Angels @ Dodgers Aug. 5, 2014: Clayton Kershaw against one of MLB’s best offenses

Did you miss me? I’m guessing not, but I’m back anyway.

Reigning National League Pitcher of the Month Clayton Kershaw takes the mound in hopes of righting the Dodgers’ ship. After a nice finish to July and the beginning of August, they’ve lost three of their last four games, including two to the hapless Cubs. Garrett Richards, unsurprisingly, shut them down last night (man, he’s good) and they face Hector Santiago tonight.

Angels
Dodgers
7:10 p.m. PT
Los Angeles
SS
Aybar
2B
Gordon
CF
Trout
CF
Puig
1B
Pujols
1B
Gonzalez
RF
Hamilton
SS
Ramirez
2B
Kendrick
RF
Kemp
3B
Freese
LF
Van Slyke
C
Ianetta
3B
Uribe
RF
Cowgill
C
Ellis
P
Santiago (L)
P
Kershaw (L)

One nice thing I’ve noticed is some lineup stability. Don Mattingly would implement a bunch of different lineups early on — some because of injury, some because of his Mattinglyness. Now, it’s pretty clear who is going to play on which days, save the occasional days off.

But back to Kershaw, who is having an historic season — and a better season than last year’s performance. I could bore you with the standard numbers — a 1.71 ERA, 1.70 FIP, 0.82 WHIP — but I’ll go a different direction.

Kershaw has five complete games this season in 121 1/3 innings pitched. His career-high is five, which he set in 2011 in 233 1/3 innings. He averaged 105 pitches per start that season. This season, he’s averaging just 99 pitches per start. So, don’t worry about his 7.1 innings pitched per start rate. He averaged 7.2 IP/GS, and averaged 104 pitches per outing last season.

He also owns a career-best Game Score this season — 70.4, besting his mark from last year of 66.9. Somehow, some way, the 26-year-old is getting better. He’ll have a tough task shutting down the Angels’ potent offense, but if any Dodger pitcher is up to the task, it’s Kershaw.

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I found this amusing today:

Let me give you a quick primer: Almost every player in the majors will be placed on waivers. Matt Kemp has been placed on waivers multiple times, as have Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford. It doesn’t mean a damn thing. It’s procedural. For guys like Ethier and Crawford, it’s a way for the Dodgers to try to find a sucker taker for their services, but I wouldn’t count on that. For Hanley Ramirez, it was also a procedural thing. And quite frankly, a contending team would be dumb to not put in a claim on Ramirez. He’s a free agent after the season and most of his salary has been paid. The claiming team has three days to work out a trade agreement, but it doesn’t matter. Ramirez will be pulled back, if he hasn’t been already.

Expect to hear some names clear waivers in the coming days. The Phillies will put guys like Cole Hamels and Ryan Howard on waivers. No one will touch Howard, but Hamels will probably be claimed by a team before the Dodgers have a chance to (sup, ‘Frisco?). Still, it’d be a $90 million gamble for a team in case Ruben Amaro — the worst and most predictable and unpredictable general manager in baseball — feels like being nuts and just letting Hamels go for nothing more than salary relief. The chances of that happening are miniscule, but stranger things have happened.

The waiver trade deadline is Aug. 31. Daniel looked at some of the options for the Dodgers the other day. A guy who might be worth a look on some level is Jacob Turner, who was designated for assignment by the Marlins today. He’s only 23, has good velocity and four pitches. He was once a Top-30 prospect in all of baseball, so if he somehow is acquired by the Dodgers, he could be a nice little reclamation project.

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Paco Rodriguez went on the 15-day disabled list today with a similar type of injury Kershaw suffered on the way to, in or after Australia. Pedro Baez was recalled. I’m not high on Baez, especially with guys like Jose Dominguez and Yimi Garcia in Triple-A. But Carlos Frias last night? I’m impressed.

ThrowsRelieverSat 10/15Sun 10/16Mon 10/17Tue 10/18Wed 10/19Thur 10/20Fri 10/21
LAvilan--OFF-2421OFF
RBaez34-OFF-2727OFF
RBlanton28-OFF13-19OFF
LDayton3-OFF16-12OFF
RFields--OFF-910OFF
RJansen-18OFF21--OFF
RStripling10-OFF-2018OFF
LWood--OFF-32-OFF

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin’ Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif., and has yet to be shot.