#AFCON Offside: Ismailia, the beautiful city without V8 [Photos]

first_imgClean sheets have been particularly hard to come by in this season’s Premier League and only three clubs managed to clinch one last week (Aston Villa, Southampton, and Newcastle).Usual go to teams such as Liverpool and Manchester City have disappointed Fantasy Premier League (FPL) managers so far. The Joy Sports team addresses the clean sheet problem alongside some premium captain picks in this week’s episode below. Don’t forget to subscribe to the Joy Fantasy Football Show to receive more weekly tips in FPL.last_img

Angels finally get their top nine hitters together in one lineup

first_imgKANSAS CITY, Mo. — Although the Angels had scored the most runs in the majors over their first 14 games, it wasn’t until the 15th game that they put their preferred lineup together.On Friday night, the lineup included Ian Kinsler, Zack Cozart and Shohei Ohtani, the first time those three had been together with the other six everyday players.Kinsler had missed most of the first two weeks with a groin injury. The game before he went on the disabled list, Ohtani didn’t play. The first game in which Kinsler was back on Thursday night, Cozart didn’t play.With everyone together on Friday night, Manager Mike Scioscia had a couple interesting lineup decisions. Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros “There was a lot of discussion of Coz staying there, but in the big picture of where we want to be in the long term, it has Ian leading off and Coz in a role hopefully with some guys on base,” Scioscia said.Also, Scioscia moved Ohtani up from the No. 8 to No. 7 spot. Scioscia wouldn’t elaborate much of his thinking with that move.“That’s the way the lineup flows tonight,” he said.Perhaps a part of the decision was seeing Ohtani get intentionally walked on Thursday night. Ohtani, who brought a .346 average and 11 RBIs into Friday’s game, had Andrelton Simmons hitting behind him on Friday. Simmons was hitting .356 with a major-league leading 21 hits. First, he moved Cozart back to the No. 6 spot, even though the lineup had been productive with him at leadoff. Scioscia opted to put Kinsler back at the top.Related Articles Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone center_img Ohtani is not expected to be in the lineup again until Tuesday, at the earliest, because he is scheduled to pitch on Sunday and the Angels are off on Monday. Luis Valbuena would probably take Ohtani’s spot in those games.ALSOJC Ramírez is scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery on Tuesday, General Manager Billy Eppler said. The Angels announced on Monday that the procedure was recommended for Ramírez, who has a torn ulnar collateral ligament. Ramírez had tried stem-cell therapy to heal his elbow when it was only partially torn last year. …Felix Peña was optioned to Triple-A to create room for Andrew Heaney, who was activated from the disabled list to make his first start of the season on Friday. …Heaney became the ninth different pitcher to start for the Angels in their first 15 games. They are just the 10th team in major league history to use at least nine starters in their first 15 games, the first since the 1960 Baltimore Orioles.UP NEXTAngels (Garrett Richards, 1-0, 4.20) at Royals (Jake Junis, 2-0, 0.00), 4 p.m., Saturday, FS1, KLAA (830 AM). Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

GM meetings accelerate critical winter for Angels, GM Billy Eppler

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Also, this year there is a much deeper pool from which to fill the Angels’ most glaring need: starting pitching. Last winter Patrick Corbin was the best pitcher available. The Angels tried to sign Corbin, but the East Coast native instead picked the Washington Nationals. They also tried to sign Nate Eovaldi, arguably the second-best starter on the market, but he returned to the reigning World Series champion Boston Red Sox. After that, there was Dallas Keuchel, whose demands were apparently high enough that no team signed him until June. Then the choices dropped off to pitchers like Lance Lynn and J.A. Happ.This year, the group starts with Gerrit Cole, who is a native of Orange County and has been widely connected to the Angels. Madison Bumgarner, Stephen Strasburg, Zack Wheeler, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Jake Odorizzi, Cole Hamels and Keuchel are all on the market.There are also a handful of mid-tier pitchers who could be back-of-the rotation innings-eaters, at least, including Julio Teheran, Kyle Gibson and Tanner Roark.That’s a much stronger collection of arms than was available last year.Although it may seem difficult to squeeze two pitchers out of that group with the Angels available payroll space, even with an increase, bear in mind that they can always backload contracts. They could pay less up front, and more after Albert Pujols comes off the books in 2022.The Angels also might explore a trade for a controllable pitcher like Noah Syndergaard or Matthew Boyd, who they discussed at last July’s deadline. Less likely, they could try to swing a deal for a one-year rental like Robbie Ray.In truth, the Angels probably need to find a way to get at least two reliable starters, supplementing a rotation that was decimated last year by injuries, poor performance and the tragic loss of Tyler Skaggs.As of now, the Angels are probably locked in to having Shohei Ohtani — who will be back as a two-way player after Tommy John surgery — in front of Andrew Heaney and Griffin Canning.Patrick Sandoval, Jaime Barría, José Suarez, Dillon Peters and Félix Peña will all be around for depth, but the Angels will certainly prefer to let one or two of those pitchers surprise them, rather than count on them for a prominent role.Beyond starting pitching, the Angels could probably stand to upgrade at catcher. They have Max Stassi, who is coming off hip surgery, and Kevan Smith. Yasmani Grandal is the top free agent catcher, although it’s difficult to imagine the Angels being able to afford him while still making the necessary upgrades to the rotation. Cheaper alternatives include Travis d’Arnaud, Robinson Chirinos and Martín Maldonado. A former Angel, Maldonado became Cole’s personal catcher at the end of this season in Houston.Related Articles Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — When Billy Eppler convenes with his colleagues at baseball’s GM meetings, starting on Monday, it will signal an acceleration into the business of what appears to be a critical winter for the organization.Two months ago the Angels merely picked up Eppler’s option, rather than extending his contract. Then they fired manager Brad Ausmus with two years left on his deal and replaced him with Joe Maddon.Those moves would seem to indicate that patience is running thin from owner Arte Moreno after the team’s fourth straight losing season.“We are in the entertainment business,” Moreno said at Maddon’s introductory press conference a couple weeks ago. “If you want people coming to the ballpark, or watching or listening, you want to be able to put a product out there… We have a lot of loyal fans. We’ve built a loyal fan base, but the reality is we need to perform, so when people come out here they have a little more fun. It’s more fun on the winning side.” Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros center_img For his part, Eppler insisted he is feeling no more pressure than at any other time during his tenure. Having come from the high-intensity world of the New York Yankees, Eppler said he tries to maintain the same philosophy each year.“I approach every season like it’s my first year on the job, regardless of if it’s my fifth year, 10th year, whatever,” he said. “I grew up in a pretty adverse environment in New York. I had a lot of training. I understand you focus on what you can control, focus on doing your job, focus on putting the strongest team that you can on the field, and let everything happen as it comes.”Skeptical fans will certainly question Eppler’s plan after what happened last winter. The Angels brought in Trevor Cahill, Matt Harvey, Cody Allen, Jonathan Lucroy and Justin Bour, and none of them delivered.As the Angels head into this offseason, there are a few reasons to believe that this winter could work out better.First, Moreno has indicated that the payroll will go up, although it remains to be seen how much. The Angels figure to have at least $30 million, plus whatever increase Moreno makes available. Given his frustration with the team’s performance after last year’s deals, it’s reasonable to suspect that Moreno may be willing to open his wallet a little more to acquire a higher caliber of player. Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter The good news is that the Angels can probably afford to stand pat everywhere except the rotation, and possibly behind the plate. Position players like David Fletcher, Tommy La Stella, Brian Goodwin and Luís Rengifo all emerged into 2019 as productive major leaguers, and Jo Adell figures to be on the way. Justin Upton and Andrelton Simmons both had down seasons because of injuries, so the Angels can be optimistic that they’ll rebound.And, of course, this winter they also have one element they didn’t last winter: They know Mike Trout’s future. Having inked Trout to a 12-year, $426.5-million deal in March, the Angels not only have the certainty of having him on the roster, but they can use that to sell to other free agents who a year ago may have been unsure.All of that provides a foundation on which Eppler will need to start building something better than what he has so far.“We thought we were being active last year,” Moreno said. “We just didn’t get it done. We want to win… Every year, the way I want to run our business, we shouldn’t be taking steps back.” Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros last_img read more

Clippers coach Doc Rivers saw three key components in rout of Lakers

first_imgGood ball movement, proper spacing and defense. All were on display for the Clippers in their 114-89 rout of the Lakers on Wednesday night at Staples Center.Clippers coach Doc Rivers took notice.“The ball movement was fantastic,” said Rivers, whose team will play host to the Dallas Mavericks at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. “The opponent does not matter; you need to make shots. We had great spacing and ball movement.“We need that every night, but it was beautiful to watch. Our defensive intensity was also very high, and that is good to see.” Lakers coach Byron Scott before the game reiterated what he’s been saying since he took over the helm this season, that this is not yet a rivalry and that Los Angeles is still a “purple and gold” town.Rivers believes these games against each other do carry some kind of special meaning.“Both teams can say this game did not mean anything,” Rivers said. “Yes, it does not mean anything in the big scope of everything, but when you play people you know, those games are fun.“You always want to beat the guys that you will see all of the time. You could see the energy in the building.”No question, the Clippers were pumped. Part of it might have been because they were ticked at losing to the Atlanta Hawks on Monday. Part of it might have been the long-lasting effects of last season’s opening-night loss to the Lakers, Griffin suggested.“Last year, we still had a pretty bad taste in our mouth from losing that first game on opening night,” he said. “There has to be a little bit of pride, but at the same time, I don’t think we do anything different to get ready for this game than we do for any other game.”Matt Barnes, who scored 19 points and played solid defense on Kobe Bryant — Bryant scored just four points on 2-of-12 shooting — chimed in on the so-called rivalry games against the Lakers.“I think that any time — throwing their record out — (a game against the Lakers) is going to be good,” said Barnes, whose team has won nine of the past 10 against the Lakers dating to Nov. 2, 2012. “They are going to play a little better than they normally play, we are going to play a little better than we normally play.“The crowd is electric. The (blowout victory) is just what’s been happening lately.”After losing 116-103 on opening night of 2013-14, the Clippers beat the Lakers 123-87, 142-94 and 120-97 before winning 118-111 in the second game of this season.This and thatShooting guard Monta Ellis is leading Dallas in scoring with a 20.5 average and power forward Dirk Nowitzki is averaging 18.4 points and 5.9 rebounds. … The Mavericks are shooting 47.6 percent from the field, second in the NBA. The Clippers are fourth at 47.2 percent. … Clippers center DeAndre Jordan is leading the league in rebounding (13.6 average) and field-goal percentage (71.0).BREAKOUTAfter Saturday’s game against Dallas, the Clippers will host Miami (15-20) on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Blake Griffin, who led the team with 27 points, said the team’s mind-set going into the game was all of the above.“Obviously, you have to execute,” Griffin said. “But that was what we talked about in shootaround and pregame amongst the players. I thought we came out and did everything we wanted to do.”With all that said, Griffin seemed happiest the Clippers did not let up on the Lakers. Lack of a killer instinct has been one of the team’s issues.“We said at halftime that we have to keep (pushing) the pedal, keep going and come out with energy and focus,” Griffin said. “We did just that.”Beating Lakers means somethingcenter_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

Clippers’ Sindarius Thornwell celebrates a daughter, mourns a father and chases his hoop dreams

first_imgHis lap bar down and secured, Sindarius Thornwell is on one heck of a roller coaster ride, determined to keep it moving.He’s getting after it at Clippers training camp, which tipped off Tuesday at the University of Hawaii exactly one week after Thornwell’s father, Gregory Wade, died in his sleep, the victim of a heart attack at age 46.Five days before he lost his dad, Thornwell’s daughter, Skyla-Love, was born.Thornwell arrived in Honolulu, where he’s competing for a job, thinking about them. “I’ve been up and down the last month or so, but it’s life,” Thornwell said by phone from Hawaii following the team’s first official practice. “Today was fun. It’s easy to come out and practice because that’s what my dad would have wanted; it was his dream to see me play (in the NBA) and have success in basketball. That’s my motivation – to keep making him proud, you know?”Sign up for Home Turf and get exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here.Thornwell, 23, enters his second NBA season as one of 17 players fighting for 15 spots on the Clippers’ roster. He’s among the team’s nine listed guards, though Coach Doc Rivers seems open-minded about it, having indicated that the 6-foot-5 Thornwell, “whatever he is,” could also be useful as a small forward.In 15.8 minutes per game last season, Thornwell averaged 3.9 points, 1.9 rebounds and 0.9 assists. He also collected nine “Did Not Plays,” including seven in nine games in February. The appearances he made on the floor in that span lasted 32 and 33 seconds, respectively.At media day, he spoke openly about how much that stung, what a reality check it proved to be, and how it led to important professional development.“When I was getting those DNPs … I knew I was in a hole and Doc wasn’t calling on me, so I came in every day and treated my workouts like games,” Thornwell said. “My worst experience ever was in Phoenix, we were up 30 the whole game and I didn’t get in the game until like the last 10 seconds. I never wanted to feel like that (again), so I took everything more seriously, I came in and started to act like a pro. And it translated when I got my shot again, and I finished the year pretty strong.” For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Clippers vs. Mavericks Game 5 playoff updates from NBA beat reporters After playing in only three games the previous month, Thornwell played every game in March, starting seven of them.Ups and downs, you know?Thornwell also lost his uncle, Dajuan Thornwell, with whom he was especially close, just before the 2015 basketball season, on Sept. 17 – three years and a day before Wade’s death last week.Sindarius Thornwell was a junior at South Carolina then, and he went on to make the SEC All-Defensive Team that season, foreshadowing for the following year when he threw college hoops for a loop, leading the seventh-seeded Gamecocks to a second-round upset of second-seeded Duke and then all the way to the Final Four.For his efforts, Thornwell became South Carolina’s first player in 11 years to be drafted into the NBA, selected 48th by the Milwaukee Bucks and traded to the Clippers for cash considerations.Last week, Thornwell posted footage from the celebration that followed his selection on social media. Wade is at the center of it, glowing, telling people how proud he is.“He was the light in the room,” Thornwell said of his dad, who loved motorcycles and the Dallas Cowboys. “He was the guy who came in and made everybody laugh. If you were in a bad mood, he’d bring a smile to your face – that’s what you saw on Instagram in the video.”Thornwell said he’s doing all right, and that his family is doing OK, too.“We have each other’s back and we’re holding each other up,” Thornwell said. “We can’t bring him back, so we’re just taking it one day at a time.”On the court, Thornwell said that means getting to work, having fun “just coming in and trying to mix it up a little and stay active.”“It’s like nothing matters when you’re on the court but basketball,” he added. “Whatever problems or whatever’s happening, when you’re able to step onto the court, you’re able to separate from it, you know?”Related Articles What the Clippers are saying the day after Luka Doncic’s game-winner tied series, 2-2 Clippers hope they can play to their capabilities, quell Mavericks’ momentum Kristaps Porzingis ruled out as Clippers, Mavericks set for Game 5; Follow for game updates last_img read more

Whicker: Kawhi Leonard, Paul George land with Clippers, make L.A. the NBA’s vortex

first_imgJust this once, Leonard had a chance to set the agenda, to find a Sundance Kid and ride with him. When Harris re-signed with Philly, the plan seemed doomed. But the Clippers kept playing for time. Thanks to those draft-pick acquisitions that seem like such faint footnotes at the time, they could give Oklahoma City a future and get their man as well. Remember, George, not Leonard, was a league MVP finalist this season.Expect the Staples Center garages to ask for an extra $20. Expect anyone who’s ever amassed 5 million clicks to gather at courtside. Don’t expect a Clippers-Lakers Western Conference finals, not with Portland, Denver and Utah around, but anticipate it.And let’s see if the Clippers can maintain the 155-game edge they’ve held over the Lakers the past six years. Amid all this re-positioning, and while the Lakers were dog-paddling in a septic tank, the Clippers missed the playoffs just once and never had a losing season.The Lakers will always have more banners. What we might see, more than once, are dueling parades. Suddenly the Lakers aren’t even the leading basketball brand in their own zip code.Suddenly the NBA’s Christmas Night menu has a main event for at least the next four years.Suddenly the Clippers’ plans for a new arena look perfectly logical and strategic.But the events that led to Friday Night Live, the late-evening announcement that Kawhi Leonard is coming to the Clippers and bringing Paul George with him, were not sudden at all. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error The Clippers have the impossibly rich and undeniably supportive Steve Ballmer as their owner, a shoot-for-Mars thinker who has assembled an actual basketball staff. West, General Manager Michael Winger and basketball ops director Lawrence Frank tore down a high-50-win team with clashing personalities and slow basketball movement, found underrated players with a Navy Seal mentality, then blew a hole in that model and started again.The presence of former Orange County Register scribe Lee Jenkins probably should not be underrated. Heads were scratched when Jenkins was hired as the Executive Director of Research and Identity, but he has an engaging way with players and had gotten to know Leonard and George on a deeper level. At the very least he was another consistent, friendly face.The Clippers still have three top players who experienced two wins over Golden State in a best-of-seven first-round playoff series: Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell and Patrick Beverley. All of them came from Houston in a trade for Chris Paul that could warrant hard time for extortion.They still grasp Ivica Zubac, their gift from the Lakers. They picked up Moe Harkless and Rodney Magruder, two more unspoiled veterans.Their margin for error is narrower because George isn’t always healthy and Leonard will probably turn in the same 60 games he did in Toronto. But last season’s Clippers were busting it to get into the playoffs. These Clippers will call the meeting to order in April.But this all started when new Commissioner Adam Silver cut out the cancer that was former owner Donald T. Sterling, thus winning the players’ confidence and giving the Clippers a magic slate.They traded Blake Griffin and his contract to Detroit for Tobias Harris, freeing up the basketball.They let go of the expensive DeAndre Jordan and his stagnant game, and Jordan has been on three teams since.They traded Harris to Philadelphia, much to the gap-mouthed wonderment of their fans, but they picked up more salary cap space and also Landry Shamet.And all along they signaled to Leonard, in a world where tampering is tolerated like traveling, that this was the place.Leonard had no bad options. Re-signing with Toronto would have been a punishing tax decision, but he is, or was, a national hero and could have won at least one more championship. Signing with the Lakers would have created a Blind Faith-style supergroup and, just with Leonard, Davis and James, a team of historic defensive possibilities.And who can psychoanalyze Leonard? But the Clippers offered something he’d never had: Control.He was under-recruited in Riverside and wound up at San Diego State, in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. He was under-drafted, going No. 15 to San Antonio, which traded George Hill for the pick, and was an NBA Finals MVP. He was under-valued when he and the Spurs clashed over his quadriceps injury, and most of the intelligentsia thought Toronto gave up too much, in DeMar DeRozan, to get him for potentially one season. Then he won another NBA Finals MVP.Related Articles Clippers vs. Mavericks Game 5 playoff updates from NBA beat reporters For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory center_img What the Clippers are saying the day after Luka Doncic’s game-winner tied series, 2-2 This night has been percolating for at least five years now, with all kinds of chutes-and-ladders turns that were unconnected but then got synched-up.It also bypassed the consciousness of the social media punditocracy, which filled Leonard’s news vacuum with forceful predictions that had no better than a 33 percent chance. None of them had the George corollary, with the Clippers sending Danilo Gallinari and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and a CVS receipt full of future draft picks to the salary-strangled Oklahoma City Thunder.It was Fake News at its loudest, fiction that fell pitifully short of truth.The Lakers and Clippers finally have basketball’s best rivalry. Don’t grieve for the Purple and Gold. They still have LeBron James and Anthony Davis, as far as their ligaments can carry them, and now they have the salary wherewithal to sign Danny Green and perhaps Marcus Morris, another Rich Paul client. Maybe they’ll stumble into better chemistry. They didn’t lose Leonard because they never had him.But it does expose the utter lunacy of failing to bring home Jerry West. The Lakers bollixed James’ first year and now they find nothing will be guaranteed in his second. Kristaps Porzingis ruled out as Clippers, Mavericks set for Game 5; Follow for game updates Clippers hope they can play to their capabilities, quell Mavericks’ momentum last_img read more

Atlanta Braves starter Kris Medlen to play against Dodgers, not with them

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error ATLANTA — Kris Medlen dreamed of a playoff scenario with the Dodgers, all right.Just not exactly like the one in which he’ll have a starring role.Medlen, who grew up in Cerritos, figured he’d be an infielder for the Dodgers. He envisioned the wrong team and wrong position, but Medlen sure is in great position for the Braves as their Game 1 starter against the Dodgers in the National League Division Series on Thursday.“It’s a pretty cool feeling being able to play against them during the regular season,” Medlen said. “I think (there’s) the fact that I’ve had a couple years in the big leagues to kind of get over that love for the Dodgers. “We’ve missed him twice this year, the both times we played this series, but I think our team, with the confidence we have, he missed us,” Medlen said.Medlen will miss Matt Kemp — out for the postseason with a left ankle injury — but will need to keep Hanley Ramirez, Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez and company in check if he’s to hand things over to the back of a stingy Braves bullpen.Medlen was the unlikeliest of Game 1 starters four months ago, but he is the Braves’ best chance to go toe-to-toe with Kershaw.“Medlen, he’s earned it,” Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He’s a guy that pitched a big game for us last year. He pitched that St. Louis Cardinals play-in game, so he’s got that going for him.”Medlen started for the Braves last year in its 6-3 loss to St. Louis in the NL wild-card playoff game. Medlen gave up just two earned runs in 6 1/3 innings, but Atlanta had three errors. He was 10-1 in 12 starts in 2012 before that game.“I think the buildup and anxiety of playing in a Game 7-type of situation last year didn’t get to me,” Medlen said. “I just thought it was more than a regular-season game than it typically is.“I think we’re in a different situation this year. We have a chance to win a series instead of one game, although every game matters.”He’s caught the attention of Kershaw too.“Medlen has a good changeup,” Kershaw said. “He’s been pitching awesome too, the last month or so, and obviously he’s had some success.”So have the Braves, who won 96 games, but some players were vocal with their frustration that the Dodgers and their big-name superstars were garnering more attention than the young, lesser-known Braves.“All the attention, I mean, we’re not running for prom king,” Medlen said.He looks young enough to run for prom king with a boyish face and skater-like way he wears his hat. But he’s got good stuff, and that’s what matters in October.“He has location with all his pitches and (good) movement on his fastball,” Atlanta catcher Brian McCann said. “For me, he has the best changeup in baseball. His curveball is very good. He can throw any pitch in any count. He’s a confident guy.”Confident enough to envision a day when he would play major league baseball.Just against the Dodgers, not with them.center_img “It’s cool to face them, but they’re just another team.”Medlen, who turns 28 on Monday, looks every part the California kid on the mound with that signature flat-brim baseball cap.He looked none of the part of a Game 1 playoff starter early in the season. Medlen was 1-6 in May — rivaling the Dodgers’ dismal start — but he credited simplifying things for his turnaround.He was 4-0 in September with a 1.00 ERA and was named the National League’s pitcher of the month.Pitching like that gives you the swagger necessary to take part in a pitching duel with Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, the favorite to win his second Cy Young Award this season. Medlen was 15-12 with a 3.11 ERA in the regular season and won one fewer game than Kershaw.last_img read more

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw deserves MVP honors

first_imgClayton Kershaw is having an MVP season.But is it good enough to win MVP?Kershaw, who lost for the first time Saturday since May 28, is 14-3 with a 1.86 ERA. He’s been so dominant with 174 strikeouts and 19 walks in 20 starts (averaging 8.7 per game). He threw 41 consecutive scoreless innings earlier this season. The Dodgers ace has done everything possible — thus far — to win the award. The only drawback to his campaign is that he doesn’t play every day. There are many who don’t believe a pitcher should win the MVP award because of it.That’s why the last pitcher to win National League MVP was Bob Gibson in 1968. In the American League, Justin Verlander was the last pitcher named MVP in 2011. But before him, Dennis Eckersley last won in it 1992. Mattingly pointed to Kershaw’s leadership on and off the field as evidence for the MVP campaign. He mentioned Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright as another example like Kershaw of an athlete who pitches every fifth day but has a daily impact on his team. If you debated Mattingly about this when he was playing for the Yankees, he would’ve argued for a position player. Now, it’s different. “Oh, no question, just from the standpoint of what this guy, not just (him) but what a guy like that (does),” Mattingly said. “I mean, I look at (Roger) Clemens in the year 1986 when he won it. He was (24-4). He was just dominant and it seemed like every time he pitched he won, stopped streaks, stopped losing streaks, kind of continued winning streaks, started new ones. Those guys seem to be the guys that are going seven, eight innings almost every time out. But it saved the bullpen and they allow you to use your bullpen the day before and rest you the day of, so just the value there is just a broad value that you don’t really always see just on that day.”Before Saturday’s loss, Kershaw was unbeaten in his previous 13 starts and was 11-0 with a 1.16 ERA from June 2-Aug 15. It’s the longest win streak by a Dodger since Orel Hershiser had an 11-game win streak in 1985. Kershaw’s intensity on game day and work ethic on those four days in between starts makes him so admirable to his teammates. He has days where he doesn’t pitch, but those aren’t off days. That diving catch of a squeeze-play attempt in Kershaw’s last start in Milwaukee, which started an inning-ending double play, is another notch on his resume campaign for MVP. That must have had general manager Ned Colletti a little nervous, especially with Hyun-Jin Ryu on the disabled list. But it was an amazing play nonetheless.Save for two mistakes, Kershaw felt better than he did in his last start, a win at Milwaukee.“My stuff was definitely better and my command was better,” Kershaw said. “Sometimes, the scoreboard doesn’t show how you feel. I got lucky in Milwaukee and paid for it here.”Hopefully, he doesn’t have to pay the price in MVP voting since he doesn’t play every day.On Saturday, Kershaw, Ellis and Adrian Gonzalez all gave chase on a foul ball on the track down the first-base line, and Kershaw didn’t back off until late. Ellis made the catch. That unstoppable effort, even when a position player is the one who should make that play, surely made for some good-natured laughs from his teammates in the dugout. Kershaw is so intense during games that no one talks to him much, just pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and Ellis. But afterward that should’ve generated some friendly banter. They could banter over Kershaw’s latest walk-up music, Cat Daddy by the Rej3ctz. The only line in the song that seems to fall in line with Kershaw’s routine is `”Man, I go to work, true winner.”Kershaw is certainly a winner. Whether he’ll be an MVP is somehow up for debate because he doesn’t pitch every day. But if you saw him between starts, he works hard every day and leads the Dodgers. That’s just not something you can measure in statistics. That should count toward an MVP vote for Kershaw this season.jill.painter@langnews.com @jillpainter on Twitter Kershaw should win MVP honors this season for the Dodgers, who are in first place in the National League West. He would be the first pitcher in 46 years to be named MVP of the National League, but just because it hasn’t happened in nearly five decades doesn’t mean it shouldn’t come to fruition. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly feels a pitcher should be considered to win MVP. He’s advocating for Kershaw to win it, and that’s a stance that’s changed for him over time. “I flip-flopped when I played,” said Mattingly. “As a manager, you just see the value in a guy like what Clayton has been able to give you. I do think it needs to be one of those years where it seems like it’s extraordinary. … This has been one of those years. I see the value in that guy as opposed to when I was playing, not that you didn’t see value in pitching, but it seemed like it was a different thing.”Saturday was another prime example of his value. Even an MVP has an off-pitch or two, and that happened as he gave up home runs to Ryan Braun and Carlos Gomez in a 3-2 loss to the Brewers. But, Kershaw struck out 11 in a complete-game effort in which he allowed just five hits and three runs. It was also a victory for an overworked bullpen. Catcher AJ Ellis knows the pitcher-for-MVP debate is brewing.“Knowing how much the bullpen has been used, for Clayton to know that he needed to give us eight-nine innings and to deliver that, that’s valuable to me,” Ellis said. center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

Kevin Correia, Roberto Hernandez’ impact for Los Angeles Dodgers rotation shouldn’t be overlooked

first_imgTwo out of three ain’t bad. Remember that when you think of Kevin Correia. He gave the Dodgers two wins in three starts, and that sure was critical for a starting Dodgers rotation that had gone from the best in baseball to injury-prone with a debacle of a back end.Don’t judge Correia solely by Sunday’s start. That was ugly. He allowed seven runs ‑ five earned ‑ and three home runs in a three-inning clunker as the Mets avoided a sweep with an 11-3 win at Dodger Stadium, although the Dodgers maintained their 4 1/2-game lead over San Francisco. Leading the Dodgers to two victories in his two previous starts was beneficial in so many ways. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Correia’s likely headed to the bullpen, which was the Dodgers plan for him all along when he arrived via trade with Minnesota two weeks ago. He was mired in a season-long struggle there, and a change of scenery to a playoff-bound team helped. Hyun-Jin Ryu is scheduled to come off the disabled list (right hip strain) Friday so that spot won’t be open again, unless something hampers Ryu’s return. The Dodgers also have two off days this week ‑ Monday and Thursday ‑ due to those two games in Australia. Judge Correia and Roberto Hernandez by what they’ve done for the Dodgers, which is provide some relief for a starting rotation that nearly had to put out a “help wanted” sign for starting pitchers.Hernandez was acquired from Philadelphia on Aug. 8, and he’s 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA with the Dodgers.The Dodgers were desperate for starters with Paul Maholm and Josh Beckett down with injuries, and Hernandez and Correia weren’t perfect, but they sure delivered. And, some of the heat can be taken off Clayton Kershaw, who’s having an MVP season but can’t be expected to win every start. center_img Two of the players making waves in August were players the Dodgers landed in trades after they cleared waivers in August. Imagine. “Kevin wasn’t the guy we talked about starting,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “He’s pitched well for us, come in and won a couple games. Roberto has thrown well and kept us in games for the most part. Danny (Haren) has won three out of the four. At this point, we’re in single-game mode. You go out and try to win a game that day. We’ll try to line up our guys the best we can. We won’t worry about shoring anything up other than going out and being ready to play.”Correia said it would take a while to push Sunday’s loss out of his mind, but he should remember the service he provided. He helped bandage together a cobbled rotation. Before Sunday’s game, Mattingly said: “Him and Roberto both have been good for us. It’s been a little tough stretch with Zack (Greinke) and Hyun-Jin and to be able to have two guys that have experience in the big leagues and aren’t really overwhelmed, that’s been really nice for us. Two good pickups. We wouldn’t be talking about it in the same breath if they haven’t pitched well.”Catcher A.J. Ellis knows exactly what Hernandez and Correia have done for the Dodgers. That’s not lost on him.“Getting Hyun-Jin back will slot everyone back to what we had planned,” Ellis said. “Those guys are professionals who battle and know how to compete. It makes it tough and puts a lot of pressure on the first two guys, Clayton and Zack, to go out and win their games for sure and hope you can battle and scrap with the other three.“You’ve seen what Danny (Haren) has done, turning the season around the last 3-4 outings. He looks like he’s on a good trajectory. Kevin and Roberto are professional guys who have been around a long time and know how to get a lot of outs.”Correia didn’t pitch well Sunday, as evidenced by three home runs (by Travis d’Arnaud, Lucas Duda and Ruben Tejada) that put the Dodgers in a big deficit. Correia was bothered, of course, and perhaps carried more stress on his shoulders knowing this might be his final start before moving to the bullpen. If his contribution was giving the Dodgers two wins in desperate times, that’s something. “This one is going to bother me for a while because the situation I’m in,” Correia said. “I wanted to win the game. This hurts more than I can remember in quite a while. I’ve been doing this long enough that these outings are inevitable. You just hope they’re the 11th or 12th outing, not the third outing with a new team.” But two out of three ain’t bad. It was just what the Dodgers needed.last_img read more

Los Angeles Dodgers frustrated by non-call in ninth in loss to San Francisco Giants

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “(Kelly) blocked him,” Mattingly said. “The third base coach is not allowed to block the runner from continuing in. It’s obviously interference. They missed the call, basically. I don’t know who’s supposed to be watching but they weren’t watching.”The explanation Mattingly received from third base umpire Fieldin Culbreth was simple: “He was watching the play.”Blanco told reporters that he did make contact with Kelly, “but I was already stopping. It wasn’t like he stopped me. I was already on the base. It wasn’t like he grabbed me.”Frustrating as it was, the Dodgers’ ninth-inning jam was of their own making.Buster Posey led off the inning with a one-out single off Chris Hatcher (0-2), whose next pitch hit Justin Maxwell. Howell relieved Hatcher and allowed an opposite-field single to Brandon Belt, loading the bases when Blanco stopped at third. Even Howell admitted that losing the game on a coach’s interference would not have been satisfying.“They still got the hits they needed,” Howell said. “That would have been luck. That would have been just straight lucky. I don’t know if (Blanco) was going to run or not. It’d be nice to get ‘em out truly, not from a coach touching somebody. I’d rather just get ‘em out.”And yet, that might not have been the most frustrating part of the loss.After Hatcher’s pitch hit Maxwell, it ricocheted off the helmet of catcher A.J. Ellis, then off a knuckle on his bare (right) throwing hand. Ellis had to leave the game after he was unable to make a couple of short throws back to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.Ellis told reporters after the game that X-rays on his hand were negative.Alex Guerrero’s pinch-hit, two-run home run brought the Dodgers back from a 2-0 deficit in the sixth inning against Madison Bumgarner. The Giants got both their runs off Clayton Kershaw in the third inning, using the same brand of small ball they used to strike first Tuesday. Joaquin Arias led off the inning with a single. Brandon Crawford walked and Bumgarner bunted both runners over.Norichika Aoki then hit a ground ball to shortstop, where Jimmy Rollins elected to throw to first base to get the sure out. Crawford advanced to third base and score on a single by Matt Duffy. The starting pitchers but did not figure into the decision. It was the first time the reigning regular season MVP and World Series MVP opposed each other on the mound. Both pitchers saw their workdays end at 9:19 p.m., when Guerrero pinch hit for Kershaw and hit Bumgarner’s final pitch for a home run to left field.center_img SAN FRANCISCO — They say you can throw both teams’ records out the window when the Dodgers play the Giants.They didn’t say anything about the rulebook.Dodgers manager Don Mattingly had a few reasons to be frustrated after the Giants won, 3-2, on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning Wednesday at AT&T Park. Chief among them: a non-call by the umpires after Giants third base coach Roberto Kelly appeared to interfere with Gregor Blanco as Blanco rounded third base on a single to left field.Blanco tagged up and scored when the next batter, Joe Panik, flew out to center field, ending the game.last_img read more