<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Sports - [LA FEATURE] SoCal Sports 4 You]]>Copyright 2018http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/sportsen-usThu, 20 Sep 2018 23:26:39 -0700Thu, 20 Sep 2018 23:26:39 -0700NBC Local Integrated Media<![CDATA[Magic Johnson, Pelinka Discuss 2018-19 LA Lakers]]>Thu, 20 Sep 2018 18:58:43 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-Magic-Johnson-9-20-18.JPG

Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Earvin "Magic" Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka Thursday shared optimism about the upcoming 2018-19 season with LeBron James and clarified that point guard Lonzo Ball has been fully medically cleared following offseason surgery at the team's training facility in El Segundo.

"It's been, really, an exciting time for Lakers' fans --Laker nation -- since the signing of the free agents, of course headlined by the greatest player in the world: LeBron James," Johnson stated out his opening remarks in front of a throng of cameras and a packed audience of sports reporters.

Johnson repeatedly referenced the team's offseason unorganized workouts and pickup games, singling out James and Rajon Rondo as two veteran leaders that had instantly improved the team's preparation and knowledge base.

"It was really a joy to watch all our player to go up and down and play," Johnson said about the team's closed door offseason scrimmages. "We're excited and can't wait until Monday, Media Day, but also Tuesday when we actually get started."

Pelinka provided his usual story telling charm and even drew a wide smile, public compliment and fist bump from the Lakers' president of basketball operations for the general manager's ability to answer questions by weaving together stories.

The message from the Lakers' front office, though, was about the addition of championship experience to the roster in the form of JaVale McGee, Rondo and, of course, James.

At one point, Johnson referred to Rondo as the "perfect mentor" for Ball, and the five-time NBA champion with the Lakers in the 1980s revealed that signing Rondo had provided a solution to his problem of finding Ball a mentor.

Pelinka, meanwhile, chimed in by sharing insights and marveling at an instance when he was the fourth man in a room with Johnson and Rondo talking point guard basketball with Ball.

Speaking of Ball, Pelinka clarified that Ball has been medically cleared to take part in all basketball activities. However, the team was talking a patient approach and easing the 20-year-old back into full five-on-five basketball due to offseason surgery.

Ball missed 30 of 82 games in his rookie season, so the team taking a cautious approach to his return from injuries is understandable.

While Thursday's media gathering was never meant to provide any breaking news, Johnson and Pelinka stepping up to podium helped express the team's excitement at starting the 2018-19 campaign.

Next, the Lakers hold Media Day on Monday, followed by a five-day training camp that leads directly into the team's preseason opener on Sept. 30. The Lakers open their 2018-19 season on Oct. 18 against the Portland Trailblazers in Oregon before returning home two days later for James' highly-anticipated regular season debut at Staples Center on Oct. 20.



Photo Credit: Shahan Ahmed]]>
<![CDATA[Billie Jean King Joins Dodgers Ownership Group]]>Thu, 20 Sep 2018 16:50:06 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/221*120/BJKDodgersOwnership.png

Billie Jean King and partner Ilana Kloss have joined the Los Angeles Dodgers ownership group.

The Dodgers made the announcement Thursday. The tennis great says Dodgers owner and chairman Mark Walter and the organization have proven to be leaders in sports on and off the field. 

King says they share a "commitment to equality and inclusion, including the LGBTQ community, and we hope to further expand the team's efforts in those areas as we move forward together." 

Walter says he's proud to welcome "two trailblazing athletes, social advocates and business women." 

In 2014, King and Kloss co-founded the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, which addresses diversity and inclusion in the workplace. 

King grew up a Dodgers fan in Long Beach, California. Her brother, Randy Moffitt, pitched for 12 seasons in the majors.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Alex Pantling/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Broadcaster Jaime Jarrin Receives Contract Extension]]>Thu, 20 Sep 2018 16:34:45 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/JaimeJarrin.png

Jaime Jarrin, the Hall of Fame broadcaster who is the Spanish-speaking voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers, has agreed to a multi-year contract extension.

The team said Thursday that Jarrin will return in 2019 and 2020, which would be his 61st and 62nd seasons with the Dodgers.

"It seems like it was just yesterday that I was at the Coliseum in 1959 and started my work with the Dodgers, the time goes so fast," said Jarrín on Thursday in a statement released by the team. "I’m still enjoying it just as much as I did 60 years ago. I love what I do, and it’s a privilege for me to be able to do it. I have had the opportunity to work with the best of the best, ballplayers, broadcasters and staff, and I have been so fortunate throughout my career. Of course, I have to thank the Dodgers and especially my wife Blanca for her support and for allowing me to do what I love all these years."

On Friday, Jarrín will become the 12th inductee into the Dodgers' Ring of Honor, joining a list of legends that include, Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Tommy Lasorda, Duke Snider, Jim Gilliam, Don Sutton, Walter Alston, Sany Koufax, Roy Campanella, Don Drysdale and Vin Scully. The ceremony begins at 6:30PM PST.

Jarrin, who turns 83 in December, began with the Dodgers in 1959, their second season in Los Angeles.

He says he's enjoying the job as much as he did 60 years ago.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Focus on Rams Not the “Fight for LA”]]>Thu, 20 Sep 2018 06:24:58 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/178*120/GettyImages-1034499376.jpg

The Chargers are coming off a victory in Buffalo and are preparing for their cross town rival, the LA Rams, but the team isn’t into the hype about “Fight for LA.”

What the players and coaches are focused on is how to stop a red-hot Rams team that has bulldozed the competition in their first two games this season.

“That doesn’t mean anything for us,” said Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn about the “battle” over territory. “I'm sure it's good for the storylines and all that, but we fight for one another. We fight for ourselves. We don't pay attention to the ‘Fight for LA’ thing. It's just another game for us.”

The Chargers are going to have their hands full this Sunday against the Rams because their defense is no joke. The Rams have outscored their opponents 57-0, picked off the opposing quarterback four times, and haven’t allowed a single touchdown all in the last six quarters.

As we all know, games are won and lost in the trenches and the Rams have one of the best interior defensive linemen in the NFL in Aaron Donald, and he’s flanked by Ndamukong Suh, and Michael Brockers. All three have been dominant at the beginning of the season and the Chargers have taken notice.

“It is somewhat different because most weeks — it's a big-named edge rusher it seems like every week, but obviously these inside guys get a ton of attention. Not to take away from the outside guys, but rightfully so those inside guys get most of the attention. They're really solid players. It's a heck of a challenge,” explained quarterback Philip Rivers.

One player that could have some insight on one of the Rams interior players is center Mike Pouncey. He played with Suh for three seasons in Miami and knows what it is like to be out there on a hot day going up against a bull like Suh.

“You’ve just got a guy (Suh) who’s been a dominant player for a long time,” Pouncey said, “And he’s next to another dominant player. It’s going to be a real challenge for the offensive line. It’s going to be a really good test for us to see how we are up front as a unit.”

One thing the team will have to work on is not getting complacent. Last weekend against the Bills, the Chargers went into halftime up 28-6 but ended up only scoring three points in the second half, and against a team like the Rams you have to continue applying pressure.

“It really came down to we didn't get going. We had opportunities and we missed a play here or a play there. It seemed like [there] was one in every one of those series. I think it was three series in a row where we didn't get going. If we just made one of those plays, if we had stayed on the block a half-second longer, if we had used the correct technique, then I think we would have been back in that mode of the way we were playing in the first half,” explained offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt.

“If’s” won’t cut it this weekend against a team that plays “knock you out” football. When they sense the opposing team is about done they go for the final blow. So, if the Bolts have any chance of winning this game they will have to go blow for blow with the Rams. They may be in the same city, but the only thing they are both fighting for is another win in a long season.

 

NUTS N’ BOLTS

•Chargers injury report: defensive end Joey Bosa (foot), right tackle Joe Barksdale (knee), fullback Derek Watt (thumb), tight end Antonio Gates (illness) did not practice. Receiver Travis Benjamin (foot) was limited in practice and running back Melvin Gordon (neck) was a full participant.

•The Chargers worked out defensive end Kony Ealy. Coach Lynn downplayed the situation and said he has full confidence in Isaac Rochell starting in place for Bosa. He said they worked him out just in case they need a player in the future they know they are ready to play and are in shape.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Puig Helps Dodgers Sweep Rockies]]>Wed, 19 Sep 2018 23:34:50 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/196*120/Puig_Pinch_Hit_Homer.png

You can't tame a wild horse.

Yasiel Puig has had a rough 24 hours. While his teammates were celebrating Chris Taylor's first career walk-off home run at Dodger Stadium on Saturday night, Puig was at his San Fernando Valley home after three burglars broke in and ransacked his residence for the fourth time in 18 months. 

"I didn't sleep too much yesterday," admitted Puig after his home was broken into. "I tried to come back, I said 'I was going to hit a home run too,' but he [Chris Taylor] hit it before I was able to come back." 

Needless to say, Puig was sleep deprived, and wasn't in the starting lineup for the finale of the three-game series with the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday. Nonetheless, the wild horse broke free and found a way to leave his imprint on the game. 

Puig hit a tiebreaking, pinch-hit, game-winning, three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning and the Los Angeles Dodgers completed a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies, 5-2, to increase their NL West lead to 2.5 games. 

Walker Buehler struck out a career-high 12 and the Dodgers put some significant distance between themselves and the second-place Rockies, giving the defending NL champions their largest division lead this season. They outscored Colorado 16-6 in the series, with homers proving to be the difference in each game.

"I've pitched in some big games, but the later you get in the year, the bigger it all feels," said Buehler of his start against the Rockies. "It's tough to catch fire at the right time, but its never a bad thing to be that team, and I think we're doing it."

After falling into a 2-0 hole in a 36-pitch first inning, Buehler settled down and showed why he has become a dependable complement to Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. The rookie right-hander allowed three hits and one walk over six innings, and neither run he gave up was earned.

"I got settled back in and made some pitches to preserve pitch count," said Buehler. "I slowed down a little bit. I'll learn from it and move forward, and try and avoid two-spots."

In his last nine starts, Buehler is 3-1 with a 1.62 ERA with 72 strikeouts and just 18 walks to go with a 0.88 WHIP.

Puig's second career pinch-hit homer came off Scott Oberg (7-1) and ignited the crowd and his teammates, some of whom came out in front of the dugout to cheer. On a recent tear at the plate, the excitable Puig raised both arms as he circled the bases.

"My first couple swings were five minutes before I hit," Puig said of the pinch-hit at-bat. "I didn't try to hit a homer. I just tried to hit the ball in the air or score the guy from third base, but God blessed me and put the ball in the air and I hit a homer. That's one of my first hits coming from pinch-hitting and I was so excited running around the bases."

In the month of September, Puig is batting .400 with nine runs, one double, seven home runs and 14 RBI in 14 games.

"The only other time I've been this hot at the plate is in my house playing video games," joked Puig.

The Dodgers showed off their depth in the seventh. After pinch-hitter Joc Pederson fouled out, Max Muncy drew a pinch-hit walk. Yasmani Grandal doubled to deep right field, moving Muncy to third and setting up Puig.

Caleb Ferguson (7-2) got two outs to earn the win. Kenley Jansen retired the side in the ninth for his 36th save.

Buehler gave up a two-run single to Ian Desmond in the first after the pitcher made a run-saving throw to the plate when Gerardo Parra grounded into a fielder's choice.

Matt Kemp homered on the first pitch from Tyler Anderson in the second, giving the Dodgers seven players with 20 or more homers in a season for the first time in franchise history. That left them trailing 2-1.

Brian Dozier's RBI double tied the game 2-all in the fifth. Enrique Hernandez singled leading off and made a headfirst slide at the plate, with his feet barely eluding the tag of catcher Chris Iannetta.

Anderson gave up two runs and three hits in six innings. He struck out four and walked two.

The Dodgers completed their ninth sweep of the season and their second over Colorado this season.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rockies: SS Trevor Story is receiving treatment for right elbow inflammation in Arizona, and the team is encouraged that he could return soon. Story might participate in some baseball activities at the club's spring training facility in Phoenix, where the Rockies are headed next to play the Diamondbacks.

UP NEXT

Rockies: Off on Thursday before sending RHP German Marquez (12-10, 3.96 ERA) to the mound against third-place Arizona.

Dodgers: After an off day Thursday, LHP Rich Hill (9-5, 4.02) starts the opener of a three-game series against the last-place Padres.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Yasiel Puig's Encino Home Burglarized]]>Thu, 20 Sep 2018 06:41:54 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Yasiel-Puig-burglary-suspect.jpg

Police Wednesday were seeking three suspects who burglarized Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig's Encino home.

The break-in -- the second within a month at the residence -- occurred about 8 p.m. Tuesday while the right fielder was at Dodger Stadium for his team's 10-inning victory over the Colorado Rockies.

The suspects ransacked the home and located a safe in the second-floor master bedroom, dragging it downstairs, through the living room and to the front door entrance. They left the safe at the front-door entrance, the Los Angeles Police Department reported.

Dragging the safe caused approximately $10,000 in damage to the house.

An inventory was being conducted to determine the amount of property taken, police said.

The suspects fled in a black four-door Toyota with paper plates, police said.

The same suspects were believed to be involved in an attempted burglary at the residence about 11 p.m. on Aug. 30.

Two suspects were described as 20-to-25-year-old men with slim builds, between 5 feet 7 inches to 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighing between 160 to 190 pounds. The description of the driver, the third suspect, was unknown.

The LAPD's Commercial Crimes Division-Burglary Special Section asked anyone with any information regarding the burglaries to call it at (213) 486-6940.



Photo Credit: LAPD]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Hottest Hitter Sits Again on Wednesday]]>Wed, 19 Sep 2018 23:42:04 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/195*120/PuigSitsFor2Games.png

The Wild Horse is stuck in the stable.

He had hit five homers in a span of 20 hours, one of which left the stadium at a record 114MPH, the hardest hit home run by a Dodger since the exit velocity stat was first recorded in 2006. Yasiel Puig had just carried his team past the St. Louis Cardinals on back-to-back days, and launched his team back into the postseason picture.

On Monday, Puig stood on the steps of the Dodgers dugout looking out at the field dubbed "Blue Heaven on Earth." He lightly stroked his unkempt beard, flexed his bicep muscles as strong as steel, and revealed that contagious childish grin of his.

His youthful energy and exuberance are contagious. He's provided his team with a much-needed spark when they required it throughout the season, so naturally, he would be in the lineup every game for the pivotal three-game series with the first place Colorado Rockies.

Puig was in the starting lineup for the first game of the series on Monday, batting fifth, and recording two hits in an 8-2 victory that catapulted the Boys in Blue back into first place in the hotly contested NL West. The two hits marked Puig's 25th multi-hit game of the season, and came on a day he was named the National League Player of the Week.

There was no doubt in anyone's mind that Puig was by far turning everything he touched into scorched earth. In his last 11 games, he had hit .433 with six home runs and 11 RBI, he had placed the team on his proverbial back and the man coined the "Wild Horse," by Hall-of-Fame broadcaster Vin Scully, was ready to carry his team back into the postseason and possibly their sixth consecutive division title.

Do you remember that arcade game in the mid-90s called "NBA Jam?" It was an exaggerated style of basketball that featured two-on-two play, explosive slam dunks, monster heads, and a secret mode determined by the announcer's electrifying voice: "He's on Fire!"

When a player had made three consecutive shots from beyond the arc, everytime that player touched the basketball from that point forward, it turned into flames. As kids in arcades across the country soon learned, if a player was on fire, you gave him the ball until he missed. 

To stay with that analogy, Yasiel Puig is on fire, and accordingly, he needs to be at the plate and in the lineup as often as humanly possible until he finally cools off. At least that's what NBA Jam and popular culture would tell you.

Despite that knowledge when the Dodgers starting lineup was posted in the dugout on Tuesday, Yasiel Puig's name was not on it. 

"Yasiel has played a lot recently," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts, inexplicably explaining why Puig wasn't in the lineup against left-hander pitcher Kyle Freeland. "To get them a blow and a day off two days before an off day I think is a good thing."

Right-handers are batting .252 with 15 home runs and have more success against Freeland statistically than left-handed hitters who are batting a paltry .168 with just two home runs this season. Roberts and the front office know this about Freeland, so they stacked the staring lineup with all right-handed hitters. Puig was still not on it, and never appeared even as a pinch-hitter, despite six different pinch-hitters being used in a game that went to extra innings.

Puig was also noticeably absent from the team's walk-off celebration in the bottom of the tenth inning after Chris Taylor hit his first career game-ending longball. Puig is normally the first player out of the dugout to douse his teammates in Gatorade during these situations, but on Tuesday night he was nowhere to be seen.

News came out early Wednesday morning that Puig's Encino home had been burglarized for the fourth time, possibly explaining his absence on the field. TMZ reported that three suspects, the same ones believed to have tried to rob him on Aug. 30, broke into his home through a backdoor, ransacking the place and dragging a safe down the stairs before ultimately leaving it in the doorway. LAPD believes the burglars caused around $10,000 in damages.

Perhaps the unsettling feeling of having your home violated was behind the decision to not start Puig in the finale of the three-game series on Wednesday, but ultimately Roberts said it was more about finding playing time for Matt Kemp, than giving Yasiel another day off.

"I think that it's more of really trying to get Matt going," said Roberts before the game on Wednesday. "Yasiel will probably be in there on Friday. I know he's swinging the bat really well, righties and lefties."

"Really well," is an understatement for the reigning NL Player of the Week who if he does start on Friday, will have not played in a game in three consecutive days. A deep roster for the Dodgers packed with All-Star talent certainly makes it difficult to find playing time, and the personal issues surrounding his home and family don't help, but regardless, the hottest hitter on the team should be in the lineup down the stretch.

UPDATE: Proving the initial point of this story, Yasiel Puig appeared as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the seventh inning of a tie game on Wednesday night and hit the game-winning three-run home run. 



Photo Credit: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LeBron James' 'Space Jam 2' Adds Ryan Coogler to Team]]>Wed, 19 Sep 2018 15:59:39 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LeBron-James-Space-Jam-2.jpg

"Black Panther" director Ryan Coogler is joining LeBron James and the "Space Jam 2" team.

James' production company SpringHill Entertainment tweeted Wednesday that Coogler will produce the sequel to the 1996 movie that featured Michael Jordan alongside Warner Bros.' animated characters.

"Random Acts of Flyness" creator Terence Nance will direct James, and Bugs Bunny, in the film.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, which first reported the news, production is tentatively slated to begin in 2019 during the NBA off season.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[CT3's Walk-Off Homer Wins it for Dodgers ]]>Tue, 18 Sep 2018 23:37:11 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/211*120/CT3+walk-off.png

It's been a season of struggles for Chris Taylor. 

The Dodgers breakout star in 2017 has failed to live up to last season's success this season. After a .288 average and a leadoff homer in Game 1 of the World Series, Taylor is batting just .248 this season and has a team-high 166 strikeouts (20 more than any other player). 

"There's been a lot of ups and downs," admitted Taylor. "This game humbles you really fast."

After belting a career-high 21 homers last season and winning co-MVP in the NLCS, Taylor has hit just 16 homers this season. 

Well, make that 17...

Taylor hit the first game-winning walk-off homer of his career in the bottom of the 10th inning, and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the rival Colorado Rockies, 3-2, to extend their NL West lead to 1.5 games on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.

Taylor called the home run the biggest of his career, and he knew it as soon as he hit it, as he raised his right arm in the air before rounding the bases, watching it sail halfway up the pavillion in left-center before getting a gatorade bath at home plate as he was mobbed by his teammates.

"It's a big series," said Taylor who called it the 'biggest home run of his career.' "The moment of the game, and it was my first walk-off home run. In this tight division race, I just felt like this was a big game for us to extend the lead."

The homer came off Rockies reliever Adam Ottavino who has had a sensational season up til this point, but couldn't get the second out of the inning and help his team move back into first place.

"I got to two strikes and just tried to shorten up to see it," said Taylor. "Luckily, he hung a slider and I got the barrel to it."

A day after moving past the Rockies into first place, the defending NL champion Dodgers matched their largest divisional lead of the season on Taylor's one-out drive.

The Dodgers won the series opener 8-2 on homers by Joc Pederson and Max Muncy and will now go for the sweep with rookie Walker Buehler on the mound on Wednesday.

Dylan Floro (6-3) got the win by striking out two in the 10th.

Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw gave up two runs and three hits in seven innings. He walked five and struck out three.

"It was a lot," Kershaw said of his five walks. "I just tried to re-focus. Sometimes you're going to have traffic and have to pitch through things. I stayed out of the middle, but just not on the plate."

Despite his struggles in the game, especially with command, Kershaw was able to grind through seven solid innings, and is 7-1 with a 2.22 ERA in the second half of the season.

"I consistently try to be the same out there every fifth day," said Kershaw. "But every pitch is a little bit more intensity just because of the situation...it meant a little bit more tonight for sure."

Kenta Maeda relieved Kershaw and struck out the side in the eighth. Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth, allowing a leadoff hit to Gerardo Parra before retiring the next three batters.

Rockies starter Kyle Freeland allowed two runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked four.

The Dodgers tied it 2-all in the fifth when Austin Barnes scored on a throwing error by third baseman Nolan Arenado.

Colorado took a 2-1 lead on Charlie Blackmon's 27th homer in the fifth.

"I didn't give up too many hits, except for the one big swing by Blackmon," said Kershaw of the homer he allowed. "Other than that I thought for the most part it was okay."

The Rockies tied it 1-all in the third on errors by third baseman Justin Turner and left fielder Taylor. DJ LeMahieu was safe at first when the ball went past Turner's glove, which allowed Garrett Hampson to take third and Blackmon to advance to second. The ball went into left field where Taylor couldn't field it cleanly, allowing Hampson to score.

The Dodgers led 1-0 on Matt Kemp's RBI single in the first. Kemp is batting .355 with runners in scoring position this season, currently the second best mark in the National League.

The victory was the Dodgers sixth walk-off win of the season and second walk-off hit (July 7, 2017 vs. Arizona) of Taylor's career. 

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rockies: SS Trevor Story has inflammation in his right elbow, but there's no structural damage and it's possible he can return to the lineup in a few days. He tweaked his elbow on a throw in the first inning Monday night and aggravated it on a swing in the fourth.

UP NEXT

LHP Tyler Anderson (6-9, 4.82 ERA) starts the series finale for the Rockies. He held the Giants to two runs over six innings in his last outing after overcoming mechanical issues. RHP Walker Buehler (7-5, 2.88) goes for the Dodgers. He's coming off an eight-inning, nine-strikeout performance against St. Louis.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Back and Forth the Dodgers and Rockies Go]]>Tue, 18 Sep 2018 19:51:28 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/197*120/Dodgers+Rockies+NL+West.png

Round and round we go, where we stop, nobody knows. 

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts glanced over at his lineup card with a furtive smile on Tuesday afternoon. An all right-handed lineup with his ace, Clayton Kershaw, on the mound to counter the Colorado Rockies ace and Cy Young candidate, Kyle Freeland.

In the opposing dugout was Roberts friend and mentor, Rockies manager Bud Black. The 61-year-old former pitcher sat relaxed, with his legs crossed, addressing the horde of media that had arrived to ask about the UCL ligament of his All-Star shortstop, Trevor Story. 

Black delivered good news regarding his MVP candidate, no ligament damage, and a possible return this season. Without Story, the merry-go-round taking place in the National League West would have been far less exhilarating. 

Since the start of September, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Colorado Rockies, and Arizona Diamondbacks have been interlocked in a game of musical chairs with high-stakes implications. The winner of this game will win the NL West, the two losers, possibly missing out on the postseason altogether.

All three teams made the MLB playoffs last season, but with the Milwaukee Brewers comfortably in the driver's seat of the first Wild Card spot, the probability of all three teams making it again this year is slim to none.

After the Dodgers took three of four from the Snakes at Chavez Ravine at the beginning of the month, they leapfrogged both teams in to first place for the first time since August 3rd. Since that date, the Dodgers and Rockies have quietly runaway from the Diamondbacks, entranced in a two-team dance that is sure to come down to the wire.

The dos-si-do division dance has been repeated for most of the month. Last Friday, the Rockies were in first place. Saturday it was the Dodgers, Sunday it was the Rockies, and on Monday it was the Dodgers again as each team took turns taking a half-game lead over their rivals.

For all intents and purposes, the NL West is the only pennant chase worth watching with less than two weeks remaining in the regular season. The American League appears to be all but sewn up, as is the NL East. The Chicago Cubs lead the NL Central by 2.5 games over the Brewers, but the Dodgers and Rockies are the race to watch.

The Rockies and Dodgers will face each other two more times on Tuesday and Wednesday, before their fates are decided by other teams looking to play the role of spoiler down the stretch. With this information firmly in hand, both teams have stacked up their starting rotation for these pivotal final two games that could decide if the Dodgers win the West for the sixth straight season, or if the Rockies win it for the first time in franchise history.

Clayton Kershaw toes the rubber on Tuesday night in the second game of a three-game series against Colorado's ace, Kyle Freeland. A Dodgers victory guarantees them first place heading into the weekend, a Rockies victory puts Colorado back in first place for the rubber match on Wednesday, which features red-hot rookie Walker Buehler against left-handed pitcher (LA's Achilles heel), Tyler Anderson.

After that, it's anybody's guess what will go down in the division as the Dodgers finish the season with three games against the San Diego Padres, Arizona Diamondbacks and San Francisco Giants.

Colorado will head to the desert for a three-game series with Arizona, before heading home to the Mile High City for a four-game series with the suddenly fading Philadelphia Phillies and three with the Washington Nationals. That series will be important to both teams fate in the division, as the Rockies have a game in-hand over Los Angeles and the outcome of that game on Thursday, Sept. 27 could present a much clearer picture heading into the final three games of the season.

Which team has the advantage is up for debate. After Arizona, the Rockies will finish their season at home in the offensive powerhouse that is Coors Field against two NL East opponents.

The Dodgers will play their final games on the road against divisional opponents who not only know them intimately, but in stadiums they've struggled at this season in Chase Field and AT&T Park.

The Rockies face three teams all currently above .500, with a combined record of 230-221. Whereas the Dodgers face only one opponent in Arizona that is over .500 and a combined record of 209-244.

Both teams have similar records both home and away, so deciding the division will likely come down to the final three game series of the season. Plenty of action, excitement, and gut-wrenching moments are sure to occur over the final two weeks as both teams jockey for divisional supremacy, the postseason, and possibly home field advantage in the first round of the NLDS.

Buckle up, it's sure to be a thrilling ride.



Photo Credit: Dustin Bradford/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LA Chargers Player Sues Trainer Over PED Suspension]]>Tue, 18 Sep 2018 14:47:31 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Chargers-Liuget-sues-trainer.jpg

Los Angeles Chargers defensive tackle Corey Liuget has sued the trainer who he says is responsible for his four-game suspension for using a performance-enhancing substance.

Liuget filed suit against Ian Danney and his Arizona-based business in Los Angeles, asking for a jury trial and no less than $15 million in damages.

Liuget says in the suit that Danney injected him with a substance banned by the FDA and the NFL. He also says Danney gave him another product that required a prescription which Liuget did not have.

A message left with Danney's office was not returned Tuesday.

Liuget, who is in his seventh year in the NFL, said in a statement sent through his attorney that he is filing suit because the suspension has compromised his ability to be a leader in the community and that he wants to set the record straight.

Liuget is eligible to return to the Chargers after their Sept. 30 game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pederson Powers Dodgers Back Into 1st Place]]>Mon, 17 Sep 2018 23:22:29 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/203*120/Joc+Pederson+2+Homers.png

Joc Pederson has a flair for the dramatic. 

Pederson homered off Max Scherzer in Game 5 of the National League Division Series, and three times in the World Series last season. So naturally as the Dodgers entered into their biggest series of the season with the first place Colorado Rockies, it was his time to shine. 

Pederson opened the game with his sixth leadoff homer of the season, and hit a back-breaking two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth as the Dodgers moved back into first place in the NL West with an 8-2 victory over the Rockies on Monday night.

"You look at last year and again in the NLCS against Scherzer he hit a big homer" said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts of Pederson. "Joc has come up the last few years with a lot of big hits for us."

Max Muncy made sure Pederson didn't have to shoulder all the load as he hit his 33rd homer of the season, a three-run shot in the bottom of the third inning. 

Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu (5-3) pitched seven scoreless innings, throwing 93 pitches to match a season high. He struck out five and didn't walk a batter as he lowered his ERA to 2.21 over seven starts since returning from a strained left groin.

"To start the year he was throwing the ball really well," said Roberts of Ryu. "He just has that ability to control the heartbeat and the pulse and make good pitches. He can get lefties and righties out and throw strikes when he needs to. There's a lot of trust there, and he's earned it."

The Rockies entered this showdown series with a half-game lead on Los Angeles, but the teams switched places as the Dodgers unleashed the high-powered offense that helped them win three of four last weekend in St. Louis. 

It was a rough night all-around for the Rockies, who not only dropped out of first place in the division but fell a half-game behind the Cardinals for the second NL wild card. They also lost slugger Trevor Story in the fourth inning with an undisclosed injury. The All-Star shortstop was injured on a swing against Ryu.

"It's a competitive division and its not going to let up at all," said Muncy of the NL West. "There's not one series we play that's going to be easy and it makes for some fun baseball."

Story was checked by manager Bud Black and a trainer before leaving the game. Already this season, Story has become the first shortstop in major league history with at least 40 doubles, 30 home runs and 25 steals.

Pederson gave a sign of what was ahead when he led off the game for the Dodgers with a home run to the opposite field in left. It was his sixth leadoff homer this season and the ninth of his career. Muncy also scored in the first inning on a wild pitch by Jon Gray (11-8).

"It's always nice to use the whole field," said Pederson of his opposite field leadoff homer. "It's encouraging when I'm using the whole field."

The Dodgers chased Gray in the third as the first five hitters reached base. Manny Machado had an RBI single in the inning that was followed by Muncy's three-run drive, his 33rd homer of the season. Yasiel Puig's single ended Gray's night.

"We've seen him every series the last three times against Colorado, and I feel like that played into a huge factor with us," said Muncy of Gray. "The offense is going really well right now and hopefully it will be the same story tomorrow."

Gray went two-plus innings, giving up six runs, seven hits and two walks. He hasn't pitched more than four innings in three consecutive starts.

"We've seen Gray at times very good, but today he didn't have command of his fastball," said Roberts. "We waited him out, got some pitches out over and took advantage of it." 

Pederson hit his second homer of the night in the fourth. His two-run shot into the seats in right field off reliever Harrison Musgrave was his 23rd of the season, and moved him three away from matching his career best set in his rookie year of 2015.

"You always want to capitalize on your opportunities and make the best of them," said Pederson of his rare home run off a left-handed pitcher in Musgrave. "I prepare and hit off a lefty in the cage almost every day. I try and make the best of it when I get the chance, and I still need to continue to work on it, but tonight was an encouraging part of the process."

The Rockies broke through for their first run in the eighth against Dodgers left-hander Alex Wood on an RBI single from DJ LeMahieu. Wood, who was charged with two runs in the inning, was removed from the rotation last week. 

TRAINER'S ROOM 

Rockies: RHP Seunghwan Oh (tight left hamstring) was available out of the bullpen after not pitching since Sept. 9.

Dodgers: 3B Justin Turner was in the starting lineup, with manager Dave Roberts saying "he remains sore in the wrist" after Turner was hit by a pitch Saturday at St. Louis. . RHP John Axford (broken right leg) was activated from the disabled list along with LHP Tony Cingrani (left shoulder strain). . RHP Daniel Hudson (right forearm tightness) was transferred to the 60-day DL. 

UP NEXT

The Rockies will send LHP Kyle Freeland (15-7, 2.96 ERA) to the mound Tuesday. He is 6-0 with a 2.96 ERA over his last eight starts. The Dodgers will have LHP Clayton Kershaw (8-5, 2.51) on the mound. The longtime ace is 5-1 with a 2.26 ERA in 10 second-half starts.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Victor Decolongon/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Yasiel Puig Named National League Player of the Week]]>Mon, 17 Sep 2018 18:00:51 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/208*120/Puig+POTW.png

Puig your player of the week.

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was named the National League Player of the Week for the period ending on September 16. The announcement was made on Monday morning on MLB Network.

The award comes on the heels of a career week for Puig after he hit .429 with seven runs scored, a double and five home runs (in a 48-hour span) to go with nine RBI, three walks and a stolen base over seven games.

Most of Puig's stats came within a two-game span over the weekend in St. Louis. On Friday night, Puig hit a pair of solo home runs in a 3-0 victory over the Cardinals.

Less than 24 hours later, during a Saturday day game, Puig hit a career-high three home runs, driving in a career-high seven runs in a 17-4 blowout of the Redbirds.

Puig joined Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter as the only two players in the Majors this season to have three homers and seven RBI in a game.

Puig last won the award on May 18, 2014, and as the winner of the award this past week, will receive a watch courtesy of Rockwell.

The Dodgers are currently tied for the second wild card spot in the National League with St. Louis and 0.5 games behind the Colorado Rockies for first place in the NL West. 

The Boys in Blue open a three-game series with the first place Rockies at Dodger Stadium on Monday night.



Photo Credit: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Dodgers Home Run Streak Snapped After Shutout Loss to Cardinals]]>Sun, 16 Sep 2018 21:05:38 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/210*120/Cards+Beat+Dodgers+5-0+.png

Adam Wainwright pitched two-hit ball over six innings for his first win in five months, Marcell Ozuna homered and the St. Louis Cardinals salvaged the finale of a four-game series with a 5-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday night.

The Cardinals snapped a season-high four-game losing streak and moved into a tie for the second National League wild card with the Dodgers, who slipped a half-game behind Colorado for the NL West lead. 

The Rockies visit Dodger Stadium for a three-game series beginning Monday night, the last regular-season meeting between the teams. 

Wainwright (2-3), making his second start since missing almost four months with right elbow inflammation, struck out a season-high nine while earning his first victory since April 16. His 101 pitches were his most since July 22, 2017. 

Cardinals reliever Bud Norris left the game with a blister on his middle finger after walking the only batter he faced in the seventh. Jordan Hicks, pitching for the first time in a week, finished the inning and also worked the eighth. Carlos Martinez completed the four-hit shutout — one night after the Dodgers piled up 17 runs. 

Ozuna homered to right-center to make it 1-0 in the second. 

Yairo Munoz sparked a two-run fourth, reaching first on a wild pitch after swinging and missing at strike three. Jedd Gyorko and Yadier Molina followed with RBI singles, chasing Dodgers starter Ross Stripling and giving the Cardinals a 3-0 lead. 

Ozuna singled and scored on third baseman Justin Turner's fielding error in the sixth. Ozuna has a team-high 44 multihit games.

Molina had a pair of singles and drove in another run in the eighth.

Stripling (8-4) retired nine of his first 10 batters before running into trouble in the fourth. He went 3 1/3 innings, matching his shortest start of the season last Wednesday at Cincinnati.

The Dodgers fell back into second place in the NL West, as they open a three-game series with the first place Rockies in Los Angeles on Monday. 

The loss moves the Dodgers and Cardinals into a tie for the 2nd wild card spot in the National League. 

Los Angeles had a franchise record of 23 consecutive games with a home run, one shy of the all-time franchise record set by the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers. That streak was snapped in the shutout loss on Sunday.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: LHP Tony Cingrani (left shoulder strain) and RHP John Axford (broken right leg) will be activated Monday.

Cardinals: Norris was removed after throwing just seven pitches.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (4-3, 2.42 ERA) starts Monday against Colorado RHP Jon Gray (11-7, 4.80). Ryu is 3-6 with a 5.77 ERA in nine career starts vs. the Rockies.

Cardinals: RHP Miles Mikolas (15-4, 2.99 ERA) gets the opener of a three-game series in Atlanta against Braves RHP Mike Foltynewicz (11-9, 2.66 ERA) on Monday night. In his last outing, Mikolas became the first pitcher to win 15 games in his first season with St. Louis since Mark Mulder in 2005.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Crush Cardinals 34-0 in Home Opener]]>Sun, 16 Sep 2018 16:13:50 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Rams-Cardinals-Gurley-9-16-18.jpg

Todd Gurley ran for three touchdowns, Jared Goff threw for 354 yards and a touchdown and the Los Angeles Rams dominated the Arizona Cardinals 34-0 on Sunday.

The Rams have won their first two games for the first time since 2001, when they started 6-0 en route to the third Super Bowl appearance in team history.

It was the second time in Gurley's four-year NFL career that he has three rushing scores in a game. The other time it occurred was Week 15 at Seattle last season. Gurley finished with 42 yards on 19 carries as he played only three quarters due to cramps.

Goff, who has six 300-yard games, completed 24 of 32, marking the third time in 24 starts he has completed more than 70 percent of his passes when making 25 or more attempts. The 354 yards were only a yard off of his career high, set last season against Houston.

Brandon Cooks had seven receptions for 159 yards.

The Cardinals didn't cross midfield until the final minute and managed only five first downs as they fell to 0-2 for the first time since 2005. Sam Bradford, the first overall draft pick by the Rams in 2010, was 17 of 27 for 90 yards in his first start against his former team.

The Rams opened the scoring early in the second quarter with Gurley's 11-yard run off right end. They successfully went for the 2-point conversion on Gurley's run; Greg Zuerlein sustained a groin injury.

Johnny Hekker's 20-yard field goal extended the lead to 11-0 before Gurley had a 1-yard touchdown and 2-point conversion on the final plays of the first half.

The Rams extended their lead to 27-0 in the third quarter on Gurley's 2-yard run and Goff's pass to Malcolm Brown on the conversion. They added another touchdown in the fourth period when Goff connected with a wide-open Tyler Higbee from 3 yards.

SPECIAL TEAMS ADJUSTMENTS

The Rams went for the 2-pointers after their first three touchdowns due to Zuerlein's injury, which was announced during the first quarter. The Rams received the opening kickoff, so it is likely the injury happened in pregame warmups.

Hekker handled kickoff duties as well as punting.

JoJo Natson, signed on Wednesday after 2017 All-Pro Pharoh Cooper was lost for the year with an ankle injury, had a strong debut as the team's returner, averaging 22.2 yards on six punt returns and one kick return for 22 yards. His 60-yard punt runback in the second quarter helped set up Gurley's second touchdown.

INJURIES

Cardinals: WR Larry Fitzgerald injured his hamstring during the fourth quarter and did not return.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: Have two straight home games, beginning next Sunday against Chicago.

Rams: Host the Chargers in the first regular-season Battle of Los Angeles between the two teams.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Beat Bills 31-20, Gordon Scores 3 TDs]]>Sun, 16 Sep 2018 16:20:25 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Chargers-Bills-Melvin-Gordon-9-16-18.jpg

Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon isn't concerned about an injury that sidelined him for much of the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

"Nah, it's just a little upper body, but I'll be straight," Gordon said.

Whatever pain there might have been was offset by Gordon matching a career high by scoring three touchdowns, and the Chargers holding off a late Bills comeback attempt to secure a 31-20 win.

"It felt good because that just showed us what type of offense we can be," said Gordon, who left with just over 11 minutes remaining. "It's good to have confirmation, so we've just got to keep that going."

A week after putting up 541 yards but lacking finish in a season-opening 38-28 loss to Kansas City, the Chargers were less productive but more efficient. Gordon scored on three consecutive drives in helping the Chargers build a 28-3 lead with 1:55 left in the second quarter.

The Bills, meanwhile, continued to show signs of unraveling even though rookie quarterback Josh Allen provided the offense some semblance of a spark in his first career start, and a week after a season-opening 47-3 meltdown at Baltimore.

Veteran cornerback Vontae Davis created a significant stir by leaving the team at halftime, coach Sean McDermott said. Running back LeSean McCoy did not return and was still experiencing pain in the locker room because of a rib injury. And McDermott revealed he took over the defensive play-calling from coordinator Leslie Frazier to start the second half.

On Davis, McDermott said: "Pulled himself out of the game. He communicated to us that he was done."

That move didn't sit well with Buffalo's two senior defensive leaders.

"I think the only thing to say is he's where he needs to be right now," tackle Kyle Williams said.

Asked where that might be, Williams responded: "That's not here point blank and simple."

Defensive end Lorenzo Alexander was equally blunt when asked about Davis.

"I don't have nothing to say about Vontae so I'll give him a little bit more respect than he showed us today as far as quitting on us in the middle of the game," Alexander said. "Never seen it, ever. Pop Warner. High school. College. Pros."

Davis was credited with one tackle. He's a 10-year veteran who signed a one-year contract in free agency in March.

The Bills provided Davis a chance to re-start his career after a dispute with former Colts coach Chuck Pagano led to Indianapolis cutting him in November.

Davis made his Bills' debut against the Chargers after being inactive against Baltimore last week.

A message left with Davis' agent, Todd France, was not returned.

The Bills defense wilted in the first half in allowing the Chargers 17 first downs and 284 yards.

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers finished 23 of 27 for 256 yards and three touchdowns, including a 10-yarder to Mike Williams , 5½ minutes in.

The Chargers defense did their part in limiting the Bills to 110 yards and two field goals in the first half.

Melvin Ingram III had 1½ of the Chargers' five sacks on a defense that was playing without Joey Bosa (foot) and Corey Liuget (suspension).

Allen produced two touchdown drives in the second half, including a seven-play, 75-yard third-quarter opening drive capped by Chris Ivory's 1-yard plunge.

Allen finished 18 of 33 for 245 yards with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin with 38 seconds remaining, and two interceptions.

It was a modestly better showing at quarterback a week after Nathan Peterman was yanked after completing 5 of 18 attempts for 24 yards, with two interceptions, and overseeing an offense that managed just one first down over 10 series.

MCCOY INJURED:

McCoy was shaken up late in the third quarter when he was tackled from behind and had Buffalo center Ryan Groy fall down on him. Groy landed heavily on the left side of McCoy's chest as he was on the ground.

McCoy returned and had a 3-yard run on the final snap of the third quarter, before missing the remainder of the game.

STILL HAVEN'T TRAILED:

The Chargers won their fourth straight meeting against the Bills, and haven't trailed Buffalo since a 23-14 loss on Oct. 19, 2008.

FINALLY:

It took nearly 95 minutes of game time for the Bills to finally find the end zone. The drought finally ended on Ivory's 1-yard plunge with 11:06 left in the third quarter. Buffalo was the only team not to score a touchdown in Week 1.

INJURIES:

Chargers: Receiver Travis Benjamin did not play because of a foot injury.

Bills: RB Taiwan Jones was being evaluated for a head injury after he was tackled in Buffalo's end zone after his helmet came off while recovering a fumbled punt midway through the fourth quarter. CB Philip Gaines hurt his right elbow while tackling Gordon.

ANTHEM UPDATE:

Chargers offensive tackle Russell Okung stood 3 yards in from the sideline with his right arm raised. No other players appeared to protest during the anthem.

UP NEXT:

Chargers: At Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, Sept. 23.

Bills: At Minnesota, Sunday, Sept. 23.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jaime Jarrin and Manny Mota Take in LAFC Game as Carlos Vela Dons Dodgers Jersey]]>Sun, 16 Sep 2018 14:14:18 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/DodgersNIghtLAFC.jpg

It's a Southern California sports tradition that all major professional sports teams pay homage to their City of Angels neighbors with a "themed" night during the season. 

On Saturday night, it was the new kid on the block's turn, as the Los Angeles Football Club hosted the first annual Dodgers night at the new Banc of California Stadium.

Fans who purchased tickets for the special "Dodgers Night," received a limited edition LAFC/Dodgers t-shirt and an exclusive opportunity to meet Dodgers legends, Manny Mota and Spanish Language broadcaster, Jaime Jarrín. 

Mota spent the last 13 years of his career as a pinch hitter for the Dodgers from 1969-82. He was also a player-coach from 1980-82, winning the World Series in 1981. His coaching career with the Dodgers lasted from 1980-2013, which included the team’s last championship (1988). He’s now a part of the Dodgers Spanish language broadcast team, along side Jarrín, who has been around since 1959 and has a place in the Hall of Fame. 

Normally, when a professional sports team hosts a themed night for another LA-based team, current players are honored before the game. However, with the Dodgers currently entrenched in a playoff chase in St. Louis, no players were on hand for the match against the New England Revolution.

Despite no current players in attendance, that didn't stop LAFC captain Carlos Vela from wearing a custom No. 10 Dodgers jersey with his name on the back.

Vela arrived to the stadium in the jersey, and wore it during his postgame press conference after the Black and Gold tied the Revs 1-1, to earn a crucial point in their own playoff race with just five matches remaining on the season.

At one point, Vela was asked in Spanish what position he would play if he were on the Dodgers, and he responded by saying, "I'm a striker, so I would be a great pitcher, no?"

Despite the draw, the match was a milestone for LAFC head coach Bob Bradley as he coached his 300th career MLS Game. 

Although many coaches have taken their teams to the MLS Cup with multiple franchises, Bradley could become the first coach in league history to lead two different first-year teams to the championship game in their expansion season.

LAFC is currently in third place with four points behind Sporting KC for first place in the Western Conference.



Photo Credit: LAFC
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<![CDATA[Rams Seek First 2-0 Start Since 2001 Against Cardinals]]>Sun, 16 Sep 2018 09:21:49 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Jared+Goff.jpg

The Los Angeles Rams will play host to the Arizona Cardinals in their 2018 home opener at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Sunday, seeking their first 2-0 start since 2001.

The Rams opened the season with a 33-13 victory at Oakland Monday night, outscoring the Raiders 23-0 in the second half. Arizona lost to Washington, 24-6, in its season opener last Sunday.

The Rams recorded their first sweep of the Cardinals since 2012 in 2017, winning 33-0 in London and 32-16 in Glendale, Arizona. The regular-season series is tied, 38-38-2. The Rams won the only playoff game between the two teams, in 1975 when the Cardinals were based in St. Louis.

Arizona has both a new coach (Steve Wilks) and a new starting quarterback (Sam Bradford), who replaced Bruce Arians and Carson Palmer, who both retired. There were 18 Cardinals who made their debuts with the team in last Sunday's loss to the Redskins.

The game is a matchup of the only two quarterbacks the Rams have selected with the first overall choice in the NFL draft since the inception of the common draft in 1967. The Rams chose Bradford with the first pick in the 2010 draft, when they were based in St. Louis. They selected Jared Goff with the first pick in 2016.

Arizona's roster includes two UCLA alumni, quarterback Josh Rosen, its first-round choice in the 2018 draft, and fullback Derrick Coleman. Rosen did not play in the opener. Rosen (St. John Bosco), is among four Cardinals who played on the high school level in Los Angeles County, along with cornerback Bene Benwikere (Serra), defensive end Benson Mayowa (Inglewood), offensive lineman Daniel Munyer (Sherman Oaks Notre Dame). Coleman is among two Cardinals who played on the high school level in Orange County, he was a teammate of long snapper Aaron Brewer at Troy High School.

For the third consecutive year, the Rams will honor Pro Football Hall of Famers at their season opener. Eric Dickerson, Orlando Pace, Jackie Slater and Jack Youngblood will light the torch in the Peristyle end of the Coliseum.

They will also be on the field at halftime, supporting the youth football programs scrimmaging. Rapper Jay Rock, born Johnny Reed McKinzie Jr., who was raised in Watts and attended Locke High School, will perform on the field before the game.

The rhythm and blues and pop singer Tinashe, who attended Crescenta Valley High School, will sing the national anthem. One hundred firefighters from Los Angeles-area departments will unfurl a "Rock the Rams House" flag in the southeast end zone before player introductions. Immediately following the national anthem, the Rams Empire Booster Club will unfurl the new "Whose House, Rams House" banner in Section 29.

Retired U.S. Marine Corps 1st Sgt. Brice Bartlette will be recognized during the first quarter. He was deployed in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and protected U.S. Embassies in Saudi Arabia and Lithuania. Bartlette's honors include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal and the Combat Action Ribbon.

The Camarillo Road Runners will scrimmage the Calabasas Wolfpack in the northwest end zone and the Thousand Oaks Titans will scrimmage the Moorpark Musketeers in the southeast end zone at halftime. Patrick Moya, a volunteer with the Hollywood-based Uplift Family Services at Hollygrove will be honored at halftime as the Rams first Community Quarterback honoree of 2018. Donald Rubin will be honored as the season ticket member of the game. The 90-year-old Rubin was also a season ticket holder during the Rams first tenure in Southern California, 1946-94.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[UCLA Loses 38-14 to Fresno State, Bruins Start Season 0-3]]>Sat, 15 Sep 2018 23:24:11 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/UCLA-Fresno-State-NCAA-Football.jpg

Marcus McMaryion ran for four touchdowns and passed for another as Fresno State snapped a 10-game losing streak against Power Five teams with a 38-14 victory over UCLA on Saturday at the Rose Bowl.

The senior quarterback was 22 of 33 for 270 yards as the Bulldogs got their ninth win over a Pac-12 program since 2000. Three of those have come against the Bruins.

Fresno State, which came into the game leading the FBS in takeaways with eight, scored 17 points off four Bruins turnovers.

UCLA freshman quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson was 10 of 24 for 151 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He also had a team-high 49 yards rushing on eight carries. The Bruins, who are in their first year under Chip Kelly, are 0-3 for the first time since 1971.

The Bulldogs (2-1) scored on their first three drives to take a 16-0 lead. McMaryion opened the scoring with 10:03 remaining in the first quarter with a 1-yard bootleg off left end. A Kyle Riddering 10-yard pass from McMaryion late in the first quarter and an Asa Fuller 28-yard field goal extended Fresno State's lead to 16-0 with 14:17 remaining in the second quarter.

After UCLA's Odua Isibor recovered a McMaryion fumble at the Fresno State 43, the Bruins got on the scoreboard when Theo Howard hauled in a 45-yard touchdown pass from Thompson-Robinson. UCLA got within 16-14 with 12:59 remaining in the third quarter on a 1-yard run by Bolu Olorunfunmi.

Fresno State then put the game away with three straight drives that ended with McMaryion touchdown runs. The last two scores were set up after Thompson-Robinson interceptions.

TRICKERATION

Fresno State coach Jeff Tedford outtricked Kelly on a 2-point conversion during the third quarter. Using the gun monster formation, with four players lined up on the far hash on both sides and three players in the center, backup QB Jorge Reyna threw a pass to tight end Gunner Javernick to give the Bulldogs a 24-14 lead.

THE TAKEAWAY

Fresno State: Tedford gets his first win over Kelly in four attempts and improves to 2-4 in games at the Rose Bowl. The Bulldogs also have something that no other Group of Five team can claim — a three-game winning streak over UCLA.

UCLA: The young Bruins continue to sabotage themselves with penalties. They were flagged 11 times for 96 yards in Saturday's loss.

UP NEXT

Fresno State: The Bulldogs have next week off before they host Toledo on Sept. 29.

UCLA: The Bruins have their bye week before traveling to Colorado on Sept. 28.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Texas Beats No. 22 USC, 37-14]]>Sat, 15 Sep 2018 22:22:45 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/USC-loses-to-Texas.jpg

Sam Ehlinger passed for two touchdowns, Anthony Wheeler returned a blocked field goal 46 yards for a score and Texas beat No. 22 Southern California 37-14 on Saturday night to give second-year coach Tom Herman his biggest win in burnt orange.

Texas, which had started 1-2 in four of the previous five seasons, trailed 14-3 in the first quarter before shutting down freshman quarterback J.T. Daniels and scoring 34 unanswered points.

The win could be a huge boost for a Texas (2-1) program that desperately needs one after eight years without a Big 12 title and a run of bad seasons. Herman is 9-7 with the Longhorns and got this win in front of an energized school-record crowd of 103,507 that stayed to the end and kept up deafening chants of "Texas Fight!"

"There is a bit of release, a bit of a hump that we got over that we can win a big game, not just come close, but win," Herman said. "We'll evaluate where this win stands by how we respond to it, how we play the rest of the season."

Ehlinger threw touchdown strikes of 47 yards to Lil'Jordan Humphrey and 27 yards to Joshua Moore. Wheeler's scoop and score came in the third quarter after Texas blocked a 50-yard field goal attempt. The touchdown put the Longhorns up 30-14.

Daniels passed for 322 yards, but the Trojans (1-2) were held to minus-5 yards rushing. Texas turned USC one-dimensional and turned its defense loose, USC coach Clay Helton said.

"They wanted to see what J.T. could do in the passing game and forced our hand," Helton said.

THE TAKEAWAY

USC: The Trojans will have to regroup to keep their season together. Daniels was sharp in spots and led USC to a pair of first-quarter touchdowns after not finding the end zone against Stanford a week earlier. Personal fouls kept a couple of Texas scoring drives alive — linebacker Porter Gustin was ejected for targeting — and short punts led directly to two Texas scores.

Texas: The Longhorns will expect to earn some respect with this win. Texas fought back from the early deficit, the defense dominated the Trojans' running game and kept up the pressure late. Ehlinger was efficient, playing his first game this season without a turnover. USC hasn't come close to living up to its preseason expectations, but it's still a traditional power and Texas pushed the Trojans around. Texas also got program win No. 900, joining Ohio State and Michigan as the only programs to reach that number.

"This needs to be the standard," Herman said.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Trojans will fall out of the rankings after their second straight loss. Texas may need to beat No. 15 TCU next week before they can get back in as voters still might be shy about the Longhorns after their season-opening loss to Maryland and recent history.

UP NEXT:

USC returns to Pac-12 play Friday night at home against Washington State.

Texas hosts No. 15 TCU next Saturday in the Big 12 opener for both teams.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Puig Hits 3 Homers, 5 in 24 Hours]]>Sat, 15 Sep 2018 14:10:52 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/205*120/Yasiel+Puig+Hits+3+Homers.png

The Wild Horse is loose.

Yasiel Puig homered three times and had a career-high seven RBIs, giving him five homers in two games, and the Los Angeles Dodgers routed St. Louis 17-4 Saturday to move ahead of the Cardinals into sole possession of the second National League wild card.

Puig hit a solo homer in the fourth off John Gant (7-6) and three-run drives in the fifth against Mike Mayers and in the seventh versus Luke Weaver. Puig raised his season total to 21 homers with the first three-homer game of his major league career. He became the fourth Dodgers hitter since 2000 with consecutive multihomer games after Cody Bellinger, Adrian Beltre, and Shawn Green.

Bellinger hit a three-run homer in the ninth off Luke Weaver and had a career-high six RBIs. The defending NL champions have won four consecutive games and nine of their last 14. 

Rich Hill (9-5) allowed four runs, two hits and four walks in five innings, improving to 3-1 in seven starts against the Cardinals. 

St. Louis has lost four straight games for the third time this season. Gant allowed three runs, six hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings.

Manny Machado hit a two-run homer in the first inning, his 11th for Los Angeles and 35th this year overall. The Dodgers have homered in 23 consecutive games, the longest streak in the major leagues this season and one shy of the franchise record set in 1953.

Patrick Wisdom put St. Louis ahead 4-3 in the fourth with his first big league grand slam. Bellinger hit a two-run single off Tyler Webb in the fifth. 

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: RHP John Axford (broken right fibula) allowed one run an one hit in two-thirds of an inning Friday for Class A Rancho Cucamonga, which completed a three-game sweep of Visalia to win the California League title. LHP Tony Cingrani (left shoulder strain) pitched a scoreless inning for the Quakes. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said both will be activated from the DL on Monday.

UP NEXT

RHP Adam Wainwright (1-3, 4.70) starts for St. Louis in the Sunday night finale of the four-game series, and RHP Ross Stripling (8-3, 2.61) opens for the Dodgers.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Puig Hits a Pair and Buehler Dazzles as Dodgers Beat Cards]]>Fri, 14 Sep 2018 20:59:09 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/211*120/Buehler+Dominates+Cards.png

Rookie Walker Buehler allowed two hits in eight innings, Yasiel Puig homered twice and the Los Angeles Dodgers drew even with the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL wild-card race with a 3-0 victory on Friday night. 

Buehler (7-5) pitched beyond the seventh inning for the first time and earned his first victory since Aug. 17. He retired the first 13 batters before Paul DeJong singled to left field. Harrison Bader singled later in the fifth for the Cardinals' only other hit.

"For the most part pretty solid," said a modest Buehler of his start and the moment overall. "It’s a big game."

Buehler struck out nine and walked two. In two career starts against St. Louis, he has not allowed a run and has 18 strikeouts in 15 innings.

"This was probably the best pitching performance of the year," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts of Buehler. "Obviously with whats at stake right now, he wanted this moment...just domination. He did what he wanted to do tonight. It was really fun to see him rise to this occasion." 

The Dodgers and Cardinals are tied for the second NL wild-card position, four games behind Milwaukee for the top spot. Los Angeles entered 1½ games behind first-place Colorado in the NL West.

Puig homered in the second off Jack Flaherty (8-7) and connected again in the ninth off Tyler Webb. It was his second multi-homer game of the season.

In the seventh, Cody Bellinger scored on a passed ball by Yadier Molina. 

Kenley Jansen hit Yairo Munoz with a pitch to open the ninth but retired the next three batters to finish the two-hitter, earning his 35th save in 39 opportunities. 

Flaherty worked six innings, allowing one run on four hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. He has 168 strikeouts this season, the fourth-best total for a rookie in franchise history. 

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: Relievers John Axford and Tony Cingrani were scheduled to pitch in the California Championship Series for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga on Friday night. "They're stacking the deck, trying to help them make their playoff push," manager Dave Roberts joked. "They're supposed to go an inning each. We'll see how they come out of it. Our hope is to get these guys back." Axford could return to the majors after one appearance, while Cingrani (shoulder) would likely need more rehab work.

CARDINALS: IF Jedd Gyorko is likely to return to the starting lineup tomorrow, manager Mike Shildt said. He drew a pinch-hit walk in the 8th inning and was replaced by pinch-runner Adolis Garcia. 

UP NEXT:

The Cardinals send right-hander John Gant (7-5, 3.16 ERA) to the mound Saturday afternoon to make his third career appearance and first start against Los Angeles. Veteran lefty Rich Hill (8-5, 3.88) starts for the Dodgers.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kershaw Does it All as Dodgers Defeat Cardinals]]>Fri, 14 Sep 2018 10:20:38 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/206*120/Kershaw+Helps+Dodgers+Beat+Cards.png

Manny Machado homered and drove in three runs to back Clayton Kershaw, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 9-7 Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series between playoff contenders.

The Dodgers snapped a five-game losing streak against the Cardinals and moved to within one game of St. Louis for the final NL wild-card spot. The Cardinals, who went 22-6 in August, lost their second straight game and fell to 5-7 in September.

Kershaw (8-5), pitching at Busch Stadium for the first time since taking the loss in Game 4 of the 2014 NL division series, struck out eight in six innings, allowing four runs — three earned — on eight hits and two walks. 

David Freese tripled on a 14-pitch at-bat against Austin Gomber to score Chris Taylor and Machado in the first. Matt Kemp followed with a single to score Freese.

Kershaw's RBI single started a four-run fourth and drove Gomber (5-1) from the game. Taylor followed with an RBI double, and Justin Turner and Machado had sacrifice flies as the Dodgers went ahead 8-1. 

Machado went 3 for 4, and his solo homer in the seventh traveled 417 feet to center. 

It was Gomber's first loss in the majors. The rookie left-hander went three-plus innings and gave up a career-high seven runs on nine hits. 

Cardinals reliever Tyson Ross hit his second career home run in the fifth, sparking a three-run rally. He became the fourth Cardinals pitcher to homer this season, the most the team has had since 1966.

Matt Carpenter had a pair of singles and scored twice. Marcell Ozuna had two hits, an RBI and scored a run.

The Cardinals scored twice and brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth. Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen needed 29 pitches to finish the game in a non-save situation.

FAN-TASTIC

The attendance was announced at 40,997, putting the Cardinals over the 3 million mark for the 15 straight season and 22nd overall. 

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: RHP Ross Stripling will move back into the rotation for Sunday's game, moving LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu back to Monday and LHP Alex Wood to the bullpen.

Cardinals: C Yadier Molina (left hamstring tightness) returned to the starting lineup after missing six games. He went 0 for 1 with a walk before leaving the game after the fourth inning with St. Louis trailing by seven. "He feels like he can catch without any issue, and clearly he'll be a little compromised on the bases," manager Mike Shildt said. "It's something that we'll sacrifice him scoring maybe a run, of course clearly we might pinch-run for him late in the game if it's applicable."

UP NEXT

The Cardinals send RHP Jack Flaherty (8-6, 2.92 ERA) to the mound Friday night. The Dodgers will counter with RHP Walker Buehler (6-5, 3.09) in a rematch of a duel between the rookies in a 3-1 Cardinals win at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 22. Flaherty struck out 10 in that game, giving up one hit (a solo homer by Joc Pederson) in six innings, while Buehler allowed three hits and struck out nine over seven scoreless innings.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Salvage Season Series With 8-1 Win in Cincinnati]]>Wed, 12 Sep 2018 13:15:07 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/210*120/Grandal+Double.png

Yasmani Grandal and Justin Turner drove in three runs each, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat Cincinnati 8-1 Wednesday to avoid a season sweep by the last-place Reds.

Joc Pederson homered for the Dodgers, and Grandal had three hits. 

Los Angeles began the day 1½ games behind NL West-leading Colorado and three games back of St. Louis for the second NL wild card. The Dodgers had been 0-6 against the Reds and were on the verge of being swept by Cincinnati in a season for the first time.

"These guys had our number all year," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. "Credit to those guys, they play hard. Just to get out of here with a win, where we were at, is a good thing."

Cincinnati's Scooter Gennett went 1 for 4, keeping his league-leading batting average at .321. 

Left-hander Caleb Ferguson (6-2), the third of seven Dodgers pitchers, struck out three in the fifth.

Anthony DeSclafani (7-5) allowed six runs — five earned — five hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings. He failed to last five innings for the third straight start.

Ross Stripling started for the Dodgers in a bullpen game and allowed one run on three hits with one walk and four strikeouts in three and 1/3 innings.

"Definitely a little rusty," Stripling said of his first start since Aug. 9. "I gave up a homer and I was able to settle in after that. I've been away for so long and haven't made a start for a while. When it goes like that you just have to bear down and get guys out. I was able to limit the damage."

Jose Peraza put Cincinnati ahead with his first inning homer, but Pederson tied it 1-1 with a leadoff drive in the fourth, his second two games and 21st this season. 

Grandal hit a go-ahead double later in the inning, a ball caught by a young fan with a glove reaching over the wall with the ball still in play. Max Muncy scored from first and Reds manager Jim Riggleman argued unsuccessfully he should have been stopped at third, but the umpires' decision was upheld in a video review.

"Obviously we're going into a series with St. Louis that’s going to be very important for us," said Grandal. "So we wanted to end this series on a good note."

Turner hit a two-run single in a four-run fifth. 

UP NEXT

Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (7-5) is to make his first start of the season against St. Louis on Thursday. He is 6-5 with a 2.99 ERA in 16 starts against the Cardinals.

Reds: RHP Matt Harvey (7-8) limited the Cubs to one run and five hits in 5 1/3 innings of a 10-inning Cincinnati loss on Aug. 24.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[ Dodgers Drop to 0-6 Against Reds with 3-1 Loss to Cincinnati]]>Tue, 11 Sep 2018 18:52:25 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/210*120/Dodgers+Lose+on+9-11.png

Former Dodgers prospects Brandon Dixon and Scott Schebler homered, and Los Angeles stumbled for the second straight night in a 3-1 loss to the lowly Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.

Defending NL champion Los Angeles is 0-6 against Cincinnati this season. After losing Monday's series opener 10-6 to the last-place Reds, the Dodgers began the day 1½ games behind NL West-leading Colorado and two games back of St. Louis for the second NL wild card.

"Castillo was in control the whole game," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts. "We really didn’t threaten until the seventh. We really didn't put anything together tonight."

Dixon homered in the second inning and Schebler in the third for a 2-0 lead against Hyun-Jin Ryu (4-3). Jose Peraza, another former Los Angeles prospect, had two hits.

Dixon, Peraza and Schebler all were acquired by the Reds from Los Angeles as part of the December 2015 three-team trade that sent Todd Frazier from Cincinnati to the Chicago White Sox.

Scooter Gennett had two hits, including a run-scoring single in the fifth inning, and lifted his league-leading average to .321. Gennett is hitting .727 (16 for 22) against the Dodgers this season.

Luis Castillo (9-12) allowed one run and four hits in 6 1/3 innings with nine strikeouts. He retired 15 straight batters before Joc Pederson's one-out homer in the sixth.

"He had really good stuff today," Pederson said of Castillo. "He has a plus fastball and a plus change up. Baseball is a grind. It's up and down. We have to do a better job and we need to put together some wins right now down the stretch."

Raisel Iglesias pitched a hitless ninth for his 26th save in 30 chances, completing a five-hitter.

Dixon, playing in place of a resting Joey Votto, sent a cutter into the upper deck for his fifth home run this season and Schebler hit his 16th home run and third in five games, The drive sailed over the Reds bullpen down the right-field line and clanged off an advertising sign.

Ryu (4-3) gave up eight hits in five innings.

"There were some mistakes here and there," Ryu said of his outing overall. "The two homers I gave up, but the fact of the matter is I gave up the go-ahead runs to them. It wasn't the best game of my life."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: 3B Justin Turner didn't start after reaching base in 33 of 34 games since coming off the disabled list on Aug. 2 but pinch hit. "He's showing signs of fatigue," manager Dave Roberts said. "He's had a high workload."

UP NEXT

Dodgers: RHP Ross Stripling (8-3) starts Wednesday after ace Clayton Kershaw was pushed back to Thursday. Stripling has a 6.14 ERA in 7 1/3 innings in two career appearances against the Reds

Reds: RHP Anthony DeSclafani (7-4) is 1-3 with a 3.12 ERA in four starts against Los Angeles, the last on Aug. 21, 2016.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The Ending to the Dodgers Season has yet to be Written]]>Tue, 11 Sep 2018 13:07:25 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/210*120/KershawUnhappy.png

The 2018 Los Angeles Dodgers are an interesting case study.

After reaching Game 7 of the 2017 World Series, the Dodgers were a few runs and a few outs away from securing their first championship in nearly 30 years.

As they entered the spring of 2018, the hype had never been greater, the hopes and never been higher, and the goals had never been more attainable.

Then the season began, and the Dodgers were a disaster for the first six weeks before All-Star Justin Turner returned from the disabled list and the Dodgers finally found their mojo.

Flash forward to today, and the Dodgers have been in a merry-go-round for first place in the National League West with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies as summer comes to an end.

Unlike last season in which the team won a franchise record 104 games and clinched the division by Sept. 22nd, this season has been a grind. Nothing has come easy, and frankly, nothing has gone their way.

Inconsistency seems to be the biggest culprit this year, but overall it's been a bit of a disappointment to date for a team that started the season as the betting favorite to win the NL Pennant and return to the Fall Classic. 

Now, with just 22 games left in the season, they're fighting for their lives just to reach the postseason.

"We're treating every game like its a playoff game," many players in the clubhouse have told me throughout September, a far cry from the team that went 1-16 in September last season, but were so far in front by that point it didn't matter.

Monday's loss to the Cincinnati Reds was a perfect microcosm of their season thus far. After a four-run first inning that saw some sloppy defense and poor pitching, the Dodgers found themselves behind 4-0 before they could even say "Holy Great America Ballpark, Batman!"

Similarly, the Dodgers started the season in a slump, and by May 16, they found themselves in the cellar of the NL West, with a record of 16-26, 10 games below .500. Ironically, they had just come off a four-game sweep at home of the last place Cincinnati Reds.

Most people buried the Dodgers at that point and read them their rite of passage.

However, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and the team themselves never gave up, they never stopped fighting, and they scratched and clawed their way back into the race.

On Monday, Chris Taylor hit a two-run homer in the top of the fourth inning and suddenly the Dodgers had cut a four-run deficit in half, and trailed the Reds by a score of 5-3. It seemed like things had finally turned around and Los Angeles was ready for another miraculous comeback as they did time and time again in 2017.

By the All-Star Break in July, the Dodgers had also made a comeback in the division standings, going from 10 games below .500 to 10 games over .500, owning the best win percentage in MLB history at the All-Star Break for a team that fell 10 games below the "50-50" line at any point in the first half of the season.

Nonetheless, just as it appeared the Dodgers were ready to break out both after the All-Star Break and during the game on Monday, inconsistency reared its ugly head yet again.

With one out in the bottom of the fourth inning, Taylor had appeared to throw out Billy Hamilton at the plate. The throw beat the runner by a mile, and catcher Yasmani Grandal easily applied the tag before Hamilton touched the plate. 

However, as has happened countless times this season, the ball fell out of Grandal's glove on the tag and Hamilton was safe at the plate. What should have been the second out of the inning, instead scored a run, allowed a runner to move into scoring position, and the team still had only one out recorded for their struggling starter Alex Wood.

Naturally, Wood would strike out the next batter in Joey Votto, but instead of the third out of the inning and the score still 5-3, another run scored on an RBI single by Scooter Gennett and the Dodgers once again trailed by four runs.

On August 7, the Dodgers found themselves in first place in the National League west after a 4-2 victory over the red-hot Oakland Athletics. Things were finally looking up and the Dodgers were ready to runaway with the division, but like Grandal dropping the ball on the tag, the season also hinged on a bit of some bad luck. 

After relief pitcher Pedro Baez blew a lead the following day, the Dodgers traveled to Denver, Colorado that evening where All-Star closer Kenley Jansen awoke with an irregular heartbeat and was rushed to the hospital. Meanwhile, another All-Star, pitcher Ross Stripling woke up on the wrong side of the bed as he injured his lower back on a bad mattress in the Mile High City.

Both players went on the disabled list, and over the course of the next seven consecutive games, the Dodgers bullpen surrendered leads or losses (in tie games) every night as the Dodgers once again dropped five games out of first place.

Flashback to Monday in Cincinnati, and the Dodgers were not ready to give up on the game just yet. After an RBI single by Max Muncy, cut the lead to 10-6, Yasiel Puig came to the plate with the bases loaded and a chance to tie the game in the seventh inning. 

After narrowly missing a bases-clearing double by inches, Puig hit a rocket to third base. But, much like their luck during the season itself, the ball was hit right at Eugenio Suarez who caught the line drive and threw to second for the inning-ending double play.

Similarly, after taking three of four from the Diamondbacks to move back into first place at the start of September, the Dodgers interim closer Kenta Maeda blew a tie game with the New York Mets and the Dodgers dropped a series to a team they should beat (and have beat) easily.

The unlucky streak continued a day later when it was announced that Jansen was advised by Doctors not to travel to Colorado because of his heart. Line drive caught. Double play recorded. Rally killed.

The ending of the Dodgers 2018 season is still unwritten, and with 22 games left and six of them against the teams their bunched together with, Los Angeles can still achieve all their goals they set back in spring training.

However, in order to accomplish greatness and be the best in baseball, you need to beat the teams you're supposed to beat and flex your dominance over the minnows in the league.

Losing series to the Mets and Reds is not how you accomplish those things. Tomorrow is a new day, and I'm sure the Dodgers will fight until the final day of the season, but right now their destiny is in their own hands.



Photo Credit: Justin Casterline/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Spoil Gruden's Return With 33-13 Win Over Raiders]]>Tue, 11 Sep 2018 00:21:21 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/207*120/John_Kelly_Rams.png

Once Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams offense got started after sitting out the entire preseason, they couldn't be stopped.

Goff threw two touchdown passes, newcomer Marcus Peters returned an interception 50 yards for a touchdown and the Rams used a dominant second half to spoil coach Jon Gruden's much-anticipated return to the Oakland sideline by beating the Raiders 33-13 on Monday night.

"There was a little bit of feeling it out, seeing what they're going to do, seeing what their scheme is," Goff said. "I thought our defense did a great job of responding as well as our offense. I still don't think we played up to our standards in the first half. Think the second half, we came out and we did."

Goff and the rest of the offensive starters for the Rams (1-0) didn't play at all in the preseason, and many of the top defensive players also got little time on the field in the exhibition games.

That might have contributed to the shaky start. The Raiders (0-1) moved the ball relatively easily and the Rams struggled to finish drives. But Los Angeles flipped the script in the second half, outscoring Oakland 23-0 and showing why this team is considered one of the favorites in the NFC after last year's breakthrough season that ended with a division title.

"I think for us to be able to go through a little bit of adversity and have to come back from behind going into the half, that was a good test of your resolve as a football team," coach Sean McVay said. "It was certainly a good job by those guys and I thought the offense responded."

Gruden had his first game as coach of the Raiders (0-1) since the end of the 2001 season. He was traded to Tampa Bay after that season and beat the Raiders in the Super Bowl the following year. He has been announcing for ESPN for the past nine seasons before Oakland owner Mark Davis finally lured him back to the delight of Raiders fans.

But there were only boos by the end of the night after Peters iced the game with his touchdown return on Derek Carr's third interception of the game.

"It was a tale of two halves," Gruden said. "Obviously we did not take care of the ball and that was a critical part of that football game."

Peters punctuated that with a celebratory dive into the end zone reminiscent of his close friend Marshawn Lynch.

"I did the Beast Mode," Peters said. "That's what I did."

Gruden's second stint started well with the Raiders taking the opening kick and driving 75 yards for a touchdown on a 10-yard run by Lynch. The Rams had Lynch stood up at the 3, but he powered his way into the end zone with help from a push by his offensive linemen.

Oakland managed just six points the rest of the way against a defense fortified by the offseason additions of former All-Pros Peters, Aqib Talib and Ndamukong Suh.

Carr threw an interception in the end zone to John Johnson in the second quarter and another in the fourth when he tried to pull back a pass at the last minute only to have the ball slip out and float right to linebacker Cory Littleton.

"It was one of the dumbest plays you could have," Carr said. "I knew what I should have done as soon as that play was over."

The Rams matched the early score when Todd Gurley took a flip from Goff and raced 19 yards to the end zone . They took control in the second half.

Los Angeles tied it at 13 on a field goal by Greg Zuerlein on the opening drive of the third quarter and then took the lead for good on a 58-yard, four-play drive that featured two passes downfield to another offseason addition, Brandin Cooks, and then the 8-yard TD to Cooper Kupp.

MISSING MACK

The Raiders barely touched Goff all night just over a week after trading star pass rusher Khalil Mack to Chicago for a package that included two first-round picks. Bruce Irvin had the only sack when Goff held the ball too long and there were few other pressures.

TOUGH STARTS

Gruden's defeat dropped the league's new head coaches to 0-7 in Week 1.

FLAG DAY

The Raiders once again had issues with penalties, committing 10 for 145 yards in the first half alone thanks to two long pass interference calls against Rashaan Melvin (37 yards) and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (50). That's more yards in penalties than they had in any game during Gruden's first four-year stint and the most in the first half for any team since at least 2000. The Raiders had one penalty for 10 yards in the second half.

INJURIES

Raiders long snapper Andrew DePaola injured his knee in the first quarter and didn't return. TE Lee Smith filled in and provided accurate snaps on two field goals. He had a high snap on a punt but Johnny Townsend leaped and brought it down with no issues. It was a far cry from the 2012 season opener when Jon Condo got hurt for Oakland and Travis Goethel came in and botched three snaps in a loss to the Chargers.

"It was stressful, I can't even lie to you guys," Smith said. "I'm just glad they all got back there."

Rams returner Pharoh Cooper left in the second half with an ankle injury.

ANTHEM

Lynch sat once again during the national anthem. Lynch also sat for the anthem all of last season but never gave a reason for his decision.

UP NEXT

Rams: Host Arizona on Sunday.

Raiders: Visit Denver on Sunday.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Lose Fifth Straight to Reds in Devastating Loss in Cincinnati ]]>Mon, 10 Sep 2018 19:51:51 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/198*120/Taylor+Homers+in+Dodgers+Loss.png

Scooter Gennett had four hits and three RBIs, Joey Votto hit a two-run double on his birthday and the Cincinnati Reds improved to 5-0 against the Los Angeles Dodgers this season with a 10-6 victory Monday night.

Eugenio Suarez added a solo home run for the last-place Reds, and Jose Peraza had two hits and scored three runs. That helped Cincinnati overcome Chris Taylor's two-run homer and Yasmani Grandal's solo shot.

Los Angeles had just taken two of three in a weekend series at Coors Field that left the Dodgers a half-game behind first-place Colorado in the NL West. The Rockies played later Monday night against visiting Arizona. 

Jared Hughes (4-3) got Yasiel Puig to line into a bases-loaded double play to end the seventh after an 11-pitch at-bat and added a perfect eighth to get the win.

Gennett, second in the NL in hitting going into the game, went 4 for 5 to boost his batting average to .320 with his sixth multihit game in his last nine appearances. Milwaukee outfielder Christian Yelich began the night leading the league at .316. 

Votto, celebrating his 35th birthday, just missed hitting a three-run homer in Cincinnati's four-run first inning, settling for a two-run double with a drive that bounced off the yellow padding along the top of the right-field wall and stayed in play. 

Alex Wood (8-7) was knocked around in his shortest outing in 14 starts since lasting a season-low two innings on June 3 at Colorado. The Reds piled up eight hits and seven runs, six earned, with two walks and six strikeouts. The seven runs allowed matched Wood's season high, set on April 11 in the third of his team-high 27 starts.

Taylor hit his second homer in three games off left-hander Cody Reed, who overcame a 30-pitch first inning to last four, giving up five hits and three runs with three walks and five strikeouts. Reed struck out Enrique Hernandez to leave the bases loaded in the first.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: LHP Julio Urias was activated from the disabled list after missing more than a year following left shoulder surgery in June 2017.

Reds: LHP Amir Garrett was activated off the DL. Garrett was out since Aug. 29 with a bruised left foot. 

UP NEXT

Dodgers: LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (4-2), the scheduled starter Tuesday at Cincinnati, allowed 10 hits and five runs — one earned — in six innings of Los Angeles's 7-3 loss to the Mets last on Wednesday.

Reds: RHP Luis Castillo (8-12) was tagged for a career-high three homers in his last start Thursday against San Diego.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Justin Casterline/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sigi Schmid Steps Down As Coach Of LA Galaxy]]>Mon, 10 Sep 2018 13:22:20 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/la-galaxy-comunicaciones-guatemala-futbol1.jpg

Sigi Schmid, the winningest coach in Major League Soccer history who led the LA Galaxy to the first of five MLS Cup titles, has stepped down as coach of the Galaxy.

The team said Schmid's resignation was effective immediately Monday. Dominic Kinnear was named the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.

Schmid steps away from coaching with 266 wins in the regular season and the postseason combined. He won MLS Cup titles with the Galaxy in 2002 and the Columbus Crew in 2008. Schmid also coached the Seattle Sounders.

He was in his second stint with the Galaxy, having returned after Curt Onalfo was fired last summer.

"After careful consideration, I have decided to step away from coaching at this time, but would like to remain in the game," Schmid said in a statement released by the team. "With six games remaining as the club fights for a playoff spot, I understand the timing of this decision is unfortunate. However, I believe this group can come together and fight for a spot this season under Dom's guidance."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California

]]>
<![CDATA[Melvin Gordon FaceTimes Fred Roggin After Chargers Loss]]>Sun, 09 Sep 2018 23:32:54 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/MELVIN_GORDON_FACETIME_0909_1200x675_1316511811703.jpg

After the Chargers dropped their season opener to the Chiefs, running back Melvin Gordon jumped on FaceTime to talk about the game, his career day and what it feels like after being pushed, shoved and tackled to the turf for an entire game. Originally aired on The Challenge, September 9, 2018.]]>
<![CDATA[Rams, Raiders Start Season on Monday Night ]]>Sun, 09 Sep 2018 22:48:45 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/185*120/GettyImages-630503096.jpg

The Los Angeles Rams and Oakland Raiders spent most of the lead-up to the season in the same predicament, with their Defensive Players of the Year holding out while seeking new contracts.

When the teams open the season against each other Monday night in Oakland, that will have changed. The Rams will have last year's winner of the league's top defensive award on the field anchoring the middle in Aaron Donald. The Raiders will be without 2016 winner Khalil Mack, who was traded to Chicago.

The Raiders dealt Mack for a package including two first-round draft picks a day after Donald signed a six-year, $135 million deal, with $87 million guaranteed. Oakland was unwilling to pay that price for Mack, forcing defensive coordinator Paul Guenther to shelve plans he made after getting hired on how to use Mack, and proceed the way he approached training camp with the rest of the overhauled defense.

"I think I saw the guy in a restaurant in March one time," Guenther said. "My kids pointed it out to me, 'Hey, its Khalil Mack. He's got the new Jordans on.' You know, I wouldn't know. With as many new players we brought in, new coaching staff we just kind of got use to him not being here and operating with what we got, so we are going to move along that way."

The Raiders spent much of the offseason trying to improve their pass rush by moving Bruce Irvin to a full-time defensive end position, and drafting P.J. Hall, Arden Key and Maurice Hurst. That group helped generate 12 sacks in the preseason and will have plenty of pressure starting Monday night to fill Mack's void.

"It's an opportunity for me and the rest of the guys on the D-line," Key said. "That's just another opportunity. Khalil Mack is gone. We can't dwell on it. We have to move forward and somebody has to step up in his spot."

The Rams said they weren't exactly upset to see Mack traded, considering he has averaged more than 12 sacks and 60 quarterback pressures over the last three seasons. But they noted they still have to face Mack in Week 14 and that the Raiders' other rushers present enough of a challenge this week.

"He's a great player, and he's not going to be on the team we're playing this week, but they've got plenty of good players, and they've got a great defense and a great team that we're preparing for," quarterback Jared Goff said. "We're not thinking very much about Khalil right now."

The Raiders have plenty to worry about on Los Angeles' defense now that Donald is back to team with three former All-Pros added this offseason: defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib.

The new-look lineup gives coordinator Wade Phillips one of the game's best pair of cornerbacks in Peters and Talib, as well as interior rushers in Donald and Suh.

The Raiders have a good idea what to expect with Peters and Talib having spent the past few years in the AFC West; Oakland playing against Suh in Miami last year; and Phillips serving as defensive coordinator in Denver in 2015-16 when he faced the Raiders four times overall.

"They're all great players," quarterback Derek Carr said. "They have a great team, great defense. Great challenge they present us. Then (defensive coordinator) coach Phillips calling it. I've gone against him a number of times. He does his stuff, man, and he's really good at it. It's going to be a good challenge for us. I can sit here and talk good things about all those guys. They know how I feel about them, they're great players."

The Rams have spent the past week incorporating Donald into the mix after he held out all offseason and training camp. They have experience doing it from last year, when he didn't report until one day before the season opener and missed the first game.

He's had more than a week of practice and should be ready for the opener for what could be the most star-packed defense in the league.

"We haven't played in any games or any meaningful snaps, so we're still figuring out how to come together as a defense," coach Sean McVay said. "You feel good about those two players and some of the other guys that will play with them up front. It looks good right now, but it's about playing together as a unit and doing a great job against what we know is going to be an excellent challenge with a great offense on Monday night."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[New Year, Same Result: Chiefs Beat Chargers]]>Sun, 09 Sep 2018 16:13:09 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/209*120/Tyreek+Hill+Chargers+Carson.JPG

The 2018 season started like the 2017 season started for the Chargers: really bad special teams play hurt them.

Of course, pretty much everything hurt them in a 38-28 loss to the division rival Kansas City Chiefs in front of a "sellout" crowd of 25,351 at StubHub Center in Carson (which, yes, featured a majority of Chiefs fans).

Tyreek Hill took a punt back 91 yards for a touchdown less than two minutes into the game to put Kansas City up 7-0. Hill chased that on their next possession with a 58-yard touchdown reception, the first of K.C. quarterback Patrick Mahomes' career, to make it a 14-3 game.

The Chargers worked their way back and should have taken the lead by halftime but their pass catchers were neglecting to catch passes. Wide receiver Tyrell Williams lost his man and was drifting all alone in the end zone but he had the ball bounce right off his hands. Rivers overcame that mistake by finishing the drive with a 13-yard TD pass to running back Austin Ekeler.

Head coach Anthony Lynn opted to go for two and a tie game but Rivers' pass was knocked away from Mike Williams to it was a 14-13 KC lead.

The Chiefs upped it to 17-12 with a field goal and then another drop was more dismaying. Travis Benjamin ran by everyone and Rivers dropped a rainbow right into his lap 50 yards downfield but Benjamin dropped it. Even if a defender had caught him the Chargers would have been in field goal range. Instead the Chiefs took a 17-12 lead to the half and extended it immediately.

Mahomes led another TD drive that ended with a 1-yard TD run by De'Anthony Thomas who came out of the slot and caught a small toss from Mahomes that technically went forward so it counted as a TD reception. Thomas was able to take his time crossing the goal line because the Chargers defense was completely fooled by the play.

The Bolts had a promising drive going but Rivers tried to squeeze a ball to Keenan Allen at the 10-yard-line and safety Ron Parker jumped in front of him for an interception. Mahomes made them pay for the mistake with an 86-yard TD drive, capping it with a beautifully-placed 36-yard scoring pass to fullback Anthony Sherman that gave Kansas City a 31-12 advantage.

The final nail in the proverbial coffin came on another special teams gaffe. Rookie punt returner J.J. Jones misjudged a punt, muffed it, scooped it up and tried to make a play, got hit, fumbled, and the Chiefs had it at the two yard line. Mahomes did another little toss, this time to Hill, for the QB's 4th TD pass of the day and a 38-20 lead.

Tyrell Williams caught a 4-yard TD pass to cut the lead to 38-28.

The Chargers have now lost nine straight games to the Chiefs. They travel to Buffalo next week while Kansas City plays another road game, this time on the opposite coast against the Steelers in Pittsburgh.

]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Take Weekend Series With Rockies in Battle for First Place in NL West]]>Sun, 09 Sep 2018 16:22:40 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/209*120/Dodgers+Take+Series+From+Rocies.png

Justin Turner hit a two-run homer as part of a four-hit day and the Los Angeles Dodgers climbed closer to the first-place Colorado Rockies in the NL West with a 9-6 win Sunday.

The Dodgers captured two of three from the Rockies in a pivotal series and moved within a half-game for the division lead. Colorado has never won the NL West crown.

Enrique Hernandez homered and Chris Taylor added a two-run double as the Dodgers pounded out 14 hits on an afternoon when the Rockies' scoreboard temporarily malfunctioned.

Rich Hill (8-5) allowed four runs over five innings to pick up his first career win against the Rockies. He gave up a homer to Charlie Blackmon on his fifth pitch of the game, but settled into a groove.

Kenta Maeda gave up a single to start the ninth before turning it over to Scott Alexander. The lefty got the Rockies 1-2-3 for his third save.

Alexander was filling in for All-Star closer Kenley Jansen, who didn't make the trip to the Mile High City after a team cardiologist recommended he not pitch at altitude after suffering an irregular heartbeat episode in Denver last month.

Turner went 4 for 5 with an intentional walk as he keeps wearing out Rockies pitching. He had a single in the first, double in the fourth, a two-run homer in the sixth that gave the Dodgers an 8-2 lead, and another double in the eighth. He's hitting .385 at Coors Field this season.

Blackmon finished with two solo homers, including one in the eighth that made it 8-6, and Nolan Arenado broke out of a slump with a two-run shot in the sixth. It was Arenado's first homer since Aug. 24.

Lefty Tyler Anderson (6-8) lasted only 2 2/3 innings in allowing four runs, three earned. He's 0-5 with a 6.75 ERA since his last win on July 4.

A few Rockies miscues led to some early Dodgers runs: Catcher Chris Iannetta dropped the ball while trying to tag Manny Machado at home in the first and left fielder Matt Holliday fumbled a Turner liner for an error in the second.

Colorado also turned in several big plays, including a diving stop by Nolan Arenado and throw to first from his knee in the third.

JANSEN UPDATE

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he checked in with Jansen and he's "doing well." He will join the team in Cincinnati.

Told that Jansen posted a workout video on Instagram , Roberts smiled.

"I guess I don't need to talk to a player, just go on social media these days," Roberts cracked.

DEBUT

Rockies RHP DJ Johnson made his major league debut in the fifth. He struck out two, including Austin Barnes and had the ball tossed into the dugout.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: LHP Alex Wood (8-6, 3.37 ERA) gets the start to open a three-game series Monday in Cincinnati. The Reds will throw LHP Cody Reed (0-2, 4.81).

Rockies: A four-game series against Arizona — another team right on the Rockies' heels. RHP German Marquez (11-9, 4.05) starts Monday for Colorado, while the Diamondbacks throw RHP Zack Godley (14-8, 4.51).

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Joe Mahoney/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[No. 10 Stanford Suffocates No. 17 USC 17-3]]>Sat, 08 Sep 2018 21:35:45 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/USC-loses-to-Stanford.jpg

Bryce Love ran for 136 yards and a touchdown and No. 10 Stanford made talented quarterback JT Daniels look like a freshman in a 17-3 victory over No. 17 Southern California on Saturday night.

The Cardinal (2-0, 1-0 Pac-12) got an early touchdown run by Love and then tormented Daniels much of the night, holding USC to its fewest points since being shut out by Washington in 1997.

"We have a saying around here that 'there's a party in the backfield,'" coach David Shaw said. "I don't think we were that team last year. I challenged them to be that team this year. It's not just one guy getting there, it's groups of guys getting there."

Stanford took control of the game late in the second quarter with a strip sack on fourth down against Daniels that set up K.J. Costello's 9-yard touchdown pass to Colby Parkinson that gave Stanford a 14-0 lead.

Daniels made an impressive debut last week for the Trojans (1-1, 0-1) when he threw for 282 yards and a touchdown against UNLV. But duplicating that against Stanford proved far more difficult with the Cardinal using blitzes to pressure and confuse Daniels at times.

Daniels went 16 for 34 for 215 yards with interceptions on his final two passes of the night. He was forced to leave the game for one possession in the first half after a hard hit by Joey Alfieri.

"Every experience is a learning experience; some are good and some are not-so-good," USC coach Clay Helton said. "Our QB is going to learn from every rep he gets. He'll get better and the staff will learn how to work around with him. He's smart and talented."

It was another big play by Alfieri that proved big late in the first half. Helton went for it on fourth-and-2 from the Cardinal 40, but Alfieri came free on a blitz and knocked the ball loose for Bobby Okereke to recover at the Stanford 49

"We called a stunt and I looped around and just came free," Alfieri said. "Guys were eating up blocks. I was lucky enough to come free. Don't miss the easy layup, like the coaches always say."

The Cardinal drove down field to score on Costello's TD pass with 34 seconds left in the half.

Love provided most of the rest of the offense after getting held to 29 yards on 18 carries last week against San Diego State. His 28-yard run sparked the opening drive that ended with his 6-yard score. He added a 59-yard run in the third quarter to set up a field goal.

THE TAKEAWAY

USC: Daniels was sacked four times and pressured many more but still showed some promise at times. He connected on a well-thrown 45-yard deep pass to Michael Pittman to set up a field goal. He nearly had a TD on that drive but Amon-Ra St. Brown couldn't come down inbounds with a pass in the end zone. Daniels also made an impressive escape on a near sack, turning it into 8-yard gain to convert a third down. But USC ended up with just three points on six drives that reached at least the Stanford 40.

Stanford: Costello showed he can succeed, even in situations when the defense knows a pass is coming. He converted a long third down to Kaden Smith on the opening drive to help set up a touchdown. He then found Smith for 25 yards on third-and-23 in the third quarter to set up a field goal. He finished 6 for 8 for 76 yards on third down.

BLOWN CHANCES

The Trojans had plenty of chances to score but couldn't deliver and ended up with their fewest points against Stanford since getting shutout in 1941. They drove to at least the Cardinal 40 six times and ended up with just one field goal.

"We'd get down there and we'd miss some opportunities," Helton said. "It was a variety of things. Bottom line we have to push it in."

UP NEXT

USC: Visits Texas on Saturday.

Stanford: Host UC Davis on Saturday.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mike Trout Homers Twice, Angels Beat White Sox 12-3]]>Sat, 08 Sep 2018 21:06:14 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Mike-Trout-Angels-White-Sox-9-8-18.jpg

Mike Trout homered twice and drove in five runs, and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Chicago White Sox 12-3 on Saturday night.

Trout's 5-for-5 performance matched his career high for hits in a game and raised his batting average to .314. David Fletcher, Shohei Ohtani and Andrelton Simmons had two hits each for the Angels, who have won four of five.

Ohtani hit a bases-clearing triple and scored on one of Thyago Vieira's three wild pitches in a six-run ninth inning.

Yolmer Sanchez and Kevan Smith each had two hits for the White Sox, who lost their fourth straight.

Trout hit a full-count, two-run homer to center field with one out in the first inning. Justin Upton added an RBI single to make it 3-0.

Trout smacked another full-count homer off White Sox starter James Shields — a three-run shot for his 33rd home run of the season — in the third, extending the lead to 6-1. He has 14 career multi-home run games and four this season. His most recent was July 25, against the White Sox.

Trout last had five hits May 26 at the Yankees, and drove in five RBIs in a game Sept. 17, 2015, against Minnesota.

Five of Trout's eight career hits against Shields have been home runs. In his other at-bats, Trout singled.

Matt Shoemaker (2-0) gave up three runs and seven hits for the Angels in his second start since coming off the disabled list and third overall start this season. He has allowed six runs in 15 2/3 innings. Shoemaker missed 134 games after his season debut due to a right forearm strain.

Four relievers combined to throw four one-hit innings.

Shields (6-16) allowed six runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings. It was his shortest outing since July 25.

Yoan Moncada and Sanchez hit back-to-back doubles in the first to pull the White Sox within two.

Smith's double in the fourth cut the lead to 6-3.

MAKING MOVES

The White Sox placed right-hander Michael Kopech on the 60-day disabled list Saturday after learning Friday he will likely need Tommy John surgery and miss next season. The team purchased the contract of right-hander Rob Scahill, who was 3-4 with a 5.64 ERA in 52 relief appearances at Triple-A Charlotte.

TRAINER'S ROOM

White Sox: 1B Jose Abreu (testicular surgery) will possibly return to the lineup Monday at Kansas City, manager Rick Renteria said. Abreu and LF Leury Garcia (strained hamstring) live batting practice Saturday. Garcia is a little further away from a return, Renteria said. .RHP Nate Jones (pronator muscle strain) looked good throwing Saturday, Renteria said. Jones will take a day or two off and possibly throw in another simulated game before being activated.

UP NEXT

LHP Andrew Heaney (8-9, 4.16 ERA) is set to start for the Angels in the series finale Sunday against the White Sox, and RHP Reynaldo López (5-9, 4.37). Heaney is 1-6 with a 5.02 ERA on the road this season, but 0-0 with a 2.31 ERA in two career starts against Chicago. Lopez has not earned a home victory since June 26.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Drop Game to Rockies in Battle for First Place in NL West]]>Sat, 08 Sep 2018 20:24:56 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/207*120/Iannetta+Homers.png

Kyle Freeland pitched six strong innings, Wade Davis worked out of a ninth-inning jam and the Colorado Rockies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2 on Saturday night to remain atop the NL West.

Chris Iannetta and Charlie Blackmon homered for Colorado, and Davis allowed a run before striking out Yasmani Grandal with a man aboard to finish his 39th save. 

Colorado moved 1 1/2 games ahead the second-place Dodgers. The Rockies are alone in first place after August for the first time since 1995 and have never won a division title. 

Chris Taylor homered for Los Angeles, which made it interesting in the ninth. Max Muncy hit an RBI double with two outs before Davis struck out Grandal looking.

Freeland (14-7) lowered his ERA to 2.91 with another strong outing against a lineup of all right-handed hitters. He allowed one run and four hits and struck out eight for his seventh consecutive quality start and 20th of the season. 

With three weeks left in the season, he has a chance to record the best ERA ever by a Rockies starter. Ubaldo Jimenez's 2.88 ERA in 2010 is the lowest in franchise history.

Iannetta gave Colorado a 1-0 lead with his 10th homer leading off the second against Walker Buehler (6-5). Ian Desmond drove in David Dahl with a single in the third and Blackmon hit a two-run shot in the fifth to make it 4-1. 

Taylor homered in the top of the fifth for Los Angeles' first run.

RESTLESS NIGHT OFF

Colorado third baseman Nolan Arenado understood why he wasn't in the starting lineup, but he wasn't happy with sitting. The All-Star and five-time Gold Glove Award winner is 5 of 39 at the plate in his last 10 games, which has dropped his average below .300. He hasn't hit a home run since Aug. 24 and has gone deep only three times since the end of July. 

Despite the prolonged power outage, he wanted to play.

"I don't make those calls," he said. "I don't want it, but there's no beating around it, I'm not playing well. That's why I'm not playing today." 

Arenado has been battling a sore right shoulder that bothers him when he throws but not his swing. Manager Bud Black said a night off might help.

"Offensively, it just doesn't feel right," he said. "His timing's off, there's some other things going on."

UP NEXT

It will be a battle of lefties in the finale of the three-game series on Sunday. The Dodgers will send Rich Hill (7-5, 3.73) to the mound and the Rockies will counter with Tyler Anderson (6-7, 4.80).

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Dustin Bradford/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Inch Closer to Rockies in NL West]]>Fri, 07 Sep 2018 22:06:46 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/217*120/Dodgers+Inch+closer+to+Colorado.png

Clayton Kershaw threw six effective innings, Kenta Maeda finished the ninth in place of All-Star closer Kenley Jansen and the Los Angeles Dodgers crept closer to the NL West-leading Colorado Rockies with a 4-2 win on Friday night.

Yasiel Puig homered and had an RBI single for the Dodgers, who climbed within a half-game of the Rockies as they began a pivotal three-game series. This is the latest into the season the Rockies have been alone in first place since 1995. 

Kershaw (7-5) baffled the Rockies even if he didn't have his best stuff. The left-hander allowed two runs and six hits as he improved to 22-7 in 39 career starts against Colorado, with a 3.21 ERA. 

Scott Alexander got two outs in the eighth and began the ninth in place of Jansen, who didn't make the trip after a team cardiologist recommended he not pitch at altitude after suffering an irregular heartbeat episode in Denver last month. Alexander gave up a long single to Chris Iannetta and struck out Charlie Blackmon before turning it over to Maeda. He fanned Nolan Arenado to end the game and earn his second save. 

Chris Rusin (2-3) took the loss for the Rockies, who had their five-game winning streak halted. They're chasing after their first division title. 

Reliever Dylan Floro threw one of the biggest pitches of the game when he struck out Trevor Story on a slider with two outs and the bases loaded in the seventh. Story hit three homers Wednesday against San Francisco, including one that went an estimated 505 feet.

A crowd of 41,547 saw a game that featured a little bit of everything, including Matt Holliday hitting his first regular season homer off Kershaw, Rockies manager Bud Black getting ejected for arguing a balk call in the fifth and, later that inning, a throwing error by Gold Glove third baseman Arenado which allowed the go-ahead run to score.

Puig followed with a two-out, run-scoring single to give the Dodgers a 4-2 lead. 

Rockies starter Jon Gray struggled to find his command and was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the fourth. He went four innings, allowed two runs, walked five and struck out four. 

Kenta Maeda affectionately known by manager Dave Roberts as the "Chairman of the closer committee," recorded the final two outs of the bottom of the ninth for his second save of the season.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: RHP Ross Stripling (lower back inflammation) was reinstated from the disabled list. He got one out in the seventh.

Rockies: LHP Mike Dunn is scheduled to have surgery on his pitching shoulder Sept. 19. He's been sidelined since early July.

NO JANSEN 

Jansen has experienced an irregular heartbeat several times while the Dodgers were in Colorado. His most recent episode happened Aug. 9 during the start of a four-game series at Coors Field. He ended up having his heart shocked back into rhythm at a Denver hospital. He was placed on the disabled list a day later and began taking blood-thinning medication.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts plans to use a bullpen-by-committee approach this weekend.

Jansen is slated to join the team in Cincinnati, the second of three stops on the Dodgers' 10-game trip. 

HOLLIDAY'S HOMER

Holliday homered off Kershaw during Game 2 of the Division Series on Oct. 8, 2009, while he was with St. Louis. 

UP NEXT

Dodgers rookie RHP Walker Buehler (6-2, 2.92) gets another taste of Coors Field on Saturday. He threw seven scoreless innings on Aug. 11 in a no-decision. The Rockies counter with LHP Kyle Freeland (13-7, 2.96), whose 2.27 home ERA season is among the league's best.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Dustin Bradford/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Who Should be the Closer for Dodgers in Colorado?]]>Fri, 07 Sep 2018 18:42:37 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/KentaMaedaCloser.png

It's closing time, who you gonna call?

After the news broke earlier this week that the Los Angeles Dodgers would be without their All-Star closer Kenley Jansen during their pivotal weekend series with the NL West-leading Colorado Rockies in Denver, fans and the media alike wanted to know who would be the interim closer in Jansen's absence.

Jansen missed nearly two weeks last month when he was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat the last time the team arrived at the high-altitude city of Denver, Colorado. 

Jansen was rushed to the hospital and immediately flew back to Los Angeles where he met with a cardiologist. Jansen's doctor placed him on blood thinners, and the Dodgers placed him on the disabled list.

Jansen will most likely need another heart ablation surgery in the offseason, but he returned to the clubhouse, and after a couple uncomfortable outings where he tried to work off the rust, he has finally returned to form.

Just when Jansen appeared to be back to his old dominant self, the Dodgers had to travel back to Colorado for a weekend series with the Rockies.

After a couple days of speculation, Jansen again met with the cardiologist who recommended he not make the trip to Denver, and instead join the team in Cincinnati on Monday.

So with Jansen out, the question pressing Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and the front office is: who should replace Jansen in the closer role during the three games with Colorado?

Ideally, the Dodgers could be leading by more than three runs in the later innings of most of those games, and a closer might not be needed, but realistically, playing in Coors Field means a lot of offense and no lead is ever safe, so having a shutdown reliever at the back end is imperative.

On Wednesday, Roberts said he would once again use a "closer by committee" approach. The same plan of action they unveiled unsuccessfully during the two weeks Jansen spent on the disabled list. 

That strategy didn't work that well as the Dodgers surrendered leads, or runs in a tie game in seven consecutive appearances.

Since that disastrous stint, the Dodgers have made multiple moves to help bolster their bullpen, with plenty of qualified options to pitch in high-leverage situations.

Without further ado, we take a look at who those options could be should take over the closer role should the team find themselves in a close game in the ninth inning.

Kenta Maeda

Roberts called Maeda "The Chairman of the Closer Committee," after he was moved to the bullpen following Jansen's stint on the disabled list. After his success in the bullpen during the playoffs last season, Maeda appears to be the most logical choice to take over the role over the weekend.

However, in his last high-leverage appearance, Maeda surrendered the game-winning three-run homer to Brandon Nimmo in the ninth inning of a loss to the New York Mets on Monday.

Ross Stripling

Stripling is a 2018 All-Star, and was activated off the disabled list before the series in Colorado on Friday. Stripling has experience pitching in the bullpen, and also has one of the better single pitches of anybody in the pen: his curveball.

However, Stripling is coming off a lengthy disabled list stint and has not pitched out of the pen since May 3rd.

Scott Alexander

Alexander appeared to be the interim closer after Jansen first went down in August, recording a save in his absence during the first game of that series with the Rockies. 

However, Alexander struggled in the role, blowing two saves, including surrendering four runs in a save situation against the San Francisco Giants.

However, Alexander has been one of the more reliable relievers this season, and is known as groundball pitcher that can get outs and double plays if need be. Alexander recorded four saves with the Kansas City Royals last year, and has two saves this year. 

Dylan Floro

Like Alexander, Floro is primarily a groundball pitcher and has been solid out of the bullpen this season. However, similar to Alexander, Floro struggled in his two save situations during Jansen's absence, walking in the winning run in Colorado on Aug. 12 and balking in the winning run in a 5-4 loss to the Mariners on Aug. 18 

Ryan Madson

For most people, Madson would be the obvious choice to take over the closer role in Colorado. The 38-year-old veteran is a former closer with 91 career saves to his name.

When he's on, he's one of the best late-inning relievers in the game, and has four saves with the Washington Nationals this season. However, since he was acquired from the Nationals at the waiver trade deadline, Madson as an ERA of 7.71 with the Dodgers, including allowing two runs in his last outing on Wednesday.

Pedro Baez

Yes, we know what you're thinking: "We don't trust Pedro Baez as the closer." Baez has a long history of wilting in the most high-pressure situations, but the fact of the matter is he has not allowed a run since Aug. 9th, and has recently pitched in a lot of close games.

He's not the most ideal option giving his situation, especially his past history at Coors Field, but if the team runs out of options, "La Mula," could be the guy.

Caleb Ferguson

At 22-years-old, Ferguson might be the youngest player in the Dodgers' bullpen, but statistically speaking, he might be the best reliever they have. Ferguson was promoted to the big leagues on June 6 and made his Major League debut as a starter against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

After struggling in three consecutive starts, Ferguson was moved to the bullpen and has been lights out ever since. Since June 23, Ferguson has a 1.96 ERA out of the bullpen, and half of those runs game on a three-run home run to Andrew McCutchen on Aug. 15 that turned into a blown save.

Ferguson has 53 strikeouts and could be just the pitcher the Dodgers need to close a couple games in Colorado.

Josh Fields

If this was still May or June, Fields might be the honorary closer in Jansen's absence. Fields recorded two saves during the season when Jansen was "down" because of over usage, and each time pitched scoreless innings of relief. 

However, Fields hasn't pitched since July and struggled with his command in his first appearance since coming off the disabled list on Wednesday.



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers' Joey Bosa Out For Opener With Left Foot Injury]]>Sat, 08 Sep 2018 21:45:36 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Joey-Bosa-Chargers.jpg

Chargers' Joey Bosa out for opener with left foot injury

Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa will miss the opener against Kansas City after reinjuring his left foot.

Coach Anthony Lynn said Friday that Bosa's first foot injury had healed but that he suffered a new injury during Wednesday's practice. Bosa first injured the foot on Aug. 7 during training camp and missed the preseason.

The Chargers had been cautious with Bosa during the preseason, hoping that another injury wouldn't occur.

"He's real frustrated. He's been waiting for a while to get back on the field," Lynn said. "It's going to be week to week. We hope it doesn't linger but it could."

This will be the first time Bosa has missed a game because of injury since being selected with the third overall pick in the 2016 draft. He has 23 career sacks in two seasons, including an NFL-record 19 in his first 20 games.

Bosa led the team last season in tackles (54) and sacks (12.5) while being second in tackles for loss (17.5) and quarterback hits (22).

With Bosa's injury, the Chargers will be without two starters on their defensive line. Defensive tackle Corey Liuget is serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

Isaac Rochell will get his first NFL start in Bosa's place. The second-year player saw extensive playing time during the preseason and led the team in tackles for loss (3) along with two sacks.

"Isaac had a great camp. He's grown like a weed, stepped up and got the job done," Lynn said.

Rochell said the increased snaps have allowed him to develop more confidence and also gain the trust of coaches. He added that "you don't want your coaches to feel like they are in survival mode."

The defense's biggest challenge this week will be containing Patrick Mahomes. The second-year quarterback uses his athleticism to keep plays alive, which has led to big gains downfield.

"He has a strong arm but has the threat of running," Rochelle said. "With the other threats they have, there are going to be a lot of challenges."

Lynn also said that he expects tight end Antonio Gates to be active for Sunday's game. Gates re-signed with the team Monday, and Lynn said it looked as though Gates picked up where he left off last season.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Three Dodgers to Star on First-Ever Digital Bobblehead Night]]>Fri, 07 Sep 2018 14:02:06 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/217*120/9-6-2018-dodgers-digital-bobblehead.jpg

A fan-favorite baseball souvenir is getting a digital update later this month at Dodger Stadium.

What's believed to be the first Crypto giveway in professional sports is set for later this month when the Dodgers hold Digital Bobblehead Night. The first 40,000 fans to enter Dodger Stadium for the Sept. 21 game against the Padres will receive a Crypto token to download a digital bobblehead of Clayton Kershaw, Justin Turner or Kenley Jansen.

No playing favorites -- the players will be randomly selected and offered in equal numbers. 

Once downloaded, the player can be added to fans' Ethereum wallets.

It's a new frontier for the franchise and its fans, who got a look at the digital bobbleheads on the team's Facebook page. In August, Major League Baseball launched MLB Crypto Baseball, which turns players into a form of cryptocurrency. 

"We're excited for our first-ever Crypto giveaway, and to explore an entirely new marketplace with our fanbase," said Lon Rosen, Dodger Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, in a team statement. "We hope this piques the interest of Dodger fans, and will help launch a new age of digital collectibles and promotions."

Click here for ticket information.



Photo Credit: Dodgers/Facebook
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<![CDATA[After Surgery Recommended, Shohei Ohtani Homers Twice]]>Wed, 05 Sep 2018 21:12:39 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Shohei-Ohtani-home-runs-vs-Texas.jpg

Shohei Ohtani homered twice on a huge night at the plate after getting bad news about his pitching arm, and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Texas Rangers 9-3 on Wednesday.

Perhaps headed for Tommy John surgery, the two-way rookie sensation went 4 for 4 with three RBIs, four runs and a stolen base to power the Angels. About two hours before the game, the team announced Ohtani has new damage in his right elbow and ligament-replacement surgery has been recommended.

The club said the Japanese star had an MRI earlier in the day that revealed the problem in his ulnar collateral ligament.

"There's more questions out there right now than answers. We'll take it one step at a time," manager Mike Scioscia said. "There's a lot of consulting that Shohei will do with doctors and just see what the best course of action is, and we'll see where we are."

Ohtani's homers were both towering drives into the right-field seats. With his second two-homer game, the designated hitter tied Kenji Johjima's 2006 major league record of 18 homers in a season by a Japanese rookie.

Andrelton Simmons also homered for the Angels and drove in three runs.

Adrian Beltre hit a two-run shot for Texas, the 472nd homer of his career, in the sixth inning against Jim Johnson. Three of Beltre's 10 homers this season have come in the last five games.

Los Angeles rookie Jaime Barria (10-8) beat Texas for the third time and 45-year-old Bartolo Colon (7-12) for the second. Barria has not beaten any other team more than once but has a 0.86 ERA against the Rangers in 21 innings over four starts.

Barria allowed two hits and three walks while striking out five in five innings.

Los Angeles scored two batters into the game. Kole Calhoun singled and ran home on David Fletcher's double into the left-field corner. With two outs, Taylor Ward singled in Fletcher for a 2-0 lead.

Simmons hit a two-run shot off the left-field foul pole in the third inning. Ohtani beat out an infield hit that withstood a video review, then scored on Simmons' 10th homer.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Angels: If not for the injury announcement about Ohtani, it would have been bigger news that CF Mike Trout wasn't in the lineup a night after being hit on his right leg by a pitch. "His calf is tight," Scioscia said. "I don't think we need to push it tonight. We'll give him (Wednesday) and (Thursday) to recover, and he'll be ready to play."

Rangers: OF Willie Calhoun was not available because of what manager Jeff Banister called "a little bit of a chest cold."

UP NEXT

Angels: Resume their road trip Friday in Chicago. RHP Felix Pena (1-4, 4.19 ERA) will pitch for Los Angeles, and LHP Carlos Rodon (6-4, 2.89) for the White Sox.

Rangers: Play on Friday at Oakland, with RHP Yovani Gallardo (8-3, 5.97 ERA) opposing RHP Chris Bassitt (2-3, 3.19) of the A's. Sixteen of Texas' final 22 games will be on the road.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Dodgers Drop the Ball in Series Loss to Mets]]>Wed, 05 Sep 2018 19:53:41 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/208*120/Dodgers+Drop+Ball+in+Loss+to+Mets.png

After a weekend that saw the Dodgers recapture first place, they fell back to earth by losing two of three to the lowly Mets.

The Dodgers dropped the ball both literally and figuratively as their defense let them down in a 7-3 loss to the New York Mets on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium. 

Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger homered for the playoff-contending Dodgers, who lost for third time in their past 12 games. Los Angeles finished with just three hits.

"Any big league team is still hard to beat on any given day," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. "We looked forward to winning the series today, but Zack threw a good ballgame today. We now have to go up to Colorado and play good baseball."

Muncy now has 32 longballs on the year, good for second place in the National League.

Wilmer Flores had a pair of RBI singles and Amed Rosario got three hits for the Mets, who went 5-4 on their road trip to Wrigley Field, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Wheeler (10-7) retired the first 11 batters he faced before Justin Turner hit a liner in the fourth inning that struck the pitcher. The exit velocity on Turner's ball was clocked at 91 mph.

Wheeler got a visit from the Mets' medical staff and gave up a home run to Muncy three pitches later. Overall, he allowed three runs and three hits, striking out nine and walking two.

It was the first time Wheeler gave up more than two earned runs since July 14. He is 8-1 with a 1.86 ERA over his last 10 outings.

Flores singled home a run in the fourth and another in the fifth. Austin Jackson and Rosario also had RBI singles.

Muncy hit his 32nd home run and Bellinger connected off Wheeler for his 22nd. 

Hyun-Jin Ryu (4-2) gave up five runs — three earned — on 11 hits over six innings with no walks and eight strikeouts. It was the second time in three starts Ryu had given up 11 hits. 

"The way he threw the baseball was better than the line score," said Roberts. "When you're facing a guy like Wheeler you have to play clean baseball and we really didn't give us a chance to do that today."

In was an unsarcastically sloppy defensive game for the Dodgers as right fielder Alex Verdugo, shortstop Enrique Hernandez and second baseman Brian Dozier all had balls bounce off their gloves for hits. Catcher Yasmani Grandal dropped a throw to the plate that let another run score.

It was the first series loss to the New York Mets since Fourth of July weekend in 2015 when they took two of three games in Los Angeles. 

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: RHP Kenley Jansen is not expected to travel to Colorado this weekend after a team cardiologist recommended he not pitch at altitude after suffering an irregular heartbeat episode in Denver last month. . RHP Ross Stripling (lower back inflammation) threw 34 pitches in a simulated game, plus more in the bullpen, and is expected to come off the disabled list Saturday at Colorado.

UP NEXT

After an off-day Thursday, Mets LHP Steven Matz (5-11, 4.20 ERA) is scheduled to open a three-game series at Citi Field against the Phillies. Matz is coming off a career-best 11 strikeouts Saturday at San Francisco. After an off-day Thursday, Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw (6-5, 2.40) will open a three-game series at Colorado where he is 9-4 in 20 career starts with a 4.65 ERA.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tommy John Surgery Recommended for Shohei Ohtani: Angels]]>Wed, 05 Sep 2018 15:35:56 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Shohei+Ohtani+Tommy-John-Surgery.jpg

Japanese star Shohei Ohtani underwent an MRI on his right elbow Wednesday, and the Los Angeles Angels said that UCL reconstruction surgery, commonly referred to as Tommy John surgery, is the recommended plan of care for the two-way player.

The 24-year-old Oshu, Japan native appeared in 81 games for the Angels as a hitter in his first Major League Baseball season and hit .276 with 16 home runs, 44 RBIs, 67 hits and 41 runs in 243 at bats.

On the mound, Ohtani had a 4-2 record over 10 starts, giving up 19 earned runs and 38 hits. If Ohtani's season ended Wednesday, he would end his first MLB season with an ERA of 3.31.

The Angels said "additional information will be provided when appropriate."



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Freese Frame: Dodgers Rally to Beat Mets]]>Tue, 04 Sep 2018 23:29:55 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/208*120/David+Freese+first+homer.png

Freese Out.

David Freese hit his first homer with his new club and Rich Hill rebounded from a sluggish start on the mound as the Los Angeles Dodgers erased an early four-run deficit to defeat the New York Mets 11-4 on Tuesday night. 

Austin Barnes also homered for the Dodgers, who remained a half-game behind first-place Colorado in the NL West. The teams meet this weekend for three games at Coors Field. 

Barnes broke out of a season-long slump when he connected on a two-run shot in the third inning. His only other home run this season came on May 3.

"I know what I can do for the team and to finally put a good AB together and get us back in the game felt good for sure," said Barnes following the victory. "It's a long season and I've just been trying to focus on helping the team win."

Jay Bruce and Michael Conforto each hit a two-run homer off Hill. Bruce connected in the second inning for his fifth of the season, and Conforto gave the Mets a 4-0 advantage with his 21st of the year.

"I made two bad pitches and paid for it," said Hill of the homers surrendered to Bruce and Conforto. "Just have to make better pitches in those situations. That's what's frustrating about it."

Freese, who made his Dodgers debut Saturday after he was acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Aug. 31, pulled Los Angeles within a run in the fourth when he went deep against Mets starter Jason Vargas for his 10th home run of the season.

"It was great to see Freese get his first home run here," said Hill of the home run that helped get Hill off the hook for the loss. "That was awesome to see."

The Dodgers added two more runs in the inning, one on Barnes' grounder to third base that was misplayed by Todd Frazier for an error, and another on a fielder's choice grounder from Brian Dozier that gave Los Angeles a 5-4 lead.

The Dodgers broke open the game with six runs in the seventh. Manny Machado, Freese and Enrique Hernandez all drove in runs, and Machado scored from second base on a wild pitch by reliever Corey Oswalt. Yasmani Grandal capped the outburst with a two-run double. 

"Guys are passing the baton pretty well here and we know we can do that every night against anybody," said Hill of the six-run seventh inning. "That's something that is really exciting to see and I'm looking forward to more of it."

Vargas (5-9) gave up five runs — four earned — over 3 1/3 innings, after he had given up a combined four earned runs over his last four starts. He allowed six hits with a walk and two strikeouts. 

Hill (7-5) permitted four runs and seven hits in six innings with a walk and eight strikeouts. After Frazier doubled following Conforto's home run, Hill gave up just one more hit until he was removed to start the seventh. 

"You just have to continue to keep grinding, keep battling and keep the team in the game," said Hill. "There was no quit. After the two bad pitches everything else was pretty good."

Since the All-Star break, Hill is 5-1 with a 2.87 ERA and 61 strikeouts. 

The pitching staff overall has allowed five runs or less in 12 consecutive games. 

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mets: C Devin Mesoraco was feeling residual soreness after straining his neck and back on a swing Monday, but tests showed he did not have a serious injury. . RHP Anthony Swarzak, who has been on the DL since early August with right shoulder inflammation, could be activated during the Mets' upcoming seven-game homestand, which begins Friday against the Philadelphia Phillies, according to manager Mickey Callaway.

Dodgers: RHP Kenley Jansen met with a team cardiologist and the Dodgers are still trying to determine if their closer will travel this weekend to Colorado, where he has twice experienced an irregular heartbeat. 

UP NEXT

RHP Zack Wheeler (9-7, 3.37 ERA) pitches for the Mets on Wednesday. He is coming off a tough-luck loss at San Francisco on Friday that snapped his seven-game win streak going back to July 14. LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (4-1, 2.24) will start for the Dodgers. He has a 2.38 ERA in four starts since coming off the disabled list after being sidelined by a left groin strain.



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Turner Wins Two Prestigious Awards]]>Tue, 04 Sep 2018 19:46:23 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/206*120/JT+Wins+2+Awards.png

Mr. JT, now what you got for me?

How about two prestigious awards for your play on the field, and generosity off of it?

Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner was named the National League Player of the Month for August, as well as the team's recipient and nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award on Tuesday. 

MLB Network announced early Tuesday morning that Turner was the Budweiser Presents recipient for NL Player of the Month for August after batting .402 with 22 runs scored, 11 doubles, a triple, six homers and 20 RBI in 25 games during the month to claim his first career POTM award.

Among qualified hitters in August, Turner finished first in hits, doubles, batting average and on-base percentage (.491). He finished second in slugging percentage (.722) and tied for second in runs scored and extra-base hits with 18.

Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and outfielder David Peralta finished second and third, respectively.

Simultaneously, Turner was also named the 2018 Roberto Clemente Award winner for the Dodgers, and the team's nominee, which is bestowed upon one player represented from every team who best represents the game of Baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions both on and off the field. 

"Being nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award is not something that I take lightly, and I’m extremely proud and honored to be included among this special group of nominees from around the league," said Turner who founded the Justin Turner Foundation in 2016. "My wife Kourtney and I realize how blessed we are to have this platform, and are determined to use it to give back to the community and fans that have been so supportive of us."

Each team nominates one player to be considered for the individual award that was named after Roberto Clemente's achievements and character. 

This marks the second consecutive year Turner has been nominated for the annual award and since joining the Dodgers in 2014, he has been an exemplary example of the team's community efforts, generously giving his time, energy, and money to support a variety of charitable endeavors throughout the greater Los Angeles area.

"Justin is a great representative of what a Dodger should be with incredible leadership and determination both on the field and in the community, and we’re proud to nominate him for the Clemente Award," said Naomi Rodriguez, Dodger Vice President of External Affairs and Community Relations. "Justin, Kourtney and the Justin Turner Foundation are irreplaceable civic assets, and we’re grateful for their tireless work to better the lives of service men and women, veterans, underserved youth, and families battling life-altering illnesses."

Clayton Kershaw was the last Dodger two win the award in 2012.



Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[After No Preseason, Jared Goff Eager to Unveil Rams' Offense]]>Tue, 04 Sep 2018 16:37:12 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Jared-Goff-Rams-offense-2018.jpg

Jared Goff watched the Los Angeles Rams' entire preseason from the sideline. He hasn't thrown a pass in a game since last January, when he lost his first NFL playoff start.

When he steps under the Monday night lights in his native Bay Area, the third-year quarterback is eager to show what he's learned and how he's grown during eight long months without real football.

And for fans expecting a thrilling encore to last season's utter transformation by Goff and the Rams' offense, he plans to have a little something for them, too.

"There's a bunch of stuff we've been working on this offseason that we're ready to display on Monday night," Goff said. "A lot of the stuff is from last season that we're going to continue to do, and then a lot of new stuff that we're doing. What we're going to do, and how we're going to do it, I don't know. But there's a lot of stuff that we're excited to put on the field finally that we've been working on for so long this offseason."

Goff is aware of the expectations on him as the Rams begin a season with Super Bowl expectations against the Oakland Raiders. With new coach Sean McVay guiding him last year, Goff shrugged off a disappointing rookie season and became one of the NFC's most productive quarterbacks as the Rams doubled their point total from 2016 and made a seven-win improvement in the standings.

But Goff also knows he and the Rams haven't actually proven much in the areas that matter, beyond winning a division title and asserting themselves as a contender. Goff's 3,804 yards passing were 10th in the league — although he probably would have been higher if he hadn't been rested for the season finale — and his completion percentage (62.1) was 17th.

Goff went into the offseason knowing he had ample work to do. His teammates and coaches say he has done it well, and they're already seeing the results in practice.

"Just little stuff, like him telling me stuff when he doesn't need to," running back Todd Gurley said. "You just see his progression. Just going through his routes, going through the first receiver all the way down to his checkdown and to me. He's been getting better each day, just taking those little steps. (He) doesn't like when he's out there messing up, and that's what you love in a quarterback."

Goff got no preseason snaps because McVay decided he didn't want to play his first-string offensive line, which started 15 consecutive games together last season and played a major role in keeping Goff upright and effective. So even though Goff probably could have used the work, however brief, he sat out in August along with Gurley and all of the Rams' top skill-position players.

That means Goff will go into Monday's game at Oakland having never thrown a pass in a game to Brandin Cooks, the Rams' high-priced new receiver.

The way Goff looks at it, the inactivity means no opponents will know exactly what to expect from Los Angeles' inventive coach and talented group of playmakers.

"Very excited to get some truly competitive action with our offense," Goff said. "It'll be really cool. The defense only played a little bit (in the preseason) too, and I know they're excited as well."

Goff, who grew up a 49ers fan in Marin County, has played in only one real NFL game back home. He beat the Niners last September with three touchdown passes in Santa Clara, earning the first road victory of his NFL career and the Rams' first of 10 wins in 13 games.

But Goff's NFL career technically began with another Monday night game in the Bay Area: The No. 1 overall pick was inactive as the third quarterback in the Rams' season-opening, 28-0 loss to the 49ers two seasons ago. That year's misery, which included Goff's 0-7 record as a starter, was largely erased in the public mind by his impressive sophomore season.

Goff hasn't forgotten the frustration of his rookie year, and it lingers as a motivating force.

"It does feel like a long time ago," Goff said of that trip to Santa Clara in 2016. "I guess it was what, two years ago? It feels like forever ago. ... I've grown up a lot in those two years. I was 21 then. I'm 23 now. Not too old now, but a little bit older than I was then."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[deGrom Dominates Dodgers, LA Drops to 2nd Place]]>Mon, 03 Sep 2018 21:52:24 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/deGrom+dominates+Dodgers.png

One is the loneliest number you'll ever see. 

One day after taking over sole possession of first place in the NL West, the Los Angeles Dodgers dropped to second after falling to Jacob deGrom and the New York Mets, 4-2, on Monday night at Dodger Stadium. 

Pinch-hitter Brandon Nimmo hit a three-run run home run off reliever Kenta Maeda in the top of the ninth and the Dodgers rally fell short in the bottom half of the inning after two-time hero Matt Kemp grounded into a game-ending double play.

"I thought he was going to do it again," admitted Bellinger who was on first base when Kemp came up representing the tying run. "Obviously its hard to do three nights in a row, but unfortunately that's just how it goes sometimes."

The loss ended the Dodgers' three-game winning streak as they fell a half of a game behind the Colorado Rockies for first in the NL West, but still a game ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks who lost to the San Diego Padres.

DeGrom pitched six innings of one-run ball and drove in the tying run for the Mets, but didn't factor into the decision. He extended his streak of 25 consecutive starts of three earned runs or less, breaking a tie with Dwight Gooden (1985) for the longest run in Mets history.

"He's good," Bellinger said of deGrom. "He's got some of the best stuff in the game right now. I think we did a great job of battling him and getting him out in the sixth inning, that's a win against him this year."

The game got away from the Dodgers when Jay Bruce opened the ninth with a double off Kenta Maeda (8-9) and was sacrificed to third by Kevin Plawecki. Maeda hit Jeff McNeil with a pitch before Nimmo's second career pinch-hit homer went over the right-field wall.

"I was trying to throw a back-foot slider and it missed," said Maeda through a translator of the pitch to Nimmo. 

Nimmo has been red-hot in his last ten games, batting .485 with nine runs, four doubles, two triples, two homers and eight RBI.

The Dodgers tried to complete their fourth consecutive comeback in the bottom half of the ninth after Alex Verdugo led off the ninth with a single. 

Four pitches later, Cody Bellinger, blasted a ball down the right-field line that was initially ruled foul by first base umpire Ryan Blakney. 

"I thought it hit the chalk," Bellinger said after he saw the call by Blakney. "I didn't know you could replay fair or foul balls, but I guess in that case with a runner on first you could, I'm just glad they got the call right."

After review, replay showed the ball hit the chalk, and Bellinger was given first base, while Verdugo was given third. However, with Bellinger being one of the fastest players on the team, the decision to place him at first base and not second base, would loom large. 

"They just felt that because the right fielder was there it would have been a long single," explained Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts of the umpire's call as far as the placement of the runners.

One batter later, the Dodgers cut the lead in half after a sacrifice fly by Yasmani Grandal, but Matt Kemp followed with a game-ending double play, something that wouldn't have happened had Bellinger been granted second base instead of first, or the ball been correctly ruled fair to begin with.

Drew Smith (1-0) got the win with one inning of relief. Robert Gsellman worked the ninth for his 10th save.

"We were up against one of the best pitchers in baseball," said Roberts of the game overall. "I thought that we did a good job of keeping us in the game and to grind and get deGrom out of the game was a victory in itself...I thought we did a good job tonight."

Justin Turner went deep in the first to put the Dodgers up 1-0, just the ninth homer off deGrom this season.

DeGrom allowed two hits. He struck out six — snapping a run of six straight starts with at least nine — and walked one. His 20 straight quality starts are the longest active streak in the majors and the longest in franchise history. Despite that, the NL Cy Young Award candidate is 8-8 this season.

"He's been special, and he's fun to watch," said Wood of his counterpart. "You have to bear down and going inning to inning and hitter to hitter when you go up against him."

At the plate, deGrom was 2 for 2, and his two-out RBI single in the fifth drove in the Mets' first run.

"I just left a breaking ball up, it's as simple as that," said Wood of the pitch to deGrom that tied the game. "It's pretty frustrating a left-hander against a left-hand hitting pitcher."

The Dodgers ran up deGrom's pitch count in the sixth when he needed 34 pitches against the heart of their order. After deGrom struck out Joc Pederson, Turner worked a 12-pitch at-bat into putting the go-ahead run at first on an error by shortstop Amed Rosario. DeGrom struck out Manny Machado on seven pitches and Max Muncy grounded out to second to end deGrom's outing.

With Seth Lugo pitching in the seventh, the Dodgers had runners at the corners with one out. Alex Verdugo doubled leading off and Cody Bellinger followed with a single to set up Yasiel Puig. But he grounded into an inning-ending double play. 

"I thought the seventh inning was something we'd like to get back. First and third with nobody out and deGrom out of the game, that's a chance for us to get a lead and the game could have been different." said Roberts of the seventh inning. "Yasiel got a 2-0 pitch he could hit, and hit it hard, but obviously in that situation you want to elevate it."

Los Angeles had runners at second and third with two outs in the eighth when Enrique Hernandez flied out to center.

Dodgers starter Alex Wood gave up one run and five hits in five innings. He struck out three and walked two.

"It was like throwing on a cloud tonight," Wood said of the LA weather compared to his last start in Texas. "It almost didn't even feel like I was pitching. I felt good."

In his last 13 starts since June 16, Wood has gone 7-1 with a 2.39 ERA and has held the opposition to a .229 batting average. He has allowed just three runs or fewer in each of those 13 starts, the third longest active streak (deGrom is first) according to STATS LLC. 

Entering the game, the Dodgers had won their last 12 consecutive games against the Mets, dating back to last season, the longest winning streak against any opponent in Los Angeles franchise history. That streak was snapped.

The Mets hadn't beaten the Dodgers since May 27, 2016, New York's longest losing stretch against them in team history.

The Dodgers have scored three runs or fewer in their last six games.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mets: C Devin Mesoraco singled in the fifth and then left the game because of neck and back stiffness. ... INF David Wright, trying to come back after surgeries on his neck, right shoulder and back in addition to chronic spinal stenosis, will continue taking ground balls and hit in the cage. Without more minor league games for him to play in, manager Mickey Callaway says the team will need to get creative in offering Wright game-like situations. Callaway was non-committal about the possibility of Wright being activated during the next homestand, saying he will be re-evaluated on a daily basis.

Dodgers: They're evaluating whether closer Kenley Jansen will make the trip to Colorado on Friday. He experienced an irregular heartbeat and went on the 10-day DL during his last visit. If doctors say the high altitude could affect him, he would likely stay back. ... RHP Walker Buehler, who experienced muscle spasms in his left foot during Sunday's start, had precautionary X-rays that were negative. He expects to make his next start. 

UP NEXT

LHP Jason Vargas (5-8, 6.56 ERA) starts for the Mets on Tuesday. His three-game winning streak is his longest since taking four in a row last September. He recently notched his 1,000th career strikeout. LHP Rich Hill (6-5, 3.59) goes for the Dodgers. In five starts against New York, he is 1-2 with a 7.66 ERA, averaging 11.28 strikeouts per nine innings.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jansen Could Miss Upcoming Series in Colorado]]>Mon, 03 Sep 2018 17:49:45 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/208*120/JansenCouldMissTime.png

The Los Angeles Dodgers could be without their closer this weekend.

After a three-game series with the New York Mets in Los Angeles this week, the Dodgers will travel to Colorado for a three-game weekend series with the Rockies.

For precautionary reasons, the team's closer, Kenley Jansen, might not make the trip to the mile-high city.

Jansen told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com on Monday that the decision on whether or not to send Jansen for the pivotal series in Colorado is "being debated," after Jansen showed signs of an irregular heartbeat in Denver less than a month ago.

Jansen was rushed to the hospital for testing before that series with the Rockies, and ultimately was flown back to Los Angeles where he saw a cardiologist and was placed on blood thinners.

Jansen was moved to the disabled list and missed about two weeks. During that time, the Dodgers bullpen surrendered leads or ties in seven consecutive games without their anchor.

After learning from that experience, the team is now more equipped to deal with Jansen's absence after placing starting pitcher Kenta Maeda in the pen, trading for former closer Ryan Madson, as well as activating relievers Josh Fields and Zac Rosscup from the disabled list.

However, not having your All-Star closer when you go head-to-head with one of the team's fighting you for first place in the division could be damaging, but if the irregular heartbeat returns, losing Jansen for even longer could be debilitating.

"With Kenley and altitude and going to Denver, it's certainly going to be a conversation we're going to revisit during this series," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts on Monday. "The No. 1 priority that we're all aligned with on is that Kenley's health is first and foremost the priority. If there's any hesitation on his part or the doctors say the altitude can affect him in any way, then for us, it's a no-brainer to have him stay back. So we haven't made a decision yet. We'll have those conversations and make that decision in the next couple of days."

If it were up to Jansen, he would travel with the team to Colorado and be the closer. He told Gurnick he doesn't fear for his health if he returns to Denver, but is worried about what it would do to the team if he suffered another irregular heartbeat and had to go back on the disabled list during a pennant race.

After struggling in his first four appearances off the disabled list, Jansen is finally back to his old form, after recording two saves and a win in the Dodgers series victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks that helped them recapture sole possession of first place in the NL West.

Because of Jansen's atrial fibrillation that is expected to lead to a second offseason ablation surgery, it's likely Jansen will stay in Los Angeles this weekend and meet the team in Cincinnati, for the following series with the Reds.



Photo Credit: John McCoy/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kemp Does It Again for Dodgers, Alone in 1st Place]]>Sun, 02 Sep 2018 18:38:07 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/matt+kemp+does+It+again.png

For the second day in a row, Matt Kemp put the Dodgers on his back.

Less than 24 hours after he hit the game-winning three-run homer off Archie Bradley in the bottom of the eighth inning on Saturday night, Kemp delivered the knockout blow against Bradley in Round Two. 

With runners on second and third and one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, Kemp hit a first-pitch fastball from Bradley off the centerfield wall for the game-winning, walk-off, two-run double and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks, 3-2, to move into sole posession of first place atop the NL West.

"When I was walking up to the plate they were showing what happened last night," said Kemp following the victory. "So in my mind, I'm not thinking about hitting a home run, but I'm just trying to get that run in from third base, and it just so happened I got two."

Kemp's one-out drive off the wall in left-center field put Los Angeles alone atop the West for the first time since Aug. 7. The Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks by identical 3-2 scores three days in a row, after Arizona won the series opener at Dodger Stadium.

"Those are two big wins we got," said Kemp. "I think everybody wants to be in that big moment. They don't always work out the way you want them to, but when they do, they feel really good."

It was the 11th career walk-off hit for Kemp and first of the season.

Brad Boxberger (2-5) started the ninth and put the potential tying and go-ahead runs on with consecutive walks to pinch-hitter Alex Verdugo and Max Muncy. The runners advanced on Enrique Hernandez's sacrifice bunt and set up Kemp, who pinch-hit in the seventh and stayed in the game.

"I was a little surprised that they took out Boxberger," admitted Kemp who is 8-for-16 with three doubles, a triple, a home run and nine RBI in his career against Bradley. "But I don't care, we won the game." 

Daniel Descalso homered leading off the ninth to put Arizona ahead 2-1. Descalso went deep to center field off Caleb Ferguson with the ball just eluding Cody Bellinger's glove as he reached over the wall.

"When I jumped, I jumped a litte late it was over my head," said Bellinger of Descalso's homer. "I was close all day, but unfortunately that happens. Thankfully, our team picked us up."

Kenley Jansen (1-5) took over for Ferguson and got three outs.

"I stayed focused. All I want is to hold the lead at one," said Jansen of keeping it a one-run game after Ferguson gave up the go-ahead homer to Descalso. "If we hold the lead to one, with the ball club we have, we have a good shot to win and today we ended up winning the ballgame."

The D-backs tied it at 1-1 on Alex Avila's bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the seventh.

Rookie Walker Buehler gave up a leadoff single to Paul Goldschmidt and a one-out walk to Descalso walked. Ryan Madson came on in his Dodgers debut after being acquired from the Nationals and promptly loaded the bases on a walk to Ketel Marte.

Bellinger caught Avila's fly and fired home. Goldschmidt's left leg caught the corner on the plate before catcher Yasmani Grandal tagged his upper body.

"It was good," Bellinger said of the throw to the plate. "I just tried to get behind it as much as I could and throw it as hard as I could and it was on target."

Goldschmidt was called out, but Arizona challenged it. After a 2 1/2-minute review, it was overturned, tying the game as Dodgers fans booed.

Muncy hit his 31st homer leading off the fifth for a 1-0 lead. The ball landed in the D-backs' bullpen in right, ending Arizona starter Clay Buchholz's streak of not allowing a run at 19 innings. Oddly, 24 of Muncy's 31 homers this season have been solo shots.

Buehler allowed one run and two hits in 6 1/3 innings. He tied his career high with nine strikeouts and walked three. He had two of the Dodgers' five hits, getting a pair of singles, his first multi-hit game of his career.

Buehler has been sensational at home this season, posting a 2.32 ERA with 69 strikeouts and 12 walks at Dodger Stadium.

The victory was the fifth walk-off win for Los Angeles this season, and their eighth win in their last nine games.

The Dodgers won the series 3-1, against their NL West rivals, and took their first ever four-game series against Arizona at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers and Diamondbacks will meet three more times at Chase Field, Sept. 24-26 in what is sure to be an exciting series that could decide the division.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: Recalled RHP Brock Stewart from Triple-A Oklahoma City and placed him on 60-day DL with a right oblique strain. ... RHP Ross Stripling (low back inflammation) had a bullpen in which he threw 20 pitches, rested and then threw another 25. He's set for a simulated game Wednesday against Dodgers hitters and could be activated late next week.

UP NEXT

D-backs: RHP Zack Godley (14-7, 4.42 ERA) starts Monday at San Diego in the opener of a two-game set. He is just shy of career highs in innings and strikeouts.

Dodgers: LHP Alex Wood (8-6, 3.42) starts Monday in the opener of a three-game series against the Mets and RHP Jacob deGrom (9-8, 1.68).

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: John McCoy/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chargers Re-Sign Antonio Gates for 16th Season ]]>Sun, 02 Sep 2018 14:38:38 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/Gates+TD+in+Denver.jpg

The Los Angeles Chargers aren't ready to say farewell to Antonio Gates after all.

Four months after the Chargers bade a public goodbye to the leading receiver in franchise history, Gates returned to the team on Sunday, one week before the start of his 16th season. The 38-year-old franchise stalwart is getting a one-year deal and another shot at his first trip to a Super Bowl. 

The Chargers intended to part ways with Gates last spring after his role declined behind starting tight end Hunter Henry in 2017. Their plans changed when Henry tore a knee ligament during offseason workouts in May, likely sidelining him for the upcoming season. 

Although they've been discussing a reunion for many weeks, Gates and the Chargers waited until the day before the first week of game preparation for the regular season to formalize his return to his only NFL team. Gates' 114 career touchdown catches are sixth in NFL history and the most among active players. 

"I'm grateful that he wants to come back and play with us," Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said. "But I'm also grateful he's coming back for all the right reasons. He's not coming back to put up more statistics. He's not coming back to prove anything to anybody, because he doesn't have to do that. He's coming back because he loves his teammates, and I think he sees something special in this football team that he wants to be a part of, and that's exciting." 

The Chargers are a popular pick to be a playoff contender after winning nine of their final 12 games last season. Gates and the Chargers have made the postseason just once since 2009. 

Telesco wouldn't say whether he expects Gates to play when the Chargers open the regular season at home against the Chiefs on Sept. 9. 

"I guess we'll see," Telesco said. "I certainly wouldn't want to tell Kansas City." 

Once an undrafted free agent who played only basketball at Kent State, Gates is an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and the Chargers' career leader in receptions (927), yards receiving (11,508) and touchdown catches. He set the NFL record for touchdown receptions by a tight end last September, surpassing Tony Gonzalez with his 112th TD catch. 

But Gates' 30 receptions last season were his fewest since his rookie year in 2003, and his 316 yards receiving were a career low as Henry took the majority of the big snaps. Gates started only four games, but he stepped up capably into a larger role when Henry was out with a bruised kidney late last season. 

The Chargers spent the past four months with a clear need for a pass-catching tight end. Newcomer Virgil Green is a veteran blocking tight end with pass-catching ability, but the only other tight end on Los Angeles' 53-man roster Sunday was undrafted second-year pro Sean Culkin, who has never caught a pass in an NFL game.

"I guess we're very lucky to have a player like Hunter get hurt and have a player like Antonio available and willing," Telesco said. "He knows the offense. He knows the quarterback. He knows our head coach. He knows this organization very well, and he finished the year on a strong note last year." 

Gates has a profound connection with Philip Rivers, who joined the Chargers in 2004 and has been their starting quarterback in every game since 2006. Rivers has thrown 87 touchdown passes to Gates, and they trail only Indianapolis' Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison as the most prolific TD duo in NFL history. 

Rivers publicly advocated for Gates' return in recent months, and Gates will be another solid target in the Chargers' potent offense, which led the NFL with 276.9 yards passing per game last season. With Gates back in powder blue, Rivers' top eight receivers from last season are still with the Bolts. 

The Chargers made several additional moves Sunday, a day after setting their roster and choosing Caleb Sturgis as their new kicker.

Los Angeles released linebacker Hayes Pullard, who played extensively last year, and quarterback Cardale Jones. Telesco said the Bolts hope to re-sign Jones to the practice squad as their third quarterback behind Rivers and Geno Smith. 

Los Angeles claimed linebacker Emmanuel Ellerbee off waivers from Atlanta and nose tackle T.Y. McGill off waivers from Kansas City. Telesco believes Ellerbee can fit in well with the Chargers after learning the Falcons' defense of coach Dan Quinn, whose scheme is derived from the system run by Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley when they both coached on Pete Carroll's staff in Seattle. 

Telesco also lamented the season-ending ankle injury of receiver Artavis Scott, who spent last season as a rookie on the Chargers' practice squad after winning a national title at Clemson alongside receiver Mike Williams, the Chargers' first-round pick last year. 

"He had earned a spot on this team and had done a great job," Telesco said. "Last year at this time, we thought he could play, but this time, we know he can play."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Head Into 2018 Season as NFC West Favorites]]>Sun, 02 Sep 2018 12:31:48 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/208*120/Goff+and+Rams+hold+on+to+beat+Niners+.png

The Los Angeles Rams have gone from one of the NFL's biggest surprises to one of the top Super Bowl favorites in just one year. 

The Rams didn't rest after an impressive turnaround campaign in coach Sean McVay's first season, bringing in an impressive offseason haul led by three former All-Pros on defense in defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, along with big-play receiver Brandin Cooks. 

It's perhaps the most talent added in one offseason since the San Francisco 49ers brought in Deion Sanders, Ken Norton Jr., Rickey Jackson and Richard Dent 24 years ago and ended up as Super Bowl champs. 

The newcomers join a roster that features a promising young quarterback in Jared Goff, an elite running back in Todd Gurley, a stout offensive line led by left tackle Andrew Whitworth -- and perhaps Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald, who held out for a second straight training camp but could be back for the start of the season.

The Rams figure to be challenged most in the NFC West by a rejuvenated San Francisco team that won the final five games last year after Jimmy Garoppolo took over as quarterback. 

Seattle still has Russell Wilson but few other key pieces from the 2013 Super Bowl team, and Arizona has three of the division's top players in receiver Larry Fitzgerald, cornerback Patrick Peterson and running back David Johnson, who is coming back from a wrist injury.

Some things to know about the NFC West:

STABLE OFFENSE: For all the big changes on defense for the Rams , they predictably kept things very stable on offense after going from worst to first in the NFL in scoring in the initial year under McVay.

Los Angeles brings back 10 of 11 starters on offense, with the only change at receiver where Cooks replaced Sammy Watkins. It's a far cry from last year when the Rams broke in two new offensive linemen and a new receiver around Goff, who was getting ready for his first full season as an NFL starter in a brand new offense.

This team clearly has big-play potential. Cooks is one of the league's best deep threats and Gurley led the NFL in yards from scrimmage (2,093) and TDs (19) last season, earning him the rare big-money contract as a running back.

JIMMY G: The 49ers fortunes changed almost immediately after acquiring Garoppolo at last year's trade deadline. A team that started 2017 with nine straight losses finished with five straight wins after Garoppolo took over as starter. 

He completed 67.4 percent of his passes last season, averaging 8.8 yards per attempt with seven TDs, five interceptions and a 96.2 rating to improve to 7-0 in his career as a starter. His 308.4 yards passing per game in his five starts also would have led the league had he played a full season. 

His offense got dealt a blow when versatile running back Jerick McKinnon went down with a season-ending injury. The Niners also have some questions on defense, where they are hoping Richard Sherman can get back to his pre-injury level as a shutdown cornerback, and someone can provide an outside pass rush to complement defensive tackle stud DeForest Buckner. 

QB SHUFFLE: There have been big changes in Arizona with quarterback Carson Palmer retired and coach Bruce Arians moving from the sideline to the broadcast booth. 

But the biggest deal for the Cardinals this year is the health of Johnson, the do-everything back whose 2017 season ended with an injury in the opener. Johnson is healthy again, and if he can get back to the form with which he ranked second in the NFL with 2,118 yards from scrimmage in 2016, that should take plenty of pressure off the quarterback. 

Oft-injured Sam Bradford begins the year as starter, but he has only played 80 games in eight seasons. He has torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee twice, and another left knee injury wiped out nearly all of his 2017 season in Minnesota. 

But Bradford is likely only a stopgap. The Cardinals traded up to take Josh Rosen 10th overall in hopes that he can be a franchise quarterback for new coach Steve Wilks. 

LAST HURRAH: The Seahawks have been one of the most consistent teams in the league under coach Pete Carroll the past few years. Seattle has posted six straight seasons of top two finishes in the division and winning records, missing the playoff only last year. But much of the core of the team that went to back-to-back Super Bowls in the 2013 and '14 seasons is gone.

Defensive end Michael Bennett was traded, cornerback Richard Sherman was cut and wound up with the archrival 49ers, tight end Jimmy Graham left as a free agent and defensive stars Cliff Avril and Kam Chancellor have had career-ending injuries. Even safety Earl Thomas' status is in doubt as he has held out all offseason in hopes of getting a new contract. 

While star power remains led by Wilson, receiver Doug Baldwin and linebacker Bobby Wagner, the rest of the roster likely has too many holes for the Seahawks to be able to challenge the top teams in the NFC.

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH: Rams, 49ers, Cardinals, Seahawks.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kemp's Homer Catapults Dodgers Into 1st Place Tie]]>Sat, 01 Sep 2018 22:20:27 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/MattKempGameWinner.png

Matt Kemp silenced the doubters. 

Admittedly, I was one of those doubters. In his last 10 games, he had zero RBI and was hitless in situations with runners in scoring position. Over his last 30 games, Kemp was batting .158 with 26 strikeouts. 

Kemp changed all that with one swing on Saturday, as he helped me and countless others place the proverbial foot in our mouths, with a game-winning, three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning in the Los Angeles Dodgers, 3-2, victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium. 

The victory lifted the Dodgers into a first place tie with the Snakes, a seemingly improbable rise after they fell 4.5 games behind just a week ago. 

"I'm not surprised and very impressed," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. "Our guys didn't waver. Each day they focused on each game and didn't worry about the other clubs and how they played or whether they won or lost. We're playing much better baseball and we find ourselves back atop the division and we need to keep moving forward."

With fans on their feet chanting "Let's go Dodgers," Kemp took two quick strikes from Archie Bradley before launching his 19th homer into center field for a 3-2 lead.

"I've faced him a couple times and usually see him pretty well," said Kemp of the at-bat against Bradley. "He doubled up with the curveball and I was just trying to react to something and hit it hard. He gave me something to hit, and I put a good swing on it."

The homer was Kemp's sixth game-winning RBi this season.

"I think that was definitely one of the most important ones this year," said Kemp. "I think I've hit a couple in Dodger Stadium with the crowd the way it was today. What better way to do it than in front of all those fans."

Justin Turner got the rally going with one out in the inning. He singled for the Dodgers' first hit since his double in the third. Manny Machado followed with a 10-pitch walk by Bradley to set up Kemp.

Bradley (4-5) was leading the National League in holds with 31 before Kemp's homer.

Kenta Maeda (8-8) worked a perfect eighth. Kenley Jansen put the tying run on in the ninth. The All-Star closer gave up a two-out double to Nick Ahmed before Ketel Marte popped up to second, giving Jansen his 34th save in 38 opportunities.

"When he's doing what he does at the back-end, he allows everyone else to go in their rightful spots in the pen," said Roberts about Jansen. "He was the first person in my office saying he wants the ball again tomorrow."

Enrique Hernandez got the first out of the ninth on a stellar play. He made a diving stop on David Peralta's grounder and threw from his back to first baseman Cody Bellinger just in time.

Neither team has won by more than two runs in the first three homer-heavy games of the series. Turner's homer leading off the eighth gave the Dodgers a 3-2 victory on Friday. The D'Backs won the opener 3-1 on Peralta's three-run shot. 

Arizona led 2-0 after Eduardo Escobar and pinch-hitter Christian Walker led off innings by homering on first pitches from Clayton Kershaw. 

Escobar went deep to left field in the second. Walker, hitting for starter Patrick Corbin, landed one in left-center for his second career pinch-hit homer off Kershaw. 

In between Arizona's two homers, Kershaw retired 12 consecutive batters. The left-hander gave up two runs and four hits in seven innings, struck out three and walked none. 

"I thought I threw the ball alright," said Kershaw of his start. "Two first-pitch fastballs and they swung at them and they hit them...they happened to go over the fence tonight, but this was just an awesome comeback win tonight."

In his last 13 starts since coming off the disabled list on June 23, Kershaw is 5-1 with a 2.19 ERA with 74 strikeouts and just nine walks to go with a 0.89 WHIP.

Six consecutive Dodgers struck out over the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. Corbin retired the side in the fifth, striking out the last two batters. Yoshihisa Hirano relieved him and struck out the side in the sixth, while Brad Ziegler struck out pinch-hitter Bellinger to open the seventh.

Corbin (10-6) allowed three hits, struck out seven and walked one. The Dodgers have struck out 31 times in Corbin's four starts against them this season.

Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt singled in the sixth to reach base in his 44th straight road game.

David Freese started at first base for Los Angeles in his Dodger debut after he was acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates at the waiver trade deadline on Friday night. 

"He got to the hotel, got a little catnap in, got to the ballpark and we put him in there," said Roberts of Freese. "He's excited to be a Dodger. It's special to be a Dodger and he realizes that."

Freese reached base safely in two of his three plate appearances, going 1-for-2 with a hut by pitch.

TRAINER'S ROOM

D-backs: 3B Jake Lamb (left shoulder contusion) recently had surgery to repair fraying in the rotator cuff and is done for the season. He's expected to be ready by spring training.

Dodgers: Reinstated LHP Zac Rosscup (left calf strain) and INF Chase Utley (left wrist inflammation) from the 10-day disabled list.

UP NEXT

RHP Clay Buchholz (7-2, 2.07 ERA) brings a 15-inning scoreless streak into the series finale. He faces the Dodgers for the first time since June 20, 2010, when he pitched 6 2/3 shutout innings in a 2-0 victory. Rookie RHP Walker Buehler (6-4, 3.02) faces the D'Backs for the first time.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: John McCoy/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Newest Additions Are Thrown Into the Fire]]>Sat, 01 Sep 2018 20:19:49 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/207*120/David+Freese.png

Ain't no rest for the wicked.

The Los Angeles Dodgers newest additions both arrived at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, less than 24 hours after it was announced they had been traded from their former teams. 

Right-handed pitcher Ryan Madson was in the Nation's Capital on Friday afternoon when he received the news that he was headed to Los Angeles, but after the initial shock wore off, he was excited to go from a fading team, to the 2017 World Series runner up a team that is currently deep in the throes of a division race.

"It’s a special thing going out there holding a lead, especially for a playoff contending team," said Madson before Saturday's game against Arizona."Definitely the emotions are heightened, and it’s a rush you can’t get anywhere else off the field. I’m looking forward to doing it again this playoff push."

Madson was a talent the current Dodgers front office has long coveted. Through 2015 to 2017, he was one of the best relievers in the game. However, after posting a 1.83 ERA last season, the 38-year-old has struggled with the Nationals, recording a 5.68 ERA in Washington.

Despite the less than stellar numbers, the Dodgers believe that Madson's stuff is still strong, and see him as a high-leverage reliever in September and beyond.

Madson himself said he didn't know the cause of his struggles in Washington, but was excited to meet with Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and bullpen coach Mark Prior to figure it out. 

"One of the first things I said to him is I’m open to any suggestions you might have," Madson told Honeycutt on Saturday. "A lot of people say you’ve been in the game so long, but the first thing I said, and to Mark [Prior], is if you see anything, let me know because I can use it, and I’m open to it."

Madson was activated on Saturday and made available out of the pen if need be. The right-hander last pitched on Monday after coming off the disabled list with nerve root irritation.

Ideally, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts would like to ease Madson into a high-leverage role, but if we know anything about the Dodgers, its that sometimes things don’t go according to plan, and they're not afraid to throw their veterans straight into the fire. 

For example, the Dodgers other acquisition, former 2011 World Series MVP David Freese, went directly into the flames on Saturday as he made the start at first base, just hours after he was told he had been traded from the Pittsburgh Pirates to Los Angeles.

Freese was in Atlanta when he received the news past midnight eastern standard time, and hopped on the first flight to LaLa Land on Saturday morning. Freese was an All-Star with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012, and he said walking into the Dodgers clubhouse for the first time was reminiscent of that experience.

"I walked in, and it kind of felt like an All-Star Game, to be honest," Freese said after walking into the clubhouse. "I’m just going to try and be me. That’s the easiest thing I can do. Do my thing, play a little first and third, do all that and have some fun." 

Freese has a career average of .300 against left-handed pitching, and it's no secret he was acquired for that very stat, as the Dodgers have struggled against southpaws this season.

Freese is expected to start at either first or third base against left-handers, and serve as a right-handed bat off the bench the remainder of the time. 

One thing for certain is that current third baseman, and 2017 All-Star Justin Turner, is excited at the prospect of having not one, but two former World Series champions join the clubhouse during a playoff push.

"The veteran presence. They're guys who have been there and played in big moments," said Turner of the team's newest additions. "Obviously the back of David's baseball card is pretty special what he's done, especially in the postseason. It's exciting. I'm looking forward to welcoming both of them with open arms."



Photo Credit: John McCoy/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[No. 15 USC Beats UNLV 43-21 at LA Coliseum]]>Sun, 02 Sep 2018 01:00:58 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/USC-UNLV-JT-Daniels.jpg

JT Daniels, the second freshman to start at quarterback in a season opener for Southern California, threw for 282 yards with a 43-yard touchdown pass to Amon-Ra St. Brown to lead the No. 15 Trojans to a 43-21 victory over UNLV on Saturday.

Daniels was 22 of 35 passing for the Trojans (1-0), with fellow freshman St. Brown making seven receptions for 98 yards. The former Mater Dei High School teammates connected for their first college touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter, with St. Brown getting a step behind cornerback Jericho Flowers on a post route to give USC a two-possession lead over the Rebels (0-1).

"Just as the game went on, I think I just continued to get a little more comfortable and a little more comfortable," Daniels said.

Aca'Cedric Ware rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown, and Vavae Malepeai scored the first of two touchdowns on a 2-yard run late in the second quarter that gave USC a lead it would not relinquish.

Chase McGrath, another Mater Dei product, kicked five field goals to tie a school record, and outside linebacker Porter Gustin had 1 1/2 sacks and recovered a fumble after undergoing knee surgery on Aug. 8.

UNLV used early big plays to hang with the defending Pac-12 champions for three quarters. Lexington Thomas gained 71 of his 138 yards rushing on a touchdown run after faking a reverse to put UNLV ahead 7-6 late in the first quarter.

Armani Rogers threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Kendal Keys to go up 14-9 after UNLV extended the drive with a 36-yard run by Evan Austrie on a fake punt.

"Good game, good win, but we've got a lot to fix before we get to Stanford next week," USC head coach Clay Helton said.

Rogers was 12 of 27 for 97 yards and two touchdown passes, adding 82 yards rushing despite being sacked five times.

"I know — myself, our coaches, our kids — we're now getting on that bus riding home with genuine disappointment in the outcome of the game," UNLV coach Tony Sanchez said. "It does not feel good to play those guys tough for most of the night and walk away with the loss. We feel like we had opportunities to win that football game, and it's been a long time since we've had a team that could actually come out here and do that."

THE TAKEAWAY

UNLV: The Rebels can run the ball. UNLV finished with 308 yards on the ground, and looked like a team more than capable of making a bowl game for the first time since 2013.

USC: The Trojans need to tighten up on defense, and quickly. Bryce Love, the star running back for No. 13 Stanford, will like his chances to boost his Heisman Trophy candidacy next week against a USC defense that continued last season's penchant for allowing explosive gains.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

USC didn't do much to impress voters in the short term. However, Daniels' improvement over the course of the game bodes well for Helton in his third season, especially with road games against the Cardinal and Texas up next.

UP NEXT

UNLV: Hosts UTEP on Saturday.

USC: Opens Pac-12 play at Stanford on Saturday. The Trojans beat the Cardinal twice last season, including a 31-28 win in the conference title game.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Waive Luol Deng Midway Through $72M Deal]]>Sat, 01 Sep 2018 12:56:28 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Luol-Deng-refugee-1-31-17.jpg

The Los Angeles Lakers waived forward Luol Deng on Saturday, just over two years after signing him to a four-year, $72 million free-agent contract. 

The Lakers didn't disclose the details of a probable buyout with Deng, but they announced the move on the first day in which the final season of Deng's mammoth deal could be stretched over a three-season span of the Lakers' cap limit. 

"We made this move to further our future salary cap and roster flexibility as we continue to build this Lakers team according to our current overall vision," Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said in a statement. 

The 33-year-old Deng's deal is a remnant of the administration of former Lakers basketball boss Jim Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak. The duo handed a pair of generous free-agent deals in 2016 to Deng and center Timofey Mozgov, who got a four-year, $64 million contract. 

Buss and Kupchak were dismissed seven months later, and Magic Johnson's administration went to work ridding itself of lengthy commitments. The Lakers gave up guard D'Angelo Russell in a trade with Brooklyn last summer because they could include Mozgov's contract. 

Deng appeared in 56 games during his first year with the Lakers, but he played just one game last season with Johnson and Pelinka in charge of the Lakers' front office. 

Although the 14-year NBA veteran was the Lakers' highest-paid player last season, he essentially wasn't part of the team. He appeared in the season opener before dropping out of the rotation and eventually spending long stretches away from the Lakers. 

The two-time All-Star felt he didn't fit well into coach Luke Walton's up-tempo system, and he apparently declined to rejoin the rotation when the Lakers were slowed by injuries. He requested a buyout or a trade, but the Lakers found no takers and didn't want to absorb the salary-cap constraints of waiving him last season. 

Deng's departure and contract stretch should sharply increase the Lakers' available cap room by roughly $12 million for next summer, when they hope to add a second superstar on a maximum contract to join LeBron James. 

Deng is likely to find a home quickly as a free agent. Although Walton had said he was open to reintegrating Deng into the roster during the upcoming season, waiving Deng gives him plenty of time to sign on with a new team before NBA training camps open in three weeks.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bill Streamlines Path for Clippers' Move to Inglewood]]>Sat, 01 Sep 2018 10:41:23 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/204*120/06-18-2015-clippers-new-logo.jpg

Legislation that would streamline the state environmental review process for the proposed Los Angeles Clippers arena in Inglewood is on its way to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk after winning unanimous approval from the state Senate and passing on a 6-3 vote in the Assembly.

Both votes occurred Friday as the state Legislature sprinted to complete its work as the 2017-2018 session came to a close.

Clippers management, which is eager to build a new arena for its team and move from its current hub at Staples Center, hailed the Legislative approvals even though it remains unclear whether the governor will sign the bill into law.

"We are now one step closer to bringing the world's best basketball arena to a community that deserves the best," Clippers owner Steve Ballmer said in a statement late Friday. "... with the passage of this bill, we are proudly setting a new standard for environmental responsibility. AB 987 puts into writing the promise we've made to Inglewood from the start: to be exceptional neighbors who care passionately about the Inglewood community and its citizens."

The bill was introduced in June by Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-Los Angeles), who told the Orange County Register that fast-tracking the required environmental review for the proposed arena under the California Environmental Quality Act would not mean the project would have lax environmental standards.

"It's not a CEQA exemption," Kamlager-Dove told the Register. "It's streamlining some of the litigation opportunities. Oftentimes, there are challenges that will force a project to get stalled in court for years and years as a way to kill it, and this is streamlining some elements of that. There will be a full and complete (environmental impact review) done. No shortcuts."

Without the legislation, work on an environmental impact statement for the project would be expected to take up to 18 months, possibly longer if opponents pursue legal challenges.

The legislation puts roadblocks in place to all but eliminate options for legal complications.

The approval comes amid continued opposition to the project by some Inglewood housing advocates and their supporters who are concerned the proposed basketball arena, which would stretch along a swath of Century Boulevard, in addition to a nearby football stadium that is already under construction is slated to be the future home of the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers football teams, will raise rents and housing prices out of reach for many longtime residents.

Just weeks after Kamlager-Dover introduced the environmental legislation, a group calling itself Uplift Inglewood, filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court accusing city officials of failing to prioritize some of its prime land resources for subsidized housing and asking a judge to strike down a negotiating agreement between Inglewood and the Clippers in favor of the state's Surplus Land Act.

The project proposal calls for a privately funded complex that would include an 18,000-seat arena, practice facilities, a sports medicine clinic, team offices and retail space under the title Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Center. Plans for the complex are continuing under a 36-month exclusive negotiating agreement the team's owners paid for with a $1.5 million nonrefundable deposit.

The team's lease at Staples Center expires in 2024.



Photo Credit: Los Angeles Clippers]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Acquire David Freese From Pirates at Deadline]]>Fri, 31 Aug 2018 23:46:21 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/217*120/David+Freese+Pirates.png

Freese on!

The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired third baseman David Freese from the Pittsburgh Pirates at the waiver trade deadline on Friday night. 

Hours after acquiring right-handed reliever Ryan Madson from the Washington Nationals, sources told NBC LA that the Dodgers were still seeking another right-handed bat, and potentially another right-handed pitcher. 

According to sources, the Dodgers had discussed multiple right-handed bat options off the bench with a few different teams, but ultimately a deal fell into place with the Pirates and Freese in the waning moments before the midnight eastern time deadline.

The deal was completed minutes ahead of the deadline, making Freese eligible for postseason play. The former World Series MVP, was hitting .282 with nine homers and 42 RBI in 94 games with the Pirates this season.

In exchange, the Pirates received minor league infielder Jesus Manuel Valdez. Valdez spent his first professional season playing for the Dominican Summer League Dodgers, batting .230.

"It was a difficult decision," Pirates' General Manager Neal Huntington said in a statement, adding that the move would give Freese an opportunity to pursue a championship, while providing opportuniteis for Pittsburgh's younger plays to get time on the field down the stretch.

The 35-year-old is expected to start against left-handed pitching, and be a powerful right-handed bat off the bench. Defensively, he has appeared in 54 games at third base and 15 games at first base this year.

"I just found out," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts after the team's win against the Diamondabcks on Friday. "He's a world champion. We're going use him against left-handed pitching, he's a bat off the bench, he can play the corners, he's a veteran presence, offensive, and a great clubhouse guy. We're excited to have him."

Freese is a 10-year Major League veteran who won the World Series and World Series MVP Award with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011. He was originally selected by the San Diego Padres in the ninth round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft and has played for the Cardinals (2009-2013), Angels (2014-2015) and Pirates (2016-2018) over the course of his career.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Rally to Defeat D-Backs, Jansen Gets Save]]>Fri, 31 Aug 2018 23:44:51 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/209*120/Jansen+earns+save.png

Now this is the Dodgers we remember.

Justin Turner hit the game-winning homer off former teammate Zack Greinke in the eighth inning, and Kenley Jansen earned his first save since August 7th, and the Los Angeles Dodgers rallied to defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks, 3-2, on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.

Los Angeles began the day two games behind Arizona in the NL West and 2 1/2 games back in the wild-card race, but after the victory are one game behind the Snakes and alone in second place after the Rockies lost to the Padres.

Kenley Jansen worked the ninth for his 33rd save. Paul Goldschmidt doubled with one out, but Jansen struck out David Peralta and retired Eduardo Escobar on a grounder to the shortstop.

"I was pissed off Kenley today," said Jansen after the game. "Sometimes your players motivate you. When JT [Justin Turner] hit that homer, I felt that adrenaline hit me. The atmosphere felt like the playoffs and the crowd helped too. I definitely felt good."

The All-Star closer had been shaky since coming off the disabled list, allowing seven earned runs in four innings over four appearances. He was sidelined by an irregular heartbeat on August 8th.

"Everything that happened in the past, you can't worry about that," said Jansen. "You just have to stay focused for the next month of September and probably the next two months if we work our way to the playoffs. That's where the focus is."

Enrique Hernandez tied it at 2-2, with a pinch-hit homer off Greinke with two out in the seventh.

"I think I was more excited for Kiké's homer," said Turner of Hernandez's equalizer, than his own. "Pinch-hitting off him [Greinke] to hit a two-strike, opposite field homer is pretty impressive. I think it got everyone fired up."

Hernandez's homer was his fourth pinch-hit homer of the season, and provided a big boost to the Dodgers for the remainder of the game.

"For Kiké to be ready when called upon and take that at-bat against Greinke, get behind, but see some pitches and then take him the other way, that was one of the biggest hits of the year," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts of the game-tying homer.

Dylan Floro (5-3) got the win with one strikeout in one inning of relief.

Greinke (13-9) gave up six hits in 7 1/3 innings. The former Dodger struck out five and walked one.

After batting for himself and laying down a sacrifice bunt in the top of the eighth, Greinke returned to the mound in the bottom half of the inning and Turner crushed the first pitch he threw for the game-winning homer.

"I was just looking for something up in the zone," said Turner of the at-bat. "I got a slider that he left up. It was one of the few pitches he left up all night. It feels pretty good."

Turner has stated a solid case to be named the Player of the Month for August after batting .402 with 22 runs, 11 doubles, one triple, six homers and 20 RBI in 25 games.

Goldschmidt slugged a two-run shot, his 31st of the season, in the first. Goldschmidt has reached base in 43 straight road games, extending his club record. 

Despite allowing the homer to Goldschmidt, Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu, settled down after the first inning, and ended up throwing one of his best games of the seasons, allowing just the two runs on four hits with six strikeouts and one walk in seven innings.

"He was great," said Roberts of Ryu. "Ryu was really, really good all night long. It was a big game and he came up huge for us."

Joc Pederson's RBI single in the third left the Dodgers trailing 2-1.

The D-backs had the potential go-ahead run on third base in the eighth. Ketel Marte reached on an error by Floro, got sacrificed to second by Greinke and took third on Floro's wild pitch. But Steven Souza Jr. grounded out to Floro to end the inning. 

TRAINER'S ROOM

Diamondbacks: RHP Shelby Miller (right elbow tightness) played long toss with a plan to increase his workload next week. ... OF Jarrod Dyson (right groin strain) was set to have three at-bats in a game with Triple-A Reno on Friday night.

Dodgers: RHP John Axford (right fibula fracture) is off crutches and playing catch in Arizona, but has yet to throw a bullpen or face hitters. ... RHP Ross Stripling (low back inflammation) threw a bullpen and came out of it well. The team has yet to decide on a plan for him.

UP NEXT

Patrick Corbin (10-5, 3.15 ERA) starts for the Diamondbacks against fellow lefty Clayton Kershaw (6-3, 2.39 ERA). Corbin is 1-0 with a 0.98 ERA in three starts against the Dodgers this season. Since the All-Star break, Kershaw is 3-1 with a 1.85 ERA, 46 strikeouts and three walks.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: John McCoy/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams' Aaron Donald Signs Whopping New Contract, Ending Holdout]]>Fri, 31 Aug 2018 15:08:52 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Aaron-Donald-skips-Mandatory-minicamp.jpg

All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald agreed to a massive new contract with the Los Angeles Rams on Friday, ending his second consecutive preseason holdout as the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history.

The Rams announced a new six-year deal through 2024 for Donald, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

ESPN and the NFL Network reported the new deal is worth $135 million over six years, with a $40 million signing bonus and $87 million guaranteed. Donald is already under contract this season for $6.89 million in the final year of his rookie deal.

Donald was chosen for the Pro Bowl after each of his four NFL seasons. The 27-year-old Pitt product is the centerpiece of the Rams' defense and one of the NFL's most dominant linemen, demonstrating remarkable effectiveness against the run and the pass.

Donald was a key component of Los Angeles' extraordinary one-year turnaround under rookie coach Sean McVay in 2017. With Donald leading their defensive efforts under veteran coordinator Wade Phillips, the Rams won their division for the first time since 2003 and ended the franchise's streaks of 13 consecutive non-winning seasons and 12 straight non-playoff seasons.

But Donald also took a hard line in negotiating his football future. He skipped the past two training camps and preseasons while seeking a new contract, and he also skipped the Rams' entire offseason program this year.

He didn't report last year until the day before the regular season opener, forcing him to miss the Rams' first game. He still earned recognition as the NFL's top defensive player despite playing in only 14 games, racking up 11 sacks and 41 tackles while forcing five fumbles for the NFC West champions. He also led the NFL with 91 quarterback pressures, according to Pro Football Focus.

With his holdout ended, Donald finally will be able to team up with Rams newcomer Ndamukong Suh and veteran Michael Brockers on a potentially destructive defensive line. Donald has yet to work out alongside Suh after the five-time Pro Bowl selection joined the Rams as a free agent in March.

Earlier this week, McVay said Donald should be able to play in the Rams' Monday night regular-season opener in Oakland on Sept. 10 if he reached a deal with the Rams within the next few days. Donald has been working out at home in Pittsburgh during his holdout, and McVay checked in regularly with him.

"Getting him in here sooner than later, which is something that we do feel good about, is hopefully going to happen," McVay said Tuesday.

The Rams managed to maintain a civil relationship with Donald throughout the two years of difficult negotiations. Donald and his representatives were determined to make him one of the NFL's highest-paid players at any position, while the Rams wanted to reward Donald while keeping their overall salary structure intact.

Los Angeles demonstrated its willingness to pay top dollar for talent in recent months while agreeing to lucrative long-term deals with NFL Offensive Player of the Year Todd Gurley, receiver Brandin Cooks and right tackle Rob Havenstein. With Donald in camp, they've finally got their near-term roster settled while still maintaining significant room on their payroll for 2019 -- just in time for quarterback Jared Goff to reach the fourth year of his rookie deal with the chance to negotiate a long-term contract.

A compact powerhouse with a ferocious work rate, the 6-foot-1 Donald has been uncommonly dominant since joining the Rams in St. Louis in 2014 as the 13th overall pick in the draft. He was the defensive rookie of the year, and he only sharpened his game while the Rams returned home to Los Angeles in 2016.

Although Donald has 39 sacks in four NFL seasons, traditional statistics don't reflect the full measure of his disruptive play on the line. Phillips rhapsodizes about Donald's ability to force opposing offenses into bad decisions by his ability to wreck any blocking scheme with his low, ferocious charges through the offensive line.

After months upon months with no change in the Rams' talks with Donald's representatives, a breakthrough clearly was achieved in the past few weeks. Rams general manager Les Snead both began to speak of the process with new optimism, and McVay brightened recently at the thought of not talking about Donald's contract during every preseason media briefing.

"I don't really know anything else," McVay said with a laugh.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Broadcaster Jaime Jarrín to Join Ring of Honor]]>Fri, 31 Aug 2018 15:06:14 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/JaimeJarrin.png

Following in the footsteps of Vin Scully, the Dodgers will honor longtime Spanish language broadcaster Jaime Jarrín. 

The Hall of Fame broadcaster will become the 12th inductee into the Ring of Honor at Dodger Stadium and will be recognized for his 60 years of service during a pregame ceremony on Friday, September 21.

Jarrín will join Pee Wee Reese, Tommy Lasorda, Duke Snider, Jim Gilliam, Don Sutton, Walter Alston, Sandy Koufax, Roy Campanella, Jackie Robinson, Don Drysdale and Vin Scully in having their name/number permanently affixed to Dodger Stadium.

“The Ring of Honor is something that I never dreamed about, and I’d like to thank the Dodgers from the bottom of my heart," Jarrín said in a statement released by the team on Friday. "To me, this honor is equal to being inducted into the Hall of Fame, and I’m humbled to be up there with Vin Scully and all the other Dodger greats. It’s going to be a special night.”

Jarrín hails from Ecuador, and has been doing Dodgers broadcasts in Spanish since 1959. Similar to Scully, who was known as "the voice of the Dodgers," Jarrïn is considered "the Spanish voice of the Dodgers," and is an icon in the Los Angeles community and Mexico.   

“On behalf of the Dodgers and Dodger fans, it’s my honor to congratulate Jaime on reaching this milestone and thank him for serving as a great representative of our team and the game of baseball for 60 years,” said Dodger President and CEO Stan Kasten. “His place among the franchise greats is undisputed, and we’re proud to welcome him into the team’s Ring of Honor.”

His broadcast partner, former pitcher and Cy Young Award winner, Fernando Valenzuela, had nothing but praise for his friend for the honor and recognition.

“Congratulations to Jaime, my friend and mentor, on this great honor and 60 years with the Dodgers,” said legendary Dodger pitcher and broadcaster Fernando Valenzuela. “I’ll always remember your kindness and wisdom in helping a teenager acclimate to the Majors and then, many years later, showing me the ropes as a rookie broadcaster. You are the true definition of what it means to be a Dodger.” 

The ceremony will include tributes from players and broadcasters from around the baseball world. Fans are encouraged to arrive early for the ceremony and also enjoy postgame Friday Night Fireworks presented by Denny’s.



Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Acquire Ryan Madson From Nationals]]>Fri, 31 Aug 2018 15:07:14 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/Ryan+madson.png

Another reinforcement has arrived. 

The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired right-handed relief pitcher Ryan Madson in a trade with the Washington Nationals just before the waiver trade deadline on Friday.

As previously reported, Madson was claimed on revocable waivers by the Dodgers on Wednesday, giving both teams 48 hours to negotiate a trade in order for Madson to be eligible for the postseason.

In return, Washington received minor league pitcher Andrew Istler from the Dodgers, who is not ranked in the team's top 30 prospects by MLB.com. 

The 25-year-old prospect spent the 2018 season with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, Double-A Tulsa, and Triple-A Oklahoma City. He went 4-4 with a 2.53 ERA in 29 games. He was originally drafted by the Dodgers in the 23rd round of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft.

Meanwhile, Madson, 38, has made 49 relief appearances with the Nationals this season and has struggled with a 2-5 record and a 5.28 ERA in 44.1 innings pitched.

Madson has long been coveted by the Dodgers and is a native of nearby Long Beach. He is a two-time World Series champion with the Phillies (2008) and the Kansas City Royals (2015). 

Entering the 2018 season, Madson was one of the more dependable late-inning relievers in the game. From 2015-2017, Madson posted a 2.55 ERA with an average of 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings.

Madson has $1.3 million remaining on his contract and will be a free agent at the end of the season. 

Each of the last three seasons, the Dodgers have acquired a player to help bolster a weakness before the Aug. 31 waiver trade deadline. 

In 2016, the Dodgers added catcher Carlos Ruiz to backup Yasmani Grandal. In 2017, it was Curtis Granderson, a left-handed veteran bat with postseason experience to help bolster the outfield in lieu of the late season struggles by Joc Pederson. 

In 2018, with the uncertainity of closer Kenley Jansen since an episode in Colorado with an irregular heartbeat, the Dodgers bullpen struggled in late-inning save situations in his absence. 

Since his return, Jansen too has struggled. Madson is expected to be a late-inning, high-leverage reliever with postseason experience as well as closer experience. 

To create room on the 40-man roster, the Dodgers designated left-handed pitcher Adam Liberatore for assignment.



Photo Credit: Hunter Martin/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Drop First of Four Against D-Backs]]>Thu, 30 Aug 2018 23:35:30 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/229*120/PeraltaHomerAgainstDodgers.png

What a difference one swing for two different teams makes. 

Manny Machado and David Peralta each hit a home run for their respective teams on Thursday night. 

Peralta's homer came with two runners on base, Machado's did not. That was the difference in the game. 

Peralta's three-run home run in the top of the fifth inning proved to be all the firepower the Arizona Diamondbacks would need, and the NL West-leaders defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers, 3-1, on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series that could decide the division.

"That was the difference in the game," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts. "They hit a three-run homer and we hit a solo homer. We had some opportunities tonight, but couldn't cash in."

The Dodgers left six runners on-base, and went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position, as they fell two games behind the Diamondbacks for first place in the NL West, and snapped their five-game winning streak.

"These games are huge right now," said Dodgers' starting pitcher Rich Hill following the loss. "Having this loss loom over us moving forward is tough."

Robbie Ray (4-2) gave up one run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out nine and walked two to earn his first victory since June 23 at Miami. The left-hander hadn't figured into a decision in seven consecutive starts since July 20, the longest streak in franchise history by a starter.

"He threw the ball well overall," said Manny Machado. "We got a high pitch count against him, but couldn't execute with runners in scoring position but couldn't get that big hit, that key hit." 

Brad Boxberger got the final two outs in the ninth to earn his 31st save in 37 chances. He struck out Taylor and got Yasiel Puig on a called third strike. Taylor struck out four times on the night and the Dodgers struck out a total of 15 times as a team.

Peralta sent his 26th homer into right field on the first pitch from Rich Hill with two outs, giving Arizona a 3-0 lead.

"I made one mistake," said Hill of the pitch to Peralta. "I made a poor decision on dropping down, I should have stayed over the top, but that was the difference in the game."

Hill (6-5) allowed three runs and six hits in five innings. The left-hander struck out seven and walked none.

"I thought Rich had really good stuff," said Roberts. "He got swings and misses and his command was really good. Peralta put a good swing on a ball out over and that was the difference." 

The Dodgers' lone run came on Manny Machado's 33rd homer in the sixth.

"I was just trying to stick to my plan," said Machado. "I was looking for a pitch to hit and they made a mistake and I took advantage of it in that situation." 

Dodgers reliever Caleb Ferguson pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth. After giving up three consecutive one-out singles, he struck out John Ryan Murphy and pinch-hitter Christian Walker lined out to right to end the inning. 

Los Angeles had the potential go-ahead run at the plate in the bottom of the inning, but Matt Kemp grounded into an inning-ending double play with runners on the corners.

"They turned a couple double plays on us," said Roberts. "Matt has always been an RBI guy and has swung the bat well as of late. You have to give him a chance to drive in a run and keep an inning going."

The teams were playing each other for the first time since May 9. Arizona leads the season series 9-4.

TRAINER'S ROOM

D-backs: RHP Shelby Miller (right elbow tightness) will throw to 125 feet early next week. ... OF Jarrod Dyson (right groin strain) is headed to Triple-A Reno for a rehab assignment.

Dodgers: Reinstated RHP Josh Fields (right shoulder inflammation) from 60-day DL.

UP NEXT

RHP Zack Greinke (13-8, 2.93 ERA) goes for the D-backs. He is 3-1 with a 3.09 ERA in his last five starts against his former team. The Dodgers send LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (4-1, 2.18) to the mound. He is 3-3 with a 3.90 ERA in 12 career starts against Arizona.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: John McCoy/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Claim Ryan Madson On Revocable Waivers]]>Thu, 30 Aug 2018 21:50:33 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/Ryan+madson.png

One way or another, the Dodgers will bolster their bullpen.

According to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, the Los Angeles Dodgers were the mystery team that claimed right-hander relief pitcher Ryan Madson on revocable trade waivers from the Washington Nationals on Wednesday.

The Dodgers had been interested in Madson previously, both when he was with the Kansas City Royals in 2015, and last season at the MLB non-waiver trade deadline when he was dealt from the Oakland Athletics to the Washington Nationals.

Madson, has struggled this season, posting a 5.28 ERA in 44.1 innings with the Nationals this season. He recently came off the disabled list with lumbar irritation, and is a free agent at the end of the year.

Entering the 2018 season, Madson was one of the more dependable late-inning relievers in the game. From 2015-2017, Madson posted a 2.55 ERA with an average of 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings.

Per the rules of the non-waiver trade deadline, the Dodgers and Nationals will have 48 hours to negotiate a trade for Madson, which gives both sides until Friday afternoon to agree upon a deal. 

Madson has $1.36 million remaining on his salary, which could be the stumbling block for the Dodgers who are currently under the luxury tax threshold. The Nationals could send cash in return to the Dodgers to make the deal work, but likely the Nats would like to have his full salary off the books.

Previously, the Dodgers claimed Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper off revocable waivers, but were unable to work out a deal within the 48-hour window with Washington. If a deal for Madson does not get done, the Dodgers will have the ability to bolster their bullpen through their own farm system when rosters expand on September 1st. 

This is an evolving story and updates will be provided throughout the day on Friday, August 31, 2018.



Photo Credit: Hunter Martin/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Stripling Still Not Ready to Return]]>Thu, 30 Aug 2018 19:52:37 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/RossStriplingReturn.png

The injury bug bites all teams from time-to-time, but the Los Angeles Dodgers seem to always be the main course. 

The Dodgers set the record for the most players on the disabled list in 2016, and backed it up with an MLB-high 38 total DL stints in 2017.

That trend has continued in 2018 as the Dodgers have already placed twenty-five different players on the DL thus far.

As of today's date, injuries have made those 25 players miss over 1,300 days on the DL, totaling over $30 million in salary to injured players.

The biggest blow of course was the announcement on April 30 that two-time All-Star shortstop and 2016 National League Rookie of the Year Award winner, Corey Seager, would miss the rest of the season with a strained UCL in his right elbow and underwent Tommy John surgery.

A handful of Dodgers pitchers have recently gone on the disabled list starting with Zac Rosscup last week, Ross Stripling thereafter, Erik Goeddel, J.T. Chargois, and now Daniel Hudson.

Here are the latest updates on all the Dodgers injuries:

Ross Stripling (low back inflamation): Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Stripling could still feel discomfort in his lower back during a bullpen session on Tuesday night in Texas. He is not expected to be activated until Saturday (September 1 when rosters expand) at the earliest. 

J.T. Chargois (Neck): Chargois left a relief appearance against the St. Louis Cardinals with neck discomfort and was immediately placed on the disabled list. He's expected to return in September when he's 100 percent healthy. 

Daniel Hudson (right forearm tightness): After returning on Aug. 19 in Seattle, Hudson went back on the disabled list with the same injury on August 24, after a rough outing against the St. Louis Cardinals in which he allowed two runs, including a two-run home run on Aug. 21 in a 5-2 loss. It's possible he could return in September, but with this being a lingering issue that could be linked to the shoulder, Hudson could also be a candidate for the 60-day DL. He's had two Tommy John surgeries in his career.

Zac Rosscup (left calf strain): Rosscup was spotted in Arlington, Texas, but Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he wouldn't be activated off the disabled list until AFTER the second of a two-game series with the Rangers. However, with a bevy of right-handed hitters the Dodgers will face in their four-game series with the Diamondbacks, the team opted to reinstate RHP Josh Fields instead of the lefty in Rosscup. Expect Rosscup to be activated once rosters expand in September.

Josh Fields (Right shoulder inflammation): As mentioned, Fields was activated off the 60-day disabled list before the four-game series with the Diamondbacks on Thursday, and infielder Rob Segedin was designated for assignment in order to make room for Fields on the 40-man roster.

John Axford (fractured right fibia): Axford was hit by a comebacker during a series in Colorado and was expected to miss three to four weeks with a fractured leg. Axford was placed on the disabled list on Aug. 14, placing his return in the middle of September.

Erik Goeddel (right elbow inflamation): Goeddel went back on the disabled list Back on the DL on August 17th with the same elbow inflamation that first put him on the DL. If healthy, Goeddel is expected to return in September once rosters expand.

Chase Utley (left wrist inflammation): Following his farewell tour to Philadelphia, Utley was placed on the 10-day disabled list due to a cyst on his wrist. Utley is expected to be activated off the DL once rosters expand in September.

Tom Koehler (Shoulder): Originally believed to be a bicep injury, Koehler was diagnosed with an anterior capsule strain early in spring training and was placed on the 60-day disabled list to start the season. After getting close to a return, Roberts told reporters on Tuesday that Koehler had undergone season-ending surgery on his shoulder. The free agent signing could not have gone any worse for Los Angeles as the right-hander signed a one-year, $2 million deal before the season and will never throw a pitch for the Boys in Blue in 2018.

Julio Urias (Shoulder): The Mexican native underwent shoulder surgery last summer and is close to getting back to the big leagues. Urias made relief appearances with the Single-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and is expected to make a few appearances with Triple-A Oklahoma City before the minor league season ends. He is expected to be a September call up and appear out of the bullpen for the Boys in Blue.

Dennis Santana (strained right rotator cuff): The Dodgers' rookie suffered a torn right lat muscle before his second career start in Pittsburgh on June 5, and was transferred to the 60-day disabled list after surgery to repair the muscle. Santana is on the road to recovery, and threw to live hitters earlier this week. He potentially could be called up at the end of September, but the team would have to make room for him on the 40-man roster, making it highly unlikely. 

Tony Cingrani (left shoulder sprain): Cingrani has been on the disabled list from the beginning of June, and after months of rehab in Arizona, was still not feeling 100 percent in his throwing shoulder. Last month, Cingrani flew to Los Angeles to meet with Dr. Neal ElAttrache to get x-rays on the shoulder that revelead no structural damage. He received a cortisone injected, was moved to the 60-day DL, and still could return in September if healthy after throwing a bullpen session on Tuesday at Camelback Ranch.

Corey Seager (Elbow): The biggest blow of all for the boys in blue was announced on Monday, April 30 when the team reported that Seager was diagnosed with a right UCL sprain in his throwing elbow and have to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. Seager's surgery took place in Los Angeles on Friday, May 4, performed by Dr. Neal El Atrtache. El Attrache told the team that the surgery was a "success," and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said that Seager would rehab at home in North Carolina for the remainder of the season. 

Dodgers Injury Updates are provided each and every week, usually on Friday or Sunday throughout the season.  



Photo Credit: Dustin Bradford/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[They Made The Choice!]]>Thu, 30 Aug 2018 18:10:03 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/2018_CHOICE_CONTESTANT_REVEAL_1200x675_1310237763582.jpg

Here they are! The 16 contestants for The Choice. The 2018 crop is hungry and they'll need your votes!]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Sweep Rangers on Three Solo Homers]]>Thu, 30 Aug 2018 18:32:13 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/211*120/MannyMachadoHomersRangers.png

Death by solo shots.

Alex Wood pitched seven scoreless innings and the Los Angeles Dodgers hit three solo homers while stretching their winning streak to five games with a 3-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night.

Cody Bellinger and Manny Machado hit first-pitch homers off Mike Minor (10-7). Yasmani Grandal also went deep for the defending National League champion Dodgers.

"Yesterday my left-handed swing clicked a little bit," said the switch-hitting catcher Grandal who homered from the left-hand side after the southpaw pitcher Minor left the game. "Hopefully everything comes together at the right time."

Los Angeles started the day within a game of NL West co-leaders Arizona and idle Colorado. The Diamondbacks, who open a big four-game series in Los Angeles on Thursday night, played later Wednesday night at San Francisco.

Wood (8-6) limited the Rangers to four singles, throwing 67 of 98 pitches for strikes with five strikeouts and two walks. The lefty had faced the Rangers only once before, pitching at Texas for Atlanta four years ago when he struck out nine and allowed a run on four hits.

"It's always nice when you can go deep into the game," said Wood who threw seven shutout innings. "When you play an AL team in their park there's always a little bit more room for the starting pitcher. It was a good night."

His manager agreed with his pitcher's assessment and credited Wood's ability to keep the ball down, especially to left-handed hitters as the reason for his success.

"He kept the ball down," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts about Wood. "There was a lane he continued to throw through. Consistently, all night he was down."

Kenta Maeda, a 20-game starter for the Dodgers this season, worked the ninth instead of struggling closer Kenley Jansen to get his first save since June 2017 despite giving up an RBI double to Adrian Beltre.

"He just didn't have the feel tonight," Roberts said of Maeda who earned his first save of the season. "But, he still got out of it."

Beltre, baseball's active career hits leader, matched Robin Young for 17th on the all-time list with his 3,142nd hit.

The solo homers by Bellinger and Machado were the only hits and runs off Minor in his six innings. The lefty, a teammate of Wood's in Atlanta in 2013-14, struck out seven and walked three.

Bellinger's 21st homer of the season put the Dodgers ahead to stay in the third inning. Machado hit the first pitch of the fourth into almost the same spot on the hill in straightway center field. That was Machado"s 32nd homer this season, his eighth in 37 games for Los Angeles since being traded last month from the Baltimore Orioles.

Grandal hit his 22nd homer in the eighth off reliever Alex Claudio.

OUT AT HOME

Dodgers RF Yasiel Puig, in the lineup while awaiting a ruling on his appeal of a two-game suspension from a bench-clearing incident Aug. 16 against San Francisco, had a two-out triple in the seventh inning. He was thrown out trying to steal home even after getting a good jump off third base against Claudio. Puig didn't play Tuesday after his appeal hearing.

THE OTHER LEAGUE

The Dodgers wrapped up their interleague schedule with a 12-8 record. They won all four games against the Rangers, including two at Dodger Stadium in June. Texas is 7-10 against NL teams, and has to sweep its three-game series at San Diego from Sept. 14-16 to avoid its first losing record in interleague play in 12 seasons.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: After their only two road games in a 15-game stretch, the Dodgers are back home Thursday night for the opener of that NL West showdown against Arizona. Rich Hill is 0-5 in seven starts against the Diamondbacks since getting traded to Los Angeles two years ago.

Rangers: Texas has its second scheduled day off in four days Thursday before a three-game weekend series at home against Minnesota.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Machado Drives in 4 Runs in Dodgers Victory Over Rangers]]>Wed, 29 Aug 2018 07:40:40 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/Machado+4RBI.png

Those midseason additions are doing their part to help the defending NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers in a push to get back into the playoffs. Their closer is struggling.

Manny Machado drove in four runs, his most since getting to Los Angeles, and Brian Dozier hit his 20th homer of the season as the Dodgers beat the Texas Rangers 8-4 on Tuesday night for their fourth win in a row.

"Everyone is moving in the right direction and everybody is feeling good about themselves," Machado said. "It's a matter of just getting on a nice little roll and sticking with it." 

Caleb Ferguson (5-2) went 1 1/3 innings as the first of four relievers with scoreless outings before Kenley Jansen came on with an 8-2 lead in the ninth and allowed two runs on three hits and a walk.

Jansen has been scored on in each of his four appearances since coming off the disabled list Aug. 20 following a hospital stay due to heart issues. He has allowed seven runs and 10 hits over four innings in those games. 

"I'll be all right. At some point I'll figure it out. A little amped up today. Command wasn't there," Jansen said. "Listen, people can panic like, 'Oh God, what's happening with me,' but I know myself. I am going to go out there and keep competing and I will get out of this." 

The big right-hander did end the game with a highlight, making a behind-the-back grab of a comebacker with a broken bat twirling above his head. He then turned to make the relay to second base that started a double play. 

"At least one thing went good for me," Jansen said.

Machado's four RBIs were the most in his 36 games for the Dodgers since being acquired from the Baltimore Orioles last month. He put Los Angeles ahead to stay with a two-run single in the third, then added a sac fly in the fourth and an RBI single in the sixth that made it 7-2. The shortstop has nine RBIs the past three games. 

Dozier had a solo shot for his fourth homer in 24 games since joining the Dodgers from Minnesota. He also had an RBI single. 

FOR STARTERS 

Dodgers rookie right-hander Walker Buehler, who was 2-0 with a 1.07 ERA in his previous four August starts, threw 84 pitches in four innings. He allowed two runs and four hits, with four strikeouts and two walks. Texas rookie Ariel Jurado (2-4) gave up three runs and five hits in 2 2/3 innings. The right-hander walked two and struck out one. 

BANNY'S TRIBUTE

Rangers manager Jeff Banister had the initials "BK" written on his cap for Buzzy Keller, a scout who passed away Monday. "A tremendous human being," Banister said. "He's the guy that signed me in a Wendy's in Baytown, Texas, and gave me $1,000 and said, 'I'm not going to make you rich, but I'm going give you an opportunity to play this game.' He was a huge part of why I sit in this seat and why I am the person I am." 

MATCHING GWYNN

Adrian Beltre, baseball's active career hits leader, had a single in the Rangers ninth for career hit No. 3,141 — matching Tony Gwynn for 18th on the career list. His next hit will tie Robin Yount for 17th. 

LOT OF HITS

Enrique Hernandez was 3 for 3 with a walk and a sac fly while scoring twice for the Dodgers. They finished with 15 hits overall, with Machado and Dozier among four players with two each. 

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: All-Star right-hander Ross Stripling (lower back) threw off flat ground and says he could probably pitch, but the Dodgers aren't pushing his return from the disabled list. He hasn't pitched since Aug. 9. He is scheduled to throw a bullpen Wednesday and could return over the weekend.

Rangers: CF Delino DeShields (fractured tip right middle finger) started a rehab assignment at Double-A Frisco. ... Hard-throwing RHP Matt Bush (right flexor tendon), who hasn't pitched since mid-June, acknowledged that he likely won't pitch again this season. He hasn't been able to throw off a mound yet. 

UP NEXT 

A matchup of lefties and former Braves teammates when Alex Wood (7-6) pitches for the Dodgers against Mike Minor (10-6). They both made their big league debuts with Atlanta, Minor in 2010 and Wood in 2013. Minor missed the entire 2015 season because of injury and Wood was traded midway through that season to Los Angeles. Minor is 4-0 with a 2.73 ERA his last five starts.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hold the Mustard, LAFC Captain Laurent Ciman Joins Dijon]]>Tue, 28 Aug 2018 16:37:43 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Laurent-Ciman-leaving-LAFC.jpg

LAFC captain Laurent Ciman is leaving the MLS club for Dijon in France's Ligue 1.

LAFC announced the transfer of its top defender Tuesday.

Ciman has been the centerpiece of the MLS expansion club's defensive efforts, earning an All-Star selection. The Belgian also scored the first goal in LAFC's new Banc of California Stadium, getting the dramatic winner in a victory over Seattle.

But the 33-year-old Ciman's MLS contract ends this year, and LAFC coach Bob Bradley dropped him from the lineup last Friday against the LA Galaxy. Bradley said he felt Ciman wasn't focused on LAFC amid offers for his services arriving from Europe.

Ciman spent three seasons with the Montreal Impact before getting traded to LAFC last December.

Dijon finished 11th in Ligue 1 last season.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['El Catrin Muerto': Finding Solace in God, Skulls and Soccer]]>Tue, 28 Aug 2018 14:25:36 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Thumbnail81.jpg

Fans see him jumping up and down among a sea of people at the Banc of California Stadium. Clad in all black, face painted like a skull, a blazer and top hat complete his outfit. He hoists and waves a staff affixed with a golden skull as he cheers on the Los Angeles Football Club.

Edgar Contreras is a 28-year-old youth minister and confirmation coordinator for the Los Angeles Archdioceses by day, and "El Catrin Muerto" by night.

"I started to dress up and I would go to the games and people are excited," Contreras says, his face beaming. "They look at you and they're like, 'Hey could I take a picture?' Yeah, of course, why wouldn't I want to take a picture? Any time anyone asks for a picture, I'm more than happy to take them."

But this alter ego doesn't tell only the tale of a super fan. For Contreras, the character he assumes at soccer games carries a much deeper meaning, a connection between himself in this world and his 3-year-old brother in the afterlife.

Then 13, Contreras remembers getting called into his school's front office. He could immediately sense something was off. The school nurse was holding the phone and his mother was on the line with serious news to share.

She wouldn't be picking him up that day. His little brother, on his first day of preschool, had darted into traffic and into the path of an oncoming car. Now she was at the hospital, where the young boy lay unconscious.

Contreras remembers the trip back home from school. As he looked down from atop his bicycle, a sense of panic filled his body. The season was turning and the brown leaves on the ground morphed into droplets of blood as they whizzed by under his wheels.

Contreras struggles to keep his composure as he recalls eventually walking into the hospital room and laying eyes on his brother. In that moment, he could do nothing but hug they boy's tiny body.

"You see someone that's filled with so much life, and then to see them be so defeated and not be able to do much but just sit there and lay there, that was really tough to see," Contreras says, tears filling his eyes.

That precocious little boy who loved pizza and one day stared down his mother, hand on hips, angry that she had "eaten" him after seeing a picture of her pregnant belly - him inside of it - now lay motionless and silent on a hospital bed, wires and tubes extruding from his body.

For 72 hours machines kept him alive, but after that the family had to take him off life support.

Contreras was not in the room when his brother passed, but his mother later described the moment to him: The boy looked up, took a deep breath, and then passed from this world to the next.

The family buried his body soon thereafter. Overcome by grief, all Contreras could do was seek answers to a singular question: why did his brother have to die?

It was with that question hovering over his head that Contreras entered the Catholic Church's confirmation program.

"God came in at the right time because I needed that support," he says. "We're gonna reunite eventually. Our souls are gonna be together. I can one day see my brother again," Contreras thought at the time.

That encounter with God at such an uncertain yet formative time has had a deep and long-lasting impact.

For many, the thought of a youth minister assuming the role of a skeleton among a sea of revelers at a soccer game might seem a bit puzzling. For Contreras, though, there is no contradiction at all in his "El Catrin Muerto" alter ego.

A cross painted on his forehead connects him to his faith, and the imagery of the skull itself for him signifies not death but a celebration of life and, by extension, a connection to his brother.

When he gets into costume at LAFC games and kids pass around his staff and ask to take pictures, it's as if his brother is still at his side.

"I like doing it because I feel in a way I'm taking a picture with my brother at the age that he was," Contreras says, his voice rising slightly with excitement. "He would be 17 years old right now, so I always look at the kids and it's like, 'Oh dude, that's my little brother."

Contreras still keeps an altar for his brother, a piñata of Spiderman - his favorite superhero - standing behind a framed picture of his smiling face, eternally 3 years old.

All these years after his passing, Contreras' love and devotion to his brother has not wavered. The visits to the cemetery have not stopped. Sometimes, he sits there and eats pizza with him.

Kneeling over the gravesite, Contreras kisses the plaque emblazoned with the boy's face. His body may be gone, but underneath the grass and dirt his bones remain.

"The idea that no matter what, that skull is still there, that's what I want to remember: my brother, like he's still alive, he's still here, he's still with me. He's still walking with me," Contreras says.



Photo Credit: Jeff Mercado]]>
<![CDATA[Ceremonial First Pitches at Dodger Stadium]]>Mon, 03 Sep 2018 06:36:23 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/181*120/AP_18245768070642.jpgFrom the adorable Kershaw siblings to a determined looking Danny Trejo and the family of Jackie Robinson, we have a collection of some of the best ceremonial first pitches at Dodger Stadium.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Turner and Machado Knock in 7 Runs as Dodgers Sweep]]>Sun, 26 Aug 2018 17:43:42 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/196*120/MachadoHomer.png

How sweep it is.

Justin Turner and Manny Machado drove in all seven runs as the Los Angeles Dodgers swept a three-game series against the San Diego Padres, 7-3, on Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium.

Turner tied a career-high with five RBI and Machado hit a two-run homer as the Dodgers went from being the dustpan to the broom this week at the Ravine.

It was the Dodgers' seventh sweep this season.

Hyun-Jin Ryu (4-1) gave up 11 hits in his 5 2/3 innings, but held the Padres to two runs.

"I did give up a lot of hits, but I was able to control the damage," said Ryu of his start. "I wish I could have gone 6 or 7 innings like what is expected from a starter, but at least I kept the game pretty close and gave us a chance to win."

Ryu did most of his damage at the plate, where he went 2-for-2 with a run scored for his third mult-hit game of his career and first since July 2, 2014.

"I told him good pitching, better hitting," joked Turner of Ryu. "Ryu has always handled the bat well. He takes good swings and obviously helped himself a lot today."

Ryu also told reporters after the game that Turner told him in the dugout that he thought he was a pretty good hitting pitcher. 

The Padres gave left-hander Robbie Erlin (3-4) the early lead with a solo home run from Franmil Reyes in the second and Hunter Renfroe's RBI single in the third.

Turner tied it up with a two-run double in the fifth. Machado added his 31st home run of the season, and his seventh in 35 games with the Dodgers. Machado had a three-run homer a night earlier and has now homered in back-to-back games four times this season.

"That's what we hope to do every time, but it doesn't always work out that way," Turner said of the 1-2 punch of he and Machado in the lineup. "Since he's flipped us around, Manny is comfortable in the three-hole, and I'm comfortable hitting anywhere in the lineup. As long as we win ball games, it doesn't matter where anyone is."

After a pair of walks and a wild pitch, Turner drove in two more in the sixth with a single to left off reliever Robert Stock. He tied his career-high for RBIs with a run-scoring double in the eighth. It's the fifth time he's driven in five runs in one game.

"I tried to relax and get a good pitch to hit and hit it hard somewhere," said Turner of his day. "I found a couple holes and obviously I'm happy with the results."

Renfroe completed the Padres scoring with a solo home run in the ninth off reliever Yimi Garcia. It was his 15th homer of the season.

"If we tacked on another run, that's why we went with Yimi," said Roberts who had both Garcia and Kenta Maeda up in the pen before the ninth inning. 

The Padres have lost five consecutive games, all on the road, tied for their third-longest losing streak of the season. They have lost 12 of 16 against the Dodgers. 

Erlin went 4 2/3 innings for San Diego, allowing four runs on eight hits and a walk, striking out three. 

The victory kept the third-place Dodgers 2½ games back of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League West. 

TRAINER'S ROOM

Padres: As he ran from second to third base Saturday night, 3B Wil Myers was drilled on his side by a Renfroe line drive. Myers was an automatic out, but remained in the game and started Sunday. The play likely cost the Padres a run in the eventual 5-4, 12-inning loss to the Dodgers.

Dodgers: The Dodgers are off Monday and when they resume play Tuesday at Texas expect to have both RHP Ross Stripling (back) and OF Joc Pederson (knee) back. Stripling is expected to join the bullpen. Pederson did pinch hit Saturday and Sunday, but was held out of the lineup. . Struggling closer Kenley Jansen (three consecutive blown saves) was given Sunday off.

UP NEXT

Padres: After an off-day Monday, the Padres return home with RHP Jacob Nix (1-2, 6.17) scheduled to start against the Mariners. In his first three starts, he has a groundout percentage of 61.0 percent. 

Dodgers: After their off-day, RHP Walker Buehler (6-4, 2.96) is scheduled to start Tuesday at Texas. The rookie threw seven scoreless innings and struck out a career-high nine in his last start against the Cardinals.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Victor Decolongon/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Turner Powers Dodgers After Blackout]]>Sat, 25 Aug 2018 23:14:19 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/JT-Walk-Off-Gatorade.png

This victory is powered by "RedTurn2."

For the second time in less than a month, the power at Dodger Stadium went out causing a nearly 20-minute delay in the game. 

Thankfully, good things come to those that wait.

Justin Turner blooped in the game-winning, RBI double on the first pitch he saw after the power outage in the 12th inning, and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Diego Padres, 5-4, for a walk-off victory on Saturday night.

Manny Machado and Max Muncy each hit their 30th home run of the season for the Dodgers as they overcame another blown save from closer Kenley Jansen.

"It sucks having a blown save," said Jansen after the game. "The ball is running. The first one was a great pitch and the other happened to run too much to the plate and he hit it out. Bad luck. I'm close, just stay patient."

Robert Stock (0-1) walked Kemp in the bottom of the 12th. He advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Enrique Hernandez before the power went out. When it was restored, Turner delivered the game-winner, the fourth walk-off hit of his career.

The Dodgers later released a statement saying the outage was due to "a disruption in the city's power feed" to the ballpark.

Rookie Caleb Ferguson (4-2) earned the win two innings of scoreless relief.

"You had a left-right-left coming up and only a lefty on the bench. I felt that was a good runway for Fergie right there," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts of why he opted for Ferguson over more Kenta Maeda in the 11th inning. "He threw the ball well and cleared the pitcher's spot. I thought that was the right thing to do."

Jansen surrendered the lead in for the third straight time since coming off the disabled list with an irregular heart when he allowed a solo home run to Austin Hedges in the ninth. In his last three appearances (two blown saves), Jansen has allowed four home runs.

"Life. You can't control life. It was going so well and then reality hits you," said Jansen. "You just have to slow down and get back to it. They're [The Padres] not going to hit me."

Clayton Kershaw started and went eight strong innings for the Dodgers. He allowed seven hits and struck out nine with no walks.

"It was super weird," Kershaw said of the game overall. "We needed it though. We needed it bad, obviously. It doesn't really matter how you win, as long as you win and I'm thankful we pulled this out."

The Dodgers have won each of Kershaw's last 14 starts against San Diego, which according to STATS LLC, is the longest active streak by a starting pitcher versus a single opponent. Over that span, Kershaw is 10-0 with a 1.00 ERA.

San Diego picked up a solo home from outfielder Franmil Reyes, an RBI single from shortstop Freddy Galvis and an unearned run on Eric Hosmer's groundout, before Hedges delivered his 11th home of the season in the ninth.

The Padres lost their fourth straight.

Rookie Brett Kennedy went five innings for the Padres in his fourth career start. He allowed three runs on five hits and two walks, striking out five.

Machado hit a three-run homer in the first to give Kershaw the early lead. The shortstop entered the game hitless in his last nine at-bats and hitting .263 in his 33 games as a Dodger.

After Galvis' single in the third put the Padres on the board, Muncy delivered his solo home run in the seventh against reliever Matt Strahm.

Reyes' solo homer in the seventh and the unearned run in the eighth pulled the Padres within one.

Los Angeles completed their fourth walk-off win of the year, and first since last week against San Francisco. 

After getting swept by St. Louis, the Dodgers have now won two consecutive games and are within 2.5 games of Colorado and Arizona for first place in the National League West. 

"We all are watching the scoreboard," said Roberts after the game. "That's the fun of being in a pennant race, but our guys still have the ability to focus during the game."

INJURY NEWS

Padres: LHP Eric Lauer (strained forearm) threw 61 pitches in a rehab start for Triple-A El Paso Friday and is moving closer to rejoining the team. Padres manager Andy Green said Lauer's fastball got up to 95 mph. "And it had some jump on it," Green said. "All the secondary (pitches) had sharpness. We're moving closer to activating him."

Dodgers: RHP Ross Stripling (back) threw to hitters Saturday and is expected to be activated on Tuesday. OF Joc Pederson was out of the lineup with a bruised and strained left knee after fouling off a pitch on Friday. He did pinch-hit in the ninth and manager Dave Roberts said he is scheduled to start Tuesday. ... LHP Julio Urias, scheduled to be a Sept. 1 call-up, was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list and optioned to Class A Rancho Cucamonga. To make room for him, RHP Josh Fields (shoulder inflammation) was moved to the 60-day DL.

UP NEXT

Padres: LHP Robbie Erlin (2-3, 3.46 ERA) is scheduled to make his fifth consecutive start after spending most of the season as a reliever. He was 1-1 with a 2.05 ERA as a reliever. In his last four starts, he's gone 3-1 with a 3.43 ERA.

Dodgers: LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (3-1, 2.27) will make his third start since coming off the DL with a torn groin. In the 10 innings of his first two starts back, he has allowed three runs on seven hits in 10 innings, with 10 strikeouts and a walk.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: John McCoy/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Suh and Watt Suit Up as Rams Beat Texans]]>Sat, 25 Aug 2018 19:40:27 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/JJWattRams.png

Even after everything J.J. Watt has accomplished in football, he still relished the chance to walk on — and off — the field for his first game action since breaking his leg.

Todd Gurley, Jared Goff and the rest of the Los Angeles Rams' offense won't get any action at all in this preseason, but they insist they'll still be ready for the games that count.

Rookie John Kelly rushed for 64 yards and two touchdowns, and the Rams briefly debuted their new defensive stars in a 21-20 preseason victory over Watt and the Houston Texans on Saturday.

Watt started and made a tackle roughly 10 1/2 months after he got hurt in the Texans' fifth game last season. The chance to catch up with former defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was just a bonus on an exciting day for the veteran superstar.

"I liked that I came off (the field) under my own power," Watt said with a grin. "It's football. It's where I feel the most natural. It's where I feel at home."

Houston's first-team defense looked sharp, but the Rams' backup offensive players put together enough points to win it. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney were long finished by the time Nick Rose missed a 57-yard field goal at the gun in the Texans' first loss of the preseason.

"I mean, they didn't have Todd Gurley out there, or Jared Goff," Watt said. "But we flew around. We had fun. We did what we're supposed to do. We had three series and held them to 2 yards, and we got a pick. We'll take that. That's what we expect to do with their offensive all-stars sitting out."

The Texans were thrilled to see Watt looking healthy and happy.

"He's really worked hard to get back to where he's at right now," Houston coach Bill O'Brien said. "I think he's playing at a real high level, from what we've seen every single day. From what I could see today, the first-team defense went out there and did a nice job." 

Watt is a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, but he didn't get to see the current holder of the award. Aaron Donald is still deep in his second consecutive contract holdout from the Rams. 

Los Angeles' first-team defense also excelled despite Donald's continued absence. Ndamukong Suh and cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib all got their first action with the Rams early in the first quarter, and Suh managed to hit Deshaun Watson as the quarterback uncorked a long throw that was intercepted by Lamarcus Joyner on the Texans' second series. 

But the Rams rested 10 of their presumptive offensive starters for the third straight week, keeping the wraps on the team that led the NFL in scoring last season. The decision all but ensures Gurley and Goff will go into the regular season without taking a snap in a preseason game.

"When you balance the risk/reward, we felt like as a coaching staff this was going to be the best thing for us," Rams coach Sean McVay said. "You do have 10 of 11 starters returning (from last season). You don't take anything for granted ... (but) this is what we felt like is best for our football team. Might not be for everybody. Might be disagreements, but this is what we talked about as a coaching staff, and this is the decision we made."

Alfred Blue rushed for an early score for Houston, and Braxton Miller caught a TD pass from Brandon Weeden, who went 10 of 17 for 108 yards with an interception after Watson's brief action. Quan Bray caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from Joe Webb with 5:54 to play for the Texans, but Ejuan Price sacked Webb on the ensuing 2-point conversion attempt.

Rose's last-second kick was his second missed field goal as the Texans wait for Ka'imi Fairbairn to get healthy.

MANNION'S TURN

Pharoh Cooper caught a TD pass from Sean Mannion, who bounced back from an 0-for-5 start with a bad interception to Kareem Jackson. Mannion finished the first half with 10 consecutive completions, but he has been inconsistent in the preseason, raising some concern about the Rams' backup situation behind Goff.

ROOKIE RUNNER

Kelly, the Rams' sixth-round pick from Tennessee, continued his breakout preseason in Gurley's absence with another impressive game. He finished Los Angeles' 19-play drive that consumed 12:06 of the third quarter with a spinning 15-yard TD run.

SAM'S STEPS

Sam Shields made an interception in the veteran cornerback's next huge step in his comeback from multiple concussions. Shields missed most of the past two seasons and was dropped by the Green Bay Packers during his laborious return from at least four recorded concussions. He picked off Weeden's pass late in the first quarter and returned it 13 yards before celebrating on the sideline with teammates who understood the importance of the moment.

ANTHEM UPDATE

There were no apparent protests during the national anthem. 

INJURIES

Texans: WR Will Fuller sat out with a minor hamstring injury. ... LB Ben Heeney left the field on a cart during the first half. He has been fighting injuries in training camp.

Rams: DL Ethan Westbrooks had a strong first half before getting shaken up on a play shortly before halftime. He went to the locker room early. ... LB Matt Longacre completed his long comeback from injury by starting for Los Angeles. He hurt his back late last season and then struggled with a biceps injury in training camp.

UP NEXT

Texans: Finish the preseason at home against the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday.

Rams: Finish the preseason at the New Orleans Saints on Thursday.

If you cannot view the video scroll down and click "VIEW FULL MOBILE SITE" below.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-Laker Nick Young Arrested in Hollywood]]>Sat, 25 Aug 2018 13:17:47 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NickYoungfile.jpg

Officers arrested former Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors guard Nick Young on suspicion of obstruction and delaying a police investigation during a routine traffic stop in Hollywood, police said Saturday.

Officers pulled over the Cleveland High School graduate, 33, about 11:45 p.m. Friday in the area of Hollywood and Cahuenga boulevards for expired vehicle registration and an illegal window tint, said Officer Mike Lopez of the Los Angeles Police Department's Media Relations Section.

Young was uncooperative and was eventually ordered out of his vehicle and handcuffed to "de-escalate the situation," Lopez said.

"He was processed at the Hollywood jail and cited out," he said, adding that the vehicle was impounded.

It was not immediately known if Young was the lone occupant, and Lopez said he had no description of Young's vehicle.

Young, a Los Angeles Laker from 2013-17, won an NBA championship with the Warriors in 2018. He is currently a free agent.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[D. Mountain Delivers For Dodgers]]>Sat, 25 Aug 2018 14:38:22 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/DMountainDelivers.png

If D Mountain will not come to the Dodgers, the Dodgers must go to D Mountain.

Rich Hill AKA "D Mountain," allowed two hits over six innings, Chris Taylor AKA "CT3", Justin Turner AKA "RedTurn2" and Max Muncy AKA "Munce" all homered, and the Los Angeles Dodgers routed the San Diego Padres 11-1 on Friday night to snap a three-game skid.

Hill (6-4) retired his first 12 batters, seven of them on strikeouts, before Hunter Renfroe doubled leading off the fifth.

"As the game went on the feel started getting better," said Hill who was perfect through the first four innings. "Everything needs to be really tightened up as we move on here through September. Things get amplified and you wan't to be as close to perfection as you can be."

Hill added another strikeout and had one walk on 90 pitches in his first win since Aug. 7 at Oakland. The only other hit the veteran left-hander gave up was a triple to Freddy Galvis in the sixth.

In his last seven starts since the All-Star break, Hill has been sensational, going 4-0 with a 2.13 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP over that span.

"I don't pitch to the score at all," said Hill of hows he managed to stay consistent from game-to-game recently. "The creativity is something I try to tell everyone who will listen that you need to have as a pitcher."

At the dish, D. Mountain also drove in his second run of the year with an RBI single in the fifth inning, finishing the game 1-for-3 with a run scored.

"I closed my eyes," joked Hill of his RBI. "It's a predetermined swing and he hit my barrel. I'll take it."

The last-place Padres proved the antidote that the slumping Dodgers needed after scoring just six runs while getting swept in three games by St. Louis. Los Angeles had lost nine of its last 12 and 10 of 14, but the victory brought them back to .500 at home (33-33).

The Dodgers pounded out 13 hits and scored in each of the first five innings.

Taylor homered on his first pitch from Clayton Richard (7-11) in the third. Turner added a two-run shot on Richard's first pitch to him in the fourth, extending the lead to 7-0.

"It was good to get out early and get some runs for Rich or D. Mountain," said Turner after the game. "A lot has been said about hitting with runners in scoring position, and it was good to get that monkey off our back tonight. Hopefully we can settle down and relax and continue to take good at-bats in those situations."

Turner drove in three runs in the game and has been on a tear in the month of August, batting .392 with 17 runs, seven soubles, one triple, five homers and 13 RBI. 

"I think offensive is contagious," added Turner. "If you look at the way our offense has gone all year long, when it goes good early it goes really good, and when there's opportunities lost early in the game, it almost seems like it kind of builds up that anticipation or that anxiety. I think its something most guys are aware that we need to do a batter job."

Richard gave up seven runs — six earned — and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings. He struck out three and walked two.

Pinch-hitter Muncy slugged his team-high 29th homer, a two-run shot that made it 11-0, in the seventh. The Dodgers have an NL West-leading 179 homers this season.

Muncy has reached base saely in all 11 games against the Padres this season and is batting .357 with nine runs, four homers and seven RBI against San Diego.

The Dodgers scored four runs in the second on Cody "Belli" Bellinger's RBI single, Brian "Bull" Dozier's RBI double down the third-base line and Turner's RBI single.

Bellinger's RBI double and Hill's RBI single extended the lead to 9-0 in the fifth.

The Dodgers' bullpen completed the four-hitter. Yimi Garcia gave up two hits and allowed the Padres' lone run on Galvis' RBI double in the eighth.

The Padres have lost nine of 11 and fell to 4-10 against their NL West rival this season, marking the eighth consecutive year they've lost the season series to the Dodgers.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Padres: 3B Wil Myers returned to the lineup, going 0 for 4. He had just one at-bat in the last two games after he was hit in the face by a groundball in batting practice Wednesday.

Dodgers: RHP Daniel Hudson (right forearm tightness) went on the disabled list. ... RHP Ross Stripling had his scheduled throwing session pushed back to Saturday, when he will face hitters for one or two innings. ... RHP Garcia was reinstated from the DL after missing 43 games with right forearm inflammation.

UP NEXT

RHP Brett Kennedy (0-2, 8.36 ERA) makes his fourth career start for San Diego and his second against a divisional foe. LHP Clayton Kershaw (6-5, 2.40) makes his 34th career start against the Padres. He is 18-6 with a 1.89 ERA against them, while holding opposing batters to a .186 average while averaging 9.52 strikeouts per nine innings.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Celebrities Flock to Dodger Stadium for Ping Pong Tourney]]>Thu, 30 Aug 2018 20:33:22 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/08-24-18-Kershaw.jpg

I'm seeing stars, I'm freaking out. 

Those were likely the thoughts of many of the fans in attendance at Dodger Stadium on Thursday night. 

No, the recently reeling Dodgers weren't involved in a stressful game of America's pastime, but they were playing on the field, albeit with paddles.

It was the sixth annual Clayton Kershaw Charity Event known as "Ping Pong 4 Purpose," and featured not only the Dodgers players and coaches, but some of Hollywood's biggest celebrities, athletes, reality stars, and musicians.

Matthew McConaughey, Jamie Foxx, Bryan Cranston, Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Eric Stonestreet, Justin Hartley, Kunal Nayyar, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Josh Henderson, Tyler Toffoli, Oscar De La Hoya, James Worthy, Marcellus Wiley and more, were all in attendance to help raise money for the three-time Cy Young Award winners charity known as Kershaw's Challenge.

The annual event raises funds that help organizations that assist vulnerable and at-risk children. This year, Kershaw's Challenge chose the Dream Center and just keep livin' foundation programs in the Los Angeles area as beneficiaries.

The just keep livin' foundation is Matthew and Camila McConaughey's charity as the couple partnered up with Clayton and Ellen Kershaw to help many local students at Fremont High School in Los Angeles who are in need.

"That's where the money is going, to the Dream Center, which I think is really cool," said Kershaw during an introduction for the event. "There's a lot of kids there that will have a playground to play on, which is awesome.

Current Dodger players and coaches like manager Dave Roberts, Brian Dozier, Manny Machado, Justin Turner, Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Chris Taylor, Yasmani Grandal, Cody Bellinger, Rich Hill and more were all partnered with other celebrities in a single elimination tournament.

"This is a cool part of baseball. We never set out to do any of this. It started with one girl in Africa [Hope, a Zambian orphan embraced by Ellen] and turned into this. Sometimes, baseball opens up really cool avenues."

Kershaw, the guest of honor, channeled his inner Olivia Newton John workout video from the 1980s, arriving in pink sweats, a pastel colored jacket and goggles for the event.

Kershaw predicted he would win the event this year after he had been unable to participate in the tournament the past few years with various back injuries. He was partnered with catcher Austin Barnes, but the duo fell in the semifials.

A father son duo, who donated money to participate in the event, ended up taking home the crown this year, and the title of best ping-ping players for Kershaw's Challenge.

Below is a mashup we made featuring arrivals, interviews, and action from the amazing event sponsored by UCLA, Mattel, Children's Hospital, SPIN, STIGA, and HiHo Cheeseburger.

Presenting sponsors included TOMS, Levi's, American Airlines, Boston Consulting, Diageo, Fifth Wave Automotive Group, Goldman Sachs, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Security Benefit, Spectrum, and Under Armour.

Other key partners include Hidden Garden, Lounge Appeal, SJM Radio, Art of the Game, MS Event Production, Town and Country Event Rentals, 108 stitches, and Barry’s Tickets.

 

If you cannot view the video scroll down and click "VIEW FULL MOBILE SITE" below.



Photo Credit: Getty Images for Kershaw's Chall
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Make The Choice Today!]]>Thu, 23 Aug 2018 22:37:57 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/CHOICE_LAST_PITCH_1200x675_1305495107981.jpg

This is your opportunity to be on TV! Think you know LA sports? Fred Roggin wants to hear your opinions. Come strong and you could be competing to become the newest panelist on Going Roggin. Fred will tell you how to enter, just do it before Monday's deadline!]]>
<![CDATA[Goldschmidt Homers As Diamondbacks Beat Angels 5-1]]>Thu, 23 Aug 2018 07:36:00 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/191*120/08.22.18_Angels-Diamondbacks.jpg

The Arizona Diamondbacks have been baseball's best first-inning team and they added to those numbers with Paul Goldschmidt's two-run homer Wednesday night.

The way Clay Buchholz has been pitching, it was more than enough.

Goldschmidt homered to set the all-time mark at Chase Field, Buchholz pitched seven scoreless innings and the Diamondbacks earned a 5-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

"It seems like every day. This team is pretty amazing when you look at the runs scored in the first inning," Buchholz said.

The Diamondbacks have a knack for jumping on teams early, leading the majors in first-inning runs with 109.

Goldschmidt increased the total with his two-run shot off Odrisamer Despaigne (2-2), passing Luis Gonzalez with his 96th homer at Chase Field. Goldschmidt had three hits to extend his hitting streak to 14 games and has reached safely in 27 straight.

Buchholz (7-2) yielded four hits and struck out seven with no walks for his eighth straight game of at least five innings and three runs or fewer allowed.

David Peralta also hit a two-run shot to homer for the third straight game. The Diamondbacks have won six of seven to maintain a 1 1/2-game lead in the NL West over Colorado.

"It all started with Clay tonight," Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. "He goes out and gives us seven scoreless and really set the tone for us for the course of this game."

The injury-depleted Angels had five hits — two by Rene Rivera — and lost for the fifth time in six games.

"I thought we had some pretty good looks at him (Buchholz), hit some balls hard, but he got in his rhythm and started to change some speeds midway through," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

Buchholz has been sharp the past two months, entering Wednesday's game 5-1 with 2.00 ERA over seven starts, including his 10th career complete game against San Diego last Thursday. He kept the Angels off balance most of the night, allowing three singles and a double.

Despaigne gave up five runs and seven hits in four innings against Texas on Friday in his second start since being acquired from Miami on Aug. 14 for cash. The right-hander served up Goldschmidt's first-inning homer and a run-scoring single to Nick Ahmed in the fourth.

Despaigne allowed three runs and five hits in four innings.

"He made a couple of mistakes: One to Goldschmidt and the other one to Ahmed," Rivera said. "Besides that he was OK. His pitch count was a little high but overall he did OK."

PUJOLS' PLAY

Angels 1B Albert Pujols made a spectacular play in the sixth inning to take a hit away from Steven Souza Jr. Souza hit a ball off the end of the bat down the line and Pujols made a diving stop, tossing the ball to pitcher Ty Buttrey as he was rolling over to get the out.

PERALTA'S RUN

Peralta has been one of the best hitters in baseball in August, going 21 for 51 with eight homers and 14 RBIs in his past 12 games. He has six homers in nine games and 25 on the season after going 2 for 4 against the Angels.

"I keep saying it, he's on his way to having a special year," Lovullo said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Angels: 2B David Fletcher was replaced by Kaleb Cowart in the fourth after fouling a pitch off his left knee in the top half. Scioscia said Fletcher is day-to-day with a bruise and hopes to have him back Friday against Houston.

UP NEXT

Angels: LHP Andrew Heaney is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two starts against the Astros going into Friday's game.

Diamondbacks: RHP Zack Godley is 4-0 with a 3.26 ERA over his last eight starts heading into Friday's home game against Seattle.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Kobe Bryant turns 40: Kobe through the years]]>Thu, 23 Aug 2018 08:26:21 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-102187223.jpg

Happy 40th birthday, Kobe! The Los Angeles Lakers legend has won the heart of many and built a legacy in the NBA. 

Take a look at the "Black Mamba" over the years.

And from the court to our ears, Bryant's "Granity Studios" announced its partnership with Candence13 for its first scripted family-friendly podcast series. The youth sports-focused podcast called "The Punies" is set to premiere on Saturday, August 25, 2018. 

"Having spent my whole life playing basketball, there were many times I wasn't on the winning team," said Bryant. "However, those experiences ultimately proved the most valuable because they taught me perseverance, determination, and teamwork. As the father of athletes myself, I created 'The Punies' so that these stories will not only entertain the whole family but inspire young listeners to reach their full potential." 

The series will make history being the first youth sports podcast in the market. 

"'The Punies' is another example of creative storytelling that will capture the imagination and hearts of children and parents alike in this innovative, important and impactful podcast series that will capture learning about perseverance and a willingness not to fail at its core," said Chris Corcoran, Cadence13's Chief Content Officer. "As a company looking to break new ground and strive for excellence with premium content, C13 is proud to align with someone who is so intensely and incredibly dedicated to his craft and storytelling. We are excited to welcome Kobe to podcasting with this groundbreaking series." 

The podcast will be readily available for easy listening on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Spotify and iHeart Radio.

NBC4's Kelcey Henderson contributed to this story.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Bullpen Blows Late Lead Again as Cardinals Sweep]]>Wed, 22 Aug 2018 23:46:03 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/222*120/KenleyAllowsAnotherHomer.png

It's starting to sound like a broken record.

Paul DeJong hit a go-ahead, two-run homer off Kenley Jansen in the ninth inning, lifting the St. Louis Cardinals to a 3-1 victory, and a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.

The Cardinals' eighth straight road win helped them improve to 17-4 this month, the most wins in the majors. They've homered in 15 straight games, one off the current season mark of 16 in a row by Philadelphia. 

St. Louis remained 2½ games behind the NL Central-leading Cubs.

For Jansen, it was a familiar ending.

The All-Star closer, who became a father for the third time earlier in the day, gave up consecutive homers to Jedd Gyorko and Matt Carpenter in the series opener Monday. That was Jansen's first game back after missing time because of an irregular heartbeat.

"It's a happy, but bitter day. Last two days it wasn't my day," said Jansen. "Just got to move on from and it and get ready for Friday. I'm just going to go out there and keep battling."

This time, Gyorko singled off Jansen (0-5) and DeJong followed with a homer to left-center that gave the Cardinals their first lead of the game. 

"I tried to get it up and away, and it was up and middle. He got me," said Jansen. "I'm very frustrated. Life sometimes is a fairytale. Everything was going well and I just got stopped with AFib (atrial fibrillation), and here I am just got to figure out how to get back out of this mess."

The Dodgers went quietly in the ninth, with Jordan Hicks striking out Cody Bellinger, Brian Dozier and Chris Taylor to earn his fifth save.

"Tonight he had better command than he did the other night," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts of Hicks. "It's real velocity and for him to command the ball down in the zone to the glove side, it's tough. It gets on you quick. He was a lot better than he was the other night. He was."

Dakota Hudson (4-0) got the win with one inning of relief. 

Los Angeles loaded the bases in the eighth, but Manny Machado grounded out to end the inning. The Dodgers stranded 30 runners in the three-game series and were swept for just the third time this season, and first since May 13 against the Reds.

"The execution has to be there, but you can't force the execution," said Roberts of the hitting with runners in scoring position in the series. "We had a couple opportunities, not too many, you can hope/expect, but right now it's just not happening for us."

It was the first sweep for the Cardinals over the Dodgers since July 2010, and their first sweep at Dodger Stadium since July of 2006.

Pinch-hitter Tyler O'Neill homered in the top of the eighth off Scott Alexander, tying it 1-all.

Jack Flaherty and Walker Buehler dueled in a stellar matchup of rookie pitchers, although neither figured in the decision.

"Walker pitched a tremendous game and went pitch-to-pitch with Flaherty," said Roberts. "He put is a position to win a baseball game and we weren't able to get it done. We have to find a way to win."

Flaherty held the Dodgers hitless through 5 1/3 innings. Joc Pederson broke through after Buehler struck out leading off the sixth, slugging his 19th homer to right field for a 1-0 lead. 

Flaherty gave up just that one hit in six innings. The 22-year-old right-hander from nearby Burbank struck out 10 and walked two on 101 pitches.

Buehler scattered three hits over seven innings, struck out nine and walked two on 104 pitches.

"When I missed, I missed in the right spots," Buehler said of his outing and career-high nine strikeouts. "When I missed it wasn't in the middle."

In his last five starts, Buehler has been virtually unhittable, allowing just four runs for a 1.11 ERA with 38 strikeouts and nine walks over that span.

"In this age of baseball I think that's kind of an old-school number," said Buehler of his ERA over his last five starts. "There's some stuff I look at, WHIP is a big one. If you look at guys like Kershaw and Scherzer and these guys that are the elite of the elite, and there WHIP is low. If you don't let people on, they don't score."

The Dodgers have lost three in a row and they dropped four and a half games behind NL West-leading Arizona in pursuit of a sixth straight division title. 

Despite the loss, the Dodgers became the first team in the Major Leagues to surpass the three-million mark in attendance this season (3,036,253). It is the seventh consecutive season they've passed the three-million milestone.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Cardinals: Placed OF Marcell Ozuna on the 10-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation after he received a cortisone injection. INF Yairo Munoz (right wrist sprain) was activated from the DL. 

Dodgers: LHP Julio Urias (left shoulder surgery) came out of his 2 1/3-inning outing at Class A Rancho Cucamonga "feeling good," according to manager Dave Roberts. Urias will get three days off before the team decides where he goes next.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: After getting Thursday off in Denver, RHP Miles Mikolas (13-3, 2.80 ERA) starts the series opener against the Rockies. His victories are the most by a first-year St. Louis pitcher since Kyle Lohse in 2008.

Dodgers: After a day off, LHP Rich Hill (5-4, 3.73) starts the series opener at home Friday against San Diego. He's 4-4 with a 3.44 ERA vs. the Padres while holding their batters to a .199 average.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ranking Dodgers Nicknames for Player's Weekend ]]>Wed, 22 Aug 2018 18:06:16 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/204*120/Dodgers+Player%27s+Weekend.png

This weekend at Dodger Stadium will look a little different.

For the second consecutive year, Major League Baseball will bring back the "Player's Weekend," a three-day celebration for the players that features colorful, non traditional uniforms and hats featuring nicknames on the back and specialty player patches.

Additionally, players across all 30 MLB teams will be allowed to wear custom equipment for the weekend such as cleats, bats, socks, wristbands and more.

Across the league, some of our favorite nicknames include: rookie Shane Bieber of the Cleveland Indians who chose the nickname, "Not Justin." 

Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox chose "The Conductor," Joey Gallo of the Texas Rangers is "Pico de Gallo," and Brad Boxberger of the Arizona Diamondbacks is going with a box and hamburger emoji.

The Dodgers nicknames were announced last week, and we decided to rank them and explain some of them for you.

Top Tier Nicknames:

Walker Buehler: "FERRIS"

Buehler is pitching on Wednesday against the Cardinals, and will not start during the Player's Weekend Series meaning it will be "Ferris" Buehler's Day Off.

Rich Hill: "D Mountain"

This might be one of the better nicknames we've seen. After choosing the name of his son, "Brice," last season, Hill as evolved into a new pitcher in 2018. Sporting a beard, Rich, aka "Richard" becomes "Dick" and instead of his last name "Hill," he has morphed into a mighty mountain, hence the name, "D. Mountain."

Austin Barnes: "SAM"

Sticking with his rookie-year nickname, the story comes from when the team sent Barnes on a taco run in 2016, and when he got back, A.J. Ellis joked that Chase Utley didn't know Barnes' name. Utley joked that it was Sam, and so the name stuck.

Chase Utley: "Silver Fox"

Utley, who is also known as Kiké Hernandez's adopted father, has been called the "Silver Fox," for the past three seasons by fans and media alike. This is the final year of Utley's career and the last time you'll be able to see him sport the "Silver Fox" jersey.

Ross Stripling: "Chicken Strip"

Originally, Stripling chose the nickname "Chicken Strip" for Player's Weekend last season because he thought other players were going to have fun with it. He's known by a lot of nicknames, but since he chose Chicken Strip, the name has stuck and now he's embraced it.

Yasiel Puig: "WILD HORSE"

Broadcaster Vin Scully said, "The Wild Horse is loose," in 2014 as Puig raced to a triple.

Manny Machado: "EL MINISTRO"

Machado was "El Ministro de la Defensa" for his defense heroics during the 2017 World Baseball Classic, and he decided to keep it.

Brian Dozier: "BULL"

"Last year I went with the generic 'Doze,' but this year, I developed the nickname back in college, the 'bulldozer,' and it stuck a little bit with the Twins," Dozier said

Pedro Baez: "LA MULA"

"The Mule" in Spanish, Baez said he got it for his work ethic last year, and he's sticking with it again this year.

JT Chargois: "SHAG"

Chargois' last name is pronounced "Shag-Wah," and he is known around the clubhouse as "Shag," or "Shaggy."

Yasmani Grandal: "YAZMANIAN DEVIL"

Grandal has been compared to the Warner Bros. character the Tazmanian Devil throughout his career, and even has the cartoon character on his bats.

Second Tier Nicknames:

Justin Turner: "REDTURN2"

Justin combined the nickname "Red," with his number when he used to play second base for the New York Mets. It's also a phrase for middle infielders, "Turn 2," not to mention his social media handle.

John Axford: "AX MAN"

Chris Taylor: "CT3"

Julio Urias: "EL CULICHI"

Urias is from Culiacan, Mexico, which is where the nickname "El Culichi" orginates.

Pat Venditte: "P-VITTY"

A play on "P-Diddy," but we feel the ambidextrous "switch pitcher," could have come up with something more creative given his unique abilities on the mound.

Kenley Jansen: "KENLEYFORNIA"

Kenley changed his nickname after a fan sent him a custom made flag of California that instead read, "Kenleyfornia." The Dodgers' closer now hangs the flag above his locker and chose the nickname as a tribute to the fans. They would also have loved "California Love," Jansen's entrance music as well.

Hyun-Jin Ryu: "MONSTER"

Ryu decided to continue his nickname that arose during his rookie year.

Dennis Santana: "ANFERNEE"

Santana's middle name will replace his last name during Players' Weekend.

Joc Pederson: "KING"

"I really don't know," Pederson said. "Some things just stick."

Zac Rosscup: "CUP"

Kenta Maeda: "MAEKEN"

According to Maeda himself, "Maeken" is the same as his initials in Japan. So instead of "KM," they say "Maeken."

Third Tier Nicknames:

Scott Alexander: "SCOTTIE BOY"

Cody Bellinger: "BELLI"

Daniel Hudson: "HUDDY"

Enrique Hernandez: "KIKÉ"

Corey Seager: "SEAGS"

Erik Goeddel: "GOODY"

Tony Cingrani: "GRANI"

Alex Wood: "AWOOD"

Dylan Floro: "F LORO"

Josh Fields: "FIELDS"

Max Muncy: "MUNCE"

Clayton Kershaw: "KERSH"

Matt Kemp: "MATT"

Players weekend is Aug. 24-26, the Dodgers will be home that weekend to face the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium.




Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cardinals Send Dodgers Further Down NL West Standings]]>Tue, 21 Aug 2018 23:43:54 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/211*120/Dodgers+Crushed+by+Cardinals.png

The Dodgers have run into a buzz saw. 

Yadier Molina and Marcell Ozuna each slugged two-run homers, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 5-2, on Tuesday night to improve to a major league-best 16-4 in August.

The Cardinals have homered in 14 straight games. They won the opener 5-3 on consecutive ninth-inning homers by Jedd Gyorko and Matt Carpenter. The victory clinched their eighth consecutive series, equaling their longest streak since April 10-May 7, 2015.

"Obviously they're a great team over there," said Dodgers' shortstop Manny Machado who also homered in the game. "We haven't been doing our job. We'll get them at the end of the day."

St. Louis climbed to 2 ½ games back of the NL Central-leading Cubs.

Jose Martinez tied it with an RBI single in the third. Molina followed with a two-run shot to right center to make it 3-1, snapping an 0-for-17 skid and leaving him one hit shy of his 11th straight season with 100 or more.

With two outs in the seventh, Daniel Hudson hit Tyler O'Neill, setting the stage for Ozuna's two-run homer that extended the Cardinals' lead to 5-1.

"Very uncharacteristic," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts of Hudson. "I thought it was a good runway for him, but two hit two guys and leave a lazy breaking ball to Ozuna, Huddy is frustrated too."

The Dodgers' runs came in the second when Daniel Poncedeleon hit Yasiel Puig with the bases loaded and in the seventh on Manny Machado's 29th homer.

"We've been having some quality at-bats," Machado said of the team overall. "We're grinding. We know what we need to do. We just have to play better baseball. This shall pass." 

In his second major league start, Poncedeleon allowed one run and five hits in four innings. He struck out a career-high eight and walked one pitching not far from his hometown of Anaheim.

Cardinals reliever Carlos Martinez got hit in the upper body by a comebacker from Joc Pederson in the eighth. Martinez was knocked down and writhed on the ground as his teammates and a trainer ran to him. He soon got up and walked off under his own power as the inning ended.

Defensively, the Cardinals had a series of miscues in the outfield, all of them involving right fielder O'Neill.

He collided with second baseman Kolten Wong as they chased Yasmani Grandal's single in the second. On the next play, O'Neill dived and badly missed a single by Chris Taylor that loaded the bases for the Dodgers.

Also in the second, center fielder Harrison Bader clearly called for a high fly ball hit by Pederson, but O'Neill came charging in with his glove in the air. Bader still managed to make the catch.

In the fifth, Bader caught Justin Turner's long fly to right center but came dangerously close to colliding with O'Neill, who had his hands on his hips looking at Bader.

Turner had his Major League leading 14 consecutive game hitting streak snapped in the loss. 

Luke Weaver (7-11) got the victory, allowing one run and three hits in 2 1/3 innings of relief.

Bud Norris pitched the ninth for his 26th save.

Hyun-Jin Ryu (3-1) gave up three runs and four hits in four innings, struck out four and walked one.

"I don't think he was as sharp as his first time," Roberts said of Ryu. "The pitch to Molina was a fastball he just missed up. I thought he was good, but not as sharp as he was the first time."

Through the first two games of the series, the Dodgers have stranded 25 men on base, and are 3-for-21 with runners in scoring position.

"We're just going through something right now offensively," said Roberts. "We get a guy against the ropes and don't cash in. We're looking for that big hit, and it doesn't feel good. It's a little contagious. We expect these guys to come out of it. They're going to hit, it just doesn't feel good right now." 

The loss dropped the Dodgers 3 1/2 games behind the NL West-leading Diamondbacks, the farthest Los Angeles has been out of first place since July 1. The Dodgers fell to 32-32 at home.

"It doesn't matter if we're tied right now, or up, or back three down," said Roberts. "We have to play better baseball and win baseball games. Because of the schedule and who we play, it's irrelevant."

The loss was also the fourth consecutive defeat suffered at the hands of the Cardinals, the longest losing streak against the Red Birds since Sept. 2012.

KOLTEN LOOKS GOLDEN

Wong made a stellar play for the first out of the ninth inning. The second baseman laid out in shallow center field for Turner's grounder, then pushed his upper body off the ground just long enough to wing the ball to first base before falling back to the outfield grass.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Cardinals: Activated RHP Carlos Martinez (right shoulder strain) from DL and optioned INF Patrick Wisdom to Triple-A Memphis. ... Transferred OF Dexter Fowler to 60-day DL.

Dodgers: RHP JT Chargois went on the DL with nerve irritation. He experienced tingling in his fingers while tossing six pitches in the fifth inning a night earlier. ... RHP Ross Stripling will throw a simulated game Friday.

UP NEXT

LHP Jack Flaherty (7-6, 3.05 ERA) starts the series finale for the Cardinals. Rookie RHP Walker Buehler (6-4, 3.19) goes for the Dodgers.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Claim Harper on Revocable Waivers]]>Tue, 21 Aug 2018 19:49:56 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/208*120/Harper+Waivers+Dodgers.png

Bryce Harper will not be a Dodger in 2018…but that's not from lack of trying.

Multiple sources confirmed to NBCLA on Tuesday morning that the Los Angeles Dodgers were indeed the "mystery team," that claimed Harper off revocable waivers after he was placed on waivers by the Washington Nationals earlier in the week.

On Saturday, August 18th, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, was the first to report that Washington had placed "a number of players on revocable waivers," including Harper and second baseman Daniel Murphy.

On Monday night, news that teams had claimed Harper and Murphy was reported. Early Tuesday morning I woke up to news from a source that it was indeed the Dodgers that claimed Harper off waivers.

As I worked to confirm from an additional source that the Dodgers had claimed harper, Grant Paulsen of NBC Sports Washington, tweeted that he had also been told that the Dodgers were the 'mystery team,' that claimed him.

Minutes later, a second source, close to the Nationals organization, confirmed that it was indeed the Dodgers who claimed Harper, and told me to "stay close to the phone."

The Dodgers interest in Harper should not come as a surprise to many, as  I was one of the first to report leading up to the trade deadline, that the Dodgers had "checked in on the availability of Harper, but at the time, the Nationals were still undecided what they wanted to do."

At the time, I received news from primary sources and was able to corroborate their information with separate independent sources, that the Dodgers and Nationals had "discussed" a trade involving Harper before the July 31, deadline, and that the Nationals had scouted some of the team's Major League players.

 

More than likely, those same names discussed, were also exchanged on Tuesday, but ultimately, the Dodgers would have been unable to take on the remaining $5 million in Harper's salary for the season if they wanted to remain under the luxury tax threshold.

In order to make a deal for Harper work, a player like Matt Kemp ($21.5 million) or Hyun-Jin Ryu ($7.83 million), would have had to go back to Washington in a deal, and it is unlikely the Nationals were interested in taking on any additional salary after shedding Murphy's remaining $4 million earlier in the day in a deal with the Chicago Cubs.

Ultimately, a deal was unable to get done by the time the exclusive 48-hour window to negotiate came to a close, and Harper will now remain with the Nationals for the remainder of the season. 

Despite not acquiring Harper, by putting a waiver claim in for him, the Dodgers were also able to block the playoff teams in front of them like the Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks, Cleveland Indians, and New York Yankees from claiming him and potentially working out a deal with Washington. 

When I first reported the prospect of the Dodgers acquiring Harper in a trade a little over three weeks ago fans got excited, therefore I can only imagine the excitement on Tuesday morning when news broke that they had claimed him off waivers.

However, expectations need to be tempered. The likelihood of the Dodgers acquiring Harper for the final six weeks of the season, while still remaining under the luxury tax threshold was always slim, and the team can still make him an offer in free agency at the end of the season if the idea of the 2015 National League MVP in Dodger Blue still appeals to them.



Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Everybody Loves Surfing, But It's Now California's Official Sport]]>Mon, 20 Aug 2018 21:10:41 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/182*120/GettyImages-2883514.jpg

Surf's up in California, where it's now the official state sport.

Gov. Jerry Brown announced Monday that he has signed a bill making it so.

The new law declares surfing to be "an iconic California sport" -- though it acknowledges that surfing originated with the Polynesian people and was imported into California from Hawaii.

Still, it says Californians have embraced surfing and made important contributions to the modern sport.

"Nothing represents the California Dream better than surfing -- riding the waves and living in harmony with the beautiful beaches and ocean of our Golden State," avid surfer and Democratic state Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi of Torrance said when he introduced the bill.

The state's 1,100 miles of coastline are home to a number of world-famous surf breaks, and California hosts the Surfers' Hall of Fame, the International Surfing Museum, and the California Surf Museum. It's also the site of the International Surf Festival, the U.S. Open of Surfing, the Mavericks Big Wave Surf Contest and the Founders' Cup of Surfing.

The law officially claims California is the heart of the surfboard building industry and that surf forecasting and the neoprene wetsuit were both invented in California.

Muratsuchi estimated that surfing generates more than $6 billion in annual retail sales, playing a key role in the state's coastal tourism and recreation economy.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Jansen Surrenders Back-to-Back Homers in Return]]>Tue, 21 Aug 2018 00:15:40 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/207*120/Kenley+allows+2+homers+in+return.png

Maybe his return was premature. 

Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen allowed ninth-inning homers to Jedd Gyorko and Matt Carpenter in his return from the disabled list, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat Los Angeles 5-3 on Monday night.

Gyorko led off the top of the ninth inning of a tie game with a homer off Jansen to deep center field, and Carpenter followed with his NL-leading 34th homer of the season to nearly the same spot. It was the sixth time this season St. Louis has hit back-to-back homers.

"I'm not an excuse guy, but everything was flat," Jansen said of the homers. "The more I kept going in the inning I started to feel better, but those first two hitters I wasn't in my comfort zone. I was battling more with myself. I finally settled in, that's the good thing."

Jansen (0-4) retired the next two batters before giving up a single to Marcell Ozuna. He got pinch-hitter Tyler O'Neill to end the inning, but the damage was done.

"I was amped up to be back, and I tried hard and everything flats out," said Jansen. "I just tried to get three outs and my fastball started to move again and all that stuff started to work. This one was a bad one and I have to be ready for tomorrow." 

Jansen's return had been eagerly anticipated since the Dodgers' bullpen had a 5.17 ERA while he was out. He was activated earlier in the day after being cleared by a cardiologist. The All-Star had been hospitalized for an irregular heartbeat on Aug. 9 and was expected to be out a month. Jansen hadn't pitched since Aug. 7.

"I'm glad to be back to be honest with you," said Jansen. "The DL was frustrating. Stuff happens in life to slow me down, but you just have to move forward."

Closer Bud Norris walked Matt Kemp leading off the bottom of the ninth before striking out the next three batters to end the game and get his 25th save.

Jose Martinez hit a solo shot in the first, making it the 13th straight game in which the Cardinals homered, the longest active streak in the majors this season.

Martinez's RBI single in the fifth gave St. Louis a 2-0 lead.

The Dodgers failed to score after threatening in the bottom of the eighth. Pinch-hitter Yasiel Puig reached on an infield single to the pitcher and took third on a wild pitch by Jordan Hicks.

After Hicks struck out Justin Turner, Brett Cecil (1-1) came in and intentionally walked Manny Machado. He took second on defensive indifference, putting runners on second and third, but Cody Bellinger lined out to end the inning.

Turner extended his 13-game hitting streak with a single in the first. Bellinger's 12-game hitting streak ended when he went 0 for 3 with a strikeout and a walk. 

Pinch-hitter Max Muncy tied the game 3-all with a two-out, RBI single in the seventh off Hicks, who then walked Chris Taylor to load the bases. But Yasmani Grandal struck out swinging to end the inning.

"It was a tough at-bat," said Muncy who hit the game-tying single on a 103.1 MPH fastball by Hicks. "You almost have to slow everything down and be loose and relaxed and quick with the bat. You have to start your swing a lot earlier than you normally would. The common thought is when they throw hard you have to swing hard, but you don't. You just have to get the bat on the ball."

According to ESPN Stats and Info, the RBI single by Muncy is the fastest pitch anyone has recorded a hit on in the Major Leagues this season.

The Dodgers scored in the fifth on Machado's RBI single and Bellinger's sacrifice fly to trail 3-2. Los Angeles had the potential tying run at second, but rookie starter Austin Gomber retired the next three batters.

Dodgers starter Alex Wood allowed three runs and seven hits in four innings, extending his streak of 12 straight outings with three earned runs or less. He struck out four and walked two. 

"I felt really good in the bullpen, but the rest was history I guess," said Wood. "I thought my stuff was alright. We're just glad to have Kenley back."

Gomber gave up two runs and five hits in five innings of his fifth career start. He struck out four and walked four.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Cardinals: RHP Adam Wainwright (right elbow inflammation) will throw another few innings for Double-A Springfield. He has been out of the majors since May 13. ... RHP Michael Wacha (left oblique strain) will throw at Class A Palm Beach on Thursday.

Dodgers: RHP JT Chargois left the game after tossing six pitches in the fifth because of neck discomfort. ... LHP Zac Rosscup went on the 10-day DL with a left calf strain. He has a 6.75 ERA in eight relief appearances this season. ... RHP Ross Stripling is expected to toss from a mound in the next couple days and eventually face hitters before being activated. His role upon his return has yet to be determined.

UP NEXT

Rookie RHP Daniel Poncedeleon (0-0, 2.04 ERA) replaces Luke Weaver in the rotation for the Cardinals. Poncedeleon tossed seven scoreless innings against the Reds on July 23 without allowing a hit in his only previous start of the season. Weaver is headed to the bullpen. LHP Hyn-Jin Ryu (3-0, 1.77) takes the mound for the Dodgers in the middle game of the series. Ryu pitched six scoreless innings against the Giants last week.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jansen Returns to Dodgers After Heart Condition]]>Mon, 20 Aug 2018 22:18:23 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/207*120/JansenReturnsHeart.png

Here he comes to save the day…

Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star closer Kenley Jansen was activated off the 10-day disabled list on Monday after he was cleared to play baseball again by a cardiologist.

Jansen missed the past 11 games with an irregular heartbeat, that was diagnosed on Aug. 7 after he was rushed to the hospital in Denver, Colorado.  

Jansen was flown back to Los Angeles during that four-game series at Coors Field where he met with cardiologist and was placed on blood thinners.

Jansen had a second appointment with the cardiologist on Monday, and was taken off blood thinners before being cleared to pitch again.

"I'm not thinking about my heart; I'm not," Jansen said before Monday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals. "You have no control over your heart, so if it goes, it goes. That's how I think."

He told reporters he will continue to take heart medication, but said he's "down to one pill a day," and will still be required to take daily EKGs through an application on his smart phone and send them to the team's medical staff. 

"I'm in great shape. I do a lot of running during the down times," added Jansen. "So, I'm ready to go. We're what? Two games back with 37 games left? It's go-time now. I don't need to be babied. And I'm sure I'm not going to be babied." 

Jansen added that his cardiologist estimated that he will need another ablation surgery this winter, the same procedure he underwent six years ago after a similar condition in Colorado.

Jansen's return should provide a much-needed boost to the bullpen after the team surrendered late-game leads in seven consecutive games from Aug. 9-15, falling out of first place in the National League West in the process. 

"It's a big lift, especially how this last week went," said Roberts. "It puts guys in their rightful spots in the bullpen and I can use them the way I feel is best. He's the best in the game, so to have him in the back end changes the way they're going to manage and the way I'm going to manage as well."

The Dodgers are also tied with the Colorado Rockies for the second-most blown saves in the Majors with 23.

The closer is 0-3 with 32 saves and a 2.15 ERA in 51 appearances this season. Without Jansen, the bullpen has had a 5.17 ERA and an 8.64 ERA in the ninth inning over that span. Jansen was originally expected to miss a month, so this is much earlier of a return than originally anticipated.



Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LA Will Meet Minnesota In The First Round of WNBA Finals]]>Mon, 20 Aug 2018 09:24:19 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/166*120/Sparks-Liberty-Basketball.jpg

The WNBA playoffs are set after a wild, unpredictable regular season came to an end Sunday.

As expected, Los Angeles and Minnesota will meet in the postseason for a third straight year. Unexpectedly, it's in the first round.

The two-time WNBA finalists finished a surprising sixth and seventh in the regular season and will face off in Los Angeles on Tuesday night.

"Minnesota is a good team. You can throw records out the window right now," Sparks coach Brian Agler said. "They have two of the elite offensive players in the league, one inside and one outside, they have veteran savviness, tough minded championship pedigree and we have played them enough, over 20 times in three years, so we know each other pretty well."

Phoenix will host Dallas, which earned the final playoff spot Friday, in the other first-round elimination game.

"I mean, you obviously want to finish as high up as you can. There was a point there when we thought we were going to be in that top two, top four, but you have to win regardless. I think we're playing well," Phoenix guard Diana Taurasi said. "I think we found our groove a little bit on the things that we want to do. Getting a home game, but we still have to go out there and play hard and play really well to win."

Seattle and Atlanta earned byes to the semifinals by finishing first and second. The Dream clinched the No. 2 spot on the final day of the regular season. Washington and Connecticut earned first-round byes.

"We are thrilled. There is a whole lot of parity in the league," WNBA President Lisa Borders told the AP on Sunday night. "Clearly anyone can beat anyone on any given day. We are thrilled with the unpredictability."

Here are a few things to watch for in the opening round of the playoffs:

ONE LAST RIDE: Minnesota Lynx point guard Lindsay Whalen announced she would retire after the season ended. She's won four titles with the Lynx and hopes to have one more shot at a championship.

The Lynx would have to beat Los Angeles and either Washington or Connecticut to get a chance to play at home again.

"It was Lindsay Whalen's last time at Target Center as a competitor in the WNBA during the regular season. I think we would all like to give her another chance to come back here but we'll just take it one day at a time," Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve said.

NEW LIFE: Dallas backed its way into the postseason, losing nine straight games before beating Las Vegas to reach the playoffs Friday.

"We're hungry and thirsty out there, and we finally got what we needed," Dallas center Liz Cambage said after the team beat Las Vegas to clinch a playoff spot. "We made it hard for ourselves losing nine in a row, but we went out and left it all out there. I'm really proud of my team."

Dallas lost to Washington in the opening round last season.

TRAVEL WOES: Whoever wins the opening round games in Los Angeles and Phoenix will have to head east to play second round games on Thursday. The WNBA doesn't allow teams to charter, so the winners will have to fly commercial on Wednesday to Washington and Connecticut.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Kershaw Cruises to 150th Win]]>Sun, 19 Aug 2018 16:58:57 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/207*120/KershawSeattle.png

Clayton Kershaw pitched seven sharp innings for his 150th career win, Justin Turner homered and drove in five runs, and the Los Angeles Dodgers routed the Seattle Mariners 12-1 Sunday.

Kershaw (6-5) gave up four hits, struck out seven and walked one. The 30-year-old lefty with three NL Cy Young Awards improved to 150-69 in the majors. 

Turner extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a season-high four hits, including a three-run homer in the ninth inning with position player Andrew Romine on the mound. 

Kike Hernandez had an RBI single as part of the Dodgers' five-run first inning. He added his 18th home run and a bases-loaded walk as the Dodgers won for the third time in four games.

Cody Bellinger pushed his own hitting streak to 12 games with three hits and two RBIs for Los Angeles. 

The Dodgers tagged Seattle starter Roenis Elias (2-1). He had been on the disabled list with a left triceps strain since July 31 and was activated to start against the Dodgers. Before the game, Seattle manager Scott Servais said he hoped Elias could, "if it goes well, to give us maybe four innings." Elias did last three innings, giving up the five runs and seven hits. 

Los Angeles kept adding to the lead against the Mariners bullpen, scoring a run in five of the last six innings.

Ryon Healy had two of Seattle's five hits, including a run-scoring single in the fourth.

ROSTER MOVE

Before the game, the Mariners recalled RHP Chasen Bradford from Triple-A Tacoma and optioned INF Gordon Beckham and LHP James Pazos to Tacoma.

TRAINER'S ROOM 

Mariners LHP James Paxton, on the 10-day DL with a left arm contusion, played catch for the first time since getting hit by a line drive on Tuesday. "I felt good. No problems," said Paxton, who threw from about 70 feet during the session. . C Chris Hermann left the game in the third inning with a right knee contusion after being hit by a foul ball.

UP NEXT 

Dodgers: LHP Alex Wood (7-6, 3.51 ERA) faces the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday. Wood allowed one run on three hits over five innings in his last start against the Giants.

Mariners: RHP Felix Hernandez (8-11, 5.62) will make his 399th career start Monday against Houston. Hernandez had been demoted to the bullpen and made his first career relief appearance last week but is starting in place of the injured Paxton.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Abbie Parr/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Lose on Dylan Floro's Walk-Off Balk]]>Sat, 18 Aug 2018 23:18:28 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/208*120/Dodgers+Lose+on+Walk-Off+Balk.png

Cameron Maybin scored with one out in the 10th inning when Los Angeles' Dylan Floro was called for a balk, giving the Seattle Mariners a 5-4 win over the Dodgers on Saturday night.

Seattle loaded the bases with one out, and with a one-strike count on Kyle Seager, Floro initiated his delivery before stepping off the mound. First base umpire Andy Fletcher called him for the game-ending balk. There was little argument from Floro, although Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts sought an explanation as Seattle celebrated the odd victory.

Seattle led 4-1 entering the eighth inning, but Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy all hit solo home runs to force extra innings. Seattle improved to 12-1 in extra-inning games this season.

Mitch Haniger led off the 10th with a line-drive single to right on the first pitch from Caleb Ferguson (3-2). Maybin hit into a fielder's choice. Robinson Cano followed with an infield single, but Brian Dozier's diving stop of the grounder kept Maybin from reaching third.

Floro entered and walked Nelson Cruz to load the bases before his mistake.

Muncy's clubbed a 3-2 fastball from closer Edwin Diaz into the right-field seats with one out in the ninth. It was Muncy's 28th homer of the season and second in as many days. It was the fourth homer allowed this season by Diaz, who ended a streak of converting 28 consecutive save opportunities. Diaz leads the majors with 47 saves, with four blown chances.

Seager hit a three-run homer in the first inning, but Seattle's two most consistent arms in the bullpen had shaky nights at the same time.

Turner led off the eighth with his eighth home run of the season off Alex Colome, the first run allowed by the right-hander since June 28, a span of 19 appearances. Two batters later, Bellinger's 20th homer nearly reached the third deck of right field at Safeco Field.

Adam Warren (2-1) allowed a leadoff walk but finished off the 10th untouched to get the victory.

ROSTER MOVE

Seattle added to its bullpen by calling up right-hander Matt Festa from Double-A Arkansas and sending RHP Christian Bergman to Triple-A Tacoma. Bergman worked extensively in relief on Friday. Festa was with Seattle earlier this season and appeared in one game before being sent back to Arkansas.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: RHP Yimi Garcia, RHP Josh Fields and LHP Tony Cingrani are all continuing their injury rehab assignments in the minors, but manager Dave Roberts said none of the three is expected to be ready in the next week. Garcia is likely the first to be ready to rejoin the club. Garcia has been on the DL since July 4, Fields since June 28 and Cingrani since June 7.

Mariners: Manager Scott Servais is hopeful LHP James Paxton will be able to start throwing in the next couple of days. Paxton is on the 10-day DL with a left arm contusion after getting hit by a line drive. Servais said the swelling is down and Paxton is working on range of motion with the arm, but has yet to pick up a ball.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw (5-5) faces Seattle for the first time since 2012. Kershaw threw eight innings, allowing one run, in his last start against San Francisco, but did not factor in the decision.

Mariners: Roenis Elias (2-0) will come off the disabled list to start. Elias was placed on the DL on July 31 with a triceps strain. Elias has a 2.88 ERA in 13 games this season, with all but one of those coming in relief.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Abbie Parr/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LA Rams Spoil Raiders' Return to Coliseum ]]>Sat, 18 Aug 2018 16:55:15 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/207*120/John_Kelly_Rams.png

The Raiders were back. The Rams were better.

Rookie John Kelly rushed for 56 yards and a touchdown, and the Los Angeles Rams welcomed the Raiders back to the Coliseum with a 19-15 preseason victory over Oakland on Saturday.

Chris Warren rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown for the Raiders in their return to the venerable stadium that was their home for 13 seasons during their largely successful tenure in Los Angeles. Their still-passionate Southern California fan base turned out in force, filling the 95-year-old arena with black jerseys and loud cheers.

There was more excitement in the stands than on the field for long stretches of a preseason game that was even more meaningless than the usual August affair.

Both teams rested nearly all of their presumptive starters and used no significant parts of their playbook, thanks in part to a weird NFL scheduling decision that forced these teams to play an exhibition 23 days before they meet in their regular-season opener in Oakland.

Although both coaches revealed as little about their teams as possible, Sean McVay still got his first chance to face Jon Gruden, who employed McVay as a 22-year-old assistant wide receivers coach on his final staff with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2008. McVay frequently cites Gruden and his brother, Jay, as major influences on his coaching style and mentality.

The Rams' backups dominated the Raiders' reserves in the first half, taking a 13-0 lead while holding Oakland to 58 yards and one first down. Oakland trailed 16-0 before mounting a rally, but the Raiders failed on their second 2-point conversion attempt of the day following Griff Whalen's 10-yard TD catch with 9:52 to play.

Sam Ficken hit his second field goal for the Rams with 5:46 left, and Marcus Martin stopped the Raiders' ensuing drive with a third-down sack of Manuel.

Rams backup Sean Mannion rebounded from a rocky preseason debut last week in Baltimore, going 10 of 16 for 84 yards while completing passes to eight receivers. Third-stringer Brandon Allen wasn't as sharp, going 6 for 11 and throwing a terrible interception in the fourth quarter to put Oakland in position for its second TD.

The Raiders' offense didn't record its second first down of the day until late in the third quarter, but Warren capped the 75-yard drive with a 3-yard TD run. The undrafted free-agent running back from Texas had 86 yards in his preseason debut against Detroit.

E.J. Manuel went 10 for 16 for 89 yards and a touchdown, but also fumbled for the second straight week.

The Raiders' backup offensive line struggled to keep the Rams' pressure off Manuel and Connor Cook, who went 6 for 12.

HOMECOMING DAY

Al Davis moved the Raiders from Oakland to Los Angeles in 1982, and their home crowds at the Coliseum quickly developed a reputation for rowdiness and occasional violence. But the Raiders also won the hearts of a generation of Los Angeles football fans with their swagger and success, including a Super Bowl title in their second season in town. The Rams spent the 1980s in Anaheim, further opening the way for the Raiders to become Generation X's favorite team in LA.

Both franchises moved after the 1994 season, and the Rams returned home two years ago. The Raiders missed out on the chance to return to LA when the Chargers made their move last year, but the Raiders will be only about 260 miles from Los Angeles when they move to Las Vegas in 2020, making it even easier for LA's silver-and-black fans to back their team.

After turning out impressively in Carson on New Year's Eve for a Chargers home game, the Raiders' LA fans showed up in force for this downtown homecoming, filling the Coliseum parking lots and the cavernous stadium.

They were vocal during pregame warmups, even booing the Rams' cheerleaders — but the Rams' own sizable fan base wasn't overwhelmed, however. There were relatively few clashes in the stands, with both fan bases likely sensing the unimportance of this particular reunion.

MO'S MOMENT

Raiders rookie Maurice Hurst got his first NFL sack early in the second half, dropping Brandon Allen. The Michigan All-American dropped to the fifth round of last spring's draft amid concerns about a heart condition.

INJURIES

Raiders: CB Gareon Conley played after being slowed by injuries this month.

Rams: RB Justin Davis didn't play because of a hamstring injury, depriving the USC product of a chance to compete for the backup job.

ANTHEM UPDATE

There were no apparent protests during the national anthem.

UP NEXT

Raiders: Host the Green Bay Packers on Aug. 24.

Rams: Host the Houston Texans on Aug. 25.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Manny Machado Hits 2 Homers as Dodgers Rout Mariners, 11-1]]>Fri, 17 Aug 2018 22:44:09 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/210*120/Machado2Homers.png

Manny Machado hit two of Los Angeles' five home runs, Walker Buehler allowed one run in six innings, and the Dodgers beat the Seattle Mariners 11-1 to open a key three-game series on Friday night.

The Dodgers won consecutive games for just the third time since July 28, using the long ball to knock around Seattle starter Wade LeBlanc and for a night take the pressure off their shaky bullpen. Machado's first homer led off the fourth inning and was his third since being acquired in a trade with Baltimore. He added a two-run shot in the seventh inning to deep left-center field, where it caromed off the hand of a fan wearing an Orioles jersey with Machado's name across the back.

Machado has 28 homers overall this season.

"I think this offense is finally getting it together, we're getting it rolling," said Machado. "We all have the same approach and we're just looking forward to what comes ahead."

Yasmani Grandal, Max Muncy and Matt Kemp also went deep as Los Angeles added to its National League-leading home run total. The Dodgers have 169 homers this season.

"I'm a celebrate tonight," joked Kemp. "We got a win, I hit a home run, and we're going to go from there. This was big for us. He's pitched pretty well. If you look back at how good LeBlanc has done against the Dodgers he's had some really good games against us."

LeBlanc (7-3) allowed seven runs, five earned, and lasted just 4 1/3 innings.

A long seventh inning at the plate for Los Angeles spelled an early end for Buehler, who was dominant through the first six. Buehler (6-4) allowed just Ryon Healy's home run leading off the fourth inning. The young right-hander struck out eight and scattered just three hits.

"It came back over the plate and he's a big strong guy that likes fastballs," said Buehler of the home run to Healy. "He put a good swing on it, and it got out."

Seattle threatened only once when Buehler lost command of his fastball and loaded the bases with one out in the third inning. Buehler got Denard Span to hit a weak grounder and Mitch Haniger was forced out at home plate. Kyle Seager flew out to end the threat.

"Luckily I made some better pitches to him to get out of it," Buehler said of Seager's at-bat. "There's some mental stuff I've learned that helps me and keeps me calm."

Buehler and two relievers combined to retire 14 straight batters after Healy's homer until pinch-hitter Gordon Beckham's two-out single in the eighth.

ROTATION CHANGES

Seattle is making two changes to its rotation. The first was expected, with Felix Hernandez moving back into the rotation to start for injured lefty James Paxton on Monday when Houston visits to open a key three-game series.

The other move was a bit of a surprise with Seattle pushing Marco Gonzales back a few days. Gonzales was slated to start Sunday's series finale against the Dodgers, but will instead start the series finale against Houston next Wednesday. Seattle's starter for Sunday has yet to be announced.

Manager Scott Servais said with upcoming off days Seattle had a chance to push Gonzales back and essentially give him one start over the next few weeks. Gonzales has thrown a career-high 142 2/3 innings already this season.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: RHP Erik Goeddel was placed on the 10-day disabled list with elbow inflammation on Friday. It's his second stint on the DL in just the past few weeks. Goeddel was activated off the disabled list last Monday after missing time with a lat injury. The Dodgers reinstated right-handed reliever Daniel Hudson from the 10-day DL to take his spot. Hudson had been out since Aug. 7 with forearm tightness.

Mariners: SS Jean Segura was placed on the paternity list on Friday. Seattle selected IF Gordon Beckham from Triple-A Tacoma to take Segura's roster spot.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: Rich Hill (5-4) looks to remain perfect in his career against Seattle. Hill has appeared in 11 games with four starts against Seattle and is 4-0 with a 1.35 ERA. He hasn't faced the Mariners since the 2016 season.

Mariners: Erasmo Ramirez (0-2) tries to follow up on a strong outing last week in Houston. Ramirez threw five shutout innings allowing just four hits in a no-decision.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chip Kelly's UCLA Bruins Aim For Quick Success By Going Fast]]>Fri, 17 Aug 2018 07:50:47 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lafile-ucla-football-helmet.jpg

Theo Howard was still sweating from the exertion of an early training camp practice at UCLA when the receiver paused to sum up his experience so far with coach Chip Kelly.

"It's high tempo," Howard said. "It's pretty fast. It's a step up from what we were doing last year. We're always running down the field, always doing something."

Kelly led the speed-based revolution in college football during his wildly successful four-year tenure at Oregon. His next act in the college game has only just begun at long-underachieving UCLA, where hungry boosters have finally landed the world-class coach they've always coveted to lead the program past crosstown rival USC and into the game's stratosphere.

UCLA will play fast, of course. Yet remarkably little else is really known about what the Bruins will look like when Kelly leads them onto the Rose Bowl field to face Cincinnati on Sept. 1 in the school's most anticipated opener in many years.

Kelly's inventive reputation wasn't dampened by two false starts in the NFL, and his work is going on mostly in secret this month. He has kept practices largely closed in training camp, and he easily sidesteps any concrete questioning about his plans for this team in transition.

Kelly doesn't even like the idea of setting public goals about the near future for the Bruins, who haven't won the Pac-12 since 1998.

"We don't have any expectations," Kelly said early in camp. "I've never been an expectation guy, because I think if you want to be real happy in your life, then set really low expectations. We're really happy because we don't have any expectations. My only expectation, to be honest with you, is that they play hard, and we've been getting great effort. So I think that part has been accomplished."

Here are more things to watch in Westwood and Pasadena this fall:

AFTER ROSEN: Along with Kelly's arrival, the Bruins are making a significant adjustment to Josh Rosen's departure. The gifted quarterback didn't do an extraordinary amount of winning during his three seasons in Westwood, but his clear talent made him a first-round pick by the Arizona Cardinals. Kelly is currently working to identify Rosen's successor among a crew of six candidates including returnee Devon Modster, Michigan transfer Wilton Speight and freshman Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Kelly hasn't tipped his hand yet, and he might not do it until game week.

REBUILDING D: The Bruins' biggest problem during Jim Mora's last season was a porous defense under coordinator Tom Bradley, whose unit gave up a jaw-dropping 3,736 yards rushing — over 1,000 yards more than the previous school record. Kelly's choice to rebuild the unit was coordinator Jerry Azzinaro, a former assistant to Kelly's longtime Oregon defensive coordinator, Nick Aliotti. UCLA will use a 3-4 scheme up front, and defensive end Jaelan Phillips is back with the chance to become one of the nation's top defensive players.

SNAP IT: One tidbit to emerge from the first weeks of training camp was the Bruins' struggles to snap the ball correctly in Kelly's offense. UCLA wants several linemen to be able to step in at center if necessary, so the ever-changing group of players along the line is taking extra time to learn new skills. Kelly's devilishly effective rushing schemes at Oregon require speed and versatility from his linemen, who will clear space for a solid group of returning tailbacks including Bolu Olorunfunmi and Soso Jamabo.

HOWARD'S TIME: Howard's junior year could be an opportunity for a breakout by the talented pass-catcher who made 56 catches while starting 10 games last year. Howard was an elite recruit two years ago out of Westlake Village, and he has caught a pass in 16 straight games. He'll have plenty of opportunities as the most experienced receiver on a team that lost several players at his position, including Jordan Lasley and Darren Andrews.

SCHEDULE: The new quarterback's opening stretch of games will feature one daunting challenge, but it could be a whole lot worse. The visit from the Bearcats can't possibly be as insane as last year's opener (can it?), in which Rosen and the Bruins rallied from a late 34-point deficit for a 45-44 victory over Texas A&M. The following week could be brutal as the Bruins travel to Oklahoma, but they've got a comfortable ensuing stretch against Fresno State and Colorado, with a bye week in between.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[USC's Deep Roster Ready To Rally Around Its New Quarterback]]>Fri, 17 Aug 2018 06:54:26 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/lagenerics-usc-helmet.jpg

Two weeks before Southern California's first game after Sam Darnold, the star quarterback's successor still hasn't been chosen.

Coach Clay Helton has been auditioning three passers for the job. Freshman JT Daniels appears to be leading the group, but slightly more experienced returnees Jack Sears and Matt Fink are still competing.

If this uncertainty bothers Helton, he doesn't reveal it. In his third full season in charge of this glamorous program, the folksy coach has learned to embrace the daily thrill of elite players battling for starting spots, knowing it will probably lead to excitement in the fall.

"That's the opportunity of SC," Helton said. "Now it's their opportunity to compete. The guy that is the best player for the moment is going to walk out there. There are going to be several young players that have that opportunity."

The Trojans have their usual wealth of talent at Helton's disposal as they attempt to defend their first Pac-12 title since 2008. They've got enviable depth at most skill positions, and their defense appears to be balanced well between experience and raw talent.

But they don't have Darnold, who won a Rose Bowl and a conference crown in just two seasons as the starter before landing with the New York Jets.

Whoever gets the job won't have the luxury of growing into it, and any early struggles will be magnified: After a Sept. 1 season opener at home against a solid UNLV team, the Trojans make back-to-back road trips to Stanford and Texas. The inexperienced quarterback will face the Cardinal's intimidating defense before being thrown into the tumult of Austin.

Helton retains his steady optimism in the face of this potential drama, and his players have followed his lead through a largely quiet training camp. The Trojans' overall ability is obvious, and Helton's staff is busy identifying the talent that will lead them.

"Now it's their opportunity to compete," Helton said. "The guy that is the best player for the moment is going to walk out there. There are going to be several young players that have that opportunity."

Here are more things to watch this season:

NEW TARGET: The Trojans' next quarterback appears to have a new game-breaking receiver in freshman Amon-Ra St. Brown, who just happens to be Daniels' former teammate at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana. St. Brown and Daniels showed off their outstanding connection in a Coliseum scrimmage earlier this month, and St. Brown appears to be the next star in the recent USC lineage including Robert Woods, Marqise Lee, Nelson Agholor and JuJu Smith-Schuster, among others.

WITH THE BALL: USC also lost speedy tailback Ronald Jones II to the NFL, but Stephen Carr already established himself as an elite ball-carrier during his injury-plagued freshman year. Carr is healthy, and he has plenty of the usual competition at Tailback U.: Aca'Cedric Ware is ready for the spotlight after waiting three years as a backup to Jones, and Vavae Malepeai leads a list of capable contenders.

UNDER CONSTRUCTION: Many USC fans might not have a season to remember at the Coliseum, which is in the middle of a two-year, $300 million renovation project . Parking and tailgating areas will be severely limited for the Trojans' six home games, and amenities inside the venerable stadium will be reduced. While there's sure to be drama outside the stadium while fans get used to the changes, the finished product — which includes new, modern seating throughout the concrete bowl — should be worth the wait.

BIG D: Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast could have eight returning starters on the field, with Malik Dorton and Christian Rector taking a leadership role and redshirt freshman Jay Tufele pushing for immediate impact. Veteran linebackers Cameron Smith and Porter Gustin are likely to lead, while Iman Marshall and Marvell Tell are returning to the secondary.

SCHEDULE: The Trojans have another difficult September schedule, putting themselves in danger of a slow start. USC's brutal beginnings to most of their recent seasons are a joint product of program pride, lucrative nonconference matchups and the Pac-12 schedule quirk that matches USC and Stanford in the opening weeks of every season. Even if the new quarterback survives that gauntlet, his next challenge is a Friday night visit from Washington State. 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Profar Starts Triple Play And Homers, Rangers Rally Past Angels]]>Fri, 17 Aug 2018 06:35:30 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/193*120/Angels-Profar-AP.jpg

Triple plays are rare enough to begin with. Jurickson Profar and the Texas Rangers turned one that was especially unusual Thursday night.

In fact, it had been more than a century since there was another one like it in the majors.

"It was an all-around heads-up play by Profar," Texas manager Jeff Banister said. "Very slow heartbeat in that moment."

Profar started the defensive gem at third base and later homered to help the Rangers rally from an early five-run deficit for an 8-6 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

Texas pulled off the sixth triple play in franchise history in the fourth inning. With the bases loaded, David Fletcher hit a low liner toward third that Profar picked on a short hop with a dive to his right. Playing near the bag, he quickly stepped on third to force out Eric Young Jr. and tagged Taylor Ward, who had stumbled off the base into foul territory. Profar then threw to second baseman Rougned Odor for the third out.

Just to be sure, Odor chased down Kole Calhoun and tagged him between first and second.

"Every runner thought it was a line drive," Profar said, "so that's why we got the triple play."

It was the majors' first triple play without retiring the batter since June 3, 1912, when the Brooklyn Dodgers turned the trick against the Cincinnati Reds.

"Yeah, it was kind of confusing the way it happened," Fletcher said.

Odor singled home the go-ahead run in the eighth after an out call that would have ended the inning was reversed. Nomar Mazara went deep in his return from the disabled list, and Joey Gallo also homered for the Rangers.

Texas scored three runs in the eighth as Justin Anderson (3-3), the seventh of eight Angels pitchers in a "bullpen game," allowed the first four batters to reach base.

The Angels, whose starting rotation has been decimated by injuries all season, are 0-6 in "bullpen games."

Career reliever Taylor Cole, making his second career start, both this week, was staked to a 5-0 lead when Texas starter Ariel Jurado allowed the first five Angels batters to score. But Cole retired only three of eight batters.

Matt Moore (2-6) followed Jurado with two scoreless innings for his first win since April 17 and the 29-year-old's first career victory in relief.

Of Los Angeles' eight pitchers, only Noe Ramirez worked two innings.

"We'll have most of the guys be able to at least pitch some tomorrow," manager Mike Scioscia said.

NOTHING NEW ON TROUT

Angels OF Mike Trout remained with his family following the death of his 24-year-old brother-in-law, Aaron Cox, on Wednesday. Trout was eligible to come off the 10-day disabled list Thursday. He hasn't played since Aug. 2 after jamming his wrist on a feet-first slide into third base.

WAIT AND SEE FOR BELTRE

Rangers 3B Adrian Beltre missed his second straight game after leaving Monday's game with a hamstring injury. The team will wait a few days before deciding whether to put the 39-year-old on the disabled list for the third time this season — each because of an injured hamstring. "I don't feel that bad," Beltre said. "So, wait a couple days to make a decision on that."

CALHOUN STAYS HOT

Calhoun went 3 for 4 with his 17th homer and is hitting .304 with 16 home runs in 50 games since returning from the disabled list on June 18. He previously hit .145 with one homer in 50 games.

SHORT HOPS

Rangers OF Willie Calhoun was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock to make room for Mazara. . Angels LHP Ty Buttrey and RHP Osmer Morales made their major league debuts, giving Los Angeles a club-record 14 players who have done so this season and a team-record 56 players who have appeared in a game this year. ... Texas acquired RHP Kelvin Gonzalez from Kansas City for international slot money.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rangers LHP Mike Minor was scratched from Friday's scheduled start with back stiffness. ... Texas OF Delino DeShields hurt a finger batting in the seventh inning and left the game. . Angels RHP Hansel Robles (shoulder) was placed on the 10-day DL, retroactive to Wednesday. To replace him, Buttrey was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake.

UP NEXT

Angels RHP Odrisamer Despaigne (2-0, 5.31 ERA), acquired Tuesday from Miami, will become Los Angeles' 14th pitcher to make a start this season. The franchise record is 17, set in 1967.

Rangers RHP Drew Hutchison (1-2, 6.07), making his third start for Texas, hasn't won since getting a relief win for Philadelphia on March 30.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Dozier's RBI in 12th Snaps Dodgers Losing Streak]]>Thu, 16 Aug 2018 00:41:26 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/Dozier+Walk-Off.png

They needed this one.

Brian Dozier's sacrifice fly in the 12th inning lifted the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 4-3 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night, snapping a five-game losing streak.

"We needed it," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts of the victory. "We salvage the series and we fought our tails off. We did a lot of good things tonight. Losing the lead late, but nobody batted an eye...we just kept fighting."

The struggling Dodgers bullpen coughed up a 3-0 lead in the eighth when rookie Caleb Ferguson gave up a three-run homer to Andrew McCutchen.

"You learn a lot more from failure sometimes than you do from success," said relief pitcher Scott Alexander who blew the save in Monday's loss, but pitched a scoreless inning of in the tenth inning on Wednesday. "I told him [Ferguson] 'You're going to learn a lot more than this than you think.' He's a young kid and he's going to learn a lot." 

But Los Angeles held San Francisco scoreless over the four innings that followed, with Pedro Baez (4-3) throwing the final two innings to earn the win.

"For him to come out and throw up zeroes and give us a chance to win is huge," said Justin Turner of Baez. "Hopefully, he feels good about himself."

Left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu, making his first start since suffering a serious groin injury on May 2, was brilliant in his return. He threw six scoreless innings, holding the Giants to three hits without allowing a walk and striking out six.

"It's huge," Roberts said of Ryu's performance. "You win with starting pitching, so to get him [Ryu] is a huge boost. The way he's been throwing the baseball is a big boost for our club." 

In seven total starts this year, Ryu is 3-0 with a 1.77 ERA and has held hitters to a .152 batting average with 42 strikeouts and just 10 walks allowed.

Los Angeles ended a scoreless game with a run in the sixth after Yasiel Puig led off with a double. Puig, ejected Tuesday after a scuffle with Giants catcher Nick Hundley, took third on a flyout and scored on pinch-hitter Joc Pederson's sacrifice fly.

The Dodgers added two more in the seventh against reliever Ray Black. Justin Turner walked and scored on Manny Machado's double. Matt Kemp singled in Machado to give Los Angeles a 3-0 lead.

The Giants responded against the Dodgers' beleaguered bullpen in the eighth when McCutchen drilled his 14th homer.

"You pat Fergie [Ferguson] on the butt. He made some good pitches and McCuthen just took a good swing off him," said Turner of the McCutchen homer. "That's baseball. That stuff happens. No one is going to come in here and roll over just because we have a three-run lead and give it to us. You just have to find a way to win games."

It was the first time this season the Dodgers asked Ferguson to pitch in back-to-back games.

San Francisco starter Derek Holland went 4 2/3 innings, holding the Dodgers scoreless on six hits and four walks (two intentional), with seven strikeouts.

Yasmani Grandal led off the 12th with a double against Casey Kelly (0-1) and was singled to third before Dozier's flyball ended it.

"All you have to do is get the ball in the air, and that's all I was trying to do there," said Dozier of his final at-bat. "You can either nub something to the right side or just get the ball in the air. A little more to my strength is to get the ball in the air and he hung a breaking ball right down the middle and it ended up happening."

Dozier finished the game 1-for-4 with two walks and recorded his seventh career walk-off RBI, and second of the season (July 15 against the Rays while with the Minnesota Twins).

"A big relief to say the least. That was a huge win, and a must-needed win," said Dozier. "Heading into the off day and going to Seattle, that was a much-needed win."

The victory was the third walk-off win for Los Angeles this season as they improved to 6-6 in extra inning games this year.

The extra-inning affair marked the 17th time the two longtime rivals have gone to extra innings since 2014, the most of any two teams in baseball over that span, according to Stats LLC.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Giants: SS Brandon Crawford returned to the lineup after sitting out one game in the concussion protocol. ... 1B Brandon Belt (hyperextended knee) returned to the lineup. He was activated Tuesday, entered the game in the eighth when Hundley was ejected and scored the winning run on a close play at the plate. ... RHP Jeff Samardzija (right shoulder inflammation) threw a 30-pitch simulated game Tuesday and is scheduled to throw to hitters Friday before beginning a rehab assignment.

Dodgers: Placed RHP Ross Stripling on the 10-day disabled list with two compressed discs in his lower back, retroactive to Friday. Stripling said he's had the problem since college. ... LHP Tony Cingrani (left shoulder strain) was transferred from the 10-day to the 60-day DL. ... RHP Daniel Hudson (right forearm strain) is scheduled to come off the DL on Friday. ... Closer Kenley Jansen (irregular heartbeat) threw a second bullpen session. He is scheduled to see his cardiologist on Monday. ... LHP Julio Urias (left shoulder surgery) was scheduled to throw two-plus innings in a rehab start Wednesday, but lasted only 1 1/3 innings.

UP NEXT

Giants: RHP Dereck Rodriguez (6-1, 2.25 ERA) is scheduled to start Friday when the Giants open a three-game series against the Reds in Cincinnati. The Giants are 9-3 in his previous 12 starts.

Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler (5-4, 3.32) is scheduled to start Friday in the opener of a three-game series in Seattle. Buehler has a 2.80 ERA as a starter, limiting opponents to a .211 batting average.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Seventh Inning Scrap: Rivals Clash in Benches Clearing Melee]]>Wed, 15 Aug 2018 12:43:10 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/182*120/AP_18227170065170.jpgIt started with a few words exchanged between LA's Yasiel Puig and Giants catcher Nick Hundley. A benches clearing scuffle erupted at Dodger Stadium during the rivalry game Tuesday night after the face-to-face dispute between the two players at home plate.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Puig Swings at Hundley, But Dodgers Lose Again to Giants]]>Tue, 14 Aug 2018 23:38:13 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*124/GettyImages-1016873938.jpg

Is this baseball or boxing?

Yasiel Puig took a swing at Giants catcher Nick Hundley during a benches-clearing scrap in the seventh inning, then Alen Hanson hit an RBI single in the ninth to lift San Francisco over the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1 on Tuesday night.

The fracas started when Puig swatted his bat in frustration after fouling off a pitch from Tony Watson, and Hundley said something to the mercurial slugger while still in his crouch. Puig turned around and walked toward Hundley, the catcher stood up, and they stood face to face and argued for a moment before Puig shoved Hundley twice.

"From what I understand, Yasiel was frustrated and yelled out an expletive when he swung," explained Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts. "Hundley had something to say about it. Yasiel's intent was not at the pitcher, nor at Nick, and he instigated it and said something and Yasiel took exception to it."

That brought players out of the benches and bullpens. Puig and Hundley were momentarily separated, but Puig ducked around teammates, coaches and manager Dave Roberts before reaching back to hit Hundley. He smacked Hundley with an open hand across the front of his catcher's mask.

"He told me to 'stop complaining and get back into the box,'" Puig said of Hundley through a translator after the game. "When I got in his face, he told me to 'get out of his face,' so that's when I got upset with him. He said some words to me in English that I can't repeat."

The players were then separated again for good. After discussing with both managers, the umpires ejected both Puig and Hundley.

It was the fourth career ejection for Puig, who had also got into a skirmish with Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner in 2014.

Hansen's single in the ninth came off Kenta Maeda (7-8), making his first relief appearance of the season, and gave the Dodgers their fifth consecutive loss, all against the bullpen. The Dodgers had a play at the plate, but catcher Yasmani Grandal dropped the throw home.

"We lost a game late, and the result was obviously that we lost and we're in a little bit of a skid," said Roberts. "I just think we played 27 outs, we played hard, we competed. We squared balls up all night long and didn't get anything to show for it."

The Giants led 1-0 most of the game after Hanson's RBI single in the second inning.

The Dodgers tied it with two outs in the eighth on Justin Turner's third double and Manny Machado's base hit off Sam Dyson (3-2). It was Machado's first RBI this month.

Will Smith threw a scoreless ninth to earn his 10th save.

Andrew Suarez started for the Giants and threw six scoreless innings, allowing only two hits. He walked three and struck out four.

Left-hander Alex Wood was coming off the disabled list for the Dodgers but missed only one turn with a sore hip. He threw 92 pitches over five innings, allowing one run, three hits and a walk while striking out six.

"I thought it was good," Wood said of his first outing since coming off the disabled list. "They had a pretty good approach. Tonight they were more passive. Overall, I felt good."

Wood is 6-1 with a 2.43 ERA  and has held hitters to a .219 average in his last 10 starts.

The five-game skid is the longest losing streak for the club since a season-high six-game streak from May 10-16.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Giants: SS Brandon Crawford was out of the lineup Tuesday as he continued his concussion protocol following a collision with OF Gorkys Hernandez on Monday. Manager Bruce Bochy said he may be available off the bench. ... 1B Brandon Belt (hyper extended right knee) rejoined the team following a Monday rehab start and entered the game at first base in the seventh after Hundley was ejected. He singled and scored on Hanson's single in the ninth.

Dodgers: 2B Brian Dozier was back in the lineup after leaving Monday's game due to dizziness. The Dodgers said an EKG showed abnormalities, but Dozier said he's long had an irregular heartbeat. A cardiologist ran a battery of tests Tuesday and he was cleared to play. "When you're talking about the ticker, you want to make sure everything is OK, so we went through it all," he said. "And everything was muy bien." Dozier blamed the dizziness on taking a sinus medication. ... Former phenom Julio Urias (shoulder surgery) was scheduled to throw two-plus innings for Class A Rancho Cucamonga on Tuesday. The Dodgers hope to bring him back this season as a reliever. ... RHP Ross Stripling's move to the bullpen may be delayed by a sore back. ... RHP John Axford was placed on the 10 DL with a fractured fibula.

UP NEXT

Giants: LHP Derek Holland (6-8, 3.97 ERA) is scheduled to start Wednesday against the Dodgers. Holland won his last start Aug. 10 vs. the Pirates, earned his first win since June 20 at Miami.

Dodgers: LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (3-0, 2.12) is scheduled to come off the disabled list and make his first start since going down with a badly strained groin on May 2.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Benches Clear Between Rivals Dodgers and Giants]]>Tue, 14 Aug 2018 22:54:54 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/164*120/GettyImages-1016874140.jpg

The Dodgers and Giants are up to their old tricks. 

The benches cleared between the longtime rivals as a melee broke out in the bottom of the seventh inning between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium. 


Not surprisingly, Dodgers' outfielder Yasiel Puig was at the center of the action, as the man known as the "Wild Horse," has been in the middle of a few different benches clearing incidents with the Giants over recent years.

Puig was at the plate with two outs in the middle of a 1-0 Giants lead, when he fouled a pitch off to the backstop. 

Puig appeared frustrated that he missed the pitch and then San Francisco catcher Nick Hundley decided to chime in, exchanging words with Puig. 

Two two went face-to-face before they began pushing each other and both benches immediately cleared. 

Puig tried to punch Hundley at one point, as Dodgers first base coach George Lombard stood in between them, just seconds before Lombard tackled Hundley to the ground. 

Both players were ejected and the game continued. 

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Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Dodgers Bullpen Blows Another Late Lead]]>Mon, 13 Aug 2018 23:12:18 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*120/GettyImages-1016365756.jpg

The Los Angeles Dodgers are looking for a closer. 

Pinch-hitter Nick Hundley hit a two-run single in the ninth inning to give the Giants their first lead, and San Francisco rallied for a 5-2 victory on Monday night, handing the Los Angeles Dodgers' bullpen its fourth consecutive loss.

"They're in uncharted territory," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts of the bullpen as they try and find a reliable closer to fill in for injured All-Star Kenley Jansen. "Unfortunately, we didn't get it done tonight."

This time, the Dodgers wasted a masterful start by Clayton Kershaw, who held the Giants to one run on eight hits, all singles.

"He deserved to win," said Roberts after the frustrating loss. "He was fun to watch and compete. I can't say enough about what Clayton did for us tonight."

Hundley's two-out single put San Francisco ahead 3-2. Gorkys Hernandez singled in another run, and the Giants scored one more on a fielding error by Max Muncy.

Hundley's single came as no surprise to San Francisco fans as the pinch-hitter has been reliable off the bench this season batting .417 with one home run and six RBI in pinch-hit appearances. 

All the runs came against Scott Alexander (2-1), the Dodgers' latest to struggle in the absence of closer Kenley Jansen.

"We were a strike away, we just couldn't finish it off," Roberts said of Alexander. "Right now the results haven't been there. We're all frustrated, but none more than Scott Alexander."

Ray Black (2-1) pitched a scoreless eighth, and Will Smith worked the ninth to earn his ninth save in 11 opportunities.

Kershaw struck out nine and did not walk a batter, lowering his ERA against the Giants to 1.58 in 43 career starts.

Kershaw's eight innings were the most he's pitched in a single game this season, and the deepest he's gone into a game since September 24, 2017 also against San Francisco. 

Kershaw drove in the game's first run with a bloop double in the fourth. After Austin Barnes singled with two outs, Kershaw looped his hit just fair down the right-field foul line.

"I got fortunate and blooped a ball in," said Kershaw. "I was just going to keep running, I thought they were both down. Thankfully, they're both okay, but at that time it looked like I should just keep running."

Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford and left fielder Hernandez collided on the attempted catch of Kershaw's flyball, both crashing to the ground. Crawford, who appeared to take a knee to the head, recovered to throw Kershaw out as he tried to take third. Crawford batted in the top of the next inning and then exited the game.

The Dodgers took a 2-0 lead against Madison Bumganer in the fifth on Justin Turner's seventh home run of the season. It gave Turner an eight-game hitting streak.

Turner finished the game 2-for-4 for his 16th multi-hit game of the season, and is batting .433 with five runs, three doubles, one triple, one home run, and two RBI in those last eight games.

San Francisco got a run in the sixth when Steven Duggar and Bumgarner led off with singles and Duggar scored on a fielder's choice by Andrew McCutchen.

Bumgarner went six innings, allowing the two runs on seven hits and two walks.

It was the 11th time Kershaw and Bumgarner have faced each other, the most of any two active pitchers.

"You know how competitive he is, and how good he is," Kershaw said of facing Bumgarner. "I think more than anything tonight, the situation we're in with the pennant race. There's a little more intensity in the game when it means a little more."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Giants: 1B Brandon Belt (hyper extended right knee) made a second rehab start Monday, but it was uncertain whether he would rejoin the Giants in Los Angeles on Tuesday. "We will see how it goes and if we think he needs another game or two," Manager Bruce Bochy said. ... RHP Jeff Samardzija (right shoulder inflammation) threw a simulated game Monday. Bochy said he threw about 30 pitches. "He was throwing free and easy," Bochy said. "Threw some good sliders — breaking balls, he threw everything."

Dodgers: Reinstated right-handed reliever Erik Goeddel from the disabled list and optioned switch-handed pitcher Pat Venditte to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Goeddel has been out since Aug. 2 with right lat inflammation. In 30 games with Seattle and Los Angeles, he is 3-0 with a 3.06 ERA.

UP NEXT

Giants: LHP Andrew Suarez (4-8, 4.64 ERA) is scheduled to start Tuesday. The rookie will attempt to overcome a recent downturn that has seen him go 1-3 with a 7.43 ERA in his last five starts.

Dodgers: LHP Alex Wood (7-6, 3.58) is scheduled to come off the disabled list and make his first start since leaving his Aug. 3 outing with a sore hip. Wood missed only one start.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rockies Beat Dodgers Again on Walk-Off Walk]]>Sun, 12 Aug 2018 15:20:25 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-1015717666.jpg

Chris Iannetta drew a bases-loaded, two-out walk in the ninth inning, and Colorado Rockies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-3 after squandering a late lead Sunday.

It was the second walk-off win in as many days for Colorado. Ryan McMahon lined a three-run homer in the ninth on Saturday.

DJ LeMahieu led off the ninth with a single to right that Yasiel Puig misplayed, allowing LeMahieu to take second. After David Dahl was intentionally walked with one out, Desmond grounded out. McMahon was also walked to load the bases and bring up Iannetta, who drew a five-pitch walk off Dylan Floro (4-3).

The Rockies took three of four for their first home series win against the Dodgers since April 7-9, 2017. The loss dropped the Dodgers out of a first-place tie with Arizona in the NL West.

Wade Davis (2-6) pitched a shaky ninth in a tie game after Colorado failed to earlier protect a 3-0 lead.

Chad Bettis pitched efficiently into the seventh before turning it over to the struggling bullpen.

That's when the Dodgers went to work.

Brian Dozier delivered a two-out, two-run single in the seventh off Scott Oberg. In the eighth, Matt Kemp tied the game at 3 with a sacrifice fly against Adam Ottavino.

Davis got two quick outs in the ninth before walking Dozier, who stole second and then third when the shifted infield wasn't paying attention. Davis retired pinch-hitter Joc Pederson on a grounder to end the inning.

Bettis went 6 1/3 innings, allowing one run and three singles. It was his second start since returning from the disabled list after a pesky blister on his right middle finger kept him out for a month.

Rich Hill threw six innings and allowed three runs, two earned, as he returned to the mound at Coors Field for the first time since April 23, 2008, when he was with the Chicago Cubs.

His biggest mistake was a two-seam fastball on a 3-2 count that Charlie Blackmon knocked into the left-field bleachers in the sixth. It was Blackmon's first homer since July 31.

It was a frustrating day for Manny Machado, who went 0 for 4. He broke his bat over his leg after striking out in the seventh. He was lifted in a double-switch in the bottom of the inning.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: LHP Julio Urias will soon pitch three innings at Double-A Tulsa as he takes another step in his rehab from June 2017 shoulder surgery. Urias turned 22 on Sunday.

Rockies: All-Star 3B Nolan Arenado was given another day to rest his sore shoulder. Arenado entered as a pinch-hitter in the eighth and grounded out.

RESHUFFLING THE BULLPEN

The Dodgers are sending starters Kenta Maeda and Ross Stripling to the bullpen with left-handers Alex Wood (adductor) and Hyun-Jin Ryu (groin) about to come off the disabled list.

Wood is scheduled to pitch Tuesday against San Francisco. Ryu is expected to be activated and start on Wednesday.

Stripling will be ready for bullpen action on Tuesday and Maeda on Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (5-5, 2.58 ERA) will go against another ace in San Francisco LHP Madison Bumgarner (4-4, 2.69) to open a three-game series Monday. Kershaw is 22-10 with a 1.60 ERA in 42 starts versus the Giants.

Rockies: Monday provides the first day off after 17 straight games. The Rockies will open a two-game series at Houston on Tuesday, with RHP German Marquez (9-9, 4.69) taking the mound. The Astros will throw RHP Justin Verlander (11-7, 2.50).

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Dustin Bradford/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Stripling and Maeda head to Dodgers Bullpen]]>Sun, 12 Aug 2018 15:19:23 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-1014830180.jpg

The relief core got some reinforcements. 

The Los Angeles Dodgers are sending right-handers Kenta Maeda and Ross Stripling to the bullpen to make room for two starters about to return from the disabled list.

Left-hander Alex Wood is scheduled to come off the disabled list and pitch Tuesday against San Francisco. He went on the DL on Aug. 4 with adductor tendinitis. Lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu is healed from a strained groin that has sidelined him since early May. Ryu is expected to be activated and start on Wednesday.

Stripling will be ready for bullpen action on Tuesday and Maeda on Wednesday.

Stripling started the season in the bullpen, but after making a spot start in May, he took off en route to an All-Star campaign as a starting pitcher. 

Meanwhile, Maeda was in the bullpen for the stretch run last season, and was one of the Dodgers best relief options during their run to the World Series in 2017.

The Dodgers are using a closer-by-committee approach in the bullpen with Kenley Jansen sidelined because of an irregular heartbeat.


Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Dustin Bradford/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams' Late Signing of Ryan Davis Could be Answer at OLB]]>Sun, 12 Aug 2018 12:29:32 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/04-29-2016-rams-helmet-generic-1.jpg

The Los Angeles Rams made a series of high-profile defensive acquisitions during the offseason. Defensive end Ryan Davis was not one of them.

Davis signed a one-year contract two days before training camp started, an addition that could prove to be just as significant as signing defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh and trading for cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters.

"I was on my way to Detroit, actually, for a workout, and Arizona called," Davis said. "And then as soon as LA called, I told my agent: 'Come on, we gotta go. We got to make this happen.'"

Davis' intuition was right on, and he has found himself working extensively with the starting defense as an outside linebacker during the first three weeks of training camp. Coach Sean McVay has frequently identified Davis as one of the early standouts, though the praise apparently has not filtered down to the seven-season veteran who last played for Buffalo.

"I'm not looking for any kind of cheers or pat on the back from the coaches, but if they are fans of me, then obviously that's a good thing," Davis said. "My thing is going out there and not letting the guys down next to me. Just giving it my best and playing hard."

The quick transition Davis has made at outside linebacker is all the more important because the Rams must replace both starters there after trading Robert Quinn to Miami in March and not re-signing free agent Connor Barwin.

Quinn and Barwin combined for 13.5 sacks last season. Davis has flashed pass-rush ability with 14 career sacks, including 6 1/2 in 2014 for Jacksonville. Getting to the quarterback has always come naturally for Davis, but he is adjusting well to the coverage responsibilities of his new position. Recruited to Bethune-Cookman University as a tight end before moving to defense, Davis showed he still has soft hands during a post-practice session Saturday night catching balls from a JUGS machine.

"Some things you just don't lose. Hands, I just don't lose 'em," Davis said. "I'm outside linebacker now, so I have opportunity to get my hands on the ball. I want to be able to cash in." 

Instead, the biggest change for Davis has been rebuilding his body to handle the athletic demands of playing outside linebacker. He reported to training camp at 280 pounds, which was fine by the Rams, but it quickly became evident to Davis that he had to drop weight.

"They liked the way I moved when I came in," Davis said. "I came in and ran (the conditioning test) perfectly fine and was moving around perfectly fine, but for me personally I knew I have to shed weight to be able to keep this up the whole year. I'm down 10 pounds already from the start of camp and I'm looking to lose another 10, 15."

Davis is still surprised by his sudden elevation to the first-unit defense, which has confirmed his belief that the Rams were the best fit.

"I know I had to switch over to Sam linebacker, but that's really why I came. The defense, the Wade Phillips defense is a good fit," Davis said. "I've been talking with the Rams the whole offseason. We kind of sensed that this is where I wanted to be, and we went back and forth about everything, but I was just glad to be here. The Rams, LA just made a ton of sense for me as a player. The atmosphere, the city, everything about it just felt right."

NOTES: Tight end Gerald Everett (sprained shoulder) will miss at least another week, McVay said. Everett was at practice Saturday with his left arm in a sling.



Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Bullpen Lets Down Dodgers Again ]]>Sat, 11 Aug 2018 21:26:45 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-1014830174.jpg

Ryan McMahon hit a three-run home run with two outs in the ninth inning — his second go-ahead homer in as many nights — and the Colorado Rockies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 on Saturday night.

McMahon's drive off reliever J.T. Chargois (2-4) cleared the right field wall just above the out-of-town scoreboard. He hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh inning of Friday night's 5-4 victory over the Dodgers.

"I left that pitch up and he hit it," Chargois said of the home run ball to McMahon. "I really didn't execute the slider well. I threw one good one to Arenado and outside of that, they were really poor."

Bryan Shaw (4-5) picked up the victory with an inning of scoreless relief for the Rockies, who moved within 1½ games of their NL West rivals. The Dodgers are tied with the Arizona Diamondbacks for the division lead.

The Rockies, who were missing All-Star Nolan Arenado in the starting lineup because of a shoulder injury, were handcuffed most of the night by Walker Buehler, who pitched seven scoreless innings. He struck out six, walked three and benefited from three double plays.

"He was really good," Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts said of Buehler. "He picked us up on a defensive misplay and really just showed a lot of grit."

With regular closer Kenley Jansen on the disabled list because of an irregular heartbeat, the Dodgers turned first to Caleb Ferguson, who pitched a hitless eighth. Scott Alexander fanned Carlos Gonzalez to start the ninth and was relieved by Chargois after giving up a double to Trevor Story.

"You don't have that guy that's proven to get outs in the 9th inning," Roberts said after the loss. "That's where we're at right now. We've talked about closer by committee, and giving guys opportunities and the matchups we feel is going to give us the best chance to get those last three outs."

Chargois hit pinch-hitter Arenado with a pitch before getting Ian Desmond to ground into a fielder's choice for the second out.

"I just felt Arenado does a lot of damage against the lefties, there's history there," said Roberts of his decision to go to Chargois to pitch to Arenado. "It's a great runway for "Shaggy" [Chargois], whose shown the ability to consistently get righties out. I just felt it was the right play."

That brought up McMahon, who connected on a 1-0 offering, triggering an exuberant celebration around the plate. He tossed his batting helmet in the air and was doused with water and popcorn as he got bear hugs from his teammates.

"It's a tough one," Roberts said of the loss. "When you're an out away from going up two-to-one in the series, lose two games the way we have, it's a tough one. Especially the way Walker pitched."

Kyle Freeland struck out a career-high 10 in seven innings, allowing a pair of runs on six hits, but got into early trouble.

Freeland allowed a double to Manny Machado, followed by a run-scoring triple to Justin Turner in the first.

Yasiel Puig then connected on a 1-2 offering in the second, driving it deep into the left field bleachers for his 15th homer.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: C Austin Barnes started in place of Yasmani Grandal, who was given a day off. ... LHP Alex Wood (hamstring) is expected to reinstated from the 10-day disabled list and start Tuesday's game against the San Francisco Giants. ... LHP Julio Urias took another step in his rehab from June 2017 shoulder surgery when he pitched 1 1/3 innings for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga on Friday night.

Rockies: Arenado was held out of the starting lineup because of a right shoulder strain that also forced him to leave Friday night's game early.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: LHP Rich Hill (5-4, 3.62 ERA) makes his first at Coors Field in 10 years. He last pitched at the hitter-friendly park on April 23, 2008, for the Chicago Cubs, when he allowed two runs on three hits in five innings.

Rockies: RHP Chad Bettis (5-2, 5.67 ERA) is slated to make his second start since being reinstated from the 10-day DL. Bettis, who returned from a blister on his right middle finger, allowed a season-high nine runs in 4 2/3 innings in a loss to Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Dustin Bradford/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Angels' Mike Trout Lands on 10-Day Disabled List]]>Sat, 11 Aug 2018 12:15:43 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/all1AP_18199043517642.jpg

Star outfielder Mike Trout was put on the 10-day disabled list Friday because of an inflamed right wrist, a move that Los Angeles Angels had hoped to avoid.

Manager Mike Scioscia sounded confident that Trout's stay on the DL would not be extended beyond the minimum time. The Angels head out on a road trip to San Diego and Texas after the weekend.

"We anticipate him being back when his DL is up," Scioscia said. "Definitely in Texas he is going to play (Thursday), so most likely he will travel (to San Diego). The treatment he is getting is easy to administer."

The move was retroactive to Monday, when Trout received a cortisone injection in his wrist. The two-time AL MVP has missed seven consecutive games.

The 27-year-old Trout is batting .309 with 30 home runs and 60 RBIs. He leads the majors with a .459 on-base percentage.

Trout hasn't played since Aug. 1, when he hurt his wrist during a feet-first slide into third base in Tampa Bay.

Trout was out for 39 games last season after tearing a ligament in his left thumb in a headfirst slide.

Scioscia initially didn't think Trout would need to go on the DL. He said Friday there should be no long-term ramifications from the injury.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Bringing Back In-Seat Beer Service]]>Sat, 11 Aug 2018 11:10:27 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-868790292.jpg

The Los Angeles Dodgers will re-introduce in-seat beer service at Monday's game against the San Francisco Giants, the team announced.

The in-seat beer vendors will operate on all levels of Dodger Stadium. They will accept both cash and credit cards from fans 21 years of age and older with valid identification. Both domestic and premium beer will be available.

The return of in-seat beer service was made possible by a recent modification to Dodger Stadium's liquor license by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, a team official said.



Photo Credit: Joe Scarnici/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rosscup Surrenders Game-Winning Homer in Loss to Rockies]]>Fri, 10 Aug 2018 22:00:23 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-1014788172.jpg

Ryan McMahon hit a two-run homer in the seventh after replacing injured slugger Nolan Arenado, Colorado's beleaguered bullpen kept Los Angeles in check and the Rockies beat the Dodgers 5-4 on Friday night.

McMahon entered the game in the fifth when Arenado was taken out with soreness in his right shoulder. McMahon lined a fastball from reliever Zac Rosscup (0-1) to straightaway center and heartily celebrated as he rounded first. 

"I liked him against McMahon," Roberts said of why he left Rosscup in the game to face the left-handed hitter despite the fact he had already recorded two outs the inning before. "But in that situation, he falls behind 1-0, and leaves a fastball up and he [McMahon] put a good swing on it."

McMahon's homer overcame a rough night on the bases for the Rockies, who had two runners thrown out at home trying to score on grounders. Running on contact, Carlos Gonzalez was easily thrown out in the first and Trevor Story in the third.

The bullpen finished things off a day after giving up five homers and seven runs. The relievers went a combined 3 1/3 scoreless innings after starter Jon Gray left, with Jake McGee (2-4) picking up the win and Adam Ottavino closing out the ninth instead of a struggling Wade Davis. It was Ottavino's fifth save.

DJ LeMahieu had a two-run homer in the first to help the Rockies snap a six-game skid against the Dodgers at Coors Field. It was his first homer since June 28. 

There was reason for a degree of concern with the durable Arenado leaving the game. The Gold Glove third baseman may have tweaked his shoulder while turning a double play in the third inning. He was covering second base on a play that was scored 3-5-3. 

McMahon replaced Arenado at third base and hit his first homer since June 20. 

Max Muncy had two doubles and a two-run homer for the Dodgers, while Cody Bellinger added three singles. Los Angeles remains in a first-place tie with Arizona in the NL West. 

Kenta Maeda went 5 1/3 innings and allowed three runs before running out of steam and was replaced by Rosscup, a reliever Los Angeles claimed off waivers from Colorado on July 11.

"I thought he really competed," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts of Maeda. "He gave us a chance to win tonight."

Gray allowed four runs over 5 2/3 innings in a no-decision. It ended a streak of four straight quality starts since the right-hander was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: Closer Kenley Jansen was placed on the 10-day disabled list Friday because of an irregular heartbeat. Manager Dave Roberts didn't have a timetable for his return.

Rockies: LHP Mike Dunn (left shoulder joint inflammation) tossed a recent bullpen session. ... RHP Antonio Senzatela (shoulder) threw on the side Friday and "feels good," manager Bud Black said. 

ROCKIN' IN THE CAGE

Singer Chris Stapleton took batting practice off Black before the game. Kershaw, Ian Desmond and Charlie Blackmon stood around the cage to watch. 

Stapleton hit a sharp single to left on his first pitch and then got jammed on the next two pitches before calling it a day. Asked if he hit any homers, Stapleton responded: "An inside the park one."

He was playing at the Pepsi Center later Friday. 

UP NEXT

Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler (5-4, 3.63 ERA) faced the Rockies on June 2 at Coors Field, giving up four runs in five innings.

Rockies: LHP Kyle Freeland (10-7, 3.04 ERA) is 7-2 with a 2.18 ERA in 10 starts at Coors Field this season.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Dustin Bradford/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers' Full 2018-19 Schedule Released]]>Fri, 10 Aug 2018 18:47:05 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lebronfinals123x.jpg

The NBA released its full schedule for the 2018-19 season Wednesday including all 82 Lakers games, highlighted by a Christmas Day matchup in Oakland against the Golden State Warriors.

There are several other key games for the Lakers next season, including the team debut of four-time NBA MVP LeBron James, who signed a four-year, $153 million contract with the Lakers in July. Here are some to watch:

LeBron's First Game as a Laker: Oct. 18 at Portland Trail Blazers

"King James" will make his Lakers debut when the team opens its season on the road, playing in Portland against the Trail Blazers. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on TNT. It will be the first time the Lakers have begun a season away from Staples Center since 2005.

James can make an immediate impression on Lakers fans--or at least those who are still reluctant to root for one of the best players in NBA history--by helping the team snap a 15-game losing streak against the Blazers that dates all the way back to 2014.

Home Opener: Oct. 20 vs. Houston Rockets

James' first Lakers game at home will come two days later, when the Lakers play the Houston Rockets on Oct. 20. The game will also start 7:30 p.m. and ESPN will broadcast it nationally in a Saturday night primetime matchup.
It marks the second time in three years the Lakers' home opener has come against Houston, but the two teams' rosters will look far different this time around. This game will feature three of the "Banana Boat" quartet, a group of NBA stars that came into the league at the same time and stayed close through the years: James, Rockets guard Chris Paul, Rockets forward Carmelo Anthony and Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade. 

James' first Lakers game at Staples will come two days later, when the Lakers play the Houston Rockets. The game will start at 7:30 p.m. and ESPN will broadcast it nationally in a Saturday night primetime matchup.

It marks the second time in three years the Lakers' home opener has come against Houston, but the two teams' rosters will look far different this time around. This game will feature three of the Banana Boat quartet, a group of NBA stars that came into the league at the same time and stayed close through the years: James, Rockets guard Chris Paul, Rockets forward Carmelo Anthony and Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade.

Kawhi Comes Home: Nov. 4 vs. Toronto Raptors

After superstar and former NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard spent most of the summer trying to force a trade from the San Antonio Spurs to his hometown Lakers, the Spurs dealt him to the Toronto Raptors on July 19.

Leonard, who grew up in Riverside, reportedly wants to play in Los Angeles long term. The Raptors' early season trip to LA may serve as an extended audition for both Leonard and the Lakers before the forward hits free agency next summer. Tip-off is at 6:30 p.m. on Spectrum Sportsnet.

Return of the King: Nov. 21 at Cleveland Cavaliers

James solidified his legacy as a hero in Cleveland, near his hometown of Akron, Ohio, when he returned to the team that drafted him in 2014 and led the Cavaliers to their first and still only NBA championship two years later. When he first departed the Cavaliers in free agency, signing with the Miami Heat in 2010, Clevelanders burned his jersey and mercilessly booed him in his first game back.

This time around, however, the city's response to James' move has been much more appreciative. With images of the legendary comeback over the Warriors in the thrilling 2016 NBA Finals still fresh in Cleveland sports fans' minds, James could get a much warmer reception when the Lakers journey to his old home arena in November. The game starts at 5 p.m. on ESPN.

Christmas in Oakland: Dec. 25 at Golden State Warriors

This will mark LeBron James' fourth straight Christmas game against Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and the defending champion Warriors. James' Cleveland Cavaliers teams have played the Warriors on the holiday in each of the past three seasons, all of which came after the two squads faced off in the NBA Finals the previous June.

James' last regular season win over the Warriors came during Christmas 2016--when Lakers head coach Luke Walton was still an assistant coach at Golden State. The game will tip off at 5 p.m. on ABC as the fourth of five NBA games that day.

Rated PG-13: Jan. 2 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

The Lakers were in a similar situation last year with Paul George as they are with Leonard now: an NBA star reportedly wants to force a trade to the Lakers, but gets dealt somewhere else instead. George, however, immediately re-signed with the Thunder in free agency.

The last time George played at Staples, Lakers fans who still believed they had a chance to recruit him started "We Want Paul" chants. However, the Palmdale native's next trip home will likely get a much more icy reception from the purple and gold faithful. The game starts at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN.

MLK Day at Staples: Jan. 21 vs. Warriors

The Lakers also get a slot in the NBA's Martin Luther King Jr. day schedule, a rematch with the Warriors at Staples, the site where a young, rebuilding Lakers squad pulled off stunning upsets against the Dubs twice in 2016. Even with James now on the roster, any victory against the NBA's powerhouse would be considered an upset. The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. on TNT.

Green vs. Gold: Feb. 7 at Boston Celtics, March 9 vs. Boston Celtics

A new chapter will be written in the NBA's most storied rivalry, with past team legends such as Magic Johnson and Paul Pierce no doubt looking on when the Lakers travel to Boston just before the All-Star break. 

The next battles between the NBA's premier franchises will get an infusion of old, with the Lakers' new jerseys invoking the Showtime era that featured so many legendary Finals series against Boston. There will also be a new twist as James and Celtics guard Kyrie Irving, ex-teammates with the Cavs, now lead their respective teams against one another.

ESPN will broadcast the first game nationally starting at 5 p.m., while the second will be an ABC Saturday primetime special tipping off at 5 p.m.

St. Patty's at the Garden: March 17 at New York Knicks

Madison Square Garden in New York City is nicknamed the Mecca of basketball, and Lakers greats--especially Kobe Bryant--have a long history of signature games in the iconic arena.

James is no exception, having posted double-digit scoring totals in every single career game he has played there, including 50-point performances in 2008 and 2009. He has two triple-doubles in MSG and nearly reached a third there last season when he posted 23 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds.

Get up early for this one, which tips off at 9 a.m. on Spectrum Sportsnet.

The Lakers also face several key battles towards the end of the season, as five of their final six games are against likely Western Conference playoff teams such as the New Orleans Pelicans, Utah Jazz, Thunder, Warriors and Trail Blazers. You can check out the Lakers' full 82-game schedule here.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers' Closer Kenley Jansen Hospitalized With Irregular Heartbeat ]]>Fri, 10 Aug 2018 01:55:38 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/163*120/GettyImages-1011670174.jpg

Get well, Kenley.

Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen was hospitalized on Thursday with an irregular heartbeat ahead of the team's game against the Colorado Rockies in Denver.

Jansen was noticeably absent in the Dodgers bullpen at Coors Field, and Spectrum SportsNetLA reporter Alanna Rizzo, announced during the broadcast, that the team's closer was unavailable for the game with an "illness."

After the game, an 8-5 come-from-behind victory for the Boys in Blue, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters that Jansen was at the team hotel earlier in the day, but didn't feel right, so he was taken to a nearby hospital.

"Kenley had a little episode with an irregular heartbeat," Roberts said after the game. "There's been a history of that with Kenley, so once we heard that, we got him to the hospital and had some tests done."

As mentioned, Jansen has dealt with an irregular heartbeat in the past, and has seen the medical issue arise while at Coors Field in the high altitude of Mile High Stadium.

"There's history of it," continued Roberts. "Anytime you're talking about the heart and an irregular heartbeat and things like that, obviously you have to be very careful with it. Then you're talking about altitude. That's why we wanted to be proactive and get him back there." 

Jansen was placed on the disabled list in 2011 after taking blood thinning medication for an irregular heartbeat, and on Aug. 27, 2012 during a series at Colorado, Jansen again suffered symptoms of an irregular heart beat.

Later that year, he underwent a procedure on his heart to help return it to a normal rhythm. 

Roberts said that Jansen was on his way back to Los Angeles after the game, and he would be unavailable for the entirety of the four-game series with the divisional rival Rockies. 

"Once he sees a doctor, the cardiologist, we'll know more about his situation and have a timetable then," said Roberts. "We're holding out hope it's not too serious. His mood is fine. After further testing, then we'll know more. Right now, that's all I know." 

Janen was an All-Star again this season, and is 0-3 with a 2.15 ERA and 32 saves in 51 games for the Dodgers this season.



Photo Credit: John McCoy/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Hit 5 Homers in Comeback Over Colorado ]]>Thu, 09 Aug 2018 21:27:25 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-1014208214.jpg

Chris Taylor and Brian Dozier homered off closer Wade Davis in the ninth inning and the Los Angeles Dodgers exploited Colorado's shaky bullpen to beat the Rockies 8-5 on Thursday night.

Taylor lined the first pitch he saw from Davis (1-6) — a knuckle-curve — into the left-center bleachers to make it 6-5. Two batters later, Dozier followed with a two-run shot to cap off another late-inning, flip-flopping game at Coors Field.

Caleb Ferguson (3-1) threw 1 2/3 innings to earn the win. Scott Alexander pitched the ninth for his second save.

The Rockies bullpen surrendered five homers and seven runs as the Dodgers pulled into a first-place tie with idle Arizona in the NL West. It was Los Angeles' sixth straight win at Coors Field.

A struggling Davis was brought into the game in the eighth to quiet a rally, which he did, but allowed three runs in the ninth. He was booed as he walked off the mound.

Chris Iannetta gave the Rockies a 5-3 lead with a three-run homer in the seventh. It didn't last, as Cody Bellinger connected on a two-run shot off reliever Seunghwan Oh to tie it with two outs in the eighth.

Rockies starter Tyler Anderson pitched six strong innings before turning it over to reliever Scott Oberg, who allowed solo homers to pinch-hitters Joc Pederson and Max Muncy in the seventh to give the Dodgers a 3-1.

Nolan Arenado had three hits, including an RBI double. The Rockies have dropped three straight at home.

Both teams stressed the importance of this four-game series even though it's only August.

It was a tough-luck no-decision for both starters. Ross Stripling scattered four hits and allowed one run over six strong innings in his return from the 10-day disabled list. The All-Star righty has been sidelined since July 30 while recovering from inflammation in his right toe.

Anderson had a similar line: Six innings, one run and four hits allowed. He lowered his career ERA at Coors Field to 3.39, which is the second-lowest all-time mark among Rockies pitchers with at least 25 starts. He trails teammate Kyle Freeland, who has a 3.23 ERA at home.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: Manager Dave Roberts will meet with LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (groin) to map out his next step. Ryu may make one more rehab start. "I know he's champing at the bit to get back in the rotation, get back online," Roberts said. ... LHP Julio Urias (shoulder) will throw two innings at Class A Rancho Cucamonga on Friday. ... LHP Alex Wood (adductor) is slated to join the rotation next week.

THIS & THAT

Enrique Hernandez had a 12-pitch at-bat in the fourth that ended with a long, running catch by Charlie Blackmon in center. ... It was Iannetta's first homer since July 4. ... Pederson hit his second career pinch-hit homer and Muncy his first.

LUXURY

Roberts will have a crowded rotation with several of his banged-up starters about to come off the disabled list.

"It's a high-class problem," cracked Roberts, who was feeling under the weather Thursday and took a 30-minute pregame nap in his office.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: RHP Kenta Maeda (7-7, 3.73 ERA) takes the mound Friday against Colorado. He's held the Rockies to a .149 average in two previous starts this season.

Rockies: RHP Jon Gray is 2-0 with a 1.52 ERA in four quality starts since he was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque, where he straightened out his mechanics.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Dustin Bradford/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rams Get Routed by Ravens in Preseason Opener]]>Thu, 09 Aug 2018 21:04:39 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-1014170238.jpg

Joe Flacco threw a touchdown pass on his only series of the game, rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson ran for a score and the Baltimore Ravens rolled to a 33-7 preseason victory over the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday night.

Baltimore (2-0) led 17-0 after the first period and cruised to the finish against the Rams (0-1), who rested offensive stars Jared Goff and Todd Gurley.

After sitting out the Hall of Fame Game last week, Flacco went 5 for 7 for 71 yards during a 10-play drive. The 11-year veteran overcame a second-and-25 with a 30-yard pass to newcomer Michael Crabtree and finished with a 6-yard TD throw to Patrick Ricard. 

At that point, coach John Harbaugh had seen enough.

"That's really all we needed from Joe," Harbaugh said.

Flacco knew it was going to be a short night, so he decided to make the best of it.

"Preseason games are always weird because you know you're not going to play a ton, but you have to get ready like it's a regular-season game," he said. "There can be pressure to go out there and do well."

Jackson entered the next time Baltimore got the ball and coolly directed a 73-yard march in which he completed a 36-yard pass to Chris Moore and broke two tackles running for a 9-yard touchdown. 

"It was a great run," Harbaugh said. "I thought he was tackled twice — and then he wasn't."

Jackson went 7 for 18 for 119 yards, ran for 21 yards and was sacked twice before giving way to Robert Griffin III early in the third quarter.

Flacco has been named Baltimore's starter in the regular season. Griffin is seeking a comeback after being inactive in 2017, and Jackson is trying to adjust to the pro game after winning a Heisman Trophy at Louisville and being drafted in the first round last April. 

The Ravens and Rams held joint practices Monday and Tuesday, and Los Angeles coach Sean McVay indicated the work against outside opposition would enable him to rest a few of his starters in the preseason opener. 

So, Sean Mannion opened at quarterback, Malcolm Brown lined up behind him and the offense sputtered for much of the night.

Los Angeles gained 5 yards and made one first down in the first quarter. The Rams trailed 23-0 at halftime after totaling 45 yards and three first downs.

"We expect to play better and we will," McVay said. "Sometimes these lessons, these humbling experiences if you will, for everybody is the level of awareness. You can't wait to get back to work and know that we got a lot work to do. What's encouraging is we have time to figure it out." 

Mannion played the first half, going 3 for 13 for 16 yards and an interception.

After the Rams scored in the fourth quarter on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Allen to KhaDarel Hodge, Griffin connected with Breshad Perriman for a 32-yard score. 

NATIONAL ANTHEM

Both teams stood during the national anthem. While most of the Ravens lined up shoulder to shoulder on the sideline, second-year linebacker Tim Williams stood alone in front of the bench with his back toward the field. 

INJURIES

It appeared as if both teams got out of the game without any significant injuries.

HELMET RULE

The Rams received successive 15-yard penalties in the first quarter for lowering the head to initiate contact, a new rule this season. Marqui Christian received the first flag, and Blake Countess followed. The penalties attributed for nearly half the yardage in a drive that produced a field goal for a 17-0 lead.

UP NEXT: 

Rams: After an extended stay on the East Coast, Los Angeles heads home to begin preparation for its next opponent, the Oakland Raiders at home on Aug. 18. 

Ravens: Their next preseason game isn't until Aug. 20 at Indianapolis, but that begins a stretch of three games in 11 days.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LeBron, Lakers to Play Defending Champs on Christmas]]>Thu, 09 Aug 2018 15:41:15 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lebronfinals123x.jpg

The NBA partially released its detailed schedule for the 2018-19 season Wednesday and four marquee Lakers games were among the announcements, including a Christmas Day matchup in Oakland against the Golden State Warriors.

That will mark LeBron James' fourth straight Christmas game against the defending champion Warriors. James' Cleveland Cavaliers teams have played the Warriors on the holiday in each of the past three seasons, all of which came after the two squads faced off in the NBA Finals the previous June. The game will tip off at 5 p.m. on ABC as the fourth of five NBA games that day.

James, a four-time NBA MVP, signed a four-year, $153 million contract with the Lakers in July.

"King James" will make his Lakers debut when the team opens its season on the road, playing in Portland against the Trail Blazers on Oct. 18. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on TNT. It will be the first time the Lakers have begun a season away from Staples Center since 2005.

James' first Lakers game at home will come two days later, when the Lakers play the Houston Rockets on Oct. 20. The game will also start 7:30 p.m. and ESPN will broadcast it nationally in a Saturday night primetime matchup.

It marks the second time in three years the Lakers' home opener has come against Houston, but the two teams' rosters will look far different this time around. This game will feature three of the "Banana Boat" quartet, a group of NBA stars that came into the league at the same time and stayed close through the years: James, Rockets guard Chris Paul, Rockets forward Carmelo Anthony and Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade. 

The Lakers also get a slot in the NBA's Martin Luther King Jr. day schedule, a rematch with the Warriors at Staples. The Jan. 21 game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. on TNT.

The 2018-19 NBA season starts two days before the Lakers' first game with an Oct. 16 doubleheader featuring the Boston Celtics vs. the Philadelphia 76ers and the Warriors vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The NBA will release its full season schedule for all 30 teams on Friday.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Drop Ball, Game to Athletics]]>Wed, 08 Aug 2018 22:28:33 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-1013560160.jpg

Newly acquired Mike Fiers pitched 5 1/3 strong innings and the Oakland Athletics beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 on Wednesday night.

The A's broke a 2-2 in the eighth inning when Khris Davis hit a fielder's choice grounder off Dodgers reliever J.T. Chargois (2-3), scoring Marcus Semien from third.

Dodgers third baseman Manny Machado fielded Davis' bouncer and fired home to catcher Yasmani Grandal, but Grandal never had control of the ball when he swipe-tagged Semien. Grandal was charged with an error on the play.

Semien singled leading off the inning. He almost got doubled off first on Matt Chapman's fly ball to Cody Bellinger in center. His throw was off-line throw back to first. Jed Lowrie followed with a hit that sent Semien to third.

Jeurys Familia (3-0) pitched a scoreless eighth for the win and Blake Treinen worked the ninth for his 29th save in 33 chances.

Second baseman Lowrie made a running catch with Yasiel Puig at second for the final out to preserve the win.

Oakland won for the seventh time in eight games and improved to 34-11 going back to June 16, the best record in the majors over that stretch.

The A's closed to within five games of idle Houston, which leads the AL West.

The Dodgers fell a half game behind Arizona, which beat Philadelphia on Wednesday to move into first place in the NL West.

Fiers gave up one run on four hits. He struck out eight and walked none.

He didn't allow a baserunner until Grandal led off the fifth with his 20th home run.

Fiers was with the Houston Astros when he pitched a no-hitter against the Dodgers on Aug. 22, 2015.

The A's, desperate to add depth to an injury depleted rotation, acquired the 33-year-old right-hander from the Tigers on Monday for two players to be named or cash. He became the 13th starter the A's sent to the mound this season.

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw gave up two runs in six innings. He remains winless in four starts against Oakland despite posting a 1.38 ERA over that stretch.

"I didn't have much of anything tonight," said Kershaw. "It was a little bit of smoke and mirrors. That's a good team over there."

Kershaw is 2-1 with a 2.10 ERA since the All-Star break.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (left groin strain) pitched in a rehab game for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Tuesday night. He threw 71 pitches and topped out at 91 mph, Roberts said. Ryu throw again in five or six days, possibly for Los Angeles, manager Dave Roberts said. "To Ryu's credit, he pitched well, he feels well, and so to make our decision more difficult, that's a good thing for the Dodgers," Roberts said. . LHP Alex Wood (left adductor tendinitis) pitched three innings in a simulated game on Tuesday. "At that point we'll figure out where to plug him in," Roberts said.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: Ross Stripling (8-3, 2.68 ERA) will come of the DL (right first toe inflammation) to pitch Thursday's series opener against the Rockies in Colorado. He's 1-1 with a 2.88 ERA in 10 appearances (three starts) against the Rockies.

Athletics: LHP Brett Anderson (2-3, 4.64 ERA) will pitch Friday's series opener against the Angels in Los Angeles on Friday. Anderson is 2-1 with a 2.96 ERA since coming off the DL (strained left shoulder) on July 8.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Jason O. Watson/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rich Hill Defeats Former Team as Dodgers Hold on to Beat A's, 4-2]]>Tue, 07 Aug 2018 22:53:35 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-1012956086.jpg

There's nothing quite like competing against your former team. 

Rich Hill pitched into the sixth to beat his former club for the first time, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers past the Athletics 4-2 on Tuesday night to snap Oakland's six-game winning streak.

Hill (5-4) allowed two runs, three hits and four walks while striking out five over 5 1/3 innings. He is 3-1 with a 3.12 ERA in eight road starts.

"I can pitch better. That's what I think," said Hill after the game. "I just thought I could have been a little bit more efficient. Back to the Chapman at-bat and KD [Khris Davis] at-bat. It's one of those games where for me, I should have went deeper in the game. It didn't work out that way, and the bullpen did a heck of a job."

The left-hander hadn't defeated the A's previously in five appearances and one start. He won nine games for Oakland in 2016 before being dealt to the Dodgers.

Khris Davis hit a two-run homer in the sixth — his 32nd — to get the A's back in it and chase Hill. But the Dodgers put up a key insurance run on Matt Kemp's RBI single in the seventh that followed a leadoff double by pinch-hitter Joc Pederson.

"Oh man, it's been a little rough the past two weeks," Kemp told SportsNetLA afterthe game. "I've been grinding. We needed that run and I'm just glad it happened in that moment and hopefully good things are to come."

No late-inning magic or dramatic finish for the home team this time. 

The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead against Sean Manaea (10-8) in the first on Enrique Hernandez's RBI groundout. Los Angeles added a run on Austin Barnes' second-inning sacrifice bunt then Cody Bellinger's RBI single in the third.

Kenley Jansen closed it out with a pair of strikeouts in a perfect ninth for his 32nd save.

Oakland had an eight-game home winning streak end. The A's six-game winning streak matched their season high.

Manaea didn't make it through the third.

Trying to win consecutive outings for the first time since a three-start winning streak from June 16-28, he was done after allowing three runs and five hits in 2 2/3 innings on 77 pitches.

A's starting pitchers had been 5-0 with a 0.73 ERA during the homestand as Oakland didn't allow an earned run in a three-game weekend sweep of the Tigers.

HAMMER TIME

MC Hammer tossed the ceremonial first pitch on African-American heritage night at the Coliseum.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: SS Corey Seager had arthroscopic surgery on his left hip now that he is well into his recovery from Tommy John elbow surgery that limited him to just 26 games this season. The 24-year-old Seager is expected to be at full strength for the start of spring training. ... Matt Kemp, dealing with a bruised left ankle, returned to the lineup as designated hitter after sitting out Sunday against the Astros. ... RF Yasiel Puig also was back after missing Sunday with right oblique soreness.

Athletics: LF Chad Pinder came off the disabled list and batted eighth. He had been out since July 28 with a laceration on his left elbow. ... Oakland optioned RHPs Ryan Dull and J.B. Wendelken and infielder Franklin Barreto to Triple-A Nashville, clearing room for the additions of new right-handers Shawn Kelley and Mike Fiers who came in trades over recent days. Kelley made his A's debut in the sixth and recorded two outs with a walk.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (5-5, 2.55 ERA), who made the rounds pregame signing autographs with lots of Dodger Blue in the Coliseum crowd, has never posted a decision in three previous starts vs. Oakland but owns a 0.87 ERA. He faces the A's for the first time since Aug. 18, 2015.

Athletics: RHP Fiers makes his A's debut after being traded Monday by the Tigers. Fiers is 7-6 with a 3.48 ERA this season and 2-2 with a 1.96 ERA over his last seven starts.



If you can't see the embedded videos, scroll to the bottom of this page and click "VIEW FULL MOBILE SITE."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Salvage Series Astros With 3-2 Win in Finale ]]>Sun, 05 Aug 2018 17:16:38 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/195*120/GettyImages-1011602032.jpg

Brian Dozier delivered a two-run double in the first inning and Manny Machado had three hits with two runs scored as the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Houston Astros 3-2 on Sunday.

With the Dodgers struggling for offense against the team that beat them in last year's World Series, it was the new additions who came through. Machado was acquired from Baltimore during the All-Star break and Dozier came over from Minnesota at last week's trade deadline.

"You really never know what you're going to get when a guy goes to a new club," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts. "The intent, the at-bat quality for those two guys [Dozier and Machado] have been very consistent. Every pitch, they try and win pitches."

The Astros, who won the 2017 World Series in seven games, took the weekend series in Los Angeles by winning the first two games.

George Springer and Tony Kemp homered for the Astros, but Springer exited in the third with left thumb discomfort after he was thrown out trying to steal second base.

New reliever Roberto Osuna did not pitch in his first game on the active roster for Houston. Osuna was reinstated from the restricted list after serving a 75-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball's domestic violence policy. The All-Star closer was acquired Monday in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays while he was still serving his suspension.

Before the game, Osuna met his new Astros teammates and addressed the club for 10 minutes in a closed-door meeting.

Springer's home run to open the game was his 19th of the season. He has 24 career leadoff homers, six this season.

Kemp hit his fourth home run.

Dodgers starter Walker Buehler (5-4) gave up two runs and four hits over 5 1/3 innings with two walks and eight strikeouts. Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth for his 31st save.

Astros starter Gerrit Cole (10-4), a product of nearby UCLA, allowed three runs on six hits in five innings with one walk and eight strikeouts.

After Springer homered, the Dodgers responded quickly on Dozier's two-run double with two outs in the first. The power-hitting second baseman has five extra-base hits in five games (four starts) with the Dodgers, including seven RBIs.

Cody Bellinger gave the Dodgers a 3-1 lead with an RBI double in the third. Kemp's home run came in the fifth and cut the Dodgers' lead to 3-2.

Jake Marisnick, who replaced Springer in center field, reached over the wall to rob Chris Taylor of a home run in the sixth.

The Dodgers hit three more Astros batters with pitches Sunday, and Springer was knocked down by an inside fastball from Buehler. In the three games, Dodgers pitchers plunked seven Astros batters.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Astros: RHP Lance McCullers Jr. was placed on the 10-day disabled list because of right elbow discomfort and sent back to Houston to be examined by team doctors. ... 2B Jose Altuve (right knee soreness) was sent back to Houston for further examination, with manager AJ Hinch saying it "feels like" a setback in the sense that Altuve will not come off the DL when he is eligible this week.

Dodgers: OF Yasiel Puig was unavailable after feeling some oblique soreness a week after returning from the DL. ... OF Matt Kemp did not start because of a bruised left ankle sustained on a foul ball Saturday. ... 3B Justin Turner (right groin strain) was given the day off to ease him back into regular playing time after he came off the disabled list Thursday.

UP NEXT

Astros: RHP Charlie Morton (12-2, 2.90 ERA), who has won five of his last six decisions, will open a two-game series at San Francisco on Monday.

Dodgers: LHP Rich Hill (4-4, 3.63) starts Tuesday in the opener of a two-game series at Oakland against the team that dealt him to the Dodgers at the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: John McCoy/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['Poppycock': Angels Manager Denies That He's Stepping Down ]]>Sun, 05 Aug 2018 11:39:34 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/171*120/85909338.jpg

Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia reached deep into his vocabulary to describe a report saying he'll step down after this season.

"Poppycock," Sciocsia said Sunday, using a dated term for "nonsense."

A day after The Athletic reported that Scioscia is expected to end his 19-year run with the Angels in October, the manager strongly dismissed the report and insisted that he still loves what he's doing.

Shortly after the Angels were beaten 3-0 by the Indians on Saturday night, longtime baseball writer Ken Rosenthal, citing unnamed major league sources, reported that Scioscia -- the longest-tenured manager in the majors -- and the Angels had reached a mutual decision to part ways after this season.

Scioscia said that's not true, and he has "no idea" where the report originated.

"Nothing has changed since we talked in October," he said, referring to what he told reporters at the end of last season about his status. "There's always chatter out there. That's it. Nothing's changed. The only word I have is poppycock. That's all it is."

Following last season, Scioscia, Angels general manager Billy Eppler and owner Arte Moreno jointly said they would put off any talks about the 59-year-old manager's future -- or a possible contract extension -- until the 2018 season was over.

Scioscia is in the final year of a 10-year deal he signed in 2008.

The former major league catcher was in a playful mood and joked with reporters after denying the report. Scioscia said he did not speak with the team and doesn't believe his situation will distract the Angels.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[World Series Woes Continue as Astros Rout Dodgers, 14-0 ]]>Sat, 04 Aug 2018 22:53:34 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/166*120/GettyImages-1011199126.jpg

Best of 13?

Josh Reddick's three-run homer highlighted Houston's seven-run eighth, and the Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 14-0 on Saturday night for their fourth straight win.

Houston's Lance McCullers Jr. left after 60 pitches because of right elbow discomfort. He allowed two hits over four innings in his first start at Dodger Stadium since Game 7 of last year's World Series, won by the Astros.

"Good pitching," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts. "Tonight, it started off with McCullers and really we couldn't get anything going. He came out of the game for some reason and then Peacock had our number for two innings. Then the game obviously spun out of control."

The Dodgers were limited to three hits in losing their fifth straight regular-season game to Houston since 2015.

"The compete is there, just the last couple of games it hasn't happened," said Roberts of the losing streak to the Astros. "It's not going to get any easier tomorrow against Gerrit Cole so we have to find a way to get some baserunners and put some runs across."  

The AL West-leading Astros pounded out 13 hits and batted around twice in the game, including the eighth when John Axford was charged with six runs in a rocky Dodgers debut after being acquired from Toronto at the trade deadline. Axford, a 10-year veteran, failed to record a strikeout on 27 pitches and hit left fielder Tony Kemp on his right foot, forcing him to leave the game.

"That was the worst outing of my entire career," said Axford after the game. "Not the best way to start."

Jake Marisnick ran for Kemp in the eighth and homered in the ninth. Houston fans began chanting loudly and the remaining Dodgers fans from the sellout crowd of 53,119 booed in an attempt to drown them out.

Brad Peacock (2-4) got the win with two innings of relief.

Marwin Gonzalez homered on the first pitch from Kenta Maeda (7-7) leading off the second for the Astros' first run.

Houston batted around in the sixth, extending its lead to 5-0. 

Yuli Gurriel got things started with a two-run double that scored Reddick, who hit a ground-rule double to deep left center, and Alex Bregman, who walked.

"Gurriel snuck the ball down the line for the double and that changed everything," said Roberts. "After that it spun out on us."

After Maeda intentionally walked Gonzalez, Tyler White doubled to center field with the ball eluding a diving Chris Taylor. Gurriel scored and Gonzalez moved to third.

Martin Maldonado followed with a sacrifice to J.T. Chargois, who relieved Maeda, and Gonzalez scored for a 5-0 lead.

The Astros got to Axford right away in the eighth. Maldonado's ground-rule double scored two runs, pinch-hitter Evan Gattis added a sacrifice fly and George Springer had an RBI double for his lone hit in six at-bats. 

"It's not like I was giving up a bunch of rockets," said Axford of the disastrous inning. "I wasn't helping myself walking a guy, hitting a guy, a bounce here or there and there's still runs on the board, but at least it looks a little nicer. I have a little bit more to offer than what was shown out there."

Reddick's three-run drive to right field came off Zac Rosscup, just off the disabled list, and made it 12-0. Reddick played for the Dodgers for the last part of the 2016 season.

Maeda gave up five runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings. The Japanese right-hander struck out four and walked two.

"He was really efficient," Roberts said of Maeda. "After the homer [to Gonzalez] I thought he was good...really that double to Gurriel is where the game got out of hand."

According to Stats LLC., the Dodges 14-0 loss was the largest shutout loss at home since July 22, 1923 when the then Brooklyn Robins fell to the Boston Braves at Ebbets Field.

The 14-run victory was also tied for the largest margin in a win for Houston this season.

Houston won the series opener 2-1 on Friday and could complete a sweep on Sunday when newly acquired reliever Roberto Osuna is expected to be activated. He is coming off a 75-game suspension for violating MLB's domestic violence policy. 

TRAINER'S ROOM

Astros: Osuna pitched one scoreless inning for Double-A Corpus Christi on Friday, allowing one hit with one strikeout. ... INF Jose Altuve (right knee soreness) did some running and baseball activity. "A step forward but not a ton," manager A.J. Hinch said. "The key is the soreness after the activity."

Dodgers: Placed LHP Alex Wood on 10-day DL with left adductor tendinitis. ... RHP Ross Stripling (right big toe inflammation) tossed 30 pitches in a two-inning simulated game. He's expected to rejoin the team either Thursday or Friday in Colorado. 

UP NEXT 

Former UCLA star Gerrit Cole (10-3, 2.55 ERA) starts the series finale for the Astros. Dodgers rookie right-hander Walker Buehler (4-4, 3.65 ERA) has never faced Houston.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Report: LA Angels Manager Mike Scioscia Expected to Step Down]]>Sun, 05 Aug 2018 09:52:25 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/167*120/GettyImages-1009727662.jpg

Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia is expected to step down at the end of this season, according to a report by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

Scioscia has managed the Angels since 2000 and is the longest-tenured manager in the majors. Only five managers in baseball history have managed one team for more consecutive seasons than these 19 by Scioscia: Connie Mack (50 years, Philadelphia Athletics); John McGraw (31 years, New York Giants); Walter Alston (23 years, Brooklyn and LA Dodgers); Bobby Cox (21 years, Atlanta Braves); Tommy Lasorda (21 years, LA Dodgers).

The 59-year-old Scioscia led the Angels to a World Series title in 2002.

The Athletic's report was pinned on unidentified major league sources and surfaced late Saturday night following the Angels' 3-0 loss at Cleveland. Scioscia is under contract through the end of 2018. The Angels are 55-57 this year.

A voicemail left by The Associated Press with a media relations member traveling with the Angels was not immediately returned. 

Scioscia has 1,625 career wins. The former big league catcher led the Angels to six division titles and seven playoff appearances.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Starting Pitchers Stripling and Wood Head to DL]]>Sat, 04 Aug 2018 21:21:39 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*125/GettyImages-526686996.jpg

The injury bug bites all teams from time-to-time, but the Los Angeles Dodgers seem to always be the main course. 

The Dodgers set the record for the most players on the disabled list in 2016, and backed it up with an MLB-high 38 total DL stints in 2017.

That trend has continued in 2018 as the Dodgers have already placed twenty-one different players on the DL thus far.

As of today's date, injuries have made those 21 players miss a total of 115 days on the DL, totaling over $28 million in salary to injured players.

The biggest blow of course was the announcement on April 30 that two-time All-Star shortstop and 2016 National League Rookie of the Year Award winner, Corey Seager, would miss the rest of the season with a strained UCL in his right elbow and underwent Tommy John surgery.

A handful of Dodgers have recently gone on the disabled list starting with Zac Rosscup last week, Ross Stripling on Monday, Chase Utley on Thursday and Erik Goeddel on Friday.

Here are the latest updates on all the Dodgers injuries:

Alex Wood (left adductor tendonitis): Wood has been dealing with a few different ailments this season and in the seventh inning of his start against the Houston Astros on Friday, he was noticeably trying to stretch out his hamstrings. Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts noticed it too, and immediately took him out of the game. After meeting with trainers, it was actually his left abductor, and not the hamstring. Roberts believes he will be able to "put it to bed," and should return on the 11th or 12th day when he's eligible. 

Erik Goeddel (right lat inflammation): The man known to fans as "The Commissioner" was placed on the disabled list on Friday as RHP John Axford was activated to the roster. Goeddel allowed three runs in an inning of relief on Thursday, and Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts said the lat soreness was not too serious, and the team hoped they were able to get ahead of it, and expected that he would return once his 10 days were up.

Chase Utley (left wrist inflammation): Following his farewell tour to Philadelphia, Utley was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Thursday marking the return of Justin Turner to the Dodgers lineup. Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts said that Utley had been dealing with a cyst on his wrist, and the time off would allow him to put it to bed.

Ross Stripling (right first toe inflammation): Stripling went on the disabled list on Monday, following his shaky start against the Atlanta Braves on Sunday. Stripling said that his toe had been bothering him recently, and the ten days off would allow him the time to rest and recuperate from the injury.

Tom Koehler (Shoulder): Originally believed to be a bicep injury, Koehler was diagnosed with an anterior capsule strain early in spring training and was placed on the 60-day disabled list to start the season. After getting close to a return, Roberts told reporters on Tuesday that Koehler had undergone season-ending surgery on his shoulder. The free agent signing could not have gone any worse for Los Angeles as the right-hander signed a one-year, $2 million deal before the season and will never throw a pitch for the Boys in Blue in 2018.

Julio Urias (Shoulder): The Mexican native underwent shoulder surgery last summer and is close to getting back to the big leagues. Urias made a rehab start with the Dodgers in the Arizona League, and will slowly build back up to become a weapon out of the bullpen. Roberts mentioned three innings, and 45-pitches was a realistic expectation for Urias, and that he could return when rosters expand in September.

Hyun-Jin Ryu (Groin): Ryu tore his groin muscle "off the bone," during a start against the Arizona Diamondbacks on May 2, and was transferred to the 60-day disabled list a month later on June 2nd. Ryu is also close to returning after throwing four scoreless innings in a rehab start with Ranch Cucamonga on Thursday night. Roberts said Ryu would make another rehab start next week, and is expected to make four rehab starts in total.

Yimi Garcia (Right forearm inflammation): Garcia was placed on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to July 4, 2018. Most fans won't miss the right-hander as he's struggled recently, going 1-2 with a 5.21 ERA on the season. There is no immediate time table for his return.

Josh Fields (Right shoulder inflammation): Fields was placed on the disabled-list on June 28, following a relief appearance. Fields and a few other relievers have been rehabbing in Arizona at Camelback Ranch. There is no immediate timetable for his return.

Dennis Santana (strained right rotator cuff): The Dodgers' rookie suffered a torn right lat muscle before his second career start in Pittsburgh on June 5, and was transferred to the 60-day disabled list after surgery to repair the muscle. As of July 8, Santana is out of his sling and on the road to recovery. He's ineligible to return until mid-August.

Tony Cingrani (left shoulder sprain): Cingrani has been on the DL since the beginning of June with a left shoulder sprain, and recently continued to feel discomfort in the shoulder. On Friday, Roberts said that Cingrani was in Los Angeles and went to see Dr. Neal ElAttrache. Test results showed there was no structural damage to the shoulder, and Cingrani received a cortisone injection that would sideline him for the next few days before he could continue his rehab.

Corey Seager (Elbow): The biggest blow of all for the boys in blue was announced on Monday, April 30 when the team reported that Seager was diagnosed with a right UCL sprain in his throwing elbow and have to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. Seager's surgery took place in Los Angeles on Friday, May 4, performed by Dr. Neal El Atrtache. El Attrache told the team that the surgery was a "success," and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said that Seager would rehab at home in North Carolina for the remainder of the season. 

Dodgers Injury Updates are provided each and every week, usually on Friday or Sunday throughout the season.  



Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ducks Tie Down John Gibson to $51.2M Contract Extension]]>Sat, 04 Aug 2018 12:29:52 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/167*120/489376413.jpg

John Gibson has grown up with the Anaheim Ducks, and they want the goalie guarding their net for many years to come.

Gibson agreed to an eight-year, $51.2 million extension with the Ducks on Saturday, keeping him with the club through the 2026-27 season.

Gibson debuted with Anaheim as a precocious 20-year-old in 2014, and he survived a few bumpy stretches to become a standout starter for a perennial playoff team. The former second-round draft pick set career highs last season with 31 victories and a .926 save percentage while playing in 60 games.

"I believe in John Gibson, as does everyone in the organization," Ducks general manager Bob Murray said. "This is obviously a major commitment by the club, but one we feel strongly about. John is equally committed to being a Duck. He is only now entering the prime of his career, and we are all confident his best is yet to come."

Gibson has the highest career save percentage among any goalie to appear in at least 150 NHL games since 1955-56. His .923 mark narrowly tops Ken Dryden (.922), Dominik Hasek (.922) and Tuukka Rask (.922).

Gibson was due to be a restricted free agent next summer after making $2.3 million in the upcoming season. The Pittsburgh native's new contract has an average annual value of $6.4 million, putting him among the top-earning goalies in the league.

Gibson wasn't available to discuss his new contract Saturday because he was also getting married.

"I'm excited to be a part of this organization for the long term," Gibson said in a statement from the team. "Staying with the Ducks was always my preference, and I couldn't be happier. Living in the Orange County community with the great support of our fans, I can't think of a better place to play. It's great to be a part of the future of this team moving forward and hopefully bring a Stanley Cup back to Anaheim."

The 25-year-old Gibson also has appeared in 26 playoff games over four postseason campaigns with the Ducks. He made his NHL playoff debut during the 2014 postseason, likely before he was fully ready -- and the Los Angeles Kings beat him twice while rallying from a 3-2 series deficit to win the rivals' second-round showdown on the way to their second Stanley Cup title in three years.

Shrugging off that disappointment, Gibson kept up his steady development. He largely served as Frederik Andersen's backup the following season while the Ducks reached the Western Conference finals, but he shared the Jennings Trophy with Andersen in 2016 as the goalies for the team with the NHL's fewest goals allowed.

Gibson became the Ducks' unquestioned starter shortly after getting that award when Andersen was traded to Toronto instead of being given a long-term deal in Anaheim. The Ducks could trade Andersen because they were confident they had an elite goalie in Gibson -- and he has proven Murray correct.

Gibson backstopped Anaheim to the conference finals again in 2017, posting a .918 save percentage in the playoffs. After the goalie's standout work last season even while the Ducks' five-year run as Pacific Division champions ended, Murray and owner Henry Samueli decided Gibson had earned a long-term commitment.

Gibson's contract is the second lengthy deal handed out this summer by the Ducks. Forward Adam Henrique got a five-year, $29.1 million extension through the 2023-24 season last month.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Astros Edge Dodgers in World Series Rematch]]>Fri, 03 Aug 2018 22:57:25 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-1010570772.jpg

Welcome to Game 8 of the World Series. 

Justin Verlander struck out 14 Dodgers and George Springer had a two-run double as the Houston Astros appeared to pick up where last fall's World Series left off in a 2-1 victory over Los Angeles on Friday night.

Verlander won his first career regular-season start at Dodger Stadium, giving up one run on four hits over 7 2/3 innings. He pitched well in last year's World Series but had a loss and a no-decision in his two starts.

Springer was the unquestioned star of last year's World Series against the Dodgers. He had five home runs, including homers in games 4, 5, 6 and 7. It appeared to be more of the same Friday when he worked a walk in the first inning and ripped a two-run double to left in the second off Dodgers starter Alex Wood. 

The Dodgers' Joc Pederson led off in the first inning with a home run off Verlander. It was his second straight game he's led off with a homer and fifth time this season. He has eight in his career. 

Offense was hard to come by after that for the Dodgers. Chris Taylor had singles in the third and eighth innings off Verlander. Cody Bellinger had a single in the fourth. 

Verlander struck out the side in both the second and fourth innings and set down Pederson in the eighth ining for his 14th and final strikeout before he was removed. Astros reliever Hector Rondon recorded the final four outs for his 11th save.

Wood (7-6) went six innings, but after a visit from a member of the Dodgers medical staff, he was removed as he came out to warm up in the seventh inning. Wood gave up two runs on four hits with four strikeouts and three walks.

Springer was playing for the first time since being removed from Tuesday's game at Seattle with a shoulder injury.

It was the second time in three seasons the teams in a World Series met the following regular season. In 2016, the Kansas City Royals and New York Mets played each other after also meeting in the 2015 World Series.

RETIREMENT 'DRE

Dodgers OF Andre Ethier, who drove in Los Angeles' only run in Game 7 of last year's World Series defeat, officially announced his retirement with an on-field ceremony Friday.

Ethier, who has not played with any team this season, hit 162 home runs with a .285 batting average in 12 seasons, all with the Dodgers. He was limited to just 38 regular season games the past two years because of multiple injuries.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Astros: SS Carlos Correa (lower back soreness) played seven innings on a rehab assignment with Double-A Corpus Christi, was given a day off Friday and is scheduled to play both Saturday and Sunday. ... 2B Jose Altuve (right knee soreness) is eligible to come off the disabled list Tuesday, but manager A.J. Hinch said he is not confident Altuve will play in Tuesday's game at San Francisco. ... C Brian McCann (arthroscopic knee surgery) got into a catcher's squat Friday for the first time since his early July surgery and will start working to build up his strength. 

Dodgers: RHP Erik Goeddel (right lat inflammation) was placed on the 10-day disabled list opening a roster spot for RHP John Axford, who was acquired in a trade from the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday. ... LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (left groin strain) will have another rehab outing next week, possibly at Triple-A Oklahoma City, after throwing four scoreless innings for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga on Thursday. ... LHP Tony Cingrani (left shoulder strain) received a cortisone shot after a setback in his recovery, but is expected to resume activity next week after a new MRI showed no significant damage in his shoulder.

UP NEXT

Astros: RHP Lance McCullers (10-6, 4.06 ERA) will pitch Saturday, coming off his fourth career 11-strikeout performance Sunday against the Rangers. 

Dodgers: RHP Kenta Maeda (7-6, 3.48) will make his first career regular-season appearance against the Astros on Saturday.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[VIDEO: Dodgers Say Goodbye to Andre Ethier]]>Fri, 03 Aug 2018 21:53:55 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/163*120/GettyImages-1010546558.jpg

I'm not crying, you're crying. 

Andre Ethier walked into the cramped room of reporters inside the bowels of Dodger Stadium dressed in a black t-shirt and black hat. It was a fitting wardrobe for a man who was embracing "the end."

Huddled in the room were many familiar faces to him: Don Newcombe, Joc Pederson, Enrique Hernandez, and longtime teammates Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw. 

"I still text them all the time," Ethier said of his teammates gathered around the room filled with friends, family, reporters, and cameras.

Everyone had assembled for him. More than 12 years after his Dodger debut on May 2, 2006 in his hometown of Phoenix, Ethier was here to say goodbye to his other home: Los Angeles.

"It's flattering, it's humbling to have all this fuss for a guy that's just another player in a long line of great Dodgers to walk these hallways and put this uniform on," Ethier said of the maelstrom the team had put together on Friday night in his honor. "It means a lot to me." 

Ethier is a legend in the Los Angeles sports community. In eight of his 12 seasons, the Dodgers made the playoffs. Despite only playing a combined 38 games over the last two seasons, Ethier made the postseason roster in 2016 and 2017, and came up with huge pinch-hit home runs in the National League Championship Series each time.

"I was with Andre for two years," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts. "Unfortunately, he spent a lot of that time injured. But seeing him from the other side, the consistency, the intent, the way he played the game, running balls out, preparing every day. I think the consistency as a professional is something that really stood out."

In Game 7 of the 2017 World Series against the Houston Astros—serendipitously, Friday's opponent—Ethier knocked in the game's only run of the game, with a pinch-hit RBI in an eventual 5-1 loss. A series that still haunts the 36-year-old outfielder to this day.

"I close my eyes a lot and I can still see that series and those games on the back side of me eyelids," said Ethier of the World Series. " We all have to face our fears."

After the season, there were reports of Ethier's retirement, but he put the rumors to bed, by saying he still wanted to play. The free agent prepared for the 2018 season until the start of spring training, but the phone never rang, so he put down the bat and ball and picked up his bag of golf clubs and a tennis racket.  

"I would love to be out there playing," said Ethier. "I mean if Joc [Pederson], can get a hit, I can get a hit. That's how I look like it."

One of Ethier's longtime teammates, a player that came up in the organization with him, Matt Kemp, was sitting on the ground in front of Ethier during the press conference, going live on his Instagram account as he visited with Ethier's family.

"If he's [Kemp] in a uniform why can't I be," Ethier joked about his friend. "The way they were talking in spring training, I thought he was going to be next to me. If there was one thing I would want to do again, it would definitely be to play one more game with Matt [Kemp]."

After the press conference, Ethier was given a pregame retirement ceremony on the field that was hosted by actor Jason Bateman. The ceremony consisted of video tributes from former manager Joe Torre, general manager Ned Colleti, as well as former teammates; Dustin Pedroia (Arizona State), Russell Martin, and Charlie Culberson.

The best part of the pregame ceremony was easily the five-minute and 14-second tribute video the Dodgers played for Ethier on the in-stadium videoboard. For your convenience, the video is available above. If you’re a Dodger fan and it doesn't give you goosebumps, we're not sure what will.

The entire pregame ceremony can be seen in its entirety in the video below, but the Ethier part, hosted by Bateman, starts at the 26:20 mark.



Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Dodgers Set Record For Runs in Blowout of Brewers]]>Thu, 02 Aug 2018 23:02:54 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/164*120/GettyImages-1009975314.jpg

It was a historic night in Hollywood.

Cody Bellinger hit a grand slam, Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig hit two homers each, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Milwaukee Brewers 21-5 on Thursday night.

Brian Dozier and Justin Turner also went deep as the Dodgers finished with their highest scoring total at Dodger Stadium. Los Angeles hit a season high-tying seven homers, and also set season highs for runs in a game, and in an inning when they had nine in the seventh.

Clayton Kershaw (5-5) gave up two runs and five hits over six innings, winning his second consecutive start. He also won for the fourth time in his last six outings, while striking out seven with two walks.

Christian Yelich and Jesus Augilar each hit home runs for the Brewers, who lost for just the fifth time in 13 games since the end of a seven-game losing streak. Yelich's home run off Kershaw was his 16th. Aguilar, who went deep against Dodgers reliever Erik Goeddel, hit his 26th.

Bellinger snapped an 0-for-13 slide when he lifted a 0-1 pitch from Brewers starter Jhoulys Chacin off the right-field foul pole for his 18th of the season. It was his second grand slam this season and third of his two-year career.

Chacin (10-4) gave up nine runs and five hits with four walks over 4 1/3 innings. It was the right-hander's worst outing since giving up eight runs over 4 1/3 innings June 24 at home against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Infielder Hernan Perez and catcher Erik Kratz each made his third appearance on the mound for the Brewers.

Pederson started the Dodgers' home-run binge when he led off the game with a drive deep into the seats in right field. It was the seventh leadoff home run of his career, with four of those coming this year. He added a three-run shot in the seventh to give him 16 on the season.

Puig had a solo shot down the left-field line in the fourth inning and a two-run shot in the seventh to give him 14 on the season. Dozier, who was acquired from Minnesota at Tuesday's trade deadline, hit a three-run shot to left field in the fifth, his 18th. It was Dozier's second home run in three games with the Dodgers.

Turner delivered his sixth home run after coming off the 10-day disabled list earlier Thursday. He had been out since July 22 with a strained right groin.

The Dodgers scored double-digit runs for the second time in the second half, both against the Brewers. It was the 10th time this season the Dodgers have scored 10 or more runs in a game.

The Dodgers won the season series against the Brewers 4-3 after splitting the four-game series at Dodger Stadium.

AX MAN COMING

The Dodgers are expected to add new reliever John Axford to the active roster Friday for the start of a three-game series against the Houston Astros. The Dodgers acquired the right-hander at Tuesday's trade deadline.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Brewers: RHP Zach Davies (rotator cuff inflammation), who has been out since the start of June, will have at least two more minor league rehab starts before he returns to the Brewers' rotation.

Dodgers: 2B Chase Utley went on the 10-day disabled list because of left wrist inflammation opening a roster spot for Turner (right groin strain), who was reinstated to the active roster. ... LHP Hyun-Jin Ruy (strained left groin) went four scoreless innings, giving up two hits, in a rehab start for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga. . LHP Zach Rosscup (left middle finger inflammation) pitched one scoreless inning in a rehab outing also at Single-A Rancho Cucamonga.

UP NEXT

Brewers: RHP Junior Guerra (6-7, 3.43 ERA) will take the mound at home on Friday in for the start of a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies.

Dodgers: LHP Alex Wood (7-5, 3.68) starts the opener of a three-game series against the Astros.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Victor Decolongon/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[VIDEO: All Seven of Dodgers Homers in Blowout of Brewers]]>Thu, 02 Aug 2018 23:08:34 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-1009981172.jpg

You get a homer. You get a homer. Everyone gets a homer!

The Los Angeles Dodgers tied a season-high with seven home runs, as they scored three touchdowns in their 21-7 blowout of the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday night at Dodger Stadium. 

The 45,087 in attendance were treated to some history as the 21 runs scored in the game were the most that any club has ever scored at Dodger Stadium in history.

Joc Pederson started the home run barrage and finished the game with a solo shot and a three-run blast.

Yasiel Puig also hit two homers, a solo shot in the fourth inning, and a two-run bomb in the bottom of the seventh.

Cody Bellinger hit a grand slam, his third of his career, and second of the season, when he belted a four-bagger in the bottom of the third inning.

According to STATS LLC, all three starting Dodger outfielders (Pederson, Bellinger and Puig) had four or more RBI in tonight’s contest.

The only other outfielder trio to accomplish that feat since the RBI became official was Hank Aaron, Rico Carty and Lee Maye with the Milwaukee Braves on July 26, 1964.

Justin Turner also added a home run in the sixth inning, in his first game back since being activated off the disabled list.

Brian Dozier homered for the second straight game, and has homered in each of his first two games as a Dodger.

According to STATS, LLC, Dozier joins Cotton Tierney (1923 Phillies) as the only second basemen to homer in each of their first two games after a midseason trade.

The seven homers matched a season-high from Sunday, June 24 at Citi Field in New York when they hit seven solo shots in an 8-7, extra innings victory over the Mets.

The Dodgers have hit five or more home runs in a game four times this season, the most in the Majors. 

The Dodgers entered the game with 147 homers, the most in the National League. They extended that lead to 154, the second most in all of baseball behind only the New York Yankees.

You can watch all seven home runs in the video below: 


If you can't view the embedded video, please scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on "VIEW FULL MOBILE SITE."



Photo Credit: Victor Decolongon/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Trade Deadline: How We Rank Dodgers Moves]]>Thu, 02 Aug 2018 19:31:48 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/181*120/GettyImages-1008035498+%281%29.jpg

You may now put your pencils down.

It's been a little over 48 hours since the 2018 Major League Trade Deadline and fans are still reeling over the moves that all 30 teams did, and did not make.

Baseball is one of the only sports where halfway through the season, the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. It's not that it’s a few contending teams that add pieces, it's usually all of them, as Christmas comes in July for a dozen of the top teams in the sport.

By our count, 81 different players switched teams in the month of July, and that doesn't count the handful of players like Nationals' reliever Kelvin Herrera and others who were traded before July.

The amount of moves is mind-boggling, but it provides fans with plenty of fodder to discuss the deals ad nauseam, including our very own Los Angeles Dodgers.

While the New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Boston Red Sox all are seen as winners at the deadline, we'll breakdown what the Dodgers did below:

  • Acquired Manny Machado from Orioles for OF Yusniel Diaz, 3B Rylan Bannon, RHP Dean Kremer, RHP Zach Pop and INF Breyvic Valera.
  • Acquired 2B Brian Dozier from Twins for 2B Logan Forsythe, 1B/OF Luke Raley and LHP Devin Smeltzer.
  • Acquired RHP John Axford from Blue Jays for RHP Corey Copping.

Dodgers Trade Grade: A-

The Yankees and Dodgers are easily atop the list of the biggest winners at the trade deadline.

Despite the fact the trade occurred right after the All-Star Game, the Dodgers still landed the biggest prize available in shortstop and third baseman, Manny Machado.

Machado cost a heavy haul of five total prospects, especially for a player that is a free agent at the end of the season, but he fills the offensive void that was left in the wake of the announcement that two-time All-Star Corey Seager would miss the remainder of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Additionally, Machado provides backup and depth at third base for Justin Turner who has battled a bevy of injuries this season.

The Dodgers surprised a lot of people by swapping second basemen with the Twins at the deadline, by acquiring the long coveted Brian Dozier for Logan Forsythe and two prospects. The Dodgers wanted Dozier two years ago when they first traded for Forsythe and finally secured their man on Tuesday. If Dozier is able to have a second half of the season anywhere close to his past second halves, the Dodgers have the best lineup in baseball on paper.

As one rival executive told NBC LA, "the Dodgers are easily the deepest team in the league."

He's right of course, but ironically, they may have been the deepest even before the trade deadline. Now, Los Angeles can put a multitude of lineups on the field for either offense or defense, with the luxury of interchanging players and positions as they seem fit, with seemingly no glaring holes or weaknesses.

The final move was acquiring a veteran right-handed relief pitcher in John Axford. Axford's experience should help the bullpen, but he definitely wasn't the high-end reliever they wanted.

The reason why we gave the Dodgers an "A-" instead of an A or A+ is twofold:

Firstly, although the starting rotation is deep with a myriad of reliable starters, outside of Clayton Kershaw none of them appears to be a front-end starter that can compete with the rotations of the Astros, or Red Sox.

The starting pitching market was thin this year, but the Dodgers were in on Chris Archer of the Rays, and perhaps he could have been the No. 2 to slot behind Kershaw that they needed.

Secondly, although the bullpen is very deep with a collection of strong and confident arms, the Dodgers are still seeking a high-leverage setup man or late-inning reliever the likes of which the Yankees, Indians, and Diamondbacks have built.

There was a plethora of them available, but the Dodgers front office likes to hold on to their prospects, and despite making calls on almost everyone, the only move they made before the deadline was for Axford.

Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi said that the team may unleash some "unconventional moves" when it comes to the pitching staff for the remainder of the season, meaning we will likely see some of the starting pitchers in relief roles as the team tries to fill some of the late-inning holes from within.

Thankfully, the Dodgers are not necessarily done making moves, and if the organization still feels the need to acquire a high-leverage reliever, they can do so by the end of August through the waiver trade deadline.

Overall, the Dodgers front office did another excellent job at the deadline, filling holes, and adding pieces they needed, while still holding on to their top prospects in the farm system. Not only are the Dodgers setup to make a push back to the World Series this season, but are still ripe with fruit for the future as well.



Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Grandal's 2 Homers and Dozier's Big Debut Rally Dodgers]]>Wed, 01 Aug 2018 23:39:36 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/173*120/GettyImages-970195198.jpg

Grandal called game. 

Yasmani Grandal hit a two-run homer — his second of the game — in the 10th inning, rallying the Los Angeles Dodgers past the Milwaukee Brewers, 6-4, on Wednesday night to snap a three-game skid.

"I don't know where we would be without him," admitted Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts. "Defensively he's doing a great job, and in the batter's box, he's been one of the hottest hitters in the National League for a long time."

The win was also highlighted by Brian Dozier's homer in his Dodgers' debut after arriving from Minnesota on Tuesday.

"I loved that it's only 395 (feet) to center, I'm not used to that," said Dozier of his home run. "It was cool. Obviousy it came at a moment in the game that tied the game up, everything just transpired into a pretty fun evening."

All-Star Matt Kemp ended an 0-for-26 skid with a single leading off the inning against Matt Albers (3-3). Grandal followed with his 19th homer after the Dodgers had blown a 4-2 lead.

"I hadn't faced him much," Grandal said of the approach against Albers in the 10th. "My job was to get him up in the zone and hope that he made a mistake and it just so happened that he did that."

Grandal's homer was the second Dodgers walk-off win this season, and the first walk-off home run by a catcher who also had a multi-homer game since Hall-of-Famer Roy Campanella did it on May 27, 1953. 

The Brewers tied it 4-all in the eighth. Mike Moustakas doubled off reliever Scott Alexander, who gave up three walks — one intentional — before Manny Pina singled in Ryan Braun.

Dozier scored to put the Dodgers ahead 3-2 in the seventh on Yasiel Puig's single.

"The lineup is so deep," Dozier said of his new Dodgers team. "Which is really cool for me to see. You have guys that can rake in front of you, and behind you, there's not really a let down one through nine."

The Dodgers trailed 2-0 in the fifth when Grandal and Dozier homered back-to-back to tie it up. Dozier went deep to center field on the first pitch from Chase Anderson, and Dozier got pushed by his teammates into taking a curtain call.

"It was a lot of different emotions," Dozier said of the curtain call. "When the crowd gets into it, it's that time, but being my first game and stuff, it's kind of 'what do you do?' but Kiké grabbed me and said 'get on out there,' it was cool."

Dozier singled leading off the seventh. With one out, Chris Taylor walked and Puig singled to right field, scoring Dozier to give the Dodgers a 3-2 lead. Pinch-hitter Enrique Hernandez followed and sacrificed into a fielder's choice along the first-base line, scoring Taylor.

"He was trying to get a grounder, you could see that," said Roberts of Dan Jennings who entered the game in relief before the safety squeeze play was called. "So it was first pitch changeup, and Kiké did a great job executing the safety squeeze and we just wanted to get another point there."

Dylan Floro (4-2) got the win after retiring the side in the 10th.

Lorenzo Cain went 3 for 4 with a walk for Milwaukee. He tripled in the first and scored on second baseman Dozier's throwing error.

"Lorenzo is obviously a great player," said Rich Hill. "He's going to take advantage of your mistakes and he did that tonight. If you don't execute, he'll make you pay." 

The Brewers led 2-0 in the third when Cain scored on Rich Hill's wild pitch. Grandal lost the ball when it took a weird hop and he spun around in confusion trying to find it as Cain came home.

Jonathan Schoop went hitless in five at-bats, including three strikeouts, in his Brewers debut after being traded from Baltimore.

Anderson gave up two runs and three hits in six innings. He struck out six and walked two.

Hill allowed two runs and six hits in six innings, struck out four and walked one.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: 3B Justin Turner (right groin strain) will be activated off the DL on Thursday. ... RHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (strained groin muscle) begins a rehab assignment Thursday with a start for Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga.

UP NEXT

RHP Jhoulys Chacin (10-3, 3.45 ERA) starts for the Houston Astros and LHP Clayton Kershaw (4-5, 2.52) goes for the Dodgers in a rematch of last year's World Series.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[VIDEO: Brian Dozier Homers in Dodgers Debut]]>Wed, 01 Aug 2018 20:48:20 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/164*120/GettyImages-1008666294.jpg

Curtain call.

Conjuring up memories of Adrian Gonzalez in 2012, the newest member of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Brian Dozier, homered in his debut on Wednesday night.

After striking out in his first at-bat, Dozier took Milwaukee Brewers starter Chase Anderson deep to straightaway center for his first longball in Los Angeles.

Dozier's homer came on the heels of Yasmani Grandal's dinger one pitcher earlier, marking the ninth time a Dodgers duo has hit back-to-back home runs this season.

After trotting around the bases, fans gave Dozier a standing ovation, demanding the team's newest second baseman come out of the dugout for a curtain call. He obliged.

Dozier was acquired from the Minnesota Twins on Monday in a deal that sent veteran infielder Logan Forsythe to the Twin Cities in addition to prospects Luke Raley and Devin Smeltzer.

Needless to say, Dozier is already endearing himself to Dodgers fans, and if he can have anything like the second half he had in the 2017 season, Los Angeles will be in for a real treat.

Since 2016, Dozier is tied with Khris Davis for the most home runs after the All-Star break with 50.

If you can't view the embedded videos, click "VIEW THE FULL MOBILE SITE" at the bottom of this page.

 



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<![CDATA[Justin Turner Expected to Return to Lineup on Thursday]]>Wed, 01 Aug 2018 19:44:59 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/169*120/GettyImages-987581074.jpg

He's baaaaack.

Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner is expected to return from the disabled list on Thursday in the finale of the four-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers, said manager Dave Roberts on Wednesday.

Turner has been dealing with a right groin strain for most of the month of July, but was placed on the 10-day disabled list after re-aggravating the injury on July 22nd.

Turner's absence has certainly been noticeable, especially in the recent offensive struggles by the team. The Dodgers have a total of just eight combined hits in their current three-game losing streak without the 2017 All-Star. 

"JT's presence in the lineup, his ability to drive in a run, to get on base, keep the line moving, is something we certainly miss," said Roberts.

Turner's return is expected to help a Dodgers' offense that has been atrocious against left-handed pitching this season. 

Similar to their 2016 campaign, the Dodgers are ranked near the bottom of the league (28 out of 30) against left-handed pitching in 2018 with an average of .224 against southpaws. 

The return of Turner, plus the recent additions of Manny Machado (.292) and Brian Dozier (.247) against ledt-handed pitching should help tremendously.

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<![CDATA[Dodgers Offense Goes M.I.A. in Loss to Brewers]]>Tue, 31 Jul 2018 22:59:04 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/163*120/GettyImages-1008667256.jpg

Where's Brian Dozier when you need him?

The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Brian Dozier from the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday in order to obtain a right-handed bat that dominates left-handed pitching. Unfortunately, he couldn't arrive in time. 

"I landed about 7:45, I got in the car a little after 8 o'clock, and suited up at 9 o'clock," said Dozier. "Dave and I talked when I was on the plane and he said 'Get here when you can.' It was a very quick game tonight, so when I showed up in the eighth inning, that's what I did."

Left-hander Wade Miley remained undefeated at Dodger Stadium, delivering seven scoreless innings in the Milwaukee Brewers' 1-0 win over Los Angeles on Tuesday night.

In seven starts in Los Angeles, Miley is now 4-0 with a 2.06 ERA. The left-hander got some help from center fielder Lorenzo Cain, who appeared to rob the Dodgers' Cody Bellinger of a game-tying home run with a leaping catch at the wall to end the seventh inning. Cain also drove in Milwaukee's only run with a two-out double in the third.

"It was a good play. Obviously it sucks, but I can't hang my head on it for too much longer," said Bellinger who was robbed by Cain. "It was a great play. He's an athlete out there. I took one away from someone and he took one away from me. That's just how it works."

The Brewers improved to 5-1 during their eight-game California swing, having taken three of four in San Francisco before winning their first two against the Dodgers. Milwaukee has won eight of 11 since a seven-game skid.

"They're a good ballclub," said Roberts of the Brewers. "They can pitch. They have a good pen, and have some guys that can do some good things on the position side...as far as both clubs, we're pretty evenly matched."

The Dodgers lost their third straight on a day when they acquired infielder Brian Dozier from the Minnesota Twins and reliever John Axford from the Toronto Blue Jays. Dozier, who arrived in Los Angeles Tuesday night and watched in uniform from the dugout, joins Manny Machado in the Dodgers' revamped infield.

"If it had went extras there would have been a spot there," Roberts said of possibly using Dozier in a pinch-hit role. "I tip my hat to him for getting on a plane and trying to help us. It says a lot about him. I wish we could have celebrated his arrival with a victory." 

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and general manager Farhan Zaidi said the right-handed hitting Dozier was acquired, in part, to help the team improve its fortunes against left-handers.

"If you look at this year, we haven't really handled left-handed pitching," said Roberts. "So obviously the acquisition of Dozier is a guy that throughout his career has really fared well against left-handed pitching." 

Miley (2-1) exposed Los Angeles' weakness, giving up only singles by Yasiel Puig in the second and Austin Barnes in the fifth. He struck out five, walked one and only allowed one runner to reach second base.

"Miley was typical Miley. He did the same thing to us at there place," said Roberts of Miley. "It's a pretty simple formula, and he executed all night long. We tried to put things together, and it just didn't happen." 

Walker Buehler (4-4) went seven strong innings, giving up one run on five hits with no walks and seven strikeouts.

"Out of failure comes success a lot of times," said Buehler. "I wasn't pleased with my last outing, so we went back to the drawing board and figured it out."

Second baseman Enrique Hernandez threw out Cain at home to end the third after Mike Moustakas singled to shallow center field.

Right-hander Joakim Soria, who was acquired from the Chicago White Sox last week, pitched a scoreless eighth. Jeremy Jeffress worked the ninth for his fourth save in eight opportunities.

Machado, who made his Dodgers debut on July 20 at Milwaukee, went 0-for-3 with a walk.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Brewers: RHP Jimmy Nelson (shoulder surgery) followed his examination with orthopedist Dr. Neal El Attrache on Monday with a bullpen session at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday. He focused on off-speed pitches.

Dodgers: 3B Justin Turner (right groin strain) had three innings worth of live batting practice Tuesday, and Roberts expects his middle-of-the-order threat to be back in the starting lineup by the weekend. ... LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (left groin strain) will pitch three innings in a rehab outing with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga on Thursday. 

UP NEXT

RHP Chase Anderson (7-7, 3.69 ERA) will take the mound for the Brewers on Wednesday looking for his first career victory at Dodger Stadium. He's 0-3 there with a 4.15 ERA in six starts.

LHP Rich Hill (4-4, 3.82) is coming off a strong outing at Atlanta on Thursday, when he worked seven scoreless innings in an 8-2 victory.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Unveil Jerseys for 2018-19 Season]]>Tue, 31 Jul 2018 20:02:02 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/BronJerseyThumb.jpg

Showtime is back.

The Los Angeles Lakers announced a redesigned look to their 2018-19 jerseys on Tuesday, marking the first overhaul of their iconic uniforms since they first moved into STAPLES Center almost 20 years ago.

Most notably, the team's primary "icon" yellow jersey gets purple numbering with a white drop shadow and purple-and-white trim around the edges, all of which were major features of the 1980s "Showtime" Lakers starring Magic Johnson.

Johnson, the hall-of-fame point guard, became the Lakers' president of basketball operations in 2017 and reportedly played a major role in signing superstar LeBron James to the Lakers on July 1.

The Lakers' white "icon" and purple "statement" jerseys have nearly identical designs with different coloring. The former has purple numbering with a yellow drop shadow and purple and yellow trim, while the latter has yellow numbering with a white drop shadow and yellow and white trim. The purple jersey also has black stripes going down its sides.

The Lakers' first look at the uniforms included several glimpses at the No. 23 jersey James will wear starting next season. A promotinal video narrated by forward Kyle Kuzma touched on the team's redesign going old school.

"Our history shaped our future, and our future reflects our history," Kuzma said in his voiceover. "Let the show begin."

James was not present to model his new jersey in person, having opened a brand new school in his hometown of Akron, Ohio Monday. Several of his teammates debuted their new looks, however, including Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Ivica Zubac.

However, James jerseys still flew off the shelves early Tuesday morning, with the Lakers' team store tweeting a picture of several customers with No. 23 "icon" style jerseys in hand.

Lakers fan Patrick Terarutunyan said he canceled an online order so he could go to his local Dick's sporting goods and pick up a James jersey in the new style. Terarutunyan believes James is the best player in the NBA.

"The fact that he came to my favorite team... I can't wait to watch him every day on TV," Terarutunyan told NBC4.

Below is a more detailed look at the new Lakers jerseys that James and his teammates will wear next season.



Photo Credit: Troy McLaurin/KNBC-TV
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<![CDATA[LeBron James Joins Magic Johnson, Other Celebrities Who Launched Schools]]>Tue, 31 Jul 2018 18:21:59 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LeBron-James-school-Akron.jpg

With the launch of a public school in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, LeBron James has joined a long list of celebrities who have sought to leave their mark on education centers.

The NBA star, who recently left the Cleveland Cavaliers and signed with the Los Angeles Lakers, was on hand Monday to welcome children to the I Promise School, built in a partnership with the LeBron James Family Foundation and Akron City Schools. The school launches with a group of third- and fourth-graders and plans to expand to serve first through eighth grades by 2022.

James has said the school, with a non-traditional schedule and year-round programming, can have a lasting impact for children facing the kinds of challenges he faced during a rough childhood. James grew up without a father, and he missed a lot of school because he and his mother lacked transportation.

Here is a look at some of the other celebrities who have been involved in creating schools, sometimes with mixed results:

DEION SANDERS

The NFL Hall of Famer co-founded a multi-campus charter school called Prime Prep Academy in Texas in 2012. He coached there and served in other capacities but had a rocky relationship with administrators and was twice fired and rehired. The school's enrollment slid amid financial and administrative problems, and it closed in early 2015.

SHAKIRA

The singer has funded at least a half-dozen schools for children in her native Colombia over the past two decades with her foundation, Pies Descalzos, which means Barefoot in Spanish. Those institutions included a $6 million school she dedicated in 2009 in her hometown, Barranquilla, on Colombia's Caribbean coast. She said then that her foundation's work is about "breaking the myth that quality education is the privilege of the few."

MAGIC JOHNSON

The Lakers legend announced in 2011 that he was partnering with for-profit EdisonLearning Inc. to lend his name and business skills to promote dropout recovery centers. The effort expanded to at least 17 Bridgescape schools in six states within a couple years with the goal of reducing school dropout rates in urban areas. The company and Johnson parted ways after five years, but EdisonLearning says four Bridgescape Learning Academies still operate with the Chicago Public Schools.

TONY BENNETT

The singer and his wife, teacher Susan Benedetto, founded the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in 2001 in New York, naming it after the legendary singer, who was Bennett's best friend. The public performing arts high school in Queens, which gets support from Bennett's nonprofit group, admits students based on auditions. It boasts a high graduation rate, with alumni who have gone on to study at a variety of top arts colleges.

WILL SMITH

The actor-rapper and his actress wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, founded the private New Village Academy in the Los Angeles area in 2008. Pinkett Smith said she was moved to start the school after developing home-schooling programs for their own children, but it was embroiled in controversy over rumors the curriculum used instructional methods developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. The couple and school leaders denied any connection to the church. The school reportedly closed in 2013. Representatives for the couple couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

ANDRE AGASSI

The tennis great ran the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy for at-risk youth in his hometown, Las Vegas. In 2016, the academy was turned over to an out-of-state operator, and it has been rebranded Democracy Prep at Agassi Campus. The school change was compelled by a Nevada state initiative that targeted low-performing schools. The Andre Agassi Foundation for Education also is tied to an investment fund that helps charter school operators get access to buildings and facilities around the country.

SEAN "DIDDY" COMBS

The performer and entrepreneur added another role in 2016 as founder of the Capital Preparatory Harlem Charter School in the New York neighborhood where he was born. He said it was a dream come true to create the school, which is part of a group of schools aimed at supporting historically disadvantaged students.

PITBULL

The rapper, whose real name is Armando Christian Perez, has been a celebrity ambassador for the Sports and Leadership Academy, which has locations in Miami and Henderson, Nevada. He's appeared at ceremonies for the schools, which focus on sports medicine, marketing, business and management. The academy is overseen by the Sports and Leadership Academy Foundation, and he is not a financial donor.

MADONNA

The pop star founded the charity Raising Malawi in 2006 to help vulnerable children in that impoverished southern African nation. Its work has included helping to build schools there. It also funded a children's wing at a hospital that opened last year.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Acquire Dozier and Axford, Sources Say]]>Tue, 31 Jul 2018 15:44:36 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/Dodgers+and+Brian+Dozier.png

The reinforcements have arrived. 

The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired second baseman Brian Dozier from the Minnesota Twins and RHP John Axford from the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday.

Dozier adds more offensive firepower to a lineup that already has Manny Machado, Matt Kemp, Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, Justin Turner and Yasmani Grandal. 

Axford provides the Dodgers with some much-needed relief help in the later innings out of the bullpen. 

As part of the deal for Dozier, the Dodgers sent veteran second-baseman Logan Forsythe to Minnesota and two prospects: Luke Raley and Devin Smeltzer.

NBC LA reporter Michael Duarte was one of the first to break the news of the trade after sources informed him of the players involved.


Dozier has been a major part of the Twins lineup since 2012. The 31-year-old made the All-Star team in 2015, but once again became the subject of trade rumors as the Twins fell out of post-season contention this season after a surprise playoff appearance last year.

More importantly, Dozier was a Gold Glove winner in 2017, at a position that the Dodgers have struggled with defensively. He is batting .224 with 16 homeruns and 52 RBIs this season.

Meanwhile, Raley, who struggles defensively, is an offensive stud at Double-A Tulsa with the Dodgers organization, and a player that a lot of opposing teams had their eyes on in trade talks. 

Fans might remember Smeltzer from spring training as his heartwarming story was featured on SportsNet LA's series "Backstage Dodgers."

Smeltzer was diagnosed with cancer at the age of ten and during his battle with the disease, he made a vow to never stray from his life's passion of playing baseball. 

Smeltzer was a diehard fan of the Philadelphia Phillies growing up and his only wish was to meet his favorite player: Chase Utley. 

He was granted that wish, and ten years later after signing with the Dodgers, was able to meet Utley again, face-to-face, courtesy of Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.


Axford is a former closer who appeared in 45 games with the Toronto Blue Jays this season. He is 3-0 with a 3.86 ERA. In return, the Dodgers traded Corey Copping, a minor-league pitcher that has spent time with both Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City this season.

Over the span of 10 MLB seasons, Axford, a former closer, has recorded 144 saves while bouncing from the Brewers, Cardinals, Indians, Pirates, Rockies, and Athletics. 



Photo Credit: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Photos: Rams Uniforms Throughout the Years]]>Tue, 31 Jul 2018 12:14:47 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/184*120/LA+Rams+Fans.JPG]]><![CDATA[VIDEO: Machado Homers in LA Debut]]>Tue, 31 Jul 2018 00:50:30 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/181*120/GettyImages-1008035498.jpg

You asked. He delivered. 

An excited crowd of 44,933 Dodgers fans welcomed Los Angeles's newest star to town on Monday night when Manny Machado made his Dodger Stadium debut.

Despite the fact the Dodgers lost the game to the Milwaukee Brewers, 5-2, Machado gave the fans something to be excited about when he homered in the bottom of the ninth off Corey Knebel. 

"It was good," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Machado's debut. "He's been swinging through some fastballs, so for him to get on a 97MPH heater and homer, that was big for him."   

A group of fans in attendance stood in the outfield pavilion behind center field with blue t-shirts that spelled out the words "MANNYWOOD 2.0," an homage to another Manny that played in L.A., Manny Ramirez, back in 2008. 


"Yeah I did," Machado said when asked if he saw the fans. "That's pretty cool, I'm not going to lie."

The home run was Machado's lone hit of the night, and his 26th longball of the season. He also extended his career-high on-base streak to 30 games with a walk in the third inning, the longest active streak in the Majors. 

Overall though, Machado's first game in L.A. is a memory he will never forget. 

"It was awesome, " said Machado. "Since day one since I got here, everyone has been very welcoming and it's been amazing. So to come out there and get a nice ovation my first at-bat, it never gets better than that. Those are the moments you never forget."

If you can't view the embedded videos, click "VIEW THE FULL MOBILE SITE"  at the bottom of this page.



Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Machado Homers, But Dodgers Lose to Brewers ]]>Tue, 31 Jul 2018 00:58:41 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/187*120/GettyImages-1008049976.jpg

Manny Machado gave the fans what they wanted. 

Eric Thames hit a three-run home run and Christian Yelich extended his hitting streak to 14 games as the Milwaukee Brewers overcame a brief power outage delay and beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-2 Monday night.

"I haven't seen that one before," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts of the lights going out. "I'm not sure what happened, but they got it resolved quick enough. That was kind of weird."

Manny Machado homered in the ninth inning in his first home game with the Dodgers. Machado went 1-for-3 with two walks, delivering his 26th home run of the season to center field off Brewers reliever Corey Knebel. He struck out in the fourth inning with two runners in scoring position.

"It was awesome. Since day one since I got here, everyone has been very welcoming and it's been amazing," Machado said of the reception he received from the home crowd. "So to come out there and get a nice ovation my first at-bat it never gets better than that. Those are the monents you never forget."

Machado made his Dodgers debut July 20 at Milwaukee after he was acquired in a trade from the Baltimore Orioles. He scored the Dodgers' first run Monday on Max Muncy's triple in the third inning.

"The crowd was definitely electric," Machado said of his Dodger Stadium debut. "Fans definitely come out here and support us. There's never a better feeling than playing in front of your home crowd."

Machado has a career-high hit streak of 30 games. 

Josh Hader (4-0) had three strikeouts over two scoreless innings of relief as the Brewers won for the seventh time in 10 games to follow a seven-game losing streak that ended July 21.

The game was delayed 23 minutes when the power went out between the first and second innings. The stadium lights, as well as the scoreboard all went dark. The Dodgers said the outage was due to "a disruption in the city's power feed to the facility."

The Brewers had a 1-0 lead at the time of the delay. Milwaukee loaded the bases three batters into the game — started by a leadoff double by Yelich that extended his streak — against Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda before getting an RBI single from Travis Shaw. Maeda prevented more damage by getting a strikeout, popup and fly ball to end the threat.

Thames capped a two-out rally in the third inning with his 14th home run of the season. Shaw worked a two-out walk before Ryan Braun singled. Thames then drilled a 0-1 pitch off Maeda into the bleachers in left-center to make it 3-0.

Shaw finished with three hits and a walk.

Maeda (7-6) lasted just 4 2/3 innings, throwing 102 pitches. He gave up four runs and seven hits with four strikeouts and three walks.

"I just felt like I didn't have my stuff today," Maeda said through a translator. 

His manager agreed. 

"I just don't think he was sharp tonight," said Roberts. "Tonight the fastball command just wasn't there. He left an 0-1 fastball up to Thames and he's a pretty good fastball hitter."

Brewers starter Freddy Peralta went four innings, giving up one run and three hits with four walks and six strikeouts. He threw 98 pitches.

Joakim Soria pitched a scoreless seventh inning in his second appearance with Milwaukee after being acquired last week in a trade from the Chicago White Sox.

The Dodgers have lost consecutive games after starting the second half with six wins in nine games. They have just six hits in their last two games after they nearly were no-hit at Atlanta on Sunday by Sean Newcomb.


TRAINER'S ROOM

Brewers: RHP Jimmy Nelson and C Stephen Vogt, both on the 60-day disabled list following shoulder surgery, were with the team in Los Angeles to get further examinations as they each continue their road to recovery.

Dodgers: RHP Ross Stripling was placed on the disabled list with inflammation in the big toe of his right foot, with manager Dave Roberts saying it could take 10-12 days to heal. ... Justin Turner (right groin strain) took live batting practice Monday and ran the bases, three days before he is eligible to return from the 10-day disabled list.

STAR POWER

Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett was on field at Dodger Stadium pregame Monday, watching batting practice for both the Dodgers and Brewers. Garrett held a lengthy conversation on the field with Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, a Dallas-area native.

The Cowboys are in training camp in nearby Oxnard, approximately 60 miles west of Los Angeles.

UP NEXT

Brewers: LHP Wade Miley (1-1, 2.01 ERA) figures to feel right at home at Dodger Stadium, where he is 3-0 with a 2.41 ERA over six career starts.

Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler (4-3, 3.92) will make his third start since returning from the DL because of a rib microfracture, coming off an outing at Philadelphia where he gave up five earned runs to match a season high.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Welcome to Mannywood 2.0: Machado Makes Dodger Stadium Debut]]>Mon, 30 Jul 2018 19:09:00 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*121/GettyImages-1007927484.jpg

Welcome to Mannywood 2.0.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have been on the road for what seems like the last month, but that all changes on Monday night when the team returns home for a seven-game homestand that is action packed for fans, and features some unfinished business.

The highlight of the homestand is the Dodger Stadium debut of four-time All-Star Manny Machado. Fans will be able to see the team's new superstar up close and personal, as they finish up their season series with the Milwaukee Brewers that began last weekend in the Badger State against the National League Wild Card leaders.

The Boys in Blue defeated the Brew Crew in two of three games over that weekend, but the season series between the two seemingly playoff bound teams will ultimately be decided over the next four days.

Following the Brewers, Dodger Stadium is expected to be sold out over the weekend as the reigning World Series Champion Houston Astros come to La La Land for a rematch of one of the most exciting and exhilarating Fall Classic's we've seen in recent memory.

Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander is expected to start the opener on Friday night and the series will conclude on Sunday with American Cy Young candidate Gerrit Cole taking the mound in the finale.

Here's how the entire homestand breaks down:

Monday, July 30, 7:10PM PST 

The opener of the series with the Brewers will feature the Dodger Stadium debut of Manny Machado. Welcome to Mannywood 2.0.

Tuesday, July 31, 7:10PM PST

Game two of the four-game series will feature pitching wunderkind Walker Buehler on 2017 All-Star Alex Wood's bobblehead night. The first 40,000 fans in attendance will receive the promotional item.

Wednesday, August 1, 7:10PM PST

Game three of the series will feature Rich Hill against Chase Anderson, the staring pitcher on the mound for the Brewers when they defeated the Dodgers on July 21.

The first 40,000 fans in attendance will receive a pack of baseball cards from Topps, and can celebrate the first of the month with $1 Dodger Dogs all night long (limit five per transaction).

Thursday, August 2, 6:00PM PST

The finale of the four-game series is a treasured day at Dodger Stadium: Kershaw Day!

Kershaw will head to the mound fresh off his best start of the season in Atlanta last week. The first 40,000 fans in attendance will receive a 60th Anniversary Collector's Card set and in celebration of African American Heritage night (Which includes a ticket and t-shirt package at Dodgers.com/AfricanAmerican), Comedian and Actor Kevin Hart will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Friday, August 3, 7:10PM PST

The rematch of the 2017 World Series will be an emotional day as the Dodgers honor former outfielder Andre Ethier in a retirement ceremony before the game.

Actor Jason Bateman will host the ceremony and if you're a fan of country music, you'll want to be in attendance as singer/songwriter Hunter Hayes will sing the National Anthem and a special country themed Fireworks extravaganza will take place after the game.

Head over to Dodgers.com/Country for a special ticket package that includes an exclusive Dodgers country hat, as well as Dodgers.com/CalStateLA for a cool alumni hat. 

Saturday, August 4, 6:10PM PST

The middle match of the three-game series with the Astros will feature a promotional giveaway for kids seven and under.

The first 5,000 kids in attendance will receive Little Dodger "Fandages" a box of 20 Dodger themed bandages.

Sunday, August 5, 1:10PM PST

The finale of the homestand and the rematch with the reigning World Series Champions will once again feature a promotion for kids as the first 12,000 kids in attendance ages 14 and under, will receive a Jr. Dodgers backpack.

That Sunday will also be Jewish Community Day, so head over to Dodgers.com/Jewish for a ticket package feature an exclusive t-shirt.



Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['This Means Everything' LeBron James Opens School, Talks Lakers]]>Mon, 30 Jul 2018 18:09:52 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LeBron-James-school-Akron.jpg

LeBron James stood on a stage near one of the streets he walked as a troubled kid and looked out at thousands of faces. He felt connected to every one of them.

While his 3-year-old daughter, Zhuri, played at his feet, James watched as his mother, Gloria, raised a flag in front of a school that is perhaps his greatest triumph.

His incredible life. Full circle.

Before leaving for Los Angeles, James gave his hometown quite a gift.

James, who ended his second stint with Cleveland earlier this month by signing with the Los Angeles Lakers, on Monday opened his I Promise School, a year-around learning center devoted to some of the city's most challenged youngsters — ones just like him.

For James, who recalled missing 82 days of school as a fourth grader while he and his mom "looked for stability," the opening culminated years of planning by his family foundation.

"This means everything," James told The Associated Press in an interview before the public event. "I think this is the greatest accomplishment for me because it's not just me. A championship is for a team, that's for an organization and a city. But these kids, this is for generation after generation after generation and it's for these kids, so it means everything."

It was an emotional day for James, who also made his first comments since signing the $154 million deal with the Lakers — a move still causing tremors across in the NBA.

James recalled beating the odds of his youth when life was a daily struggle for him and his mom. Nothing was easy as the pair constantly moved and it was only with the help of others than James found structure.

Now, he's giving kids with the same problems a path.

"There is no way I could have imagined this," he said. "I remember our foundation having a bike-a-thon, and I never thought a five-mile bike ride would turn into a school. This is something I'm at a loss of words for."

As far as basketball, the 33-year-old superstar said the decision to leave Cleveland again was difficult, but he didn't rule out a second homecoming with the Cavaliers.

"Listen, I don't close the chapter on anything or close the book on anything," James said when asked if he would return to Cleveland to end his career. "But hopefully I can sit there one day and watch my jersey go up into the rafters, that's for sure."

When James announced on July 1 that he was leaving the Cavs, Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert, who famously ripped him when he left the first time, said the franchise would retire "the famous #23 Cavs jersey one day down the line."

James was unaware of Gilbert's pledge.

"I didn't hear that," he said. "I haven't been in the news. That's awesome."

James led the Cavs to an NBA title in 2016, ending Cleveland's 52-year championship drought, and to four straight Finals — a run he admitted he didn't think was even possible when he returned in 2014 after four seasons in Miami.

James didn't offer many details about what prompted him to sign with the Lakers, but the lure of playing for one of the most successful franchises in all of sports was more than intriguing.

"There's no reason you should become a Laker, became a Yankee, become part of Man U (Manchester United), become part of some franchise or clubs and you don't think about winning championships or winning at the highest level," James said. "That's what the history is all about."

James has his work cut out for him in Los Angeles. He'll join a young team that added some interesting pieces — Lance Stephenson, Rajon Rondo, Michael Beasley and JaVale McGee — during the offseason but a squad that has a long way to go before it can challenge the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors.

"What my expectations are for the team, we don't have any right now," James said. "But we're definitely going to be better than we were the previous year. I think there's going to be months where we're really good, there's going to be months where we're not so good and that's just going to come from familiarity."

Unlike his previous forays into free agency, James didn't waste any time making a decision. Once his eighth straight appearance in the Finals ended with a sweep against Golden State, James met with his family and agent before agreeing with the Lakers on the first day.

"I did my due diligence after the season on the pros and cons of a lot of different teams, including the Cavs, including Philadelphia, including Houston and Los Angeles," James said. "It wasn't as quick as it may seem. It just wasn't as July 9 as it was before. After talking to my family more than anybody, I felt this was the next step in my journey."

This trip will take him thousands of miles from home. But as James reminded students, family and friends in the closing moments of his remarks, he'll never be far away.

"No matter if I'm playing in Los Angles or not, Akron Ohio is always home for me," he told the crowd.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LeBron James: "The Next Step in My Journey"]]>Mon, 30 Jul 2018 14:53:13 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LEBRON_ON_DECISION_1200x675_1288609347590.jpg

On the day that LeBron James opened his own public school in Akron, Ohio, he discussed the beginning of a new chapter in his life and his expectations upon joining the Lakers.]]>
<![CDATA[List of Dodgers Trade Targets Ahead of MLB Deadline]]>Tue, 31 Jul 2018 15:49:04 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/KelaGettyImages.png

Things are about to heat up. 

The 2018 MLB trade deadline season is in the stretch run and the Los Angeles Dodgers are still linked to a lot players ahead of the 1:00PM PST non-waiver trade deadline on Tuesday.

Dodgers President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman and General Manager Farhan Zaidi are notorious for casting a wide net when it comes to players and potential moves that can make their team better.

So it should come as no surprise that the formidable duo known affectionately as "The Brain Trust," has made plenty of calls to other GMs around the league as they leave no stone unturned in their quest to improve their team's chances of winning the first World Series in 30 years.

The Dodgers solidified their vulnerability at shortstop after the season-ending loss of Corey Seager to Tommy John surgery in April, with the acquisition of Manny Machado after the All-Star Game.

Things have been relatively silent since then, but that doesn't mean the Dodgers are done making moves. Despite their tight budget (if they want to remain under the luxury tax threshold), the Dodgers have been linked to several names, most notably a long list of relievers. 

With the deadline looming, we break down the seemingly long list of players the Dodgers are looking at before the non-waiver trade deadline arrives.


Bryce Harper (Updated)

Let's start right at the top with one of the consensus best players in baseball. As previously reported, multiple sources told NBC LA that the Dodgers had checked in on the availability of the Washington Nationals superstar. 

 

Seismic shifts occured late Monday night when MLB.com reporter Mark Feinsand tweeted out that the Nationals were indeed making Bryce Harper available and fielding calls from other teams. Something that sources confirmed to NBC LA moments later.

Now, does this mean that Harper will be wearing a different uniform on Wednesday? No. 

Sources still believe that there is a less than 25 percent chance that Harper gets traded, but admit the situation within the Washington organization has become a bit of a mess, and those odds could increase the closer we get to the deadline. 

Despite finding themselves one-game below .500 after splitting a four-game series with the Marlins over the weekend, the Nationals are only six-games out of first place in the National League East.

President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo has publicly said that he thinks his team can rebound and put pressure on "two really talented, but young teams ahead of us in the Braves and Phillies."

Both the Phillies and Braves lost three of four over the weekend, and will play the Nationals head-to-head, a combined 16 times over the final two months of the season.

The Dodgers have checked back in on Harper, but if they are determined to stay under the luxury tax threshold, as they have indicated throughout the season, then landing Harper would require some additional moves by the front office in order to make the money work. 

The Yankees are in the same boat as the Dodgers, and the Cleveland Indians have actually made the most progress on Harper per reports. However, now that the Bryce Harper sweepstakes has begun, expect a lot of contending teams to acquire about the 2015 N.L. MVP. 

Update: As reported by multiple outlets, Rizzo has told the media that "Bryce Harper isn't going anywhere." 

With less than three hours left, it appears these talks are dead. 

Harper is batting .218 with 25 home runs and 62 RBI on the season.

Raisel Iglesias

Iglesias is a name that has popped up in the final hours before the trade deadline. Originally thought he would be difficult to acquire, given his club-friendly contract ($11.4 million for two years) and the fact that he's under control through 2021.

However, per a source, the Dodgers have had discussions with the Reds about Iglesias and see him as a perfect right-handed power arm that could slot in front of Kenley Jansen as the setup man they've been searching for. 

The Reds are more interested in trading Matt Harvey after dealing Adam Duvall on Monday night, so seemingly, that's the front office's top priority. 

Iglesias has a 2.11 ERA with 49 strikeouts compared to just 15 walks and a WHIP of just 1.000. 

Brian Dozier

Dozier has been a major part of the Twins lineup since 2012. The 31-year-old made the All-Star team in 2015, but once again became the subject of trade rumors as the Twins fell out of post-season contention this season after a surprise playoff appearance last year.

More importantly, Dozier was a Gold Glove winner in 2017, at a position that the Dodgers have struggled with defensively. He is batting .224 with 16 homeruns and 52 RBIs this season.

John Axford

Axford is a former closer who appeared in 45 games with the Toronto Blue Jays this season. He is 3-0 with a 3.86 ERA.

Over the span of 10 MLB seasons, Axford, a former closer, has recorded 144 saves while bouncing from the Brewers, Cardinals, Indians, Pirates, Rockies, and Athletics.

Chris Archer

The Tamp Bay Rays ace is likely the best starting pitcher still available on the market. Ken Rosenthal reported on Saturday morning, that the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Diego Padres were among the teams vying for Archer.

Sources quickly confirmed that report to NBC LA and added that the Dodgers had discussed a package centered around a mixture of MLB players and prospects.

Since that time, the Braves, Cardinals, and Pirates have also joined the pursuit with the Padres seen as the potential frontrunner because of their stacked farm system.

Archer (3-5) has a 4.31 ERA with a 102 strikeouts compared to 31 walks and a 1.385 WHIP on the season.

Ryne Stanek

Another intriguing option out of Tampa Bay is Rays right-handed relief pitcher Ryne Stanek. Sources told NBC LA that the Dodgers have inquired about Stanek who is under team control through the 2023 season.

That means the price tag for Stanek could be high, whether packaged in a deal with Archer, or by himself. Reportedly, the Dodgers sent scouts to Tampa Bay last week to have a look at Stanek, as well as other Rays and Marlins relievers.

Stanek is seemingly the most coveted of the Rays' relievers, but José Alvarado, Sergio Romo, or Hunter Wood could be of interest as well.

Stanek has a 2.43 ERA with 50 strikeouts compared to 18 walks and a WHIP of 1.319 this season.

Kyle Barraclough

Kyle Barraclough has been at the forefront of the rumors between the Dodgers and Marlins for almost a month now, and as we approach the deadline, the rumors have only gotten stronger. Barraclough to the Dodgers could very well happen.

At 28-years old, the closer and set up man of South Beach has enjoyed his best season of his four year career. Barraclough blew a save against the Nationals on Saturday, but his ability to get out of tough situations, despite having some inconsistency lately, is undeniable.

The Dodgers could use a pitcher like Barraclough in the back end of the bullpen where he would be the bridge to Kenley Jansen and serve as the emergency closer. Pitchers of his caliber are hard to come by, but in this case, the situation may prove to be too good to be true.

Acquiring Barraclough comes with its fair share of drawbacks. First, he is in the second year of arbitration. In 2017, Barraclough got $1.1 million and after this season, that number will certainly rise.

Second, Barraclough's amazing surface level stats have some pretty ugly follow up numbers. In 2018, he has a 4.14 FIP indicating his current ERA is way better than his play deserves.

As previously mentioned, the Dodgers sent scouts to Tampa Bay to look at Barraclough and other relievers, and the Marlins reciprocated by sending scouts to Double-A Tulsa where they watched the Dodgers No. 10 prospect Yadier Alvarez.

The Marlins have reportedly had interest in the 22-year-old pitcher so expect him to be included in any deal for Barraclough.

Barraclough boasts a 2.45 ERA, a 1.068 WHIP, and a K9 rate of 10.2 all of which has been done in 44 innings

Adam Conley

Adam Conley is an effective left-handed pitcher who many consider to be the Dodgers main target from Miami, even over Barraclough.

Conley was drafted in 2011 by the Florida Marlins as a starting pitcher out of Olympus High School back in his home state of Washington.

After many years in the minors, Conley has had a good year in 2018, putting himself on the map as a solid, late-inning lefty specialist.

Acquiring Conley would be a great move for Los Angeles according to many people close to the situation. Conley would serve as a great mid-game reliever or a one out lefty specialist.

Conley is owed the league minimum so his financial impact is virtually non-existent, and he isn't a free agent until 2022. Conley’s age, contract, and years of experience should be enough to make him a great target this year.

Conley own a 3.58 ERA with  32 strikeouts compared to 12 walks and a 1.048 WHIP. His FIP is 3.56.

Drew Steckenrider

Steckenrider has not been discussed by the Dodgers lately, despite his name coming up in almost every trade rumor article or wish list.

Steckenrider, is the youngest of the Marlins trio of relievers and, despite that, he is enjoying the best season of the three if you consider all of their stats.

Despite those numbers, Steckenrider is the only one of the three players from The Fish with a FIP under 3. His is at 2.94.

Steckenrider’s biggest issue and drawback is his overall price amidst a good season with cheap team control on his resume in 2024.

However, despite his good seasons, the young and strong reliever has not been rumored very much as a target for the team.

Steckenrider has a 3.33 ERA, with 51 strikeouts compared to 20 walks and a 1.239 WHIP.

Blake Parker

One day after trading away second baseman Ian Kinsler to the Boston Red Sox, the Angels have been fielding calls on relief pitchers Blake Parker and Jose Alvarez. 

Per a source, Parker is now on the Dodgers' radar and has been succesful the past two seasons. He is a team friendly contract of $1.8 million this season and is under control through 2021. 

Parker is another example of what the Dodgers are looking for at the deadline: A right-handed power arm with a high strikeout rate. With 10.17 strikeouts per nine innings, Parker has 55 strikeouts compared to 17 walks and a 1.212 WHIP.

Jake Diekman

With Keone Kela off the board, Rangers left-hander Jake Diekman is now the most likely relief pitcher to be dealt next. 

Although sources told NBC LA on Monday that the Dodgers had an offer on the table for Kela and not Diekman, the team still did its due diligence and scouted some of the othe Texas relievers as well. 


Many believer the Dodgers are less interested in adding a left-handed reliever with Julio Urias expected to return from shoulder surgery soon and be inserted into the bullpen. Tony Cingrani and Zac Rosscup are also considered options as well.

Claudio and Diekman are considered lefty specialists, and with Kela off the board, it seems unlikely the Dodgers re-engage talks with Rangers. 

Diekman has a 3.79 ERA with 46 strikeouts compared to 23 walks and a WHIP of 1.421.

Seth Lugo 

Two words: spin rate.

Lugo is of interest to many teams, and according to reports, the Dodgers are just one of several teams to inquire about his availability.

The 28-year-old right-hander has a tremendous curveball, and is under team control through 2022. He's also cheap, and seen as a relief pitcher with a strong upside.

However, the Dodgers have hit him well over the last two years, and would have to fight off other rumored teams like the Chicago Cubs to get him. Reports indicate that the Mets would rather trade Devin Mesoraco or Jose Bautista and keep their young arms.

Lugo has a 2.93 ERA with 75 strikeouts compared to 25 walks with a 1.181 WHIP on the season.

Shane Greene

The latest news to come out of the Motor City is that the Dodgers are interested in Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Shane Greene.

Both Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe and Anthony French of the Detroit Free Press have reported that the Dodgers have sent scouts both before and after he went on the disabled list to get eyes on Greene.

Greene is seen as a solid back-end bullpen piece that can help bridge the gap to Kenley Jansen. He's been good, not great this season, but he's a high strikeout pitcher with experience as a closer.

Greene hasn't been as sharp this year, with a 4.09 ERA, however, he's still converted 21 of his 24 save chances this season. Greene is a little more costly at $1.95 million, but he's under contract for two more seasons, making him a sneaky, under-the-radar target for Los Angeles.

Kelvin Herrera

Herrera was traded from the Kansas City Royals to the Washington Nationals in June, making it unlikely that he would be dealt again, but nonetheless, he made our list.

It's no secret the Dodgers have had interest in Herrera over the years, and according to multiple reports, Los Angeles was in "serious talks" with the Royals before he was ultimately traded to Washington.

As we previously mentioned, it's unlikely that the Nationals become sellers, but there have been some reports that state the team could buy (Realmuto) and sell at the same time. If so, Herrera would a likely target.

Before coming to Washington, the 28-year-old right-hander had a 1.05 ERA in 27 appearances with the Royals. Since the trade, his ERA has jumped to 3.29 with 12 strikeouts compared to six walks in 15 appearances with the Nationals. His WHIP has also gone from 0.818 to over twice that at 1.683.

Nationals closer' Sean Doolittle's stress reaction in his left foot means Herrera is of need in that role, but because he is a free agent at the end of the season, and the Nats have two former closers in Ryan Madson and Brandon Kintzler, it is in the realm of possibility that they could deal Herrera if they received the right offer.

Jacob Rudner of DodgersWay.com also contributed to this story.

Also, if you can't see the embedded tweets in this story, please scroll down and click "VIEW FULL MOBILE SITE" below.



Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[VIDEO: Braves Broadcasters Apologize For Critique of Dodgers]]>Sun, 29 Jul 2018 19:29:24 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-867214952.jpg

We talking about batting practice. Not a game. We talking about batting practice, man.

Yes, it might sound absurd, but the attire of the Los Angeles Dodgers players became the topic of criticism and consternation by the Atlanta Braves broadcasters Joe Simpson and Chip Caray on Saturday night at SunTrust Park. 

For those that might have missed what happened, Simpson, the longtime voice of the Braves, discussed his opinions about what the Dodgers players were wearing during batting practice pregame, in the middle of the fifth inning of a one-run game.

The Fox Sports South broadcast aired a clip of Chase Utley, Max Muncy, and Justin Turner taking batting practice in t-shirts telling viewers that he felt it was "unprofessional."

The full clip is below:

In the clip, Simpson noted that he "grew up" in the Dodgers organization.

"I grew up in the Dodgers organization, and certainly taught to play professional baseball and do the right things," said Simpson. "If I were a Dodger fan, I'd be embarrassed. I don't know how Major League Baseball allows such attire when the gates are open and the fans were watching."

It's true; Simpson was drafted by Los Angeles in 1973, and played six years (four in the Majors) with the organization before joining the Seattle Mariners in 1979.

After starting with the Seattle Mariners broadcast team in 1988, Simpson joined the Atlanta Braves radio network in 1992, and has been with the team ever since. In January of this year, he was inducted into the Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame.

Despite Simpson's track record, he still delivered a seething critique that not only felt out of touch with today's social media and modern age, but quite frankly, an absurd rendition of an old-school baseball player preaching to his audience that "back in my day, we did things like this…"

"I want you to look at some things that were going on in batting practice here with the Dodgers. What do you see, t-shirts? You see Chase Utley with no socks and pants up over his knees. This was prevalent with their whole team."

For the record, Utley was wearing a "K Cancer" T-shirt that is from the Jason Motte Foundation, a charity organization that raises money for the fight against cancer, using the motto: "Let's strike out cancer." (You can read about the organization and purchase your own shirt here).

While Simpson is right that Utley was not wearing socks, and had his baseball pants raised up just below his knees, exposing his shins, it's noteworthy to mention that it was 90 degrees at SunTrust Park on Sunday, which is located in the hot and humid Cobb County, Georgia.

Simpson poorly tried to make the point that Dodgers fans who arrived early to the game to watch their team take batting practice, would not be able to identify the players without wearing their official uniform with their names on it.

Not that Justin Turner and his long red beard are hard to mistake, but if that were the case, the New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants and Boston Red Sox would be in big trouble, because they have continued the old practice of not having their names on their home jerseys and the Yankees don't have their names on their road jerseys either.

Simpson believed that the players should be wearing official team "batting practice shirts with their name on the jersey," something that is a bit of misnomer, considering the Dodgers official batting practice pullovers do not have their names on them, but they do have numbers on the sleeves.  

Simpson may have been confused, because the Braves are one of the rare teams in baseball who do have names on their batting practice shirts, but as seen in this official tweet from the team account on Jul. 20, they don't always adhere to it.

After the game, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts took offense to Simpson's comments that his team was "unprofessional."

"I take it personal if people question our professionalism," said Roberts.

Dodgers' players Enrique Hernández and Justin Turner also chimed in after the game with Hernandez tweeting a picture of some underwear with his name and number on it, captioning it: "Tomorrow's BP attire," and Turner replying with a picture of Hernandez in overalls, asking him if he had a pair of overalls he could borrow.

Unfortunately for fans of baseball, the Dodgers did not partake in batting practice before their game on Sunday, as it was an afternoon game following a night game, with very little turnaround time, and a flight back to Los Angeles scheduled for later that evening.

Reports surfaced before the game that Simpson met privately with Utley to apologize for the comments, and that the Braves' front office sent an apology to Roberts through intermediaries and that the club considered the matter over.

"It's past," said Roberts before the game during his media scrum on Sunday. "I think, for us, it's water under the bridge. If he talked to Chase and Chase is good with it, that's good by me."

If you can not view the video or tweets, please scroll down and clck "VIEW FULL MOBILE SITE" below. 



Photo Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Dodgers' Chris Taylor Breaks up Braves No-Hitter]]>Sun, 29 Jul 2018 16:20:42 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/179*120/GettyImages-1007356424.jpg

Almost doesn't count. 

Atlanta Braves pitcher Sean Newcomb was a strike away from throwing a no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers, but Chris Taylor denied him history with a two-out single to right field in the ninth inning.

Newcomb had a 2-2 count with two outs in the ninth inning when Taylor hit a hard grounder beyond the reach of diving third baseman Johan Camargo. 

Newcomb (10-5) left the game immediately after the single, throwing a career-high 134 pitches with one walk and eight strikeouts in 8 and 2/3 innings.

The 25-year-old left to a thunderous standing ovation from the sellout crowd at SunTrust Park as manager Brian Snitker removed him. Snitker took the ball and gave it back to Newcomb as a keepsake — instead, Newcomb simply tossed it toward the Atlanta dugout as he walked off, wanting no souvenir of the near-miss.

Manny Machado followed with an RBI single that scored the Dodgers first run, but Los Angeles lost the game 4-1, as Atlanta avoided the four-game sweep at home.

Machado's RBI was as good as the Dodgers, who won the first three games of the series by a combined 17-4 score, could muster.

After five perfect innings to start the game, Newcomb walked Yasiel Puig to start the sixth, before retiring the next three hitters. 

A first-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Angels in 2014, Newcomb was traded to Atlanta after the 2015 season in a deal for shortstop Andrelton Simmons. Newcomb had previously pitched a no-hitter — a seven-inning performance for the University of Hartford.

According to ESPN Stats & Info, Newcomb was seeking to become the fifth youngest Braves pitcher to throw a no-hitter at 25 years old.  

The last Braves pitcher that young to throw a no-hitter was George Davis on September 9, 1914 (24 years, 184 days old).

Ironically, the last Braves pitcher to throw a no-hitter was Kent Mercker, also against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 8, 1994 at Dodger Stadium. There have been three no-hitters in the majors this year.

Nick Markakis knocked in three of the four runs for the Atlanta Braves with an RBI double in the bottom of the first inning and a two-run home run in the bottom of the third inning. 

Newcomb was staked to a 2-0 lead in the first on doubles by Markakis and Kurt Suzuki and kept the Dodgers off-balance all afternoon. Markakis, the NL leader in hits and multi-hit games, made it 4-0 in the third with his 11th homer.

Ross Stripling (8-3) was subpar in his second straight start, allowing four runs, seven hits and one walk with five strikeouts in four innings. Stripling, a first-time All-Star, gave up seven hits and five runs, a season high, in a no-decision that the Dodgers lost last week at Philadelphia.

STAY PROFESSIONAL 

Braves TV broadcaster Joe Simpson spoke with Dodgers veteran Chase Utley before the game, meeting in a clubhouse office for approximately 10 minutes following his on-air criticism of Utley and his teammates for wearing T-shirts and shorts in batting practice Saturday. During a fifth-inning package about the Dodgers' pregame attire, Simpson said some players "looked very unprofessional" because they weren't dressed in apparel approved by Major League Baseball.

After they parted ways Sunday morning, Simpson and Utley declined to speak with reporters. Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts was pleased when told that Simpson met with Utley, but also expected a direct apology from the broadcaster. "To take a shot at him and our guys, I just thought it was unfair," Roberts said.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: RHP Kenta Maeda (7-5, 3.27 ERA) will try to win his third straight decision as Los Angeles opens a four-game home series Monday against Milwaukee. Maeda allowed four runs and six hits in seven innings of a no-decision in his last start, a 7-4 loss at Philadelphia last Tuesday.

Braves: RHP Julio Teheran (7-7, 4.42) will try to improve on a 5.24 ERA in four starts this month as Atlanta opens a three-game home series Monday against Miami.

Please refresh this page for more updates, stats, and player reactions...

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Puig Powers Dodgers Past Braves]]>Sat, 28 Jul 2018 23:07:20 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*129/GettyImages-1006880326.jpg

Lord of the Rings: The Return of the Puig.

It didn't take Yasiel Puig too long to get his home run swing back.

"I'm so happy to be back with the team and help the team win today and do something with the bat," he said. "Today I helped do something in the game and I feel good. I thank God for bringing me back at 100 percent." 

Puig homered and drove in three runs following his return from the disabled list, Alex Wood pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings to win his sixth straight decision and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the struggling Atlanta Braves 5-1 on Saturday night.

Reinstated after missing 15 games with a right oblique strain, Puig made it 1-0 with a sacrifice fly in the second off Max Fried and pushed the lead to 3-0 in the sixth with his 12th homer , a towering shot off Luke Jackson that bounced off the third-level scoreboard facade in left field.

Wood (7-5) allowed one hit and four walks with five strikeouts. His performance followed Rich Hill's seven scoreless innings Thursday and Clayton Kershaw's one run allowed in 7 2/3 innings Friday against an Atlanta offense that led the NL for most of the first half of the season.

The Braves, second in the NL East, have lost four straight and 13 of 18 mostly because their bats have been quieted. They've averaged 2.2 runs over their last 13 defeats and have dropped to fifth in NL runs scored. Johan Camargo accounted for Atlanta's offense with a homer off Caleb Ferguson in the seventh.

"We're having a hard time kind of getting anything flowing at all, any rhythm in the at-bats, anything moving, the whole thing," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "I wish I had the magic answer to make it happen, but you don't. That's why you have to keep playing and grinding. One day it will."

Puig hit the Dodgers' 143rd homer, tops in the NL for the West Division leaders.

"He fouled some balls off, spoiled some good pitches on a couple that he should've handled but kept going," Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said. "He got a breaking ball out over, and that was a big hit. That was good for him and to get back in the swing of things and get a big lift for us." 

Wood stranded a runner in scoring position in the first and second as he improved to 6-0 with a 2.61 ERA in his last seven starts since he lost at home to the Braves on June 9. 

"I really feel like it's almost come together as a whole for our staff all at the right time," Wood said. "We're starting to head down the stretch and hopefully we can continue to have outings like that."

He didn't get a chance to face Tyler Flowers with two runners on in the sixth. Flowers began the game with seven hits and eight RBIs in 11 career at-bats against Wood, so Roberts brought in J.T. Chargois. Flowers struck out.

Los Angeles led 1-0 in the second when Enrique Hernandez singled and scored on Puig's sacrifice fly. They went up 5-1 in the ninth on RBI singles by Chris Taylor and Manny Machado.

Fried (1-4) allowed one run, two hits and three walks with seven strikeouts in five innings. He was reinstated from the disabled list after missing 14 games with a left middle finger blister. 

STILL HOT

Machado went 2 for 3 and walked twice to extend his career-best on-base streak to 28 games. It's the second-longest active streak in the majors and dates to June 27. He's hitting .352 over that stretch. 

TRAINER'S ROOM

Braves manager Brian Snitker said 2B Ozzie Albies was held out of the lineup on a scheduled night off to rest his right hamstring. Injured last week at Washington, Albies missed four games. He returned Thursday and went 1-for-8 with four strikeouts over the next two games. He singled as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, and Snitker plans to have him back in the lineup Sunday. The 21-year-old Albies, an All-Star in his first full seasons in the majors, is one of two NL players with 20 homers and 10 stolen bases.

TRANSACTIONS

Los Angeles optioned OF Alex Verdugo to Triple-A Oklahoma City to make room for Puig on the roster. ... Atlanta optioned OF Preston Tucker to Triple-A Gwinnett to make room for Fried. 

UP NEXT

Dodgers: RHP Ross Stripling (8-2, 2.43 ERA) allowed five runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings of his last start, a no-decision that the Dodgers won last Monday at Philadelphia. 

Braves: LHP Sean Newcomb (9-5, 3.41 ERA) gave up one run and four hits in six innings of his last start, a victory last Monday at Miami. He had lost each of his previous three starts, posting a 9.75 ERA in 12 innings.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Tottenham Player Ben Davies Talks Helping Foster Youth]]>Sat, 28 Jul 2018 17:29:59 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Tottenham-First-Star-Foster-Youth_1200x675_1287586371842.jpg

Ben Davies of Tottenham Hotspur talks about playing with Foster youth from First Star, an organization dedicated to helping Foster youth graduate high school and progress to higher learning. Filmed at Loyola Marymount University on July 28, 2018. (Shahan Ahmed/NBC4)]]>
<![CDATA[PHOTOS: Tottenham Players Spend Day With Foster Youth in LA]]>Sat, 28 Jul 2018 17:13:03 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Tottenham-First-Start-Foster-kids-33.jpgPlayers from Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur took time during their trip to Los Angeles to go and spend time with First Star Foster Youth.

Photo Credit: Shahan Ahmed]]>
<![CDATA[LA Rams Announce Uniforms For 2018 Season]]>Fri, 27 Jul 2018 21:25:36 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/185*120/GettyImages-630503096.jpg

The Rams will have a new look for the 2018 season, albeit an old one.

The Los Angeles Rams announced on Friday, at an exclusive Training Camp practice, that they will wear throwback uniforms five times during the 2018 season, as well as their white and navy uniforms four times.

Additionally, the team announced to Season Ticket Holders that they would introduce new uniforms for the 2020 season, coinciding with the opening of their new stadium in Inglewood.

The Rams will wear their white uniforms for the preseason and their first four home games and for then pay tribute to their rich history in Los Angeles with throwback uniforms for the next five games, starting with their Sept. 27 game on Thursday Night Football against the Minnesota Vikings.

“Since returning home to Los Angeles two years ago, we have received a lot of feedback from our fans about their love for these iconic uniforms,” said Los Angeles Rams COO Kevin Demoff. “We appreciate the NFL working with us so we can celebrate even more of the history of Los Angeles Rams football over the next two years as we create our new look that will take us into our new home and the future.” 

The Rams throwback uniforms consist of royal blue jerseys with yellow accents, yellow pants with blue and white stripes and blue helmets with yellow horns. It's the same uniform worn by the Los Angeles Rams from 1973 to 1999 including in their Super Bowl victory that year. 

"We’ve been talking to the league about trying to wear our throwbacks more often and with the change to the white and blue,” continued Demoff. “They understood our fans’ request for why we wanted to wear our throwbacks more. They saw the passion, we sent them all the letters, all the discussion from last year and as they went and re-evaluated uniform policy … they considered that this would be a unique request for our organization to allow us to basically swap out the navy jerseys for our classic jerseys, full time.” 

The Rams will wear their white uniforms on the road and their color rush uniforms on Oct. 21 against the San Francisco 49ers, and on Nov. 19 against the Kansas City Chiefs in Mexico City.

The Rams debuted the white uniforms in 2016 as a nod to the team's history in the Los Angeles Coliseum, and re-introduced them for the 2017 season after a fan vote on social media. The uniforms consist of a white-horned navy helmet with a white face mask, white pants with one navy stripe and a white jersey with gold accents.

Demoff did not say what the new uniform design for the 2020 season would be, but said that the team was working on the design with Nike and the NFL.

"We’re working on that design right now with Nike, the NFL and our local design agency," Demoff said. "But we’re at the very beginning of that process. We haven’t looked at designs, we haven’t looked at colors. We’re still very much in the brand, logo and concept discussions."

The full Los Angeles Rams 2018 Schedule complete with what uniforms they will wear is below: 

Preseason

Aug 9 @Baltimore 7:30 PM Uniform: White

Aug 18 Oakland 4:00 PM - NFLN Uniform: White

Aug 25 Houston 4:00 PM Uniform: White

Aug 30 @New Orleans 8:00 PM Uniform: White

Regular season

Sep 10 @Oakland 10:20 PM - ESPN Uniform: White

Sep 16 Arizona 4:05 PM - FOX Uniform: White

Sep 23 L.A. Chargers 4:05 PM - CBS Uniform: White

Sep 27 Minnesota 8:20 PM - NFLN Uniform: Royal Blue

Oct 7 @Seattle 4:25 PM - FOX Uniform: White

Oct 14 @Denver 4:05 PM - FOX Uniform: White

Oct 21 @San Francisco 8:20 PM - NBC Uniform: Color Rush

Oct 28 Green Bay 4:25 PM - FOX Uniform: Royal Blue

Nov 4 @New Orleans 4:25 PM - FOX Uniform: White

Nov 11 Seattle 4:25 PM - CBS Uniform: Royal Blue

Nov 19 Kansas City 8:15 PM - ESPN Uniform: Color Rush

Week 12 BYE

Dec 2 @Detroit 1:00 PM - FOX Uniform: White

Dec 9 @Chicago 1:00 PM - FOX Uniform: White

Dec 16 Philadelphia 8:20 PM - NBC Uniform: Royal Blue

Dec 23 @Arizona 4:05 PM - FOX Uniform: White

Dec 30 San Francisco 4:25 PM - FOX Uniform: Royal Blue



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kershaw Does it all for Dodgers in Win Over Braves]]>Fri, 27 Jul 2018 20:35:39 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/236*120/Kershaw+Batting+Dodgers.png

Clayton Kershaw once made a bet with Superman. The loser had to wear his underwear on the outside. 

Kershaw did it all for the Dodgers, pitching seven and 2/3 strong innings, knocking in two runs, and reaching base four times, as Los Angeles defeated the Atlanta Braves, 4-1, on Friday night at SunTrust Park.

Kershaw (4-5) was his usual dominant self on the mound, allowing one run and six hits and striking out eight. The three-time Cy Young Award winner and 2014 NL MVP is 4-0 with a 1.43 ERA in 10 career starts against the Braves.

"This is as good as I remember him," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts of Kershaw. "The way the ball was coming out of his hand...this is as good as I've seen him do that, and the velocity held all night long."

He surprised the capacity crowd at SunTrust Park by doubling down the left-field line to put Los Angeles up 4-1 in the fourth. The inside-out swing that scored Matt Kemp and Chris Taylor didn't draw too loud of a reaction from the fans, but they had seen enough in the eighth when Kershaw walked for the third time. Atlanta reliever Jesse Biddle was showered with boos.

In total, Kershaw reached base four times in the game, becoming the first Dodgers pitcher to reach base 4 times in a game since Doug Rau on June 24, 1975.

Los Angeles has won two straight, improving its NL-best road record to 30-22. The Dodgers are 32-16 overall since June 1, tops in the NL over that span.

The Braves have lost three straight and 12 of 17. They were in first place for all but two days from May 2-July 10, but the loss kept them 2½ games behind Philadelphia in the NL East.

Kershaw departed in the eighth with two runners on as closer Kenley Jansen got the last four outs to earn his 30th save in 33 chances. Freddie Freeman flew out to end the eighth, and Jansen faced the minimum in the ninth.

"It was a good night," said Kershaw after the game. "I kept my pitch count down and was able to get through the seventh inning. I'll take it. I wish I could have gotten through the eighth right there."

Mike Foltynewicz (7-7) lost for the third time in his last four starts, giving up four runs, six hits and three walks and striking out eight in five innings. A first-time All-Star, Foltynewicz owns a 6.94 ERA and has allowed four homers in his last four outings. 

Alex Verdugo tied it at 1-all in the third with his second career homer. Foltynewicz, appearing upset with himself for giving up the lead, immediately walked Kershaw on five pitches and seemed agitated the rest of the night.

Yasmani Grandal hit his 17th homer to begin the fourth and has a .389 average with six homers and 14 RBIs in 19 games this month. The Dodgers lead the NL with 142 homers, 101 of them solo shots.

Kershaw worked out of trouble in the seventh. Nick Markakis singled and advanced to second when Kershaw hit Kurt Suzuki in the back with a pitch, but Johan Camargo struck out and Ender Inciarte lined into a double play.

Atlanta led 1-0 in the second when Suzuki singled and scored on a groundout.

TRAINER'S ROOM

After missing 15 games with a right oblique strain, Dodgers RF Yasiel Puig arrived Friday in Atlanta and will return from the disabled list on Saturday. Manager Dave Roberts gave Puig the night off to spend time with his mother. Puig will likely be in Saturday's lineup, but Roberts added that the club will use a rotation going forward so that Puig, Kemp, Pederson and Alex Verdugo get enough rest. Roberts also gives Chris Taylor and Enrique Hernandez starts in the outfield, too.

"I think if I can keep them fresh, they'll perform better, and if they're mad at me, they'll still perform better," Roberts said.

Roberts added that LHP Julio Urias, nearly recovered from major shoulder surgery sidelined him over a year, will be used in relief when he returns next month. ... 3B Justin Turner did some lateral running and took some swings in batting practice. He's missed five games with a right groin strain.

HE'S BACK

LHP Jonny Venters, after three Tommy John procedures and four elbow surgeries overall, was back in a Braves uniform for the first time since 2012, pitching a scoreless sixth. The 33-year-old returned to the majors earlier this year with Tampa Bay, making his first appearance in six years. Atlanta acquired him in a trade Thursday night. Venters said his stuff isn't as dominant as it used to be, but he was delighted to get a chance to pitch for his old team just 15 miles from his family's home in Suwanee, Georgia.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: LHP Alex Wood (6-5, 3.87 ERA) is 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA in his last four starts.

Braves: LHP Max Fried (1-3, 3.92) will come off the disabled list for the first time since July 5. Fried will face the Dodgers for the first time.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Dodgers Interested in Harper Trade]]>Tue, 31 Jul 2018 03:25:39 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-1000628954_master.jpg

The Los Angeles Dodgers have checked in on the availability of Washington Nationals superstar outfielder Bryce Harper in a possible trade, multiple sources told NBC LA.

Harper is widely considered one of the most talented players in Major League Baseball, but is having a down year in 2018. Not coincidentally, so are the Nats, who at 51-51 are in third place of the National League East and seven games back of the division-leading Philadelphia Phillies. However, sources said the Nationals are still undecided on whether they want to start trading big league players in exchange for younger prospects.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported Wednesday that Nationals ownership is pushing general manager Mike Rizzo to do just that. However, Rosenthal also said the Nationals would likely not include Harper among any players they trade.

Harper will also be a free agent at the end of the 2018 season, and will almost assuredly command a massive contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The Dodgers could be interested in signing Harper in the offseason, especially given their front office's widely reported willingness to trade current right fielder Yasiel Puig.

The Nationals could be afraid of Harper leaving in free agency and consider trading him now, per Washington Post sports columnist Barry Svrluga.

"But I also think, in an honest assessment, it’s more likely Harper lands with one of the other 29 teams than he does back in Washington," Svrluga wrote. "There’s a better than 50 percent chance he’s gone."

Slvrluga made it clear he was offering his own opinion in the column rather than reporting insider information, but also said he believes that if the Nationals feel that is the case, they should at least explore trading Harper.

The Dodgers currently have a surplus of outfielders, with Puig, Matt Kemp, Joc Pederson, Cody Bellinger and Alex Verdugo all getting playing time. They will also have to find room for utility players Chris Taylor and Enrique Hernandez once Justin Turner returns from the disabled list. However, they could be interested in including one of those players in a trade for Harper.

The Dodgers have already made the biggest trade splash of the 2018 MLB season so far, acquiring all-star shortstop Manny Machado from the Baltimore Orioles on July 19. They were in first place of the NL West as of Friday afternoon, with a 1.5 game lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

UPDATE: Sources confirmed to NBC LA, that the Washington Nationals sent at least three scouts, including a top official, to Atlanta this weekend to scout Major League players on the Dodgers roster. 

However, with the Nationals inching closer in the National League East, the probability that they become sellers, and trade anyone, let alone Harper, becomes increasingly unlikely. 

This is a developing story. Refresh this page for updates.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Time to Make The Choice!]]>Fri, 27 Jul 2018 10:21:45 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/222*120/08-09-2017-roggin-the-choice.jpg

It's back for 2018! Fred Roggin is giving you a chance to become a regular panelist on Going Roggin. Think you know sports? Think you can debate with the best of them? Then you need to make The Choice!

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Galaxy Again Mount Late Comeback to Earn 'El Tráfico' Draw]]>Thu, 26 Jul 2018 23:24:26 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/072618_Galaxy_1JO_8994.jpg

The Los Angeles Football Club will have to wait a while longer for a local derby win after suffering another late-game collapse, tying 2-2 against the Los Angeles Galaxy on home soil. 

Despite the Galaxy being the first to threaten with a Zlatan Ibrahimovic free kick going just wide in the 3rd minute, LAFC controlled proceedings in the first half, making sure that the traffic in the second installment of "El Trafico" remained mostly one-way.

"I think LAFC was a better team today," said Ibrahimovic after the game. "We got chances. We have to score when we get those chances. I think one point was a good result for us."

The dominance paid off early as Carlos Vela powered home a header after some good work on the right from Norwegian forward Adama Diomande saw him prevent the ball from crossing the end line and then serve a beautiful cross to his Mexican counterpart.

"I think we started really well," said Vela. "In the second half we had some chances to score and finish the game, but we missed them, and you know what happened...we did it again. We have a lot to learn."

With the lead established early, the hosts imposed their style over the Galaxy, their one-touch football frustrating their opponents and almost seeing them score again in the 12th minute with Latif Blessing's far-post shot from the right after a quick give-and-go with Lee Nguyen going just wide.

The one negative of the first half for LAFC was having to see midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye leave the pitch in the 19th minute after rolling his ankle, his face full of agony telling the whole story.

After the game, LAFC manager Bob Bradley announced that Kaye was diagnosed with a fractured left ankle and will have to undergo surgery.

"I'll start with the worst news of the night for Mark-Anthony Kaye," began Bradley. "He has a fracture on the inside part of the ankle. Surgery. That part has had me in a bad mood since I got the news at halftime."

The hosts, however, used the resulting free kick to return some of that pain, Nguyen's wonderful strike going over the Galaxy wall and into the back of the net to make it 2-0.

The Galaxy tried to get one back in the third minute of added-on time, but Tyler Miller did well to cut off Ibrahimovic's over-the-top through ball and snatch it away from an onrushing Romain Alessandrini. 

The hosts were unlucky not to get a third in the 61st minute after Benny Feilhaber's shot from outside the box deflected off a pair of Galaxy legs and into the far post.

David Bingham almost dug his team into a deeper hole just two minutes later when he tried to cut back and was stripped by an onrushing Blessing, but thankfully for him, the ball trickled out before Blessing could gain possession.

Eduard Atuesta almost made it 3-0 in the 78th minute as he darted into the Galaxy box, but his cross-goal shot went tantalizingly wide. 

The Galaxy finally cut the deficit in the 82nd minute as Alessandrini chested down a cross from Ibrahimovic and fired into the back of the net. 

"We had nothing to lose at that point," said Alessandrini of the goal. "The second half was much better. We came back. I scored a goal. The last twenty minutes I think they were a little bit tired because we put more pressure on them."

The ghosts from the first derby finally came back to haunt LAFC in the 86th minute as Andrè Horta's attempt at a backpass from beyond the halfway line served more as a through ball for Ola Kamara, who rounded Miller to make it 2-2.

"I saw him [Horta] look at the goalie and I knew he was going to pass it, but I didn't want to show it too early," said Kamara of the mistake that ultimately equalized the game. "When I read it, I was actually looking for Ibra the whole way to play it back, but I felt like in the end it was a tough angle and I was able to score it myself."

And while the black and gold probably deserved better, striking the post multiple times during the game -- including after Kamara's tying goal -- all that matters is the final scoreline and the fact that LAFC threw away another dominant derby lead.

"We do a lot of good things, but what we still haven't been able to get right is when there's a game and at the end there's emotion and there's a derby and it's just spinning out of control -- that there's a couple of players on the field who have the composure and intelligence to just make sure that we get it right," Bradley said.

Now all they can do is sit and wait for a month, hopeful that a third encounter will finally result in a victory over their counterparts from Carson.



Photo Credit: Juan Ocampo/LAFC via Bernstein A
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<![CDATA[Machado Hits First Homer as Dodgers Beat Braves]]>Thu, 26 Jul 2018 20:12:10 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*123/GettyImages-1005786592.jpg

The first of Manny. 

Manny Machado hit his first home run for Los Angeles, Rich Hill pitched seven dominant innings and the Dodgers routed the Atlanta Braves, 8-2, on Thursday night.

Machado, acquired last week from Baltimore to add even more punch to a team that leads the National League in homers, went deep in his seventh game with the Dodgers. He lined a fastball into the left-field seats leading off the sixth against Anibal Sanchez, Machado's 25th homer of the season overall.

The longball extended the Dodgers National League leading home run total to 140 on the season.

Hill (4-4) limited the Braves to three hits and a walk while striking out seven, and he even picked up his first RBI of the season .

In nine career games (seven starts) against the Braves, Hill has been dominant, sporting a perfect record of 5-0 with a 1.75 ERA, holding Atlanta hitters under a .200 average in that span.

Atlanta managed only one scoring threat against the 38-year-old left-hander, which wasn't even of Hill's doing. With two outs in the sixth, Freddie Freeman reached when Machado's wild throw from third got knocked out of Cody Bellinger's glove as the first baseman tried to swipe Freeman with a tag. Nick Markakis walked on four pitches — the lone time Atlanta got a runner as far as second base against Hill — but Kurt Suzuki hit an inning-ending flyout.

While Sanchez (5-3) turned in another solid outing for the Braves, defensive blunders and a lack of offense ruined his night.

Shortstop Charlie Culberson's throwing error in the fifth led to an unearned run. Another errant throw by second baseman Ozzie Albies in the seventh set up Hill's run-scoring single, which finished off the Braves starter. 

Sanchez went 6 1.3 innings and wound up being charged with four earned runs when the Dodgers blew open the game against Sam Freeman. Joc Pederson doubled into the right-field corner, and Yasmani Grandal's two-out, two-run single stretched the lead to 6-0.

Culberson, getting a rare start at shortstop while Dansby Swanson took the night off, was charged with another throwing error in the eighth as the Dodgers tacked on two more runs. The Braves entered with just 48 errors in 98 games, fourth fewest in the NL.

Ronald Acuna Jr. provided Atlanta's only burst of offense with a two-run homer off Daniel Hudson in the eighth.

The Dodgers victory, combined with the Arizona Diamondbacks loss to the Chicago Cubs, gives Los Angeles a 1.5 game lead in the N.L. West Division.

REUNION

The game marked the retun of Matt Kemp to the Peach State after Kemp played 2016-2017 with the Braves before being traded to the Dodgers in the offseason.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Albies was back in the Atlanta lineup after missing four games with a sore right hamstring. The All-Star, one of just two players in the NL with 20 homers and 10 stolen bases, went 0 for 4 and was charged with an error when he made a horrible throw even though he had no chance of getting Alex Verdugo on an infield hit.

UP NEXT 

Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (3-5, 2.64 ERA) takes the mound in the second of four games at SunTrust Park. He is 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA in nine starts against Atlanta.

Braves: RHP Mike Foltynewicz (7-6, 2.85) will be looking to get back on track after three straight rough outings. He has surrendered 21 hits, 14 earned runs and four homers in his last 18 1/3 innings.



Photo Credit: Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Dodgers' Ethier Announces Retirement ]]>Thu, 26 Jul 2018 19:49:49 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*120/GettyImages-852438222.jpg

There will only be one more "Dre Day" at Dodger Stadium.

Andre Ethier, a two-time All-Star during a 12-year career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, is retiring from baseball.

The Dodgers, the only team Ethier played for, announced Wednesday they will honor him with a retirement ceremony before their Aug. 3 game against Houston. The ceremony will include tributes from teammates.

"I look forward to coming back to Los Angeles and Dodger Stadium, places I'm so lucky to have called home for the last 12 years," Ethier said in a statement. "There's nothing like stepping out on the field at Dodger Stadium and looking up and seeing the faithful Dodger Blue supporting you, and I'm grateful for the reception and support I received in all my years playing there."

Ethier hit .285 with 162 homers and 687 RBIs in 1,455 games. He had 14 walk-off RBIs, the second-most in Dodgers history behind Dusty Baker's 16. His last major league at-bat was a pinch-hit RBI single in Game 7 of last year's World Series against the Astros.

The Dodgers acquired Ethier from Oakland in a December 2005 for Milton Bradley and Antonio Perez. Ethier became a free agent last fall and remained unsigned.

Originally, Ethier denied reports of his reitrement and said he still wanted to play baseball. After remaining unsigned past the All-Star break, Ethier decided to hang up his cleats. 

Ehtier will definitely be missed and Dodger fans should come out and celebrate the star affectionately known as "Dre" on Aug. 3rd.



Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[What to Know: A Fan Guide to Rams Training Camp 2018]]>Thu, 26 Jul 2018 10:10:35 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/174*120/GettyImages-901979386.jpg

The Los Angeles Rams will conduct their first practice of their 2018 training camp Thursday at UC Irvine amid optimism the team will contend for a Super Bowl berth following their first NFC West title since 2003.

Here's what to know.

The Basics: The practice is set to begin at 3 p.m., with gates opening at 1:30 p.m. Admission is free, offering fans who brave the 90-degree heat an opportunity to see the team.

Where to Park: Parking will be available in the Mesa Parking Structure, next to the Bren Events Center. Fans are encouraged to purchase parking passes in advance for the discounted rate of $10 at TheRams.com/TrainingCamp. Parking purchased in-person on the day of practice is $15.

For the Fans: The training camp includes an expanded fan activation area, which will open two hours prior to every practice. The area will include a DJ, face painting, interactive photo experience, enter-to-win opportunities and a virtual reality gaming tent.

New Bleachers: Another change to training camp is there will be select bleachers that will be shaded. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Autographs: At all of the 12 practices open to the general public children 5 to 14 years old have the opportunities to be selected to get autographs from players after practice and to participate in the Rams Rookies program, in which they are paired with a player during the autograph signing, get autographs and help their paired player carry his equipment off the field.

Parents or guardians can register their children for the programs in the Rams Kids Club tent in the Fan Zone.

The team's linebackers and special teams players will sign autographs after Thursday's practice.

Welcome the Players: Fans will have the opportunity to form a Fan Tunnel when the players take the field for practice. Each practice, 20 fans along with a guest of their choosing will be selected to form the tunnel. Fans must register in advance for the chance to take part in the Fan Tunnel. The fans selected will be notified by the Rams 48 hours in advance of their respective date.

What to Bring, What to Leave at Home: Fans may bring the following items to practice -- hats, jackets, rain gear, sunglasses, sunscreen, binoculars, umbrellas, and strollers.

The following items will not be permitted at training camp -- outside alcohol, outside food and beverage, coolers, glass containers, noise makers, loud radios, large signs or inappropriate attire.

Pets are not allowed, although service animals are permitted.

No weapons of any kind, regardless of persons with concealed carry handgun permits, will be allowed.

Fans may bring cameras. Flash photography is not allowed. Video cameras are prohibited.

UC Irvine is a smoke-and tobacco-free campus.

What's Next: The Rams second practice open to the general public will be Saturday, also beginning at 3 p.m. The first 3,000 fans will receive a Rams-branded sling backpack.

To attend any practice held on a Saturday or Sunday, fans must sign up in advance for their free ticket, which will be used to redeem the giveaway. The tickets are available at therams.com/freetickets.

All but one of the practices open to the general public will begin at 3 p.m. The exception is the final one, Aug. 16, which will begin at 9:45 a.m. The other open practices will be conducted July 29-30, Aug. 1-2, 4, 11-13 and Aug. 15.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Gurley: 'I'm Pretty Sure I can buy a Whole Lot of Shoes Now']]>Wed, 25 Jul 2018 16:22:46 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/178*120/GettyImages-900109706.jpg

Meet the new $60 million dollar man.

Fresh off his historic contract extension, Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley addressed the media on Wednesday, after arriving at the team's training camp in Irvine, CA. 

Needless to say, Gurley was the center of attention on the campus of the University of California Irvine, after the team announced they had signed Gurley to a four-year extension worth $60 million (with $45 million in guaranteed money) on Tuesday.

"I feel good," said a grinning Gurley on Wednesday. "I just want to thank the Rams, Mr. Kroenke, Les [Snead], Kevin [Demoff], Coach [Sean McVay], everybody that helped me get to this point. I'm just super excited to be with the Rams for the next six years. I really haven't soaked it in yet."

Gurley's contract was the largest for a running back in NFL history, both in terms of guaranteed money ($45 million) and annual average ($15 million per season).

The Rams were smart to lock the 23-year-old Baltimore native to a long-term deal after Gurley was named the 2017 Offensive Player of the Year, leading the NFL in yards from scrimmage (2,093), and total touchdowns (19).

Gurley's deal eclipsed Devonta Freeman's five-year, $41.25 million deal with the Atlanta Falcons last year, and will now be seen as a benchmark for other high caliber running backs like Le'Veon Bell, David Johnson, Ezekiel Elliot and Jordan Howard.

Freeman, a friend of Gurley, was just one of many NFL players who texted the Rams star after the deal was announced.

"A lot of guys texted me," said Gurley. "Guys from Devonta Freeman to 'AB' [Antonio Brown], Odell [Beckham Jr.]. Everybody is showing their support and it definitely means a lot to get a lot of love and support from your peers around the league."

Gurley said he knows he might be a marked man now on the field as opposing defensive players will look to take down the newest highest paid running back in the league. 

The other elephant in the room was the absence of Aaron Donald on day one of training camp, as the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year is expected to hold out for the second straight year over a contract extension.

Reportedly, the Rams are prepared to make Donald the highest paid defensive player in NFL history, but Donald is seeking an annual salary of at least $25 million a year, money that is usually allocated for quarterbacks. 

"We're simultaneously working to make Aaron a Ram for a long time – that's the goal," Rams general manager Les Snead told reporters. "I know we'll get questions about him, but Aaron's a big part of who we are, where we want to go. We're going to continue working to get something done with Aaron."

Hopefully Gurley's extension can now pave the way for a new deal for Donald, and the running back himself can't wait to see his teammate once he returns to the team. 

"I can't really speak on that," said Gurley of Donald's current situation. "I don't really know the whole situation with that, but obviously we miss the guy. We miss him being here and hope to have him back soon ad hopefully stuff gets situated."

As for what Gurley is going to spend his new-found wealth on, the admitted sneaker head said he plans to buy a lot of shoes.

"Haven't done the math, but I'm pretty sure I can buy a whole lot of shoes now."



Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Buehler's Bad 5th Inning Leads to Phillies Win]]>Wed, 25 Jul 2018 15:10:40 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-1005210242.jpg

With one of the club's icons taking perhaps his final bow in Philadelphia, it was easy to recall the Phillies' recent glory years. A new era of celebration may be near. 

Scott Kingery homered and Carlos Santana hit a three-run triple in Philadelphia's five-run fifth inning, leading the Phillies to a 7-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday.

Rhys Hoskins also went deep for the Phillies, who increased their lead in the NL East to 1½ games over the idle Atlanta Braves by taking two of three in the series.

"That was really huge for us," right-hander Jake Arrieta said.

Fans cheered Chase Utley for the final time here before each at-bat, unless the Dodgers face the Phillies in the postseason. Utley, the beloved former Phillie and six-time All-Star who recently announced his retirement at season's end, helped lead Philadelphia to the 2008 World Series championship and five straight division titles.

Citizens Bank Park was a raucous place to be during those high-water seasons and could be again if the Phillies continue winning. 

"I know what it was like and we all anticipate it being similar to how it was," Arrieta said. "Fans are hungry. This series was nice. Fans were out in full force."

Arrieta (8-6) allowed two earned runs on five hits in six innings for the victory.

Max Muncy homered and Joc Pederson and Alex Verdugo had a pair of hits for Los Angeles.

"They beat us," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "We just got beat this series." 

The game started less than 11½ hours after the final out of the Phillies' 7-4, 16-inning win that started Tuesday night and lasted 5 hours, 55 minutes, ending at 1:14 a.m. Wednesday.

Seranthony Dominguez recorded the final four outs for his 10th save in 11 chances.

Philadelphia broke the game open in the fifth. 

Kingery pulled out of a slump with a one-out homer to right off Walker Buehler (4-3) to break a 1-all tie. He had 3 hits in his previous 18 at-bats. After a Jesmuel Valentin single and strikeout, Roberts intentionally walked Hoskins and replaced Buehler with left-hander Scott Alexander.

Alexander walked Odubel Herrera to load the bases before Santana's bases-clearing triple to the wall in right-center made it 6-1.

"We get one out there, it's a different ballgame," Roberts said. "Didn't work out for us." 

Buehler was charged with five runs on five hits in 4 2/3 innings. He had five strikeouts and one walk.

The Dodgers pulled within 6-3 in the sixth on Muncy's two-run shot to the opposite field.

After both teams failed to score in extra innings until Trevor Plouffe's three-run homer off position player Kike Hernandez in the previous game, both promptly scored a run in the opening inning Wednesday. 

Matt Kemp's sacrifice fly scored Pederson, who went to third on one of two throwing errors in the frame by catcher Andrew Knapp. 

Philadelphia tied it in the bottom half on Hoskins' one-out homer to deep left, giving the slugger long balls in four of five contests.

UTLEY UPDATE

Utley went 0 for 3 with a strikeout. He finished the series 1 for 8.

Following the game, Phillies owner John Middleton embraced Utley in front of the Dodgers' dugout and the second baseball got one final standing ovation while doffing his cap in every direction of the ballpark.

HOT JOC

Pederson batted .533 with three doubles, a homer and two RBIs in the three-game series.

HOME SWEET HOME

The Phillies have won 10 of 13 at home to increase their NL-best mark to 34-18 in their ballpark.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: Los Angeles recalled right-handed reliever Pedro Baez (bicep) and placed lefty reliever Zac Rosscup (left middle finger inflammation) on the 10-day DL. Baez gave up a run in the eighth.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: LHP Rich Hill (3-4, 4.26 ERA) starts for Los Angeles on Thursday night against Braves RHP Anibal Sanchez (5-2, 2.76). 

Phillies: Will start a left-hander for the first time since Sept. 28, 2016, ending a streak of 267 straight starts by a righty, when Ranger Suarez makes his MLB debut on Thursday night at Cincinnati. RHP Tyler Mahle (7-8, 4.32) goes for the Reds.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Hunter Martin/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Phillies Outlast Dodgers in Six-Hour Game]]>Tue, 24 Jul 2018 22:47:37 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/188*120/GettyImages-1004916278.jpg

The game was nearly six hours long. Kiké Hernandez pitched. That's all that needs to be said.

Trevor Plouffe hit a three-run homer off position player, Kiké Hernandez in the 16th inning as the Philadelphia Phillies outlasted the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-4 Tuesday night in a game that lasted 5 hours and 56 minutes.

After using eight pitchers, the Dodgers turned to Hernandez (0-1) in the 16th. He got Nick Williams to fly out, then walked Jesmuel Valentin and Jorge Alfaro before Plouffe hit an opposite-field shot for his first homer of the season and second career walkoff, ending the game after 1:14AM EST.

Eight Phillies relievers combined to allow one run and six hits over 11 impressive innings, with Vince Velasquez (7-8) pitching the top of the 16th. Velasquez, who tossed seven scoreless innings in the second game of Sunday's doubleheader win against San Diego, made his first relief appearance since 2015.

The game was delayed 14 minutes because of rain, but when it finally did begin, the Dodgers struck first as Joc Pederson raced home on a wild pitch to score the first run of the game. 

Yasmani Grandal continued his hot month of July as he homered from both sides of the plate. 

Kenta Maeda retired the first 11 batters he faced before allowing a single Odubel Herrera with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning. 

Maeda pitched into the seventh inning before allowing the game-tying, three-run homer to Jorge Alfaro, that deadlocked the score at 4-4, eventually sending the game to extra innings.

Nick Williams also homered for Philadelphia.

Both teams combined to use 18 pitchers. 

The game was the longest of the season for Los Angeles.

Up Next: 

RHP Walker Buehler will start on Wednesday against Jake Arrieta with first pitch scheduled for 9:35AM EST.

Please refresh this page for more updates, stats, and player reactions… 

If you can't view the embedded videos, click "VIEW THE FULL MOBILE SITE"  at the bottom of this page.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Hunter Martin/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[LAFC, LA Galaxy Ramping Up for MLS Crosstown Rivalry Rematch]]>Tue, 24 Jul 2018 21:41:31 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/zlatan+03312018.jpg

With the founding of Los Angeles Football Club earlier in 2018, Major League Soccer fans anticipated the first-ever crosstown matchup between LAFC and the much more established LA Galaxy.

The Mar. 31 contest between the two clubs lived up to the hype and then some. LAFC took a commanding 3-0 lead early in the second half, but the Galaxy stormed back, riding two late goals from newly signed European star Zlatan Ibrahimović to a thrilling 4-3 win.

In recent days, anticipation has ramped up on social media for Thursday's rematch between the two clubs. LAFC has encouraged its grassroots fanbase to #BlackoutLA by wearing black all week long. The team's official Twitter account featured dozens of fans who posted pictures of themselves doing so.

LAFC has also been out and about in L.A., making a memorable stop at Randy's Donut Tuesday morning when midfielder Lee Nguyen kicked a ball through the shop's famous sign:

The club's "street team" and merchandise truck will make a stop at Trejo's Coffee and Donuts in Hollywood Wednesday starting at 7 a.m.

The Galaxy, meanwhile, are taking a much more subdued approach while using the hashtag #Since96 to remind soccer fans who represented LA in the MLS first. They have also featured Ibrahimović in plenty of recent social media posts.

Although his instant stardom at the MLS level and ability to soak up the LA limelight probably factor into that, it also does not hurt to remind LAFC fans what Ibrahimović did the last time he faced LA's newest team.


LAFC will take some star power of their own into Thursday's matchup. Carlos Vela scored the team's first two goals against the Galaxy in the Mar. 31 matchup, and the Mexican international played a major role for Mexico's national team in the 2018 World Cup.

Along with their #BlackoutLA campaign, LAFC launched a #VoteVela movement to boost Vela's standing in the Twitter fan vote to decide the captains for the MLS All-Star Game vs. Juventus on Aug. 1.

City News Service contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: AP Images
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<![CDATA[Koehler Out for Season, Puig Close to Return]]>Tue, 24 Jul 2018 22:06:15 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/169*120/GettyImages-994202494.jpg

The injury bug bites all teams from time-to-time, but the Los Angeles Dodgers seem to always be the main course. 

The Dodgers set the record for the most players on the disabled list in 2016, and backed it up with an MLB-high 38 total DL stints in 2017.

That trend has continued in 2018 as the Dodgers have already placed seventeen different players on the DL thus far.

As of July 24, injuries have made those 17 players miss a total of 875 days on the DL, totaling over $26 million in salary to injured players.

The biggest blow of course was the announcement on April 30 that two-time All-Star shortstop and 2016 National League Rookie of the Year Award winner, Corey Seager, would miss the rest of the season with a strained UCL in his right elbow and underwent Tommy John surgery.

Third baseman Justin Turner is the most recent Dodger to head to the DL after aggravating his groin on Sunday in Milwaukee.

Here are the latest updates on all the Dodgers injuries:

Justin Turner: (Right groin strain) Turner was dealing with right abductor tightness before the All-Star Game and was held out of the lineup in the final few games ahead of the Midsummer Classic. Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts believed that the conservative approach and extra rest was enough for Turner to be healthy, so after missing the first two games of the second half, he started on Sunday against the Milwaukee Brewers. Unfortunately, he felt tightness in his groin during the game and left after three innings. He was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Monday.

Yasiel Puig: (Strained right oblique) Puig felt something in his ribs after a couple swings at the plate in Anaheim before the All-Star break and went on the disabled list on July 9, with a right oblique strain. After a lot of rest and a visit with Liga MX soccer team, Club America, Puig is close to returning as Roberts said on Tuesday that the "Wild Horse," would be making a rehab start with Triple-A Oklahoma City later that night, and is expected to be activated on Saturday before their game with the Atlanta Braves.

Tom Koehler (Shoulder): Originally believed to be a bicep injury, Koehler was diagnosed with an anterior capsule strain early in spring training and was placed on the 60-day disabled list to start the season. After getting close to a return, Roberts told reporters on Tuesday that Koehler had undergone season-ending surgery on his shoulder. Koehler was signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Dodgers before the season, but will never throw a pitch for the Boys in Blue in 2018.

Pedro Baez (right biceps tendintitis): Baez went on the disabled list on June 15th and is expected to rejoin the Dodgers on Thursday in the series opener with the Atlanta Braves.

Julio Urias (Shoulder): The Mexican native underwent shoulder surgery last summer and was expected to be out until after the All-Star break. Urias recently threw to live hitters in Arizona and his velocity is slowly returning. Roberts said that the plan is to slowly build Urias up to three innings and 45 pitches, likely meaning that Urias could have a bullpen role with the team when he's ready to return.

Hyun-Jin Ryu (Groin): Ryu tore his groin muscle "off the bone," during a start against the Arizona Diamondbacks on May 2, and was transferred to the 60-day disabled list a month later on June 2nd. Ryu is now eligible to return, but he suffered a setback during the first week of July. On Tuesday, Roberts said that Ryu would be ready to go on a rehab assignment as early as next week, and would need at least four appearances before his return.

Yimi Garcia (Right forearm inflammation): Garcia was placed on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to July 4, 2018. Most fans won't miss the right-hander as he's struggled recently, going 1-2 with a 5.21 ERA on the season. There is no immediate time table for his return.

Josh Fields (Right shoulder inflammation): Fields was placed on the disabled-list on June 28, following a relief appearance. Fields and a few other relievers have been rehabbing in Arizona at Camelback Ranch. There is no immediate timetable for his return.

Dennis Santana (strained right rotator cuff): The Dodgers' rookie suffered a torn right lat muscle before his second career start in Pittsburgh on June 5, and was transferred to the 60-day disabled list after surgery to repair the muscle. As of July 8, Santana is out of his sling and on the road to recovery. He's ineligible to return until mid-August.

Tony Cingrani (left shoulder sprain): Cingrani has been on the DL since the beginning of June with a left shoulder sprain, and recently threw a bullpen session in Los Angeles. According to Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts, everything went well and Cingrani is part of the team rehabbing at Camelback Ranch in Arizona.

Corey Seager (Elbow): The biggest blow of all for the boys in blue was announced on Monday, April 30 when the team reported that Seager was diagnosed with a right UCL sprain in his throwing elbow and have to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. Seager's surgery took place in Los Angeles on Friday, May 4, performed by Dr. Neal El Atrtache. El Attrache told the team that the surgery was a "success," and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said that Seager would rehab at home in North Carolina for the remainder of the season. 

Dodgers Injury Updates are provided each and every week, usually on Friday or Sunday throughout the season.  



Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Matt Kemp Wins Dodgers Heart and Hustle Award]]>Tue, 24 Jul 2018 18:35:22 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*120/GettyImages-976687510.jpg

The reunion tour keeps getting better.

The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association (MLBPAA) announced on Tuesday that Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp was the recipient of the 2018 Heart and Hustle Award.

For those that don't know, the esteemed award is bestowed upon an active player from each of the 30 MLB teams to the player that most demonstrates a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit, and traditions of the game.

What makes this award even more special for each of the players who wins, is the fact that the award is voted on by baseball alumni, a collection of former players, so that the recipients know its coming from their peers. 

“We are proud to present Matt with this award,” said MLBPAA Chief Executive Officer Dan Foster. “He always has a great attitude and plays hard every day.” 

Kemp will be honored before an upcoming home game with his award and as the season continues, the MLBPAA will vote to select the final overall winner. 

Previous winners include: 

David Eckstein (2005), Craig Biggio (2006, 2007), Grady Sizemore (2008), Albert Pujols (2009), Roy Halladay (2010), Torii Hunter (2011), Mike Trout (2012), Dustin Pedroia (2013), Josh Harrison (2014), Anthony Rizzo (2015), Todd Frazier (2016) and Brett Gardner (2017). 

The final winner will be announced on November 8, 2018 at the 19th Annual Legends for Youth Dinner in New York City. This event is the primary fundraiser for the series of free Legends for Youth Baseball Clinics. These clinics impact more than 18,000 children each year at 185 clinics, allowing them the unique opportunity to interact with and learn from players who have left a lasting impact on the game of baseball.

Congratulations Matt Kemp!



Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Defeat Phillies in Utley's Farewell]]>Mon, 23 Jul 2018 20:57:44 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/175*120/GettyImages-1004380698.jpg

You heard the man.

Both teams combined to hit eight homers as the Los Angeles Dodgers held on to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies, 7-6, in a back-and-forth battle that marked the final games that Chase Utley will play at Citizens Bank Park.

Following a blowout victory over the Brewers in the series finale on Sunday, the Dodgers extended their lead in the National League West to 1.5 games over the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

Los Angeles attempted to carry over that momentum into Monday as they went toe-to-toe with the first place Philadelphia Phillies in the N.L. East.

L.A. said, "let's go," in the top of the first inning as Max Muncy and Yasmani Grandal got the heavyweight fight started with back-to-back home runs to begin the game.

"Knowing my strengths and knowing their weaknesses and knowing if they make a mistake to make them pay," Grandal said of his recent resurgence at the plate. 

The second inning started similarly to the first as Chris Taylor crushed a 94MPH fastball from Zach Eflin to opposite field for his 12th home run of the season and the Dodgers led, 3-0.

Maikel Franco put Philadelphia on the board in the bottom half of the inning with a solo shot of his own to left-center off Ross Stripling.

Eflin did not escape the third inning, and did not factor in the decision, allowing three runs on five hits with three walks and one strikeout in just two and 2/3 innings.

Joc Pederson added an extra insurance run with a laser beam home run off Yacksel Rios in the top of the fourth inning. The longball was the Dodgers fourth solo shot of the game as L.A. led, 4-1.

Rhys Hoskins tied the game on one swing in the bottom of the fifth.

After a single to Jorge Alfaro and a double to Jesmuel Valentin put runners on second and third with two outs, Stripling served up an 81MPH curveball to Hoskins that tied the game at four apiece.

"The curveball was good tonight, but he made a mistake to Hoskins and it was a good pitch, but he put a good swing on it," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts of Stripling's pitch to Hoskins. "But he wasn't executing like he normally does."

Five pitches later, Herrera put the Phillies in front with a go-ahead home run to straightaway center that chased Stripling from the game.

Stripling also did not factor in the decision, surrendering five runs on seven hits with no walks and six strikeouts in four and 2/3 innings. He also increased his ERA to 2.43 on the season.

"He didn't quite have it today," said Stripling's catcher Yasmani Grandal. "I know he was battling through a couple mechanical issues, but he was still able to give us five strong. It sucks he gave up a couple homers there, but he was just one pitch away."

The Dodgers tied the game in the top of the seventh on a run manufactured by their newest superstar:

Manny Machado hit a one-out triple, and scored one play later on a sacrifice fly from Muncy.

The Dodgers took the lead in the top of the ninth after Seranthony Domínguez loaded the bases before delivering a wild pitch that scored Alex Verdugo from third.

"He threw the ball away and we were able to get a run and Kemp came up with a big hit," said Grandal who was at the plate during the wild pitch. "That was huge."

After a pitching change, Matt Kemp followed with an RBI single to add an insurance run before the rally ended on a bases loaded double play.

"That was a good game, man" said Kemp. "Back and forth. They came back with a big inning and we just rode it out and ended up with the win on the good side."

Kenley Jansen entered in the bottom of the ninth with a two-run lead, but quickly gave half of it back as he relinquished a leadoff homer to Franco, his second of the game. 

Thankfully, Jansen settled in, and struck out the final two batters of the game for his 29th save of the season.

"We can give up one, but we have to make sure we don't give up two," said Grandal of the home run. "At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how many runs they get as long as we still get the save and we did that."

Farewell to the Man:

Former Phillies legend Chase Utley received a nearly two-minute standing ovation before his first plate appearance of the game.

Utley announced before the All-Star Break that he would retire at the end of the season, and was greeted overwhelmingly by the Philadelphia faithful in his final series at Citizens Bank Park.

"It was intense, a little emotional, especially that first at-bat," said Utley of the ovation he received. "I don't know why it was so nerve-racking, during that first at bat, but it really is...The fans here in Philadelphia mean a lot to me, and the respect that they've showed me over that last three years is very, very special."

Century Mark:

With the victory, the Dodgers have now played 100 games this season and have gone from worst-to-first in their wild rollercoaster ride through that span.

After falling 10 games below .500 in May, the Dodgers now have the best record in the National League.

Up Next:

Kenta Maeda heads the mound in the second game of the series against All-Star Aaron Nola for the Phillies. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05PM PST.  

If you can't view the embedded videos, click "VIEW THE FULL MOBILE SITE"  at the bottom of this page.

All quotes courtesy of Spectrum SportsNetLA.



Photo Credit: Hunter Martin/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[The Vault: Inside Eric Dickerson's Home]]>Mon, 23 Jul 2018 15:45:55 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/VAULT_DICKERSON_LIFESTYLE_1200x675_1282979907729.jpg

Fred Roggin takes us back to 1986 for a trip inside the home of Eric Dickerson for an edition of Lifestyles of the Rams' Most Famous.]]>
<![CDATA[Kemp's 2 Homers Help Dodgers Blowout Brewers]]>Mon, 23 Jul 2018 03:00:35 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-1003931466.jpg

The Los Angeles Dodgers are a hit at the plate with new shortstop Manny Machado.

Matt Kemp could be the biggest beneficiary in what was already a potent lineup.

Kemp hit two solo homers and Machado drove in his first run since joining the Dodgers, who pounded out 15 hits in an 11-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.

Chris Taylor had three RBIs for the NL West leaders, who scored five runs in the second and fifth innings. They took two of three against the Brewers in their first series since acquiring Machado in a trade with Baltimore during the All-Star break.

"You throw a guy like that in our lineup that is already dangerous, and it makes it even worse for the other team," Kemp said.

Machado went 2 for 5, doubling home a run in the second. He extended his on-base streak to a career high-tying 22 games going back to his time with the Orioles.

"We can have a huge inning against anyone at any time, so just keeping the guys in it and keeping the game close," said left-hander Alex Wood, who won his fifth straight decision. "I just want those guys to go to work."

Milwaukee has dropped eight of nine to fall to 3 1/2 games behind the first-place Cubs in the NL Central.

"We got our butts kicked today but it's one game. We'll come back tomorrow," manager Craig Counsell said.

Both of Kemp's shots came off lefty Brent Suter (8-7), including a long blast to left-center to open the second. Kemp went deep to right-center in the third for a 6-2 lead, giving him 17 homers for the season.

Wood (6-5) allowed five hits and walked three in six innings. He settled down after yielding a two-run single to Travis Shaw in the first.

"I thought today wasn't his sharpest day but he just willed himself to get through six innings," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

GLOVE WORK

Questionable defense by the Brewers contributed to both of the Dodgers' big innings.

In the second, backpedaling first baseman Ryan Braun couldn't get to a high pop in short right with Keon Broxton charging in behind him, allowing Kike Hernandez to reach with nobody on. Hernandez scored three batters later on a two-out, two-run single by Taylor.

Cody Bellinger led off the fifth with a triple after his hit caromed off the wall in right before bouncing past Broxton. Bellinger scored after the next batter, Max Muncy, hit a hard bouncer that Braun couldn't handle cleanly going to his right at first. Braun, who is primarily an outfielder, was charged with an error.

Regular first baseman Jesus Aguilar had the day off because of sore hamstrings. The team's other primary first baseman, Eric Thames, is on the disabled list with a sore right hamstring.

Braun made his 11th start this season at first, though he hasn't played the position much lately in part because of a recent DL stint for a strained back.

"It caught up with us today a little bit," Counsell said.

Braun's tough day extended to the plate, where he went 0 for 4 and stranded seven runners.

WHAT A RELIEF

The Brewers trailed 11-2 going into the seventh, so Counsell saved his bullpen and had position players close out the game on the mound. Utility player Hernan Perez tossed two scoreless innings before catcher Erik Kratz threw a scoreless ninth .

"You don't want to be out there, but there is a benefit to it for later on down the road," Kratz said.

Caleb Ferguson shut out Milwaukee over the final three innings for his second save.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: 3B Justin Turner went 1 for 2 with an RBI double in his first start since the break, but was removed before the bottom of the third with right groin tightness. Roberts said the team would consider putting Turner on the DL. He had been sidelined before Sunday with what the club called an upper right leg muscle injury.

Brewers: Suter allowed six runs before departing after three innings with forearm tightness. Counsell said Suter is headed to the DL. ... RHP Junior Guerra (forearm) is scheduled to come off the 10-day disabled list to start Tuesday against the visiting Washington Nationals.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: Open a three-game series at the Phillies on Monday night, with All-Star RHP Ross Stripling (8-2) making his first start since the break.

Brewers: RHP Jhoulys Chacin (8-3) gets his first start of the second half to open the Nationals series.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Dylan Buell/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jockey Victor Espinoza Injured After Horse Suffers Cardiac Arrest on Track, Dies]]>Mon, 23 Jul 2018 16:47:38 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_606877743995.jpg

Jockey Victor Espinoza was injured Sunday after the horse he was riding at the Del Mar racetrack collapsed and died instantly during morning training.

The horse’s owner, Brian Trump, said Bobby Abu Dhabi went into cardiac arrest, fell and died with Espinoza onboard at about 9 a.m. 

Espinoza lay motionless for several minutes after being thrown from the horse between the sixteenth pole and the wire before being taken to the hospital. 

The jockey suffered a spinal fracture of the C3 vertebra near the neck and a "stinger" to the left shoulder and arm, causing shoulder pain and numbness.

By Monday, he was moved out of the intensive care unit and was up and walking, according to the hospital. He will remain under observation at the hospital for a few more days before being released. Espinoza will miss the rest of the Del Mar season. 

The doctor and nurses are happy with his progress, Espinoza's agent Brian Beach told NBC 7 Monday. 


“He has regained about 50 percent of the feeling already,” Beach said on Sunday. “Doctors are optimistic he’ll fully recover fairly quickly. It’s the kind of thing that football players get all the time.”

"It looks like we dodged a bullet," Beach added. 

The public was not at the track at the time of the accident because the gates didn't open until 12 p.m. Sunday. 

Trump confirmed the horse's death on Twitter: “It is with great sadness that I can confirm this morning we lost our boy, BOBBY ABU DHABI to a sudden cardiac arrest on the track. While we are deeply saddened and heartbroken by this loss our thoughts are currently with HOF jockey @VictorEspinoza. Please keep him in your prayers.”

Four-year-old colt Bobby Abu Dhabi was training for the Bing Crosby Stakes next Saturday. 

Espinoza, 46, guided colt American Pharoah to a Triple Crown win in 2015. American Pharoah was trained by Bob Baffert who has a residence in San Diego and trains horses in Santa Anita Park north of LA. 

Espinoza has won the Kentucky Derby three times and the Preakness Stakes three times. Last year, he was inducted into the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame. 



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File
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<![CDATA[Brewers Rally in the 6th to Beat Kershaw, Dodgers]]>Sun, 22 Jul 2018 03:07:03 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-1003467800.jpg

A three-run sixth inning for the struggling Milwaukee Brewers against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw set up reliever Josh Hader's return to the mound following an emotional week.

The embattled, contrite reliever received a warm ovation from the crowd. The Brewers finally ended up getting a win.

Christian Yelich's tying homer off Kershaw opened the pivotal sixth, and Milwaukee stopped its seven-game losing streak by beating Los Angeles 4-2 on Saturday night.

"It was nice to snap that streak. I feel like you just need ... one just to get some positive vibe back on the team," Yelich said.

For Hader, it was his first appearance since the reliever's racist and homophobic tweets surfaced during the All-Star Game. Hader, who has apologized for the years-old social media messages, was applauded by the crowd after being introduced before the top of the seventh, with many fans at Miller Park standing.

The left-hander fanned four over two innings, striking out the side in the eighth.

"It means a lot, having the Milwaukee support, just knowing that they know my true character and just forgive me for my past, because that's not who I am today," Hader said.

Hader's work highlighted five scoreless innings from the Milwaukee bullpen, though closer Corey Knebel provided a couple of nervous moments in the ninth. 

Knebel allowed a two-out single to Logan Forsythe, bringing up the potential tying run in slugger Manny Machado.

Just the kind of big spot made for Machado, who was acquired from the Baltimore Orioles during the All-Star break. But Machado bounced out harmlessly to third to end the game, and Knebel got his 12th save. 

The Brewers' bats caught up to Kershaw in the sixth, when Yelich led off with a first-pitch homer for a 2-all tie. Another run scored on an error, and Keon Broxton added an RBI triple.

Kershaw (3-5) allowed seven hits and four runs in six innings, though only one was earned. He struck out five in taking his first loss since April 25, a span of eight starts.

"I pitched OK. I can think of two or three pitches I want back," Kershaw said.

Chris Taylor drove in the Dodgers' two runs with a bases-loaded single in the first.

HEY, ROOKIE

Milwaukee rookie Corbin Burnes (1-0) picked up his first major league win with two scoreless innings, bailing starter Chase Anderson out of a bases-loaded, nobody-out jam in the fifth. Kershaw was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a wild pitch before Burnes struck out All-Star Matt Kemp and got cleanup hitter Max Muncy to fly out.

"It was a brilliant inning. It's a tough inning to come into for just his third big league outing but he did a heck of a job," manager Craig Counsell said.

DODGER D

It was an up-and-down night for the Dodgers on defense. Machado made a spectacular play at shortstop to hold the Brewers to one run in the sixth after they put runners on the corners with one out. Machado went deep into the hole to his right, took a couple of steps and threw off his back leg to first, with Cody Bellinger scooping the ball to just get the speedy Broxton.

Bellinger made a couple more good plays at first to prevent hits. But a run scored in the sixth when a high chopper by Manny Pina bounced under the glove of Muncy at third and into left field.

"We've got to be better for him," Roberts said about the defensive lapse with Kershaw on the mound.

QUOTABLE 

"Didn't think I gave up a lot of hard contact tonight for the most part. There's some good things in there, but you know, ultimately, we lost." — Kershaw.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: 3B Justin Turner (upper right leg) is scheduled to return to the lineup Sunday. He struck out as a pinch hitter in the eighth.

Brewers: OF-1B Ryan Braun went 1 for 3 and scored two runs in his return from a stint on the 10-day disabled list for a strained back. ... OF-1B Eric Thames (right hamstring) is getting closer to returning after taking batting practice for a third straight day and running, Counsell said.

UP NEXT 

Dodgers: Start a left-hander for the third straight game, with Alex Wood (5-5) taking the hill for the first time after the All-Star break.

Brewers: LHP Brent Suter (8-6) makes his first career start against the Dodgers.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Dylan Buell/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ohtani Resumes Throwing as Angels Hope for Ligament Health]]>Sat, 21 Jul 2018 07:25:56 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/shoheius.jpg

Shohei Ohtani is throwing baseballs again, and the Los Angeles Angels hope he'll eventually feel good enough to return to the mound this season.

The Angels' two-way rookie sensation played catch from about 60 feet for the second straight day Friday, with a dozen clicking cameras documenting his every move in the Angel Stadium outfield.

Ohtani was cleared by doctors Thursday to begin a throwing progression after he took six weeks off to rest the sprained ligament in his pitching elbow. He had a stem cell platelet-rich plasma injection one day after his most recent pitching appearance on June 6, and the sprain shows signs of healing.

The Angels are eager to find out how well the treatment worked, and they're still hopeful that Ohtani can avoid Tommy John surgery. But they won't rush their prized newcomer back onto the mound -- particularly while he's still contributing to the club's increasingly daunting playoff push as a designated hitter.

"It's very tough to foresee the future, but we do anticipate him pitching for us this year if everything in his rehab goes as planned," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

Ohtani also was in the Angels' lineup and batting fifth Friday night as Los Angeles returned from the All-Star break to face Houston. Ohtani hasn't stopped hitting while he waits to determine whether he'll pitch again this season.

Ohtani missed 22 games on the Angels' disabled list before he returned as a hitter in early July. He wants to keep hitting while his pitching elbow recovers, and the Angels are willing to work with him as usual.

"He's a unique player with unique demands on him physically that go above and beyond the regular pitcher, or above and beyond the regular hitter," Angels general manager Billy Eppler said. "It's just important to be mindful that he's going to take these steps in his throwing progression, and step by step, we'll reassess daily. ... If he's feeling good, his distances will be increased. His time in the throwing progression will be increased. But I can't answer the question as to when he would potentially be back on the mound." 

Ohtani is 4-1 with a 3.10 ERA and 61 strikeouts in his first nine starts for the Angels, showing fearsome pitching ability in his first season stateside from Japan.

Eppler said the doctors monitoring Ohtani haven't mentioned the possibility of Tommy John surgery. Ohtani has a Grade 2 sprain of his elbow ligament, which doesn't always require elbow ligament replacement surgery. 

But the Angels also tried PRP injections, stem cell treatment and rest to heal the elbow ligament of former ace Garrett Richards, who decided last week to have Tommy John surgery anyway. He won't pitch again until 2020, limiting him to 28 starts in four seasons of what should have been his prime. 

The Angels can afford to be patient with Ohtani, who is bound to the club for the next five seasons.

The Angels (49-48) were 41/2 games out of first place in the AL West when Ohtani stopped pitching. They've fallen 14 games off the Astros' pace as they return from the All-Star break, with streaking Seattle also nine games ahead of them in the AL wild card race. 

Los Angeles' chances for its first playoff victory since 2009 are looking increasingly bleak after yet another season of bewildering injuries, particularly for its pitching staff. 

Richards, Keynan Middleton and JC Ramirez have all been lost for the season to Tommy John surgery, and at least nine potential starting pitchers have spent time on the disabled list.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Associated Press]]>
<![CDATA[Mannywood 2.0: Dodgers Defeat Brewers in Machado's Debut]]>Fri, 20 Jul 2018 21:01:30 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-1002946232.jpg

Let the Manny Machado era commence.

Machado reached base four times, Kiké Hernandez hit a three-run homer, and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Milwaukee Brewers, 6-4, in the debut of the team's newest All-Star acquisition on Friday night at Miller Park.

The second half of the season started similarly to how the first half ended: with a Dodgers victory, but this game was anything but ordinary.

Admittedly, there was an extra buzz in the air in Milwaukee as the team that leads the National League in home runs, added a middle-of–the-order bat that has more homers than anyone else on the roster.

"It was awesome," Machado said of his first game as a Dodger. "It was amazing to go out there and put on that uniform. Come out with a W [win] today on the first day. I'm happy to be here with these guys. It's a great team."

In fact, according to Stats, LLC. Machado is the first shortstop in 30 years to lead his team in home runs, RBI and walks at the All-Star Break, as he did with the Baltimore Orioles before the Dodgers traded for him in a six-player deal on Wednesday.

In his first at-bat in Dodger blue, Machado hit a single to right field, and only added on from there, finishing the game 2-for-3 with two walks.

 

"It's like everyone's dream," Machado said of his first at-bat as a Dodger. "Putting on a Dodger uniform, and your first time going out there you get a nice little knock there, it makes it a lot easier going forward."

Chris Taylor opened the third inning with a double to center field, and after a walk to Machado and a hit by pitch to Muncy, Taylor scored the first run of the game on a passed ball by Manny Pina.

Milwaukee tied the game on a two-out double down the right field line by Christian Yelich in the bottom of the fifth, but Miley was thrown out at the plate on the relay from Matt Kemp to Logan Forsythe to Austin Barnes, and the game stayed deadlocked at 1-1.


The Dodgers recaptured the lead in the top of the seventh as Yasmani Grandal led off the inning with a single to center field.

Six pitches later, Chase Utley hit a pinch-hit double to right-center, but Grandal was thrown out at the plate trying to score on the play.

Taylor finally gave the Dodgers the lead with an RBI single that scored Utley.

Muncy continued his breakout season with an RBI double that scored Taylor and L.A. led 3-1.

Milwaukee starter, Wade Miley, did not factor in the decision, allowing one run on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts in six innings.

Rich Hill (3-4) earned the win, surrendering just one run on five hits with four walks and nine strikeouts in six strong innings.

"I love pitching here, the mound is great and it's a great backdrop," said Hill of his start. "It went well."


During the game, Dodgers' general manager Farhan Zaidi told SportsNetLA broadcasters Joe Davis and Nomar Garciaparra, that the team was still interested in acquiring a bullpen piece and that "relief help" was at the top of their mind.

We found out why in the bottom of the eighth as reliever Daniel Hudson surrendered a solo home run to Jesus Aguilar—the only batter he faced—to cut the lead to 3-2.

The blast was Aguilar's NL-leading 25th of the season, and Hudson's fourth earned run in his last three appearances.

Thankfully, Kiké Hernandez broke the game open with a three-run blast in the top of the ninth for his 17th longball of the season.

"They've been throwing me inside all night. Everything looked really hard tonight. It took some time to get back into the rhythm of things," Hernandez told SportsNetLA of his game. "That last AB I was just trying to slow things down somehow. First pitch fastball in, second pitch fastball in. Thankfully he threw a slider."

After the first two runners reached base for the Brewers in the bottom of the ninth, Kenley Jansen entered the game and allowed a two-run triple to Yelich, before striking out Aguilar for his NL-leading 28th save of the season.

"I went to my strength," said Jansen of the stikeout against the league leader in home runs to end the game. "Strength to strength, and this time I won."

Up Next:

Clayton Kershaw makes his first start of the second half of the season as he faces RHP Chase Anderson at 4:10PM PST.

If you can't view the embedded videos, click "VIEW THE FULL MOBILE SITE"  at the bottom of this page.



Photo Credit: Dylan Buell/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Machado Pays Homage to Kobe Bryant with No. 8]]>Fri, 20 Jul 2018 18:13:24 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-1002926096.jpg

There's a new number eight in Tinseltown.

No, Kobe Bryant hasn't come out of retirement to join forces with LeBron James, but another sports superstar will don the iconic number as a nod to the five-time NBA Champion.

Manny Machado, the Los Angeles Dodgers newest acquisition, has put to rest the speculation that he would try and continue to wear the No. 13, by instead choosing the No. 8 as a tribute to his favorite player, future Hall of Fame basketball player and Laker legend, Kobe Bryant.

Machado has worn the number 13 for the entirety of his career with the Baltimore Orioles, leading many to assume that he would try and find a way to work out a deal with Dodgers' infielder Max Muncy who currently wears the "unlucky" number.

Dodgers' closer Kenley Jansen even volunteered to pay Muncy for the number exchange saying about Machado, "he deserves it."

However, according to AM570's David Vassegh who was in Milwaukee for the first game of the second half of the season between the Dodgers and Brewers on Friday, said Muncy was never asked to change numbers, and Muncy said he would have been more than willing to trade numbers with Machado had he asked.

Machado instead opted for a fresh start with a new number, telling Spectrum SportsNetLA's Alanna Rizzo that he choose the No. 8 because it signified "new beginnings," and for his love of Kobe Bryant.

"Honestly, I wanted a new change," said Machado of why he chose the number eight. "The number eight, I didn't know this, but when I spoke on the phone with Dave [Roberts] he told me that eight is for new beginnings. I picked it for a new beginning and a new journey. Everything is going to change, and one of my favorite basketball players as well is from LA, Mr. Kobe Bryant, I had to go there and put that number on." 

Machado was asked if Bryant would be excited that the newest superstar to play in Los Angeles chose his number as an homage to the Black Mamba.

"I hope so," said Machado. "He got a lot of rings in LA, so maybe I can hopefully bring one. I'm just excited to put this jersey on. Put the Dodger Blue on and go out there and win."

The bible says that the number eight represents resurrection and regeneration, something that Machado is looking to do with the Dodgers in the next chapter of his baseball career. 

Dodgers' bench coach, Bob Geren, had previously worn the number eight, and before that, former manager Don Mattingly. Geren agreed to switch to No. 16, previously worn by Andre Either, so that Macadho could wear eight.

Bryant wore the No. 8 jersey for the first ten years of his career, winning three NBA titles in the historic number.

Machado admitted he named his dog, Kobe, and that his wife is a die-hard Lakers fan and they enjoy spending time in L.A. and dining at a few of their favorite restaurants in the offseason. 

Fans will be able to see Machado at Dodger Stadium for the first time on Monday, July 30 when the team returns for a six-game homestand. 

If you can't view the embedded tweets and videos, click "VIEW THE FULL MOBILE SITE" at the bottom of this page.



Photo Credit: Dylan Buell/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Angels Praise Mike Trout for 'Prioritizing Personal Values' After Manfred Comments]]>Thu, 19 Jul 2018 12:49:46 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/all1AP_18199043517642.jpg

The Los Angeles Angels publicly praised Mike Trout "for prioritizing his personal values over commercial self-promotion" a day after baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said the All-Star outfielder would be an even bigger star if he would spend more time marketing himself.

The team released a statement Wednesday congratulating Trout on his performance in the All-Star Game in Washington, then extolled the time he spends visiting hospitals, schools and charities and the quality time he spends with family.

"We applaud him for prioritizing his personal values over commercial self-promotion," the statement said. "That is rare in today's society and stands out as much as his extraordinary talent."

A day earlier, Manfred said MLB was interested in having players more engaged and in helping players develop their individual brands.

Manfred said Trout chooses not to spend his down time marketing.

"Mike's a great, great player and a really nice person, but he's made certain decisions about what he wants to do and what he doesn't want to do, and how he wants to spend his free time and how he doesn't want to spend his free time," Manfred said. "That's up to him. If he wants to engage and be more active in that area, I think we could help him make his brand really, really big. But he has to make a decision that he's prepared to engage in that area. It takes time and effort."

Trout said Wednesday night that he has received "lots of questions" about Manfred's comments.

"I am not a petty guy and would really encourage everyone to just move forward," he said in a statement issued by the team. "Everything is cool between the Commissioner and myself. End of story. I am ready to just play some baseball!"

At 26, Trout is a two-time AL MVP and a seven-time All-Star. He homered off Mets ace Jacob deGrom on Tuesday night in an 8-6 win in 10 innings.

Asked after the game about Manfred's comments, Trout said: "I keep telling you guys, I do as much as I can. But it's a long baseball season. I got to pick and choose when I want to do things and go from there."

Manfred's remarks struck a sour note with fans, some of whom took to social media to say Trout was a great role model who should be left to live his life as he pleases.

The Angels apparently concur. "His brand is built upon generously spending his time engaging with fans, both at home and on the road, while remaining a remarkable baseball player and teammate," the team said.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[No LeBron, But ESPYs Attendees Abuzz About Newest Laker]]>Thu, 19 Jul 2018 12:05:14 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/20180718-espys-red-carpet-thumbnal.jpg

LeBron James was absent from the ESPYs, but was still the talk of the town on the red carpet under a sizzling sun in Los Angeles. 

"There's a buzz around this city," Lakers teammate Josh Hart said.

James was nominated for Best NBA player for the 14th straight year at the ESPYs on Wednesday night.

"I think he's going to do great things," soon-to-be NFL Hall of Famer Terrell Owens said. "I can see everywhere he's gone they've increased their wins. I expect nothing less."

Athletes and celebrities offered suggestions on how James can settle into life as a new Angeleno. He has yet to speak publicly about his new team since leaving Cleveland for the West Coast.

"It's limitless," rapper G-Eazy said. "This is Los Angeles. There's everything you could ever dream of here."

Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon suggested the two do a beach day.

"He's probably going to be training around where I live so we've got to go to Manhattan Beach, obviously," the bronze medalist said.

Rippon, who recently skated nude for a photo shoot, offered to teach James how to soar on the ice if it's of interest to the newest Lakers superstar.

"LeBron should know that if he ever needs a lesson, I'll help him out," Rippon said.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Whitney Irick]]>
<![CDATA[ESPYS 2018: Athletes, Celebs Hit the Red Carpet]]>Thu, 19 Jul 2018 08:50:42 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/espys-suits-thumb1.jpgFrom sequins to short suits, athletes and celebrities hit the ESPYS red carpet under a sizzling sun at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Wednesday. ]]><![CDATA[Dodgers Players, Fans React to Manny Machado Trade]]>Wed, 18 Jul 2018 21:53:19 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/mannyus.jpg

In a year where Los Angeles pro sports keep stockpiling star power, from Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Ndamokung Suh to LeBron James, the Dodgers made the latest splash Wednesday when the completed a trade with the Baltimore Orioles for four-time All-Star infielder Manny Machado.

The Dodgers sent five minor league prospects to Baltimore in exchange for Machado, headlined by outfielder Yusniel Diaz. Multiple reports said the trade was close to being done during Tuesday night's MLB All-Star game. The deal, however, was completed Wednesday afternoon after a minor medical issue seemingly delayed the news going official.

As expected, the official notice was met with celebration throughout Dodgers' nation, both at the addition of Machado and at the fact that the team paid a steep but not unreasonable price in minor-league prospects to acquire the superstar.

Dodgers players Justin Turner and Alex Wood were on vacation together when they heard the news, and Turner's wife Kourtney captured the reaction:

Many fans, blogs and others around Major League Baseball also had their own reactions, including plenty of memes. Check out some of the best below:



Photo Credit: Dalton Johnson
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<![CDATA[List: ESPYS Nominees and Winners 2018]]>Thu, 19 Jul 2018 12:52:02 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/171*120/GettyImages-1001457392.jpg

And the 2018 ESPY goes to...

The sports version of the Oscars was held on Wednesday in Los Angeles as the 26th annual ESPYS took center stage to celebrate the best in the world of sports.

Former pro race car driver Danica Patrick hosted the show from the Microsoft Theater in Downtown Los Angeles as world-renowned athletes headlined the 2018 Awards as well as presentations from celebrities in the music and entertainment industry.

Entertainers like Kate Beckinsale, Chadwick Boseman, Jennifer Garner, Jon Stewart and rapper G-Eazy will be presenting. 

Outside of the typical "Best in Sports" awards, the ESPYS also presented awards to the survivors of the USA Gymnastics sex abuse scandal for the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, former Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly received the Jimmy V Award for Perseverence, and Jake Wood received the Pat Tillman Award for Service.

In addition, Marjory StonemanDouglas High School coaches Aaron Feis and Scott Beig who were slain in the Feb. 14 shooting were posthumously awarded the "Best Coach Award." 

Here's the full list of nominees and winners:

Best Male Athlete

Jose Altuve, Houston Astros

James Harden, Houston Rockets

Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals - Winner

Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Best Female Athlete

Sylvia Fowles, Minnesota Lynx

Mikaela Shiffrin, Ski

Chloe Kim, Snowboard - Winner

Julie Ertz, Chicago Red Stars/United States Women’s National Soccer Team

Best Olympic Moment

Shaun White, Snowboard: White found redemption after the Sochi Winter Olympics by coming at his final run hard. He hit back-to-back 1440s — something he'd never nailed before — and won gold. - Winner

Jessie Diggins & Kikkan Randall, U.S. Cross Country Ski: It took nearly 70 years for the U.S. to win gold.

U.S. Men’s Curling: USA scored its first-ever curling gold against Sweden.

USA Women’s Hockey defeats Canada, 2018 Winter Olympics: U.S. won gold for the first time in 20 years.

Best Championship Performance

George Springer, Houston Astros – MLB World Series

Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles – Super Bowl LII - Winner

Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors – NBA Finals

Donte DiVincenzo, Villanova Men’s Basketball – CBB National Championship

Best Breakthrough Athlete

Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints

Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers

Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz - Winner

Sloane Stephens, Tennis

Best Game

Houston Astros defeat Los Angeles Dodgers, World Series Game 5

Georgia Bulldogs defeat Oklahoma Sooners, Rose Bowl

USA Women’s Hockey defeats Canada, 2018 Winter Olympics - Winner

Best Moment

Minnesota Vikings defeat the New Orleans Saints - Winner

Las Vegas Golden Knights defeat Winnipeg Jets to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals

#16 University of Maryland-Baltimore County upsets No. 1 Virginia

Best Team

Houston Astros, MLB - Winner

Philadelphia Eagles, NFL

USA Women’s Ice Hockey

Notre Dame Fighting Irish, NCAA Women’s Basketball

Villanova Wildcats, NCAA Men’s Basketball

Golden State Warriors, NBA

Washington Capitals, NHL

Best College Athlete

Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma Football - Winner

Jalen Brunson, Villanova Basketball

Katie Ledecky, Stanford Swimming

A’ja Wilson, South Carolina Basketball

Best Play (Bracket-style voting)

ND’s Arike Ogunbowale hits 2nd buzzer beater to win NCAA women’s national title - Winner

Minnesota Miracle: Stefon Diggs makes last-second TD Catch to send Vikings to NFC championship

Philly Special: Eagles fool Patriots with fourth-down TD toss to Foles

Alabama wins national title on 41-yard OT TD pass from Tua Tagovailoa to Devonta Smith

FSU’s Jessie Warren makes diving double play in WCWS

LeBron James nails buzzer beater 3-pointer to beat the Pacers in Game 5 of Round 1

Evanston Township High school freshman Blake Peters hits 80-foot buzzer beater

Gareth Bale scores go-ahead bicycle kick goal in Champions League Final 1022

Cristiano Ronaldo scores bicycle kick goal against Juventus

Julian McGarvey makes last-second steal & heave to secure Ardsley High School’s 1st Section 1 title in 60 years

LeBron floats a glass-kissing buzzer beater to beat Raptors in game 3 of round 2

Team USA’s Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scores the shootout winner to secure gold medal in women’s hockey

Giannis Antetokounmpo leapfrog dunks on Tim Hardaway Jr

Acrobatic volleyball play from Autumn Finney out of Decatur High School

Golden Knights’ William Karlsson goes through legs for ‘goal of the year’ contender

Jordan Poole hits buzzer-beater to send Michigan to the Sweet 16s

Best Record-Breaking Performance

Roger Federer, Tennis - Winner

Aaron Judge, New York Yankees

Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury

Best International Men’s Soccer Player

Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona/Argentina National Team

Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid/Portuguese National Team - Winner

Mohamed Salah, Liverpool/Egyptian National Team

Neymar Jr., PSG/Brazilian National Team

Best International Women’s Soccer Player

Lieke Martens, FC Barcelona/Netherlands National Team

Sam Kerr, Chicago Red Stars/Australian National Team - Winner

Pernille Harder, VfL Wolfsburg/Danish National Team

Jodie Taylor, Seattle Reign/English National Team

Best NFL Player

Tom Brady, New England Patriots - Winner 

Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams

Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers

Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams

Best MLB Player

Aaron Judge, New York Yankees

Jose Altuve, Houston Astros

Mike Trout, LA Angels - Winner

Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals

Best NHL Player

Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals - Winner

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers

Marc-Andre Fleury, Las Vegas Golden Knights

Best Driver

Josef Newgarden, IndyCar

Martin Truex Jr, NASCAR - Winner 

Lewis Hamilton, Formula One

Brittany Force, NHRA

Best NBA Player

James Harden, Houston Rockets

LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers - Winner

Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

Best WNBA Player

Maya Moore, Minnesota Lynx - Winner

Candace Parker, Los Angeles Sparks

Sylvia Fowles, Minnesota Lynx

Skylar Diggins-Smith, Dallas Wings

Best Fighter

Terence Crawford, Boxing - Winner

Vasiliy (Vasyl) Lomachenko, Boxing

Rose Namajunas, UFC

Georges St-Pierre, UFC

Best Male Golfer

Jordan Spieth - Winner

Justin Thomas

Dustin Johnson

Patrick Reed

Best Female Golfer

Shanshan Feng

Inbee Park

Ariya Jutanugarn

Sung-Hyun Park - Winner

Best Male Olympian

Shaun White, Snowboarding - Winner

Red Gerard, Snowboarding

David Wise, Halfpipe Skiing

John Shuster, Curling

Best Female Olympian

Chloe Kim, Snowboarding - Winner 

Mikaela Shiffrin, Skiing

Jamie Anderson, Snowboarding

Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, US Women’s Hockey

Best Male Tennis Player

Roger Federer - Winner

Rafael Nadal

Marin Cilic

Best Female Tennis Player

Sloane Stephens - Winner

Caroline Wozniacki

Simona Halep

Garbine Muguruza

Best Male Action Sports Athlete

Henrik Harlaut (SWE), Ski

Kelvin Hoefler (BRA), Skateboard

David Wise (USA), Ski - Winner

Marcus Kleveland (NOR), Snowboard

Best Female Action Sports Athlete

Chloe Kim (USA), Snowboard - Winner 

Jamie Anderson (USA), Snowboard

Brighton Zeuner (USA), Skateboard

Stephanie Gilmore (AUS). Surf

Best Jockey

Mike Smith

Jose Ortiz - Winner

Florent Geroux

Flavien Prat

Best Male Athlete With A Disability

Dan Cnossen, Nordic Skiing

Andrew Kurka, Alpine Skiing

Declan Farmer, Sled Hockey

Mike Schultz, Snowboarding - Winner

Best Female Athlete With A Disability

Oksana Masters, Nordic Skiing

Brenna Huckaby, Snowboarding - Winner

Kendall Gretsch, Nordic Skiing

Tatyana McFadden, Track and Field

Best Bowler

Jason Belmonte

Rhino Page - Winner

Tom Smallwood

Jesper Svensson

Best MLS Player

Nemanja Nikolić, Chicago Fire - Winner

Diego Valeri, Portland Timbers

Ike Opara, Sporting Kansas City

Tim Melia, Sporting Kansas City

Best NWSL Player

Sam Kerr, Chicago Red Stars

Megan Rapinoe, Seattle Reign - Winner

Sam Mewis

Adrianna Franch, Portland Thorns




Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Make Swap With Orioles for All-Star Shortstop Manny Machado]]>Wed, 18 Jul 2018 16:47:12 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-1000965362.jpg

The Los Angeles Dodgers are welcoming four-time All-Star shortstop Manny Machado into the team's pennant race.

Los Angeles entered the All-Star break with a narrow half-game lead over second-place Arizona in the NL West. Machado was expected to be dealt by the Baltimore Orioles before the July non-waiver trade deadline, and speculation centered on a swap with LA.

"I had a conversation with Manny. He's a great guy, man, and we would love to have him here," Dodgers All-Star pitcher Kenley Jansen said Tuesday night. "I think the sky's the limit. We can do damage. Let's see what's going to happen."

The Dodgers begin a 10-game road trip out of the All-Star break. 

In spite of the media that followed his every move, Machado did his best Tuesday to enjoy himself. He walked the red carpet shirtless in a double-breasted suit, took a couple selfies on the field and smiled through six innings of carefree baseball.

When he was done, Machado peeled off his Orioles uniform then walked out of Nationals Stadium with his family, not bothering to stick around after the game to answer another round of questions about a potential trade that would end his stay in Baltimore. 


Machado was the center of attention before and during the first All-Star Game in Washington since 1969. A huge media throng buzzed around his locker prior to batting practice. During BP, Machado joked with Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp outside the cage.

Then came the game. Machado went 0 for 2 -- a fly ball and a popup -- before exiting for a pinch hitter in the sixth inning.

Machado is batting .315 with 24 homers and 65 RBIs.

"Things are getting serious now," Dodgers right-hander Ross Stripling said. "That's the kind of bat and the kind of player that you want in your lineup."

The Dodgers' Matt Kemp, a three-time All-Star, said of Machado: "He's actually one of my favorite players to watch. I hit with him in the offseason two years ago. He's a great player. If that's something that happens I think LA would be excited about it and (it would) definitely help our team win more games."

In his first at-bat Tuesday night, Machado hit a routine fly to Kemp in left field. Then, after Kemp doubled in the second inning, Machado walked to second base and clicked a "selfie" with the player who could be his future teammate.

All the speculation, the repetitive questions and the crowds around his locker couldn't put a damper on the All-Star experience for Machado, who has never played for any big league team but the Orioles.

"It's awesome," Machado said beforehand. "Every time you put on the Oriole uniform it's always a great blessing, and you always want the opportunity to put that on. Just put it on, go play shortstop when I get my name announced. I know there's going to be some Baltimore fans out there, so I'm really looking forward to it."

In exchange for Machado, the Dodgers gave up OF Yusniel Diaz, 3B Rylan Bannon, RHP Dean Kremer, RHP Zach Pop and 2B Breyvic Valera per Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[ Dodgers Reportedly Close to Trading for Manny Machado]]>Wed, 18 Jul 2018 17:09:13 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-1000965362.jpg

Is Mannywood coming back to Los Angeles?

Rumors have been swirling for weeks about where Baltimore Orioles shortstop and MVP candidate Manny Machado could be traded to this season, but for the first time it appears a deal is close to happening with the Dodgers.

The frontrunner to land Machado has seemingly changed on a daily basis, from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the New York Yankees, to the Philadelphia Phillies and even the Milwaukee Brewers.

However, early Tuesday morning, nearly every Major League baseball insider reported the same thing: a tentative deal was in place between the Dodgers and Orioles.

According to our own sources at NBC LA, the terms of a deal are in place, and the announcement could come as soon as Wednesday morning.

Early reports indicate that the Orioles are interested in a bevy of young Dodger prospects including No. 1 prospect Alex Verdugo, No. 8 prospect Yadier Alvarez, No. 10 prospect Dustin May, and No. 12 prospect Gavin Lux.

However, what could have put the Dodgers over the top in the Machado sweepstakes was a two-homer performance by No. 4 prospect Yusniel Diaz in the Futures Game on Sunday.

According to Jon Morosi of MLB.com, the Orioles are interested in both Alvarez and Diaz in a deal for Machado.

Reports suggested last week that the Dodgers were looking to send veteran infielder Logan Forysthe back in any deal for Machado in order to stay under the luxury tax, but Ken Rosenthal is reporting that as of right now, Forysthe is not included in the deal for Machado. 

One advantage of trading for Machado two weeks before the July 31 trade deadline, is that it would allow Los Angeles ample time to trade Forysthe or perhaps another veteran player with a large contract, in order to remain under the luxury tax threshold.

Machado has been linked to the Dodgers since last offseason, and that speculation ramped up in late April when it was announced that two-time All-Star shortstop Corey Seager would undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery.

The Machado deal would likely keep him away from the division rival Arizona Diamondbacks who have also been in talks with Machado all season. The Dodgers currently sit just a half-game ahead of Arizona for first place in the National League West.

Machado is considered a "rental" for whichever team trades for him, as he is a free-agent at the end of the season, and all indications are he prefers to remain at shortstop for the forseeable future.

That complicates matters for Los Angeles who have told Seager he will resume his role as the team's starting shortstop once he's ready to return. Reports say that the Yankees could be interested in Machado this offseason.

The next 24 to 48 hours are sure to be interesting, as Machado appears to be the first domino to fall in what could be an action packed trade season over the next couple weeks.



Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers: Lonzo Ball Undergoes Successful Knee Surgery]]>Tue, 17 Jul 2018 17:49:46 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lonzo-Ball-out-for-season.jpg

Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Tuesday, per the team. The Lakers expect Ball to recover in time for the Lakers' 2018-19 training camp, which echoed what Lakers general manager recently told reporters in El Segundo before the decision to undergo surgery went public.

Ball, 20, missed 30 of the Lakers' 82 games during his rookie season, including the final eight games of the season. Those final eight missed games were due to a "left knee contusion." The former UCLA Bruin also missed 16 games in a 17-game stretch in January and February with a "sore left knee" which was later revealed to be a "minor MCL sprain."

Considering the majority of Ball's missed time during the 2017-18 season was connected to his left knee, the arthroscopic surgery on that same knee should not have come as a shock. Why the decision to have surgery took until mid-July is a bit more concerning.

The timeline to return by the start of training camp seems a bit rushed. The Lakers started training camp on the last Tuesday in September for the 2016-17 season, which would put the start of training camp at Sept. 25 for the 2017-18 season--if the team stays true to form.

That start date would give Ball about two months, plus a week, to recover and return to basketball playing shape. If Ball isn't back to 100 percent by the start of training camp, new point guard signing Rajon Rondo will likely get a leg up on a starting spot that has been advertised as an open competition by the team's front office.



Photo Credit: Shahan Ahmed]]>
<![CDATA[Harper Wins HR Derby, Muncy Makes it to Round 2]]>Mon, 16 Jul 2018 20:32:30 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/178*120/GettyImages-1000391610.jpg

There's no place like home.

Bryce Harper thrilled the home crowd and surely made his father proud, winning the All-Star Home Run Derby on Monday night with an exceptional display of power that carried him past Kyle Schwarber of the Chicago Cubs 19-18.

Harper hit the contest-winning blast in extra time, the reward for hitting two homers at least 440 feet during the 4 minutes of regulation. After he connected with the game winner, the Washington Nationals slugger threw his bat in the air and pointed both index fingers toward the sky as a shower of streamers rained upon the crowd of 43,698.

Harper arranged to have his father, Ron, pitch to him in the annual contest on the eve of the All-Star Game. Harper, a six-time NL All-Star, responded with a performance that drew the loudest cheers of the night.

Wearing a headband that resembled the District of Columbia flag and displaying a right sleeve with stars and stripes, Harper trailed 18-9 with 1:20 left before rallying to tie Schwarber before winning the contest in the final :30 seconds, an extra bonus given to participants who hit two or more home runs further than 440-feet. 


Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Max Muncy was a participant in the 2018 T-Mobile Home Run Derby, and advanced to the second round where he was eliminated by the eventual champion in Harper. 

Muncy defeated Chicago Cubs second baseman, Javier Baez, in the first round with 17 home runs, but only managed 12 in the second round where he was easily usurped by Harper. 

The 2018 MLB All-Star Game will feature Harper, as well as Dodgers' outfielder Matt Kemp, and pitchers Ross Stripling and Kenley Jansen. First pitch is scheduled for 5:00PM PST from Nationals Park in Washington D.C. It will air live on FOX.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Triple Crown Winner Justify Under Observation]]>Tue, 17 Jul 2018 00:14:13 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/162*120/belmont-justify.jpg

Triple Crown winner Justify has re-located to Del Mar where trainer Bob Baffert is keeping him under observation after swelling in his left front ankle emerged two weeks ago.

Baffert says Justify will probably just walk around the stable area for the next two weeks at the track north of San Diego. The probable scenario for the colt is a return to racing sometime in the fall with the ultimate goal being the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs in November.

"Right now, we're just looking to get him 100 percent," Baffert said Monday. "We're in a holding pattern. I'd love to run him again because he's so much fun and exciting to watch. We should know more in a couple of weeks."

Justify has won all six starts in his brief career that began this year. He has won four straight Grade 1 races, including a sweep of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont to become horse racing's 13th Triple Crown champion.

The colt hasn't had a workout since the Belmont Stakes on June 9.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Peter Morgan/AP, File ]]>
<![CDATA[Hernandez Plays the Hero as Dodgers Defeat Angels]]>Sun, 15 Jul 2018 17:35:53 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/165*120/GettyImages-999727344.jpg

Not since M*A*S*H has there been a better series finale.

Enrique Hernandez hit the go-ahead homer in the bottom of the seventh, and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Angels, 5-3, in the finale of the Freeway Series on Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium.

Each team won three games in the series, with four of the six decided by one run, and the other two games decided by just two runs, proving the two local rivals are as evenly matched as they come.

"Those are fun," Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts said of the Freeway Series. "We're all fans and you get to see two of the games best go head-to-head, and that's always a treat."

Yasmani Grandal got the scoring started in the bottom of the second inning with his 13th home run of the season.

"I've seen Deck for a while," said Grandal of his at-bat against former Georgia Tech alum, Deck McGuire. "I faced him for three years at Miami when he was throwing a little bit harder. I got a glance of what I wanted to do against him in the game he pitched against us in Anaheim. I pretty much built my game plan around it, and it just so happened it played in to it today."

Grandal finished the game 3-for-3 with a walk and has hit safely in his last seven games at Dodger Stadium, batting .667 with six runs, three doubles, one triple, two home runs and seven RBI over that span.

"You don't want to be hot heading into four days of doing nothing," Grandal said of his recent surge at the plate heading into the All-Star break. "Definitely ending on a good note is always good, but you want to get hot halfway through the second half." 

Andrew Toles and Chris Taylor followed with singles and Hernandez brought home the second run of the game with a sacrifice fly to left field.

Two pitches later, Clayton Kershaw helped his own cause with his first RBI of the season on a single to right field, and the Dodgers led, 3-0.

"RBIs, that's what I need," joked Kershaw. "That means guys are on-base for me, so there must be something going right for sure."

Kershaw's run driven in was his 30th career RBI, the seventh most among active pitchers.

Kershaw labored through the first inning, but settled in from there, before running into trouble in the top of the fourth.

"They did a good job of laying off stuff there in that first inning," said Kershaw. "I was fortunate to get out of that, and I felt like I got in a pretty good groove there."

After back-to-back singles by Justin Upton and Ian Kinsler, Kershaw served up a four-seam fastball to Jefry Marte for a game-tying three run homer.

"The home run I can live with, but it's those two hits before that, I can't let that happen to start an inning," continued Kershaw. "It was frustrating you can't protect a lead like that, but guys picked us up today and picked up a big win before the break."

Before the longball, Marte had not had a Major League hit since June 4th.

"I thought I could get a fastball in on him and I missed a little bit up," admitted Kershaw of the home run to Marte. "I didn't think it was going to go out, but he put enough backswing on it to get out of the park."

Kershaw did not factor in the decision, allowing three runs on six hits with an uncharacteristic four walks, and eight strikeouts in six and 2/3 innings of work.

"I think the four walks there was some good pitches in there that didn't go our way," said Roberts of Kershaw. "I thought Clayton really competed well today."

Since returning from the disabled list on June 23, Kershaw has returned to form, going 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA with 25 strikeouts. 

"Coming back I think we've managed him well and I think he's obviously performed," Roberts said of Kershaw's eighth quality start. "No one works harder or smarter. I think if we look back at where we were a month ago concerning Clayton Kershaw we couldn't be more excited."

Kenta Maeda entered the game in relief for the second time this season and struck out Kinsler to end the threat in the top of the seventh. 

"That was probably the biggest out of the game," said Roberts of Maeda's strikeout to end the top of the seventh. "To have him at your disposal and to understand to go in the pen and be called upon when needed was great. For him to strand those runners for Clayton and for us, I just love that emotion from Kenta."

Hernandez played the role of hero in the bottom half of the inning, as he hit a lazer to the short porch in left field for his career-best 16th homer of the season.

Hernandez's homer was the Dodgers 129th of the season, tied for the the most home runs hit prior to the All-Star break in franchise history.

In addition to his two runs driven in on offense, Hernandez made two dazzling defensive plays at second base and in right field. 

"Kiké is right there for our team MVP at this point," said Roberts. "He's a plus defender everywhere. He's made plays all first half and with the bat, the big homer today. With his energy, it seems like everytime he's in there something good happens."

Andrew Toles added an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth, and Dodgers' closer Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth for his 27th save of the season.

With the victory, the Dodgers close the first half of the season in first place in the National League West after the Arizona Diamondbacks lost to the Atlanta Braves earlier in the day.

The Dodgers are the first team in the modern era to fall 10 games below .500 in the first half of the season, and have the best All-Star break record at 53-43. 

"We're playing a little bit more now what we are," said Kershaw of the team's turnaround. "It's good for us to right the ship, and right the ship so quickly. We're in first and it's a good spot to be in going into the last two and a half months."

Up Next:

The Midsummer Classic. The Dodgers will be off for four days during the All-Star Break before they reconvene in Milwaukee on Friday, July 20.

If you can't view the embedded videos, click "VIEW THE FULL MOBILE SITE"  at the bottom of this page.



Photo Credit: Victor Decolongon/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[As It Happened: France Wins 2018 World Cup]]>Sun, 15 Jul 2018 12:54:09 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/world+cup+final+thumbnail+07152018.jpgA look back at France's second World Cup championship win in photos.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Calhoun's Late Homer Gives Halos Edge Over Dodgers]]>Sat, 14 Jul 2018 20:45:57 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/175*120/GettyImages-998355710.jpg

Two teams. One city. What a series so far.

Kole Calhoun hit the game-winning home run in the 10th inning and the Angels defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in extra innings on Sunday evening at Chavez Ravine.

Following another one-run game in the first game of the Freeway Series, the Angels took the lead with a last-gasp homer off Dodgers' closer Kenley Jansen.

Calhoun hit his third home run in his last two games when he crushed a 90MPH cutter from Kenley after the Dodgers rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth. 

"He's swinging a hot bat," Jansen said of Calhoun. "It wasn't quite enough in and when you make mistakes like that sometimes they're going to get you, and today they got me. He got me."

Trailing by a run in the bottom of the ninth, Chase Utley kicked off his farewell tour with a leadoff single, and scored a few pitches later on an RBI double for Yasmani Grandal. 

"He's very good off the bench and always gives you a good at-bat," said Roberts of Utley's pinch-hitting ability. "He has for three years...Every time he steps into the box he's prepared and knows how to approach that particular pitcher."

Grandal hit a rope to left field that froze Upton like a deer in headlights. By the time the left-fielder knew what hit him, the ball was already over his head and Utley was on his way to the plate for the tying run.

Dodgers' starter Alex Wood got off to a rough start as the Halos had three straight hits to start the scoring in the top of the first inning.

"The first inning was tough," said Wood of his labored start. "I thought I made some quality pitches that they put in play and good things happened for them. Overall, I thought me and Austin were on the same page and I thought I pitched them pretty well."

Andrelton Simmons hit a one-out double, and Mike Trout and Justin Upton followed with singles as the Angels led 1-0.

David Fletcher hit a sacrifice fly to score the second run of the game in the second inning, and Wood walked Trout and Upton to bring in the third run of the game.

Angels' starter Andrew Heaney handed the Dodgers some help in the bottom of the second inning. Alex Wood hit a dribbler back to the pitcher with runners on first and second and two outs, but Heaney's throw pulled Jefry Marte off the bag at first, and the bases were loaded.

Heaney then hit Chris Taylor on a curveball in the dirt and the Dodgers cut the lead one, at 3-2.

Taylor wasn't finished as he tied the game with a solo shot off Heaney to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning. 

Taylor has played well in six home games in the month of July, hitting .391 with five runs, one double, one triple, two homers, and nine RBI.

Wood settled in the rest of the way, but did not factor in the decision, allowing three runs on seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts in six innings.  

"I think early on it wasn't sharp," said Roberts of Wood. "I think today was one of those days where he willed himself to get through six innings. He kinda bowed his neck and found a way to keep us in the ballgame."

Entering the game, Dodgers' reliever Dylan Floro had been perfect for the Boys in Blue in three appearances since he was acquired from the Cincinnati Reds on the Fourth of July.

That streak came to an end on Saturday, as Upton greeted Floro with a go-ahead home run in the top of the seventh.

"The stuff came out of his hand really good. He had a good sequence against Trout, but he tried to go back to the well against Upton and he put a really good swing on it," said Roberts of Floro's pitch to Upton. "If you look back, it wasn't a bad pitch, but he's swinging the bat well and seeing it well. Floro has been very good for us."

Heaney did not factor in the decision, allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits with one walk and six strikeouts in six and 1/3 innings.

At the plate, Heany reached base on an infield single in the second inning, his first hit since 2014.

Starting pitcher Rich Hill appeared in relief for the Dodgers in the eighth inning, marking his first regular season relief appearance since Sept. 23, 2014 when he was with the Yankees.

"He's going to start one of the first three games after the break in Milwaukee," said Roberts if Hill would stay in the bullpen. "So just to keep him sharp, give him some game action, is a little bit more intense than just a side session."

The Dodgers came close to tying the game again in the bottom of the 10th inning when Andrew Toles continued to pick on Upton with a fly ball to left field. Upton whiffed on the ball, ran into the wall and hit the ground, as Toles stood standing on second. 

One pitch later, Toles advanced to third base on a passed ball, but was left stranded to end the game as Grandal struck out to end the game. 

The two LA-based rivals have played a total of five games of the Freeway Series this season. The Angels lead the series three games to two, but both teams have each scored 15 total runs in the five games. 

"You take into consideration geography and the familiarity, but we play each other very evenly," said Roberts of the Freeway Series so far. "It's always a fun series and I know that the fans enjoy it."

Up Next:

The Angels are expected to have a bullpen game on Sunday before they head into the All-Star break as the Dodgers send Clayton Kershaw to the mound. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10PM PST.

If you can't view the embedded videos, click "VIEW THE FULL MOBILE SITE"  at the bottom of this page.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Muncy Rallies Dodgers Past Angels as Freeway Series Resumes]]>Fri, 13 Jul 2018 23:51:50 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/170*120/GettyImages-998345232.jpg

This is Thunderdome.

Max Muncy knocked in all three runs and the Los Angeles Dodgers rallied to beat the rival Angels, 3-2, on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.

Following three games in Anaheim last weekend, the Freeway series shifted north to Chavez Ravine, where the Dodgers entered the Friday the 13th game in sole possession of first place in the division.

While there were no ghosts, ghouls, or black cats at the game, "Mad Max" will certainly give the Angels nightmares for days to come, as he homered in the first inning, and drove in the tying and go-ahead runs in the bottom of the seventh.

"He rises to the occasion and rises to the moment and gets the big hit when you need it," Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts said of Muncy. "The homer was big obviously, but the double was huge...when he's not afraid to take a strike, he's pretty dangerous."

Muncy started the scoring early for the Boys in Blue with his 22nd home run of the season off Felix Peña in the bottom of the first inning.

 

"I was battling," Muncy told Alanna Rizzo of SportsNetLA from the field of his at-bat against Peña. "I had a full count there. He left a fastball over the plate for me and I was able to get the barrel to it and good things happened."

It's no wonder Muncy will participate in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby on Monday in Washington D.C. as part of the MLB All-Star game festivities, as he sits alone in fourth place in the NL for most longballs this season.

However, it's not just homers that places Muncy among the leaders in the NL in offense, Muncy's 1.019 OPS leads the NL and his 10.14 home runs per at bat is the best in all of baseball. His .414 OBP and .606 slugging percentage are also the second highest in the league.

"He's earned his way to the top of the lineup and good things happen when he's at the plate," said starting pitcher Walker Buehler.

Kole Calhoun spoiled Buehler's return to the Big Leagues by taking the 23-year-old rookie deep not once, but twice in the game. 

"I got a couple pitches to drive and put some good swings on them," said Calhoun. "Fortunately enough, they left the yard. It's nice to continue to try and help the team."

Calhoun tied the game with a solo shot to center field in the top of the third inning.

"A little frustration," admitted Buehler of the pitch to Calhoun. "The fastball to Calhoun was pretty close to where I was trying to go and he put a really, really good swing on it."

The red-headed outfielder gave the Halos the lead with an opposite field shot off Buehler in the top of the fifth. Calhoun's two longballs marked his fourth career multi-homer game and first since June 1, 2017 against the Minnesota Twins. 

"I think it was the first changeup of the game that I threw to him and he drove it the other way," said Buehler of the second home run he surrendered to Calhoun. "That's not my best pitch, but I liked it in that situation and it wasn't good enough."

Outside of the solo shots to Calhoun, Buehler, who was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list prior to the game, was solid in his first start since June 8th.

"I thought Walker was amped up to be back in a Major League game," said Roberts of Buehler's return. "Outside of Calhoun, there would have been no damage."

In his first career appearance against the Angels, Buehler allowed two runs on six hits with one walk and five strikeouts in five innings. He did not factor in the decision.

"I'm still trying to find my rhythm," said Buehler. "I made some good pitches, but Calhoun got two good swings off. I definitely was a little amped than I normally would be, but that's part of the process."

Felix Peña left the game in the bottom of the fifth inning before facing a single batter as the Dodgers opted to pinch-hit for Buehler to lead things off.

Peña also did not factor in the decision, allowing one run on just three hits with three walks and five strikeouts in four short innings of work.

"It's tough to get a guy that hasn't started to the 100-110 pitch mark," said Scioscia of why he pulled Peña after just four innings. "He started a little bit slow, was a little erratic...I think he settled in and threw the ball better, but there was not a lot of length left going into the fifth and that was enough for the night."

The Dodgers got off the mat in the bottom of the seventh inning, as Logan Forsythe kicked off the comeback with a leadoff single to center field.

Six pitches later, Joc Pederson doubled down the right field line and the ducks were on the pound for "Mad Max."

Muncy tied the game with an RBI single to right-center, but the throw to the plate was airmailed by Calhoun, allowing Pederson to score the go-ahead run, and Muncy to move up to second base.

"It started with Logi [Logan Forysthe]," said Muncy of the seventh inning rally. "He had a great at-bat. He didn't chase anything. He was throwing a lot of good curveballs to him and he got one up over the plate, drove it back up the middle, and then Joc continued it going, and I was able to get a good pitch."

In his last 33 starts since June 3, Muncy is batting .313 with 29 runs, 15 homers, and 22 RBI. During that span, he has reached base safely in 30 games and drawn 34 walks. 

Caleb Ferguson recorded his second win of the season after tossing two perfect innings of relief with three strikeouts. Since moving to the bullpen, Ferguson has been light’s out, going 2-0 with one save and posting a 1.38 ERA with 16 strikeouts.

After blowing the save against the Angels in a similar situation last week in Anaheim, All-Star closer Kenley Jansen, did not get a chance for redemption, as he was not available after pitching back-to-back games in San Diego. 

Instead, Scott Alexander, pitched the ninth inning for the Dodgers, earning his first save of the season, and fifth of his career, but not before some nerve-racking drama ensued.

With one out in the top of the ninth, Japanese sensation, Shohei Ohtani, hit a pinch-hit double off the wall in left-center and advanced to third base on an infield single. 

"It started having that feel a little bit, especially when Ohtani got on there," said Muncy of some deja vu from last Friday's blown save. "It was kind of the same circumstances, but we were able to pull this one out and it was a good win."

The Angels had runners at the corners and one out, but Alexander induced David Fletcher to ground into the game-ending double play. 

"I'm always looking for groundballs, so really I'm just trying to keep that guy at first and keep that force out and give those guys a chance to turn it," said Alexander of the double-play. "I'm glad it wasn't a blown save." 

With the victory, the Dodgers have evened the 2018 Freeway Series with the Halos at two wins apiece.

"They're a very well managed team over there," said Roberts of the Freeway Series so far. "All four games he's been aggressive with the pen and understanding the matchups and doing everything he can to play us tough. Right now, we're even. We'll see what happens over the next two games."

Despite the loss, the Angels are the only team in the Major Leagues with a winning record (65-53) against the Dodgers since they moved to Los Angeles in 1958 (minimum 40 games).

Farewell Tour For "The Man"

In a news conference earlier in the day, Dodgers veteran second baseman Chase Utley announced his intention to retire at the end of the 2018 season.

Utley received a standing ovation when he was announced as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the fifth inning and promptly hit a single to right field.

Up Next:

Former Dodger for a day, LHP Andrew Heaney, will start on Saturday against Clayton Kershaw. First pitch is scheduled for 4:15PM PST.

If you can't view the embedded videos, click "VIEW THE FULL MOBILE SITE"  at the bottom of this page.



Photo Credit: Victor Decolongon/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Chase Utley Announces Retirement at End of Season]]>Fri, 13 Jul 2018 20:29:16 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-953250682.jpg

You can't retire from being great.

Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley announced at a news conference that he will retire at the end of the season to become a full-time dad.

"I just want you guys to know that I've signed a five-year extension," joked Utley as he began his retirement announcement press conference on Friday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. 

"On a real note, I think everybody has pretty much figured it out, but at the end of this year, I'm going to retire," said Utley in a room full of reporters, teammates, coaches, and former Dodger greats like Don Newcombe. "I'm excited about that opportunity. I'm glad to be here right now with you guys. I've had a pretty unique career when I look back on it."

At 39, Utley has seen limited playing time this season for the division leading Dodgers. ESPN reported that Utley's retirement will be effective at the end of the season. 

Utley, known for his gritty and competitive playing style, was traded from the Phillies to LA in August 2015. He enjoyed some of his best seasons in Philadelphia, where the 16-season veteran achieved legend status and received an emotional standing ovation during his first trip back as a Dodger in 2016.

"I was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies. Got a chance to play in the big leagues with them for a long time and play in front of some amazing fans," said Utley reflecting back on his career. "I Made some all-star teams, won a world series, lost a world series. Came over here [Los Angeles] and transitioned into a part-time player. Something that's new for me, but I took it in stride and I've really enjoyed that time. I'm also a part-time strength coach, part-time pitching coach, occasionally a part-time catching coach, as well as a part-time general manager, but the thing im having the most difficult time with is being a part-time dad, and that's really the reason I'm shutting it down. I'm ready to be a full-time dad."

The six-time All-Star was a member of Philadelphia's 2008 World Series team.

"When he played he was one of the best players in the game when I was playing against him," admitted Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts. "But the consistency on how he approaches the game and his teammates, all the great things I heard about him are true."

One of Utley's biggest fans is teammate Enrique Hernandez, who has adopted the nickname of "Dad," for Utley this season. Hernandez frequently wears shirts in pregame devoted to Utley, and has famously used Utley's bat to hit home runs throughout the season, affectionaly calling it his "Dad bat."

"He adopted me," joked Hernandez after the retirement announcment. "One of the reasons he retired is to spend more time with me."

Utley is known as more of recluse in and around the clubhouse, so to hold a press conference to announce his retirement, seemed uncharacteristic, especially for Utley. 

"I think Chase did it in an uncharacteristic and uncomfortable way for him," said Roberts. "But I think it was the right thing to do. I think he has some peace and is looking forward to moving on and helping us win baseball games. Great to see his teammates and coaches all there to support him. We have a ways to go, but for him to get ahead of it is a good thing.

"He's the most well respected guy in our clubhouse," continued Roberts. "Just the way he treats people in his career. How consistent he's been. Even the relationships he has or doesn't have, the respect unilaterally is at the top."

Utley admitted after the press conference that the fact the Dodgers were headed to Philadelphia to play the Phillies on July 23-25 was part of his decision to announce his retirement when he did.

As for Utley's future, it's been rumored and joked that Dodgers' President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman would "stalk" Utley after his retirement to remain with the Dodgers in an advisory role. Something Utley hasn't considered (or been offered) yet, but a role Roberts hopes he ultimately decides to do after reitrement.

"I'm hoping he'll still want to be a part of this organization and help us in the player development side or special assistant kind of thing," said Roberts. "I'm hoping he'll assist me as well."



Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Sit Alone Atop NL West After Win Over Padres]]>Thu, 12 Jul 2018 23:31:36 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/170*120/GettyImages-996791204.jpg

The view from the top is always better.

For the first time in the 2018 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers sit alone in first place in the National League West after defeating the San Diego Padres, 3-2, on Thursday night at Petco Park.

Andrew Toles, Matt Kemp, and Joc Pederson each knocked in a run with an RBI single as the Dodgers scored all three of their runs in the top of the seventh inning.

Los Angeles took two of the first three games of the series before winning the four-game set with San Diego in the finale, catapulting themselves back into first place—where they have won the division each of the last five years—for the first time this season.

"It beats being in second place," joked Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts. "Outside of that, we're going to focus on the Angels and try and finish these next three games out with wins. We have a long way to go."

First-time All-Star Ross Stripling threw six scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to 2.08 on the season. 

"It was a mixture of good luck and some big pitches in some big counts," Stripling said of his start which he admitted wasn't as sharp as he has been recently. "When it's the sixth inning and they just hit their eighth lazer right at someone you're like, 'alright I have a rabbit's foot in my pocket or something.' Six zeros and a win, that's what matters."

Stripling (8-2), scattered six hits with one walk and five strikeouts in six shutout innings, in his final start before heading to the Nation's Capital for the Midsummer Classic on Tuesday.

"I'm looking forward to it," Stripling said of the All-Star Game. "I watched Mookie Betts hit a grand slam today, so I'll try not throw that pitch. Now I can get this one behind me and worry about getting my family and some friends to D.C. and get the logistics worked out."

San Diego starter Tyson Ross did not allow a hit through the first five innings before surrendering a one-out double to Joc Pederson in the top of the sixth.

"Tyson's a guy that we know really well," said Roberts of Ross. "The slider was there when he needed it. We just weren't getting good swings. That hit by Joc, staying on the slider was a great piece of hitting."

After back-to-back bad starts, Ross (5-8) was solid on Thursday, allowing two runs on three hits with three walks and five strikeouts in six and 1/3 innings.

Ross has allowed three-or-fewer runs in nine of his 10 career starts agianst the Dodgers. 

Each team took turns trading zeroes through first six innings before the Boys in Blue final broke through in the top of the seventh.

Chris Taylor started the scoring with a one-out double and scored three pitches later on an RBI single by Andrew Toles. 

"That two-out knock by Tolesy was big," said Roberts. "We had at-bats when we needed to."

After a pitching change, relief pitcher Criag Stammen entered the game for the Padres and promptly hit the first two batters he saw. 

Matt Kemp knocked in the next run with a bases loaded single, and Joc Pederson followed with an RBI single of his own, and the Dodgers led 3-0.

San Diego tried to scratch their way back into the game in the bottom half of the seventh after a leadoff walk by Austin Hedges and a single by Franmil Reyes, put two ducks on the pond for Wil Myers.

Myers doubled into the gap in right-center and the Padres cut the lead to 3-2. 

Myers has reached base safely in six consecutive games and is batting .417 with six homers, and nine RBI over that span. 

Kenley Jansen entered the game for the second consecutive night and recorded his NL-leading 26th save of the season.

"I think it's the team period. If it's not for the team, I'm not going to be in there," said Jansen of leading the league in saves. "My job is useless if we're not winning. We all turned that page and got into that other gear and got back in the playoff race." 


The Dodgers lead the series with San Diego 9-3 on the season and have defeated the Friars 94 times over the last eight seasons, the most wins by any MLB team against a single opponent over that span.

Up Next:

The Dodgers will head home where they will host the Angels for a three-game weekend Freeway Series. RHP Felix Pena will start for the Angels opposite rookie Walker Buehler for the Dodgers. First pitch is at 7:10PM PST. 

If you can't view the embedded videos, click "VIEW THE FULL MOBILE SITE"  at the bottom of this page.



Photo Credit: Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Maeda Strikes Out Nine, as Dodgers Defeat Padres]]>Wed, 11 Jul 2018 23:27:01 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/178*120/GettyImages-996709542.jpg

Logan Forsythe got an RBI.

Kenta Maeda allowed one run, and Logan Forsythe broke out of his slump with an RBI single, and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Diego Padres, 4-2, on Wednesday night at Petco Park.

Following a split of the first two games that saw the Dodgers offense erupt on Monday, only to sputter out on Tuesday, Los Angeles scored three runs in the third and held on the remainder of the way.

San Diego struck first in the bottom half of the first inning, as they greeted Maeda with back-to-back hits to start the game.

"Beginning of the game I was just feeling things out," said Maeda through a translator. "As the game moved on, I felt better and better."

Travis Jankowski made a diving catch in the top of the first, and then led off with a single. Two pitchers later, Carlos Asuaje hit an RBI double down the right field line and the Padres were off and running, 1-0.

The Dodgers rallied with three runs of their won in the bottom half of the third as Matt Kemp knocked in Kiké Hernandez for his team-leading 59th RBI of the season. Kemp leads the Majors with a .431 batting average with runners in scoring position.

Two batters later, the bases were loaded for Logan Forysthe, and the slumping second baseman hit an RBI single back up the middle to extend the inning and give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead.

"He got an infield hit and a walk," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts of Forsythe. "He's trying to adjust to this new role. Which is something he hasn't done in a few years. He's doing everything he can to help us win baseball games so you have to give him credit."

After a wild pitch by San Diego starter Joey Lucchesi, Cody Bellinger reached base on an error by shortstop Freddy Galvis and L.A. had a 3-1 lead.

Lucchesi (4-5), would only last another inning as he took the loss, allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits with one walk and four strikeouts in four short innings.

"He had a little cramping in his hand," said Padres' manager Andy Green. "He was good enough to continue in the game, but he had a hard time finishing guys today."

Meanwhile, Maeda (6-5), who was activated off the paternity list on Tuesday after the birth of his son, struck out nine batters for the fourth consecutive start, surrendering just one run on four hits with one walk and nine strikeouts in 5 and 2/3 innings.

Over his last nine starts, Maeda has been masterful, going 4-2 with a 1.97 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 61 strikeouts.

"I feel like every game there's been some consistency," Maeda said of his last nine starts. "How the pitches come out of my hand and how I feel in general, that's been the biggest difference."

Christian Villanueva hit a line-drive home run for his 18th longball of the season in the bottom of the seventh inning, but the Dodgers got the run right back in the top of the eighth after Chris Taylor hit an RBI single that scored Chase Utley.

Every Dodgers run came with two outs.

"That's what winning teams do," said Taylor who knocked in the insurance run with two outs in the eighth. "Coming up with big two out hits with guys in scoring position is the key to a championship team."

Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth for his 25th save of the season.

The Dodgers have defeated the Friars in eight of their 12 games this season and can win the series in the finale on Thursday.

Since May 17, Los Angeles is 16-6 on the road, the best record away from home in all of baseball.

Up Next:

Ross Stripling, who was recently added to the National League All-Star team will start in the finale on Thursday opposite RHP Tyson Ross. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10PM PST. 

If you can't view the embedded videos, click "VIEW THE FULL MOBILE SITE"  at the bottom of this page.



Photo Credit: Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Muncy Misses Out on All-Star Game, Will Participate in Derby]]>Wed, 11 Jul 2018 21:43:53 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*123/GettyImages-995824456.jpg

No wonder they call him "Mad" Max.

Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Max Muncy might be a little bit more "mad" than usual after it was announced that he finished third in the MLB.com final fan vote on Wednesday night.

Seattle Mariners shortstop Jean Segura and Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar finished in first place and are headed to Washington D.C. for the 2018 MLB All-Star Game.

Aguilar received a whopping 20.2 million votes, and Segura received 13.6 milion votes to lead the National League and American League, respectively.

San Francisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt finished second, Muncy third, Washington Nationals shortstop Trea Turner fourth, and St. Louis Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter finished in fifth.

"I was told Russia actually interfered with this election," joked Belt after the results were announced.

Aguilar's 20.2 million votes were the second most ever received in the MLB Final vote contest behind Dodgers' third baseman Justin Turner, who received 20.8 million votes in 2017.

Despite not being named in the final roster spot of the All-Star game, Muncy will still be in the Nation's Capital next week, as he participates in the 2018 T-Mobile Home Run Derby.

Muncy is currently fourth in the National League in home runs with 21, and when initially asked to participate in the event, he said he would if he was named an All-Star in the final vote contest.

However, after some deliberation, he decided participating in the home run derby was a "once in a lifetime experience" and accepted the invitation regardless of Wednesday's voting results.

Muncy will be the fifth consecutive Dodger to participate in the event, joining Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, and Cody Bellinger in the previous five years.

Other participants include Bryce Harper, Freddie Freeman, Jesus Aguilar, Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber, Alex Bregman and Rhys Hoskins.

Muncy will square off against Baez in the first round of a very NL-heavy contest.

The 2018 T-Mobile Home Run Derby will be held at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. on Monday, July 16, 2018 at 5:00PM PST. It will air live on ESPN.



Photo Credit: Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Ross Stripling Named to National League All-Star Team]]>Wed, 11 Jul 2018 20:51:15 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-984862776.jpg

Three cheers!

Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday that Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling was added to the active roster for the 2018 MLB All-Star Game. 

Stripling started the season in the bullpen for the Boys in Blue, but was called upon to make a spot start in Arizona on April 30, and never looked back.

The right-hander out of Texas A&M is 7-2 as a starter with a 2.55 ERA sixth best in the National League. 

Overall, Stripling's ERA is 2.22, third best in the N.L. and he is among the NL leaders in WHIP (1.05 7th) and strikeouts per nine innings (10.46 12th) while leading all starters in walks per nine innings (0.85) and strikeout to walk ratio (12.29).

Stripling will make his first career All-Star appearance and joins teammates Matt Kemp and Kenley Jansen on the roster that will be managed by Dave Roberts. 

The 2018 All-Star game will be played at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, July 17th at 5:00PM PST. It will air live on FOX.



Photo Credit: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Artist Paints Over LeBron Mural After It's Vandalized Again]]>Wed, 11 Jul 2018 20:40:08 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/IMG_1264.JPG

Jonas Never, the popular street artist behind several iconic murals of athletes and celebrities throughout Los Angeles, was spotted doing something rare Wednesday: covering up his latest mural.

The mural, which depicts newly signed Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James with a background calling him "The King of LA," was vandalized early Wednesday morning for the second time since it was finished on July 5th. Never, who had already retouched the mural after it was defaced early Sunday morning, decided to take it down instead of having to deal with more vandals.

Never's work has typically drawn near-universal praise, especially for his murals of Anthony Bourdain and Chester Bennington after their respective suicides. He has also made murals of Lakers and Dodgers stars in the past, with virtually no backlash.

However, a vocal contingent of Lakers' fans reacted negatively to the latest mural because a contingent of Lakers' fans have not yet warmed to James joining the purple and gold after James was pitted as a rival to Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.

One such fan, Twitter user @BenOsaze, offered a $300 bounty to anyone who damaged the mural when it first went up. Two days later, yellow paint appeared on the mural scrawling messages like "LeFraud" and "We don't want you."

When another Twitter user took credit for the vandalism and asked for the bounty, @BenOsaze locked his twitter account, CBS Sports reported.

Never fixed up the mural soon after, painting over the graffiti and removing the "of" from the "King of LA" message in hopes the change would ease tensions.

However, the owner of Baby Blues BBQ in Venice, where the mural was located, said that someone splashed more yellow paint on the mural Tuesday night around midnight. The owner said Never came by the next morning and covered the mural with white paint to avoid any further trouble.

@BenOsaze unlocked his account and apologized via Twitter Wednesday afternoon, saying the original tweet was a joke and that he was "shocked that people took it so seriously" and "saddened it brought so much negativity to what was suppose [sic] to be a great moment for the Lakers fan base."

One passerby, however, was fine with the mural getting covered up when asked about it Wednesday.

"[LeBron] ain't no Kobe," the man said.

NBC4's Angie Crouch contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Baby Blues BBQ]]>
<![CDATA[Lauer, San Diego Stymie Dodgers Offense]]>Tue, 10 Jul 2018 22:12:15 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/167*120/GettyImages-995821626.jpg

What a difference a day makes. 

Austin Hedges and Wil Myers both homered, and the San Diego Padres defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers, 4-1, on Tuesday night at Petco Park. 

Twenty-four little hours ago, the Dodgers brought the sun and the flowers, in a blowout victory backed by six shutout innings of Clayton Kershaw.

On Tuesday, came the rain; both literally and figuratively, as it sprinkled in San Diego throughout the day. As the water drops landed on fans late in the afternoon, it was the Padres who made it rain during the game at the plate.

Both teams took turns trading zeroes through the first four innings until San Diego broke the game open with a four-run fifth.

Austin Hedges hit a three-run homer off Rich Hill and Wil Myers followed with a solo shot, his sixth home run in his last four games.

"It was just two pitches that they hit out," said Hill. "Complete frustration on my part right now, and that's the way it is. The guy over there [Lauer] pitched really well. Tip your cap to him."

Earlier in the at-bat to Hedges, Hill thought he had struck out the Padres' catcher with an 0-2 curveball down in the zone. However, home plate umpire Vic Carapazza called it a ball and Hedges crushed a fastball into the upper-deck of the Western Metal Supply Co. building on the very next pitch.

"It could have went either way," said Hill of the pitch. "I'll have to go back and look at it. At first glance it looked like a strike. I don't usually second guess the umpires, but that's one of those pitches you wish would have gone the other way."

Outside of that one inning, Hill (2-4) was solid, allowing four runs on eight hits with one walk and seven strikeouts in a season-high seven innings of work.

"I'm just tired of losing. I hate losing," said Hill. "When you have good stuff and unfortunately things just don't go our way, obviously that's the game, but it just sucks to lose."

Just one day after Kershaw threw six scoreless innings against San Diego, it was a different left-hander's turn in 23-year-old Padres' rookie Eric Lauer.

Lauer (5-5) was lights out against Los Angeles, scattering just four hits with two walks and eight strikeouts in eight and 2/3 scoreless innings before surrendering a home run to Max Muncy on the final at-bat of the game. 

"Muncy put a good swing on one late, but we really didn't threaten all night," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts of Lauer.

Entering the game, Lauer had never pitched into the seventh inning on the season, but was one out away from his first career complete-game shutout before the Muncy homer. 

"He's got a f---ing weird heater," said Bellinger. "It's a slow delivery and then the ball just jumps and it's behind you. He was also hitting his spots too. Not a lot of balls were over the middle of the plate."

Despite the solo shot, Lauer has been dominant against the Dodgers in his two starts against them this season. The Ohio native has allowed just one run in 14 innings, recording just two walks and 13 strikeouts in two games this year. 

"Both nights he pitched well against us," said Roberts. "Certain guys were getting some good swings off of him, but obviously he's had our number."

The lone bright spot for the Boys in Blue came on defense as center fielder Cody Bellinger robbed Eric Hosmer of a home run in the fourth inning.

"I just looked for the fence and jumped," said Bellinger of the play. "I didn't even know it was a homer until Kiké told me it was. That's the first one I've ever robbed, so that was pretty cool."

Up Next:

New father, Kenta Maeda, takes the mound on Wednesday against LHP Joey Lucchesi for San Diego. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10PM PST. 

If you can't view the embedded videos, click "VIEW THE FULL MOBILE SITE"  at the bottom of this page.



Photo Credit: Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[The Return of Andrew Toles]]>Mon, 09 Jul 2018 23:17:58 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/203*120/ANdrew_Toles_Return.png

For Whom the Bell Toles.

It took over three months and 90 games, but Andrew Toles finally made his 2018 Dodger debut on Monday, and oh was it marvelous.

Toles knocked in a pair of runs and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Diego Padres, 8-2, on a beautiful Monday evening at Petco Park.

"Everyone was excited to get him here," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts of Toles. "Him being here brought a lot of energy. He had a couple knocks tonight, but that big double to opposite way was really good."

For the better part of the season, Dodger fans across the country had been pining for Toles, using the hashtag #FreeToles on social media to let the front office know their desire to see the Decatur native on the field.

Toles was the final cut made by the Dodgers on the eve of Opening Day as he started in Triple-A Oklahoma City, relinquishing his spot on the roster to Joc Pederson and Kyle Farmer. 

If patience is a virtue, than Toles is the most virtuous of all as he battled through an early hamstring injury, waiting for an strained oblique muscle on Yasiel Puig before finally getting the call back up to the Big Leagues. 

Needless to say, it was a long time coming.

"It was worth the wait. I'm just happy to be here honestly," said Toles. "I'm not trying to harp on the wait and all that. I'm just happy to be here and going to do what I can do."

Toles finished the game, 2-for-3 with a two-run double and two runs scored.

Clayton Kershaw did the rest, reaching two milestones as he flashed glimpses of his former three-time Cy Young Award winning self.

Kershaw surpassed 2,000 career innings pitched, becoming the 13th Dodger in franchise history to eclipse that plateau, while joining a club with just ten other members as the only 11 active players to have pitched over 2,000 innings in the Major Leagues.

"I should have done it a lot sooner, but I just keep getting hurt," said Kershaw of the milestone. "It's cool, it is. It sounds like a lot of innings so hopefully I have a few more left."

Over half of those innings were likely caught by Kershaw's best friend, current Padres' catcher A.J. Ellis. 

Ellis and Kershaw both started in the Dodgers organization and rose to the Big Leagues together in 2008. They became friends and eventually family, even after Ellis was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Carlos Ruiz in August of 2016. 

Ellis would go on to play for former manager Don Mattingly in Miami in 2017, and joined the Padres in 2018, rooming with Kershaw in spring training. 

Nonetheless, the two friends had never faced against each other in the Majors. 

That was, until the bottom of the third inning on Monday night. 

"That was miserable," Kershaw said of the matchup. "I've faced a lot of teammates and ex-teammates and friends in this game, but probably nobody with the history that I have with A.J. Hopefully that was the last time we'll have to do that."

Kershaw came back to the mound in a scoreless tie that inning, and didn't so much as look or tip his cap to his friend and former catcher. 

After working a 2-2 count, Kershaw crippled Ellis with an inside slider that he softly grounded out to third base. 

After that, the Dodgers broke the game open with a five-run fourth inning off San Diego starter Luis Perdomo, and they never looked back.

Cody Bellinger, Yasmani Grandal, and Toles all doubled in the inning as Los Angeles handed Kershaw a five-run lead to work with.

Former Padre, Matt Kemp, recorded his 58th RBI of the season with a sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh inning.

For Perdomo, the six runs allowed was an improvement after the Dominican right-hander surrendered nine runs in only three innings during a start against the Dodgers on April 18th.

Perdomo (1-3), took the loss regardless, allowing six runs on 10 hits with three walks and zero strikeouts in a season-high seven innings.

Perdomo's ERA against the Dodgers ballooned to 9.23 in his career, the second-highest of any pitcher versus the Dodgers since Glendon Rush had a 10.95 ERA against the Blue Crew in 1958.

In his best start of the season, Kershaw (3-4), allowed just two hits with one walk and five strikeouts in six scoreless innings.

Not only did Kershaw pick up his second straight win, but he now has a record-tying 13 consecutive wins against the Padres. According to STATS, LLC. That's tied for the longest active streak against any opponent with St. Louis Cardinals starter Michael Wacha, who has won 13 in a row against the Cincinnati Reds.

"I don't know, wish you didn't tell me that," joked Kershaw when told of the stat. "They have some guys that really swing the bat well, especially against left-handed pitching. I think each time is different and tonight just had a few more zeroes and kept the other guys in the dugout and scored a bunch more runs."

Overall, Kershaw is 18-6 with a 1.94 ERA against the Padres in 32 starts over the course of his career.

Justin Turner scored two runs with a bases loaded single in the top of the eighth inning and Wil Myers blasted a solo homer off Caleb Ferguson in the bottom of the ninth.

Myers has hit five home runs in his last three games, just the third Padre in franchise history to accomplish that feat.

Los Angeles improved to 21-11 at Petco Park since 2015, and have won seven of their last ten games against the Padres overall.

In the last eight years, the Dodgers have defeated the Padres, 92 times, which according to STATS. LLC, is the most wins by any MLB team against a single opponent over that span.

Up Next:

Rich Hill will take the mount on Tuesday night opposite another left-hander in Eric Lauer. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10PM PST.

If you can't view the embedded videos, click "VIEW THE FULL MOBILE SITE"  at the bottom of this page.



Photo Credit: Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Blaze Pizza Celebrating #LABron With Giveaway]]>Tue, 10 Jul 2018 16:20:24 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/getty-images-lebron-pizza.jpg

LeBron James is officially a Los Angeles Laker, and now one LA-based chain of restaurants is preparing to celebrate.

Blaze Pizza will throw a "free pizza party" from 2-5 p.m. Tuesday to commemorate the NBA superstar joining the Lakers. There is a limit of one free pizza per person and the deal will only be available to customers inside of Blaze's restaurants. The company, which specializes in "build-your-own" customized pizzas, has not released many other specifics about the giveaway.

James agreed to a four-year, $153 million contract with the Lakers on July 1. He signed the paperwork at his Brentwood home Monday alongside Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka and James' agent Rich Paul.

The 15-year NBA veteran is an original investor in Blaze Pizza, which has opened eateries all over Southern California -- including Staples Center, James' new home arena. James made a surprise appearance at the chain's Pasadena location in March 2016 when the Cleveland Cavaliers were in LA to play the Lakers and Clippers.

James has not explicitly announced any plans to take part in Tuesday's event, but hinted he would make an appearance at Blaze's Culver City restaurant.

Click here to see a full list of Blaze Pizza locations that are participating in the giveaway.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Lakers Officially Sign LeBron James]]>Mon, 09 Jul 2018 17:41:58 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lebronbricks_0.jpg

The Los Angeles Lakers officially announced the signing of LeBron James Monday.

"Today is a great day for the Lakers organization and Lakers fans all over the world to welcome LeBron James, a three-time NBA Champion and four-time NBA MVP," Lakers president of basketball operations Earvin "Magic" Johnson said in a statement.

Johnson, who is considered a key force in attracting James to LA, added, "LeBron is special. He is the best player in the world. He loves to compete and is an awesome leader who is about winning and making sure that his teammates are successful. The Lakers players are excited to have a teammate who has been to nine NBA Finals. It’s a huge step closer to returning the Lakers to the playoffs and to the NBA Finals."

As per tradition, the Lakers did not reveal the terms of the contract upon announcement of the signing, but Klutch Sports Group, which represents James, announced the terms as a four-year contract worth $154 million on July 1.

"This is a historic moment for the Lakers, and we could not feel more grateful and honored," Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka said in a statement. "When LeBron James – a perennial NBA MVP and champion who is playing at the most astonishing levels of his career – chooses to join the Lakers, it serves as the ultimate validation for what we are building here."

Entering NBA Free Agency, James was considered the most highly coveted player on the free market. The Lakers' front office capturing, arguably, the greatest basketball player of all time reflects positively on the previously unproven tandem of Pelinka and Johnson.

"We all know that the work is not yet done," Pelinka added. "We will continue forward and do all that is necessary to achieve our shared obsession of bringing banner No. 17 to the world’s best fans – Lakers Nation."

It was not immediately clear when the Lakers intend to formally introduce James to the media.



Photo Credit: NBC Sports Bay Area staff]]>
<![CDATA[Ohtani's Pinch-Hit Homer Lifts Angels in Freeway Series]]>Sun, 08 Jul 2018 21:53:17 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/192*120/GettyImages-994206752.jpg

The Japanese Kirk Gibson? 

An injured Shohei Ohtani hit a game-winning, pinch-hit home run, and the Angels came from behind to defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 4-3, to win the Freeway Series in Anaheim on Sunday.


Following a split of the first two games that saw both teams battle in two low-scoring, close games, Ohtani provided Halo fans with a moment they'll remember forever in the finale.


For context, Ohtani hit a foul ball off his right knee in the ninth inning on Saturday, and was listed as day-to-day by Angels' manager Mike Scioscia entering Sunday's contest. 

"Shoehi had treatment all morning and said he felt good by the second inning and was available to do anything," said Scioscia after the game. "That was a clutch hit no doubt."

With the game tied at 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Scioscia sent Ohtani to the plate to pinch-hit against right-handed reliever, J.T. Chargois.

"We saw there was a righty warming up in the bullpen," continued Scioscia. "We needed to score and that seemed like a great spot for him, and he definitely came through."

In what will go down as a much less dramatic version of Gibson's Home Run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, as Ohtani san took Chargois deep on a 96MPH fastball that traveled 443-feet for the game-winning home run. 

Ohtani slowly limped around the bases as the fans in attendance wearing red went wild for his first career pinch-hit home run.

"It was very hard for me to run all out, so I was glad I was able to hit the home run," said Ohtani through a translator. "It was huge we were able to come from behind. We took the lead and never looked back."

Ohtani put the punctuation mark on a four-run rally for the Angels after Dodgers' outfielder Yasiel Puig got the scoring started with a three-run homer in the top of the second.

"He threw me a slider [curveball] in the dirt earlier in the at-bat and my teammates advanced to the bases," said Puig of the at-bat. "After that I was trying to hit a line drive to score them. He threw me something, a slider? I don't know which pitch, and I was able to make contact for a home run."

The three-run blast was Puig's 11th longball of the season, but it would be the only runs Los Angeles would score in the game as Andrew Heaney and company closed the door on their Southern California rivals.

Puig would later leave the game in the fifth inning with a right oblique injury and will likely go on the disabled list. 

"On the first swing I felt something, but not so much, and on the second swing I tried to get to that fastbal and that's when I felt it more," said Puig of the oblique injury. "I feel bad because I can't help my team win right now."

The injury could be devastating for the Dodgers as Puig is batting .348 with 13 runs, five doubles, seven homers and 18 RBI in his last 18 road games.

"When you're talking about an oblique, rib cage, or something like that, we're almost certain it's a DL situation," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts. "We're going to get a scan tomorrow in Los Angeles, and we'll know more than."

Heaney (5-6), earned the win, allowing three runs on three hits with three walks and a career-high tying 10 strikeouts in seven strong innings.

"Andrew was terrific," said Scioscia of his starter. "A couple walks and a breaking ball to Puig over the plate, but Andrew didn't make many mistakes. He pitched a strong seven innings."

Heaney became the first Halos pitcher to record 10 or more strikeouts in back-to-back games since Matt Shoemaker did it in May of 2016. 

"When I have all three of my pitches working I have a good mix," said Heany of his strikeout mark. "Especially when I'm throwing my slider for strikes, I feel like I can get ahead with any of my pitches. Having all three pitches is definitely key for me."

In his last seven starts at the Big A, Heaney is 5-1 with a 1.31 ERA and 46 strikeouts. 

Some Dodger fans might remember that Heaney was briefly a member of the Boys in Blue when Los Angeles traded for Heaney in a seven-player deal in December of 2014.

However, just hours later, Heaney was sent to Anaheim for Howie Kendrick.

Alex Wood was given a three-run lead for the Dodgers, but the Angels chipped away at the left-hander, scoring two runs on a single by Justin Upton in the bottom of the third inning.

"I fell behind and got in a situation where you can play it safe or you could probably throw another pitch or two and see if works out," Wood said of the at-bat to Upton. "We went the safe route and threw him a sinker down and away and he took a single like a professional hitter would. I don't feel any regrets about that pitch."

Three innings later, Albert Pujols crushed a curveball from Wood into the rock waterfall in centerfield for the game-tying homer.

"I tried to slide him a breaking ball and I hung it, and he put a good swing on it," said Wood of the pitch to Pujols. "Just one bad one to Pujols."

Wood did not factor in the decision, and remains undefeated over his last five starts, surrendering three runs on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts in six innings. 

"I didn't think I was very good tonight," admitted Wood after the game. "I battled through, but I wish my stuff was a little sharper because I probably would have gone back out there for the seventh and we wouldn't end up losing the game. That one's on me."

Justin Anderson pitched the ninth inning and recorded his fourth save of the season.

The Angels have won eight of their last 12 games against the Dodgers in the Freeway Series. 

Up Next:

The Dodgers will travel south to San Diego where they will face the Padres in a four-game series starting on Monday. Clayton Kershaw gets the call in Game 1, opposite RHP Luis Perdomo. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10PM PST. 

If you can't view the embedded videos, click "VIEW THE FULL MOBILE SITE"  at the bottom of this page.



Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Dodgers Bullpen Battling Injuries ]]>Sun, 08 Jul 2018 19:23:15 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*124/GettyImages-972816462.jpg

The injury bug bites all teams from time-to-time, but the Los Angeles Dodgers seem to always be the main course. 

The Dodgers set the record for the most players on the disabled list in 2016, and backed it up with an MLB-high 38 total DL stints in 2017.

That trend has continued in 2018 as the Dodgers have already placed eighteen different players on the DL thus far.

As of today's date, injuries have made those 18 players miss a total of 698 days on the DL, totaling over $23 million in salary to injured players.

The biggest blow of course was the announcement on April 30 that two-time All-Star shortstop and 2016 National League Rookie of the Year Award winner, Corey Seager, would miss the rest of the season with a strained UCL in his right elbow and underwent Tommy John surgery.

Recently, it's been the Dodgers' bullpen that has taken the brunt of the injuries as relief pitchers Tony Cingrani, Pedro Baez, Josh Fields, and Yimi Garcia all are battling different ailments.

Here are the latest updates on all the Dodgers injuries:

Yimi Garcia (Right forearm inflammation): Garcia was placed on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to July 4, 2018. Most fans won't miss the right-hander as he's struggled recently, going 1-2 with a 5.21 ERA on the season. He will undergo further testing before Dodgers announce a timetable for his return, but don't expect him back before the All-Star Break.

Josh Fields (Right shoulder inflammation): Fields was placed on the disabled-list on June 28, following a relief appearance. As of July 4, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Fields would be at Camelback Ranch in Arizona along with a handful of other relievers during the team's Southern California road trip. He's not expected back until after the All-Star Break.

Walker Buehler (right rib soreness): The Dodgers number one prospect initially went on the disabled list with a right rib microfracture, but instead of a rehab assignment, Buehler pitched in relief of a June 28 game against the Chicago Cubs. The decision was disastrous as Buehler allowed five runs on five hits, in just one inning of relief. The next day, he went back on the DL, and was sent to Single-A Rancho Cucamonga for a rehab assignment. Things went well there, and Buehler threw a simulated game on Sunday in Anaheim. He's eligible to come off the disabled list on Monday, July 9.

Pedro Baez (right biceps tendintitis): Baez went on the disabled list on June 15th and is part of the list of players rehabbing at Camelback Ranch in Arizona. He is not expected back until after the All-Star break.

Dennis Santana (strained right rotator cuff): The Dodgers' rookie suffered a torn right lat muscle before his second career start in Pittsburgh on June 5, and was transferred to the 60-day disabled list after surgery to repair the muscle. As of July 8, Santana is out of his sling and on the road to recovery. He's ineligible to return until mid-August.

Tony Cingrani (left shoulder sprain): Cingrani has been on the DL since the beginning of June with a left shoulder sprain, and recently threw a bullpen session in Los Angeles. According to Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts, everything went well and Cingrani is part of the team rehabbing at Camelback Ranch in Arizona.

Tom Koehler (Shoulder): Originally believed to be a bicep injury, Koehler was diagnosed with an anterior capsule strain early in spring training and was placed on the 60-day disabled list to start the season. Koehler threw his first bullpen session last week and his second this past weekend. Dave Roberts said that Koehler "felt strong," and left the session encouraged. Koehler is still a long way away however, requiring a simulated game and a rehab assignment before returning to big league action.

Julio Urias (Shoulder): The Mexican native underwent shoulder surgery last summer and is expected to be out until after the All-Star break. Urias threw a bullpen session last week and is expected to throw two bullpen sessions this week. Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts said that his velocity is in the upper 80s, and his delivery looks clean. He added that the team is encouraged by what they see, and eventually would like to ramp him up to be a starting pitcher. He will remain at Camelback Ranch in Arizona until that time.

Corey Seager (Elbow): The biggest blow of all for the boys in blue was announced on Monday, April 30 when the team reported that Seager was diagnosed with a right UCL sprain in his throwing elbow and have to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. Seager's surgery took place in Los Angeles on Friday, May 4, performed by Dr. Neal El Atrtache. El Attrache told the team that the surgery was a "success," and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said that Seager would rehab at home in North Carolina for the remainder of the season. 

Hyun-Jin Ryu (Groin): Ryu tore his groin muscle "off the bone," during a start against the Arizona Diamondbacks on May 2, and was transferred to the 60-day disabled list a month later on June 2nd. The move means Ryu is ineligible to return until the first week of July, but his target return is still expected to be after the All-Star Break. On Monday, Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts said that Ryu had a little groin tightness in his recovery efforts and that the team has "slow played him a little bit."

Dodgers Injury Updates are provided each and every week, usually on Friday or Sunday throughout the season.  



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Beat Angels 3-1, Stripling Tosses Gem]]>Sat, 07 Jul 2018 23:20:31 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Strippling-Dodgers-beat-Angels-3-1.jpg

Ross Stripling has tentative plans to go to Lake Tahoe or somewhere close by in California during the All-Star break. He'll happily trade the lake for the sweltering July heat of Washington D.C.

Stripling (7-2) is making a strong case to make the NL All-Star team with another terrific outing, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 3-1 win over the Angels on Saturday night.

He allowed just one run and three hits - all by Mike Trout - in six innings. The right-hander struck out seven and walked none, and lowered his ERA to 2.14.

"In a good way," Stripling said when asked if he was nervous about making the All-Star squad. "I'm trying not to let it affect me on the field at all. Obviously, I see the stuff on Twitter. Family, friends are asking me. You guys are asking. It's in the back of my mind. Hopefully, I can make it. That would be awesome. I'll try not to worry about it too much. "

After blowing a save opportunity on Friday night, Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth to earn his 24th save. Stripling, however, stole the show on another hot afternoon start of 100 degrees.

The 28-year-old Stripling retired nine of the last 10 batters he faced for the Dodgers, who have won five of their last six games.

Trout went 3 for 3 against Stripling, including a solo home run to left-center field in the sixth inning for his 25th of the season and 50th RBI. Trout, who finished 3 for 4 overall in his 11th three-hit game of the season, is now 5 for 5 with two home runs in his career against Stripling.

"I just found that out," Trout said of his numbers against Stripling. "Just trying to get a pitch to hit."

Stripling started the year in the Dodgers' bullpen. A rash of injuries, to every starter in the rotation, had Stripling back in a starter's role. He has been the best and most consistent starter all season. And most important, he's the only one who has avoided the injury bug. He has a team-best seven wins.

"I'm just honored to be the guy when guys got hurt to be the guy they counted on to step up and go five, six, seven innings every fifth day," Stripling said. "Just feel like I've done my job and hopefully can keep doing my job. Obviously, to think at the beginning of the year to think guys like myself, (Matt) Kemp and (Max) Muncy were going to be potential All-Stars, guys would've told you probably you were lying. That's what we're looking at. If I'm one of the guys that gets chosen to represent the Dodgers, that's awesome. That's what we're shooting for."

The Angels' Shohei Ohtani fouled a ball off his right knee in the ninth during his at-bat against Jansen. After a trainer, Mike Scioscia and an interpreter went to check on him, he stayed in the game and struck out - but hobbled back to the dugout. He was sore and had his knee wrapped in ice after the game. He will be re-evaluated.

"I think I'll be fine," Ohtani said through an interpreter. "I'll try to be ready for (Sunday)."

Justin Turner hit a two-out single in the fifth inning off Taylor Cole (0-1) to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead.

Yasiel Puig hit a two-out, solo home run to center field off Noe Ramirez in the ninth to put the Dodgers ahead 3-1.

Deck McGuire made his second start for the Angels. He allowed one hit and struck out six in three innings in his first career appearance against the Dodgers.

In the fourth inning, reliever Jose Alvarez got Cody Bellinger and Matt Kemp to ground out, but then walked Yasmani Grandal and was pulled in favor of Cole.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: RHP Yimi Garcia (right forearm inflammation) was placed on the disabled list. ... LHP Rich Hill (sore neck) is expected to make his scheduled start on Tuesday against San Diego. ... RHP Walker Buehler (right rib micro fracture) is scheduled to throw a five-inning simulated game Sunday. Dave Roberts expects him to make a start next weekend against the Angels.

Angels: LHP Tyler Skaggs (right adductor strain) will throw a bullpen this weekend. ... RHP Jim Johnson (lumbar strain) is scheduled to start a rehab assignment at Class A Inland Empire on Sunday.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: LHP Alex Wood (5-5, 3.84 ERA) got the win in the Dodgers' 17-1 victory over Pittsburgh last week. He allowed one run on six hits and walked none in six innings.

Angels: LHP Andrew Heaney (4-6, 3.94 ERA) is grooving in his last six starts at home, where he is 4-1 with a 0.88 ERA. He's 0-2 with a 6.10 ERA in two career starts against the Dodgers.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Southern California



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Angels Take Game 1 of Freeway Series in Bizarre Ending]]>Sat, 07 Jul 2018 00:32:43 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/174*120/GettyImages-993205108.jpg

That's one way to beat the heat.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were one strike away from winning their fifth consecutive game and starting off their seven-game all Southern California road trip with a win...

And then the wheels fell off. 

Ian Kinsler hit a single to right field and David Fletcher scored the game-winning run from first base when Yasiel Puig's throw bounced to the backstop, and the Angels defeated the Dodgers, 3-2, in walk-off fashion on Friday night in Anaheim.

"It's always fun to win games like that," said Kinsler who recorded his ninth career walk-off plate appearance. "When you're down in the ninth against a really good closer, it's definitely special. It was a really good win for us."

After recording the first two outs of the bottom of the ninth, Dodgers' closer Kenley Jansen, got ahead of Shohei Ohtani 0-2, before throwing four straight balls to give him a free trip to first base. 

"Its unacceptable to lose him there," said Jansen after the game. "I feel like I almost lost my feel on that fastball up in the zone. I couldn't get it where I wanted it to and that walk really irritated me."

One pitch later, Ohtani stole second and Yasmani Grandal's throw went into centerfield, allowing the Japanese star to advance to third base. 

"In that situation, with a one-run lead, I tried to be quick," continued Jansen. "I don't have no room for error there. I gotta make sure I make a quality pitch, because if even if you run, I can't leave something in the middle, that could hurt. So, I just tried to make a quality pitch, but I made five straight balls that I didn't execute the way I wanted it to and that cost me today."

Ohtani would tie the game on a single from Fletcher, before the wild, walk-off drama ensued. 

"I faced him once in spring training," Fletcher said of his first career hit off Jansen. "He's one of the tougher guys to hit in the league. The experience was good and when you can see a pitcher more than once it can help you. I struck out against him the first time, so it was nice to break through there."

Matt Kemp knocked in both runs for the Dodgers in defeat. 

"It was a little weird," Kemp said of the fnish of this game. "You just have to turn the page and get ready tomorrow, it's as simple as that."

Following a three-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Dodgers moved into a first place tie in the National League West with the Arizona Diamondbacks on their off day, after the Snakes lost to the San Diego Padres on Thursday.

Temperatures across the Southland reached triple-digits throughout the day, so both teams limited batting practice and other pregame outdoor activities.


The temperature at first pitch was a scorching 108 degrees, the hottest game-time start in Angels franchise history.

Nobody was hotter than Dodgers' starter Kenta Maeda, as he scorched the Angels in a marquee matchup of Japanese imports.

"I didn't expect the heat to effect Kenta," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts. "He's accustomed to the heat and it just comes down to execution."

The highly anticipated showdown between former Nippon Professional Baseball League stars Ohtani and Maeda, had the sellout crowd of 44,323 on the edge of their seat early, but it turned out to be a one-sided affair.

"I'm sure the Japanese fans were very excited to see this kind of matchup," Maeda said of facing Ohtani. "I didn't really have too many opportunities to face him in Japan, but I noticed he's getting better every year and I think he's a really good hitter." 

Maeda won both head-to-head battles with Ohtani, punching out his countryman in the second inning and inducing him into a routine infield fly out to the shortstop in the fifth.

"He was on top of his game," Ohtani said of facing Maeda. "He kept our lineup pretty quiet." 

Maeda was in line for the win, but he did not factor in the decision, allowing just one run on three hits, with two walks and nine strikeouts in 5 and 2/3 innings of work. In his last eight starts, Maeda is (3-2) with a 2.04 ERA with 52 strikeouts.

"I knew that there were a lot of good hitters in the lineup and I was able to execute all my pitches and did well," said Maeda of his start. 

Maed is 5-1 with a 2.36 ERA in interleague play in his career.

Starting in the DH spot for the first time this season, Matt Kemp knocked in both runs for the Dodgers and improved his batting average with runners in scoring position to an MLB-best .438.

Kemp kick-started the scoring with an RBI single in the top of the fourth inning that brought home Cody Bellinger, who reached base on a two-out double, one play prior.

Kemp knocked in another run in the top of the sixth as the Dodgers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead against their Southern California rivals.

"It just wasn't enough today," Kemp said of the two runs the Dodgers scored. "Next time he [Maeda] pitches hopefully we can get him more run support. These are the games you want to win, but it's unfortunate and now we have to get ready tomorrow."

The Halos loaded the bases twice in the bottom of the sixth, and scored their first run on a balk by Maeda.

"I tried to do a quick pitch, and it ended up being a balk."

Ian Kinsler pretended to steal home, sprinting down the third-base line, forcing Maeda to make a rushed throw to the plate that was ruled a balk by home plate umpire Chad Whitson.

"I was going to steal home," admitted Kinsler. "I saw that he sped up his windup and so I shut it down and tried to get back and they called the balk. It happened so fast, I didn't really notice. That's just the way I play the game. There was an opportunity to score a run there." 

Scott Alexander entered the game in relief and struck out Albert Pujols with the bases loaded to end the inning.

Since returning from a demotion to the minor leagues in early May, Alexander has a 2.54 ERA with 25 strikeouts and just 10 walks in 27 appearances.

Jansen was one strike away from his 24th save of the season, but instead was responsible for his first blown save since April 17.

"I take all the blame. This is on me today," said Jansen of the loss. "I got to be backing up home plate. Like I said, I take all the blame on me today. I take this loss on me today."

After the heartbreaking loss, the Dodgers fall back into second place in the N.L. West after Arizona defeated San Diego earlier in the evening.

Since May 17, the Dodgers are in first place in every major offensive statistical category (Win pct., Runs/game, HR/Game, SLG, OPS) on the road.

The Halos were 1-for-35 when trailing entering the ninth inning, and recorded their fourth walk-off victory of the season. 

Meanwhile, the Dodgers lost for just the second time when leading entering the ninth, and fall to 41-2 on the year.

Up Next:

RHP Ross Stripling toes the rubber in what is expected to be extreme heat conditions on Saturday opposite RHP Deck McGuire for the Angels. First pitch is an earlier 4:15PM PST start. 

If you can't view the embedded videos, click "VIEW THE FULL MOBILE SITE"  at the bottom of this page.



Photo Credit: Victor Decolongon/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Dodgers Celebrate Independence Day With Sweep of Pirates]]>Wed, 04 Jul 2018 21:46:02 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/161*120/GettyImages-991765556.jpg

Happy Independence Day.

Yasmani Grandal and Chris Taylor each knocked in three runs, and the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrated the birth of our great nation, with a sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates, 6-4, on Fourth of July at Dodger Stadium.

Less than 24 hours after providing the fireworks with six home runs in a win on Tuesday, the Dodgers proved they could score without the longball as they secured the sweep courtesy of some good old fashioned clutch hitting.

"We know we can manufacture runs," said Taylor. "It just so happens that we've been scoring most of our runs by way of the homer. But even in those scenarios, we're just thinking about putting good swings on it. On those days when the ball is going out and we hit six homers, there's a pretty good chance we'd be scoring runs somehow even if we weren't hitting homers."

Grandal got the Dodgers on the board in the bottom of the first inning with a two-out RBI single and Los Angeles led, 1-0.

The Bucs took over the lead in the top half of the third after doubles by Jordy Mercer and Starling Marte put Pittsburgh ahead, 2-1.

"Unfortunately with Marte, I left that curveball up a little bit in that 3-2 count," said Hill of the double to Marte. "Looking back on it, if I make that a little bit of a better pitch, I get a better result."

Grandal was responsible for the first three runs as he helped the Dodgers recapture the lead with a two-run double in the bottom of the third inning.

A few pitches later, Grandal advanced to third base on a wild pitch by Clay Holmes, and scored a pitch later on a single by Taylor.

Grandal finished the game going 2-for-3 for his third consecutive multi-hit game, and is batting .700 with five runs, two doubles, one triple, one home run and five RBI along with five walks over that span. 

Taylor knocked in two more with a two-run, bases loaded single in the bottom of the fifth that put the Dodgers ahead, 6-2.

"It's been fun. Everyone seems to be swinging the bat well," Taylor said. "It's nice when we're rolling like this and it seems like it's a different guy stepping up every day."

Taylor went 2-for-3 with a walk, and is now batting .371 with 11 runs, four doubles, two triples, two home runs and 15 RBI in 16 career games against the Pirates.

In the first Major League start of his career, Holmes (0-1), took the loss allowing four runs on five hits with three walks and two strikeouts.

Rich Hill (2-3) earned the win, his first since April 1st, as he surrendered two runs on four hits with one walk and five strikeouts in five innings of work.

"I think its the mechanical things I worked on a month ago," said Hill of his recent success and if he's turned a corner with his second win of the year. "Where we're at to this point the way the ball is coming out, both the fastball and curveball are really mirroring each other extremely well. That's something I look forward to keeping the rest of the season." 

In his first start against the Pirates since he lost a perfect game at PNC Park in extra innings, Hill improved to 4-2 in 10 career starts against the Pirates, posting a 3.28 ERA with 60 strikeouts.

Hll was also a thorn in the Pirates side in the bottom of the fourth inning as he collected his first hit on a bunt single, took second on a wild pitch, and third on a passed ball, before getting thrown out at the plate after a head-first slide on a sacrifice fly. 

"Besides the slide at home, I thought everything else was okay," joked Hill of his baserunning skills. "I just need to learn how to slide feet first. I'm definitely going to be out there working on it with somebody. I'm going to grab someone and ask them teach me how to slide feet first."

Gregory Polanco hit a two-run home run off left-hander Edward Paredes in the top of the eighth inning, prompting Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts to go to All-Star closer, Kenley Jansen for a five-out save. 

Jansen struck out three of the seven batters he faced for his 23rd save of the season.

The Dodgers have swept the Pirates at home for the second consecutive season and completed their sixth sweep of the year.

In the six games against the Bucs this season, the Dodgers scored a combined 53 runs for an average of nearly nine runs per game.

In the three games at Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles outscored Pittsburgh, 31-8, marking the first time the Dodgers have totaled 30+ runs and 20+ extra-base hits in a three-game series since 1950, when the Brooklyn Dodgers had 47 runs and 22 extra-base hits... against the Pirates.

Scary Moment

The sellout crowd of 53,139 were left holding their breath in the bottom of the fifth as Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner was hit in the head with a 99MPH fastball from Tyler Glasnow.

 

Thankfully, Turner did not appear to be hurt as he stayed in the game.

Greyhound on the Hudson River Line

Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher, Daniel Hudson, was ejected in the sixth inning after first base umpire Jeff Nelson appeared to warn him for something concerning his delivery.

Hudson appeared to reply with an expletive to Nelson, asking him in a not-so-polite-way to go back behind first base, and Nelson tossed the pitcher who was livid with the decision. It was his first career ejection.

Up Next:

After an off day on Thursday, the Dodgers will head south on the I-5 for the first of three with the Angels in the Freeway Series. RHP Kenta Maeda will start for the Dodgers with first pitch scheduled for 7:07PM PST.

If you can't view the embedded videos, click "VIEW THE FULL MOBILE SITE"  at the bottom of this page.



Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[PHOTOS: Yasiel Puig Bares All in ESPN's Body Issue]]>Wed, 04 Jul 2018 19:31:48 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/164*120/GettyImages-974046134.jpg

We still can't eat peanuts.

It's been just over a week since Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig bared it all for the annual ESPN the Magazine's body issue, and the good-natured ribbing from teammates still hasn't died down.

In case you missed it, Puig posted the pictures from his spread on social media last week and the photos were liked over 6,500 times, including nearly 2,000 retweets. 

As you can see from the images above, Puig conceals nearly nothing in the shots, as only a glove, a thigh, or a box of peanuts, obstruct the gaze of the viewer from seeing his "Wild Horse."

A few years ago, Puig's teammates might have called his spread a distraction.

This time, they laughed and gave Puig some good-natured ribbing over the last week. 

"That's Puig being Puig," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts after he initially "glossed over" the pictures. "I sometimes think he's not from this planet. I think he had fun with it. I think his teammates will have fun with it, and he's pretty put together. I'll give him credit. He's very comfortable in his own skin as we saw. " 

Puig said he had no problem agreeing to do the pictures, and had first been offered the opportunity four years prior.

"They've asked me for a number of years, but I didn't feel I was in the best condition," Puig said through a translator before the game last Monday. "I decided to do it this year because it’s the 10th anniversary of the issue. It was really fun."

Early MVP candidate and longtime Puig teammate, Matt Kemp, told reporters that he too was once asked to pose nude in the body issue, but he turned them down.

"I thought about my Grandma," Kemp told LA Times columnist Dylan Hernandez. "My grandma would have been mad. The whole church community would have been mad."

That didn't stop Kemp from playfully poking fun of Puig when the media entered the locker room later that night following the Dodgers 2-1 win over the Chicago Cubs.

"Did you all see Puig's pictures?" Kemp asked the horde of reporters. "That's a lot of baby oil."

The following day, Puig's teammates printed out the photos and posted them on the board inside the Dodger dugout where the lineup is usually placed.


Clayton Kershaw, who once reportedly asked for Puig to be traded, also saw the pictures.

"We all know what kind of specimen he is," Kershaw told FOX during a live broadcast.  "We get to see it everyday in the clubhouse, but for him to put it all out there in the magazine. We've given him a good bit of fun about it and he loves it. He loves the attention, he loves that stuff. He's good with it."

However, not all of his teammates were good with it.

"I need to find a psychologist tomorrow," Kenley Jansen joked to Hernandez about the photos. "I don't want to talk about it because that really traumatized me. One of my favorite things, man, peanuts. Can't eat them anymore. I just think about 'little Puig.'"

You're not alone, Kenley.



Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Dodgers Acquire Two Arms in Four-Player Trade With Reds]]>Wed, 04 Jul 2018 17:40:09 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-960220580.jpg

Don't look now, but the Dodgers are making some moves.

No, it wasn't Manny Machado or Cole Hamels or Jacob DeGrom. 


The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired pitchers Dylan Floro and Zach Neal from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for minor league right-handed pitchers James Marnian and Aneurys Zabala.

Neal was with the Dodgers organization earlier this season, and pitched in relief against the Arizona Diamodbacks on April 3. 

The 29-year-old right-hander was designated for assignment by the Dodgers on April 5, and was claimed off waivers by the Reds.

In Cincinnati, he made three starts, and pitched in 18 games with the Reds' Triple-A affiliated in Louisville.

"He's got a good arm and a good heavy sinker," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Neal. "He puts the ball on the ground and can go multiple innings. We had him last year and we're excited to get him back again." 

Floro started the season in Triple-A with the Reds, but was promoted to the Major League roster on April 13. 

The 27-year-old made 25 relief appearances for the Big Red Machine, and like Neal, is no stranger to the Dodger organization after spending a few months with the Triple-A Dodgers in Oklahoma City last season. 

Floro is expected to join the 25-man roster and pitch out of the pen once he joins the team.

"Floro is a guy we had last year as well," said Roberts. "He's going to get with his family for the next couple of days. I don't know when he's going to join us, but at some point in time he'll be here." 


Marinan was a fourth round draft pick by the Dodgers in 2017 and Zabala has been pitching in Single-A Great Lakes this season. In addition to the two pitchers, the Dodgers also received money for the international signing bonus pool space. 



Photo Credit: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Dodgers Start the Fireworks Early in Win Over Pirates]]>Tue, 03 Jul 2018 23:05:40 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-991226846.jpg

The fireworks came a day early for the Dodgers.

The Los Angeles Dodgers hit six home runs as they pummeled the Pittsburgh Pirates for the second consecutive game, 8-3, on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.

Following a Monday Night Football score of 17-1, the Dodgers broke out the bats early and often against Pirates' ace, Ivan Nova.

"Last couple nights same thing. We're slugging, elevating the baseball, getting on the fastball and when the ball is down below we're taking walks," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts of the offensive onslaught. "Joc started it off, but collectively it was a very good job tonight."

Joc Pederson and Max Muncy kicked off the home run barrage when they went back-to-back in the bottom of the first inning.

It was the consecutive game the two left-handers hit back-to-back home runs, and the seventh time a Dodgers duo has done it this season an MLB best. 

Pederson's leadoff blast was his sixth career leadoff home run and his third this season. In his last 25 games since June 2, Pederson has hit .306 with 17 runs, six doubles, 12 homers and 16 RBI.

Muncy wasn't finished as he moved into second place in the National League with his 20th home run of the season in the bottom of the third.

Muncy joins only Nolan Arenado and Bryce Harper as the only players in the NL with at least 20 home runs and 40 walks on the season. Making the milestone even more impressive, Muncy has accomplished the feat in 100 less plate appearances than his counterparts.

"I never would have thought I could hit this many home runs in this short amount of time," said Muncy. "I'm just showing up each day and trying to do something to help the team win."

Muncy now averages 9.2 at-bats between home runs this season, the best mark in the Majors, and a better career mark than Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, and Babe Ruth. 

"I always thought the power was there, but my swing wasn't built for hitting home runs before," said Muncy of how he's been able to hit so many longballs. "The changes in my swing have put me in a better situation to use the power I have."

Since June 1, Muncy has batted .322 with 23 runs, two doubles, 13 home runs and 19 RBI in 27 games. His 13 longballs are the most in the Majors over that span.

David Freese knocked in a pair of runs for the Pirates in the second and fourth innings, but Chris Taylor broke the game open with his tenth home run of the year in the bottom half of the fourth.

Taylor finished the game 3-for-4 with a double, triple, home run, two RBI and two runs scored. He struck out in his final at-bat, needing a single to complete the cycle.

"Honestly, I was just trying to hit something hard and put a ball in play," said Taylor of his final at-bat. "I was just trying to stay short and put one in play, but I wasn't able to do it."

Yasmani Grandal led off the bottom half of the sixth inning with a leadoff homer and Kiké Hernandez gave the Dodgers six homers in six innings, when he jumped all over a first-pitch fastball for his 15th home run of the season.

In his last 21 games since June 10, Hernandez is hitting .313 with 16 runs, two doubles, eight home runs and 15 RBI.

Freese was responsible for all three runs for the Pirates when he hit a solo shot off Yimi Garcia in the top of the seventh inning. 

Ivan Nova (4-6), allowed seven runs on nine hits with two walks and three strikeouts in five innings.

Nova became the first pitcher in Pirates history to surrender five home runs in a single game.

It was also the first time since they played the Cubs on August 2, 2011 that the Pirates have allowed six home runs in a single game. 

All nine of the Dodgers hits went for extra-bases, the first time the team has recorded at least nine extra-base hits in consecutive games since May 17-18, 1929.

Forgotten in the offensive explosion, was Dodgers' ace Clayton Kershaw.

Kershaw (2-4) earned his first win since April 15, allowing just two runs on four hits with no walks and two strikeouts in six innings.

"I think I only struck out the pitcher tonight. A game like tonight, you want to get the guys back in the dugout as fast as possible with the way they're swinging the bats," said Kershaw of his outing. "I made some mistakes today, but thankfully the way the guys are swinging the bats and stuff they weren't really noticed."

It was also Kershaw's first win over the Pirates in five years, April 6, 2013.

The Dodgers six home runs were the most ever hit by the team in a game that Kershaw started (320 career games).

"I'm not surprised," said Kershaw when told of the stat. "It's incredible. We knew Max was a good hitter, but I don't think anyone in the world expected this. He's the best hitter in baseball right now."

The six longballs were also the most hit by the team at Dodger Stadium since they also hit six on Sept. 9, 2013 against the Diamondbacks.  

The Dodgers lead the season series with the Pirates, four games to one, and have outscored the Bucs, 47-22 in those games. That's an average of nearly 10 runs per game for the Boys in Blue.

The Dodgers have won 10 of their last 11 games against Pittsburgh overall. 

Up Next:

The finale of the three-game series is set for Wednesday when LHP Rich Hill takes the mound for the Dodgers. The Pirates were originally expected to start RHP Joe Musgrove, but he went on the disabled list before the game on Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10PM PST. 

If you can't view the embedded videos, click "VIEW THE FULL MOBILE SITE"  at the bottom of this page.



Photo Credit: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Dodgers Players React to LeBron Joining Lakers]]>Tue, 03 Jul 2018 21:11:40 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LeBron+at+Dodgers+Jersey.jpg

Even other athletes get excited.

After reaching the World Series for the first time in 29 years, the Los Angeles Dodgers are arguably the most popular sports franchise in the City of Angels.

That might have changed on Sunday night, as LeBron James announced he was joining the Los Angeles Lakers, a move that created a seismic shift in not only the NBA landscape, but all of sports as well.

Kenley Jansen was among the L.A. based athletes that tried to recruit LeBron, and nobody was more excited than the Dodgers closer when the news was announced.

On Monday,  Jansen and several other Dodger players reacted to the news that "The King," was choosing to make L.A. his new kingdom.

Kenley Jansen (via AM 570):

"First of all, to all the bandwagon fans: We don't have tickets for you guys in Staples Center. We're going to have Nokia Center (Microsfot Theater) open we're going to have a big screen TV and we're going to have all the bandwagon fans like Joc Pederson, who has been for the Golden State Warriors for the last three years, and now wants to be on the Lakers bandwagon.

Magic came up and said he's going to turn it around and now here we are: We have the best player in the NBA on the Lakers."

Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts:

"It's a big day for Los Angeles sports and I'm excited to see it happen. He [LeBron] is an absolute beast. It's great for our city. I'm looking forward to seeing him."

Ross Stripling:

"I was honored to be the guy who pitched on the day LeBron became a Laker. Showtime is back!"


Other players, like Yasiel Puig who like Jansen can be spotted courtside for many Lakers games, shared their reactions to the news on Twitter:



Photo Credit: Spectrum SportsNetLA
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<![CDATA[Top Photos of the 2018 World Cup in Russia]]>Wed, 04 Jul 2018 02:58:17 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-996393494.jpgA look at some of the best photos from the 2018 World Cup in Russia with Mexico's victory over Germany, Argentina's difficult draw with Iceland and Cristiano Ronaldo's hat trick against Spain leading the way in the first round of group play.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The Dodgers Are Coming Back to Your TV]]>Tue, 03 Jul 2018 21:11:56 -0700https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/181*120/GettyImages-985731212.jpg

Fans in Los Angeles rejoice, the Dodgers will be back on your television soon.

The reigning National League pennant winners announced on Tuesday that Spectrum SportsNet LA and KTLA5 will simulcast five additional games this season.

Alright, it's not a permanent fix for a television standoff that has been going on for the better part of five years, but five games is better than nothing.

The first simulcast game will commence on Aug. 4 in a rematch of the 2017 World Series with the Houston Astros.

Each of the five simulcasts will feature Dodger home games and against some of the top teams in Major League Baseball, including the rival San Francisco Giants, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The simulcast will also feature the team's signature show, Access SportsNet: Dodgers, which airs prior to every game.

Here is the complete schedule:

Dodgers Games Simulcast on Spectrum SportsNet LA and KTLA5:

Saturday, August 4 — 6:10 p.m. vs. Houston Astros

Wednesday, August 15 — 7:10pm vs. San Francisco Giants

Monday, August 20 — 7:10pm vs. St. Louis Cardinals

Friday, August 31 — 7:10pm vs. Arizona Diamondbacks

Tuesday, September 4 — 7:10pm vs. New York Mets



Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images]]>