of losing three consecutive starts. "It never feels good to lose, but I'm fine. It's okay."

Kershaw (5-6) can't seem to catch a break as the ace of the staff allowed just three runs (one earned) on seven hits with nine strikeouts, and no walks, but has gotten three runs or fewer in his last five outings.

"I started figuring it out towards the end and I actually felt pretty good," Kershaw continued. "I was able to work my way out of some jams and I felt good overall."

Yelich clobbered Kershaw going 4-for-4 with a run scored as the Southern California native broke out of a slump, increasing his average to .242 on the year.

Three members of the December trade that sent All-Star second baseman Dee Gordon to the Marlins started on Saturday as Miguel Rojas started at third base opposite Gordon and super-utility player Kiké Hernandez started in left field for Los Angeles.

A.J. Ramos pitched a perfect ninth inning for the Marlins earning his 10th save of the season, striking out Turner and Gonzalez before Ethier grounded out to first to end the game.

Game Notes:
The Dodgers announced before the game that left-handed reliever Paco Rodriguez would undergo surgery to remove bone spurs in his pitching elbow and will miss the next 8-10 weeks.

Miami also received bad news as their slugger Giancarlo Stanton underwent an MRI on Saturday that revealed a fractured wrist and he will miss the next 4-6 weeks. Stanton leads the Major Leagues in home runs and RBIs with 27 and 67 respectively.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Anderson Carves Up Marlins With 10 Ks]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 19:40:38 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/Screen+Shot+2015-06-26+at+6.49.25+PM.png

Brett Anderson carved up the Marlins on Friday as the Dodgers pitcher struck out a career-high 10 batters and Los Angeles routed Miami 7-1.

The entire Dodgers pitching staff was dominant in South Beach as Anderson, Adam Liberatore and Pedro Baez struck out 16 total Marlins hitters including the final 10 of the game.

"We finished guys off with two strikes. As was evident with the 10 strikeouts," Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said. "Lib coming out of the 8th inning, punching those three guys out and it's great to have Pedro back, he reminded us of what we've been missing."

Howie Kendrick was 4-for-5 with an RBI in his first appearance in the two-hole for the Dodgers this season. Kendrick's four singles were all to opposite field as the second baseman was able put quality swings on pitches over the outside corner of the plate.

"Last series I got away from what I like to do, and this series I want to focus on swinging at good pitches and see how it goes," Kendrick said. "Tonight Brett did a good job of keeping them off the base paths and keeping us in the dugout."

Old friends became familiar foes on Friday when LA traveled to Marlins Park in Miami to take on former teammates Dee Gordon and Dan Haren. Haren is not expected to pitch in the three-game series, but Gordon made an immediate impact against the team that drafted him.

Gordon got the Marlins rolling in the bottom of the first when he bunted up the first base lane for an infield single. One pitch later, Gordon stole second and Christian Yelich advanced him to third on a groundout. Gordon would score one batter later and Miami was on the board 1-0.

"Dee Gordon is my kryptonite," Anderson joked after the game. "He's one of those lefty speed guys you never want to put on base."

The Dodgers would immediately respond in the top half of the second when Scott Van Slyke hit a two-run homer to left field off Marlins starter Justin Nicolino. Van Slyke was reactivated from the 15-day DL last week, and is 4-for-12 with two home runs, two doubles, and three walks since his return.

Jimmy Rollins continued his hot hitting as the veteran shortstop knocked in two runs in the fourth inning. Rollins is the all-time leader in hits (289), runs (172) and doubles (50) against the Marlins and has a career batting average of .293 with 25 home runs and 117 RBIs against them.

Anderson was scintillating for the Dodgers as he picked up victories in consecutive starts for the first time this season. Anderson allowed just one run for the second straight game, holding the Marlins to five hits over seven innings with a season-high 10 strikeouts.

"It felt like I struck out 30 compared to what I've been doing lately," Anderson said smiling. "My stuff was the best it's been all season. I was able to strike out Stanton and other guys with it. This was a great overall team win."

Anderson (4-4) has been clinical in his ability to induce his opponents into hitting ground balls and leads the majors with a 67.3 percent ground ball percentage this year.

Nicolino (1-1) didn't last long leaving for Zack Cosart in the fifth inning. Nicolino allowed five runs on six hits in just four innings of work. Cosart didn't fair much better surrendering two runs on six hits with three walks in four innings as well.

Liberatore and Baez each struck out the side in the 8th and 9th innings respectively. For Baez, it was his first appearance in nearly six weeks as he was reactivated from the 15-day DL before the game.

Game Notes:
Dodgers reliever Pedro Baez was reinstated from the 15-day DL on Friday. Baez has been on the DL since May 13th with a right pectoral injury.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Take D'Angelo Russell, What's Next?]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 13:42:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-D-Angelo-Russell-2015.jpg

The Los Angeles Lakers selected D'Angelo Russell. It was the right pick, even if it was not the safer pick from a PR stand point. Jahlil Okafor's name had been at the heart of the 2015 draft even before the 2014-15 college basketball season started, so picking Russell over Okafor took, um, guts.

"We felt (Russell) at no.2 was a player we could not pass up," Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said shortly after making the pick.

Lakers coach Byron Scott would sit in front of microphones a short time later and invoke the names of Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Chris Paul when describing Russell. Scott, of course, played alongside Johnson and coached Paul as a rookie in New Orleans.

"Talent-wise, I think Russell might be the best player in the draft," Scott would add with genuine excitement that could be felt by anyone in attendance.

Ignoring popular sentiment and the history of Lakers' big men, the team went with a guard that describes himself as a younger, less polished version of Stephen Curry. While not entirely trashing Okafor, Kupchak did clearly state that he did not think the big men available would have ever ended up on the walls of the practice facility alongside "Chamberlain," "O'Neal" and "Abdul-Jabbar"--ouch.

With Jordan Clarkson on the roster, the Lakers may well have their backcourt of the future set and ready to grow together. Barring a trade, that backcourt will first debut on July 10 when the Lakers' NBA Summer League team faces the Minnesota Timberwolves--and no. 1 overall pick Karl-Anthony Towns. The young version of the Lakers will face spurned center Okafor and the youthful Philadelphia 76ers one day later.

Beyond Russell and Clarkson, the other focus of the Lakers' Summer League team is Julius Randle, who was the Lakers' lottery pick a season ago. According to Kupchak, Randle has been at the facility playing 5-on-5 basketball and looks "great." Tarik Black and the new rookies will obviously play their parts in the process, too, but ultimately, the Lakers' future is embedded in the trio of young stars.

So, what's next for the Lakers?

Well, Kupchak made no secret that the focus of the Lakers' offseason will be filling front court needs. Any odd basketball fan can relate that LaMarcus Aldridge and DeAndre Jordan are two free agents at the top of the list. An early report suggests that Aldridge will not return to Portland, and Jordan has reportedly chosen the Lakers as one of four teams he will meet with.

Either would be great fit and a welcome addition for the Lakers, but Jordan would probably be the best fit for a team that desperately needs a defensive presence under the basket. At this point, Jordan is the best defensive center in the NBA--though watching him miss free throws would be tough to stomach on a daily basis. Alley-oops and block shots would serve as the medicine for those upset stomachs.

DeMarcus Cousins still wants to come to LA at last check, but that deal seems to involve working through a confusing power struggle within a dysfunctional Sacramento Kings organization. Also, the Lakers would need to part with multiple young assets mentioned earlier. Looking around the league, the Lakers may have an easier chance of finding a big man on the open market.

Even with Kobe Bryant and Nick Young on contract, Kupchak did not close the door on adding a backcourt player, but clearly, the focus is on filling the front court needs. Ed Davis, who impressed in his lone season with the Lakers, opted out of the second year of his contract. The Lakers like Davis and understand that the forward/center wants to return to LA, but Kupchak acknowledged that the timing of free agency may force the Lakers to miss on Davis. While the Lakers are busy chasing Aldridge and Jordan, another team could easily swoop in and steal the hardworking big man.

On draft night, Kupchak stated that the Lakers had not yet made a decision on Jordan Hill's team option. The decision to pass on Okafor gives Hill a slightly better chance of returning, but bringing Hill back would handcuff the Lakers in free agency.

The NBA has become a guard driven league, and the Lakers drafting a guard over a big man iterates that the Lakers are not living in the past. They are on the right path to recovery, and a strong free agency would further propel the Lakers on that road.

After allowing the initial excitement and emotions of draft night to settle, the Lakers still look like winners one day later.



Photo Credit: Elsa/Getty Images]]>